Patrolman William Thomas McQuery| Covington Police Department

Patrolman William T. (Mox) McQuery
Patrolman William T. (Mox) McQuery

Age: 39
Served: 4 years
1896 to June 12, 1900

 

During 1884, William McQuery, known variously as “Mox” or “Big Mox”, at age 23, began playing major league baseball with the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds. By 1891, having played in Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Syracuse, and Washington, his career ended and he returned home to Kentucky. About 1896, “Big Mox” joined the Covington Police Department. By 1900, he was considered the most popular man on the Department.

 

Patrolman McQuery's Monument in Covington
Patrolman McQuery’s Monument in Covington

During June 1900, Wallace Bishop, a former mail clerk for the St. Louis Star, and Thomas Mulligan were living among hobos under the Southern Railroad trestle in an encampment known to Ludlow residents as the “Tramps’ Jungle.” After a disagreement with another hobo, known only as the Erie Spider, the “leader” of the hobos ejected Bishop and Mulligan from the Jungle. On June 8, 1900, the two armed themselves, returned to the Jungle, and shot and killed the Spider as he slept. They fled toward Cincinnati aboard a horse drawn streetcar.

Shortly after 5 p.m., they were intercepted by several Covington officers who were alerted to their crime and likely escape route at the Covington end of the Suspension Bridge. Mulligan was arrested without incident. Bishop whipped out his revolver and shot Patrolman McQuery in the chest at close range and fled across the bridge followed by Covington officers.

The bridge was filled with hundreds of people returning from work in Cincinnati and while the officers shot at Bishop, they had to avoid hitting any innocent bystanders. Several officers climbed aboard the streetcar and traveled to the other side. There, they joined with Cincinnati officers and began coming back in and firing at Bishop.

Being shot at from both ends, Bishop jumped off the bridge into the water some 100 feet below. He swam toward some barges moored on the Covington side and was met there by Covington Police Captain Feeney and more officers. As he climbed aboard a coal barge, he pulled his revolver and snapped it at the officers, but it was either empty or waterlogged. He raised his hands and was taken into custody.

Patrolman McQuery was rushed to a Cincinnati Hospital.

Bishop was taken to the Covington Jail where he was treated for a flesh wound to his leg. Initially, Bishop claimed to be William Burns, that his killing of the hobo was self defense, and that the shooting of the officer was merely done in his excitement. Mulligan also lied about his name and was logged in as Thomas Lyons.

Patrolman McQuery lingered between life and death for four days. An infection set in and on June 12, 1900, he died.

Patrolman McQuery was survived by a wife. There was a huge crowd at his funeral. He is buried in Linden Grove Cemetery, Covington, Kentucky.

After Patrolman McQuery’s death, it became necessary to move the two murderers to Louisville for their own safety from residents of Covington who almost certainly would have lynched them. Mulligan was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the Erie Spider. He entered the prison in Frankfurt on August 2, 1900.

Bishop was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death for the two murders. He appealed his sentence based on the claim that his murder of McQuery was not pre-mediated. The courts agreed and at his second trial he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He entered the same prison on March 21, 1901.

Both convicts proved to be problematic; so much so that both were fitted with chains between their legs to hobble them and a heavy ball at the end of another chain to slow them down.

On August 20, 1902, they and two other prisoners overpowered a guard, took his firearm and keys, and relieved themselves of their balls and chain. They took a foreman hostage when they were unable to escape the building they were in. After a few hours of negotiating and assurances that the guards would not harm them, they agreed to give up. As they escorted the hostage toward the Warden, one of the marksmen shot and killed Bishop.

Mulligan became a model prisoner and was released March 18, 1908, having served less than eight years.

Anyone with additional informaiton with regard to family, artifacts, or photographs of this officer, are asked to contact the Museum Director at Director@police-museum.org.

 

This narrative was researched and revised on June 6, 2011 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.