The Murder of John M. Cantrell
Submitted by: Tom Cantrell
The only Murray County Lawman to Die in the line of Duty. Here are two articles with respect to John M Cantrell who is buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in Sulphur. To my knowledge, he is the only lawman to be killed in the line of duty in Murray County.
SULPHUR TIMES DEMOCRAT
1 Sep 1930
Funeral services for John Mathew Cantrell, deputy sheriff of Murray county who died Wednesday, August 27, were held in the Calvary Baptist church, Sunday at 2:30 p.m., August 31. The church, beautifully decorated, was filled to overflowing as evidence of the esteem in which he was held by his many friends here. Rev. O.C. Cooper was in charge of the services, which were under the direction of the Masonic Lodge here, of which Cantrell was a member. Mr. Cantrell was a pioneer resident of Sulphur, and was well liked here. He had worked here as a farmer, and in the transfer business. He was a city peace officer before becoming a deputy sheriff, an office which he had occupied about twenty months at the time of his death. He was born September 15, 1884 in Hope, Arkansas, and died August 27, at the age of forty six. He is survived by his wife, Lottie Cantrell; three children, Emit, age 14, Leo, age 12, and Joyce Nell, age 9; a daughter, Mrs. Orville Smith of Glendale, Arizona; a sister, Mrs. Bell Robins of Ozan, Arkansas; and his brother, Marshall Cantrell of Sulphur. Mr. Cantrell was a Mason, and member of the Calvary Baptist church. Pall bearers were Rex Chaney, Bob Green, W. L. Tuck, Ira Potes, Boss Tillerey, and Clyde Parker. Arrangements were in charge of A. G. Dunn Funeral Home, with interment in Oaklawn cemetery.
THE DAVIS NEWS
28 Aug 1930
J. M. Cantrell, deputy sheriff of Murray County, was shot and killed last evening about 7 o'clock a a point 3 miles east of Davis. Search for his assailant was pushed through the night by officers and posses of this and adjoining counties but he was not apprehended.
Having seen a car containing a man and woman parked for a considerable time on the Sunshine road about 100 yards off the Davis-Sulphur highway, Deputies W. L. Tuck and Cantrell and the latter's two young sons went to investigate. As the officers' car stopped and Cantrell was getting out, without a word the man in the parked car opened fire with a shotgun, striking Cantrell in the left breast, killing him instantly. Tuck then drew his revolver and emptied it at the assassin, and made three holes in the body of the car where the man was sitting and is believed to have wounded him. The man dodged around the car and made his escape through a field.
Many stories of the killing have been told, but this seems to be the most accurate.
The woman was taken to Sulphur where she is being held in jail. She gave the man's name as J.W. Scott and said he lived in Kansas City. It is said she has told many conflicting stories and probably the true story has not been told.
After scouring the county for the fleeing murderer without avail, blood hounds from the penitentiary at McAlester were secured this morning. They are said to have taken up the scent and followed it across the field where it was lost.
Traces of blood were found at points across the field, and it is believed the assassin is badly wounded.
Mr. Cantrell was a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Potes and was a faithful and efficient officer. He was well liked and stood high in official circles. He was about 45 years of age and leaves a wife and three children. His wife is a sister of Jesse Ramsey of Davis former mail carrier between Davis and Hennepin.
Officer Cantrell was shot down in cold blood without a chance. The citizens of the whole county deplore the dastardly deed. Sheriff Potes, assisted by officers and posses, is leaving nothing undone to locate and capture Mr. Cantrell's assign and bring him to justice.
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