New Jersey News - 1899 - James Walsh Shot Dead

James Walsh Shot Dead

Murdered By William Bullock On Monday

Mr. Walsh had Gone to Bullock's House on Stout Street to Serve Some Legal Papers on Him - The Murderer Captured

James Walsh of Red Bank, who for many years was chief of police of Red Bank and who was one of the best known constables in Monmouth county, was shot and instantly killed on Monday afternoon by William Bullock in the latter's yard on Stout street. Bullock is a colored man about fifty years old. He fled after killing Mr. Walsh but was captured at midnight at South Amboy. He was taken to the county jail by Constable Stryker yesterday morning.

Herman Frost, a colored boy seventeen years old, son of Jesse Frost of Fair Haven, was employed by Bullock. He went to work for him last Saturday. On Monday afternoon Bullock and Frost went to Mrs. James Polhemus's place, south of Fair Haven, for a load of straw and cornstalks. They got back about half-past three o'clock. Mr. Walsh was in the yard and he and Bullock began talking while Frost began to unhitch the mule. Bullock went into the house and came out again, and Frost noticed by his voice that he was getting excited. They were standing under a shed a short distance from the house, and Frost was on the side of the mule away from the shed when he heard pistol shots. He heard a man fall and he looked under the mule's body and saw Mr. Walsh lying on the ground dead, under the shed. Frost ran out of the yard and down Stout street. He headed for Red Bank. He met a man on Throckmorton's bridge and told him that Bullock had shot a man, and he then ran on to Capt. Thomas P. Brown's coal yard, where he told the story of the shooting to Morris Brown. Mr. Brown sent for constable Conk and Frost was taken to the town hall and locked up.

As soon as Bullock had killed Mr. Walsh he went into the house a moment, came out again, and then started toward the river. Amos Bennett was at work in his yard, diagonally across the street from Bullock's place, when the shots were fired. He saw Frost run out of the yard and a minute or two afterward he saw Bullock come out of the yard and start toward the river. Bullock was walking fast and Bennett called to him and asked him what was the matter. Bullock replied that Frost had shot at a chicken.

After Frost had been taken to the town hall Conk and Justice Charles H. Borden went to Bullock's house. Lemuel Ketcham and Louis Brown also went there. When they got to Bullock's place they went back in the yard and found Mr. Walsh's dead body lying under the shed. It was not until they saw the body that they knew who had been killed.

Mr. Walsh was lying on his back and he had apparently died without making the slightest struggle. The bullet which killed him had entered his left eye and he had fallen backward dead. Two other bullets were found in his right leg. They had been fired at him as he fell and had entered the leg near the hip. Another bullet had passed through the flap of his coat but had not struck him.

Undertaker Robert T. Smith was sent for and the body was removed to his place on Front street within an hour after the shooting.

When Bullock left the yard he started diagonally across the field towards the river. He went down Harry Miner's lane, known as Grange avenue, and saw some men at work on a bulkhead. He told them he wanted to get across the river to get a cow and he offered them half a dollar to row him across. George Baldwin and Will Hallenbake took him over to the Middletown shore. It was a little rough on the passage over, and Bullock stood up in the boat. The men told him he had better sit down and Bullock replied that he would just a lief fall overboard and drown as not.

As soon as Mr. Walsh's body was removed from Bullock's shed, telephone messages were sent to all the towns of the county and to all the towns along the railroad between Red Bank and New York, giving a description of Bullock and asking for his arrest in case he should be seen. Just before twelve o'clock on Monday night the chief of police of South Amboy telephoned to Red Bank that Bullock had been captured there. Bullock had three teeth with gold crowns, by which he was readily identified, and papers which were found on him made his identification certain.

Constable Stryker, Fred Frick, Peter Lang and Jacob B. Rue went to South Amboy early on Tuesday morning, leaving Red Bank on the freight train which leaves Red Bank at three o'clock. Bullock was taken by them to Freehold on the newspaper train and was locked up in the county jail. The officers at South Amboy who arrested Bullock told him that Walsh was not much hurt and Bullock then talked freely about the shooting and the causes which led up to it. It was not until Bullock had given his story in great detail that he was told that Walsh had been killed instantly when he shot him. Then he almost collapsed.

