Henry was born November 7, 1843 in Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany. At the age of 14, he emigrated from Germany in 1858. We assume he traveled to the Cincinnati region, possibly Northern Kentucky, but have no record of him or his family prior to 1861.
On August 5, 1861, United States Army Colonel John Kennett received authority to organize the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. Henry enlisted in Cincinnati on September 14, 1861 and was sent to Camp Gurley (on the west side of Colerain Pike in Cumminsville). On October 5, 1861, Private Deering was appointed the Bugler of Company I. The regiment fought in many minor battles during 1862 and three major battles in 1863; Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge.
Private Deering, on March 17, 1864, was promoted to Corporal. The regiment headed to Sherman’s flank as he swept through Atlanta. He was promoted to full 1st Sergeant in October 1864. After another major battle in Nashville, on February 23, 1865, Sergeant Deering was promoted to full 1st Lieutenant. A couple of months later, on April 2, 1865, he led his cavalry straight into the teeth of the well-designed, “impregnable” breastworks, with the rest of the 4th Cavalry, and took the position after a 25-minute battle. One-quarter of the regiment was killed or wounded, including his general and colonel. Lieutenant Deering and the rest of the regiment were discharged April 23, 1865.
Three weeks later, he was in Campbell County, Kentucky, on May 14, 1865, marrying Anna Mary Ammann, originally of Bavaria. By 1870, they were living in the 17th Ward of Cincinnati and he was working as a laborer. They moved around a bit in the Fulton Township area.
Henry and the newly elected mayor, Charles Jacob, Jr., were both Democrats and, in 1880, Henry was hired as a Patrolman for the Cincinnati Police Department. He continued to server under Democrat Mayors William F. Means and Thomas J. Stephens. During 1885, when Republican Mayor Armor Smith, Jr. assumed control, Patrolman Deering’s employment was terminated.
The Ohio State legislature disbanded the Cincinnati Police Department on March 31, 1886 and replaced it with a non-partisan-commission-controlled Police Department on April 1, 1886. The new department was to be built with officers of above average intelligence, physical abilities, and psychological acuity. Patrolman Deering attempted to re-enter the Department, but he was deemed too short. He went back to work as a laborer.
On December 8, 1891, he was nominated to be appointed as a Station House Keeper for the Cincinnati Police Department; for which his stature was not a significant issue. He was thus appointed on December 11th. He also served intermittently as a Turn Key at the 6th District Station House and Central Station and as Court Officer at one or more of the courts downtown.
Within the 1896 Municipal Guide, Deering was the only Station House Keeper mentioned and in glowing terms. The epitaph ended with “numbers his friends in the thousands.”
Station House Keeper Deering was on duty on March 24, 1902, at 8 a.m. when he was summoned to act as Court Officer at Probate Court. Knowing that the next westbound streetcar was due soon and hearing a streetcar bell, he hurried out the front door. He saw the streetcar approaching and darted across the street. He obviously did not see or hear the eastbound car that struck him.
Dr. Edwin Behymer was called to the scene and directed that Station House Keeper Deering be removed to the City Hospital. He died at the hospital from a fractured skull at 1 p.m. Police charged the motorman, George McArthur, with Manslaughter, as was the custom of the day. The incident was later ruled an accident.
Station house Keeper Deering was survived by his wife, Anna Mary Deering (57), and 6 children; Josephine P. (George) Huston, Jesse Deering (24), Addie Deering (21), Jacob Deering (20), Jefferson Deering (17), and Lawrence Deering (14). Reverend W.E. Stevens conducted services at the Sixth Presbyterian Church. He was buried at Mount Calvary (now Walnut Hills) Cemetery. His wife received a permanent pension from the City of $20.00 per month and was buried beside him 6 years later, having died on Christmas Day 1908.
If you have any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was revised April 29, 2018 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Memorial Committee Chairman with extensive research assistance from Kelly J. Huston, Henry Deering’s great, great, granddaughter. All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.