During the 1930s when gangsters roamed the Midwest, Daviess County offered occasional sanctuary to one of the most notorious — Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd. Some believe that a revolver offers proof linking the notoriuos criminal to occasional trips to Pattonsburg, MO.
In 1934, Amos “Bud” Carter and his brother, Dwight, ran a station in Pattonsburg. They moved there from Pawnee, OK, in 1924. During the year or so that Bud helped run the station (later owned by W.K. Morris), Bud accepted an American Bulldog revolver in exchange for gas and oil.
Mr. Carter described Floyd as a good-looking fellow in fine clothing. The day Floyd offered the revolver in trade, Floyd was driving a coupe with a “chopper” (.45 Thompson machine gun M-27) as his right-hand passenger. Carter said if he hadn’t taken the revolver, he feared he would get nothing in return for his car service products.
Dwight and Bud became immediate half-owners of the revolver. Bud later sold his interest in the gun to Dwight’s family. Although Bud considered Floyd to be nice enough, he recalled that Floyd’s driver, a man named Richetti, was “just plain mean.” Mr. Carter also thought that Dennis “Skin” Severe of Orlando, OK, knew Floyd. Carter recounted stories told to him by Severe and his sons, Homer and Vern “Rusty” Severe. These stories included Dennis’s request that Floyd not rob the Gallatin bank because his friend, Sheriff Frank Sweany, might get hurt.
The story is significant because during 1934, Floyd liked to hit small banks. This was the year that he became Public Enemy No. 1.
Pretty Boy Floyd was also known as “Choc” Floyd in the Cookson Hills of Oklahoma because of his fondness for homemade Checotah (Choctaw) beer. Some homemade beer may have been available in Pattonsburg, too, in the early 1930s. Bud Carter confirmed Floyd’s preference for homemade beer and card games at Pattonsburg, MO.
Choc Floyd was born near Salisaw, OK. His life of crime lasted from 1924 until his death on Oct. 22, 1934, near East Liverpool, OH. Floyd was in the Missouri penitentiary for 18 months for payroll robbery. He escaped in 1930 after conviction for robbing a Sylvania, OH, bank.
Floyd’s partners were Bill “The Killer” Miller (killed at Bowling Green, OH), George Birdwell (killed in a 1932 bank robbery), and Adam Richetti (hanged at Galena in the Stone County courtyard in 1936). Some say Floyd was part of the Kansas City Massacre in June, 1933. At one point, Floyd was part of the Dillinger Gang.
— written by David Stark for the Gallatin North Missourian, Nov. 10, 1993