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As It Was: Fugitive Kills Jackson County Sheriff

The only Jackson County sheriff ever killed in the line of duty, August Singler, died in 1913 in an exchange of gunfire with 19-year-old fugitive Lester Jones.

A Medford Mail Tribune article written by Nick Morgan said Singler had tried to catch Jones a day earlier for allegedly recruiting others to rob Jacksonville’s Beekman bank.

Morgan wrote, “Tips led Singler to a cabin outside Jacksonville where Jones was hiding.  At just after 6 p.m. … Singler drew his revolver and opened the cabin door.  Jones had been waiting for him.  He fired three shots at the sheriff, including one into his chest. Singler returned fire, emptying his revolver with six shots that all hit the outlaw.”

Jones was found dead at the scene of the shoot-out. Singler died the next morning at Medford’s Sacred Heart Hospital.  Singler’s wife, Rose, and eight children survived him.

On May 14, 1993, Singler’s surviving daughters joined more than 150 people at the official dedication in Medford of the August D. Singler Memorial Plaza in the space between the county justice building and the jail.

Source: Morgan, Nick. "Sheriff Singler's sacrifice." Mail Tribune, 29 Apr. 2017 [Medford, Ore.] , local ed., p. A3.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.