Samuel Kilbane was born in Northern Ireland in 1875 and came to Cleveland in 1897. In 1908 Samuel became a member of the Cleveland Police Department and was assigned to the Mounted Unit.
On April 19, 1923, after completing a tour of duty in the downtown area, Officer Kilbane was riding at the rear of a column of mounted patrolmen. The officers were returning to the Troop A barn located at Woodland and East 22nd Street when Kilbane’s horse suddenly bolted. His horse bumped into another police horse sending both horses down and throwing their riders. Kilbane was thrown onto the street and sustained a head injury while the second officer suffered a fractured ankle. While at Charity Hospital Officer Kilbane died as a result of his injuries.
The accident occurred in front of 1100 Woodland Avenue where the month before, another mounted Officer was injured after his horse stumbled into a hole.
A rut in the roadway was blamed for causing Kilbane’s death. This triggered a demand to repair the mass of ruts, holes and breaks in the roadway by repaving Woodland Avenue.
Samuel Kilbane’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. panel 45, west wall, line 10.
By Brigid Stefan, Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society