Written By: Frank Smoot | Posted: Friday, April 15th, 2011
On July 9, 1881, four shots shattered the quiet around Durand, setting off a frenzy that would die only at the end of the rope. Many of the older couples had retired already; some of the younger folks were hanging around outside. Even though it was a Friday evening the streets were, as usual, pretty quiet in Durand. But as the full moon rose on that mid summer's night in 1881, four shots rang out almost simultaneously from four different guns. A witness said the men were not more than 15 feet apart when the shooting commenced. In almost a single flash, two brothers lay dead, and the two brothers who shot them were headed to the woods of the Eau Galle bottoms, sorely wounded and soon to be the subjects of the largest manhunt in Pepin County's history.
The slain lawmen were widely known and respected around western Wisconsin, and in the hours after the shooting they became martyrs and heroes. Forty year old Charles Coleman, former sheriff of Durand and still sometimes lawman, had served during the Civil War and acquired a reputation as a brave and gallant soldier.
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