Hometown Heroes: Sheriff Samuel Wilson Catron

End of watch: April 13, 2002

Today, our community looks back twenty years and mourns one of the greatest losses in recent memory. Those who knew him, those who worked with him, and those whom he earnestly served were jarred by his murder. Pulaski County, surrounding counties, & states, pulled together to honor the beloved Sheriff who was taken too soon. This week's Hometown Hero will always hold a special place in our memory. Rest in peace Sheriff Sam Catron - Unit 111.


Special thanks to Tricia Combs Neal for authoring the tribute for the Somerset City Cemetery, which she graciously allowed us to use as this week's Hometown Hero tribute.


"Twenty years ago today… Many of us remember it well, but now a generation has grown up with no memory of the day that Pulaski County stood still. The Somerset Cemetery is committed to keeping his memory alive.


Samuel Wilson Catron was a well known Sheriff of Pulaski County, working in law enforcement for a total of 28 years - with 17 of those as the Sheriff.


Sam was born May 11, 1953, one of four children of Harold and Jennie Rachel Morrow Catron.

Jennie Rachel was a descendant of the prominent Morrow family of Somerset - related to former Governor Edwin Porch Morrow and lawyer, judge, and Senator Thomas Z. Morrow. She was also related to former Governor William O. Bradley.

Harold Catron was the Chief of Police in Somerset when Sam was a youngster. In 1957, Harold was standing on the front porch of his home when bullets discharged by an individual in a passing vehicle struck him in the back.


Chief Catron survived the shooting, but bullet fragments near his heart dislodged several years later, causing his heart to stop in 1964.


Sam was only 11 years old when his father passed away.


In spite of witnessing the dangers of a law enforcement career, Sam decided to follow in his father's footsteps - first working with the City of Ferguson's Police Department and eventually joining the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department.


In the early evening hours of April 13, 2002, Sheriff Catron was struck by a bullet as he was walking to his cruiser during a fish fry in the community of Shopville.


He died at the scene, unfortunately in the presence of his mother, brother, and many members of the community.


Though the shooter attempted to flee, he was apprehended shortly after the incident.

In all, three men were charged in connection to his murder. One had been challenging him in the ongoing sheriff's race.


After a massively-attended funeral held at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, a long police-escorted procession down U.S. 27, a helicopter flyover, and an elaborate graveside service during which his casket was carried on a buggy led by horses, Sheriff Catron was buried in the Somerset Cemetery near his father and other family members.


His grave marker bears his badge number - 111.


Sheriff Sam Catron's grave is still one of the most visited, most asked about graves in the cemetery."


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