The killing of Webster County Sheriff Bertie Brixey

Larry Wood

Larry Wood


The Officer Down Memorial Page at is an interesting website devoted to a worthwhile purpose: commemorating law officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Like a lot of stuff that gets put on the Internet, however, some of the information on the Officer Down website is inaccurate.

Take the example of Sheriff Bertie Brixey of Webster County, Missouri. The Officer Down Memorial Page says Brixey was killed by his best friend in November of 1914 and that the killer was later lynched by a mob on the square in Marshfield. Brixey was indeed killed in November of 1914, but the more sensational details are not true. Here’s the real story.

A man named Stovall hired a buggy and team at Marshfield on Saturday, November 21, 1914, and drove the buggy to Niangua, where both buggy and team disappeared after he hitched them to a rail. Returning to Marshfield, he reported the incident to Sheriff Brixey, and the lawman set out the next morning for Niangua to try to determine who had taken the buggy and team.

For some reason, the sheriff suspected a young man named Edgar Bartlett of having knowledge pertaining to the buggy and team, and he aggressively questioned the young man, even striking him a time or two about the face. Despite the rough treatment, Bartlett said he knew nothing about the disappearance of the buggy and team. Brixey called Bartlett a liar but let him go.

Bartlett went to a justice of the peace’s home to try to get a warrant for Brixey’s arrest, but the judge wasn’t home. Accosting Bartlett again in the judge’s backyard, Brixey accused Bartlett of having a concealed weapon and demanded that he hand it over. Bartlett denied having a gun. When the sheriff made a move toward Bartlett, the young man bolted through the judge’s house and ran to his own house nearby with Brixey in pursuit.

Inside his house, Bartlett armed himself with a shotgun and confronted the lawman as he approached the door with his revolver drawn. He ordered Brixey to halt, but the sheriff nevertheless started to enter the home. Bartlett fired, and the sheriff fell dead.

For the complete article, see the Tuesday print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.


The Lebanon Daily Record

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