Former Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s badge found in old desk in Oshkosh

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - The Fond du Lac County sheriff has a nearly 100 year old mystery on his hands, following a find by some movers in Oshkosh. But it’s not a crime, instead a piece of department history he’s hoping to unlock.

“You never know what’s going to get dropped on your desk next as sheriff, and so this was definitely something I wasn’t expecting,” says Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt.

The “this” is an old Fond du Lac County sheriff’s badge, still in what’s believed to be its original leather carrying case. It was found this summer by a moving company while cleaning out an old bank building in Oshkosh in Winnebago County. According to Waldschmidt, “When they got to a big old wooden desk, they rolled the desk up to put it on a dolly and when they tipped it, he heard something in the desk slide and make a noise in one of the drawers. So, they opened up the drawers and he found this badge.”

The badge and accompanying business card belonged to former Fond du Lac County Sheriff Arthur A. Briggs.

“It was a neat piece of history that we didn’t have or had no real connection or other documents to him, so this was something new for our archives, and so we did a little checking and tried to look into the history of things, around his time,” adds Waldschmidt.

Briggs served Fond du Lac County in the mid 1920s, nearly a hundred years ago. He was sheriff in 1924 and ‘25. Waldschmidt says, “The phone number on the business card is a three-digit phone number from the 20′s. As we know, phones were new back then, fairly new technology, so it’s a three-digit telephone number on there. And then the address is Linden Street address and we know that the sheriff’s office and jail was actually across the street from where our current government center is and it’s now the employee parking lot.”

With very few records from Briggs’s time in office, the badge find has led current Sheriff Waldschmidt to wonder more about the man. Waldschmidt posted about the badge on the sheriff’s office Facebook page, hoping someone might come forward with more information about Briggs.

He says, “This is one of those that makes you smile and is just kind of a fun little side project to do, a little bit more digging into the history of, because it’s Sheriff’s Office history.”

If no one comes forward with information about Briggs, Waldschmidt says he’ll do some research when he has time. Until then, this piece of sheriff’s office history will sit in a case with other items that tell the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office story.

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