John Boyle

Company A, 12th and 127th Illinois Volunteer Infantries

"Chief" J. Boyle Dies Suddenly from Apoplexy

John Boyle, the "old chief," is dead. His passing marks the end of a career unique and colorful. Few there are in Jackson who did not know, to a certain extent, th genial, likeable police officer.

The end was sudden. Following the custom of years, Mr. Boyle had made a daily trip down town and to the police station house. While talking with Sargeant Bert Fall, he complained of feeling ill. He was taken home in an automobile and immediately suffered a stroke of apoplexy which caused his death about 4:30 o'clock. Mr. Boyle had been in failing health for some time.

Funeral arrangements will be made later. The son, Robert, is expected to arrive in the city this afternoon from the west.

John Boyle was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in 1839. Like many other Irish lads, his elder brothers emigrated to America. When John Boyle was 3 years old his father died, and his mother decided to bring the rest of the family to America. He was 13 years old when, with his mother, he passed the gateway of hope at Castle Garden.

Before he reached his majority the civil war broke out, and Mr. Boyle enlisted in the Twelfth Illinois infantry. He was a good soldier and served through the war, earning a commission as first lieutenant. In fact, he was offered a captaincy, but as this promotion would have involved separation from the comrades with whom he has passed streuous years, he declined. He participated in Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea, and was severely wounded in a fight at Kennesaw Bayou.

It was not until 1874 that Mr. Boyle became a resident of Jackson. He was a cooper by trade, and was brought here by a contractor who supplied the old Knickerbocker flouring mills with barrels. Five years later, in 1879, he joined the police force as patrolman, and was associated with it for twenty-nine years.

In 1885 the police department was reorganized with the change of control from a committee of the common council to a police commission. Jackson had been a rather lawless town, and the police commission was instituted to bring about better conditions. Mr. Boyle was appointed captain of the reorganized force, and served until 1891, when he was elected sheriff of the county and resigned his position on the city department.

Mr. Boyle served as sheriff for two years but, failing of re-election, he returned to the city department and was appointed chief in 1893. He retired with ripe honors from this position - and has since taken his ease on a well-earned pension.

John Boyle was associated with the police department during the formative years of this city's history and performed the difficult duties of an exacting position with distinction. Partly as a result of the location of the state prison in Jackson and the residence here of many graduates from that institution and partly because of its central location on the railroads, Jackson had more than its fair quota of "crooks." Chief Boyle knew them all, and succeeded in maintaining order when it was no small task. Withal he was kind-hearted, helpful, and a good friend and honest man.

As partolman, captain and chief of the police department, Mr. Boyle was associated with many celebrated cases. Sheriff Winney, who was in office at the time of the Crouch murders, recognized Mr. Boyle's ability by securing his assistance in runnin gdown evidence in that baffling crime. Mr. Boyle was also connected with the Latimer murder case, the Halstead case and many other notable crimes.

Few men in Jackson had more friends than the "Old Chief," as he was known. The last work of an active life was done several years ago, but almost every day he was to be seen on the streets, shaking hands with friends, and he will be missed.

Besides a widow he leaves four children - Mrs. H. B. McFarland, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. W. J. Kinney, Vancouver, Washington; Robert Boyle of Mason City, Iowa and Marion, who resides at home, besides five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Submitted by Greg Knopp

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