Deputy U.S. Marshal John P. Fries

Deputy U.S. Marshal John P. Fries

United States Department of Justice - United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Saturday, October 25, 1873

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John P. Fries

Fries was appointed a Deputy U.S. Marshal under U.S. Marshal Thomas Purnell of the Western District of Texas in Austin. On October 25, 1873, Fries was in Brackettville, the county seat of Kinney County, serving a warrant for desertion on a man and a warrant for murder and escape on a different subject. While speaking to several men, an assassin fired one shot through the window, and Fries was killed instantly. No one saw the assassin, but the men believed it was the man wanted for desertion.

A $1,000 reward was offered by Kinney County, and an $800 reward by Texas Governor Ed Davis. In December of 1873, the Grand Jury of Kinney County failed to indict any suspects. It is known at this time if anyone was ever prosecuted.

John P. Fries was appointed Sheriff of Kinney County on July 15, 1870, and was elected on November 8, 1870, but he resigned soon after. State election records do not record anyone serving as sheriff of the county until April 18, 1874, when Warren Allen was elected. All contemporary accounts of the murder report Fries as the Sheriff of Kinney County, and none mention his appointment as a deputy U.S. marshal. As was common during this period, men served as city, county, and state lawmen and were also appointed as deputy U.S. marshals. All available evidence indicates that this was the case with Fries.

John P. Fries was born between 1849 and 1850 and was about 23-24 years of age at the time of his death. He was about 20 years old when first elected sheriff. No information as to whether he was married or had any children. His mother appears to have been deceased at the time of his death, but he was survived by his father, John Fries, and at least eight brothers and sisters.

His place of burial is not known at this time.


  • Age 24
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Never apprehended

ambush, warrant

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DUSM Fries,
On today, the 150th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country.


United States Border Patrol

October 25, 2023

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