William Burnham

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William Burnham
Died March 17, 1906
Occupation Police officer

William B. Burnham (d. March 17, 1906) was a Pensacola police officer fatally shot in the chest while responding to a fight near the southeast corner of Wright and Tarragona Streets, near the Union Depot, by a saloon owned by W. S. Norman.

According to the Pensacola Journal, which described Burnham as "one of the most widely known and popular officers connected with the Pensacola police department":

An unknown negro, who appeared to be a stranger here, committed the crime and he made his escape, although followed by the wounded officer for half a block. The latter then fell to the sidewalk and expired within a few minutes. … The negro who shot officer Burnham and another negro named Jerry Lenox were engaged in a fight on a sidewalk near the saloon, when the stranger drew a revolver and fired two shots at Lenox. The latter ran into the bar, and just as he did so Officer Burnham ran up to place the negro doing the shooting under arrest. The latter, it is stated, turned suddenly and fired upon the officer … [then] wheeled and fled east on Wright street.

Shortly before midnight, police officers arrested a man named Robin Boykins at the depot who fit the description given by witnesses. The next day, officials began seeking an ex-convict named James Ardis for the crime. In December, a grand jury indicted Ardis for the murder.[1]

Burnham was buried at St. Michael's Cemetery.


  • "Officer Burnham Shot and Killed Near Union Depot." Pensacola Journal, March 18, 1906.
  • "Many Present at Officer's Funeral." Pensacola Journal, February 20, 1906.
  1. "Grand Jury Makes Its Final Presentment." Pensacola Journal, December 6, 1906.