WEBB CITY, Mo. — A fallen Webb City Marshal who died 120 years ago in the line of duty will be honored on Tuesday, October 18, in a special ceremony where he is already buried at Webb City Cemetery.
His marker does not recognize his line of duty death, until now.
City Marshal Leonard S. Rich serving the City of Webb City, was killed in the line of duty on August 10, 1902.
Marshal Rich was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance in downtown Webb City.
Webb City Elk’s Lodge #861, Mount Hope Cemetery & Quality Memorials, Inc. will place memorial marker on his gravesite.
| SEE OUR LIVE live video honoring Marshal Rich from Webb City Cemetery.
“Today we pay homage to to one of our officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Marshal Leonard S. Rich was a Webb City lawman dedicated to bringing law and order to his town.” — Service Program
On Saturday night August 10, 1902 Marshal Rich was responding to a disturbance inside Lizzie Reed’s Resort. The resort was a two-story building on Main Street. The trouble was between the owner, Lizzie, and an Oklahoma man, Jim Gideon.
Jim Gideon and his gang had been giving some of the girls upstairs in the parlor some troubles. Lizzie wanted them to go downstairs but he refused.
The Gideon Brothers, Joe and Jim, had moved to Webb City from Oklahoma Indian Territory in December 1901. They quickly became known as dangerous men and this was not their first run-in with Marshal Rich.
Both brothers had been bragging all evening about how they were going to “get a guy” and the deed was going to take sometime around midnight. Joe would not stop talking about it and kept showing off his gun until Jim finally told him to take the gun back to the hotel room. Only Joe didn’t do it and he continued to drink.
Finally Lizzie called Marshal Rich, Marshal James, and Sam Moon, temporary police officer hired to serve during the street fair.
At first Marshal Rich tried to talk Jim down and for a while it seemed to be working until they got to the front door. That’s when a scuffle between Jim and Marshall Rich broke out. At the same time a fight was going on between Joe Gideon and Marshall James.
Shots were fired and when it was over Joe Gideon had killed Marshall Rich. Sam Moon had killed Joe Gideon and Jim Gideon had been shot through the arm. Marshall James was badly beaten but survived.
Marshall Leonard Rich was a peace officer and a family man. He married Eve May Eulitle in July 1888. They had a six year old daughter, Stella. Marshal Rich is buried in the Webb City Cemetery; his stone does not show he died in the line of duty.
October 18, 2022 a new stone was placed in front of Marshal Rich headstone to recognize his sacrifice for the people of Webb City.
Information courtesy Priscilla Brown and Jeanne Woodworth-Newby of the Webb City area genealogical society.