Bullock had had considerable trouble over legal matters of late and he had become very much worked up. Some time ago he ordered a load of hay from John Stilwell of Colt's neck and agreed to pay $15 for it. When Stilwell took the hay to Bullock's place he refused to pay more than $10 for it. Stilwell refused to sell the hay at that price and he carted it away again. He afterward sued Bullock for the loss he had sustained and the trouble he had been put to in hauling the hay to his house and hauling it away again and he got judgment. Bullock paid the amount of the judgment and costs but he declared at the time that he would get even with Stilwell.

A couple of weeks ago some one broke into Stilwell's barn at Colt's Neck and cut his carriage top to pieces and cut and destroyed a set of harness. After cutting the harness to pieces it had been thrown in the millpond near by. Bullock had been in Colt's Neck that night inquiring for Stilwell's place and it was thought that he was the man who did the mischief. A double whiffletree was stolen from Stilwell's place the same night. Stilwell wanted to have a warrant issued against Bullock for damaging his wagon and harness, but Justice Child thought the evidence was not sufficient to allow him to issue such a warrant. Stilwell afterward got a warrant on this charge from a Freehold justice of the peace.

This warrant was one of the papers which Mr. Walsh took to Bullock's house on Monday afternoon. Another paper which he had was an execution on his goods. This execution was for a small debt due to Robert Allen, Jr., which Bullock had refused to pay. About two months ago Bullock bought his house and lot on Stout street from Mrs. Anna Maria Marks for $1,800. He paid $200 cash and gave a mortgage for the remaining $1,600. He wanted Mr. Allen to make a search of the title to the property for him and it was for service in this connection that the judgment was secured by Mr. Allen.

Bullock told of these things to the people who were taking him to Freehold. He said he had been made to pay a great deal of money which he should not have had to pay, and he made up his mind that he would not pay any more. He said he got desperate when Mr. Walsh showed him the papers in both cases. He refused to pay the amount of Mr. Allen's bill and he said he would not go with Mr. Walsh on the charge for damaging the wagon and harness. Walsh said he would have to go and Bullock then asked to be allowed to go in the house and change his trousers. Mr. Walsh consented and Bullock went in the house and pulled on another pair of trousers over the ones he had on. He told his wife that there was some more trouble over the Stilwell matter and he took his revolver with him when he went out. This revolver was loaded. It was a five-barreled weapon and was a self-cocker of the latest pattern. The bullets were 38 caliber.

Bullock told Stryker that after he got his revolver and went out to where Mr. Walsh was standing he told Walsh again that he would not go with him. Mr. Walsh told him he would have to go. Bullock said that Walsh put his hand on his pistol and then he shot him. The first shot hit Mr. Walsh in the left eye, and as he fell backward Bullock said he fired four more shots at his body. He could not tell whether he hit him or not, on account of the smoke. When Mr. Walsh lay on the ground, after he was shot, Bullock said he stood over him and told him that he had said he did not want any trouble but that he would not go with him. He said Walsh did not answer and he did not know how much he was hurt.

Bullock said that while Walsh lay on the ground he picked up Walsh's revolver and threw it over the fence in the adjoining yard. When the officers got back to Red Bank they made a search for the weapon but it could not be found. Afterward the revolver was found at Mr. Walsh's home and it was learned that Mr. Walsh did not have a pistol with him at the time Bullock shot him.

Bullock said that after he shot Mr. Walsh he went in the house for more cartridges, intending to go and kill Stilwell. He could not find the cartridges and he then undertook to escape. After being rowed across the river he walked from Keansburg to Matawan and then got on a freight train going north. He jumped off the train as it was slowing up at South Amboy and walked almost into the arms of Policeman James McDonnell, who was watching for him. Walter S. Noble of Red Bank had notified the men on the freight train that Bullock was likely to get on the train at some of their stopping places. The train men saw him get on at Matawan and they notified the South Amboy police the moment the train pulled in at the station.

A post-mortem examination of the body of Mr. Walsh was made by Dr. Edwin Field. He said that the shot in the eye had killed Mr. Walsh instantly. He found two other bullet wounds in the leg, the bullets being still in the flesh. The inquest in the case will be held on Friday and will probably be conducted by Coroner Herbert of Asbury park.

