Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd biography
Born in George in 1904, Pretty Boy Floyd is best known for his constant run-ins with police and violent bank robberies. Floyd vowed never to steal again after he was arrested for a payroll robbery at the age of 18, but he nevertheless went on to rob numerous banks. He was often protected by Oklahoma locals, who called him "the Robin Hood of the Cooksoon Hills." Floyd was gunned down and killed by FBI agents in 1934.
Charles "Pretty Boy" Arthur Floyd was born in Adairsville, Georgia, on February 3, 1904, one of seven children. His family moved soon after to Oklahoma, where they owned a farm and were extremely poor.
After an unlikely first career as a farmer, Floyd turned to crime to escape the poverty of the Depression era, which hit farmers in the "Dust Bowl" especially hard. After he was arrested for a payroll robbery at the age of 18, Floyd vowed never to steal again, but he nevertheless went on to rob numerous banks.
He married Ruby Hargrove in 1921; they had a son, Jack Dempsey Floyd, who was born while Floyd was serving a three-year sentence in prison for a robbing a Kroger store in St. Louis, Missouri. (Ruby divorced Floyd during his imprisonment.)
A Life of Crime
Upon returning to his parents farm, Pretty Boy Floyd is said to have killed a man accused, but acquitted, of killing his father. He became a hired gun for bootleggers along stretches of the Ohio River.
Known for his reckless use of a machine gun, Floyd began—with a group of gangster accomplices—robbing banks in Ohio, and soon moved on to Michigan, Kentucky and Oklahoma. During his crime spree, bank insurance rates in Oklahoma are reported to have doubled. He became popular with the public by destroying mortgage papers at many of the banks he robbed, liberating many debt-ridden citizens; he was often protected by Oklahoma locals, who dubbed him "Robin Hood of the Cooksoon Hills."
Final Years and Legacy
After the capture of John Dillinger, Floyd was named "Public Enemy No.1," and a $23,000 bounty was offered for him, dead or alive. Finally, in 1934, following another bank robbery, Floyd's boyd was found in East Liverpool, Ohio; he had been shot and killed by FBI agents during a chase on October 22 of that year.
Pretty Boy Floyd's legend was put into song, in Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd."