Sheriff Orson Rodolphus Colgrove

Sheriff Orson Rodolphus Colgrove

Jones County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch Saturday, May 29, 1869

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Orson Rodolphus Colgrove

Sheriff Orson Colgrove was shot and killed from ambush by several men hiding behind bushes next to a road near Trenton as he drove by in his carriage.

He was assassinated by members of the Ku Klux Klan who believed that he should not have been appointed sheriff due to not owning land in Jones County and for being a Republican. The same group assassinated the county commissioner a short time later. The Lenoir County sheriff arrested three men believed to be involved with Sheriff Colgrove's murder.

The three were later released by the state's governor in exchange for the the KKK to stop their assassinations in Jones County and Lenoir County.

Sheriff Colgrove had previously served with the United States Army during the Civil War and is buried in New Bern National Cemetery in New Bern, North Carolina. He was survived by his wife, brother (a state Senator), and half brother.


  • Age 43
  • Tour 1 year, 7 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Never identified

Most Recent Reflection

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As a residence of Jones County and a member of the same agency, I have researched for several years in trying to find more details about who you were and how you died. With the help of congressional insight papers of your murder and other documents it was difficult, hard work but I was able to press on because no matter what ever happened back then and what people have said about you, you were a member of the local law enforcement of that era. You upheld the law and deserve the respect. You acted on what you thought was right and helped those who were going through a rough and frighten time in the south. Your devotion, dedication and honor for ones country reflects in the highest traditions of Law Enforcement. For your courage and hard work during those trying times in America, we thank you!May you rest in peace.

Jones County Sheriff's Office

May 4, 2017

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