Corita Eakins and Marie Tobias: Frist Women to Head the El Paso County Jail.

Maria Tarrant Tobias was born in 1880 in Ripley, TN. She was married to William M. Tobias. Mr. Tobias died and Maria raised two children by herself. She was working at the Western Transfer Co. in 1918 and was living on Rio Grande Street. In 1922 she was working as a bookkeeper for Flemming Motor Co. located at 1820 Montana Street. She also worked as a clerk for the El Paso Phonograph Company.

Tobias worked for Sheriff, Seth Orndorff as a secretary until 1925 when she was appointed county jailer, the first woman to hold this position. She held it until 1927 when she was discharged, but no reason was given. As Jailer, Tobias proved to be tough and fearless. In June of 1927, Tobias told the El Paso Herald that she was taking no extra precautions when a prisoner, Charles Bradley threatened to come get her after his sentence was up. After Tobias left as jailor she may have continued as Orndorff’s Secretary until he left office. Tobias then worked as register and bookkeeper for Texas College of the Mines(UTEP) Tobias died in El Paso in 1954.

When Tobias was left as County Jailer she was succeeded by Corita Eakin, who was the assistant jailer. Eakin was city register until the position was eliminated then Orndorff appointed her as an assistant jailer to help with the paperwork and business of the Jail. Eakin served until 1928. In 1929 she divorced her husband and worked as a clerk at the county courthouse. She died in 1988.

Joseph Longo
EPCHS volunteer

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.