Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

CHARLES ARTHUR FLOYD: 'PRETTY BOY' FROM COOKSON HILLS

Rest in Peaceful Sleep

"Where are our dear fathers?
Where are our dear fathers?
They've gone to heaven shouting
And day is breaking in my soul."
 
Bright Morning Stars

After the death of "Pretty Boy" Floyd, his body was shipped back to Sallisaw, Oklahoma, to the Cookson Hills that loved him. More than twenty thousand people attended his funeral, the largest ever in the history of the state. Some, such as the bankers and the lawmen, were glad he was dead. But, most grieved him, their son, their protector.

Juanita and Rose Baird "had heard about Richetti's capture while still at the garage in Wellsville, Ohio," says Sue L. Hamilton in "Pretty Boy" Floyd. As soon as the car was fixed, the two high-tailed it out of town. They later showed up in Sallisaw to attend Floyd's funeral."

Richetti never saw the light of freedom again. Hamilton adds, "(He) was returned to Kansas City, where he was found guilty for his part in the June 17, 1933, massacre. Although he requested and received a second trial, he was again found guilty. On October 17, 1938, he went to the gas chamber."

Ruby Floyd and Dempsey were paid by a movie company to advertise its latest movie, Crime Doesn't Pay. They traveled quite a bit and received a fair share of press coverage. After her husband's death, Ruby married several more times, each marriage as dismal as the last. She died in 1970.

Son Dempsey graduated high school, served in World War II and became a successful businessman and father. He is alive today and, according to author Michael Wallis, "has kept alive the memory of his parents, especially his father, who was immortalized in John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and in a song by Woody Guthrie, the 'Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd'."

As rough and tumble as Choc Floyd's life had been, he left behind him an adoring public and a family who loved him. And friends who had seen first-hand something warm under his gangster exterior. On the first anniversary of his death, Adam Richetti and the Baird sisters graced the pages of the Kansas City Star with a poem they dedicated to Charles Arthur Floyd.

We never knew what pain he had,
We did not see him die.
We only knew he passed away,
And did not say goodbye.
We are thinking of you, Daddy dear,
Thinking of the past.
You left behind some broken hearts
That loved you to the last;
That never did, nor never will
Forget you, Daddy dear,
And while you rest in peaceful sleep,
Your memory we shall always keep.

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