Deputy Sheriff Henry Pratt

Deputy Sheriff Henry Pratt

Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, Illinois

End of Watch Friday, July 30, 1869

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Henry Pratt

Deputy Sheriff Henry Pratt was shot and killed while attempting to arrest horse thieves.

Deputy Pratt led a posse consisting of three law enforcement officers from Pekin to Circleville, Illinois, to serve warrants for solicitation to commit a larceny on two known gang members. Arriving just at dusk on East Street in the small village, the posse encountered the gang walking from a saloon. When ordered to halt, the two wanted men started a running shootout. One suspect jumped over a split-rail fence, turned and rested his shotgun on the top rail and shot Deputy Pratt at point-blank range with the shotgun. A second shot wounded another deputy and during the confusion of trying to stop the bleeding on the wounded deputies, members of the gang escaped.

More than 500 men immediately formed posses and rounded up the gang, taking them to the jail in Pekin. During the night, more than 300 men attacked the jail and after a deadly struggle, hauled the suspect's brother out onto the jailhouse lawn and hanged him from the limb of an oak tree. Only the intervention of a city marshal stopped the mob from lynching the rest of the gang. All members of the gang were convicted and sentenced to prison terms. The suspect who fired the fatal shot was sentenced to 25 years in prison and served 18 years before being paroled.

Deputy Pratt had served with the Tazewell County Sheriff's Department for three years. He also served with the Union Army during the Civil War for three years as a corporal with the 11th Illinois Cavalry Regiment in Tennessee and Mississippi, including the 1862 Battle of Shiloh.

Deputy Pratt was survived by his brother, the sheriff of Tazewell County.


  • Age 27
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Paroled

warrant service

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Thank you for your service and please know that no passage of time will ever erase your memory and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

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

July 30, 2020

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