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

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

There was no need for the reward money any longer because they rounded up other Confederate war veterans and organized a “posse” for justice. It must be remembered that the sheriff had maybe one or two deputies at that time for the entire county, which also covered parts of what is now Okaloosa and Bay counties.

Cawthorn claimed justification as law enforcement was “scarce,” and hunting with the posse were also Morris’s bothers Samuel and Joseph Walden.

An account of the incident reads; “It was thought that the (Union) gang leader was aware he was a target but could not wait to get his crop in the ground, so he put on a dress and bonnet to plow his field, thinking to avoid detection. Each man of the ‘posse’ fired upon him so that no man could be accused of murder, and the matter was handled by means of frontier justice.”

No further information is known about the situation and the account faded into a yellow toned typed paper found in the Coastal Heritage Preservation archives located in the Coastal Branch Library .

A posse history is now being written by the “Walton Posse” and should be available in a few months.

Those who enjoy real wild frontier law will find it amazing how early Walton County and surrounding areas meted out justice. But you too can share in the rich history of the “Walton Posse“ and become part of its heritage. Call the Walton County Sheriff’s office at 1-850-892-8186 for information or email me at bayou@embarqmail.com and you’ll get the information.

What a wonderful legacy to leave behind for your family album and maybe someday hear your grandchildren say: “Papa was on the sheriff’s posse a long time ago!”

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