Braxton Citizens' News, Community

Memorial to fallen Gassaway Police Officer to be dedicated May 3

A memorial will be dedicated to the only Gassaway Police Officer ever killed in the line of duty on Friday, May 3. Community residents and organizations have come together to fund and erect a special bench in memory of  fallen Police Chief Ord Thompson. The effort was spearheaded by local historian Herb Cogar of Gassaway.

On the morning of April 30, 1915, while attempting to arrest a dangerous fugitive, Gassaway Chief of Police Ord Thompson was shot and mortally wounded at E.M. Layman’s store, then at the corner of Elk and 4th Street (the current location of City National Bank branch) by William Holly Griffith.

Chief Thompson was evacuated by special train to St. Francis hospital in Charleston where he was pronounced dead at 6:25 PM. He was 44 years old.

Following funeral services in both Gassaway and Elkins, he was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Elkins, near the final resting places of Gassaway founding father, Henry Gassaway Davis and the Stephen B. Elkins’ families.

He was survived by his wife, Delphia and four children, Gorman, Herley, Sylvia and Kendall.

Chief Thompson’s sacrifice will forever be remembered by the grateful citizens of the town he faithfully served thanks to Cogar’s efforts.

The granite engraved bench in his honor is located on the corner of Elk and 4th Street adjacent to the City National Bank’s Gassaway Branch. The dedication ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. on May 4 followed by a reception at the Gassaway Depot. The public is invited to attend.

Details of Chief Ord Thompson’s murder and its’ effect on the Gassaway community and the state can be found in an article written by H.R. Cogar for Goldenseal magazine in the publication’s fall edition, 2010 [William Holly Griffith: West Virginia Desperado 36:3;p40]. The story was reprinted in the Braxton Citizens’ News.