Thursday, March 12, 2020

George H. Quackenbos - A Very Outstanding Police Officer

George H. Quackenbos, a graduate of Washington university, in St. Louis, is a member of the New York city police force. He recently brought himself into public notice by arresting a band of colored craps shooters, and the newspapers discovered that he was a man of striking individuality; a man with a history and by no means such a person as is ordinarily found doing duty as a patrolman. He has been a professor of Latin and Greek, is a linguist of note and belongs* to an old' Knickerbocker family.

"I became a policeman because I was tired of teaching deaf mutes," said Quackenbos the other day. "I thought that with the opportunities that would be afforded me for advancement under the rein of Mr. Roosevelt as police commissioner I would have no difficulty in getting ahead. I have a family to keep, and I shall stay in it for their sake, unless I get something much better. Then, too, I thought I would have enough spare time to continue writing for magazines and periodicals, but I find that I am kept busy doing some form of police duty all the time. The time is not ripe for me to work for promotion. When it is I hope to forge ahead. In the meanwhile, I am satisfied."

Quackenbos has been a professor of Latin and Greek and instructor in deaf mute institutions throughout the country, a physician, a hotel manager, an expert accountant and stenographer, a telegrapher, a poet, a magazine writer and a ranch man. He is the only son of Prof. George W. Quackenbos, formerly professor of Latin and Greek in Harvard University and later of the University of Chicago, but now in the LaSalle Institute in New York.

Quackenbos Was born in Chicago in and when about 7 years old moved with his parents to a ranch which his father had purchased at the junction of four counties In Kansas. The monotonous life of the ranch grew tiresome to the boy, who, when 10 years old, ran away to Osage City, Kansas, where he obtained a position as timekeeper In' a mine. During his spare time he loitered around the solitary telegraph office in the city, and obtained a knowledge of telegraphy, which afterward served him in good stead. While there, too, he picked up a deaf mute manual and became an expert in the sign language before he was 11 years old.

His parents, learning where he was. brought him back and sent him to school in St. Louis. He entered Washington university there and graduated with high honors. Then he took a supplementary course' at a business college. Longing to see the sights of the southwest, he then journeyed to New Mexico. There his love for excitement Was fully gratified. The miners of Socorro and the native New Mexicans, who retained many of the ancient customs* v/ere continually quarreling, and several on both c?ides had been killed In the numerous skirmishes. One day the natives waylaid the editor of the only paper printed in the town as he was coming from the door of the church and killed him with their knives. Quackenbos, with a party of miners, procured warrants for the murderers and compelled the sheriff of the county and his chief constable, who were New Mexicans themselves and sympathizers' with the murderers, to go to the place where the latter had taken refuge and read the warrants to them. After this had been done the miners placed dynamite cartridges around the shanty and blew the building up, with the fourteen men inside. Only a few fragments of the house or men remained.

Quackenbos left soon after that arid went to a ranch in Southern Texas. While on his way to Sari Antonio on one occasion Quackenbos was on a train that was stopped by robbers. There were only two passengers on the train, which carried special persons. Quackenbos opened fire on the robbers, and, with the aid of the train crew, put them to flight. He wounded two of the robbers.

Tiring of the west, he went to Chicago, where he obtained a position as an expert telegrapher. He left there to become instructor in accounting at a business college there. He remained there only one year, and Went to New York, where he was appointed instructor of the highest grade at the Westchester Institute for the Deaf and Dumb at Throgg's Neck, N. Y. While the Pan-American congress was in this country, at the Invitation of James G. Blaine, a commission was appointed by the ' president of the Venezuelan republic to obtain a competent man to take charge of the Government Institute for Deaf Mutes at Caracas. The commission, after a visit to the Westchester institute, unanimously recommended Quackenbos, who speaks Spanish as well as he does English. When he reached Caracas he found a revolution in progress and returned to this country.

While Governor Roosevelt was president of the New York police board and expressed a wish to have college graduates go on the force, Quackenbos decided to become a pollceman. It took him one hour to finish the examination, getting through two hours ahead of anyone else. He corrected the questions of the examiners, which he found to be wrong in several instances. He Was assigned to duty and has proved a model pollceman.

Frequently, while waiting for the arrival of the ambulance in accident cases he has afforded relief to sufferers, and on one occasion he rode several blocks off his post to argue the merits of the case with the surgeon. A story is told of him trahslatlng different passages from Latin and Greek text books for two Columbia college students, whom he met on the back of ah Amsterdam avenue car. He was in police uniform and they were astonished. "Where did you learn It?" they asked him. "Oh, on the police force," answered Quackenbos. He had in his possession deeds for $5,000,000 worth of property in Trinity place. Corlear's hook and other places downtown, which his ancestors allowed to be sold for taxes and which he intends to try to recover as soon as he can get money saved. Some of the property was deeded to his ancestors by King George.—St. Louis PostDispatch.

Source: Los Angeles Herald, Number 335, 31 August 1899

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