END OF WATCH: January 25, 1905
Cleveland Police Department
Patrolman James H. Stedman was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department on July 1, 1895, and served in the First and Eighth Precincts. Most of his time was spent in the First Precinct. For the first few years of his service, he was in plain clothes. Three years prior to his death, Stedman was assigned to corner watch duty at the intersection of Euclid and Ontario Streets. With the exception of his vacation time, he was at this post every day of the year. His normal tour of duty was from shortly after noon to midnight at the most congested traffic point in the City of Cleveland.
On January 25, 1905, while guiding to safety the hundreds of people homeward bound at the close of the business day, Stedman was killed on his corner when he was crushed between two street-cars.
The accident occurred when two streetcars were turning in the intersection at the same time. The small space between the two-turning streetcars was the usual post for Stedman. The switch in one of the tracks was choked with snow and ice causing the switch to fly open after the front trucks of one of the turning streetcars passed. This caused the rear portion of the streetcar to go straight instead of turning. The rear end of the streetcar swung quickly in towards the southbound Fairfield streetcar. The Euclid car caught Stedman above the waist and jammed him against the other streetcar crushing Stedman’s chest. Doctors later stated every one of Stedman’s ribs was broken.
Bystanders rushed to Stedman’s assistance. He was already unconscious when he was carried into May’s Drugstore. A few minutes later a Hogan and Company ambulance arrived and Stedman was rushed to Charity Hospital, but died on the way.
Patrolman Stedman, was born in Canada and came to Cleveland as a young boy. Stedman was married for six years and lived with his wife on Fair Court. The couple had no children. A year prior to his death, Stedman’s wife was crippled for life when she was struck by a streetcar in the area of the West Side Market House (area of West 25th and Lorain Avenue).
Commenting on the accident, Cleveland Police Captain Schmunk stated, “Those men are placed at corners to guard the lives of the people. They are so busy, they have no time to look out for themselves.”
James H. Stedman’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. panel 44, west wall, line 14.
By Lt. Edward F. Lewis, Bay Village Police Department