Sheriff William W. Withers

Sheriff William W. Withers

Lane County Sheriff's Office, Oregon

End of Watch Saturday, February 7, 1903

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William W. Withers

Sheriff William Withers was shot and killed in Walton, Oregon, while attempting to arrest a man wanted in Jackson County for stealing horses. Sheriff Withers and a deputy had gone to a home where the suspect was believed to be located. As the deputy went to watch the back door Sheriff Withers knocked on the front door.

When the sheriff entered the home a struggle ensued and he was shot in the throat. The suspect named in the warrant fled and jumped a train to Cottage Grove. He was located four days later by a posse after jumping a second train in Cottage Grove. He was returned to Eugene where he was convicted of murder. He was hanged behind the Lane County Courthouse on April 17, 1903.

Sheriff Withers had served with the agency for 5 years. He was survived by his wife and son, and his parents and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery, Eugene, Lane County, Oregon.


  • Age 45
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Executed in 1903

Most Recent Reflection

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Sgt Matt Jeetle, I hope you have found the book you seek by now. My name s Captain Wayne R. Tucker, a military rank, although I was involved in civil law enforcement. In the military I served as an intelligence officer and had connections through my associations with both DOD and the CIA materials. I have encountered large body of information that surround the Ed Lyons and William W. Withers case and am wondering if you might have an interest in sharing or even participating in the reconstruction of events that led up to the murder of Sheriff Withers. According to my research the two, Ed and Billy, were cousins and descendants of Sarah Benson McClure, both being her grandsons. Another nugget of information is that Lyons was captured in Creswell not Cottage Grove like all the reports would indicate. He was actually discovered by the conductor, an Edgar Parons, of the freight train and when expelled from the train was captured by a small posse in his pursuit. The report says he was transported by "private conveyance" to the county jail where he was held over for trial. My twin sister, Barbara Ann Rawlins, an old 911 dispatcher once associated with Lane County Sheriff's Office, and I write books on local history and encountered this story and thought you might find it of interest. Both of us are active Grange members and can be found through their literature. I hope you are still available to comment on your research.

Captain Wayne R. Tucker BS MS PLS RPA
Retired Professional Scientist.

January 24, 2018

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