Served: More than 2 years
January 11, 1881 to 1882
January 12, 1883, to October 18, 1884
Cincinnati Patrolman Henry Samuel Schierloh | Cincinnati Police Department
Age: 28 years, 11 months
Served: Almost 1 year
1884 to October 30, 1884
Martin was born August 15, 1849 in Ohio to Irish immigrants. Otherwise, we know nothing of his parents or his life prior to 1864. By then, he was apparently married to Catherine Dolan and the two had a daughter, Claudia Gorman.
A dedicated Democrat, on March 23, 1878, Martin was a delegate to the Democratic Convention from the 15th Ward. On June 8, 1880, he was living with his wife, Catherine E. Gorman, and daughter, Claudia Gorman, at 598 West Eighth Street and working as a laborer.
On January 11, 1881, at the beginning of his term, Democrat Mayor William Means, appointed Martin as a Patrolman on the Cincinnati Police Department. Patronage was common, if not expected, between 1850 and 1886.
On July 19, 1882, Patrolman Gorman was a delegate to Columbus for Democratic State Convention from the 20th Ward. On September 25, 1882, Martin was appointed to the campaign committee for Chairman Mulvihill of the IOOF. We believe he probably resigned from the Police Department for this position.
After his campaign duties ended, Martin was appointed Patrolman again by Democrat Mayor Thomas J. Stephens. Notably, Samuel T. Corbin, of the 4th Ward was also appointed Patrolman and, in the future, would also die in the line of duty.
On August 11, 1883, Patrolman Gorman was nominated to run for the Ohio Senate. He was a member of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee which made decisions as to where to hold the local convention. He was also the delegate from Precinct A of the Twentieth Ward and a member of the Ward’s Executive Committee. His delegate seat was uncontested on September 7, 1883 at the local Democratic convention.
By October 1884, he was assigned to the 4th District (on 3rd Street). He and his partner ran the beat bounded by Eighth and Sixth Streets and Baymiller Street and the Millcreek.
Henry Samuel Schierloh
Henry was born December 10, 1856 in Cincinnati, the second of five children born to Gerd Henry and Margaretha “Margaret” Schierloh. Gerd was born in Bremen, Germany and brought up in the state-mandated German Lutheran faith. He left the faith about the time that many were leaving it, which ultimately resulted in the 1848 Rebellion. Gerd was not a part of the rebellion, but in September 1848 he left Germany for the religious freedom and free elections in the United States. Little did he know he would father a son who would die 36 years later, trying to keep those elections free and impartial.
Gerd married Margaretha “Margaret” Oesper in 1852. She coincidentally had immigrated to New Orleans the same day he had immigrated to New York. Both came to Cincinnati. To them was born John Otto in 1854 and then Henry in 1856. Three other siblings were born in 1859, 1861, and 1863, then tragedy struck. Margaret and the four older children contracted Typhoid Fever. The children survived, but Margaret died.
Gerd was devastated, but absolutely determined that the five children remain together. He could not handle five children on a tailor’s salary and without a wife, so he put them in the German Protestant Orphanage in Mount Auburn and worked as much as he could to afford the fees. A family offered him $1000 (almost $25,000 in 2023 dollars) to adopt his youngest child, John August Schierloh, but he chose to pay the orphanage instead to keep them together.
Two years later, the German Protestant Orphanage demanded more than Gerd could afford to keep the children together. On June 12, 1866, Gerd moved his children to the Catholic St. Aloysius Orphanage, which agreed to keep them together. Gerd converted to Catholicism and he and his children were baptized Catholic on August 6, 1866.
While visiting his children, which he did often, Gerd met one of the workers there, Mary Elizabeth Gottbehoede. The two married on November 27, 1868 and a year later, they had a child together. On January 11, 1870, Henry was dismissed from the orphanage to board with a Mr. Hudepohl to learn the tailoring profession. The other four children were also dismissed at intervals during 1870 and returned to their father’s home. Gerd and Mary Elizabeth went on to have eight more children, a total of fourteen for Gerd and nine for Mary Elizabeth.
During 1878, Henry was living at 326 West Liberty and working as a tailor. A year later he was living at Race and Elder. Then, a year later, he was living at 19 Green Street and working as a presser.
