During a recent visit to Pauls Valley's library for research on my Albert Rennie biography project, I discovered in the manuscript files a rather extensive collection of clippings and such on Claude Swinney, Garvin County Sheriff for a period that exceeded thirty years. My father, David Alexander Rennie, was his undersheriff for a time in the mid-thirties.
Has anything of substance been written about Sheriff Swinney's administration of the law in Garvin County? As I recall the clippings in the file, there was at least one rather sensational murder case during his term of office. Perhaps that period would make a good history book . . . at least a lengthy essay . . .
Lexington (the cultural center of the universe), Oklahoma
David A Rennie
I have heard of him, but which sensential murder case are you speaking of? This would help to possibly pin-point if someone has already written about the case or not.
Dear Mr. Koch,
Thanks for responding. I'm sorry but I do not recall the name(s) associated with the particularly newsworthy case. I'll have to return to the PV Library soon and I'll look it up.
Actually, my inquiry was more of a general nature regarding writings about the rather lengthy term of sheriff Swinney's administration which exceeded thirty years. Surely that long a period in an elective office is noteworthy; especially in such a risky profession.
David A Rennie
Claud B. Swinney arrived at Cherokee Town at the age of 9 in 1889. He was Garvin County Sheriff from 1914 to 1957. In addition, he was a county oil field deputy, deputy U. S. Marshal, and Chief of Police. The articles referred to were both a bit outside the time line for this board. The first was a discussion of the killing of Bill Paul and Lon Pearson, two of Swinney's deputies in 1947 in a 1990 article for the Oklahoma State Trooper by the late Glenn Shirley. The entire story can be seen on the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial website. The second was the man hunt for Elmer Lee Haggard for the killing of John Hardy Baugh in Wynnewood in 1950. This article, written by Charles H. Murphy, appeared in Real Detective, date not known.
I knew Claud when I was a kid. He was old school and the word among the little hellions I ran with was that if he was around, you behaved because Claud would shoot you and not even feel sorry about it. To my knowledge, there has never been a full descriptive article on the man.
So the truth comes out, you were a little "Hombre." Ha! Good report.
I knew I could count on you, Mike! As usual, your scholarship astounds me. Thanks for the characteristically complete response. Perhaps I'll use it as a "springboard" for an article of my own. I'd be particularly interested to know if any of the records of his office might be preserved and, if so, where. --?--
David A Rennie
Yeah, well I figure my memories of those "wild times" is about as reliable as other such yarns from any other wrinkle browed smooth mouth. Louis Lamour said romance (adventure) is a dangerous situation viewed from the comfort of an easy chair.
By the way, the Pauls Valley Police Department website has quite a bit on those stories for any who are interested.
Go for it David. You might find some records at the Pauls Valley Court House but I wouldn't count on it. The Sheriff's office has a tradition of retiring officers taking records with them. Last time I asked about old records they looked at me like I was nuts. Another possibility is the District Attorney records buta lot of them are gone as well. To be honest, the Court House lacks storage space and offices there tend to discard what is not absolutely necessary. I suspect it is the same all over.
Mike, I was mistaken regarding my father's tour of duty with the Garvin County Sheriff's office. In fact, Dad was Undersheriff to Claud[e?] SEYMOUR. I visited the Garvin county Sheriff's office and found a very nice picture of Sheriff Seymour. They've given me permission to borrow the picture in order to scan it for my files, I have not done so as yet.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
David Albert Rennie
Claude Seymour also worked at the OSBI.
Thanks, Dee. Perhaps i could find some biographical information on him there. I am particularly interested in the time span during which he served at Pauls Valley and any colorful events which took place during his tenure as GCS.
Thanks, again and Merry Christmas
Perhaps the case you were refering to was the Chester Comer case. He was linked to numerous disappearances and murders in the central Oklahoma area as well as Texas. A total of six I believe. However, he was killed in an altercation during the investigation and never stood trial. Claude Seymour was involved to some extent in the interrogation of Comer. This took place sometime in 1935.
Claude Seymour was born and raised in Garvin county, one of seven children. Most of his career and previously stated was in Garvin County as Sheriff. He later served with the OBI rising to Assistant Chief prior to retirement. He died in Oklahoma City in May, 1969.
My apologies, I wasn't trying to hijack your thread.
Thank you, Jim. The information is helpful. It puts me to wondering if my father was aware of Mr. Seymour's death. I was not in Oklahoma at the time and don't believe Dad ever mentioned it to me. Dad died in 1983 so I can't ask him!
CHESTER COMER WAS A SERIAL KILLER FROM OKC. WE KNOW FOR SURE HE MURDERED 5 & POSSIBLY MORE. HE WAS NEVER INTERVIWED BY ANYONE. HE SHOT BLANCHARDS CHIEF OF POLICE OSCAR MORGAN TWICE THROUGH THE DRIVERS WINDOW. ONE BULLET HIT OSCAR IN THE SHOULDER & THE OTHER SHOT HIT OSCARS BADGE KNOCKING IT OFF INTO THR MUD. OSCAR STEPPED AROUND TO THE FRONT OF THE CAR, IT WAS DARK & RAINING & OSCAR SHOT CHESTER COMER RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES. HE DIED ON THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL. HE IS BURIED IN OKC. IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE GO TO THE DAILY OKLAHOMAN FRONT PAGE FEB. 25, 2007. HERMAN
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