City Marshal Charles Powers

City Marshal Charles Powers

Wortham Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Monday, September 23, 1878

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Charles Powers

On Saturday, September 21, 1878, Frank Polk, who lived in the Pisgah Ridge community in Navarro County about eight miles northwest of Wortham, Freestone County, was arrested by Wortham City Marshal Charles Powers for a misdemeanor. Polk was a noted desperado who was friends with John Wesley Hardin. Polk was released on bond and stayed in town until Monday, September 23, 1878. Shortly before his trial he rode out of town. Marshal Powers and Constable Wingfield rode after him and arrested him. He was brought back to town and paid his fine. Polk left town but returned around 6:00 p.m. and rode back and forth in front of the store of Mayor W. M. Seely, who was also a Freestone County deputy sheriff. Polk dismounted with his Winchester rifle outside the store. Marshal Powers and an unnamed assistant city marshal approached Polk and told him to surrender his weapon. Seely then came out onto the street armed with a Winchester rifle. Polk started backing up with the lawmen following him. Suddenly Polk fired on Marshal Powers. Powers returned fire as he fell. The assistant city marshal shot Polk two times and Seely fired seven shots, hitting Polk three times. Both Powers and Polk died instantly.

Nothing is known about Marshal Charles Powers despite efforts by former Sheriff Sonny Sessions and the Freestone County Historical Society. No place of burial has been located.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; Winchester
  • Offender killed

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Most of society lives in a world that doesn’t recognize what gives them the comfort they live in. Because of you, and people like you, society can live that way.

You put the badge on to make the community a better place. You put the badge on for justice. You put the badge on to save life. You put the badge on for the principles it represents. The badges didn’t make you a hero, the badge was worn by a hero. To your family, and the generations that followed, thank you for your service. Be proud of this man.

The sorrow we share as a law enforcement family is enormous, but our love of your life is even greater.

Sergeant Christian Yanchula
Forensic Services
Indian River County Sheriff's Office

September 23, 2022

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