unheralded hero

deputy charles small

Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Wayne County Sheriff's Office

Rank: Deputy

Badge:  Unknown

Served: Less Than A Year

Unit of Assignment / Detail: 

Location of Incident (Present Day): Congress Street, between Hastings Street and Rivard Street, Detroit, Michigan

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Age at Time of Death: Approximately 31


Date of Birth: Approximately 1826

Date of Appointment: Unknown

Date of Incident: 5 July 1857

End of Watch: 6 July 1857

Date of Interment: Unknown


Unheralded Hero Investigation Began: 12 December 2020

Accepted By Agency: 23 December 2020

Approved By National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: 1 February 2022


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan
 Grave Location: Unknown
 Interment Disposition: Burial



 Military Service: No Military Service


Memorial Details

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel 49 East Line 32

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed

Memorial at the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum: Not Listed

Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: Not Listed

Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial: Not Listed

Wayne County First Responders Memorial: Not Listed


Incident & Biographic Details

Deputy Sheriff Charles Small was shot and killed as he and another deputy attempted to disperse a group of men who were fighting on Congress Street, between Hastings Street and Rivard Street, in Detroit.

A riot was occurring near the hospital and the sheriff sent for reinforcements. Deputy Small was summoned from home and as he and a second deputy responded to the scene they encountered the group of men. When the other deputy ordered them to disperse the group attacked him, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him repeatedly. The group also attacked Deputy Small and shot him in the head with a pistol after he fell to the ground.

He died from his wounds the following morning.

Over a dozen men were arrested in connection with Deputy Small's murder. Three brothers were convicted of lesser crimes in December 1857 and then pardoned by the Michigan governor in December 1858.

Deputy Small had recently been appointed a deputy. He immigrated here from England and worked as a butcher before joining the Sheriff's Department. He married Franceska in 1854.