Sheriff Jesse Sunday

Sheriff Jesse Sunday

Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, Tribal Police

End of Watch Tuesday, September 21, 1897

Jesse Sunday

Sheriff Jesse Sunday succumbed to gunshot wounds received the previous day in the town of Rose, Oklahoma, while attempting to question a man wanted for the murder of a store owner and the Sheriff-elect.

The suspect was taken into custody and convicted of Sheriff Sunday's murder.

The man was originally sentenced to death but the sentence was later commuted to 10 years in prison. He escaped from prison three months later and joined the Army. All charges against him were dropped after he joined the Army.

Sheriff Sunday was sheriff of the Saline District of Cherokee Nation Indian Territory. He was survived by his wife and six children.

Bio

  • Age 44
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Oklahoma
  • Incident Date Monday, September 20, 1897
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentence commuted

Most Recent Reflection

View all 13 Reflections

Jesse Sunday was my great-great-grandfather, through his son Andy Sunday. My grandmother was Andy Sunday's oldest child, Mary Sunday.
She often talked about the tragedy, and had Jesse Sunday's notebook, written in Cherokee and stained with his blood (and unfortunately lost in a tornado.)

I cannot imagine how terrible this murder was for the family – Alice Hair was left a widow, at a time when Social Security and other help that we take for granted was not available.
In addition, Jesse Sunday's half-brother Dave Ridge (the incoming sheriff) was murdered at the same time, in a different incident.
So there was another family left devastated and on their own.

You can read about the Saline Courthouse Massacre here:
https://cdm17279.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p17279coll4/id/21327/rec/2

I just visited Washington DC for the first time and at the National Memorial Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (https://washington.org/find-dc-listings/national-law-enforcement-officers-memorial) I was able to find Jesse Sunday's name inscribed there. It is a fitting tribute for slain law enforcement officers.
RIP, Jesse Sunday.

Mary Ann Hanada
Great-great-granddaughter

May 16, 2018

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