Unmarked graves: Hero #24, Officer Timothy Duane, Oakland Police Department

On April 9th, 1930, 24 year Oakland Police Department veteran Timothy Duane was standing in the roadway directing traffic at the intersection of 10th avenue and E. 14th street (now International Blvd). At about 7:30 pm he was struck by an automobile and hurled 30 feet into the path of another vehicle, which also struck him. Duane suffered massive injuries and was taken to Providence hospital. Nine days later on April 18th, Duane succumbed to his injuries. Per the Alameda County Coroner, Duane died from "cerebral hemorrhage due to fractured skull with other traumatism (suffered from the collision)". Duane was 59 years old. See Oakland Tribune article here.

Timothy Duane, badge #55

Timothy Duane, badge #55

Duane's sacrifice had seemingly been overlooked in OPD's history until a letter arrived at the Office of the Chief of Police in February 2012. Duane's great-granddaughter wrote to point out that Duane was not included on the memorial wall in the lobby of the Oakland Police Department administration building. She sent supporting documents including a copy of his death certificate, in which was written that he suffered injuries "...while on duty as a traffic policeman of the City of Oakland, in the street and accidentally struck by an automobile...". An investigation was conducted by the Oakland Police Officer's Association, verifying indeed that Timothy Duane was killed in the line of duty and as such, deserved the appropriate recognition. His name was inscribed on the memorial wall and he was honored in May of 2013 at the annual Oakland Police Officer's Association / Oakland Police Department Memorial honoring those that gave their lives in the line of duty.

During our research we determined that Timothy Duane had been interred at St. Mary's cemetery in Oakland, per the Oakland Tribune's obituary. After St. Mary's staff confirmed his resting place, we found his grave to be unmarked (photo below). With the help of your donations, the final resting place of policeman Timothy Duane will soon have a deserving marker.

 

Unmarked graves: Hero #3, Deputy Constable Dennis Cronin

On May 27th, 1897 Deputy Constable Dennis Cronin of Emeryville was on his beat and conducted a security check at Soule's Saloon on Park Ave just west of Hollis (see map below). James Bryan, a 17 year old accompanied by an acquaintance, was in the bar drinking (yes, things were different back then!) and noticed Cronin. Bryan was a wanderer who had taken to frequenting Oakland Trotting Park, a racetrack in Emeryville that predates Golden Gate Fields in Albany. Bryan held a grudge against Cronin and knew he would eventually show up at Soule's while making his rounds. Cronin had previously arrested Bryan and during the confrontation, Cronin found it necessary to use his baton to effect the arrest. Bryan was overheard protesting his previous encounter with Cronin and was determined to retaliate. Bryan followed Cronin out of the saloon and confronted him, shooting him once. Bryan fled, and Cronin was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on June 4th, 1897. Bryan was captured, tried and convicted. Cronin was also the first murder in Emeryville's history. Read an 1897 Oakland Tribune account of the incident here

Location of Dennis Cronin murder in Emeryville (late 1800's map)

Location of Dennis Cronin murder in Emeryville (late 1800's map)

Earlier this year while doing research for this project at St. Mary's cemetery in Oakland, we encountered a gentleman named Alfred Janske. Janske is a historian who is researching St. Mary's history in hopes of writing a book about the cemetery and those interred there. As luck would have it, he is also fascinated with the story of Dennis Cronin. In May, 2016, a story about Janske and his efforts was published in the East Bay Times, "Fallen lawman is forgotten no more".  Please read the story here. Janske took us to Cronin's resting place in the cemetery, which is unmarked (below; the blue notebook is on the location). Stay tuned for our next post, The Melrose incident: Heroes #4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Unmarked gravesite of Dennis Cronin (the blue notebook is on the location)

Unmarked gravesite of Dennis Cronin (the blue notebook is on the location)

This project began with Richard B. Richardson - Hero #1

On October 23rd, 1867 Oakland Police Officer Richard B. Richardson went to the property bound by 9th St, 10th St, Brush and Castro streets to execute a warrant. John Thomas, a squatter living there as directed by the property's previous owner, had brandished a firearm at two of the current owners. The police department was then located in Oakland's first City Hall, a small building on Broadway between 3rd St & 4th St. Richardson proceeded from there to the location on horseback determined to arrest Thomas. After contacting Thomas at his residence, Thomas shot and killed officer Richardson. A retrospective published in 1890 on Richardson and further details of the incident can be viewed here. In early 2016, Jim Knudsen asked if I would assist in a presentation about the Richard Richardson case at a luncheon for the Bay Counties Peace Officers' Association. While doing research for the presentation, Knudsen discovered Richard Richardson was at Mountain View cemetery in Oakland in an unmarked grave (map pictured below). Talk began about looking to place a marker on his grave. This extended to a discussion about the possibility that other peace officers in Alameda County might be in unmarked graves. We formalized the project and went about beginning the research, which resulted in discovering ten unmarked graves. An extension of this project is to orchestrate formal visits during National Police Week to honor these earliest heroes. 

Mountain View cemetery map. Gravesite of Richard B. Richardson

Mountain View cemetery map. Gravesite of Richard B. Richardson