Constable Joseph Andrew Campion

Constable Joseph Andrew Campion

Lavaca County Constable's Office - Precinct 1, Texas

End of Watch Sunday, December 27, 1885

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Joseph Andrew Campion

Constable Campion was attending a Bohemian dance in Witting when he was informed that Frank Dickson had broken a beer glass with his pistol. Constable Campion approached Dickson from behind and grabbed his pistol, and said, “I want your pistol.” Dickson started punching Campion while at the same drawing his pistol and started shooting. His first shot grazing the right pocket on Campion’s pants, and the second shot struck the upper part of Campion’s thigh, shattering the bone. Constable Campion fired at Dickson as Dickson fired his third round which struck a bystander. After the shooting, Dickson held the crowd at bay, mounted his horse and fled the area. The next day doctors operated on him and he was then carried home by hand on a litter because his wounds are considered quite serious by his physicians. Campion died on December 27.

Dickson was not arrested, but was later charged by indictment with the murder of Constable Campion. He was held without bond, until the Texas Court of Appeals in Galveston reversed that decision, and set bail at $5000. On February 16, 1887, the case went to trial. Dickson advised the jury that he had not known his attacker was a peace officer and that he shot in self defense. The jury agreed with him, and Dickson was acquitted of the murder.

Prior to becoming an elected Constable, Campion served as a deputy sheriff. He was first elected Constable of Lavaca County Precinct 1 in 1880, in 1882 he lost the election, but was re-elected in 1884. Campion had also served in the Texas Regiment from Hallettsville, Texas during the Civil War.

Constable Campion was described as a quiet, peaceable citizen and an energetic officer. He was survived by his wife and four children. He was buried in the Old Catholic Cemetery in Hallettsville, which was later re-located. His new grave site is not marked.


  • Age 47
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Sunday, October 18, 1885
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Acquitted

Most Recent Reflection

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I just found out that Constable Campion was my great great grandfather. I've been a Texas Peace Officer since 2008 and am honored to know Constable Campion laid down his life to serve the people of Lavaca County. I hope his legacy and story lives on forever and that we never forget his sacrifice.

CID Special Agent R.R.
Texas DPS

March 11, 2016

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