Sheriff Robert Eli Martin

Sheriff Robert Eli Martin

Hansford County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Thursday, January 26, 1911

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Robert Eli Martin

Sheriff Martin was shot and killed as he and a U.S. Deputy Marshal went to the suspects ranch to ensure he was moving out as he had been ordered to do by the court. As they entered the property Sheriff Martin called the suspect out. The suspect ran into barn and Sheriff Martin gave chase. When Sheriff Martin entered the barn he was shot and killed by the suspect. The suspect was arrest and convicted of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison, but escaped after serving five years. He returned to his home where he was later shot and killed by officers.

Sheriff Martin's son, Clarence Martin, later went on to become the police chief of the Las Animas, Colorado, Police Department. On April 20, 1947, Chief Martin was killed after being punched in the chest when he responded to a fight at a local bar.


  • Age 42
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed after escaping prison

Most Recent Reflection

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Here is an excerpt from our family history:
Robert was a very caring person. When he was Sheriff of Hansford Co. Texas he refused to put prisoners in the makeshift cells dug in the sides of the basement of the courthouse. He, instead would handcuff the prisoners to him and they ate , slept etc with Sheriff Martin till trial. The man who killed him had been cuffed to Martin several times before killing the Sheriff. When on the trail if there were prisoners he would tell them he would untie them so they could sleep better if they promised not to run away. He was a very trusting man.
Everyone in the community really like Sheriff Martin. The "old Timers" say the will never forget him and the tragedy of his murder.

Amera Wild

January 10, 2015

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