Deputy Sheriff William Francis Smithson

Deputy Sheriff William Francis Smithson

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, California

End of Watch Sunday, October 20, 1907

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William Francis Smithson

Deputy Sheriff William Smithson was shot and killed as he attempted to arrest a man following a dispute at a the American Borax Company Plant in Daggett. The man had struck the plant foreman over a pay dispute.

The foreman informed Deputy Smithson of the assault and the two, along with Deputy Smithson's assistant, went to look for the suspect. They located him on a street and as Deputy Smithson began to ask how he was doing, the man suddenly produced a revolver and shot him five times in the upper body.

Deputy Smithson was taken to the local billiard hall where he succumbed to his wounds the following morning.

The suspect was arrested during a search by a large posse. He was convicted of Deputy Smithson's murder and sentenced to death. The governor later commuted his sentence to life. He died in San Quentin State Prison in 1912.

Deputy Smithson had served with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office for approximately two years. He was survived by his wife and daughter.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, October 19, 1907
  • Weapon Handgun; .32 caliber
  • Offender Sentence commuted to life


Most Recent Reflection

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Your sacrifice and service will never be forgotten sir. My husband serves the same department as you and please know you are a hero, always. Rest easy sir

Deputy Sheriff’s Wife
San Bernardino County Sheriff Dept

July 13, 2021

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