Lt. Ron Parsons contacted MySaline to let us know what he found out about the fallen Deputy of 1847.
The Saline County Sheriff Deputy killed in 1847 has been traced down and found to be Gilbert Byrd Burchfield. He was approximately age 34-35 years old at the time of his death. His was married. His wife’s name was Sara. They moved here in about 1842 from Alabama. He had 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. They lived in the Union Township which is north of Salem area around Hwy 298. We cannot find where he is buried. The three boys died in either the civil war or the typhoid outbreak in the early 1860’s. His wife remarried Samuel Pelton a little over a year after his death. Samuel Pelton died 5 years later. It appears he does not have any family left in Saline County.
Gilbert Burchfield is no longer forgotten. We as Deputy’s know of his death and how he died serving the citizens of Saline County. He will be noted as the first and we hope last Deputy killed in the line of duty in Saline County. I am submitting his name to be placed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall.
Lt. Ron Parsons
The article, as written:
THE NATIONAL WHIG.
Washington City, D.C. Thursday, Aug. 5, 1847.
Dreadful Affray — Three persons killed. —
We are informed, says the Little Rock (Ark.) Banner, that on the 15th ultimo, in attempting to serve a peace process, Deputy Sheriff Burchfield, of Saline county, was killed by the elder of two brothers named Allen, upon whom the writ was to be served. As the Allens had threatened that they would not be arrested, the sheriff summoned a posse, and, entering the house, attempted to execute the process, when one of the Allens, both of whom were armed, lowered his rifle and shot the sheriff through the body, killing him on the spot. Upon this, one of the posse, Mr. Low, drew a pistol and killed Allen, while the younger Allen fired upon Low, which was also fatal. Some one of the posse then shot the surviving Allen, the ball passing through his arm, shattering the bone, and into his breast. The wound in has case was not mortal, and he made his escape, but the officers of justice are in pursuit of him, and he will no doubt be overtaken. We have heard no other particulars of the affair. This is quite enough, we think.