Law Enforcement Memorial

Deputy Constable Bernell Looney Barton

End of Watch: April 25, 1931

Precinct 5 Deputy Constable Bernell Barton was investigating a traffic accident on Hemphill Street in Fort Worth. The two drivers in the accident got into a fight, and Deputy Constable stepped in to break it up. He sent both men to their cars, but as he was crossing the street, he was hit by a passing vehicle. Deputy Barton was taken to the local hospital, where he suffered from a fractured skull and broken leg. He passed away from his injuries two days later. He was 27 years old.

Deputy Constable Mordica W. Hurdleston

End of Watch: October 9, 1927

Deputy Constable Hurdleston was well-known locally due to his prior role as the Fort Worth Police and Fire Commissioner from 1915-1917. During a ten year break from law enforcement, Deputy Constable Hurdleston opened an auto parts business. After his business sold out, he moved on to work as a “lease man” for an oil company. He left the oil company and took up chicken ranching, but soon got the itch to return to law enforcement.  In 1927, at the age of 57, he became a Deputy to Precinct 1 Constable L.C. Mann. Deputy Hurdleston was killed while investigating sounds of gunfire near the intersection of East 17th Street and Terry Street. The suspect, Matthew Carter, who had been firing the shots immediately shot Deputy Constable Hurdleston in the chest, almost instantly killing him. He was 58 years old. Carter fled the scene, but was later arrested at his home. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison for the death of Constable Hurdleston.

Deputy Constable Hurdleston was survived by his wife and two children.

Constable Robert Franklin Poe

End of Watch: December 23, 1925

By the time he was elected Constable for Precinct 1 in 1922, Constable Robert F. Poe had already served as a Deputy Sheriff and as a Reserve Officer with the Fort Worth Police Department. Constable Poe and his family were very well-known in town. Many people described Constable Poe as both hard-boiled and tenderhearted; he was a large bear of a man. On December 23, 1925, Constable Poe and a deputy went to the home of a man named Manuel Carson to arrest him for theft of tires. Carson met Constable Poe outside of his house and explained to Constable Poe that he needed to go inside to speak with his wife. Carson started walking toward his house, and Constable Poe ordered him to stop moving. Carson quickly turned around and shot Constable Poe twice with a .38-caliber pistol. The deputy that was with Constable Poe struggled with Carson until eventually shooting him twice. Due to the severity of their injuries, both Constable Poe and Carson were pronounced dead at the scene.  Constable Poe was 41 years old.

After his death, Tarrant County Commissioners appointed Constable Poe’s 32-year-old widow, Lela to take over the position as Constable.


Guard Earl W. Darby

End of Watch: July 1, 1921

During the early to mid-1900s, many Texas counties operated “poor farms,” “convict farms,” and “convict camps,” which were correctional facilities where convicts were required to work off their fines and debts. Most of these were not operated by the Sheriff, but by the County. Guard Earl W. Darby was supervising a work crew of inmates at the Tarrant County Convict Camp near Azle Road. He had just gotten off the water truck and was removing his coat from the truck’s seat when his pistol discharged and struck him in the abdomen. He was transported to City and County Hospital, where he passed away the next day. He was 20 years old.

Guard Darby was survived by his parents, B.F. and Mary A. Darby, as well as his siblings, Ben L., Doyle H., and William J. Darby.

Constable Robert Emmett Morison

End of Watch: November 8, 1916

Precinct 8 Constable Robert E. Morison was a popular lawman in Southeast  Tarrant County as he served as the Town Marshal of Mansfield for many years. In 1900, Constable Morison easily won the election for Constable, and on November 7, 1916 he was elected for a third term. Even at the age of 61, Constable Morison could still put up a good fight. He was a dedicated lawman and many people were afraid of him, including a bootlegger named Claude Patterson. Constable Morison had sworn to apprehend Patterson and the other local bootleggers, even if it meant killing them. On the morning of November 8, 1916, Constable Morison was sitting on a bench talking to friends when Patterson approached him with a shotgun.  Constable Morison attempted to run away from Patterson, but Patterson lifted his gun and shot Constable Morison in the back, sending him immediately to the ground. Patterson then walked into a nearby store and surrendered himself to the Town Marshal. 

Constable Morison was survived by his wife, Florence and two sons, John and Tom.



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