Law Enforcement

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Entry Category: Law Enforcement - Starting with S

Sarber, John Newton

John Newton Sarber was a Union soldier who remained in Arkansas after the Civil War and served in the state Senate, where he introduced a number of influential bills, including those creating the public school system and what is now the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He also served as U.S. marshal of the U.S. Western District Court at Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Logan County was originally named Sarber County in his honor. John Newton Sarber was born on October 28, 1837, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Stephen and Lucille Sarber; he had one brother and two sisters. His mother died giving birth in 1849. The abolitionist family moved to Kansas Territory in 1855. Sarber and his father …

Schumann, Clarence (Trial and Execution of)

Clarence Schumann was the second of only two people legally executed in Garland County (Harry Poe, an African–American teenager, was the first). On July 11, 1912, Schumann, a white man, murdered his wife after she refused to grant him a divorce. At trial, Schumann’s lawyers argued that his addiction to morphine rendered him insane and that he should be spared the death penalty. On October 29, 1912, however, a Garland County jury found Schumann guilty and sentenced him to death. He was executed on June 2, 1913.   On July 11, 1912, Clarence Schumann came home from work to find his wife, Lula, gathering clothes in the backyard. He shot her twice with his pistol, killing her. Garland County authorities arrested him that evening. When questioned, Schumann explained that he was angry that his wife would not grant him …

Scott, George Washington

George Washington Scott was Arkansas Territory’s first U.S. marshal, serving from 1820 to 1831, as well as the state’s first auditor and the first clerk of the Territorial General Assembly. However, his volatile personality negated many of his early accomplishments, and he died a violent death in almost total obscurity. George Washington Scott was born in June 1798 in Virginia. He was one of six children of Andrew and Elizabeth Scott; his older brother, Andrew Horatio Scott, was later appointed as one of the first judges of the Arkansas Territory Superior Court. The family was living near St. Louis in the new Louisiana Territory as early as 1805. In 1808, they moved to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. By 1815, they were …

Scott, Ralph Downing, Sr.

Ralph Downing Scott Sr. had a long career in law enforcement and served as director of the Arkansas State Police during most of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s administration. In this capacity, Scott enacted many reforms to the Arkansas State Police that improved the professionalism of the department. Ralph Scott was born in McCaskill (Hempstead County) on February 2, 1914, to Burton L. Scott and Grace Bonner Scott. He was the oldest of the couple’s three sons and graduated in 1931 from high school in Prescott (Nevada County). He received a BA in chemistry from Hendrix College in 1935. In 1939, he received a Bachelor of Commercial Science in accounting from Southeastern University in Washington DC. Scott married Ruth Hirst in 1940, …

Simms, Lee (Trial and Execution of)

A young African-American man named Lee Simms (sometimes identified as Sims) was executed in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on September 5, 1913; he was the first person to die in Arkansas’s new electric chair. In June 1913, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a law specifying that future executions would be carried out at the state penitentiary in Little Rock using the electric chair. Prior to this, executions had been performed in the county where the crime occurred, and hanging was used. According to the Newark Journal, Arkansas’s chair was a “home-made product,” built at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) at a cost of $702.05. It was tested successfully in mid-August on a large steer and found …