Ever wonder what it was like to be a policeman in the 19th century, where your best weapons were your fists and your wits?

Sometimes the best way to look at a historical period is to take a close look at their challenges, and how they were addressed.  How about crime?  

Let’s look at the police force of Hartford, CT, and the interesting (and sometimes desperate) situations in which the policemen found themselves.  Snippets of the original accounts are presented here in order to convey the ethics, priorities, and humor of the time.  Enjoy!

Source information:  Historical Sketch of the Police Service of Hartford, 1636-1901

Captain Cornelius Ryan
A tough and resourceful policeman, Capt. Ryan found himself in a few tight spots:

Cornelius Ryan, Captain

(Gotta love the dry humor of the above passage).


Then there was the time Capt. Ryan was accidentally locked in with the prisoners overnight (the door only opened from the outside, and he was on duty alone).  According to reports, he went into the lock-up room to break up a fight.  Captain Ryan:

And, oh, those pesky females!

The males weren’t the only demographic that posed a challenge for the police:


What a rich passage – plenty of favorite phrases to go around (“Amazon” is a worthy contender, don’t you think?  “Totties and Lotties” is another favorite).

Sophie Lyons, shoplifter, pickpocket

Thanks for reading,

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