Birthday Surprise; 1890s sheriff’s descendant gets special gift from wife, Ross
By Scott Loftis
Grady Edmondson’s 73rd birthday is still more than a year away, but his wife, Peggy, might have to start planning now if she’s going to top this year’s gift.
With a little help from Carroll County Sheriff Jim Ross, Peggy Edmondson surprised her husband with a trip from their home in Sand Springs, Okla., to Berryville last Thursday. The Edmondsons met with Ross, who gave them a tour of the Carroll County Law Enforcement Complex and then drove them around the county.
At the law enforcement complex, which houses the sheriff’s office and detention center, Grady Edmondson posed with a photograph of his great-grandfather Braxton Edmondson — who served as sheriff of Carroll County from 1890-1892.
Grady Edmondson, who will celebrate his 72nd birthday on Saturday, Sept. 28, said he had mentioned to his wife that he’d like to shake hands with the current sheriff. Peggy Edmondson contacted Ross and arranged for a bit longer visit.
“She surprised me,” Grady Edmondson said. “I really appreciate the sheriff doing this. I had just mentioned to her that it might be nice to get a picture of me shaking the sheriff’s hand, and she did all this.”
During their visit Grady Edmondson and Ross discovered they have a few things in common — both are 71 (for a few more days at least), both served in the military and both retired from the U.S. Postal Service. Ross was the Berryville postmaster before retiring from that job and moving to law enforcement, while Edmondson was postmaster in Sand Springs before he retired after 32 years with the postal service.
Peggy Edmondson said she and her husband visited the Carroll County Heritage Center Museum in Berryville several years ago while researching the Edmondson family genealogy. They discovered that Grady’s great-great-grandfather Thomas Jefferson Edmondson moved his family from Tennessee to northwest Arkansas and donated the property that is now the Grandview Cemetery. Braxton Edmondson was born in Carroll County and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. He served one term as sheriff.
Braxton Edmondson died in 1924 at the age of 84.
Peggy Edmondson said visiting the cemetery in Grandview is a surreal experience.
“It’s amazing to think that you’re walking where they walked, and what their life must have been like,” she said. “When he was sheriff, he was out there on a horse.”
The visit also turned into an impromptu family reunion of sorts. Ross said he remembered that a neighbor of his had been born an Edmondson and decided to introduce her to Grady and Peggy.
“Lo and behold, it turns out they’re cousins,” Ross said. “They talked for a good while and ended up exchanging phone numbers.”
Ross said he enjoyed the Edmondsons’ visit just as much as they did.
“That was fun,” he said. “They’re nice people.”