Detective William Henry Reany (1822-1874)
By Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Historian
Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
Bill was born August 25, 1822, possibly in Huntingdon, a borough in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. We believe his parents were David (of Scotland) and Jennie (Reynolds – of Ireland) Reany.
We do not know when Bill moved to Cincinnati, but on December 15, 1943, in Hamilton County, at the age of 22, he married Susan Vaughn, also of Pennsylvania. By July 25, 1850, while working as a laborer, 26-year-old Bill Reany was living in Fulton Township (a community east of downtown, along the Ohio River) with his wife and children: William Henry Reany, Jr., Lafayette Reany, and James W. Reany, all born in Ohio.
Cincinnati law enforcement, from its inception in 1803, dramatically evolved over time until 1886 when it finally stabilized. Initially, every able-bodied male was a night watchman on a rotating basis. This evolved into several systems of delegated watchmen, paid watchmen, elected watchmen and constables, and watchmen under the control of the City Marshal, and finally under the control of the City’s Mayor. By 1846, private policemen, with similar authority as public officers, were being employed, usually by business interests. Then private detectives and detective companies. Additionally, there were River Police under the Wharf Master, Sanitation Police under the Health Department, and others intermingling organizations.
Then, in 1851, Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance to create centralized law enforcement under the new rank of Chief of Police and added the rank of Police Lieutenant. Four lieutenants worked at night and two during the day. By 1854, this police force created its own Detective Bureau.
But remnants of all the forgoing still existed and were generally under the authority of the Police Chief, who was an at-will appointee of the mayor. For all intents and purposes, the mayor vicariously controlled hiring, promoting, demoting, and termination of public law enforcement officers and, sometimes, what laws were enforced or not enforced, and for which people.
Our first hint of Bill’s involvement in public service was when he was listed in the 1853 City Directory as a Constable living on the south side of Front Street. At the time, we believe he was elected to the position by the people of the Seventeenth Ward. His ‘beat’ was the most treacherous in Cincinnati, called colloquially, “The Bottoms,” and comprised of an environment along the Ohio River with cutthroats and thieves no less dangerous than Shanghai, China.
By 1856, Bill was listed in the city directory as a Police Officer, probably of the River Police Force. We know he was attached to the River Police in 1857 and was already considered an “accomplished detective police officer.”
Near the first of July 1857, Indianapolis merchants notified Cincinnati Police Chief James L. Ruffin that their region was flooded with counterfeit money being printed and passed by an organization comprised of Indiana’s highest-level citizens. The merchants asked the Cincinnati chief for an experienced detective to ferret out the counterfeiters.
It should be noted that Cincinnati law enforcement, having evolved from a spirit of collaboration, was more regional than observant of arbitrary municipal, county, or even state borders. And being for a long time the largest city west of the Allegheny Mountains, it was often called upon for investigative and manpower assistance.
Also, the region was explosive. Cincinnati was sitting on the edge of two factions with convictions so strong that in a couple of years they would go to war over them. Indiana had many pro-slavery and/or pro-states’-rights politicians and upper class, and a pre-KKK organization known secretly as Knights of the Golden Circle that desired to begin a new slave-owning country. Counterfeiting currency issued by northern banks, and derailing northern railroads was fairly commonplace before the Civil War and would continue well after President Abe Lincoln’s assassination – including the repeated attempts by counterfeiters to rob Lincolns’ grave.
Chief Ruffin dispatched Officer Reany to investigate the Indianapolis counterfeiting situation. After a few weeks, on August 6, 1857, Reany reported back that he had arrested a dozen “of the most respectable citizens of Rush, Decatur, and Bartholomew Counties” and had recovered a large amount of counterfeit bank bills of various denominations. He produced sufficient evidence to make it certain that there was an extensive and well-organized association throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. The criminals included: Dr. Patterson of Rush County, who had an extensive practice (sentenced to four years); Dr. Rogers of Knightstown, a sporting man with a large family, but no real business (convicted, escaped, and recaptured); Perry Bennett of St. Omar, a man already wanted for assault with intent to kill (escaped before arrest); Dr. Lewis Frazee of Jonesville, Bartholomew County (escaped before arrest); and Dr. Allen Robinson of Muncietown, now Muncie, who seemingly escaped before arrest, yet returned years later to practice medicine.
