Sheriff John Sharp Crockett


Entered office: January 01, 1935 | Left office: December 31, 1936
Date of birth: April 25, 1895
Date of death: March 18, 1961 in Morton, Cochran County, Texas
Place of burial: Morton Memorial Cemetery, Morton, Cochran County, Texas


Sheriff John Sharp Crockett was born April 25, 1895. He and his wife, Ethel, and their children moved to Cochran County in 1931 to a 160 acre farm northwest of Morton; with they brought horses, mules, chickens, pigs and geese. When the family arrived there wasn’t a paved street in Morton and the town consisted of Cox's Mercantile Store, two gas stations, one feed store and a place to bring your cream and eggs. Crockett farmed from 1931-1935. In 1934, in spite of his wife's disapproval, Crockett ran for Cochran County Sheriff and was elected, taking office on January 01, 1935.
In late October 1936 Sheriff Crockett would be called to investigate the murder of Juanita Kelly, a local woman who had been reported missing. Her mutilated body was found buried in a field southwest of Morton. The gruesome murder and the investigation made headlines across the nation for nearly a week, and was a featured case in two detective magazines in 1937.
When his term expired he ran for re-election, his wife, Ethel, was so opposed to her husband running once again for sheriff that she voted against him in the election.
After losing the election Crockett and his family moved to Weed, New Mexico but returned to Morton a short time later in 1938. The following year the family moved to Roswell, New Mexico to help build an Army base. Later that same year they moved to Trinidad, Colorado. There Crockett helped build a prison camp used to hold Japanese people during the war with Japan.
The Crockett family returned to Morton in 1942 and opened the The Busy Bee Tavern, which he ran until the county was voted dry. Later in 1942 Crockett bought the City Cafe on the north side of the square where they became known for the best steak in West Texas. Crockett drove to Clovis, New Mexico once a week to pick up half of a beef for the cafe.
Sheriff J. S. Crockett died on March 18, 1961 from a heart attack at the age of 65.



Source: Texas Sesquicentennial Texas' Last Frontier Cochran County 1836-1986 Volume 1. Copyright Cochran County Historical Commission; written by Mildred Jackson circa 1985. Adapted by Mary Helen McKnight 2016


The Busy Bee Tavern, owned by J. S. Crockett


Image of J. S. Crockett and image of Busy Bee Tavern above: courtesy Texas' Last Frontier Historical Museum
Image below of Busy Bee Tavern courtesy Ronnie Warton, used with permission



Another view of the Busy Bee Tavern (from Ronnie Warton)

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