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William Charles Ricker
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Birth: 1841, England
Death: Jan. 2, 1902
Natrona County
Wyoming, USA

Sheriff Ricker was shot and wounded when he went out to a barn at the Woodard ranch to check on the officer's horses. Some guys were in the barn looking over the horses. Sheriff Ricker asked for some water and to be taken into the house. His shooter refused the request of the other officers so it was not known if he died then or if it was after the shooter and another person dragged him into the barn where they either beat him over the head or shot him again. He was then robbed of his money, watch and weapons.

Charles Woodard was the man who shot Sheriff Ricker.

Wyoming Derrick no. 35
January 9, 1902
Page 1

Requiescit In Peace

Large Gathering to Attend Last Sad Rites

Sheriff Ricker Buried with Honors

The all absorbing theme of interest in our city, or rather in our state, since last Saturday morning has been the death of Charles Ricker, the fearless sheriff of Natrona county. The word was received here early Friday morning, brought in by James Milne, that Sheriff Ricker had been shot, and as he thought, killed , at the Woodard ranch, near Garfield Peak, between six and seven o'clock on the previous evening. Almost immediately Mrs. Ricker, W. H. McCoy, Dr. Hoff and Tom Burley left for the scene of the trouble at Woodard's ranch and were followed during the day by others to be met on the road by some of the ranchmen from that vicinity bringing in the body of the dead sheriff. The death was so sudden and unexpected, so cruel and uncalled for, so brutal and offensive that it was not only a terrible shock to the family of the murdered man and his friends scattered throughout Wyoming and the west, but the concensus of opinion amoung our best people was that his murderers would pay the penalty of their crime in a way that would not run up a bill of expense to the county.

The remains of Sheriff Ricker, accompanied by a number of friends, arrived in town Friday night and were laid out at the residence adjoining the jail, where they remained in charge of the different orders to which he belonged until Saturday at 2 p.m., when the funeral services were held at the Odd Fellow's Hall.

William Charles Ricker was born in London, England, January 27, 1841, and was the second of five children, having three brothers and one sister. He was four years of age when he came to this country and settled in New York state. Very little is known of his youth and early life in the east, but he had been for many years in Wyoming and on the fronteir.

He was always a brave and fearless man, never seeming to value his own life to the extent that he allowed any thought of self to stand in the way of what he considered his duty.

He had been twice wounded before, in battles with the Indians. Many years ago when acting as a scout under Lieut. Chase, during an Indian raid, he was shot in the head and carried to his grave a silver plate over the wound as a momento of that encounter. Later he was shot in the hand, carrying away part of his little finger.

The last and fatal shot that ended this brave man's life was through the left side, nearly the identical wound that killed President McKinley. The bullet supposed to be from a Winchester was found inside his shirt, having pierced the body.

Mr. Ricker was married May 2, 1885, to Miss Emma Odder, at Laramie, Wyoming, by Rev. Geo. Corneil, and four children survive him. Two daughters, Louie and Sylvia, aged 16 and 13 respectively, were summoned home Saturday by the sad news of their beloved father's death from the school in Cheyenne where they were attending their second year. A son, Willie, eight years of age, and a little girl, Phyllis, of three and one half years, constitute the family.

The funeral which was held Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock was the largest that ever assembled in Casper. The deceased was known to every man, woman and child. We doubt not, in this section of state and his long residence on the frontier had made him well and favorably known by all the old settlers. He only numbered his friends by acquaintances for his brusque, easy mode of address made him one easy to become acquainted with and his big heartedness and liberality of views made him the friend of all, especially those he considered to be not as well off in this world's goods as the majority, and one of his chief failings, if such it could be called, was that he could never turn a deaf ear to suffering or poverty. His last dollar he would give to the one who asked it, never considering whetherit would ever be returned or not. It was a noble trait in a man with a heart as big as the universe. An affectionate husband and father, indulgent to the last degree, his loss will be doubly hard to bear and it can never be fully appreciated by those who have not endured some similar dire loss in family or near friend.

The services which were attended by the I. O. O. F. and Masonic brethern, by the Order of the Eastern Star and the Casper Firemen, were most beautiful and impressive. The different orders marched in regalia from the hall to the residence where three of the ladies of the Rebecca lodge, Madammes Wheeler, Seely and Miller, accompanied by Mrs. Miller on the organ, sang his favorite hymn, "Asleep in Jesus." After this the remains were, accompanied by the orders, the bereaved family and sorrowing friends, to the I. O. O. F. hall where the services were in charge of that lodge, of which the late dead was the Noble Grand, but lately elected to fill that position by his now sorrowing brethern.

C. M. Hawks acted as Noble Grand, A. J. Cunningham as Vice Grand, pro tem; W. W. Mohler, as Chaplain, pro tem, and Robert McAdams, Marshal.

The hymns were sung by Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Kimball, Mr. Townsend, Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Dan Rhoades.

The pall bearers, three from the Odd Fellows and three from the Masons were; J. H. Bury, L. C. Seely, C. C. Webel, C. K. Bucknum, C. H. King and N. S. Bristol.

After the conclusion of ceremonies at the hall, the Mason order rendered the final beautiful Masonic tribute at the cemetery in charge of M. P. Wheeler, Worshipful Master, assisted by E. H. Kimball, Chaplain pro tem, and E. P. Rohrbaugh, Marshal.

On the casket was deposited a Masonic apron, an Odd Fellows' collar and a Fireman's belt.

The floral offerings, which were very beautiful considering the season and the short time for preparation were as follows; A cross of cut flowers by the ladies of the Rebeccas, and they also made the three links for the I. O. O. F. order, composed of geranium and leaves; The Eastern Star, a beautiful star; The Firemen, a large and handsome square with C. F. D. in relief, and the Masons, the emblematic square and compass.

Besides the different orders that formed an escort in the procession to the cemetery, a large number of carriages containing the old friends and acquaintances followed the remains, and in this way showed their respect to the honored dead.

The Casper Fire Department by the death of W. C. Ricker was bereft of its chief, the Odd Fellows of its Noble Grand, Casper Lodge A. F. & A. M. of its Senior Warden, Natrona County of a brave, efficient and fearless sheriff, and the community of a good hearted, loyal citizen, who laid down his life in pursuance of his duty as an officer. And while in most instances these offices will soon be taken by other men more or less worthy than the deceased, the place made vacant to the home where he filled always the place of a kind and affectionate husband and father can never be filled and the bereaved are now the recipients of the heartfelt sympathy of a host of friends and acquaintances.

Charlie Ricker is no more; he is dead to all that there is on this earth, but his virtues will remain with us always.

Sheriff W.C. Ricker was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend a jail escapee.

The suspect was later apprehended in Billings, Montana. The man was convicted of Sheriff Ricker's murder and sentenced to death. Several days before his hanging the State Supreme Court issued a stay of execution. On March 29, 1902, a group of angry citizens took him from the county jail and hanged him.

Sheriff Ricker was survived by his wife and four children.

Read more: 
Highland Cemetery
Natrona County
Wyoming, USA
Plot: Block 34, Lot 16, Grave 5
Created by: Cemetery Walker
Record added: Nov 24, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 62101266
William Charles Ricker
Added by: Mary Cunningham
William Charles Ricker
Added by: Cemetery Walker
William Charles Ricker
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Ken Beckman
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- Cemetery Walker
 Added: Dec. 1, 2010

- Cemetery Walker
 Added: Dec. 1, 2010

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