Minn. deputies seek honor for fallen 1923 comrade

Published 9:54 am Monday, June 3, 2013

KELLIHER — Beltrami County deputies are trying to track down the descendants of James Art Wilson, the only deputy to die in the line of duty in the 116-year existence of the Beltrami County sheriff’s office.

The deputies are hoping to provide Wilson a more fitting resting place than the simple, easily overlooked gravesite where he was buried after he was killed in 1923.

“I guess it just left an empty feeling. It really saddened me,” Deputy Scott Wherley said when he first saw the modest grave in Kelliher.

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Wherley and fellow deputy Lee Anderson are now trying to find any of Wilson’s family members to let them know they’re hoping to create larger memorials, both at the Law Enforcement Center in Bemidji and the Fairview Cemetery in Kelliher.

Wilson was survived by a wife, son and two sisters, according to Pioneer archives.