On October 28, 1934, the funeral of Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Oklahoma’s infamous folk bandit, took place in Sequoyah County. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, Floyd’s funeral remains the largest ever held in the state, with over 20,000 people in attendance. Born on February 3, 1904, in Bartow County, Georgia, Floyd moved to Sequoyah County with his family in 1911. As a child, he worked on tenant farms in the area. Floyd developed an interest in outlaws and heroic figures, particularly Missouri bandit Jesse James.
During his teenage years, Floyd worked as a hired hand on the wheat-harvest circuit in Oklahoma and Kansas. In Wichita, he met John Callahan, who became his mentor and ran a large fencing operation in the Midwest. In 1925, Floyd participated in a payroll robbery in St. Louis, resulting in a five-year sentence in the Missouri State Penitentiary. After his release, Floyd embarked on a spree of over 30 successful robberies in the Midwest, primarily in Ohio and Oklahoma, often with the assistance of accomplices.
Floyd’s criminal activities came to an end on October 20, 1934, when he was shot and killed by FBI agents in a cornfield near East Liverpool, Ohio. Prior to his death, Floyd and Adam Richetti were named as chief suspects in the Kansas City Massacre, which resulted in the deaths of four law officers. However, based on new evidence, the Oklahoma Historical Society states that neither Floyd nor Richetti were involved in the massacre.