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 Frank Henry “Big Dip or Bud” Dependener

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Frank Henry “Big Dip or Bud” Dependener

  • Birth 25 Jan 1869 Auburn, Placer County, California, USA
  • Death 20 Feb 1928 California, USA
  • Burial Auburn, Placer County, California, USA
  • Plot W-1/2-284
  • Memorial ID 42457841


Roseville Tribune and Register
Feb 22,1928

Placer Police Officer Killed in Auto Crash – F. H. Dependener Meets Instant Death Monday Night – Sheriff Gum Seriously Injured

Deputy Sheriff F. H. Dependener of Auburn was instantly killed and Sheriff Elmer H. Gum was seriously injured when the car in which they were riding toward Auburn with two other deputies and a prisoner crashed into another car near the Wise power house below Auburn about 7:20 Monday evening, Gum's car being hurled to the opposite side of the highway due to the force of the crash and rolling down a twenty-foot embankment. It is thought that Dependener suffered a broken neck when hurled from the car to the ground as it went down the bank and died instantly from the results. Sheriff Gum, who was driving, was thrown out of his car and suffered several broken ribs on the left side, three breaks in one wrist, and possibly internal injuries. The other occupants of the car, Deputy Sheriff Al Pilliard of Loomis, suffered a broken collar bone and several body scratches; W. W. Poulson, operative of the district attorney's office, suffered minor scratches and cuts; the prisoner, Joe Poeta of Loomis, suffered a badly broken arm. Deputy Sheriff Poulson was able to extricate himself from the wreckage after the crash and ran to a nearby ranch house where he telephoned to Auburn for assistance. All of the injured were taken to the county hospital, and later Sheriff Gum was removed to another hospital where he is resting comfortably at present. Dr. McKay, county physician, attended the injured and stated that it was not possible as yet to determine whether or not Sheriff Gum had sustained internal injuries. Deputy Sheriff Dependener was taken to Coroner Hislop's office, awaiting funeral arrangements. The inquest over his death will be held depending upon the condition of Sheriff Gum and Deputy Poulson, if they are able to attend. The driver of the other car, Frank Manes, a rancher from the Long Valley district who was accompanied by his wife, was uninjured. Manes was held for investigation following the accident and later released. His car was only slightly damaged and was towed to Newcastle. Sheriff Gum's car was completely wrecked. None of the injured were able to give a comprehensive account of the accident, according to Deputy Sheriff G. W. Seaton, who is investigating. It is thought by those in charge of the investigation that Sheriff Gum's car glanced off the other as the two came together, swerved completely around and crashed down the bank, rolling into an orchard and hurling some of the occupants from the car. The cars met on a straight of way between a ranch known as Adams' Cold Spring and the recent cut in a hill where a curve was eliminated in the highway near the Wise power house. Sheriff Gum and deputies were returning to Auburn with their prisoner following a raid made on an alleged bootleg establishment near Rocklin, Two partly filled barrels of wine taken as evidence had been lashed to the rear of the car and rolled down the hill after the accident. The entire county mourns in the loss of Deputy Sheriff Dependener, better known and beloved by hosts of friends, acquaintances, and police officers in northern California as "Big Dip" by reason of his six feet, seven and one-half inches in height. He was one of the most widely known and popular police officers in California by reason of his 37 years' service in Placer County. He was first appointed deputy sheriff in 1886 by Sheriff William Conroy and has served almost continuously ever since. "Big Dip" had been under gun fire more than twenty times, being in some of the most desperate criminal battles ever fought in this county. He carried about a dozen bullet wounds, and for several years three bullets were still lodged in his body. He is survived by two daughters, Misses Mignon and Beatrice of Auburn, to whom the entire county extends its sympathy. Two brothers, Sam and Fred, both of Auburn, also survive, besides two sisters, Mrs. Margaret Sawyer and Mrs. Mary Skinner of Oakland.
Placer County Sheriff's Office ~ Memorial Page

Deputy Frank H. Dependener

On February 22, 1928 the Placer County Sheriff's Department lost one of its most famous law men when Deputy Frank H. "Big Dip" Dependener was killed in a traffic accident while returning from a raid on an illegal liquor operation in the Roseville area. The vehicle in which Big Dip was a passenger collided with another vehicle and rolled down a 25-foot embankment, coming to rest upside down. Big Dip suffered a broken neck and died instantly. Placer County Sheriff Elmer Gum, also a passenger in the vehicle, suffered major injuries but survived.
Big Dip's funeral was one of the largest ever held in Placer County and was attended by individuals from all over California.
A friend and colleague, Sacramento Police Captain Ed Brown, described him as "one of the best-known, best-liked and most feared men in public service."
At 6-feet, 7-inches tall, Big Dip was the tallest man in the county. His imposing size and sheer strength were qualifications enough for being appointed a deputy sheriff in 1891 when he was just 21. He stayed on as a deputy for the next 37 years, through the administration of four sheriffs.
The media at the time observed that "for more than a third of a century, F. H. Dependener was identified with police activities in Placer County. During that time he was shot at many times, and hit, cut at many times, and cut, struck at many times, and struck, but he always came back."
Big Dip was never far from the action himself, and never afraid to wade into trouble. After his death, the Auburn Journal reported, "Dependener was said to have been wounded at least seven times by bullets, and to have borne about thirty marks inflicted by hostile criminals with weapons of various kinds."
During the long and illustrious career of this great law man, if a crime of any consequence occurred in Placer County, you would almost have to assume that Big Dip would be involved.
The Texas Rangers pride themselves in sending one Texas Ranger to handle one riot. The Placer County Sheriff's Department had their own "one man gang," Deputy Frank H. "Big Dip" Dependener.
Deputy Dependener was a widower. He was survived by his two daughters.


A Clever Capture

F.H. Dependener, for nearly eight years jailor under Sheriff Conroy, resigned his office the first of the week, purchased the night watch from Geo. W. Armstrong as guardian of the lower town during the wee small hours, and now enjoys the full distinction and title of Nightwatchman Dependener. Dip starts out well, for only yesterday he made a very clever capture of a light fingered individual. Morris Kelly, of Long Valley, was in town and made many purchases of groceries, etc., and left them in his cart near Abram's store.

When he wanted them he found his horse tied in Chinatown and the provisions missing. Officers were notified and "Dip" soon located his man in a cabin at Bloomer Cut. The stolen articles were found and identified, and the thief now languishes in the county jail.


Placer Herald
July 9th 1910
Constable Frank Dependener reported first year no arrests made at fair (July 3,4,5,),although more people attended this year that ever.

Frank Dependener is mentioned in a book written by: Lewis J. Swindle, Sr titled, "The Story and Trials of Adolph Julius Weber ".

Had at least two daughters. One was named:
Bea Pavlin. The other was Mignon Young, wife of the late Auburn Police Chief Herschel Young.

He stood at 6 feet 7 inches. He spent 37 years as a duputy sheriff in Auburn.


Placer Herald
Nov. 29, 1913

Constable Frank Dependener sold Bald Hill Ranch (80 acres) in Rock Creek area to Emmett Sullivan. Land adjoins old Pike Bell place on the south.


Died about 7:30 p.m. about 150 yards west of the Holbom ranch on the Auburn-Newcastle HWY. "Now Interstate 80"





  • Created by: Glenda Ragan
  • Added: 27 Sep 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 42457841
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Henry “Big Dip or Bud” Dependener (25 Jan 1869–20 Feb 1928), Find A Grave Memorial no. 42457841, citing Old Auburn Cemetery, Auburn, Placer County, California, USA ; Maintained by Glenda Ragan (contributor 47164677) .