We do not know if Bill was a regular police officer, private police officer, or still with the River Police when, on April 16, 1858, J. D. Myers robbed Dr. Hardy, a popular dentist at Fourth and Walnut Streets. Officer Pendery responded and immediately suspected Myers. He conveyed his suspicions to Officers Riley and Reany. Officer Reany found Myers and tailed him to his residence at a boarding house where he arrested him and found some of the stolen property in his room.
A month later, it is clear that Reany was elevated to Detective and still working in The Bottoms. While investigating suspicious characters on May 23, 1858, Pearl Street Station Lieutenant Bleaks and Patrolmen Worley and Fletcher stopped James Sampson and found on him counterfeit five-dollar bills. They called Detective Reany to continue the investigation and he found the suspect had been previously communicating with a man at the depot. He went to the depot, found the man, and recovered more counterfeit fives. The result was two arrests and recovery of $14,000 in counterfeit currency (half a million dollars in 2023). Reany was gaining a regional reputation.
A counterfeiter named Nevers was captured in Walnut Hills and sent to the penitentiary. An associate of his escaped capture, ran to the Ohio River, secured a skiff, and threw something into the river. There was insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime, but Detective Reany kept an eye on the river. On August 26, 1858, the level of the river descended, and he and other police located counterfeiting plates for ten-, twenty-, fifty-, and hundred-dollar bills.
During January 1859, Democrat Richard M. Bishop took office as Mayor. He had uncontested authority to dismiss personnel, especially Republican personnel, and hire his friends and contributors, especially Democrats. We believe Detective Reany was one of his victims and hired himself out as a private detective.
Rumors abounded that James N. Dubois, a young forger who passed a $7000 check at the Lafayette Hotel ($¼ million today), had been seen in St. Louis. Private Investigator Reany, on May 10, 1859, left for St. Louis in search of him. We found no indication that he found Dubois, but during his search he uncovered sufficient information to work with the Cincinnati Detective Bureau and other officers to track down George Harris, wanted for a $3000 forgery (more than $100,000 today). The collaborative traced him up Hamilton Pike to Hamilton, Ohio. They found he had secured a ticket to Indianapolis. Reany went there and, on May 18, 1859, based on Reany’s information, he was arrested in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
During the summer of 1859, there had been attempts to throw trains off the tracks of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad near Vincennes, Indiana. On August 31, 1859, the railroad requested of Cincinnati Mayor Bishop assistance in ferreting out the vandals. It is possible that Mayor Bishop had by then rehired Reany, but we believe he was still working as a private investigator. Regardless, Bishop dispatched him to Vincennes. Bill arrived, investigated, and identified the men involved. He covertly threw in with them and they told them of their plan to derail a train and, during the confusion of dead and maimed bodies, plunder the bodies and baggage. Bill asserted himself into the plan to derail the train on September 6th between Clay City and Nobel, Illinois. He would go aboard in advance and “find the most likely locations of the greatest plunder.” They all swore, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!” and went about their various tasks. Reany, instead of surveilling the richer riders, warned the conductor, and with assistance arrested one of the ring leaders, William Hulen, at the scene and the other, Oliver H. Poole, alias Hopkins, later the next morning at 3 a.m.
As the trial date approached for Poole, Reany’s home was invaded. During the early morning hours of November 1, 1859, someone tried to break into the rear door. Bill was out of town at the time, but Mrs. Reany heard the villain outside and barred the door. The invader then went around the front and was able to make entry into the home. Mrs. Reany secured a revolver, retreated to the bedroom, and threatened to shoot him if he came into her room. The burglar wrote a note, with chalk, on their table – “Officer Reany. If you value your life or your happiness, you will not appear as a witness in the case of Ohio and Mississippi Railroad against Poole.” This did not deter Detective Reaney.
A month later, on December 1st, probably working for the Ohio Mississippi Railroad and while on one of their trains, Detective Reany saw six people, four men and two women, huddled together on the train near Sandoval, Illinois. He knew at least some to be counterfeiters. When they perceived that they were being observed, one, Lewis Degery, made a pretext to stop the train and four got off. Reany assumed that it was a ploy to get him to leave the train and that those four would have no money. He instead stayed on the train to watch Degery, whom he deemed to be the leader. As soon as Degery issued the Conductor a ten-dollar bill, Reany seized it and Degery and found other counterfeit money on him. They stopped at Salem, and he locked Degery up there. Reany telegraphed the location of the other four and they were picked up but had no counterfeit money. His investigation found that, within the last month, several operatives were given at least $250,000 in counterfeit bills (over $9 million today) to pass in the West and South. His alerting banks in these areas foiled the plan and he announced more arrests would be made based on his interrogation.
