The Sad Death of Deputies Willis and Edwards.

Deputies Willis and Edwards were two lawmen I found several years ago.  They were added to the Officer Down Memorial Page and the Memorial in DC.

Richland Beacon-News
Saturday, June 8, 1895
Page 1, Column 6

A FATAL DUEL.

Two Deputy Sheriffs Shoot Each Other by Mistake.

Baxter Willis and J.W. Edwards the Victims of a a [sic] Case of Mistaken Identity.

                The following is taken from the Monroe Herald of May 30th:

Last night, about 9 o’clock, a telephone message was received at this office to send a reporter to the Houston Central depot, that a couple of men had been shot.  The reporter immediately left for the depot.  On arriving there he discovered on the platform a man lying on a hand-car.  He proved to be Deputy Sheriff Baxter Willis of this city.

Mr. Willis and posse left here in search of one Abrahams, who was wanted for firing into a freight train near Swartz several nights ago.  After arriving at Spring Hill section house about eleven miles north of Monroe, they seperated [sic], Willis and Grant going one way, and Edwards and Dixon another.

Willis and Grant had been out in the woods all day and about dark, while walking up to the section house, were met by Edwards and Dixon.  The former (Edwards) thinking Willis, who was standing on the railroad track, was the man Abrahams, said, “hold up your hands!” and fired on Willis twice with a 38-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver, one shot taking effect just below the right nipple, the other in the left hip.

Willis, after being shot, supposed that Edwards was Abrahams shooting at him, whereupon he threw up his gun and fired, killing Edwards instantly.

When informed that it was Edwards instead of Abrahams that he had shot said, “My God, Edwards, I am sorry it was you I shot.”

Deputy Sheriff Willis, accompanied by Grant and Dixson, was brought to this city last night on a handcar.  Conveyance was procured and he was taken to his father’s residence, where Drs. Forsythe and Gladden examined his wounds, but at the hour of going to press were unable to state whethe[r] or not they would prove fatal.

Mr. Edwards leaves a wife and child in this city.  He came to Monroe from Mississippi.

Richland Beacon News
Saturday, June 22, 1895
Page 1, Columns 5 & 6

Monroe Bulletin:  Thursday evening S. Baxter Willis, deputy sheriff, this young and faithful officer, died from the effects of his wounds received as previously narrated in the Bulletin, by accident, from the hands of J.W. Edwards.  He lived two weeks after he was shot and did so well that strong hopes were entertained of his recovery.  But death came after all.  The balls could not be extracted and he died of peritonitis.  He was conscious to the last and his sufferings were awful.

Mr. Willis was the son of our esteemed and honored fellow citizen, Judge A. Willis.  He was born in Claiborne parish in 1860 from two of the best families in that parish; removed with his father to a Ouachita plantation and became an active participant in all the political movements of this parish.  He was deputy under Sheriffs McGuire, Theobalds and Garrett, and had the implicit confidence of all those officers.  He was resolute, plucky, intelligent and considerate in the discharge of his duty.  But he had tired of official life and had become a close student of medicine, which profession he would have adorned had he lived longer.

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