TexasEscapes.comWe Take Texas Personally
A Texas Travel, History & Architecture Magazine
SITE MAP : : NEW : : RESERVATIONS : : TEXAS TOWNS A-Z : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : ::ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES
HOME
SEARCH SITE
RESERVATIONS
Hotels
Cars
Air
USA
World
Cruises
TEXAS TRAVEL
TOWNS A to Z
Towns by Region
Ghost Towns
TRIPS :
State Parks
Rivers
Lakes
Drives
Maps
LODGING
TEXAS
FORUM
FEATURES :
Ghosts
People
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
ARCHITECTURE :
Courthouses
Jails
Bridges
Theaters
Churches
Gas Stations
Water Towers
Monuments/Statues
Schoolhouses
Post Offices
Depots
IMAGES :
Old Neon
Murals
Signs
BOOKS
COLUMNS
TE Site
Site Information
Recommend Us
Newsletter
About Us
Contact TE
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : "Good Day for a Story"
"Good Day for a Story"

Gentle Justice
One-of-a-kind sheriff has had a lasting impact

by Jeanne Moseley

I watched as Sheriff Wayne McCollum and my father sat side-by-side at the microphone. At our small-town radio station, my dad was, once again, on his game. He'd spent the better part of his adult life hosting local dignitaries on his morning show, but today set itself apart from all the rest.

Sheriff McCollum, now 88, and my father, 10 years his junior, still laughed more than they talked. Practical jokers, their friendship has spanned more than 45 years and has been centered on common loves - their wives and a place called "Ellis County."

Today, as the entire county honored the Sheriff, Dad's words, though cloaked in humor, rang true of their longtime friendship.

Gentle Justice Sheriff Wayne McCollum

"Gentle Justice" Sheriff Wayne McCollum
Courtesy of Jeanne Moseley

Our old county jail was once home to the Sheriff and his wife. Just like you'd see on the old westerns, they fed and kept watch over the prisoners and sometimes even their families. Any children left homeless by an arrest went immediately into the loving arms of Judy McCollum.

Today, a group gathered to break ground on a new jail to be named in his honor. As I approached the group of hard hats crowded near the construction site, I quickly reached out to hug the Sheriff.

With coolness and composure, he stands 6' 5", and even at age 88 he's the kind of handsome man who draws attention. He's a sophisticated cowboy with a flair created by Neiman Marcus and his white Stetson is always part of his attire.

He's known by the name "Gentle Justice", which he earned during the 20 years he served as sheriff. He was, and still is, trusted among all who knew him including most of his former prisoners. There are many quick to tell of how the Sheriff made an everlasting impact on their life.

As history has it, one night the jail filled with smoke and the Sheriff led all the prisoners outside to safety. Unable to house them all overnight, he firmly instructed some of the prisoners, "You go home and come back tomorrow." And they did.

Just about every parade in our town began or ended with Sheriff Wayne McCollum on his horse. He distinguished himself as an American soldier who participated in the D-Day invasion of France. He never likes to talk about those experiences; but he does like to dance, especially the waltz, and when he was 72 he bought an airplane so he and his wife could fly together ... which they did.

He said he'd never taken vitamins, isn't on any medication and doesn't have many, if at all, aches or pains. He credits his remarkable health to his early-morning trail rides with his trusted horse.

He never wanted to live anywhere else and praises the people of Ellis County, folks he has loved and who, in return, remain his steadfast admirers.

Wayne McCollum is a real-life hero ... the kind of man who rides in on his horse to save the day.


February 2001
Copyright 2001 Jeanne Moseley

About the Author
Waxahachie, Texas

HOME
Privacy Statement | Disclaimer
Website Content Copyright 1998-2004. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: February 9, 2004