FALLEN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Being an officer of the law comes with risks.

Every day, law enforcement officers face decisions which could mean the difference between life and death – and Jacksonville officers are no exception.

Recently, Jacksonville Chief of Police Reece Daniel was notified about two Jacksonville officers who paid the ultimate price while serving their city. Daniel is assisting in getting the two officers included in the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

On July 22, 1913, while attempting to capture a robbery suspect at the Kickapoo Street crossing of the railroad tracks, Jacksonville City Marshal Harry Floyd Hooker (a night policeman) was shot and killed by an “unknown assailant.”

Ron DeLord, president of CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas), recently sent Daniel Hooker’s information. DeLord is a former police officer and volunteer researcher dedicated to finding officers killed in the line of duty who have not been honored or remembered.

“These officers are listed on the Cherokee County memorial in Rusk but have never been included on the state or national monuments,” Daniel said. “The reason is it so important to remember and honor these officers is twofold. First, they gave their lives for the people of Jacksonville and they are a part of our history. Second, these were the earliest law enforcement officers to die in Jacksonville and in Cherokee County. They deserve the same respect and honor of being placed on the state and national memorials.”

The person who shot Hooker was never captured, despite the use of bloodhounds from Rusk penitentiary. “People believed that he was a criminal from another jurisdiction, and he didn’t want to be captured,” Daniel said.

The information about Hooker was certified by Daniel and forwarded to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. with a request that he be added to the names of officers killed in the line of duty.

Jacksonville City Marshal William A. Clark was fatally shot, in the abdomen, Sept. 3, 1883, while attempting to disarm a man known as B.F. Temple. During the attempt, a gunfight erupted – both men emptied their six-shooters, which resulted in Clark’s death, according to information provided by DeLord.

According to reports, Clark lived for several hours and was able to complete a dying declaration of what transpired and to name his killer. He died at approximately 5:30 p.m. and was buried in Section C of the Jacksonville City cemetery.

Benny Meza of the Jacksonville Police Department located Clark’s “long forgotten grave,” Dec. 13 in the “Boot Hill” section of the cemetery. Clark was a veteran of the Civil War and has a civil war monument on his grave.

His wife never remarried and shows to have died in 1929 at age 88. She is buried next to her husband. The 1880 Cherokee County census lists Marshal Clark, his wife and two children.

Other information found by Barbara Crossman, stated Clark was shot Aug. 28, 1883, and died two days later on Aug. 30.

An excerpt from the Jacksonville Alabama Republican stated:

Jacksonville, Texas, Aug. 28th – A desperate fight with forty-four caliber pistols at about three paces occurred here late yesterday evening between the city marshal, W.A.Clark and a man he was trying to arrest named Nick Temple, recently from Arkansas. Some ten or twelve shots were exchanged in rapid succession, only one taking effect, striking the marshal in the abdomen.”

The information for this article was taken from an article in the Texas Daily Statesman in Austin, Texas.

Daniel said he welcomes any information, such as newspaper clippings, information from surviving relatives or new details on the original court case from October, 1883. The information is critical in having Clark accepted to the National Peace Officer’s Memorial and the Texas Peace Officer’s Memorial.

“It is imperative that police agencies and communities preserve their respective histories. It is just as important to honor these law enforcement officers who died in the performance of their duty regardless of the time elapsed since their death,” Daniel said.



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