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Death of Sheriff Ramsey


Posted By: Sara McGlothlen (email)
Date: 5/5/2017 at 10:27:03

The final capture of John McGinnis culminated in a terrible tragedy on last Friday, morning June 28. He was staying at Mr. Stafford's, about three miles southeast of Derby, and by his violent actions and threatenings had alarmed the people so that they sent for Sheriff Ramsey to come and arrest him. He came Friday morning, having constables Myers and Nafus, from Chariton with him; also called at H. Blous' on the way and took him along, the sheriff giving Blous one of his revolvers while on the way. Arriving at Stafford's barn where John was, he came to the door and met the Sheriff in a friendly manner and they shook hands, and immediately John threw up a revolver with his left hand and shot the Sheriff through the center of the breast, then turned his weapon on Constable Nafus, who sprang to one side, the ball passing through the barn door striking Nafus in the right side inflicting a severe flesh wound. Nafus shot John in the neck, then ran away badly wounded. John then leveled on Blouse (sic), who had the Sheriff's revolver in his hand when Blous shot him through the head and killed him. Sheriff Ramsey walked about twenty steps and fell dead in his tracks. He was taken home to his wife and five little children, and his arrival created the most intense excitement in Chariton, and as the news spread, throughout the county also. He served through the war in Co. 9, 34th Iowa Vol. Inft. He was a most excellent and honorable man, and in every respect an exemplary citizen. That he was respected by all classes, is evidenced by the fact that, although a Democrat politically, he was elected by a large majority when our county went Republican by about four hundred majority. He was buried Sunday, the people going from all over the county to pay the last tribute of respect to him whom they had known and loved so long. McGinnis was buried at Goshen Saturday, by the side of his which was buried there a number of years ago. His wife and family are in Washington Territory where they have lived for about six months. McGinnis has always been an industrious, honest man. About a year ago while digging a well, an iron crank fell in the well striking him on the head. He soon after developed symptoms of insanity. In due time he was adjudged insane and taken to the asylum at Mt. Pleasant, from which he soon after escaped and came back here and began a reign of terror in the neighborhood, taking the combative turn of mind he went armed continually and threatened the lives of a great many. The tragic end has long been anticipated, and there is now a feeling of great relief that he is gone, although intense sorrow that a good man had to die with him. The New Era, Humeston, Iowa, July 3, 1889 page 8. Newspaper.com


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