According to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy James R. Stewart who was the first Baldwin Deputy Sheriff on record to be killed in the line of duty on April 11, 1895, will be honored by having his name placed on the National Police Officers Memorial Wall on May 13, 2014.
A few years ago, Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack became aware of Deputy James R. Stewart possibly having been killed while attempting to arrest the infamous train robber “Railroad Bill” in Baldwin County. Several local historians provided information which was confirmed through additional sources.
Once the information was gathered, it was submitted to the National Police Officers Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. for confirmation and acceptance.
While some circumstances remain unclear, the basis of the story which was deemed credible is as follows:
On April 11, 1895, Deputy James R. Stewart, with other deputized individuals, went to an area between Hurricane Bayou and the Crossroads community near the railroad in Baldwin County (just off what is now State Hwy 225). They were acting upon information that the individual identified as “Railroad Bill”, a local train robber, had been seen in the area. While confronting “Railroad Bill”, sometime after dark, who was holding up in a barn, several gun shots was exchanged. “Railroad Bill” escaped the area. Soon after, Deputy James R. Stewart was discovered lying next to a tree having succumbed to one gunshot wound to his chest.
For several months “Railroad Bill” eluded capture and during that time he also murdered the Sheriff of Escambia County, Alabama. In March of 1896, having been recognized by a local general store owner in Atmore, Alabama, where he frequented often; “Railroad Bill” was shot and killed by two men who lay in wait for his return.
Sheriff Mack is honored by having been able to validate this information and add Deputy Stewart’s name to the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
Contact Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack for any questions for more information @ firstname.lastname@example.org