By 1860, Reany was working again on the Cincinnati Police Force. On February 10, 1860, Captain Wilson, Chief of Police, assigned Detectives Bloom and Reany to follow up on an envelope addressed to Dr. J. B. McKeehan found opened in a post office and containing $54 in counterfeit notes. They placed the envelope back into general circulation and staked it out. A short time later, a man calling himself Dr. J. B. McKeehan picked up the envelope and the detectives arrested him.
During April 1860, Detectives Reany and Anderson were on the scent of a notorious counterfeiter, Nelson Driggs, a one-time resident of Monroe County, Ohio. Driggs and some of his associates traveled to Woodsfield in Monroe County about April 1st, 1860 with two carpet sacks containing about $7000 in bogus gold dollars and bills. One of the group, attempted to steal one of the bags and it fell into the hands of the police. Reany attempted to corral Diggs, but he was tipped off by friends and escaped to Newport. Reany and Anderson obtained information on his new location, but Driggs was tipped off again and made another escape using a skiff on the Ohio River. Reany and Anderson disguised themselves and made way for Aurora on a hunch that he would end up there. That trail led them to Rising Sun. Upon arrival, they found Driggs was already gone, so on another hunch they set out for Patriot, another river town. On April 10, 1860, they found Driggs, with several letters in hand, headed for the post office. It was there that they made the arrest.
By June 5, 1860 Detective Reany was 36 and still living in the Seventeenth Ward with his wife and children. They had since added Caroline (8) Reany, and Benjamin H. Reany (6).
About mid July 1860, less than a year before the Civil War would begin, a large number of counterfeit one-dollar bills was put into circulation and Detective Reany determined to find the counterfeiters. He located their headquarters was at Parkersburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). On July 14, 1860, he travelled there in the hopes of catching them in the act. Within two days he arrested Ira Johnson and Hiram Sutton and recovered the plates, equipment, and a large sum of counterfeit currency. His investigation led to Coolville, Ohio where he found Adam Valentine, a printing press, and another large stash of bills.
On August 1, 1860, Henry Skillman was about to leave a very large picnic in Saint Bernard when he walked into Kemper Hall to get some ice cream. Inside were some toughs, James and George McClelland, John Babb, and Jesse McLane James. A fight ensued and Skillman came out, but mortally wounded. It is unclear whether Detectives Reany and Watson were at the picnic or called by Saint Bernard to investigate, but they arrested the four and charged three with Murder. George McClelland, John Babb, and Jesse McLane were arraigned on August 3rd.
For unknown reasons, Mayor Bishop issued an order to all detectives to report to his office every morning. William Reany found the order to be so egregious that he refused and one of the City’s “most efficient detectives,” as described by the Cincinnati Daily Press, resigned on November 9, 1860.
Still a dedicated policeman, when a court date came up on November 14, 1860, ex-Detective Reany appeared for the arraignment of John F. Barlow in Police Court, whom he had previously charged with perjury. On December 17, 1860, when McClellan came to trial for the murder of Henry Skillman, ex-Detective Reany was the star witness and testified that McClellan had confessed to him that he had stabbed Skillman.
During January 1860, John Hunt tried dislodging a Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton Railroad train between Carlisle and Miamisburg. Private Detective Reany was again tasked to find the culprit. He employed an operative who, after mixing with the low-class people of the region, identified Hunt as the perpetrator, engaged him in conversation, elicited a confession, and planned another attempt. Reany was positioned for the second “attempt” and on January 23rd made the arrest.
On April 12, 1861, the Civil War broke out. Detective Reany began forming a militia calvary unit operating as Company A of the 7th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (OVC). His company elected him Major. He intended an independent calvary regiment known as the “Rebel Hunters” to operate exclusively in Kentucky. Unable to provide sufficient personnel, steeds, and/or equipment, on July 20, 1862, his 200 men were transferred to Company S, and he was appointed a Captain.
