Harry Minto

Harry Percy Minto (October 16, 1864 – September 27, 1915) was the superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary in the U.S. state of Oregon from 1914 until his death in 1915. Minto died in the line of duty, killed by an escaped inmate.

Harry Minto
Harry P. Minto in 1908.jpg
Minto in 1908
Born(1864-10-16)October 16, 1864
DiedSeptember 27, 1915(1915-09-27) (aged 50)
OccupationLaw enforcement

Early lifeEdit

Harry Minto was born in Salem, Oregon, in 1864, the son of Oregon pioneer John Minto. In 1890, Minto was married to Jessie Glenn (b. 1870 Salem, Oregon; d. 1956 Tampa, Florida).[1] Minto was chief of police for the Salem, Oregon police department from 1891 to 1895[2] and he served two terms as the Marion County sheriff. He was elected sheriff in 1908, and served through 1913.[3] His older brother, John Wilson Minto, was previously the sheriff as well as chief of police in Portland.[4]

In 1914, Minto was appointed as the Superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary by governor Oswald West. He replaced Berton K. Lawson, who had been involved in the events at Copperfield, Oregon early that year.[1] As warden, he supervised the infamous serial killer Carl Panzram, in June 1915, when Panzram still was in his early twenties and before his known murderings.[5]


Warden Harry Minto believed in harsh treatment of inmates, including beatings and isolation, among other disciplinary measures. On September 27, 1915, inmate Otto Hooker escaped from a work gang at the prison and Minto was one of many law enforcement personnel who went searching for the escaped prisoner.[1] After Hooker shot and wounded one law enforcement officer, Minto caught up with Hooker near Albany around 11:30 pm.[1] There Minto challenged Hooker, and Hooker shot Minto in the head, killing him instantly.[1] Hooker was mortally wounded the next day during capture. Minto’s remains were cremated in Portland, Oregon.[1] Hooker's accomplice, Carl Panzram, was executed in 1930 for killing a prison employee at the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Last Day of Superintendent Minto". Oregon Department of Corrections. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Police Chiefs". Salem Public Library. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Oregon Sheriffs - Marion County". A Place Called Oregon. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  4. ^ Geer, Theodore Thurston (1912). Fifty Years in Oregon: Experiences, Observations, and Commentaries Upon Men, Measures, and Customs in Pioneer Days and Later Times. The Neale publishing company. pp. 113.
  5. ^ "Detailed Bio of Carl Panzram". serialkillercalendar.com. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016.