Just Call Him Jess LbNA # 33752
|Placed Date||Aug 3 2007|
If Judge Roy Bean was "The Law West of The Pecos," Jess Sweeten was "The Law East of The Trinity." In 1932 Jess Sweeten was a 25 year-old unknown East Texas sheriff, but within four short years he was the most famous sheriff in the world.
Sweeten was born in Stigler, Okla. Indian Territory in 1905. In 1922 Sweeten moved to Kansas City, Kansas, to work for the Otis Elevator Company. He was transferred in 1926 to Dallas, where he lived and worked for the next several years. In 1930 Sweeten was appointed deputy constable at Trinidad, Texas, and the following year was promoted to deputy sheriff. In 1932 he ran successfully for the Henderson County sheriff's office, and won the election, making him the youngest sheriff in Texas. He was sheriff from 1932 to 1954. The six-foot-four, 225-pound Sweeten gained a reputation as a hard-nosed investigator and a crack shot. In his amazing career as a lawman Sheriff Jess Sweeten solved two mass-murder cases at the same time-sixteen "run-of-the-mill" murder cases, and over two thousand felonies. He survived eleven gun battles, five assassination attempts, three car wrecks, one running gun battle with the "Dallas Kid," and over 150 bare-knuckle fistfights. He then left office with no unsolved cases pending. Raymond Hamilton once told a Dallas newspaper that Bonnie and Clyde always avoided Henderson County because of Sweeten's reputation. His exploits have been reported in almost every major newspaper and magazine in the world.
In 1954 Sweeten stepped down from the sheriff's office to work for Mobil Oil Company as a special investigator. An expert marksman, he conducted shooting exhibitions for schools and civic clubs throughout his career, shooting at cigars and other objects held up by his one-armed assistant Gus Sowells. On one occasion, Sweeten reportedly fired 3,700 rounds in seven hours, shooting up some 600 pounds of potatoes. In 1969 Sweeten was elected mayor of Athens, serving until June 1970, when he resigned due to business commitments. During the 1970s he served as a special investigator for the local district attorney's office. He died in Athens on November 16, 1980, and was buried in Oaklawn Memorial Park.
Directions to the Box:
Oaklawn Memorial Park in Athens is located off of Hwy 31 going towards Tyler, TX on East FM 317. Enter Oaklawn through the left side of the main entrance. Turn left at the first road inside of the cemetery. The road will curve back to the right. As you curve to the right, you will see a large Oak Tree on your right. Park in the center between this Oak tree and the second Oak tree you will see on your right. From the road and centered between the two Oak trees, walk 14 steps towards the large granite bible monument. Look down and to your right. You will see Sheriff Jess Sweeten's grave marker. From his marker, walk to the large granite bible monument. Face the bible and read the verse. At the end of the verse you will find John 14:1-3. Look in the large nandina shrub below John 14:1-3, and you will find the Law East of the Trinity, "Just Call Him Jess."
Please be sure to place back exactly as found. This cemetery is extremely well manicured and maintained.