Served: 1½ years
March 1905 to October 30, 1906
During October 1906, Henry White was paroled from the Mansfield Reformatory where he had been incarcerated for shooting his girlfriend in Columbus, Ohio. On October 21, 1906, he and his acquaintance of three weeks, Sadie Freeman, posing as husband and wife, rented a room at Reuben Tilford’s Colored Boarding House on Anderson Street. Then, White set about to burglarize homes and businesses almost every night thereafter.
Tilford (71) became suspicious of White’s nocturnal activities and wrote a letter to Marshal Basore. In the letter, he described White as always having on his person a firearm and two razors. Marshal Basore was sufficiently convinced to conduct surveillance on White.
On October 30, Tilford found Marshal Basore in Squire Corwin’s office and informed him that White and his “wife” were at the traction station in Earhart’s Drug Store and about to get away with valises suspected of containing stolen property.
Marshal Basore found White and Freeman at the traction station with two the suitcases. After a short conversation, about 7:28 a.m., White agreed to go with Marshal Basore to the town hall, but when he stood up, he pulled out a .32 Caliber revolver and shot three times at Marshal Basore, one of which entered his chest and tore through his lung and aorta. Though mortally wounded and having fallen to the sidewalk, Constable Basore pulled his sidearm, took deliberate aim, and shot at White in the shoulder, and collapsed. White shot twice more at Marshal Basore, while running away and emptying his revolver.
Deputy Marshal Clint Sinnard ran to the Marshal, took his revolver, and ran after White, shooting at him until the revolver was empty.
Dr. Rice Evans was sitting in his office when he heard the shots and saw the commotion outside. He ran to Conover’s Hardware Store, as did a number of citizens, and procured a revolver. Other citizens pursued White carrying guns, clubs, hammers, and other weapons. Dr. Evans led them to Anderson Street where they found White trying desperately to reload his revolver with one arm – the other one made useless due to the bullet in his shoulder.
Dr. Evans fired in his direction and told him to put his arms up. After firing another shot near his head, White raised the one good arm. Dr. Evans yelled “both arms” and fired another shot past his head. White told him about the broken shoulder and tossed his revolver. The other citizen wanted to execute White there and then, but Dr. Evans persuaded them not to. Deputy Sinnard caught up and detained White for Sheriff Patterson.
Marshal Basore was lifted and carried to Dr. R. R. Evans’ office where he died just after being placed on a stretcher. His body was prepared and taken to his home on Front Street where it was further prepared by his wife and children.
Marshal Basore was survived by his wife, Ida Belle Basore; 5 children, Edna (Robert) Coles, Bessie (Roscoe) Miller, Earle (Ivy) Basore, Guy (Charlotte) Basore; and George H. (Anna) Basore; and 7 grandchildren, including Wren and Hazel Coles, Ida Miller, and Helen and George H. Basore. Schools were canceled and one of the largest funerals ever in Franklin was held at 2:30 p.m. on November 1, 1906 at the Methodist Episcopal Church of Franklin by Rev. Creighton Jones. Marshal Basore was buried in Woodhill Cemetery. Ida joined him fifty years later at Age 96.
The luggage White had with him was found to contain property stolen in the burglaries. Sadie Freeman picked them up during the pursuit and arrest of White and tried to walk away with them. Someone shouted, “Get the woman! Get the woman!” and Mayor McLane apprehended her. He came across Robert Fox, a former Marshal, and swore him in. Together they locked her up and staved off the multitudes who were trying to get to White and lynch him. Freeman was charged as an accomplice in his burglaries.
Fearing vigilante reprisals, Mayor McLane called Sheriff Patterson requesting his hasty response to pick up the prisoner. He then held a preliminary hearing in his office and White pleaded guilty to “willful murder” and the Mayor bound him over to the grand jury. Upon arrival, Sheriff Patterson took the prisoner to the Warren County Jail in Lebanon – 1½ hours after the murder.
During the Coroner’s Inquest, among the eye-witness testimony, Freeman testified that White had told her that no officer could arrest him by himself and that he would kill him before he would be taken. The Coroner ruled that White murdered Marshal Basore.
The Warren County Grand Jury returned a true bill for Murder of the First Degree. At his arraignment on November 11, 1906, White, with attorneys W. F. Eltzroth and L. K. Langdon, pleaded Not Guilty.
On December 5, 1906, about 2 a.m., White escaped from the Warren County Jail using a bar of iron that he wrenched from a ventilator in order to pry locks and reach switches. A general alarm was sounded and a posse searched for White. “Most of the [the citizens of the] entire county” were involved. Bloodhounds were brought in from Martinsville and tracked White’s trail for eight miles to a railroad track and continued from there.
About 10 p.m., White was seen at the home of Gilbert Fox and chased out of his barn with shots fired at him. He got away with a shotgun and seven shells. The bloodhounds resumed their track which took them to David Ertel’s barn where the pursuers found he had stolen a horse. From there, they tracked him to William Barnes’s barn where they found the first horse abandoned and another one stolen. Along the track, they found that one abandoned at Hills Station along the B&O Railroad bed. His trail was found again and tracked to a vacant house two miles west of Blanchester.
On December 7, at 2:30 p.m., the Blanchester Marshal opened the doors of the cupboard in which he was hiding. He leveled the shotgun at him, but the gun did not fire – he did not know how to take the safety off.
Back in his cell, he admitted that if he had not been successful in getting out of the building, it was his intention to kill Sheriff Patterson when he made his morning rounds.
White’s trial began the next Tuesday, December 11, 1906. Most of the time was taken up with selecting a jury. After numerous witnesses testified and were cross examined, the case went to the jury on December 20, 1906. White was found guilty of Murder of the First Degree.
On January 5, 1907, White was sentenced to die in the electric chair on May 29, 1907. White received the news without reaction.
White’s attorney appealed, and on May 3, 1907, the Circuit Court in Lebanon refused a new trial for White. Soon, another appeal was made, delaying the execution. Then, on June 20, 1907, the Ohio Governor delayed it again until July 18, 1907 in order to allow White’s attorneys to present a case to the Board of Pardons. This was done and no pardon was issued.
On July 19, 1907, just after midnight, White walked to the electric chair with “the same indifference [he had] shown throughout his life,” albeit clutching a crucifix. It took three jolts to stop his heart. His body was taken by Father M. Rumaggi, of the Catholic Church, the faith to which he had converted three weeks prior. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was researched and revised June 7, 2013 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. The fact of Marshal Basore’s line of duty death was brought to our attention by Franklin Reserve Officer Johnny Miller. All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.