Carl Clinton Black
#35 - Sheriff Carl Clinton Black was born in Milam County in 1899. He was the eldest boy
of six children.
He was elected on November 7, 1944; re-elected on November 5, 1946, November 2, 1948,
November 7, 1950, November 4, 1952, November 2, 1954, November 6, 1956, November 3,
1960, November 3, 1964, November 5, 1968, November 7, 1972 and served until January 1,
Sheriff Black served a total of thirty two years as Milam County Sheriff. His tenure is
the longest in Milam County History. He is the first Sheriff ever to serve a four year
He is also one of the few sheriff’s in Texas’ history who have served longer than thirty
Black began his law enforcement career as a special deputy during Sheriff L.L.
Blaylock’s second term. His job was to help keep the peace in the Jones Prairie
community. He agreed to take on the special deputyship only if it wouldn’t interfere
with his farming.
Later, of course, farming would take the back seat to his job as a lawman.
Prior to becoming sheriff, he served under Sheriff Valter T. White and Sheriff Sarah
White as deputy.
One of the more exciting and horrifying events of his administration occurred when four
wild and violent boys from Buckholts, Texas were captured after a wild chase by Sheriff
Black. One of the boys was from California, one from Buckholts, one from Oklahoma and
one was an immigrant from another country. They had met in Beaumont, Texas at a carnival
that was being held there. After they first met, they robbed the Weid’s Hardware store
in Cameron, Texas. Next, they managed to steal a car north of Buckholts. The four boys
went on to Oklahoma. There, they tied up an man and his wife . They stole their car. In
Buckholts, they had burned Mr. Lewis’ place. The boys then carried Mr. and Mrs. Lewis to
the river bottom. On December 9, 1963, Sheriff Carl Black stayed up all night searching
for these four violent boys. The following Monday around twelve noon, the four boys were
caught by Sheriff Black. A Mexican man had reported seeing them enter a house.
Before Black had managed to catch the boys, they had killed one man in Yorktown,
Alabama. The man and wife had been to a Christmas party that night. They shot the man
and threw him into a well. Then they threw his wife in on top of her dead husband. She
was still alive but she had cut her leg.
Black turned the boys over to the officers of Alabama. The four boys were given the
death penalty in Montgomery, Alabama. It was repealed several times. The boys are now
serving a life sentence in an Alabama prison.
Carl Black favors the electric chair and the gas chamber. He is definitely against doing
away with both methods. He felt that before too long, both would be done away with
completely. Sheriff Carl Black thought that if the electric chair is done away with,
that crime rates will increase. The electric chair was a good method to use because it
scared a lot of people from committing crime.
Since 1945, Sheriff Carl Black has served under many District Judges. He served under
Judges Graham Gillis, O. L. Kidd, John Watson and many others.
Black also had a reputation as a friend to the troubled, which is not found among many
Sheriffs. He is also the probation officer and juvenile officer.
As a citizen of Cameron, he is the chief of the Cameron Volunteer Fire Department. At
the age of seventy, he is still not able to turn in his badge.
The restless and hard-working Sheriff is going to run again for re-election in 1972.
Black will stay on the job as long as the people want him to stay, and as long as his
legs will manage to hold him up. This man works twenty-four hours a day. He serves more
official papers than either of his deputies, Vernie Miller and James Mortimer.
He cared for all his prisoner’s needs.
He has seen many changes take place during his time. One of Black’s longtime deputies,
Earl Beathard, still resides in the Griffin Chapel community. Earl’s son Johnnie “Jay”
Beathard followed in his father’s footsteps and currently serves as a criminal
investigator with the Milam County Sheriff’s office. Deputy Jay Beathard remembers
Sheriff Black from his many trips to the Sheriff’s office with his father.
Sheriff Black died in 1989 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Cameron, Texas.