Nightwatchman John O'Mayer

Fallen HeroNightwatchman, John O'Mayer 

13 November 1856

On this day in Baltimore Police History 1856, we lost our brother, Patrolman John O'Mayer, to gunfire based on the following: When a call came in to stop the violence at Belair Market, city police found themselves fighting both sides of an argument, leading to what would become a difficult attempt to quash the disagreement. Ten of our brothers were shot in action during the conflict; most of them suffered minor injuries. O’Mayer’s wound was accidental, as he shot himself in the hand. For several days after, the men of the Eastern District slowly recovered from their “ugly but non-too dangerous” wounds; all but John O’Myer’s, his condition worsened, infection spread, and spread quickly… Until it had become so apparent that the infection threatened the watchmen's lives, the treating physician, Dr. Yates, had no choice but to amputate Patrolman O’Mayer’s hand. This seemed to be the only answer, and even then, it was only an attempt to stop the infection in its tracks. It would be a few days before Doc Yates would know if his efforts would be successful or if he had failed. On November 13, 1856, with his family (a wife and child) by his side, Patrolman O’Mayer would draw his last breath, as Doc Yate’s surgery was a valiant effort, but an effort that was too late, as the infection grew into a severe case of lock jaw, and nothing could be done. The funeral was held on November 15, and he was given the honors bestowed upon a soldier when “the military fired three volleys over the grave and the cortege retired.” The leaders of the city mourned the deaths of the watchmen by flying the flags at half-staff.

As his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department, we will not let him be forgotten. His service honored the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department. May he rest in peace, and may God bless him.

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End of Watch     13 November 1856
City, St. City, St.
Panel Number N/A
Cause of Death       Gunfire
District Worked Eastern


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