Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sheriff Jesse Sunday

Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, Tribal Police

End of Watch Tuesday, September 21, 1897

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Sheriff Jesse Sunday

Sheriff Sunday,
On today, the 125th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the Cherokee Nation. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

September 21, 2022

Sheriff Sunday:
Thanks for your service to your people and the Cherokee Nation. So glad that so many of your ancestors appreciate and honor you. You lived at a time when peace officers often had to fend for themselves, without the vests, radios and medical expertise we enjoy today. You honor all of us.

Jim Lopey, Asst. Sheriff (Ret.)
Washoe County Sheriff (Ret.) and NVDPS

September 21, 2020

No passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 21, 2020

My name is Mary JoAnne Wilson Pratt. My grandparents were Dave and Nancy ( Dreadfulwater) Sunday. My mother was Eastella Sunday Stephens and Jesse Sunday her brother and my uncle which makes Lucille my cousin along with Alice, Mary and Marie. We used to visit our grandmother in Locust Grove, OK. Sheriff Dave Sunday was our great grandfather and his wife name was Alice (Hare) Sunday. I have a picture of them together I had gotten after my mother passed. Omar Morgan (cousin) wrote and article called the Saline Courthouse Massacre for the Chronicles of Oklahoma about Jesse Sunday and he circumstances around his murder. This article also includes Andrew J. Sunday (son of Sheriff Jesse Sunday) and Sampson Rogers. I also have a picture of them together. I also have that edition of the chronicles. Our cousin Omar Morgan researched this event and told of the dedication of Jesse Sunday which makes our family proud. We have a rich history due to our ancestors came to Oklahoma over the Trail of Tears.

Mary Pratt

July 9, 2020

My name is Lucille Sunday Poauty. My grandparents were David (Dave) , and. Nancy Dreadfulwater Sunday. My dad ' s Indian name was E'si. Given name was Jesse Sunday - Jess was the name he went by. My oldest sister's first name was Alice.and he had a daughter named Mary and has a
Marie Sunday. The Sheriff Jesse Sunday is related to my family.
Im very proud of him for being. a Law Enforcement Officer. Dad
told me about him years ago. Dad showed me a picture of Sheriff Jesse Sunday in a western magazine.

Lucille Sunday Poauty 03/29/20

March 29, 2020

Jess was my gggrandfather. When he died, his wife Alice moved in with their son Andy (my ggrandfather) and his wife to help raise my grandmother Mary. Mary married my granddad O.L. Morgan who spent a lot of time with Andy and wrote an account of these events in the Spring 1955 edition of the Chronicles of Oklahoma.
Alice is buried a few miles north of Jess in an unmarked grave on private property. It is difficult to find, but the spot is visible from the road.

On a side note, I intentionally left the "e" from Jess's name in honor of my dad who claimed that was the way Jess spelled it although the old records I've seen include the "e". Several years ago, I bought a commemorative brick for "Jesse Sunday" that was placed in the sidewalk in front of the old Cherokee courthouse. That's when my dad told me that the family said he didn't use the "e". Oh well.

John Morgan

John Morgan
great great grandson

January 1, 2020

Sheriff Sunday is my GGG grandfather. His daughter Katie married John Hart, they had Charley Hart, Charley fathered Jay C. Hart who fathered my dad, Gary Lynn Hart.

If anyone has additional info please contact me on

Valentine Barger

October 25, 2019

My GG Grandfather was Dave Ridge. The half brother of Jesse Sunday (GG Uncle)
and incoming Sheriff that was killed as well. Dave Ridge was married to Caroline Parris “Callie” (GG Aunt) together they had 5 children. He also fathered a son with Callie’s younger sister, Triphenia “Phenie” Parris, (GG Grandna) This Son, was my G Grandfather, John Ridge Bean . He was 4 when Dave Ridge was killed. His mother, Phenie, married Robert Bruce Bean Jr. (RB) Robert adopted my G grandfather and gave him his last name, Bean. Cherokee Rolls list him as John Ridge., 3/8 Cherokee by blood.

Callie Parris went on to marry Thomas Beavert, they had one child. Lucy

Dave Ridge and Jesse Sunday shared the same mother, Nellie Baldridge Jesse Sunday was 9 years older than his brother, Dave Ridge. They were burred together in the nearby cemetery. Such a tragic event for all involved. I read Callie’s Dawes Roll interview regarding tribal enrollment for her and her fatherless children. She was put through 9 kinds of hell during the process. Sunday was 44 and Ridge was 35. They will be remembered always

Mrs Rhonda McKay
GG Niece of Jesse Sunday GG Granddaughter of Dave Ridge

July 24, 2019

My name is Tona Mathis my grandmother was Louise Sunday daughter of David and Nancy Dreadfulwater Sunday. Some of my great uncles are Raymond Sunday,Joe Sunday,Laverne Sunday ,E'si Sunday. Most of whom are buried in Little rock Indian cemetery outside Locust with my grandmother. I have actual recorded family history if you would like to ever see it.