According to an August 6, 1862 Cincinnati Enquirer Letter to the Editor, a C. R. Smith denied providing, with Captain Reany, a list to the military of some 700 Democrats disloyal to the Union. Notably, he did not deny that Captain Reany had done so, nor can we find any denial by Captain Reany.
On October 3, 1862, the 7th OVC was finally organized in Ripley, Ohio, and nicknamed the “River Regiment” as its men came from nine counties along the Ohio River. It was formed under Colonel Israel Garrard, Lieutenant Colonel George G. Miner, and officers, William Reaney, Augustus Norton, James McIntire, William T. Simpson, John Leaper, Solomon L. Green, and Leonard Skinner. Included in the Regiment were Captain Reany’s sons, Privates William H. Reany, Jr., and Lafayette Reany. The OVC was mustered into service from September 12 to November 8, 1862 at Columbus, Camp Ripley, Athens, Pomeroy, and Gallipolis, to serve for three years.
Their first contact with the enemy came 1½ months later on December 31, 1862, at Carter’s Station, Tennessee. They fought again on February 12, 1863 at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and camped there. By then, Reany was promoted to Major.
William Reany vs. John Hunt Morgan
The 7th Cavalry left Harrodsburg on February 20th and marched ten miles to Danville. The next day, through rain, snow, and sleet, they marched to Crab Orchard. On the 22nd, a detachment was sent toward Mt. Vernon. Later that day, they were ordered to march fifty miles to Richmond. On the evening of the 23rd, they found the town abandoned by the Confederates.
They next marched toward Winchester, intending to camp. The rebels were located 18 miles away in Mt. Sterling, so they marched there through the night. Colonel Runkle was in command of the force and refused Reany’s pleas to surprise the enemy by charging in. They lined up for an assault in the morning, but the Rebels had made good their escape. The OVC gave chase but were inexplicably halted two miles from the last known location of the enemy. They pursued the next day, but the rebels had vanished.
Information was then received that General John Hunt Morgan was marching for Lexington. The Union troops reached Paris about 8 o’clock and found that the intelligence was wrong. The rebels had actually returned to Mt. Sterling. Major Reany took a small party toward Winchester. He found no soldiers but did find a group of high-ranking southern citizens hoping to interact with and support the soldiers.
On March 2nd, the whole force moved to Mt. Sterling and found the rebels there. The rebels fired one volley and ran. The Calvary caught them at a stream, killed several, wounded more, and captured twenty-six, but the men were halted again at the stream. This was Colonel Runkle’s last act. He was arrested and transported to Lexington for court marshal. The OVC returned to Harrodsburg.
The OVC skirmished again on May 1, 1863, at Monticello, Kentucky; on June 9, 1863 at Rocky Gap, Kentucky; on June 14, 1863 at Mount Vernon, Kentucky, and past Kingston, Tennessee, to the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad at Lenoir Station. They then went northeast destroying a major bridge across the Holston River at Strawberry Plains and wrecked a smaller bridge at Mossy Creek. The raiders turned northwest and safely reaching Boston, Kentucky on June 24th, having paroled over 400 Confederate soldiers while sustaining minimal losses in men but considerable losses in horses.
William Reany vs John Hunt Morgan, the Sequel
Newly promoted Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan, due to Colonel Runkle’s cowardice, was loose in Kentucky. He set out on July 2, 1863, against orders, to execute a daring raid of Ohio, and, if possible, the greatest city west of the Alleghany Mountains, Cincinnati. He crossed the Ohio River into Indiana and devastated militia units in towns along his trek north and east toward Cincinnati. Union General Burnside had been directed by President Lincoln to pull back to Cincinnati, but thought better of it, patrolling into Kentucky and leaving Cincinnati without sufficient defense.
Morgan crossed into Ohio about July 12th or 13th, constituting the deepest incursion of the Civil War to that point and the only significant military action of the war in Ohio. On July 13, 1863, Morgan’s main column encountered no resistance as it passed through New Haven, about five miles north of Miamitown.
Major Reany was either on leave in Cincinnati or assigned to General Cox’s staff when word reached the city of Morgan’s progress. He gathered 23 Union scouts and responded to Miamitown to set up an ambush. Morgan divided his force, sending a 500-man detachment down the Harrison Turnpike toward Miamitown.
