Willie Lewis Staggs

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Willie Lewis Staggs (born 1878 - died May 24, 1911) was a Jefferson County constable, ambushed and murdered on duty.

Staggs was married to a woman named Hattie, three years his elder. They had 10 children, of whom four had died in childhood. On the day he died, he left his home in the mining community of Bessie, riding his mule, to warn road workers about trouble in the vicinity.

His body, riddled with shot, was found the following day after he failed to return home. His mule was grazing nearby. Four men were arrested, and two of them charged in the murder. He was survived by his wife and six children. He was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.

James, 4 years old at the time, became the pastor of the Bessemer Church of God of Prophecy. In 2007 Staggs and two other early lawmen from Birmingham had their names added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D. C.


  • Robinson, Carol (March 17, 2007) "A century later, heroes are honored." Birmingham News