King County Sheriff Lewis V. Wykoff dies from effects of mob violence on January 20, 1882.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 5/23/2002
  • Essay 3803

On January 20, 1882, King County Sheriff Lewis V. Wykoff (1828-1882) dies of a heart attack, resulting no doubt from the effects of mob violence.

Two days before, a mob had seized and lynched two accused murderers and a man accused of killing a Seattle policeman. All three victims had been in the sheriff's custody. Before the lynching, Wykoff had resisted the mob trying to take two of his prisoners. Wykoff held a gun on the lynch mob, which was some 200 strong, telling the men that they would take his prisoners over his dead body.

The mob then went away, but grabbed the prisoners the next day and lynched them, along with another accused man. Two days after this disastrous affair, Wykoff suffered a heart attack and died. He was the first King County peace officer to die in the line of duty.


"Death of Lewis V. Wykoff," Seattle Chronicle, January 20, 1882, p. 3.
Note: This essay was revised on January 16, 2003.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You