Constable John H. Willsey | Colerain Township

Constable John H. Willsey
Constable John H. Willsey

Age: 58


John Willsey, a fur buyer, worked part time as a constable, transporting prisoners to the Hamilton County jail. On these occasions, he would hire a partner to accompany him on the trips. Often, his partner of choice was Orville (or Isaac) Ogg. During August 1918, on one of these trips, Constable Willsey discussed with Ogg the fact that he had recently sold his home and that the proceeds from that sale were inside his house.

On August 15, 1918, Ogg entered Constable Willsey’s home and hid behind a door. When Constable Willsey walked in, Ogg shot him in the back of the head, killing him.

Constable Willsey was survived by three children, Rachael A. (31), Lida M. (29), and Raymond (15). He was buried in the Willsey Cemetery on Eagle Creek Road in Colerain Township.

Constable John H. Willsey's grave site
Constable John H. Willsey’s grave site

Ogg was arrested and charged. During his trial, he threatened the lives of the Willsey family. Ogg was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to prison. Twenty-six years later, during 1944, Ogg escaped from prison and, while the Willsey family lived in fear for many years, he was never heard from again.

During 2008, Colerain Township Police Sergeant Angela Meyer submitted sufficient proof to the Ohio and national memorials to have Constable Willsey recognized. His granddaughter, Mary Jane Sefton, aged 82, of Guilford, Indiana, attended his induction ceremony at the national memorial.

If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at


This narrative was revised on August 28, 2011 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President, with much research provided by Colerain Township Police Sergeant Angela Meyer (now Retired Lieutenant Meyer). All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.