Moving to Sallisaw
Stirred Memories of Grandma

Having been born in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, I’ve always considered myself an “Okie” no matter where my journeys have taken me. Like a lot of “Okies”, my family migrated to California for a while. Some stayed, and after a few years, some of us returned to Oklahoma. When my Daddy passed away, my Mama packed us up and moved us to Southeastern Kansas where she had been born and raised. It was nice living close to my Mama’s side of my family, but I always considered myself a “Transplanted Okie”.
In 2006, I finally talked my husband of 41 years into moving to Eastern Oklahoma. I wanted to live in the Cherokee Nation, and I wanted to live in Sequoyah County. We took a little vacation the end of November and came to Sallisaw, Oklahoma. We brought our motorcycles and we rode the trails into the mountains and the trails around the lakes. The weather was warm and beautiful while it had already turned very cold in Kansas. My husband loves to hunt and fish, and he could go in any direction and do both. Needless to say, it didn’t take a whole lot of effort to move him down here. Around our third day in Sallisaw we found a home with the perfect location for building our motorcycle shop. We spent Christmas 2006 in our new home. Nobody could believe that we up and moved so fast. It’s not like we’ve ever lived like gypsies. We had lived in our last home in Parsons, Kansas, for twenty-three years. But right away we felt like we were meant to be here and my husband loves being an Okie too.
Our new home meant new friends, new traditions and new stories for us. One of the first notorious Sallisaw citizens we heard about was “Pretty Boy” Floyd. In fact, a nephew of his was one of our first customers in our new motorcycle shop. The first spring rally we went to was the “Pretty Boy” Floyd poker run. One of the drinking establishments on the main street downtown is decorated in “Pretty Boy” memorabilia. Everybody had a “Pretty Boy” Floyd story. Considering that my Grandma, my Daddy’s Mama, was Edna “The Kissing Bandit” Murray, I was “all ears” to hear these stories. I had heard my Grandma talk of “Pretty Boy” Floyd when reminiscing about her gangster days. I had done some research on Grandma Edna and was seriously working on writing a story about her life. After arriving in Sallisaw, I was hearing outlaw and gangster stories right and left. I didn’t feel so “odd-ball” about it any more. Seemed as though everybody down here was related to one gangster or another. And every story I heard would remind me of something else Grandma had said or done. I guess you could say that moving to Sallisaw had rekindled my interest in writing about “The Kissing Bandit”.
From reading posts on “Gangsterologists” and reading the “On The Spot Journal”, I ran across Debbie Moss at DebezGraphics. Seeing her website, plus Rick Mattix’s, Ellen Poulsen’s and some of the other cool ones out there, I thought “I want one of those, too!” Debbie said “Get some good pictures”……..and that is what instigated this long winded story.
I was talking to some friends about taking some pictures of myself portraying my Grandma Edna. I wanted an old car, something close to the ’34 Pontiac Sedan that she and Volney Davis drove before they were last captured and sent to prison. I can’t believe how many old car collectors live around here. Car shows are among their favorite past times. Sure enough, one of our friends had one in his garage. He also suggested that he introduce me to our County Sheriff, whom I had not personally met, and I could ask if he might be kind enough to get the old Tommygun out of lock-up, and let us use it, also, for our picture shoot. I’m saying, “WHAT Tommy gun”? “Well…..the one that “Pretty Boy” Floyd left under the house that he was staying in, up the road there by Marble City.”
Holy Moly….This was just too exciting!! Sure enough, Johnny Philpot, being the nice Sheriff that he is (You always want to stay on the good side of the sheriff…..especially if you’re related to gangsters), Johnny got the old Tommygun out and came to our picture shoot. I got arrested and handcuffed and had a bunch of fun, but I was so thrilled holding that old gun that I could hardly keep it still enough to get a good picture.
When I started inquiring as to how he happened to have possession of this rare and awesome old machine gun, our Sheriff said the story went something like this. Although the family, of Charles Arthur Floyd, claims to have “the” machine gun that belonged to him, others of the community believe that Charlie had more than one. Some of the old timers that remembered what was going on around here in “Pretty Boy’s” day said that arsenals of guns were stolen during that time and Charlie Floyd was known to have weapons stored in many places that he frequented. It was a well known fact in these parts that Charlie had many friends and helped a lot of people in need. If he felt that the law was getting too close for comfort, he always had a safe haven somewhere close by in this neck of the woods.
Sometime during or just prior to 1968, an old house in the vicinity of Marble City, Ok, was being torn down. Under the floorboards, between the floor joists, was something wrapped neatly in old newspapers. It turned out to be a Thompson machine gun that was in remarkably good condition. The person razing the old house knew it had been said that Charlie “Pretty Boy” Floyd had used this place for a hideout. Charlie’s brother, E.W. Floyd, was the Sequoyah County Sheriff for a span of around twenty-two years. It was during his term in office that the old house was being razed and the old Thompson was found. The finder, assuming it must have belonged to Charlie, took it to the Sheriff, Charlie’s brother.
Our Sheriff, at the time, Johnny Philpot, was cleaning out some files, not so many years ago, when he found an old paper that had fallen down under the bottom of the files. It was the form that Sheriff E.W. Floyd had filed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms back in 1968. Although he had registered it as a “semi-automatic”, it has the selector that can change it from semi-automatic to full blown automatic. It is equipped with a “stick magazine” but could accommodate a drum magazine as well. It is stamped “Model of 1921”, “No. 7985”.
It wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be, but Sheriff Philpot wouldn’t let me play with it “loaded”. We had a great time doing the “pretend” picture shoot, and even stopped some traffic on Cherokee Street.

Pam Paden Tippet