Posseman Edward Gorsuch

Posseman Edward Gorsuch

United States Department of Justice - United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Thursday, September 11, 1851

Edward Gorsuch

Posseman Edward Gorsuch was shot and killed near Christiana, Pennsylvania, in an incident that became known as the Christiana Riots.

He had been deputized by a United States deputy marshal to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1851 in an attempt to capture two escaped slaves from Maryland. After reading the arrest warrant at the home an alarm was sounded and a group of local Quakers surrounded the posse. A shot was fired by one of the sides that prompted several more shots to be fired. Posseman Gorsuch was killed. The deputy marshal and three other posse members were wounded.

Posseman Gorsuch had been deputized by the United States Marshals Service two days earlier to assist with serving the warrant. He is buried in the Gorsuch family Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.


  • Age 57
  • Tour 2 days
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Pennsylvania
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

warrant service

Most Recent Reflection

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The fugitive slave act remains an abiding stain on this country’s history. For example, under the act, commissioners (appointed by federal circuit courts) were authorized to compel any bystander to recapture fugitive slaves—essentially making would-be slavecatchers of any citizen, regardless of their beliefs. Equating the demise of Gorsuch, who was killed as he went about his business of enforcing this monstrous and unconstitutional law, with the deaths of today’s police officers killed in the line of duty, seems at best misguided. I feel for his family, as any loss is painful, but hope that Gorsuch’s place on this list reminds visitors how unjust this law (and those who enforced it) truly were.

History student

June 9, 2018

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