A purse of money is being made up by the people of Red Bank to be given to Policeman McDonnell of South Amboy who arrested Bullock. About $50 has already been subscribed. A subscription is also being taken up to buy suitable floral pieces for Mr. Walsh's funeral.

Mr. Walsh was born at New Castle-on-Tyne, England. His father died when he was an infant and with his mother he then came to this country and located at New York. In 1849, when the gold fever broke out in California, Mr. Walsh's older brother left home and went in search of gold. James Walsh was then 21 years old and he went to California to bring his brother home. He found his brother, but instead of bringing him home he remained in California with him sixteen years.

Mr. Walsh was always of an adventuresome nature and was never better satisfied than when hunting down criminals or ferreting out crime. It was while in California that the opportunity came to develop this natural tendency. He was a justice of the peace while in California and often served as a deputy marshal in cases where extreme measures had to be taken. He was shot in the jaw while dealing with lawless characters in California and he carried a scar from this wound during the rest of his life.

Mr. Walsh returned form California about 1865 and a few years later he came to Red Bank. Soon after he came to Red Bank he started a sash and blind factory and wheelwright shop on Mechanic street. This he conducted until a short time ago, when he disposed of the sash and blind business to Wallace Bennett. The wheelwright business has been conducted a number of years for Mr. Walsh by Theodore F. Sniffen.

In 1872 Mr. Walsh was married to the daughter of Newbury Havens of Manasquan. She and three children survive him. The children are Carrie S. Walsh, who lives at home; Frederick H. Walsh, who is at Dawson City in search of gold; and Mrs. Paul H. Jaehnig of Newark. He leaves also a brother, Samuel Walsh of Wallace street. Mr. Walsh was a member of the Red Men's lodge of Red Bank and of the Degree of Pocahontas. He was an exempt member of the Independent hose company. He was also a director of the Red Bank building and loan association. Suitable resolutions were passed by this association at their meeting last night.

The funeral will be held at the house on Friday afternoon at one o'clock, and will be in charge of the Red Men. The fire bell will to tolled during the service. The body will be buried at Manasquan.

Mr. Walsh was a member of the board of commissioners shortly after the town was incorporated. He was chief of police of the town for many years. Last May Franklin Pierce Stryker was made chief of police and Mr. Walsh was oppointed (sic) as a special all-night officer.

Mr. Walsh was unflinching in the prosecution of his duties, but he was an easy officer to get along with. While he was determined in his line of duty, he had a manner which made him many friends among all classes. When people were noisy on the streets he would quiet them with a word or two and then send them home instead of arresting them and putting the town and the individual to expense. The quietest days of the town and the days most free from street brawls and disturbances, were during his service as chief of police.

The children of the town feel that they have lost a friend in Mr. Walsh. "He was a bully cop," said one of them yesterday. "He let us play fox in the streets when there were not many wagons around, and he never tried to scare us by telling us he would run us in."

Bullock was born on Long Island. He has high cheek bones and other facial characteristics of the Indian race. He came to Red Bank several years ago, and was generally considered a quiet, inoffensive citizen. Some people say that he easily got excited and that then he was always ready to fight. He was married about two years ago and he has one child, a baby three months old.


(From the editorial page)

James Walsh

The shooting of James Walsh on Monday afternoon was an unprovoked murder. By his death the town loses an excellent official, who had proven true to his trust during many years of service. In his business dealings he was as honest as he was capable in his official capacity. Many of the residents of the town mourn his death as they would the death of a personal friend, and to many of the people of the town he was a personal friend indeed.

James Walsh was one of the most charitable of men and many were the unfortunates whose lives he had made easier. There was nothing ostentatious in his charities, and the giving of a meal at a restaurant, or the contribution of money to help unfortunates on their way, were matters of daily occurrence with him.

With the children of the town especially he was a favorite and his heart was kept young with their love. Many a child in Red Bank was heart broken at the news of his death, for with many of them he was looked upon a stern upholder of the power and dignity of the law. The love of little children has been said to be the best index of true manhood, and James Walsh was especially blessed in this particular.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, November 15, 1899