Deputy Sheriff James B. Foster

Deputy Sheriff James B. Foster

Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office, Alabama

End of Watch Saturday, April 13, 1895

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James B. Foster

Deputy Sheriff James Foster was shot and killed by a suspect he was attempting to arrest for the theft of chickens.

Deputy Foster, along with two other deputies who had an arrest warrant for the suspect, went to the suspect's mother-in-law's house, where he was thought to be. The house was approximately one to two miles north of Rogersville. They arrived at the house near midnight, and on demanding admittance, the suspect's mother-in-law said he was not home. They told her they would search the house, and after some parleying, they entered. Upon entering the house, Deputy Foster struck a match, holding it over his head to see.

At this point, the suspect shot the deputy with a musket at close range, a load of shots striking him in the side. Deputy Foster fell, and the suspect rushed out of the house and escaped in the darkness, followed by a number of shots by the deputies. Deputy Foster walked a few feet and fell dead.

Deputy Foster had been specially deputized to arrest the theft suspect.

The man who shot him was convicted of Deputy Constable Foster's murder and sentenced to death. The United States Supreme Court reversed the verdict and returned the case to the lower court for trial, where he was convicted again and sentenced to life in prison. He died in prison three years later.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 1 day
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; Musket
  • Offender Sentenced to life

larceny, warrant service

Most Recent Reflection

View all 14 Reflections

When I began the research of my gg Uncle James it was just a story passed down to me by my Grandmother. In 2003, I decided to find out the who, what, when, where, and how. It took a while combing through old newspapers but his story was always there I just didn’t know it at the time.
His actions at a time when there was no electricity going into a dark house with only a match to have light is heroic.
I, as his gg niece am very proud of his service as a Constable and proud to know he is now forever remembered.
God bless all who serve our great nation.

Kaye Sass
GG Niece

April 6, 2023

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