On July 11, 1881, he was a delegate for Precinct A of the Thirteenth Ward for the Columbus Democratic Convention.
About 1883, Mayor Stephens appointed him as a Patrolman with the Cincinnati Police Department. By 1884 he was living at 120 Pleasant Street with his brother, John Otto Schierloh. He ran the “String Beat” in the Third Street District with Patrolman Carpenter from Sixth Street to the River with Wood Street as the eastern border.
POST CIVIL WAR ENVIRONMENT
Racial and political tensions were still high in October 1884 during the fifth general election since the end of the Civil War. These were tumultuous times with riots breaking out during almost every election and the great Courthouse Riot during March 1884 resulting in hundreds of casualties, including the deaths of Ohio National Guard Captain John Desmond and Cincinnati Patrol Wagon Driver Joseph Sturm.
Democrats ran Cincinnati at the time. Nationally, Republicans thought that Democrats controlled the voting – including by voting multiple times and preventing others who would likely vote Republican from voting at all. During March 1883, Lot Wright was appointed as United States Marshal of the Southern District of Ohio and he set out to stop these abuses.
Leading up to the 1884 election, Wright requested military response to Cincinnati, deputized 1,360 men as U. S. Deputy Marshals, and armed six hundred of them with .44 caliber British Bulldog revolvers provided by the National Republican Committee. Many of these one-day deputy marshals were not from Ohio – a violation of the law – and it was impossible for Wright to check their backgrounds. Many of these men had criminal records for theft, counterfeiting, bribery, fraud, shooting to kill, cutting to kill, carrying concealed weapons, and murder. Many more had an extensive list of misdemeanor convictions and frequently were locked up in the Workhouse. Wright later admitted under oath that he could not know the character of his deputies and many of them became involved in Election Day drunken binges, fracases, stabbings, shootings, and general mayhem.
October 14, 1884
On October 14, 1884, Hamilton County special deputy sheriffs and Cincinnati patrolmen were assigned to keep the peace at polling places. Patrolman Gorman, a high-profile Democrat in the Twentieth Ward, was probably not the best choice to man the Twentieth Ward polling booth.
The violence during this election had already begun. At 11:30 a.m., at West Fifth Street and Central Avenue, Hamilton County Special Deputy Albert Russell had been shot and killed while protecting a polling booth.
In the morning of the 14th, at Precinct C of the Twenty-First Ward in Price Hill, William S. Henry attempted to vote and was challenged by Democrat John J. “Apple Jack” Hunter who opined that Henry lived on the border of Precinct C and B and that he could not vote in C. He further alleged that he did not live with his wife and therefore could not vote. During the confrontation, Hunter became angry and called Henry a son of a bitch, for which Henry demanded an apology. Receiving none, Henry went home and retrieved a .32 caliber Colt revolver. When he returned, he was stopped by Patrolman O’Leary. Henry pulled the pistol, aimed at Hunter, and fired three rounds, one of which struck and killed Charles J. Mullon. Another of which struck Hunter in the arm. The third went wide.
Later, in the afternoon, again in Precinct B, Eighteenth Ward a notorious John J. Kelly was harassing an old man who was about to vote the “wrong” ticket. Patrolman George Honneymann intervened, and Kelly got away. About 30 minutes later, Kelly returned and began disturbing voters again. Patrolman Honneymann attempted to arrest Kelly and the two were involved in an extended struggle when Kelly’s brother, Pete Kelly, came up and stabbed Patrolman Honneymann in the chest. Pete Kelly was arrested by another officer and charged with Cutting to Kill. Patrolman Honneymann’s wound initially looked dangerous but was later found to have missed his heart.
Less than 45 minutes passed when another fracas began at Fifth and Central. John Nealis, a watchman for the City Infirmary and nephew of a Board of Health member Ed Nealis, shot a known crook, Phill Hennessey in the head. Hennessy died on November 8th. Apparently Nealis was acquitted because he was eventually appointed as an officer with the Sanitation Police.
