This year marks the anniversaries of two tragic events in Barton County, and historians say it is a good reminder of the role law enforcement plays in our communities.
In May 1919, Jay Lynch shot and killed Barton County Sheriff John Harlow and his son, Richard. Lynch shot the two men as he escaped from jail after being arrested for alleged robbery of a train. Lynch was the subject of a nation-wide manhunt following the murder. In August 1944, Sheriff Roy Patterson and his son Sammie were shot and killed west of Lamar by three men wanted for robbing a gas station in Jasper. Historian Joe Davis says while these are interesting parts of the Barton County story, they serve as a sobering reminder of the dangers officers and deputies face every day.
“It’s sad to say, but it takes episodes like this to realize that life is short, and these guys, every time they come up to somebody’s window, it could be their last time,” Davis says.
The Barton County Historical Society Museum has more information on both John Harlow and Roy Patterson. They are located at the Barton County Courthouse in Lamar.