Served: 17¼ years
March 15, 1883 to December 29, 1932
Joe was born March 15, 1883 to James J. and Bridget (Cosgrove) Duffy. James was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1870. Bridget was also Irish, probably born at sea, but given a birth country of Canada, and immigrated to the United States in 1860. Within three years of immigrating, James married Bridget and had their first child of nine; of which, Joe was the middle child.
Joe attended Warsaw Public School for six years. He then took a job as a Clerk at Cincinnati Hospital, probably from 1902 to 1907.
Joe joined the Cincinnati Police Department as a Patrol Wagon Driver on January 9, 1908.
Also during 1908, October 21, he married Ella Wenner. During September 1909, they had their first and only child, a daughter. Ella contract tuberculosis and by March 1916, she passed away at age 34.
During 1915, Patrol Wagon Driver Duffy was promoted to Patrolman, but still assigned to the Patrol Service, and assigned to Patrol 5 (Naeher Alley behind 1024 York Street).
On November 20, 1916, Patrolman Duffy remarried, this time to Paulina Maria Mahatcke and began to rebuild his family with her. By the end of 1932, he had ten children.
Also by the end of 1932, Patrolman Duffy had been assigned to Patrols 1, 3, 5, and 9. Though of ordinary stature, he had built a reputation of being able to handle the unruliest prisoners. He was currently assigned to Patrol 3 at 316 George Street.
During Christmas morning, the men of Patrol 3 were expecting visitors. Patrolman Duffy was on the 2nd floor cleaning windows when he fell to the sidewalk. Such a fall is generally not fatal, but along with fractured ribs, he also fractured his skull. He was taken to the General Hospital by Patrol 3 at 10:20 a.m.
Patrolman Duffey died on December 29, 1932, at 8:25 p.m.
He was survived by his wife of 16 years, Paulina Duffy; children, Mrs. Myra L. (Ora C.) Davis, Joseph W. Duffy, Jr. (13), Marjorie R. Duffy (12), Stanley N. Duffy (11), Mary K. Duffy (9), Dorothy P. Duffy (8), James P. Duffy (4), Ruth J. Duffy (3), Robert E. Duffy (2), and Norman (10 months); and granddaughter, Betty Davis (1). A funeral was held from Busse and Borgeman Funeral Home on Central Parkway on January 2, 1932. A requiem high mass was celebrated at St. Charles Borromeo Church on January 2, 1932. He was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Paulina joined him ten years later in 1942.
Patrolman Duffy’s fourth child eventually joined the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy and spent a good portion of his career in the Regional Enforcement of Narcotics Unit (RENU).
If you know of any information, archives, artifacts, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was revised on December 26, 2018 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Vice President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.