Patrolman Anthony “Tony” Schaefer
Served: 6 years
1873 to January 1879; January 1881 to April 3, 1881
Tony was born as Anton Schaefer on December 3, 1826 in the village of Lohne in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg in Germany. He immigrated to the United States and to Cincinnati between 1840 and 1850. He married Maria Agnes (Gausepohl) Meyer on October 26, 1850 in St Paul’s Church. Tony made venetian blinds and later helped his wife’s relatives in lard oil manufacture. During 1858, he was elected to represent the 9th Ward on Cincinnati City Council for a term ending in 1860.
By 1873 he joined the Cincinnati Police Department. Partisan hiring, promotions, demotions, and terminations were the norm. He survived a couple political changes in City Hall, but when Mayor Jacob, a Republican, took office, he dismissed Patrolman Schaefer, a Democrat, about January 1879. Based on Patrolman Schaefer’s reputation as a “good officer and a man of temperate habits,” the Mayor reinstated him in about January 1881.
Three months later, on a cold morning during one of the coldest Aprils ever in Cincinnati, about 4 a.m. on April 3, 1881, Patrolmen Schaefer and newly appointed Patrolman Jacob Hohnecker, of the Bremen (now Republic) Street Station, were patrolling the area of Sycamore and Abigail (now 12th) Streets. Patrolman Schaefer went inside the Gambrinus Brewery (immediately behind where the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum is now located) to get warm. The younger Hohnecker stayed outside. When he became uneasy about the amount of time Patrolman Schaefer was inside, he entered and found his partner had fallen off an elevated walkway at a location where the safety bar had broken.
Patrolman Hohnecker and some employees of the brewery carried Patrolman Schaefer to his home at 371 Broadway where he died five hours later at 9 a.m. The Coroner found that he died from a fractured right temporal bone of the skull.
Patrolman Schaefer left a wife, Agnes Schaefer, and several children. They had seventeen children, but at least six predeceased him. Those still at home were: John H. Schaefer (16), Frank Schaefer (13), Frederick Schaefer (9), George Schaefer (7), and Reuben Schaefer (1). He was buried in Section 5, Lot 2 at Saint John Cemetery in Saint Bernard.
His wife received $300 from the Police Relief Association.
Patrolman Hohnecker left the department.
NOTE: The officer’s names have been reported in news accounts and official records variously as Antony, Anthony, Shaffer, Schaeffer, and Schaefer, et al.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or the incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was revised April 3, 2014 by Cincinnati Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Executive Director, with burial information researched and provided by Cincinnati Homicide Detective Edward W. Zieverink III (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Historian. All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.