Depression Era, in the South, and Poor
Charles Arthur Floyd was born in Barlow County, Georgia; on February the third, nineteen hundred and four years following the year of our Lord. Like many of the poor "whites" of the South, my own grandparents included, he spent a large part of his youth picking cotton in the ubiquitous cotton fields of the South. It's a sad fact that in my own home county, Kaufman County, in the great state of Texas; most of the cotton fields that used to be nearby, where even my own Father had picked cotton, those fields are gone now, and McMansions stand where money used to be made through a time honored and traditional labor. I can only wonder at how many of those same McMansions have been foreclosed on, kicking the inhabiting families out. So now, land that used to be a vital part of our economy is no longer used for anything except as a symbol for bad dreams, a box uninhabited by man.
Depression Era Gangsters
Prison, and then Pretty Boy Floyd
Charles Arthur Floyd was born in Georgia, but primarily he grew up in Oklahoma, and he spent a considerable amount of time in the surrounding states of Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. All of those states are places of tremendous natural beauty; but Charles experienced them in the ugliness that comes when international banking houses manipulate a nation, and a world's economies from afar. He grew up in the dust bowl era, the depression; desperate times that brought the best, and the worst out in all of those who were left standing. It's said that a young Charles, at 18 years of age, got his start in crime when he'd stole an amazing $3.50 in pennies. Nowadays, I pick pennies up off of the ground. I've lived through my own disgust at seeing people even pitch them into trash bins. What would Charles do were he to see such a disgusting phenomenon?
Three years later, at twenty one years, Charles was arrested for a payroll robbery in St. Louis, and from there he was sentenced to serve five years in prison. When Charles was paroled, he famously vowed that he'd never see the inside of another prison; and is nearly always the case, Charles had received no sort of rehabilitation, and he'd certainly found himself in a position where he could only go on, and become even more the criminal than he was before. You see, when you do the crime, get caught, and do the time - you are nowhere near done paying for your crime, not in corrupt, hypocritical America. In America you are NEVER done paying for a crime. Employers do not care in the least that you'd served your time for a crime, your time of punishment only ends in America when you are, in fact, dead, and buried away in the ground; or perhaps cremated.
I'm just doing the job I'm paid to do
Such is the response I would get were I to present this problem to a modern American Law Enforcement Officer. He is only seeking to remove himself from a situation in which he bears a large part of the responsibility for the severely reduced, decimated, in fact, economic circumstances that he's helped produce for any and every young man or woman that he or she has arrested so callously for even the smallest of crimes. What such a law enforcement officer is, in fact, saying, is that he or she, in fact, gives not a fuck about you, yours, your life, fairness, the validity of laws, or the sick society in which they enforce laws in order to further the destruction of the nation that employees such mindless law bots. But personal responsibility goes far beyond the ability of most of those who are employed in police departments have the capacity or willingness to understand. Personal responsibility has never been a topic favored in American Media; blindly following orders, Nazi style, must be a theme of some note, however; and another is that somehow, law enforcement officers are "good," that that they should be trusted. Nothing could ever be further from the truth, however, and you should always keep that in mind.
So, having served five years in prison for a crime which America would have never have forgiven him for, Charles Floyd did the only other thing that he could do, besides beg and starve; or perhaps, join a circus, and he fell in with a crowd of folks in similar situations, and began to rob banks in the Kansas City area. Banks, being completely corrupt institutions to begin with, rolled over like the whores that they are for him, and it is there that Charles Floyd acquired the moniker that he never liked, but followed him the rest of his days, and then some; throughout history. "Pretty Boy Floyd," was born.
Charles Floyd HATED that name
" a mere boy. . . . a pretty boy, with apple cheeks."
A description from a witness. Others say that name came from a woman, as a compliment; but what is certain is that Charles Floyd hated the name, in exactly the same way that his contemporary, Baby Face Nelson hated his famous description.
The year 1929 came at Charles in an ugly way, and he faced several arrests for crimes such as Vagrancy, twice actually, and the suspicion that he'd committed "highway robbery," which I had no idea was a real legal term. In Pueblo Colorado, Floyd was arrested, charged a $50.00 fine, and set to serve 60 days for vagrancy. When he was released, he had to make a tragic trip home to Oklahoma, as his father had been murdered by a neighbor, and the neighbor, rather mysteriously, vanished. I don't know about you, but even threatening my father could cause YOU to mysteriously vanish, and wild hogs dispose of bodies rather nicely. Did the man vanish, wisely, from fear, or did Pretty Boy do the natural thing, and dispose of those who threaten what runs thicker than water? It's a question with an unknown answer.
Multiple Suspicions Concerning the Crime of Murder
The dates and times concerning the historical records are not always clear, but Frank Mitchell, one of Pretty Boy's gang members was arrested for a possible connection with the death of a police officer during a robbery. Frank's arrest occurred in Akron, Ohio on March the 8th, 1930; the officer was killed trying to stop a robbery; but just what was being robbed is unclear. Next, law enforcement caught up to Pretty Boy in Toledo, Ohio, as he was wanted for a possible connection in the deaths of two moonshiner brothers, Wally and Boll Ash, of Kansas City. But on the day of November 24, 1930; Charles Floyd was sentenced to 12-15 years in the Ohio State Pen for the crime of bank robbery. But Charles, "Pretty Boy" Floyd escaped, but whether he escaped from a local jail, or just where; is unclear.
