August Singler's brother William was sheriff after shooting death

In April the Mail Tribune ran several articles on the slaying of Sheriff Singler 100 years ago. Several days ago your "100 years" column mentioned Rose Singler applying for state authorized widow with children assistance. Then the next day your "100" column ran a mention of Medford's chief of police "pinching" Sheriff Singler for driving too fast through town. Somehow the chronology of events does not work. Please explain.

— Larry, via email

You are correct, Larry, that Sheriff August D. Singler died of gunshot wounds the morning of April 23, 1913, following a shootout with 19-year-old "desperado" Lester Jones on a ranch near Jacksonville. And you are correct, that on June 5, the Mail Tribune 100 column featured stories about both Singler's widow, Rose, applying for a pension and a living Sheriff Singler caught speeding.

The explanation is simple: August Singler wasn't the last Sheriff Singler.

We made mention in the Mail Tribune 100 column some of the events that transpired in the wake of August Singler's death on April 24, including the emergency appointment of Singler's brother, William.

The following ran on April 23, 1913:

"Late this afternoon, William Singler, brother of the slain sheriff in consultation with County Judge Tou Velle and County Commissioner Leever, agreed to accept the appointment as sheriff, upon the understanding that he assist in the care of his brother's family and look after their welfare, a responsibility which he cheerfully agreed to assume. As soon as Commissioner Smith can be reached, the appointment will be made."

We weren't able to dig up much on William's history. But thanks to the help of a volunteer at the Southern Oregon Historical Society research library, we uncovered a Sept. 15, 1913, Mail Tribune article showing that William Singler retained a lawyer after Rose was denied that mother's pension from the county. The denial came after William's appointment and his agreement to help his brother's family. The mother's pensions were meant for women with no income whatsoever.

A Feb. 18, 1979, Mail Tribune profile on August Singler's daughter, Zita Singler Maddox, shows that Rose's pension denial would be the beginning of hardships for Rose and her children. Rose would later labor as a cook for the jail until she found work for a dry cleaning business to support her family.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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