William S. Grubb

Leonard Agnew Welty
Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
March 31, 1933
Location of Death: 
San Francisco, CA

Circumstances of Death

Prohibition Agents William Smith Grubb and F. L. Myers boarded the Sausalito ferry boat enroute to San Francisco.  They had received information that Canadian liquor was being unloaded and smuggled along the north coast of San Francisco. The agents became suspicious when a Buick coupe drove onto the ferry and proceed to the extreme end; thus enabling it to be the first car off when the boat docked in San Francisco.  They also observed that the driver never left his vehicle.  When the boat began to dock in San Francisco, the agents approached the driver, later identified as convicted felon James Valensona, and ordered him out of the car.

Valensona stalled and then rammed through the gate just as the boat docked.  The agents, one on each side of the car, instinctively jumped onto the running boards as Valensona took off at a high rate of speed up the street.  He ran over the curb and next to a telephone pole to throw the agent off the vehicle.  Agent Grubb was killed from the impact with the telephone pole.  Valensona then swerved the car to the opposite side of the street attempting to do the same to Agent Myers.  However, Agent Myers broke the side glass and reached inside and grabbed the steering wheel and steered the car into a building.

Agent Myers survived the crash and Valensona was arrested.  The subsequent investigation showed that Valensona was a Federal fugitive and had been sought by the U.S. Marshal Service for over seven years.  Valensona was tried for the murder of Agent Grubb, but the jury surprisingly returned a verdict of not guilty.


Agent Grubb joined the Bureau of Prohibition on October 7,1929, with an annual salary of $2,300.  He carried badge #1479.  Previously, Agent Grubb was a Border Patrol agent.


Agent Grubb was born in Enid, OK.  He was survived by his wife, Anna Mae, their son, William, Jr., and two daughters, Elizabeth and Virginia.

Last Reviewed September 30, 2015