Patrolmen Pat Cunningham of Hammond Street Station (2nd District) and Gorman, Manlon, and Carpenter of the Third Street Station (4th District), were assigned to the Twentieth Ward (Precinct B) polls in “Little Bucktown” on Sixth Street, two doors east of Freeman Avenue. The officers had been taunted all day by armed and variously intoxicated Deputy U.S. Marshals. The taunts at times included a threat by Deputy Marshal George Comely who, in the morning, had Patrolman Gorman up against a wall while holding a handgun leveled at his abdomen. Patrolman James Sears arrived in time to break the incident up, but Deputy Marshal John Offord told Sears that before the day was done someone would “fix” Patrolman Gorman.
Later in the day, Cincinnati Patrolman Michael Donnelly arrested a man on a warrant for voting twice in a previous election. Several Deputy U.S. Marshals took the prisoner by force from Patrolman Donnelly, threatening him with clubs and revolvers. Between sessions of taunting, the Deputy U.S. Marshals would hang out at the dive at 700 West Sixth Street.
About 10 p.m., while the poll workers counted votes, Patrolman Gorman went out of the tent to calm a disturbance between Deputy U.S. Marshal Fred Guy and a James Russell. The argument began about politics, then Russell insinuated that Guy had been “imported” as a slave. More words were exchanged. Patrolman Gorman ordered them to quiet down. Russell called Guy a liar and Guy grabbed Russell. As Patrolman Gorman interceded, Patrolmen Manlon and Carpenter responded from the southeast corner as did Patrolman Cunningham from the southwest corner. Suddenly, a swarm of Deputy U.S. Marshals ran up from the east and fired a volley of shots. Deputy U.S. Marshal Offord ran up screaming, “look out N——s!” and shot between two of the Deputy U.S. Marshals into Patrolman Gorman’s back, just above the pelvis. Patrolman Gorman tried to take his prisoner to the center of the street, but the group overwhelmed him and beat him with his baton. The prisoner escaped.
Patrolman Cunningham heard a male, presumably a Deputy U.S. Marshal, yell, “There’s No. 79 now! Let’s give it to the son of a bitch!” Several shots were fired and two struck Patrolman Cunningham, Badge No. 79. One was stopped by his heavy woolen coat and a pencil in his pocket. It failed to enter his chest, but made a large, black bruise. The other bullet entered his leg which he retrieved with his pen knife and continued working. Those who shot Patrolman Cunningham were never identified.
Once the shootings had ceased, Mike Banfield approached Patrolman Gorman who was staggering down Freeman Avenue just below West Sixth Street. Patrolman Gorman said to him, “I’m shot, take my keys.” Banfield assisted him to Mrs. King’s grocery at West Sixth Street and Freeman Avenue. Patrolman Gorman came into her store, sat down, and said to Mrs. King, “I’m shot in the back,” and asked for someone to go for a doctor.
The shots drew the attention and response of other officers and Patrol Wagons 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The Deputy U.S. Marshals backed down Sixth Street, still firing, and entered the dive at 700 West Sixth Street. As the officers approached, shots rang out from all sides and levels of the various buildings and windows. In all, about one hundred shots were fired.
Notably, Patrolman Schierloh had been involved in the Courthouse Riots in March and April 1884, and very well knew the dangers of running headlong into the situation, but he had responded on Patrol Wagon No. 5 and had no concern for himself as he ran to help Patrolman Gorman. Then, suddenly, he stopped and yelled, “I’m shot!” He was shot in the back over the left side of the pelvis. Patrolman Carpenter escaped injury when two bullets struck his night stick and one passed through his legs, tearing his pants.
A couple of civilians standing inside commercial establishments were also struck by bullets; one in the jaw and the other in the neck.
Patrol Wagon No. 5 transported Patrolman Schierloh to City Hospital on 12th Street at the Canal.
Patrol Wagon No. 6 rushed Patrolman Gorman to City Hospital where Patrolman Jim Brown took control of Patrolman Gorman’s unfired sidearm. His wounds were adjudged so grievous that a priest was summoned to administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction (Last Rites).
Though in serious pain, when placed next to Patrolman Gorman, Patrolman Schierloh said, “I don’t care so much for myself. But poor Gorman! It’s too bad. I knew they would give it to him. They said all day they were going to do it.”
