Type of Officer: Sheriff
Jurisdiction: Ellsworth County
County: Ellsworth
Death Date: 8/15/1873
Added to Memorial: 1987
Circumstances of Death: Gunshot
Whitney, well-known lawman and scout who had participated in the Battle of Beecher Island in 1868, became sheriff of Ellsworth County in 1871. Billy Thompson, buffalo hunter, and general frontiersman tried to start a fight over a card game. Whitney stepped in to stop the disturbance and Thompson shot him with a double-barreled shotgun. Thompson was quoted as saying, (when asked why he would shoot someone like Whitney), “I would have shot if it had been Jesus Christ.”