ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin

   Chapter on Watertown Police Department


Joseph Giles


Giles was said to be the “discoverer” of the Silver Creek area in Watertown.



On March 7, 1849, Watertown was incorporated as a village and a charter was adopted.  The village marshal was Joseph Giles.


Joseph Giles was one of the early day police officers in Watertown.  He was sheriff of Jefferson county many years ago, deputy sheriff, constable, in fact held office most all his life in Watertown.  Joe was always able to manage the tough boys who came to town on the old Plank Road in the days of the oxen, but one John McGrail whose father was an early day shoemaker, gave him no end of trouble.  Joe was hot on pursuit one day, but McGrail saw him behind in pursuit and Rock River in front of him.  He never hesitated, but took to the water and swam to the other shore and safety. 


Sheriff Giles was a great friend of the Indian, who were plentiful here at an early day, and could speak their language.  He was an inveterate tobacco chewer and was never seen without a quid of finecut.  He has been gathered to his fathers many moons ago.




Henry Parker was arrested in this city last Friday for horse stealing.  What led to the suspicion that the horse in his possession did not belong to him was his anxiety to sell it—first for a high price and then for anything he could get.  A knowledge of his movements having reached Sheriff Giles, that vigilant officer at once took measures to ascertain the truth of his conjectures.  He brought the lad before Police Justice Hadley and, after a short examination, confessed that he had taken the horse from a farmer residing in the town of Sugar Creek, Walworth County.  The thief was committed to jail in default of bail, to await his trial.   WD




The New County Officers.  One the 1st of January, 1859, the new county officers will enter upon the discharge of their official duties. 


Their names are as follows: 

Sheriff—Joseph Giles;

Clerk of the Court—Charles T. Clothier;

Treasurer—Darius F. Jones;

Register—Gustavus Schnasse;

Clerk of the Board—Ira W. Bird;

District Attorney—Harlow Pease;

Surveyor—Levi P. Gilbert;

Coroner—George Foster.


So far as we are aware, the retiring officers surrender their trusts with the good will and confidence of the public generally, and especially of all who had business to transact with them.  Mr. Edward Rankin has been a vigilant and efficient Sheriff, though from the nature of the unpleasant duties devolving on all such officers, he has not wholly escaped complaint, yet an inquiry into his conduct resulted in his acquittal of intentional wrong.  Mr. Charles Stoppenbach has been Register of Deeds for four years and during that long term of service has fully justified the expectations of his many friends.  Mr. William Sanburn has been an honest and diligent Treasurer, which is all the position demands of anybody.  Mr. Daniel Hall, by the willing testimony of all, has won a high place among the best District Attorneys in that state—in this county he has never had a superior.  Able, fearless, independent, impartial, cautious, he has resolutely met every responsibility and set an example of devotion and industry that can be safely followed.  We can hardly wish a better thing for his successor than to express the hope that he will return to private life with not only the respect but also the “golden opinions” his predecessor carries with him.  WD