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Wisconsin Genealogy Trails


Sawyer County
John Dietz
"Defender of Cameron Dam"

Timber Business and the Dietz Case

Hayward, Wis., Dec. 15.—Myra Dietz, eldest daughter of the "defender of Cameron Dam" was given a hearing in the municipal court today on charges growing out of her participation in the defense of the Dietz cabin by the posse of law officers last October, in which one of the sheriffs deputies was killed. In defending the beleaguered cabin with her father and other members of the family, Miss Dietz was shot and has only recently recovered from the wound.
[Palestine Daily Herald. (Palestine, Tex.), December 15, 1910 - Sub. by K.T.]

Hayward, Wis., May 2.- The trial of John Dietz, the noted "defender of Cameron Dam," for the killing of Sheriff Oscar Harp, who was shot during the armed raid at Dietz's cabin on Thornapple river last October, was called here this afternoon.
Dietz, who arrived last night with his wife, grown sons, and daughter, maintained up to the time that court opened, that he would conduct his own defense. The State plans to put on the stand every one of the 150 deputies who surrounded Dietz's cabin during the "battle." Each will be called upon to testify that no shot he fired could have killed Harp.
Experts, it is said, will show that Harp was killed by a bullet from one of Dietz's rifles.
Up to the time the trial was called Dietz refused to outline his defense, or tell whom he would call as witnesses. The "battle of Cameron Dam," in which Harp was killed, was the culmination of a long and bitter fight Dietz had waged single handed against the mammoth Weyerhauser lumber interests. Dietz claimed that he had a right to collect a toll on all logs floated through Cameron Dam. [The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]), May 02, 1911
- Sub. by K.T.]

Anniversary of Cameron Dam Battle in Solitary Confinement.
Motion for New Trial Denied to Secure Ruling From Supreme Court.
HAYWARD, Wis., May 13.—John Dietz, "defender of Cameron's Dam," today was found guilty of the murder of Deputy Sheriff Oscar Harp, one of the sheriffs posse, killed in the famous "battle" of the dam. Mrs. Dietz and her son Leslie, jointly indicted with Dietz, were acquitted.
The Jury had been out all night.
Murder in the first degree was the verdict against Dietz. Dietz's motion for a new trial was denied by Judge Reid.
Judge Reid sentenced Dietz to life imprisonment in the penitentiary, one day of each year — October 8, the anniversary of the "battle of Cameron's dam" — to be spent in solitary confinement.
Demands New trial.
Dietz received the verdict without a tremor, but Mrs. Dietz sank into a chair and wept. Leslie smiled. As soon as the verdict was read Dietz rose, and in a steady voice demanded a new trial on the ground that some of the original testimony had been ruled out and because of alleged error of law. In answer Judge Reid said: "Because you have had no attorney I really do not know what to do with you. I think, however, in view of the motion, the Supreme Court should pass first on the motion, and I shall refuse the motion and allow you ten days in which to prepare your papers.
Denounces Lumber Trust.
Attorney Sturdevant, of the State, broke in with the suggestion that Dietz secure an attorney to prepare the appeal. Judge Reid then asked Dietz if he had anything to say before sentence was pronounced. The "defender" at once entered into a tirade against the Lumber Trust, raising his voice in fury. John F. Dietz came into the limelight about five years ago when he defended Cameron's dam, on Thornapple river, Wisconsin, against one of the largest lumber companies in the State. He was fought in the courts by the lumber companies, but defied the order of Judge and held off at the point of a run all officers who attempted to serve papers upon him. Dietz won. The lumber company paid him a large sum and he allowed the logs to go through. The sheriffs deputized men from all over the State of Wisconsin to make the arrest of Dietz and several were shot. In one engagement Dietz' son was shot in the head, but recovered.
[The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]), May 13, 1911 - Sub. by K.T.]

Leslie Dietz and Attorney E. H. Naber of Mayville, Wis., were in the city Wednesday, looking over the records of the trial of the former's father to be presented in a petition for a pardon for John F. Dietz, now serving a term commutted to 20 years for the murder of Oscar Harp, a deputy, Oct 10, 1910. [Duluth News-Tribune, 10 June 1916 - Sub. by K.T.]


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