Patrol Wagon 1 was directed to a man who had been shot in the abdomen just left of the navel. He was identified as Deputy U.S. Marshal Henry Brown, aged 25, of No. 79 Taylor Alley. He was found near a lumber pile at Sargent Street armed with a fully loaded revolver and it was thought that he had had another empty revolver that he discarded. The Patrol Wagon transported him to City Hospital.
October 15, 1884
At an early hour on the 15th, a butcher, Albert Neighbors, was assaulted and seriously beaten, without provocation, by a gang of Deputy U.S. Marshals on Central Avenue.
An illegal voter died overnight in the Hamilton County Jail. Thomas Hannon was arrested by federal authorities at Precinct B, Eighteenth Ward, for double-voting. When arrested he was on the verge of delirium. He was found dead in his cell in the morning.
At the Customs House, federal clerks were busy taking in surrendered Bull Dog revolvers from the Deputy U.S. Marshals whose commissions had expired and handing out vouchers for payment. They were also filling out more than one hundred warrants for election irregularities, including assaults on Deputy U.S. Marshals, voting in two precincts, intimidating voters, none-resident voting, etc.
On the other side of town, at East Sixth Street and Broadway, two more deaths were attributed to tensions over the election. At 10 o’clock in the morning, Democrat James Kelley, a Cincinnati Water Works employee, was walking with William Finley on Sixth Street when approached by George Swan, who the day before was a Deputy U.S. Marshall. Swan greeted Kelley with, “How do you do, Jim?” and Kelley replied, “I don’t want any son of a bitch like you to speak to me!” With that, Swan landed a powerful blow to Kelley’s head. Kelley pulled a clasp knife and stabbed Swan three times. Swan staggered into a room and came back out with a large revolver and shot Kelley. Within an hour, both were dead from their wounds.
In the afternoon, an intoxicated John Burke, carrying a Bull Dog revolver and wearing a Deputy U.S. Marshal’s badge, attempted to clean out a Main Street saloon. Officer Donnelly responded and arrested Burke.
At about 4:30 p.m., a contractor, Lew Grener, was assaulted and badly beaten by a mob due to a disagreement over politics.
During the early evening, John Coefield, carrying a Deputy U.S. Marshal’s badge, was shooting off his gun at East Fifth and Sycamore Streets.
Police received intelligence that the former Deputy U.S. Marshals had requested reinforcements by toughs from around the city. Indeed, about 8 o’clock, Officers Nagle and Friedman encountered a Nelson Charles crossing the railroad bridge going down to West Sixth Street to Freeman Avenue. When asked where he was going, he replied, “to Little Bucktown.” They searched him, found a large, concealed revolver, and arrested him.
Chief Reilly ordered Lieutenant Montgomery to take a squad to West Sixth Street and Freeman Avenue and ensure the night passed quietly. About 9 o’clock, the officers heard a volley of shots emanating from Taylor Alley. They responded and found one of the shacks on fire. Lieutenant Montgomery and Patrolmen John Farrell and Casper Keller pitched in to extinguish the blaze when shots rang out again, one of which struck Keller in the leg just below the thigh and lodged at the bone.
Late that night, former Deputy U.S. Marshal Henry Brown died at City Hospital.
October 16, 1884
On the 16th, former Deputy U.S. Marshal Gabriel Bolden was found taking shelter in a residence in Taylor Alley. He had been shot in the bowels on the 14th. There was little hope for his recovery. Bolden advised that two other deputy marshals were wounded, one in the arm and one in the leg, but did not identify them or their locations.
Across from that residence they found Edward Gaines, a 30-year-old black male, shot through the shoulder and out the chest. James Wallace was found with a bullet wound to the arm at Taylor Alley and Budd Street. Sarah Fletcher, an innocent bystander, was also found shot in the leg.
Later in the day, Colonel Reilly toured the area with a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter. Few people were on the streets. Several families had moved out vowing never to return. The telegraph poles, windows, and doors were nearly all pock marked by bullets.
Former Deputy Marshal Gabriel Bolden died later in the day.
More shots were fired intermittently during the night of the 16th without any injuries.
