Sheriff John F. Taylor

Sheriff John F. Taylor

Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, Illinois

End of Watch Tuesday, November 11, 1856

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John F. Taylor

Sheriff John Taylor was shot and killed while chasing an escaping prisoner.

He and a local constable had arrested two brothers they suspected of cattle rustling. Upon searching the men Sheriff Taylor discovered one of them was carrying pistol balls. When he asked for the pistol the man said he did not have one. As they reached the jail the suspects suddenly broke free and ran with the sheriff in pursuit. The man who had been carrying the pistol balls pulled out a hidden pistol and shot Sheriff Taylor, killing him.

The suspect was apprehended several moments later. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. On March 27, 1857, he was executed by hanging on the farm of the current sheriff in one of the last public executions held in the state.

Sheriff Taylor had served with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office for four years. He was survived by his wife and 18-month-old son.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; Pistol
  • Offender Executed in 1857

Most Recent Reflection

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No passage of time can ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

November 11, 2020

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