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Canute R. Matson facts for kids

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Canute R. Matson (April 9, 1843 – January 12, 1903) became Cook County Sheriff in the aftermath of the 1886 Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago.


Knut Rognald Matson was born on the Opkvitne farm at Voss Parish in Hordaland, Norway. He was the youngest child of Rognald Madson and Gjertrud Jonsdatter. He came to the United States with his parents and siblings in 1849 when he was 6 years old. The Matson family settled in Walworth County, Wisconsin. Matson received his education at Albion College and later studied law at Milton College.

Civil War

On October 7, 1861, he enlisted as a soldier in the 13th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, at Janesville, Wisconsin. During the Civil War, he was promoted to sergeant and at the close of the war he was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant at San Antonio, Texas.

Political career

Starting during 1869, Matson took a leading part in the councils of the Illinois Republican Party. As a member of the state governor's staff and the Grand Army of the Republic, he was promoted first to major and later to colonel. He served as clerk of the Harrison Street Police Department and subsequently as a Justice of the Peace. He was elected Cook County Coroner in 1880.

During May 1886, while Matson was Deputy Sheriff of Cook County, the Haymarket Riot resulted in the death of several policemen. A number of arrests were made and charges were brought against eight men who were incarcerated in the Cook County Jail supervised by Matson. Later in 1886, he succeeded Seth Hanchett as Sheriff of Cook County.

He was a delegate from Illinois to 1888 Republican National Convention. In 1899, Matson was appointed superintendent of the Lincoln Park postal station, succeeding Hermann Lieb. At the time of his death, Matson was the senior member of the law firm of Matson & Edwards in Chicago.

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