October 17, 1884
By the 17th, there were 24 reported casualties from the violence on the 14th at or near West Sixth Street and Freeman Avenue. Two had died. Five, including Patrolman Gorman, were considered to be dying. Two, including Patrolman Schierloh, were seriously wounded. And fifteen were wounded, including Patrolmen Keller, Cunningham, and Carpenter.
- Patrolman Martin Gorman
Patrolman Gorman died at 3:10 a.m. on October 18, 1884.
He was survived by his wife, Catherine Gorman; daughter, Claudia Gorman (20); sister, Mrs. Mary Rhinner (37); and two brothers. Upon hearing of his death at 6:30 a.m. at her home on John Street near Betts Street, Mrs. Rhinner fell to the floor and died. Four children survived her.
Patrolman Gorman’s high requiem funeral Mass was celebrated by Dr. Rev. Henry Moeller at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral on October 23, 1884. The funeral was attended by a turnout of every Democratic club in Hamilton County. He was thereafter carried to his grave in St. Joseph’s (New) Cemetery by Patrolmen Peter Poland, T. Conroy, John Keegan, and Barney Rakel of the Police Relief Association and members of the Lincoln Mutual Aid Association.
- Patrolman Henry Schierloh
Patrolman Schierloh’s wound was originally not thought to be fatal, but it had traversed upward and into the liver. After twelve days of excruciating pain, he died at 12:30 p.m. on October 30, 1884.
He was predeceased by his mother, Margaret (Oesper) Schierloh, and stepbrother, Francis Schierloh. We believe Patrolman Schierloh was survived by his father, Gerd Henry Schierloh; stepmother, Mary Elizabeth (Gottbehoede) Schierloh; siblings, John Otto Schierloh, Marie Schierloh, Samual Livingston Schierloh, and John August Schierloh; and stepsiblings, Katherine Schierloh, Fred Schierloh, Herman Schierloh, M. Lydia Schierloh, M. Clara Schierloh, and Jerry Schierloh. Two other stepsiblings had not yet been born.
His funeral was held on November 1, 1884, officiated by Fr. Engelbert at St. Francis Church at Liberty and Vine Streets. Because All Saints Day was recognized that day, no requiem Mass was permitted, and his body was blessed in the sanctuary. He was interred the same day in St. Mary’s Cemetery on East Ross Avenue in St. Bernard. His pallbearers consisted of members of the Jefferson Club including Messrs. Doll, Baumann, Zimmerman, Haass, and Merk. A memorial Mass was celebrated the next day at St. Francis Church.
On October 31, 1884, Offord appeared in Police Court charged with Murder. Officers indicated that they had two eyewitnesses. The case was continued to November 5th.
On November 3, 1884, Coroner Muscroft ruled that Patrolman Gorman was murdered, having died from infection of a bullet wound inflicted by Offord.
On November 5, 1884, Offord appeared before Judge Fitzgerald represented by John P. Murphy. Several witnesses testified for the prosecution including two who saw Offord shoot him. The judge bound him over for Murder in the 1st Degree. On December 3, 1884, Offord was indicted by the Grand Jury for Murder of the 2nd Degree. He was arraigned in Common Pleas Court on December 9, 1884.
Offord’s trial began on February 17, 1885. Offord’s defense, though he did not testify, was that he shot the officer in the back in self-defense. On February 21, 1885, a jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty.
On November 8, 1884, the Coroner ruled that Patrolman Schierloh was murdered as a result of a gunshot, also in the back, fired by an unknown person.
Lot Wright was investigated by the United States Congress during January 1885. The results of that investigation were discussed while they were in session during April 1885. He was relieved of duty on June 9, 1885.
On September 4, 1886, John Otto Schierloh followed his younger brother onto the Cincinnati Police Department.
Catherine Gorman continued living on West Eighth Street and later around the corner on Carr Street. She died April 16, 1932, 48 years after her husband, and is buried next to him. Claudia apparently never married and was working in a factory as late as 1933.
Neither Patrolman Gorman nor Patrolman Schierloh have any living descendants.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding these officers or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was further researched and revised December 8, 2023 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 Museum.