Deputy Sheriff John D. Nelson

Deputy Sheriff John D. Nelson

Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Sunday, November 12, 1882

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John D. Nelson

On Saturday night, November 11, 1882, Tom Baker was “cutting up” when he was confronted by Deputy Sheriff John D. Nelson. The deputy had recently testified against Baker in court, and “bad blood” existed between the two men. Baker insulted Nelson, and Nelson slapped him. Bystanders separated them. The next morning at 6:00 a.m. Deputy Sheriff Nelson was standing outside a store in downtown Kerrville when Baker walked to within 20 feet and shot the deputy through the left lung with a Winchester rifle. Nelson fell and Baker shot him again in the left arm. As Baker prepared to fire a third time, Nelson said, “you have killed me, don’t shoot any more.” The sheriff of Bandera County was in town for court, and despite being out of his jurisdiction, gave chase and fired three times at Baker from a long distance. Baker’s father rode up on a horse, dismounted, and gave his son the horse to escape. Deputy Nelson gave a dying statement and expired at 10:15 a.m. Baker was eventually arrested, convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died in prison June 28, 1898.

Nelson had served in the Texas Light Artillery during the Civil War. He was a private in the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers from 1874-1876. He was not married and his place of burial is not known at this time.


  • Age 40
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; Winchester
  • Offender Died in prison

Most Recent Reflection

View all 5 Reflections

Thank you for you service and sacrifice. I have recently discovered that you are my 4th great uncle and I am so very proud to know how you served Texas and your community. Thank you everyone for honoring him. The citizens of Kerr County lost a great man in 1882.

Shannon Birks

June 7, 2018

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