Montana Law Enforcement Museum

212 E. Broadway
Philipsburg, MT 59858
(406) 859-6536

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Brannin

Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Department

Department Patch

Deputy Sheriff Joe Brannin was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a horse thief in Melville, Montana. Deputy Brannin met the suspect in a saloon and served the warrant. The man asked to collect some belongings before leaving.
As the two left, one of the suspect's friends struck Deputy Brannin in the face with a bottle. Deputy Brannin shot the man who struck him, but was then shot by the original suspect. The 29-year-old suspect was arrested six weeks later in Phoenix, Arizona. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 22 years. On August 12, 1912, while en route to Deer Lodge Penitentiary he jumped from the train and escaped near Butte. Nine weeks later he was arrested in Elko, Nevada, for horse stealing. After serving a three-year sentence in Nevada he was returned to Deer Lodge Penitentiary. He was paroled in February of 1919. A year later he was arrested in Dillon, Texas, for cattle rustling. Deputy Brannin had served with the Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Department for one year. His mother and 12 siblings survived him.

End of Watch:
November 16, 1911