Family Myth or Shocking Truth?

In this chapter of my photo journal history series, I present to you a shocking and scandalous revelation that even I find hard to believe. Depression-era gangster Pretty Boy Floyd is supposedly a distant cousin (by marriage) on the maternal side of the family.

Floyd was implicated in the Kansas City Massacre. My mother’s family hailed from Kansas so they totally disowned him even though he wrote a note to his sister that he was not involved.

Even if he was innocent, Floyd had a rap sheet a mile long. He was one of the three Most Wanted Men in America — John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson being the other two. All three men met their fate in 1934.

It’s interesting that the public was sympathetic towards Floyd, and imagined him to be a modern day Robin Hood. Seen as a victim of the Great Depression, Floyd allegedly burned mortgage notes at the banks he robbed.

Floyd’s younger brother was actually a county sheriff in Oklahoma. Despite Floyd’s objections, his immediate family was known to harbor such fugitives as Bonnie and Clyde.

The image below (provided by the FBI) was taken at the scene of the Kansas City Massacre. Four police officers and their prisoner were killed in a botched attempt to free the man in custody.

– Images granted Fair Use under Creative Commons for non-monetary presentation –

Floyd had a rap sheet in various Midwestern states including Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Ohio (seen below).

As was tradition, dating back to the Old West, the bodies of outlaws were put on public display. I have chosen to blur the image below.

$23,000 in 1934 is equivalent to $482,567.46 today

Copyright © In Pics and Words

5 thoughts on “Family Myth or Shocking Truth?

    1. That just about says it all! The combination of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl compelled my mom’s family to leave Kansas for the Imperial Valley where she met my dad whose family already had an established farm. No one ever talked about Pretty Boy Floyd.

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