Note: This story appeared in a previous edition of the Gypsy Journal.
We find some of our best stories wandering around America’s two lane roads. Recently we discovered an interesting tale of two brothers while exploring a small cemetery on a back road in Oklahoma.
Nobody knows why Edward “E. W.” Floyd became a lawman. Perhaps it was because as a young man, his older brother Charley was gunned down by a group of men in a field in Ohio. What impact must that have on a person’s life? Did it spark a desire for justice? Did E.W. harbor a secret desire to somehow set things right for his brother? I don’t know.
What I do know is that E.W. became a law officer and eventually was elected Sheriff of Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, an office he held from 1949 until his death in 1970.
Though there were some people in Oklahoma who scoffed at his election and others who were sure he could never handle the job properly, E.W. proved them all wrong. By all accounts, he was a well respected and competent sheriff, treating rich and poor fairly and equally, regardless of race or what connections their family might have in his rural county.
Not that E.W. was a pushover. If you were Charley’s kid brother, you learned early on not to back down from a fight. Drunken field hands, rowdy cowboys, and small town bullies all knew that E.W. was not a man to trifle with, and if you stepped over the line, E.W. was right there to put you in your place, whether it be with a stern look, a firm warning or, if need be, a trip to the drunk tank for the night.
When E.W. passed away he was mourned all over eastern Oklahoma. Though I will say, his funeral was nowhere near as large as his brother Charley’s was. In fact, they say that when they laid Charley to rest, anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people came to town for his funeral. I guess that being an infamous outlaw draws a bigger crowd than it does if you’re just a hard working rural sheriff.
You see, the men who gunned down brother Charley in that Ohio field those many years ago were part of a posse led by the famous FBI agent Melvin Purvis. Today the two brothers who were so far apart in life are buried just a few feet apart at the cemetery outside of Akin, Oklahoma; Sheriff E.W. Floyd and his brother Charley, Depression-era bank robber Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd.
Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Sneak Thief, the fourth book in my friend Carol Ann Newsome’s excellent Dog Park mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I used to be a people person, but people have pretty much ruined that for me.