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" Final Resting Place of Pretty Boy Floyd "
Charley Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd February 3rd 1904 - October 22nd 1934
Akins Cemetery is located on Highway 101, northeast of Sallisaw, between Sallisaw and Akins and just west of Sequoyah's cabin Oklahoma.
Info and photo's courtesy of Rick Mattix.
Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd (February 3, 1904 – October 22, 1934) was an American bank robber and alleged killer, romanticized by the press and by folk singer Woody Guthrie in The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd.
Floyd was born in rural Folsom, Georgia in Bartow County, on February 3, 1904. His family moved within a year or so to nearby Adairsville, Georgia. There they lived on Railroad Street until Charles was about ten years old. They then moved to Oklahoma, where they worked a farm that never generated much cash. At the age of seventeen, Floyd married Wilma Hargrove (also known as Ruby). The popular history says that Floyd committed his first crime when he struck down a sheriff's deputy who had been rude to Wilma, but contemporary sources agree that Floyd simply needed a way to make ends meet.
The Time magazine of 22 October 1934, mentions a robbery of $350 in pennies from a local post office as his first known crime. He was eighteen years old at the time. Three years later, he was busted for a payroll robbery in St. Louis, Missouri and served three years in prison. When paroled, he vowed that he would never see the inside of another prison. He did not, however, go straight. Partnering with more established criminals in the Kansas City underworld, he committed a series of bank robberies over the next several years; it was during this period that he earned the nickname "Pretty Boy". Like his contemporary Baby Face Nelson, Floyd hated his nickname.
Their string of crimes hit a hiccup in Sylvania, Ohio, where they were caught in the midst of a bank robbery and Floyd was sentenced to fifteen years. However, he escaped on his way to prison and rebuilt his gang. In the years that followed, he was blamed for a long string of bank robberies and vilified as a "Public Enemy" by the FBI. The popular legend holds that he was not, in fact, responsible for all of these, and that his name was being attached to robberies committed by others. In the words of Woody Guthrie, "Every crime in Oklahoma was added to his name." It is possible that Floyd and other criminals might have become more active as a result, since Floyd would be blamed regardless of what they did.
Floyd would hide between crimes in towns near the one in which he had grown up, protected by the locals. The popular legend says that they did this out of love for his generosity and their hatred of the banks, which were at that time foreclosing on many farms. However, the contemporary press claimed that he simply bribed them for their silence.
With his partner George Birdwell, Floyd robbed the banks in Earlsboro, Konawa, Maud, Morris, Shamrock, Tahlequah, and on December 12, 1931, two banks in one day at Castle and Paden, Oklahoma. Bank insurance rates doubled, and the governor of Oklahoma placed a $56,000 reward on Floyd's head.
The man was also accused of participating in the Kansas City Massacre, a shootout that resulted in the deaths of five men in 1933. He denied being there, but the authorities and the press were sure he was involved.
After narrowly escaping ambush by the FBI several times, Floyd was killed on October 22, 1934, when FBI agents shot him near East Liverpool, Ohio. As is the case with many aspects of Floyd's life, the circumstances surrounding his final moments are disputed. According to the FBI, Floyd died cursing his killers to the end. However, Chester Smith, the sharpshooter who felled Floyd, stated in a 1984 interview that after he had (deliberately) wounded, but not killed, Floyd, Melvin Purvis questioned him briefly and then ordered him shot at point-blank range.
Floyd's body was placed on public display in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. His funeral was attended by between twenty and forty thousand people, and remains the largest funeral in Oklahoma history. He was buried in Akins, Oklahoma)