|Death: ||Apr. 5, 1898|
The following story appeared in the Florida Times-Union and Citizen Jacksonville newspaper on Wednesday, April 6, 1898.
Macclenny, the County seat of Baker County, was the scene last night of two shooting affairs. One growing out of the other and resulting in the killing of Sheriff J. E. W. Driggers by F. J. Pons, former sheriff of the county.(Charlie Pons was the sheriff just before Driggers according to records and had a brother Francis Joseph Pons, Jr. They were the sons of the late Francis Pons, Florida State Treasurer.)
Henry Sweat seriously wounded but did not kill a nergo Lewis Davis with a GSW. The incident occurred in his father's store. The altercation had to do with the fact that Davis had not paid his bill, and the owner of the store, Mr.James Sweat, got mad about it. Davis said he would pay it but the store owner called him a "liar" and cursed him. At this point, Henry Sweat, the store-owner's son, got a gun and shot at the nergo 3 times hitting him once in his side. The nergo was unarmed. The doctor was called to probe the wound and said Davis should live.
Sheriff Driggers was called to the store to investigate the situation.
State Attorney Hartridge and Judge Call went the store and commanded Sheriff Driggers arrest Henry Sweat, which he did and locked Sweat in jail. At 10:30 that night the State Attorney received a phone call saying Former Sheriff Pons had shot Sheriff Driggers. The community was upset that Sweat had been arrested and called Pons to help, and this lead to an altercation by the Sheriff and Pons.
On April 10, 1898 the following story page 5: The Coroners Jury in the Sheriff Driggers case at Macclenny returned a verdict yesterday. The Sheriff Driggers came to his death from a pistol wound inflected by F. J. Pons and Pons was guilty of murder in the second degree. In the preliminary hearing Pons waved examination and he was placed under $2,000 bond for appearance at the next term of Circuit Court.
On October 18, 1898 Henry Sweat was found not Guilty to a charge of Assault with the Intent to Murder Lewis Davis. Lewis Davis, who recovered from the serious GSW, was found guilty on October 19 of Aggravated Assault and fined $100 or 6 months in jail. The store owner James Sweat was arrest and charged with Assault with the Intent to Murder Lewis Davis. He was found not guilty.
Sheriff Driggers left his wife Annie Driggers, his mother the widow Caroline Driggers, and several brothers and sisters to mourn his passing. With the experience of being sheriff twice before, Urban Cooper Herndon became sheriff after this incident. There is nothing written in the sheriff's daily report book about this incident.
Aaron Driggers (1841 - 1894)
Caroline Carter Driggers (1846 - 1898)
South Prong Cemetery
Created by: Linda Davis
Record added: Jan 16, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 46758799
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On Judgment Day when at the Pearly Gates you'll hear the Voice saying: "Welcome, lawman, You've time on earth is through, you've borne your burdens well and just kept the Peace. Take my hand. Come walk a beat on my Golden streets, You've done your time in...(Read more)|
Added: Jan. 16, 2010