There is absolutely nothing special about a murder in which a law enforcement officer is killed. Law enforcement officers, after all, are only people, and murder is murder. This theme can be extended, however, and I DO, in fact, think that there is truly something most sinister when a police officer kills another person. Yes, I am completely aware that police officers have a very dangerous job to do, and yes, I am completely aware that sometimes it is the only avenue to make a bad situation better when a law enforcement officer has to shoot someone, that is sometimes the only way, and that is not what I am talking about.. My only point with this is that so very often, and at an alarming and seemingly increasing rate, law enforcement officers use the bully mentality that most often inspired them to become law enforcement officers to begin with, to justify, and cover up beatings and even murders, and then they run and hide behind their cowardly wall of silence. But what occurred on April 23, 1931 was this, a member of the Floyd gang shot and killed officer R. H. Castner, of Bowling Green, Ohio. About three months later, on July 22, 1931; Floyd himself shot and killed ATF agent Allen C. Burke in Kansas City, Missouri. Steadily evading avenging police departments, the Floyd gang, during an attempted ambush by law enforcement, former sheriff Erv Kelley, of Macintosh County, Oklahoma, was instead killed.
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The Kansas City Massacre
On the day of June 17, 1933 in Kansas City one of the most famous gang verses police department gun battles in American history occurred. The facts are the four police officers died in this gun battle, and that it has never been proven that Charles Arthur Floyd was involved in it one way or another. J Edgar Hoover, the FBI chief who wore dresses, however, used the Kansas City massacre as a means to further himself, and his organization along the course that they still take today. The Kansas City Massacre was a successful ambush carried out by outlaw Vernon Miller and an accomplice in order to accomplish one of two goals, and those were to either free outlaw Frank "Jelly" Nash, or to kill him to keep him silent. Nash had been captured and was in transit by law enforcement to Leavenworth Penitentiary. The ambush took place at Union Railway Station as Nash was being escorted to a car, in addition to the four police officers killed, Nash was also killed; and two officers feigned death, slumped over in the back seat of the transport car during inspection by the gunmen. At that point the gunmen were fired upon by another officer, and fled. Vernon Miller, however, didn't live much longer, and was found beaten and strangled to death the following November outside of Detroit, Michigan.
Concerning Charles Floyd's involvement, eye witnesses place him at the scene, those accounts, however, have been contested. It is known that Floyd was in Kansas City during that time, and one would have to imagine that he'd either been involved in one way or another, or knew about the planned attack. The witnesses who do claim to have seen Pretty Boy Floyd at the attack in Kansas City also claim that he was injured, taking a bullet to the shoulder in the shootout, examinations of Floyd's body later, however, show no signs of such an injury. What is certain is that the nature of the crime concerning the Kansas City Massacre is completely inconsistent with any of Charles Arthur Floyd's other known crimes. Floyd was a bank robber, not a hired killer.
Shortly after the attack, Kansas City police received a postcard dated June 30, 1933, from Springfield, Missouri, which read:
"Dear Sirs- I- Charles Floyd- want it made known that I did not participate in the massacre of officers at Kansas City. Charles Floyd "
This letter is widely believed both then and now by everyone, including Hoover, to be legitimate. Later, as he lay dying from a fatal wound, Charles Floyd even told the officer who fatally shot him that he'd had no involvement in the Kansas City Massacre. Ballistics test prove that, in fact, officers were killed by other police officers in the gun battle. Friendly fire. The FBI's website, however, spreads the lie to this very day. What more could you expect from a federal law enforcement agency? Why, after all of this time a United States Federal Agency would maintain an untruth as if it were, in fact true shows a clear systemic paradigm that suggest corruption far, far beyond the public image which they would like to project.
Murdered by the F.B.I.
On October the 22nd, 1934 Charles Arthur Floyd, i.e., "Pretty Boy Floyd" was shot and killed in a cornfield outside of East Liverpool, Ohio. Three separate accounts exist as to what, exactly, happened, and this only further demonstrates the inability of the Federal Bureau of Investigations to maintain a decent story, or anything close to the truth of any matter. The killing of Charles Floyd, in fact, was a murder; as he'd already been injured, could not regain his footing, but was then shot at point blank range by a Federal agent of law with a sub machine gun, an FBI execution. There is precious little difference between most law enforcement officers and common "criminals."
To elaborate a bit, what happened was that Chester Smith, retired from the East Liverpool police had hit Floyd twice with a .32 caliber winchester rifle; as he knew that the feds were unable to hit him with their pistols. Smith plainly stated that he'd shot Floyd to injure him, and not to kill him.
