Hometown Heroes: Constable William F. Heath & Magistrate Andrew Jackson Beatty

Updated: Apr 22

End of watch: 1911

"Constable William Heath and Justice of the Peace Andrew Beatty were shot and killed while waiting to serve warrants for liquor violations on two suspects at the county courthouse.
Two men were arrested and convicted of two counts of murder. One was executed in the electric chair on November 22, 1912. The other was sentenced to life; he was paroled on November 24, 1926.
Constable Heath had been appointed to the position of District 6 constable only five months earlier."

--Officer Down Memorial Page


William Floyd Heath

William “Bill” Heath was born in August 1864 in Pulaski County. He and his wife had at least four sons and two daughters.


Before becoming a Pulaski County constable, Heath worked in the coal mines and rented a house in Fentress County, Tennessee.


The death record submitted on July 16 states, “Death instantaneously. Gunshot wounds by two men while he was waiting for a warrant for their arrest.”


Heath was buried in Tateville. His wife, Mary, moved to Cincinnati shortly after her husband’s death and lived until 1934; she was buried in Hamilton County, Ohio.


Bill Heath was 46 when he was killed.


Andrew Jackson (A.J.) Beatty

Andrew Jackson Beatty was born in Fentress County, Tennessee, on Christmas day in 1865. In 1910 he and his wife had four sons and one daughter and were paying a mortgage on a house in Parkers Lake, which was then considered the southern part of Pulaski County. Beatty also had an office in Burnside where he took care of his duties as Justice of the Peace (the position title was also known as magistrate). A few years later, McCreary would become a Kentucky county and would take Parkers Lake into its land area.


Beatty’s death certificate reads the same as Constable Heath’s, “Death instantaneously. Gunshot wounds by two men while he was waiting for a warrant for their arrest”.


Beatty’s wife, Caldonia Barton Beatty, acted as the Postmaster in Parkers Lake while her husband held the office of Justice of the Peace. Mrs. Beatty continued to hold the Postmaster position after her husband’s death. Sometime before the 1940 census, she moved to Floyd County with her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren, where she worked as an elementary school teacher. She died in 1961 in Floyd County but was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in McCreary County, next to her husband.


For the full story of how Constable Heath and Justice (magistrate) Beatty were killed, see the April 2022 edition of Hometown Murders & Mysteries, “A Tiger by the Tail.” Scheduled to be released on April 12, 2022.



Honorable Mention

The Officer Down Memorial Page (odmp.org) had Deputy Jesse Andrew "Andy" Downs listed as a Pulaski County Sheriff's Deputy but from the information we found, he was actually a Whitley County Deputy. The memorial wall at DOCJT in Richmond, Kentucky has him listed as a McCreary County Deputy. Deputy Downs was shot on July 4, 1907, while he was attempting to arrest J.C. Thompson for running an illegal drinking establishment in Stearns. At that time, Stearns was part of Whitley County. The lands north of sterns, Parkers Lake, Greenwood, etc. were part of Pulaski. As the lines were drawn back then, he would have been in Whitley County, but today he would have been in McCreary County. He was a deputy, but we can find no evidence that he was a Pulaski County deputy.


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