Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 These words spoken by Jesus over two thousand years ago are as true today as the lives of fallen officers in Newton County were honored.
On Friday, December 28, 2018, on the Newton County court- house square, families, friends, and community members gathered to give honor to those who have died in the line of duty in Newton County. Sheriff Billy Rowles hosted the dedication. Sheriff David Cicero Humphreys, Deputy Joseph Obie Talley, and night watchman for the city of Newton, Charles Gibson’s names were chiseled in granite and placed outside the Newton County Sheriff’s office to pay tribute to their lives and the sacrifices they gave in service to the citizens of Newton County. Joe Dan Talley, nephew of Joseph Obie Talley bought the monument realizing the men’s lives needed to be remembered. Sheriff Humphreys died in 1932 at the age of 45. Deputy Joseph Obie Talley died at the age of 34 in 1929 and night watchman Charles Gibson died at the age of 52 in 1940.
The ceremony held was both honorable and somber as families reminisced about those lost and the sacrifices that were made. Granddaughter of Sheriff Humphreys, Nancy Rawls spoke at the service and reminded the crowd of the tremendous sacrifice given by the women the officers left behind, wives that had children to raise and now without their spouses. She com- mended her grandmother and the other wives that were faced with such a daunting task in times that were very difficult. As the other family representatives spoke they too remembered the tremendous strength of the women that carried on for the sake of their families. There was truly a sense of gratitude felt by all who attended the dedication.
Each of the men’s stories is captured in the Sheriff’s office foyer inside a beautiful cabinet built by Robert and Christye Holloway. Thanks to all who worked so hard to create such a special tribute to these men and their families. Sheriff Billy Rowles encourages community members to come by his office and see the monument and the fallen officer’s display. For more family images see page 8 of this issue.