"I knew Purvis couldn't hit him, so I dropped him with two shots from my .32 Winchester rifle."
Smith then disarmed Floyd of his .45 caliber pistol, and was then ordered away by an FBI murderer.
"Back away from that man. I want to talk to him."
Agent Purvis then briefly questioned Floyd, and then ordered in the FBI executioner, agent Hollis, ordering him to,
"Fire into him."
Later, when interviewed about the incident, Chester smith, when asked whether or not the Federal Bureau of Investigations had cowardly lied and covered up things, Smith responded:
"Sure was, because they didn't want it to get out that he'd been killed that way."
Charles Arthur Floyd's life and death is a continuing piece of Americana, and it will be for years to come. Woody Guthrie, the great American social philosopher, Dust Bowl Troubadour, and Patriot best exemplifies the Pretty Boy Floyd legend in his song of the same title. Floyd was well known to be a man dedicated to his family, who suffered from the manipulations, as all Americans did, of international banking cartels, who caused the Great Depression to begin with, in a premature effort to bring about their one world government that has forever been the dream of "elite" persons of tremendous wealth. It is very fitting indeed that the Guthrie song portrays Floyd as an "everyman," and a hero; and police personnel as agents of oppression. The multitude of murders by American Law Enforcement at Ruby Ridge and Waco show clearly that the same situations that existed in depression era America exist today. Long Live Pretty Boy Floyd!
Pretty Boy Floyd, Woody Guthrie Lyrics
If you'll gather 'round me, children,
A story I will tell
'Bout Pretty Boy Floyd, an outlaw,
Oklahoma knew him well.
It was in the town of Shawnee,
A Saturday afternoon,
His wife beside him in his wagon
As into town they rode.
There a deputy sheriff approached him
In a manner rather rude,
Vulgar words of anger,
An' his wife she overheard.
Pretty Boy grabbed a log chain,
And the deputy grabbed his gun;
In the fight that followed
He laid that deputy down.
Then he took to the trees and timber
To live a life of shame;
Every crime in Oklahoma
Was added to his name.
But a many a starving farmer
The same old story told
How the outlaw paid their mortgage
And saved their little homes.
Others tell you 'bout a stranger
That come to beg a meal,
Underneath his napkin
Left a thousand dollar bill.
It was in Oklahoma City,
It was on a Christmas Day,
There was a whole carload of groceries
Come with a note to say:
Well, you say that I'm an outlaw,
You say that I'm a thief.
Here's a Christmas dinner
For the families on relief.
Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.
And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.
It's clear that in reality the life of Charles Floyd was very different from the life portrayed by Woody Guthrie in his legendary, and timeless tune titled "Pretty Boy Floyd." It's easy to see, and quite natural that a storyteller and musician has a creative license with which to work. My purpose with this hub is two fold:
1. To bring to light some American History concerning a legendary depression era outlaw and his gang.
2. To share the wonderful music and songwriting of two American legends of that realm, Woody Guthrie, and The Byrds.
For some counterpoint, one might compare this hub with the hub concerning Bill Miner, and the lyrics supplied for the song about him by Norman Blake. Miner's life is nailed dead on, with only very slight skewing of fact by Norman Blake.
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 22, 2018:
Hey thanks! I don't have a story as good as that one, but Bonnie and Clyde were once in jail in Kemp, Texas, which is less than ten miles from where I'm sitting.
floyd neighbor on August 22, 2018:
I was born 30 miles from Charlie's home. I knew people who knew Charlie. Charlie was basically a good person according to those who knew him. He ate at my grand mother's table. He shopped at a store 3 miles from our home. I believe he was murdered not killed in self defense. This is much the same as bonnie parker being executed through the windshield by frank hamer. Yes, the laws in general are as or more corrupt than the people the pursue.
spedranger on July 28, 2013:
Something you forgot to include is that Floyd was sodomized repeatedly while imprisoned in Missouri. That's really where he earned the nickname "Pretty Boy." They say he grew to like it but hated it, too. It's another reason why his murders and robberies were not his fault at all, like you say. The police and society are to blame, not him.
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on December 13, 2010:
Thank you very much Micky Dee and ghomefitness!
ghomefitness from Chicago,IL on December 13, 2010:
That was a good read! I like history with a surly Texas flare!
Micky Dee on December 13, 2010:
Great work here Wesman! Thank you Sir! I love the comments too! God bless!
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on December 12, 2010:
Thank you, Rebecca!!!!!!!!!!!
Christopher, yeah, I hear you; If I start robbing banks at 60 they'll call me "Crater Face Shaw!"
christopher on December 12, 2010:
If I got tagged with the nickname babyface (that will work for me when Im 60 God willing) I think I might have to shoot someone
christopher on December 12, 2010:
Rebecca on December 12, 2010:
Awesome read as always!
justom from 41042 on December 12, 2010:
This one is real good Todd. I've been on this trip my whole adult life. Everybody's supposed to feel bad when a cop gets killed (doing his job!)but when the cop shoots somebody, well that person is just dead (and justified). "Every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints". Peace!! Tom