130 Years Later Little Rock Police Chief Gets Burial Marker

Mar 24, 2014

Isaac Taylor Gillam
Credit enyclopediaofarkansas.net

A former Little Rock Police Chief interned at Mount Holly Cemetery in an unmarked plot for over 130 years is getting his grave marked Friday. George Counts died in 1884 of tuberculosis just five years after becoming chief.

Kay Tatum with the Mount Holly Cemetery Association said the recommendation for Counts to become chief came from an unusual source.

“It’s interesting that his nomination for Chief of Police came from a former slave Isaac Taylor Gillam who had been the city jailer, a city councilman, and also a police officer,” said Tatum.

Tatum said the cemetery has several burial sites with information known about the person interned but simply aren’t marked. Unmarked sites include a descendent of Counts, Eleanor, whose grave was also recently marked.

“She went to Hollywood in the ‘30s and couldn’t get much attention so she went outside of Paramount commissary and held a sign in short shorts and a tight sweater and said, ‘see my legs are nice and I can act too.’ That got her landed in a 1938 film with Bob Hope,” said Tatum.

Members of Counts’s family and the Little Rock Police Department helped pursue the establishment and funding of the marker and will be on hand Friday for its dedication.