Walton County ‘Sheriff’s posse’ has a long frontier history

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM.

The Walton County sheriff’s posse, which has been revitalized under Sheriff Mike Adkinson almost two years ago, had  been dormant  through the years of other administrations. It is now active and still seeking members to top-off its 24-member contingent.

One can often see the police presence in Walton County with their cars on the road and deputies on foot at various functions. There are two sections of the posse. Some are trained posse members who are active in the field, while others are “volunteer citizens” who donate their expertise to the department in administrative duties.

The word  “posse“ for Walton County was first recorded in an account of citizens forming a posse to hunt down the leader of a “bunch of scalawags.” Scallywags was the term given by Confederate sympathizers to those individuals who remained loyal to the Unionist cause.

The recorded account of this formed “posse” took place in 1865, when William Cawthorn wrote letters revealing the account of his son-in–law Morris Walden. Two of Cawthorn’s sons, William and Joseph, were incarcerated in a Union prisoner of war camp after being captured in an unknown battle. Morris with his wife and children lived near the Shoal River.

One evening in 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, two men rode up to the cabin and called Morris outside. Hot muzzle loaded gunfire ripped into the young man’s body as his family watched from the door. The bandits then stole the livestock and meats from the smokehouse.

The family posted a $500 reward for the killers but nothing was revealed to them or to the Walton Sheriff John Campbell.

The two sons were released at the end of the war in 1865. They literally almost had to walk back to Walton County from the northern prison camp. Once the sons did make it home they did their own investigating and found out the killers’ names.

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