Future Henderson County Sheriff and Athens Mayor Jess Sweeten was born May 7, 1905, in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Sweeten moved to Dallas at age 21 and worked for several years before becoming a deputy sheriff. He was elected sheriff of Henderson County in 1932 — the youngest in the state — and served 22 years.

The colorful lawman became known as a crack shot and a tough investigator. He shot nine men during his tenure and killed three. One was Gerald Johnson, known as the "Dallas Kid." Sweeten shot him in Athens after he fled in a high-speed car chase.

Sweeten conducted shooting exhibitions for schools and civic clubs throughout his career. He was elected mayor of Athens in 1969 and served until his death in 1980.

— Adapted from the Texas State Historical Association

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