Thomas C. McCarrick
Appointed May 31, 1888
Just after noon on Thursday, May 21, 1891, Patrolman Thomas C. McCarrick1, Badge No. 38, of the Rondo Avenue Substation in the City of Saint Paul, boarded an electric streetcar to go home for lunch. He jumped off the streetcar while it was still in motion at Central Avenue and Wabasha Street, and the streetcar continued on. As he crossed the tracks behind it, unfortunately, he failed to see a West Saint Paul and University Avenue streetcar traveling at a high rate of speed the other direction. It passed the one he just exited, striking and running over him, grinding him beneath the wheels. He was not expected to live, because of the massive injuries including deep gashes to the skull.
Both streetcars stopped immediately and several passengers removed McCarrick from the tracks, including Patrolman James T. Ross2 who had been on the same car as McCarrick and witnessed the tragic accident. They called for a wagon and Detective Henry Gruber3 responded. McCarrick was transported to Saint Joseph’s Hospital, where he died twenty-nine days later at 2000 hours (8:00 p.m.), Friday, June 19, 1891.
Although police personnel records do not give a date of birth, other records indicate that Thomas C. McCarrick was born in about 1858. Raised in Minnesota, thirty-three year old McCarrick had been with the Police Department since May 31, 1888 (three years) when his life was taken. He was well liked in his district and considered a very efficient officer by his supervisors. Patrolman McCarrick was survived by his wife, Mary, and two children, John and Frances. A daughter, Catherine (“Kitty”), preceded her father in death, and son, John, died about a year after his father. Mary was a sister of Saint Paul Police Captain John W. Cook4, and married Thomas C. McCarrick on August 17, 1886. Patrolman McCarrick’s funeral took place on Monday, June 22, 1891, at the Saint Paul Cathedral, and he is buried at Calvary Cemetery, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
A strange coincidence occurred during the funeral procession at Wabasha and Sixth Streets. As the procession crossed Wabasha Street an electric streetcar stopped to allow it to go by. It was the very one which had struck McCarrick one month earlier, and was operated by the same motorman. The poor fellow, on seeing the sad procession, was overcome with grief and burst into tears.
A pension of $400 a year was given to Mrs. McCarrick, based on the “Bell Charter” enacted earlier the same year providing for a permanent police pension fund. Under the law ten percent of all monies paid into the municipal court as “fines collected from criminal cases” were to be credited to the police pension fund; also all fines imposed by the mayor on members of the police force. Retired police officers and widows drew from this fund a monthly sum equal to one half of the salary received when on active duty, provided however, that no pension exceeds $1,000 per annum. This fund was later deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and repealed by the state legislature in 1897, not to be replaced until after the turn of the century.
1 Thomas C. McCarrick was appointed Patrolman May 31, 1888; was fatally injured in a traffic accident involving an electric streetcar May 21, 1891, and died Friday, June 19, 1891.
2 James T. Ross was appointed Patrolman July 14, 1885; was promoted to Sergeant June 11, 1893; and died April 28, 1915. Please note that during this time period there was at least one removal and reinstatement.
3 Henry Gruber was appointed Patrolman July 14, 1885; was promoted to Detective June 6, 1896; and was removed in 1898. Please note that during this time period there was at least one resignation and reappointment.
4 John W. Cook was appointed Patrolman January 1, 1878; was promoted to Lieutenant January 31, 1890; was promoted to Captain May 31, 1890; was demoted to Sergeant December 3, 1892; was promoted to Lieutenant April 4, 1893; was demoted to Patrolman June 13, 1894; was promoted to Lieutenant June 4, 1896; and was removed August 8, 1900.