James Francis Duquesne (March 3, 1851-September 4, 1913) was an American Nationalist politician who was governor of Washington from 1905-1909 and for nearly eight months in 1913, when he was murdered and thrown into Puget Sound. Duquesne is almost exclusively known for being one of three state governors to be assassinated while in office.

Early Life

Military Service

Washington State Senator

Governor of Washington


On the morning of September 4, 1913, Duquesne's carriage from the governor's residence in Olympia to the State Capital was ambushed. Five men with guns attacked the carriage at the intersection of Spring Street and State Avenue, about half a mile from the Capital. In the firefight, the carriage driver, William Joss, was fatally wounded in the head and dragged himself off the carriage. Two of the three bodyguards, George Damon and Edward Sextant, were killed instantly in the shooting. The third bodyguard, Henry Jones, was seriously injured by a bullet to the abdomen and fell from the carriage, but managed to fatally injure one of the assailants, Charles Davis.

The other four men commandeered the carriage after bolting the doors shut from the outside and rode off with it away from the State Capitol. A militia was organized to find the carriage, which was discovered, burned to a shell, five miles west of the city.

In the evening of September 6th, after a two-day manhunt for the kidnapped governor, Duquesne's body was discovered floating in the Puget Sound at a lumber mill up the coast. He had been stabbed repeatedly and his throat was slit.

Through the investigation of Davis, police were able to identify four suspects - Howard Jones, Charles F. Fannett, Laurent DeBeer, and Roger Greening. The sole survivor of the ambush, Henry Jones (no relation to the accused) positively identified Greeneing and Fannett as two of his assailants. The four men were tried and convicted of the murder of James Duquesne in Olympia and were all hung on October 20th. Three of the men were left-behinds, much like Charles Davis, and DeBeer was a known career criminal. Historians have often criticized the shaky evidence used to hang the four alleged assassins, but note that Duquesne was extremely unpopular in the left-behind community.