The Law In Umatilla County

Statue honoring Umatilla County Sheriff Til Taylor


The Law in Umatilla County


    Umatilla County has had a very colorful history when it comes to the law and the outlaws.  Stage coach robberies, murders, bank robberies--you name it and Umatilla County has been the scene for some wild times.    


First Legal Execution in Umatilla County

    The first legal execution of a white man took place on January 5, 1881, in the jail yard at Pendleton.  Edward (or Arthur) Murphy was hanged by Sheriff Martin for the murder to T.D. French, near Heppner, the previous May.  Murphy was herding a band of sheep for S.S. Snyder, and allowed them to trespass on French's field.  Snyder complained about this and another herder was sent to take charge of the herd.  That night French was approaching the camp, when Murphy seized a pistol, went out to meet him, and after a few angry words shot him dead.   Murphy was tracked for three days, when he turned himself in at Heppner.  He was almost hanged then, but was taken to Pendleton for trial.  He was convicted and sentenced in November.



Related Links


Umatilla County Sheriffs  1841-1991


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