Fish Warden William Etheldred Shoemaker

Fish Warden William Etheldred Shoemaker

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Thursday, September 22, 1921

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William Etheldred Shoemaker

Fish Warden William Shoemaker succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained on August 25th, 1921, near Black's Bridge along Wyalusing Creek near Merryall.

He and his son, who was acting as a Special Deputy Fish Warden, had arrested a man in LaRaysville and were returning home after appearing before the justice. They were driving on a road that paralleled Wyalusing Creek when they spotted a lantern light and two men in the creek at about 10:30 pm.

Warden Shoemaker walked down to the creek leaving his son in the car. He found two suspects spearfishing without a license. He ordered both suspects out of the creek and followed the first man up the bank. As they walked up the bank, the second man grabbed Warden Shoemaker’s .38-caliber revolver and shot him in the back of the neck.

The subject who shot him fled down the creek and through the woods. Warden Shoemaker’s son, thinking the gunfire was a distress signal, came down to the creek bank and was able to apprehend the first man who told him where Warden Shoemaker was. Along with some passersby, they were able to transport Deputy Shoemaker to a local doctor’s residence. He was then taken to a nearby hospital by train where it was determined he had suffered a severed spinal cord and was paralyzed from the neck down.

Over the next month, he regained sensation in his shoulders and partial use of his arms. However, complications arose and Warden Shoemaker died early in the morning of September 22nd, 1921.

The man who fired the shot surrendered the day after the shooting and was charged with first-degree murder following Warden Shoemaker's death. The man was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to nine to ten years in prison, and fined $100.

Fish Warden Shoemaker had served two years as a game warden with the Pennsylvania Game Commission before serving eighteen years as a Fish Warden with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. He was survived by his wife and two sons.

Warden Shoemaker's son left law enforcement after that fateful night. His other son was appointed to take his father’s position as Fish Warden.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Thursday, August 25, 1921
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Convicted of manslaughter


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My condolences to his late family

Carson loveless

January 31, 2024

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