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La Crosse County SO

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MOMENTS IN HISTORY

FIRST SHERIFF

Our original sheriff was Amanzo Eldred and in his first year in office he had to deal with 3 murders along with other lesser crimes.

The first occurred in what is now Onalaska.  Deputy Sheriff Andrew Grover stabbed a Samuel Richardson in the throat with a butcher knife.  Grover contended that Richardson was a log thief (tough way to make a buck) and when Grover caught him in the act, he had to use the knife to defend himself.

Sheriff Eldred's investigation revealed that Grover was made because Richardson had shot his dog and ambushed him as he passed on a path.  The sheriff arrested his deputy and transported him to Prairie du Chien for safe keeping.

Grover escaped and left a note saying, "I must go home to hoe corn, and I will be back when court sits!"  He apparently kept his word because he was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to Waupon where he died.

Later that year when dealing with another murder, Sheriff Eldred placed the prisoner in jail.  The jail had a sand floor and the prisoner promptly dug his way out.  When he was recaptured he was placed in the cellar of a private home on Front street.  The cellar had no lock, so a "pipe of whiskey" (105 imperial gallons) was rolled against the door.  The prisoner escaped by digging under the foundation as the cellar had a dirt floor.

An interesting side note is that while in custody, he was forced to attend the funeral of his victim and stand next to the coffin during the services.

He was eventually caught and sent to Waupon.  He was pardoned from there when he enlisted at the beginning of the Civil War.  He quickly deserted and was never seen again.

LCSO HISTORY
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV