Archive for December 7th, 2018

Originally published in The Seattle Sunday Times, December 7, 1941

Matt Starwich, King County jail superintendent and one of King County’s most colorful police officers, died at 11:22 o’clock last night in Swedish Hospital. He had been in the hospital since early last week, suffering from a complication of ailments.

Starwich, known affectionately for years as the “Little Giant,” had been in failing health since March 7, when he fell five feet on the roof of the County-City Building during Seattle’s test blackout.

The 62-year-old officer’s death ended a vigil that had been kept by his wife, son, and daughter at his bedside for more than 24 hours.

Starwich was the Americanized version of the family name. He was born Mateo Starcevis, son of a shoemaker, at Lich, near Flume (then in Austria), 62 years ago. When he was 12 years old he immigrated with a cousin to LaSalle County, Ill., and at an early age became a coal miner.

Starwich later moved to Marshfield, Or., and from there to Ravensdale in 1901, when there was little law in that mining community and less demand for it. Shootings, stabbings, and free-for-all fights were almost a daily occurrence there. The residents of the town used to brag about “riding” law-enforcement officers out on a rail. (more…)

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