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Deputy Sheriff James Robert Godley | Anderson County Sheriff's Department, Texas Anderson County Sheriff's Department, Texas

Deputy Sheriff

James Robert Godley

Anderson County Sheriff's Department, Texas

End of Watch: Sunday, December 13, 1874

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 31

Tour: 1 day

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 12/12/1874

Weapon: Shotgun

Offender: Lynched

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Sheriff Ed Davis deputized and ordered James Robert Godley, a doctor by trade, and J. F. Henderson to arrest Bob Smith. Smith was wanted on a charge of bigamy. When the two deputies attempted to make the arrest, Smith using a shotgun, shot and mortally wounded Godley. Godley died the next day.

Bob Smith escaped in a hail of gunfire. He was arrested several weeks later. A poem, The Ballad of Bob Smith, by Lucius Dow Henderson, written in the middle 1950s, states that Bob Smith was lynched in his jail cell at Fosterville.

Dr. Godley was survived by his wife, Georgia, and four children. He is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave in the area of the former town of Fosterville, in northeastern Anderson County, Texas.

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Deputy Sheriff Godley,
On today, the 141st anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Anderson County.


United States Border Patrol
December 13, 2015


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