Cameron Police Officer George A. Richards
Date of Birth: September 19, 1879, Barton, Alabama
End of Watch: September 22, 1935
Burial: North Elm Cemetery, Buckholts, Texas
At 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 22, 1935, Cameron Police Officer George Archer Richards
was shot to death attempting to make an arrest in the street near the entrance of the
Raby Hill, owner of the café, surrendered to Sheriff R. M. Kennedy shortly after the
shooting and was placed in jail.
Officers said that Officer Richards witnessed a traffic violation by Erskine Hill,
brother of the café owner, and as the driver came to park at the curb near the front
entrance of the café, Officer Richards accosted him and an argument followed.
Officer Richards then, according to witnesses, placed Hill under arrest and was preparing
to take him to jail. Officer Richards is said to have grabbed Hill by the arm and a
Raby Hill saw the men near the curb and according to officers, came out and opened fire
on the officer.
Officer Richards fell dead instantly with five shots in his body. Three bullets were
removed from the body and one was found in his inside coat pocket, believed to have
entered the right side and emerged near the left breast. One bullet, believed to have
passed through his body penetrated two glass windows in Cheeves Brothers store a half
block away. In all there were eight wounds in the dead officer’s body.
Officer Richards, when hit, was believed to have died almost instantly. His body was
turned over and it was believed he was still breathing, but life was almost extinct.
Officer Richards carried a .38 Colt double action revolver. It was found in his open left
hand. Officers said a witness placed it there but with no intention to show it had been
used. It was said his revolver fell from his holster when the body was turned over. The
night watchman’s clock was found about six feet from his body.
Leland Green of the Green Funeral Home was called. He arrived and found Officer Richards
dead. He lay face upward a few feet from the curb, the head toward the center of the
street. In his open hand was a revolver, later identified as that of the dead officer.
Richards was right handed.
Sheriff Kennedy said Raby Hill called him to surrender. The Sheriff had been called to
the city’s edge to quell some kind of disturbance at a dance. Hill is said to have called
the jail residence of the sheriff and was told the officer had left for the designation
mentioned. Hill then called the number and according to Kennedy said, “I have killed
George Richards and want to surrender. The sheriff went to scene and arrested Hill.
Another news account mentions that Cameron City Marshal Gene Smith was called to the
scene and questioned witnesses. He reported that Erskine Hill had made a U-turn where a
U-turn was not permitted and that he parked incorrectly in front of his brother’s café.
Witnesses reported that Officer Richards and Raby Hill had had harsh words in the past.
Raby Hill was indicted and tried for the murder of Officer Richards. The state sought the
Hill was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Hill appealed and the Court of
Appeals reversed and remanded the case because the trial judge refused a motion for a new
trial over alleged jury misconduct.
Further research is needed to determine the deposition of Hill if there was a retrial.
Richards is described in the various accounts as the Fire Marshal, deputy city marshal,
officer, night watchman and night policeman. One account says he was the Cameron city
marshal for two years.
The death certificate reports Officer George Archer Richards was a married white male 58
years, 0 months, 3 days old at the time of his death. He is reported as being born on
September 19, 1879 in Barton, Alabama. His father is listed as Robert Richards of Alabama
and his mother as Mary Robinett of Alabama. However, the newspaper reports Officer
Richards was born in Bartow County, Georgia.
Officer Richards moved to Cameron 14 years earlier and he became deputy city marshal.
He was married to Miss Tillie Eanes on December 25, 1923. He was a member of San Andres
Lodge A. F. & A. M. and the Baptist church. The Masons gave him a Masonic burial. His
mother, Mrs. Mary Richards, 89, was always within his tender loving care, living in his
home. He and his mother had celebrated their birthdays together on September 19.
He is survived by his widow and two small daughters, Hazel Ruth and Georgia Lee. Two
brothers and seven sisters survive also, as follows: Mrs. M. W. Price, Mrs. Willie Fagg,
Mrs. Annie Weems, Cameron; Mrs. Fannie Collins, Oxford, Alabama; Mrs. W. B. Walden,
Liberty; Mrs. Lucy Clifton, Ben Arnold; Mrs. Mamie Fuller, Yarrellton; A. B. Richards of
North Elm and Virge Richards of Minerva.
Businesses in Cameron were suspended for one hour Monday, September 23 so people could
attend the services at the First Baptist Church.
Richards is buried in the North Elm Cemetery in Cameron, Milam County. Dr. William
Wilbanks located the grave site and reports that Richards is buried in an unmarked grave
next to his mother’s grave which is marked.