Commemoration ceremony for Washington County Constable Samuel Herrington’s was held on recently discovered and restored gravesite
Relatives and law enforcement officials traveled on Wednesday, Oct. 4 to a remote area of Jefferson County to a recently discovered grave to honor an officer killed in the line of duty 146 years ago. Relatives of Washington County Constable Samuel T. Herrington traveled from as far as North Carolina to join the sheriffs of Jefferson and Washington counties, the director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety and more than 100 others for the ceremony honoring their ancestor.
Herrington died at age 32 on Oct. 4, 1871, leaving behind a wife and three young sons. His death is among the 30 earliest Missouri law enforcement line-of-duty deaths commemorated on Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial in Jefferson City. Herrington is also honored on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. But the exact location of Herrington’s grave was a mystery until May, when it was discovered by historical grave hunter Tim Ogle. Ogle is a member of three historical organizations — the Jefferson County Heritage and Historical Society, the Franklin County Cemetery Society and the O’Fallon, Ill. Historical Society.
Ogle restored the gravestone, which had broken into three pieces and was discovered buried under several inches of soil on property owned by the Hellenic-American Progressive League in a remote rural area of Jefferson County, near Cedar Hill. Together, Ogle and league members restored the old cemetery site and cleared brush to allow access to vehicles for today’s ceremony, which was attended by many family members, law enforcement officers and local history buffs.
“We can’t thank Tim Ogle for the hard work that he did finding and restoring Deputy Constable Herrington’s grave and making this event possible for Herrington’s descendants,” Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said. “It’s important that we remember every fallen law enforcement officer and honor each of their families. That’s why it was an honor to be with the family.”
“Samuel Herrington risked and lost his life in an effort to protect his fellow citizens and bring law-breakers to justice,” Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak said. “It was an honor to be with the family and take part in today’s ceremony.”
“Today, we make a vow to support the families of our fallen comrades and never forget the contributions they made to raising the level of public safety,” Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said. “I think it’s essential that Samuel Herrington not be forgotten.”
Some of Herrington’s descendants still live in Washington County and were at the ceremony, along with others who trekked from North Carolina for the ceremony.
Nancy Harrington-Patterson, who is Herrington’s great-great-granddaughter and lives in Washington County, said, “We thank everyone, starting with Tim Ogle and the Hellenic Society, who worked so hard to help tell this story and recognize and honor our ancestor, Constable Samuel T. Herrington.”
Her brother, Mark Harrington of St. Francois County, said, “Thank you, also, to Gov. Greitens for recognizing Constable Herrington and for proclaiming today as Constable Samuel T. Herrington Day.”
According to the records of the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial, Herrington was stabbed to death as he responded to reports of a brawl in a saloon in Irondale, in Washington County.
The ceremony included the presentation of colors by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, an unveiling of the restored headstone, a presentation of grave medallions from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri Fraternal Order of Police and Missouri Department of Public Safety, a 21-gun salute, taps and a proclamation from Gov. Eric Greitens, who proclaimed Oct. 4 as Constable Samuel T. Herrington Day.
The proclamation read in part, “it is fitting and proper that we express our gratitude for the dedicated service and courageous deeds of Constable Herrington for the contributions he made to the security and well-being of the people that he served.”