Sheriff Chauncey Belden Whitney

Sheriff Chauncey Belden Whitney

Ellsworth County Sheriff's Department, Kansas

End of Watch Monday, August 18, 1873

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Chauncey Belden Whitney

Sheriff Chancey Whitney was accidentally shot and killed.

After breaking up a fight in local saloon involving another officer, Sheriff Whitney, and two civilians, exited the saloon and were walking down the street when the other officer involved in the fight ran into the street and began firing his gun. As the Sheriff Whitney turned to answer the gunfire one of the civilian's shotguns discharged and struck Sheriff Whitney in the chest. He died three days later.

The officer who started the disturbance was later fired, re-hired, fired again and was killed on October 16, 1877. The civilian suspect was also involved in three other killings and wounding a man; it is unknown if he was either aquitted or never tried. The civilian suspect died on September 6, 1897 of natural causes.

Sheriff Whitney had served with the agency for three years and had previously been a U.S. Army Scout during the Indian Wars. He was survived by his wife and daughter and is buried in Ellsworth Cemetery, Ellsworth, Kansas.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Friday, August 15, 1873
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Acquitted

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your military and law enforcement service. I was a Sergeant with the Kansas Highway Patrol supervising Troopers in Ellsworth Hand numerous contacts with Sheriff Ray Thomas and with the Ellsworth County Judge. I'm rather amazed that I never heard anything about your service or death during that time period. I read about your service in the Russell Newspaper with an article titled "The Way West". I am now retired. The next time I travel through Ellsworth I will make time to visit your grave in your honor.

Gary Herman
Kansas Highway Patrol

September 21, 2018

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