Tona Mathis
Great great grandson

June 6, 2019

Jesse Sunday, was my great grandfather, one of his daughters was Betsy Sunday, my grandmother; her mom and Jesse's wife was Alice Hair who only lived 4 yrs after his death; I think he was 44 when killed. The story above is correct as I know; he used to escort prisoners to Ft. Smith to hanging judge Parker, and was an interpreter when there. The BIA sent an agent and wagon to Alice's home and took the children from her, taking them to the orphanage....grandma never got over that as you might imagine and had strong feelings, she shared some with me when I was young.

Mark Downing

September 4, 2018

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:

I just visited Washington DC for the first time and at the National Memorial 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

May 16, 2018

Mark, this is Edward Steele Sunday Jr, age 79. I enjoyed reading your reflections. My grand-father was David Sunday (grand-mother was Nancy Dreadfulwater Sunday) and grandpa Dave may have been Jesse's brother. The Sundays lived East of Locust Grove on old hwy 33 just over the rise from Betsy Downing, whom I also remember and we are related to her...I called her Aunt Betsy. Anyhow...I am not into family history like some are, but I do find it interesting when I find it. I knew Dennis Downing. Fleeta, my wife of 61 years, and I met him when our daughter, Juli Sunday, was Miss Oklahoma sometime last millennium. I do have a cousin who is into the Sunday history and I can give you her email, if she says ok and you would like to have it. My email address is [email protected]

MSGT Ed Sunday Jr
Oklahoma Air National Guard

February 15, 2018

Adding a bit here from my first post above; Jesse and Alice had six children and after he was killed the "Indian Service" took those children away from Alice and put them in the Orphanage at that time, it was near lake Eucha as I recall. Later that orphanage burned down (the story I've been told was the men of the tribe burned it down on purpose so families could raise the kids, they signaled those inside so everyone would get out). One of those children taken from Alice was my paternal grandmother, Betsy Sunday Downing. She was put in a private home, I think their name was Duncan (I'll have to double check). From here it gets sketchy till marriage. Alice died about 4 yrs. after Jesse was killed I do not know from what cause. Jesse was also an interpreter being full blood Cherokee they were both fluent speakers. He sometimes took prisoners to Judge Parkers court in Ft. Smith, Ark. by train. All of Besty's children, Jesse's grandchildren from Betsy are now gone, as the oldest was Dennis Downing, Atty. who passed away this year (2016) at age 93. He was the last person who I knew who could tell me of some of these things as he lived many of them also.

Mark Downing GS 15-10 Retired Federal
Indian Health Service, Liaison Inspector General

December 9, 2016

I wrote the first reflection above, my name is Mark Downing, great grandson of Jesse Sunday and Alice Hair. Grandson of Joel Mayes Downing and Betsy Sunday and son of Leonard Downing and Wilma Crawford. I am very proud of his legacy and glad to see these tributes to those who gave their all for law and order.
I spent some time as a Liaison with the Office of Inspector General while in federal service with the Phoenix Branch, as I was an Indian Health Service employee during this time; both I'm very proud of serving for

Mark Downing Liaison with OIG
Retired from federal service

September 11, 2015

Jesse Sunday, above, was my great grandfather, one of his daughters, Betsy Sunday, was my grandmother on Dad's side of the family. The courthouse and store still stands east of Locust Grove, Oklahoma and is a state historic site.
I've been there and all around as when I was an Executive Director for the Cherokee Nation during Wilma Mankiller's term, we went to see what it would cost to refurbish or at least clean the place up; that was in the late 80s and others have done things for it since.

Reitred Tribal and Federal Employee,
Cherokee Nation/Creek N and Indian Health Service. Liaison with IG Ofc

August 19, 2014

Lois downing is my great,great, Grandmother who was Andy's daughter . I just learned this story and it seems pretty cool. I would love to look into it a bit more.

Mason Albert Wagner
Great great great great great grandson

August 18, 2014

He is my great great grandfather. His son, Andy Sunday, was my grandfather's father. I don't know much of my Sunday family history and just learned this story last night. I'm very excited to learn more.

Gayle Sunday Cardwell
Great Great Granddaughter

September 2, 2013

This is my great great great grandfather, I have heard the stories my whole life and had to show this to my children. Your family is very proud of you. I wish we could have known you.

Michelle Satten
Great Great Graet Grandaughter

January 16, 2013

Thank you for your service and for helping to make America a safer place.

Deputy Brian Jones
Boulder County Sheriff's Office, CO

November 24, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 112th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya


September 22, 2009

I hope that other members of the Tribal Police will look at this and remember you, unitl then, know that I was looking around this web site and your name came up. I wanted you to know that you were remember today for giving your life.

Good Bless as He continue to keep you safe in heaven.

Pat Van Den Berghe
Manchester, NH Neighbors for a Better Manchester

October 2, 2007

God Bless you Sheriff Sunday. You will never be forgotten and will be in my daily prayers. Thank you for your dedication and Service and sacrifice you made for the citizens
Kathi halligan, Phila PA wife and mom of LEO

kathi Halligan
Phila PA

June 25, 2006

God bless you, Sheriff Sunday, for your noble service. You are a hero and will always be remembered. Rest in heavenly peace.

Karl Gwynne

November 15, 2004

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