October 22, 1934
East Liverpool, Ohio
Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd is killed by federal agents while evading arrest
Pretty Boy Floyd was a notorious bank robber and gangster, and was promoted to Public Enemy No. 1 by the FBI after John Dillinger’s death on July 23, 1934. His short 30 years of life were filled with violence and crime and he gained his nickname after a robbery victim described him as “a mere boy — a pretty boy with apple cheeks.”
Though his life and memorable moniker are still remembered, his all but forgotten funeral service was arguable more uncivilized than his actual crimes. The funeral brought thousands of spectators; Depression Era general population was notoriously enamored with the deaths of celebrity criminals, and Floyd’s funeral was no different. Gawkers abandoned all civility and etiquette during the funeral, cutting off Floyd’s family members as they tried to drive to the service, eating food from the tops of other headstones in the cemetery, taking the seats reserved for family members, crushing flowers, and kicking foot stones trying to get a peek at the infamous robber’s body.
The Daily Oklahoman wrote of the scene “There was something barbaric about the whole funeral. Morbid curiosity was the theme. They pushed, elbowed, gouged their way up to the little shelter where the services were held. They munched peanuts, shouted to friends from the home-town, laughed and wise-cracked and lifted small babies over the heads of others to take a look at Floyd.”