Village Marshal William Watts

Village Marshal William Watts

Tamaroa Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Thursday, August 4, 1881

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William Watts

Marshal William Watts died after being stabbed in the chest by a suspect he was attempting to arrest for disturbing the peace. The suspect had held a grudge against Marshal Watts for a previous encounter the marshal had with the suspect's brother and had proclaimed he would kill the marshal if he ever attempted to arrest him.

On the day of Marshal Watts' murder, the suspect had become drunk and was walking on the village's streets professing his hatred of Marshal Watts. Marshal Watts appeared and attempted to arrest the man. The suspect, who was holding a pocket knife, stabbed Marshal Watts in the chest, severing an artery.

Despite being mortally wounded, Marshal Watts was able to fire at the suspect, striking him in the leg. He was later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. On June 16, 1882, he was executed by hanging at the Perry County Jail.

Marshal Watts was survived by his wife and four children. He was a Union Civil War Veteran having served as a private with the 13th Illinois Calvary.


  • Age 35
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Stabbed
  • Weapon Edged weapon; Knife
  • Offender Executed in 1882

Most Recent Reflection

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Marshal Watts,
On today, the 140th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Tamaroa.


United States Border Patrol

August 4, 2021

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