Sheriff W.F. Eatman
Term: 1894 - 1894
WILLIAM F. EATMAN
1868 - ?
Source: Reminiscent History Of The Ozark Region, pub. Goodspeed Brothers, Publishers, Chicago 1894
The county of Baxter, Arkansas, is very fortunate in her officials and is especially so as regards William F. Eatman, who is the efficient sheriff of Baxter County. He was born in Alabama, September 28, 1868, a son of Hon. Clem A. and Jane L. (Jordan) Eatman, both of whom were born in Greene County, Ala., the birth of the former occurring October 28, 1835, and their marriage in 1867. The paternal grandparents were Reddin and Sarah (Schamblee) Eatman, who were born, reared and married in the Old North State, and soon after the latter event (1835) removed to Greene County, Ala., where they engaged in farming, the grandfather's death occurring in 1852 and his wife's shortly after the war.
He was an active Democrat politically, a member of the Masonic fraternity, and while he was in sympathy with the Baptist Church, his wife was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian. Their son, Clem A. Eatman, was the eldest of their seven sons and one daughter, and although he attended school up to the time of his father's death, the management of the farm then fell upon his shoulders, and the duties of caring for the family occupied his time and attention until the opening of the Civil War. In 1864 he joined the Seventh Alabama Cavalry, with which he served until the war closed, being in Forrest's command. He continued to make his home in Alabama until 1868, when he came to what was then Marion County, Arkansas, but is now Baxter County. He gave valuable aid in the organization of this county, and although he came here as a farmer and followed that occupation until 1873, he has since filled various official positions with marked credit to himself.
In 1873 he was elected county and circuit clerk, a position he held for thirteen years, then served as deputy clerk for some time and when Sheriff Byler was killed, he was appointed to fill the vacant position, and upon the expiration of the term was elected to the position of county coroner. Politically a Democrat, he has ever done all in his power to further the interests of that party and has served his constituents faithfully and well and has always labored for the best interests of his section. He and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and in that faith have reared their two sons and three daughters: William F., the present sheriff of the county, is the eldest; Oscar A., is in business with A. A. Wolf as salesman; Fanny L.; Cora, and Dove. William F. Eatman was educated in the public schools of Mountain Home and at Mulberry, Franklin County, Arkansas, but left school at the age of nineteen years. His leisure time was spent in the clerk's office, which his father held so long, but after finishing his education he turned his attention to farming, and later to the dry goods business as salesman and bookkeeper for B. F. Bodenhammer [sic] and James Littlefield, six years in all, and was also for a time with Samuel Livingston as collector of taxes. In the election of 1892 he was a candidate for county clerk and came within eighteen votes of being elected. He was appointed sheriff and collector of Baxter County to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Livingston (deceased), and is now ably filling this position. Mr. Eatman is a member of Mountain Home Lodge No. 225 of the A. F. & A. M. He is vice-grand of Mystic Lodge No. 80 of the I. O. O. F., and belongs to Mountain Home Camp No. 10, I. O. O. F., in which he is high priest, and he also belongs to the K. of H., of which he is treasurer. Politically he is a Democrat, and in his religious views he is in sympathy with the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church, in which he is a deacon. In November, 1892, he was married to Miss Mattie Pemberton, of Versailles, Missouri.
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W.F. Eatman served as Sheriff at a time that our county was referred to as "Bloody Baxter," by The Mountain Echo.
Two men were being held in custody in the Baxter County jail, awaiting trial for the murder of Hunter Wilson.
A mob of approximately 150 men came to the jail and overpowered the jailer and the guards, took their guns and demanded the keys to the jail. The officers and citizens protested, but to no purpose.
The mob unlocked the jail and swung the doors back and began shooting into the jail. After about 20 shots they ceased firing. Finding that the men were not yet dead, they sent in another volley, this time with more deadly effect.
The men died protesting their innocence.