Raney’s men removed the center planks of the bridge and hid behind trees and fences on the east side of the bridge. Around 6:15 p.m. on the 13th, Morgan’s troopers discovered the bridge unusable and forded the shallow river just upstream from the site. When they regained the turnpike, Raney’s militia fired a volley at the surprised troopers, killing two, wounding three, and capturing three, including Ike Snow, one of Morgan’s best scouts. The raiders counterattacked and drove Raney’s outnumbered men out of range, capturing one Union scout. Morgan’s detachment fled. [During 2013, the Miami Historical Society of Whitewater Water Township and Ohio Historical Society placed a historical marker on the north side of Harrison Avenue (about 7980) at the west bank of the Great Miami River (39.21618ºN, 84.70392ºW).]
The OVC chased Morgan all the way to Buffington Island in Meigs County where Morgan was captured and imprisoned in the Ohio State Penitentiary.
By the end of summer, the 7th OVC was back prosecuting the war in Kentucky, but Major Reany was appointed Provost Marshal under General Cox, who was assigned to command the District of Ohio from Cincinnati.
On October 31, 1863, ever the detective, Provost Marshal Major Reany filed an affidavit with United States Commissioner Halliday naming high-level men and women involved a months-long, massive, treasonous conspiracy. The names included: Samuel P. Thomas, Mrs. Mary A. Thomas, Dr. Lazelle, Sterling King, Lieutenant Colonel Patton, Mrs. Mary Catherine Parmenter, James P. Patton of Covington, Colonel Patton’s brother, Ruth McDonald of Newport, and various other traitors and rebels. The plot involved the rescue of rebel prisoners at Camp Chase and in the Ohio Penitentiary.
The plot that Major Reany discovered involved the traitors surrounding Camp Chase, killing the guards, and tossing axes over the wooden walls so that the prisoners could chop their way out. Those 4000 men would constitute an army led by Catheart and, with their axes and whatever arms were seized, they would march to Columbus and seize the armory. Then they would storm the Ohio State Penitentiary and free General Morgan and his officers. They would then march to a point across from Maysville and cross into the Confederacy.
With the increase in personnel from rebel sympathizers in the penitentiary, they would then go about cutting telegraph lines and burning railroad bridges to prevent the response of the Union forces. Additionally, there was a Copperhead plot to overthrow the Ohio government, using the other sympathetic prisoners from the penitentiary, then move on to Canada and release another traitor, Clement Vallandigham. Catheart intended to travel south and accept a commission as a Brigadier General of the Confederate Army.
Deputy Marshals and assistants, in a coordinated operation, set out at 8 p.m. on Saturday the 31st to begin serving the warrants. A military detachment was dispatched to serve the warrants in Newport and Covington.
Thomas was found walking on Walnut Street and arrested there. He was walking with a Mr. Burns who surreptitiously passed him a pistol and therefore was also arrested. Mrs. Thomas was found and arrested at her home, taken to the Marshal’s office where Mrs. Parmenter was also arrested. Mrs. McDonald and Mr. Patton were also arrested. Commissioner Halliday set a bond for each of $10,000 (almost $250,000 today). All but two of those arrested were able to produce the amount from regional sympathizers.
On Sunday, November 1st, Deputy Marshal James W. Sands and Detective Slade traveled to Columbus to meet with Deputy Marshal J. H. Wheeler and effect the arrest of Ohio School Commissioner Charles W. Catheart and Thomas’s partner, J. D. Cresap. They were found, arrested, and brought back to Cincinnati by 5 p.m. Paroled rebel prisoners, Dr. Lazelle and Captain Thomas Watson, were also arrested and destined to be tried by military authorities.
Regardless, on November 27, Morgan and six of his officers escaped from their cells in the Ohio Penitentiary by digging a tunnel into the inner yard and then ascending a wall with a rope made from bunk coverlets and a bent poker iron. They made their way south and escaped into Kentucky.
Back in the War
By the time Morgan escaped, Major Reany and General Cox were back in the war in Tennessee. On November 3, 1863, they met the enemy at Columbia, Tennessee. Three days later, they skirmished in Rogersville. On December 8th, they battled in Morristown, then Bean’s Station on the 14th, Blain’s Cross Roads on the 19th, New Marky on the 22nd, and Dandridge on the 24th.
