Guard John Elder

Guard John Elder

Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa

End of Watch Sunday, April 30, 1882

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John Elder

Guard John Elder was killed when he was attacked and suffocated by three inmates while watching over the Hospital Ward of the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

The inmates escaped but were recaptured a few days later.

On May 19th, 1882, two of the inmates were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. One was pardoned in 1892 and the other inmate died in prison in 1896. The third inmate was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 18 years.

Guard Elder is buried at the grounds of the Iowa State Penitentiary Cemetery, Lee County, Iowa.


  • Age 73
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Sentenced to life

escape attempt

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in Peace, Officer Elder. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

January 3, 2014

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