Former sheriff honored

Henry Robertson was the guest of honor recently during a banquet fund-raiser for the Old Jail Museum. Robertson enjoyed the good-natured ribbing he received and humbly accepted the appreciation of those present. Shown (left to right) Mrs. Doug Johnson, former deputy Doug Johnson, Robertson, Sheriff Allen Hardin and mistress of ceremonies Jean Cate.


by Kathy Smith, Lifestyles Editor

Hood County News On-Line Edition July 6, 1999 

Former Hood County sheriff Henry Robertson helped the Hood County Museum, Inc. raise some much-needed funds and accepted a few good-natured jabs during a recent banquet honoring him.

Robertson was the last sheriff to work out of the old Hood County jail, serving from 1972 until 1980.

The historic old jail was closed in Nov. 1978 when a new law enforcement center was built. During his tenure in the old jail, Robertson was instrumental in upgrading the sheriff’s office with modern communications. He also centralized all county-based law enforcement offices in one building-the old jail.

During the banquet, mistress of ceremonies Jean Cate explained that many families lived in the old jail as their fathers served as sheriffs or jailers. Tink Harris lived in the old jail as a girl and left the jail to marry her husband, Frankie Harris.

“We married to get out of jail,” says Tink.

“Yeah, and I married her to keep out of jail,” laughed Frankie.

Several of Robertson’s deputies and friends rose to tell of (and tell on) Robertson, who took it all with a grain of salt-pausing once in awhile to tell them that they had, “…said enough!”

Former deputy Doug Johnson shared a couple of stories about Robertson. “His heart is just as big as he is,” stated Johnson.

Present Hood County deputy John Hurley relayed a story from his first year as an officer working for Robertson.

“Henry went with me to a house he had said had been “hit” at Long Creek,” remembered Hurley. “I thought it had been hit by a car!”

Hurley explained that once they arrived, Robertson eventually sent Hurley to the back of the house, while he went to the front. Hurley said he didn’t think the house was being burglarized because the men inside were being so loud with laughter and banging around.

Once Sheriff Robertson banged on the front door and said, “Open up, Hood County sheriff’s department,” the laughter stopped and Hurley pulled his weapon.

“They came running out the back door,” Hurley said, “and Henry came around and cuffed them.

“Then, he stood them up and circled the prisoners. All I could think of, seeing him circle them with a big chaw of tobacco in his mouth, was Jackie Gleason in “Smokey and the Bandit.

“Sure `nough, Henry said it-“You’re in my county now, boys!”

Other Robertson admirers who shared their memories included Hood County district attorney Richard Hattox, sheriff Allen Hardin, museum president Kenneth Hendricks, longtime friend Mary Kate Durham and sheriff’s deputy Jerry East.

Robertson shared some memories of his own memories and told the crowd of over 100 people, “It was a great honor to be sheriff of Hood County.”

Copyright © 1999, Hood County News and HCN Online Services.