In 1846, General Cox and Major Reany were attached to Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Atlanta campaign, a series of battles fought throughout northwest Georgia and the area around Atlanta. They invaded Georgia from the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee, beginning in May 1864.
William Reany vs. John Hunt Morgan III
At dawn on June 11, 1864, General John H. Morgan, back in command, approached Cynthiana with 1,200 cavalrymen. Having no artillery in which to drive the Federals from their positions, the Confederates set fire to the town, destroying thirty-seven buildings, and killing some of the Union troops. The next day, Major Reany arrived and was once again pitted against General John H. Morgan. The battle ultimately resulted in a victory by Union forces over the raiders and ended Morgan’s Last Kentucky Raid in defeat.
The 7th OVC on July 30th fought in Georgia, then onto Atlanta, until September.
While the bulk of Sherman’s Army was heading to the Atlantic Ocean, Confederate raids to supply lines and feints kept the 7th OVC busy with at least thirteen engagements through the rest of the year in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. They had three more battles in April 1865 at Plantersville, Ebenezer Church, and Dixie Station, Alabama.
On July 4, 1865 Major Reany and the regiment were mustered out at Nashville and returned home to Ohio. During the war, the regiment lost 2 officers and 26 enlisted due to wounds, and 4 officers and 197 enlisted men by disease, for a total of 229 fatalities.
BACK TO CIVILIAN LIFE
After an exciting, yet relatively unsung, military career, Bill Reany returned to Ohio and on September 1, 1865, opened a private police agency office in Room 18 of the Opera House building in Columbus “for the collection of claims, recovery of stolen property, and detection of thieves.” At the time, Columbus was one-tenth the size of Cincinnati and law enforcement was still executed by the City Marshal.
After a few months of criminal activities at the depot in Columbus, especially on Saturday and Sunday nights, on November 5, 1865 Officer Dewitt found several men working to break into a Columbus and Indiana Railway car on the track near the Penitentiary. He and Columbus Police Officer Mara attempted to corral the thieves, but they escaped, leaving their tools behind. Officer Dewitt called on Detective Reany who responded. Reany determined that they men were three discharged convicts, James McDonald, Charles Baker, and Charles Warrington. They found and arrested Warrington at his place of occupation. They took him to his room where he was boarding and found there a large trunk stolen three weeks before from a freight train. They found and captured the other two on Broad Street two days later on Tuesday, November 7th.
On December 22, 1865, two men broke into Knoderer’s blacksmith shop near the City Mills in order to take tools for a second burglary. Using the tools, they broke into City Mills and went to work on the safe. Having opened it just enough to get their arms in, something scared them off, leaving their tools and some blood on the floor. Marshal Stephens began an investigation and found that two strangers to town had stayed the night at the nearby Simonton’s Exchange. Stephens called Detective Reany for assistance. Reany and Officer Spencer responded and rousted the pair. One had an obviously recent bloodied nose and the interrogation concluded that he had been holding a candle over the other when he somehow started bleeding. The two were locked up in the city prison.
On February 11, 1866, a burglary and safecracking were reported at the Vinton County Treasurer’s Office. So much explosive was used that the whole office and part of the structure was decimated. The perpetrator got away, and Detective Reany was called on to investigate. He determined two men were involved, Maley Thompson of London, Ohio, and Cincinnati Police Detective Guillard. Thompson was a counterfeiter and Guillard had a case against him and apparently talked him into the safecracking scheme. Reany found and locked up Thompson in the McArthur jail. Ostensibly, during his interrogation, he discovered that Detective Guillard was the accomplice. Guillard came to visit Thompson and Reany responded to arrest him.
We believe he was working on a case in Nashville, Tennessee during April 1866, only because of a newspaper add similar to a ruse he used in Vincennes, Indiana a few years earlier.
And that was the last he is mentioned in newspapers. For an unknown reason, we imagine either due to a lack of income or illness, Detective Reany returned to Cincinnati. By 1869 he was listed in the City Directory as a policeman and living again on Front Street. By 1872, he was listed as a carpenter.
On January 9 or 10, 1874, Detective Reany died of peritonitis. He was buried in Wesleyan Cemetery in Plot 99, Section A, Grave 1 on January 11, 1874.