Constable William Clinton Rigby
Escambia County District Four Constable’s Office, Florida
End of Watch Sunday, September 4, 1955
W. C. Rigby was a legend. Everyone in northern Escambia County, Florida knew him. They knew two things about him. He was always there to help and serve, and he was a strict enforcer of the law.
But Clint Rigby was not only a lawman. He was a father and a daddy. He and his wife, Aggie had five children, Hayette, Maleze, Wanda, Verdelia, and Jean.
He began as a constable at 38 years old in 1935. During World War II, he was one of the few lawmen in that part of the county. He went on to serve the community as constable for 20 years, which is what he was doing at 11:15 on the night of September 3, 1955.
Byrneville, Florida is a small community in Escambia County, in the northwest corner of Florida. In 1940, Bobby and Buck Goodwin were playing in the front yard when their mother snapped their photo. After having it developed, she was asked if it could be used to sell cold cereal. It was soon used on the back of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal boxes across the country!
Fifteen years later, Constable W. C. Rigby was patrolling on Florida State Highway 4, just east of Byrneville. Suddenly, a car driven by 27-year-old Clarence Odom of Uriah, Alabama, swerved over into his lane and headed straight for the constable. Rigby tried to swerve to miss him, but the car, travelling at a high rate of speed, slammed into him head-on! It then skidded 189 feet to a stop. Rigby’s car skidded 114 feet and ejected the constable onto the highway. The collision killed Odom at the scene. Constable Rigby was rushed to nearby Century Hospital with severe internal chest injuries. He died the next day – 67 years ago today.
Constable Rigby’s wife Aggie later became a matron at the Escambia County Jail and worked there many years, somewhat of an icon herself.
Thank you, Constable, for your sacrifice.