Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sheriff William W. Withers

Lane County Sheriff's Office, Oregon

End of Watch Saturday, February 7, 1903

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Reflections for Sheriff William W. Withers

The Podcast “True Crime Historian” just featured this story 10/19/19. It was released to patrons of the show. What a brave man, Sheriff Withers! Find A Grave has many photos of him. Also has a photo of his murderer, Lyons on the scaffold.

Cynthia Lassiter

October 19, 2019

Sgt Matt Jeetle, I hope you have found the book you seek by now. My name s Captain Wayne R. Tucker, a military rank, although I was involved in civil law enforcement. In the military I served as an intelligence officer and had connections through my associations with both DOD and the CIA materials. I have encountered large body of information that surround the Ed Lyons and William W. Withers case and am wondering if you might have an interest in sharing or even participating in the reconstruction of events that led up to the murder of Sheriff Withers. According to my research the two, Ed and Billy, were cousins and descendants of Sarah Benson McClure, both being her grandsons. Another nugget of information is that Lyons was captured in Creswell not Cottage Grove like all the reports would indicate. He was actually discovered by the conductor, an Edgar Parons, of the freight train and when expelled from the train was captured by a small posse in his pursuit. The report says he was transported by "private conveyance" to the county jail where he was held over for trial. My twin sister, Barbara Ann Rawlins, an old 911 dispatcher once associated with Lane County Sheriff's Office, and I write books on local history and encountered this story and thought you might find it of interest. Both of us are active Grange members and can be found through their literature. I hope you are still available to comment on your research.

Captain Wayne R. Tucker BS MS PLS RPA
Retired Professional Scientist.

January 24, 2018

I am a retired Sergeant from the LCSO and about 10 years ago I read a a paperback book on Aheriff Whither's life. I have not been able to locate it. If anyone knows where I could get a copy please let me know.

Sgt Matt Jeetle
Lane County Sheriff's Office.

October 4, 2014

Your forever my hero great gradnpa

SSgt Wuorinen,ret usaf police k9
great granson

January 15, 2014

Thanks to Jan Gillespie for providing a clear picture of the Withers family geneaology. This is information I was never quite able to find. Charles H. "Pepper" Withers was my only family contact and for a time, he seemed to believe he was a direct descendent. I had no reason to doubt what he believed at that time and I did feel that he very much admired WW Withers. I was sorry to hear of Pepper's passing in any case. I never met him. We emailed a couple of times and then lost contact.
I had an exhibit and tribute to WW Withers in my own museum in the 1990's. I did manage to find out more information about the circumstances surrounding his death than was generally available. At least, dates, details and other such facts which were not generally available. I am currently donating all the materials I accumulated on him to the Lane County Museum so that he can be remembered as he deserves to be. I will also indicate that Jan Gillespie is the one to contact re. family geneaology data so as to keep all information as accurate as possible. There is no mention about Sheriff Withers in the booklet published by the Masonic Cemetery where he is buried. I think he deserves at least a mention of some kind. He was a dedicated public servant and he made the ultimate sacrifice. With Respect to the Family and All Descendents of Sheriff Withers. A special salute to Deputy Chris Wuorinen and Best Wishes.
Rod Casteel
Civilian Historian

Rod Casteel, Civilian Historian
One who honors WW Withers

April 4, 2012

You are not forgotten.

As an aside, I wish the justice system these days had such swift processes for ALL who murder law enforcement personel.


Constable Amanda Pandolfi
York Regional Police, Ontario Canada

February 7, 2011

Sheriff William Washington Withers is my Great-Great Grandfather. His son, the late Frank Withers is my Great Grandfather. Frank Withers had a son, the late Ernest Withers, my Grandfather. Ernest Withers had a daughter, Susan Withers, my mother.

I honor the memory of Sheriff Withers daily by carrying the above photograph in my patrol vehicle and I know that he watches over me.

Sheriff Withers, your legacy is never forgotten.

Sgt. Chris Wuorinen
Taylor County Sheriff's Department (Texas)

March 8, 2009

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 106th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. How nice to know that your descendents (whatever the degree) followed you into law enforcement careers.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya
mother of Officer Larry Lasater, eow 4/24/05


February 7, 2009



February 4, 2008

Mr. Withers has another great great grandson currently with the Taylor County Texas Sheriffs Dept.
Deputy Chris Wuorinen

Jon Wuorinen
Officers father

March 26, 2007

Rod Casteel, civilian historian, was incorrect when he stated that William Washington Withers was the great-grandfather of the 1996-2000 sheriff of Lake County, the late Charles H. "Pepper" Withers (13 Jun 1955-20 Aug 2006). In actuality, they were only distantly related.

William Washington Wither's father was J.E.P. Withers of Lane County. J.E.P.'s brother was Peter C. Withers. Peter C. Withers was the great-great-great-grandfather of Charles H. "Pepper" Withers. This means that William W. and Pepper Withers were first cousins, and 4 times removed at that.

Casteel is also incorrect when he states that William Washington Withers left at least two children when he was killed. William W. and Viola (Comegys) Withers only had one child, Frank L. Withers. This is confirmed by census reports and by both Viola and Frank Withers' obituaries.

I just thought the record should reflect the correct information.

One interesting note is that W.W. Withers was the nephew of one of the earliest sheriffs of Lane County, Thomas Jefferson Brattain. William W. Wither’s mother was Margaret (Gillespie) Withers. Her sister was Permelia (Gillespie) Brattain, the wife of Thomas Jefferson Brattain. After he and Permelia left Lane County, Thomas Jefferson Brattain became the very first sheriff of Lake County.

Jan Gillespie

August 23, 2006

William W. Withers had the reputation of being a soft-spoken honorable family man. He was survived by a wife and at least 2 children. Killed in the line of duty in 1903, it would be a shame for him to be forgotten. He was very much ahead of his time. He was, in fact, a pioneer criminologist who may have been one of the first to take a photographer to crime scenes. It is historical fact that he solved some very difficult and baffling cases during his 2 terms as Sheriff of Lane County. He was utterly dedicated to the law and to his service and was like the Canadian Mounties: he always got his man and brought (him) to justice. Nearly 100 years later, his great-Grandson, Charles Withers was Sheriff of Lake County, Oregon as the milennium turned. In an age when even the telephone was new, a massive manhunt was launched with posses searching all over the county. It only took about 24 hours for them to apprehend the murderer of Bill Withers. Out of respect for the Withers family, I wrote the entire story into a ballad (song) because I feel that Bill Withers deserves to be remembered. He brought Lane County into the 20th century and his loss was widely mourned. I am a private historian and a professional songwriter and musician. Respectfully submitted, Rod Casteel

Rod Casteel
civilian historian

April 1, 2006

Every hero deserves some kind of recognition.

Rest in peace buddy

SC Brad Taylor
Metropolitan Police (London)

September 10, 2004

Let no officer be without reflection. May God bless you. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Special Agent
FBI New York

November 13, 2003

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