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

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The Podcast “True Crime Historian” just featured this story 10/19/19. It was released to patrons of the show. What a brave man, Sheriff Withers! Find A Grave has many photos of him. Also has a photo of his murderer, Lyons on the scaffold.

Cynthia Lassiter

October 19, 2019

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