What Brown County sheriff was awarded a medal from the NAACP for turning back a lynching party arriving from another county?
What sheriff known for always “getting his man” followed a suspect who stole a sack of flour from a grocery store, but refused to arrest him when he saw that the man’s children were so hungry they ate the flour raw?
Who was elected Brown County sheriff even after he killed another sheriff in a shootout, and was later killed by a schoolteacher to avenge the death of the former sheriff?
The answers to these and other questions — along with a multitude of facts and historical information — can be found at the “History of Brown County Peace Officers” exhibit at the Brown County Museum of History.
For example, the exhibit documents how the popularity of telephones in Brownwood homes in the first part of the 20th century drastically improved the ability of city police to respond to complaints, and the availability of two-way radios enhanced response time even more.
Museum officials hope to continue to expand the exhibit.
“We feel we’re a little short on items related to the Texas Rangers,” museum Director Wanda Furgason said Thursday. “If anyone has something related to the history of the Rangers in Brown County who would like to loan it to the museum, we would like to know.
“The Rangers have been extremely important to local law enforcement through the years, from protecting settlers against Indian attacks to investigating major cases. We had some pretty violent range wars here.”
The law enforcement exhibit has an appropriate home on the first floor of the historic museum building, inside the former county jail at the corner of North Center and North Broadway near the Brown County Courthouse.
County sheriffs and their families lived on the jail’s first floor while they served their terms in office. The old jail opened in 1903, after 18 months of construction, and it was vacated after a new jail was occupied in 1981.
The museum, which includes the old jail as well as the annex across the street, is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $3.
In two weeks, the museum will celebrate Women’s History Month with a program featuring four speakers.
The event will focus on the history of women’s clubs in Brown County and the impact of their service to the area. Featured speakers are Dr. Julie Welker on the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Robin Wheeler on Girl Scouting, Suzanne Prosise on the Women’s Club of Brownwood, and Betty Evans on the Christian Women’s Job Corps.
The program will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at the main building of the museum across from the Old Jail. Admission for this program is $5 per person.
For those unable to visit the Museum of History, the answers to the questions at the beginning of this article can be found on the blog of the museum’s website, www.browncountymuseum.org.