Something a northwest Iowa sheriff carried decades ago has been found. Hugh Maxwell was sheriff in Plymouth County from 1913 to 1929. Maxwell’s grand niece in California sent Maxwell’s leather-covered night stick to Plymouth County sheriff Mike Van Otterloo.
Van Otterloo says Maxwell and his 22-year-old son, deputy William Maxwell, were shot while serving jail meals in 1919. "Five men who were in for a Westfield bank robbery had smuggled a gun into the jail. They shot Sheriff Maxwell in the side, wounding him, and then, shot and killed his son," Van Otterloo says.
The deputy is the only Plymouth County Sheriff’s department officer ever killed in the line of duty. The former sheriff’s equipment and a photo will be displayed at the county law enforcement center.