Served: 7 years
1913 to June 25, 1920
On June 25, 1920, a domestic disturbance at the Bolin House on North B Street, near Two Mile Creek, involving an attack on a woman was reported to Hamilton Police. According to the report, a woman was being dragged about by her hair. Captain Joseph Cahill and other officers responded, but there was no indication of any problem and admittance was refused.
About 7:20 a.m. on the morning of June 25, 1920, Sergeant Stegemann of 12 South D Street, Chief of Detectives Herman Dulle, and Detective Edward Riley responded back to follow up on the report and assure the safety of whatever women they might find there. Eli Bolin, the owner, met them on the sidewalk and Detective Riley interviewed him while Chief Dulle and Sergeant Stegemann entered the home. Chief Dulle looked around on the first floor and Sergeant Stegemann went upstairs.
When Sergeant Stegemann stepped into an upstairs room he was met by James Bolin (32) pointing a pump shotgun at him. Sergeant Stegemann yelled to Chief Dulle, “Cap, come here!” pulled his sidearm, and started backing up. As Chief Dulle rushed to the stairs, Sergeant Stegemann was backing down the steps and Bolin pulled the trigger shooting Sergeant Stegemann in the center of his chest. Sergeant Stegemann fired a round from his revolver. He fell backward into Chief Dulle, who eased him to the floor.
Bolin advanced on Chief Dulle who grabbed the barrel of the shotgun. Chief Dulle, revolver in hand, shot James Bolin in his left side and then saw James’s brother, Lee Bolin, aiming a revolver at him. Chief Dulle pulled James Bolin close to himself as Lee Bolin fired two shots and returned fire at Lee Bolin. Then, the Bolins’ sister, Mrs. Sarah Cornett, crossed between them and retrieved James Bolin’s shotgun.
Severely outgunned with two or more adversaries, Chief Dulle retreated from the home with Detective Riley and called Headquarters for assistance. He also called Dr. A. L. Smedley for medical assistance.
Chief of Police Stricker and several officers responded with rifles and shotguns borrowed from the C. A. Clark and Sons Company and Spoerl Hardware. Eli, Lee, and William Bolin and Mrs. Sarah Cornett surrendered and were taken into custody.
Dr. Smedley entered the home and determined that Sergeant Stegemann was dying and there was nothing that could be done for him. The doctor and Bolin’s father, Eli Bolin, carried Sergeant Stegemann to an ambulance which took him to Mercy Hospital. Chief Stricker went back into the home with Dr. Smedley and carried James Bolin to a patrol wagon that took him to Mercy Hospital and the rest of the family to jail.
Sergeant Stegemann, on the way to the hospital, asked for a drink of water and fell into an unconscious state. He did not regain consciousness and died at 8:20 a.m. in the hospital.
Sergeant Stegemann left a wife, Mayme Stegemann; daughter, Dorothy Stegemann(13); and siblings, Anthony Stegemann, Mrs. Bach, of Toledo; Mrs. W. Gray, of Philadelphia; Mrs. J. Schlosser of Alameda; Mrs. Fox of Los Angeles; Dorothea Stegemann of Alameda; Agnes Stegemann of Chicago; and Mrs. John Thurston of Newport. He was buried June 29, 1920, in Greenwood Cemetery. Mrs. Stegemann was granted a pension of $25.00 per month and Dorothy $7.50 a month until she turned 16. Mrs. Stegemann lived another 49 years, dying at age 90 in 1969. Dorothy married Paul Grathwohl in 1928 and died in at 85 in 2009.
By 2:20 p.m. on June 25th, physicians had all but given up hope for Bolin’s survival. At the time it appeared that he had been shot four times; once in the side, one in the arm, and twice in the back. Though conscious, the only statement he made was an admission that he shot Sergeant Stegemann. He refused to tell police what was so important at the Bolin home that they were willing to kill police officers for it. Bolin died at 5:50 p.m. that night.
An autopsy revealed that Bolin had been shot three times. Chief Dulle’s bullet went in his left side and out his right. Lee Bolin’s shots at Chief Dulle hit James Bolin’s arm and back. He was also buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Lee Bolin was charged with Shooting with Intent to Kill Chief Dulle.
If you have further information, artifacts, archives, or images of this officer, please contact the Museum Director at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was written by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (RET) with research from Joyce Meyer, Price Hill Historical Society, and Cincinnati Police Specialist Edward Zieverink (RET).
Charles J Stegemann (29), 1910 Census, b. OH; res. Hamilton Ward 1; Married; White; Father of Germany; Mother of Germany, Spouse, Mary C. Stegemann (29); Daughter, Dorothea E. Stegemann (3)
Charles Stegemann (38), 1920 Census, res. Butler Co., b. 1882 in OH; Male; White; Married; Father of OH; Mother of OH; Spouse, Mayme Stegeman (39); Dauther, Dorathy Stegeman (12)
Desk Sergeant Charles Stegemann Killed, Hamilton Evening Journal, Friday, June 25, 1920, p. 15
Stegemann Shot While He Was Doing His Duty as an Officer, Hamilton Evening Journal, Friday, June 25, 1920, p. 16
Bolin is Dying This Afternoon, Hamilton Evening Journal, June 25, 1920, p. 1
Stegeman Funeral, Hamilton Evening Journal, Saturday, June 26, 1920, p. 1
The Journal Starts Fund for the Stegemann Family, Hamilton Evening Journal, Saturday, June 26, 1920, p. 1
The Murderer of Stegemann is Dead, Hamilton Evening Journal, Saturday, June 26, 1920, p. 12
Police Report Gives Story of Trouble at Bolin Hom, Hamilton Evening Journal, Saturday, June 26, 1920, p. 12
Lee Bolin Held by Police, Hamilton Evening Journal, Saturday, June 26, 1920, p. 12
Bolin Was Shot by Brother, Hamilton Evening Journal, Monday, June 28, 1920, p. 10
Pension for Stegemann’s Widow and Child, Hamilton Evening Journal, Wednesday, June 30, 1920, p. 4
Charles J. Stegemann, Death Certificate, b. 2/2/1882 in OH; d. 6/25/1920 in Hamilton, OH @ 38; Male; Married; White; res 12 South D Street; Occ desk Sergeant; burial 6/29/1920 Greenwood Cemetery; Father Theodore Stegeman of OH; Mother Anna Mick of OH
Mayme Stegemann (51), 1930 Census, res Hamilton; b. 1879 in OH; Father of Germany; Mother of Ohio
Paul Grathwohl (23), 1930 Census, res. Hamilton, Butler Co.; Married; White; Parents of OH; Spouse Dorothea Grathwohl.
Dorothea Stegemann (21), Marriage 9/19/1928 in Butler Co., b. 1907 of Hamilton; Father, Charles Stegemann; Mother, Mayme Grimmer; Groom Paul Grathwohl; Father George Grathwohl; Mother Comelia Vanatta.
Mayme Stegemann (91), SSI Index, b. 8/2/1878 in OH; res. Butler Co. 45013; d. 10/1969
20 law enforcement deaths in Butler County, 1913-1964, Compiled by Jim Blount
Dorothy Grathwohl (85), SSI Index, SSN 296-16-0994; res Butler Co, 45013, d. 5/17/2009