Constable E. R. Todd

Constable E. R. Todd

Marion County Constable's Office - Precinct 4, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, February 10, 1940

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E. R. Todd

E. R. Todd was the Constable of Precinct 4 in Marion County. He lived in a community variously described as Log Cabin, Smithland and Whatleyville east of Jefferson, the county seat.

Clyde Whatley, an oil field worker, agreed to take a married woman to visit one of her sick relatives. Constable E. R. Todd tried to discourage the woman from taking the trip with Whatley. Whatley and the woman knew that her husband was upset by the trip, but they went anyway. Upon their return, Whatley stayed away from the husband.

On Saturday, February 10, 1940, Whatley, armed with a gun, went to the neighborhood store and asked the husband to step outside. Whatley contended he had a friendly conversation with the husband. While they were talking, the constable walked up to where they were. Whatley alleged he acted in self defense because Todd drew his pistol first and Whatley believed Todd was going to kill him. The husband's newspaper account reported that Whatley drew his gun and shot Constable Todd through the sleeve. The next shot hit the constable in the back, and as he fell, the constable tried to draw his own gun. After firing two more shots at the constable, Whatley drove away. The court record shows that Constable Todd had his pistol in a loose scabbard under his shirt. After the shooting the pistol, still in the scabbard, was lying near the constable’s hand.

Constable Todd knew Whatley and the husband and wife, and the constable knew the husband was upset over Whatley taking his wife on a road trip without his permission. The constable had warned the woman not to go. When the constable saw Whatley and the husband together, he had to have concluded that trouble was brewing. Whatley's own testimony was that he stayed away from the husband because he knew he was angry. Whatley took a pistol with him when he went to confront the husband. Whatley alleged self defense, but the court record reports Todd’s pistol was still in his holster when he was killed.

Clyde Whatley was convicted of murder without malice and assessed 5-years in the penitentiary. He appealed over being denied bail and the case was reversed and remanded for a second trial. Whatley agreed to plead guilty and was assessed a 2-year sentence in the penitentiary.

E. R. Todd was born on September 25, 1896 and was 43 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, Gertrude. He did not have any children. He was buried in the Shiloh Cemetery in Cass County.


  • Age 43
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender sentenced to 2 years in prison

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Constable Todd,
On today, the 80th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Marion County.


United States Border Patrol

February 10, 2020

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