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Hayes, John—Death; Kansas City Journal, April 13, 1910

John Hayes, 55 years old, a resident of Kansas City since 1866, a member of the police force for twenty-seven years, during ten of which he was chief, and conceded to be one of the greatest detectors of criminals in the United States, died at 6:45 o’clock last night at his home, 3521 Harrison street, after a serious illness of three weeks. Death was caused from uraemic poisoning, with which he had been afflicted for the last nine months.

Mr. Hayes was married in 1880 to Miss Katherine Corran of this city. The window and one son, John B. Hayes, jr., survive.

John Hayes was appointed chief of police October 1, 1897, to fill out the unexpired term of Thomas N. Vallins. He was reappointed in May, 1898, and held the office until 1907.

He was born in Rockford, Ill., in 1855, where he lived until 1868, when the family moved to Ottawa, Kans. He engaged in freighting through the Indian Territory and Texas for two years. In 1872 he came to Kansas City and obtained employment with the Wabash railroad, and later with the Threlkeld Grocery Company. He worked also for the Kansas City Transfer Company and the seven and one-half years had charge of its mail and baggage department.

John Hayes was appointed a patrolman on the Kansas City policed force in October, 1880. He became a detective in rank on May 10, 1889, and in April, 1897, was made inspector. It was in august of that year that he was appointed acting chief to fill the vacancy caused by the enforced retirement of Thomas N. Vallins.

He failed of being recommissioned by the Folk board of police commissioners, of which Frank Rozzzelle was a member. A. E. Gallagher also was a member.

Since his retirement from the police force Mr. Hayes had conducted a private detective agency.

If the merit system always had been in vogue in the police department of Kansas City, that is, the recording of deeds of valor and other meritorious actions the page with the officer’s name, it would have been a good-sized book to have told the correct history of John Hayes’ connection with the department. As it is, however, the story of his twenty-seven years of masterful service is told in less than a dozen lines. It reads ”John Hayes, appointed patrolman October 24, 1880. On May 19, 1889, promoted to detective, April 7, 1897, made chief of detectives, October 1, 1897, made chief of police.”

In brief items the book tells of his being recommissioned several times and also that he was exonerated by the board of charges made by Jailer Todhunter, without saying that charges had been filed against him at the instigation of a member of the police board in July, 1907, the brief record continues.

“July 27, 1907.—Mayor Beardsley said he was ready to vote to recommission John Hayes chief of police. Commissioner Rozzelle agreed, but on the statement of Commissioner Gallagher, who said he had another case of the consideration of the board. The mater was continued until July 29.

“July 29, 1907—Mayor Beardsley moved to recommission John Hayes chief of police, but failed to get a second.”

That was the end of the record. To have been complete the minutes should have shown that charges made by Patrolman Harry Arthur, promoted to a detective by the present board was filed on July 29, 1907, by Commissioner Andrew E. Gallagher. It was the last of a half dozen charges heard by the board. At the conclusion of this case mayor Henry M. Beardsley, a Republican, said: ”I have been sitting here for days listening to chares against Chief Hayes. I have weighed he evidence well and considered every point fairly and I wish to say that I find nothing wrong with the chief. I vote to acquit him of the charges and also move that he be recommissioned chief of police.”

While the mayor was talking a telegram was handed to Commissioner Frank F. Rozzelle. After Mr. Heardsley had concluded, Mr. Rozzelle in a choked voice, read the telegram. It as from Governor Joseph W. Folk and notified Mr. Rozzelle that he was peremptorily removed as a member of the police board. Similar wires had been sent to the mayor and to Commissioner Gallagher.

“A telegram is not official notice.” Mr. Beardsley stated. “If you chose you still have the right, to vote on this question.”

“No,” replied Mr. Rozzelle, “I have been expecting this, but I did not know that the governor would take this means. I did not anticipate a peremptory removal. My resignation is in my office not now and has been for six months. Governor Folk was told he could have it any item he asked for it. I do not care to take an undue advantage of him in this matter and will decline to vote.”

During all of this time Commissioner Gallagher said never a word. That was why there was “no second” to Mayor Beardsley’s motion to recommission Chief Hayes. He was never dropped from the department and this record is a clean one so far as charges were concerned. At that time Chief Hayes’s commission had expired. When, by the sudden removal of Mr. Rozzelle, he was not recommissioned, he quietly turned in his star and left the department. he said later that it was the best thing that ever could have happened him, as he made more money in business in the first five months than he had in a year in the department.

“Hayes was the only man on the police department,” said the chief, “who could go out most any time and get his man without first having a tip. I have been on street cars with him, and his eyes never were still a moment, constantly shifting, shafting form one person to another.”

“One day Hayes and Detective Charles Sanderson were walking on Main street when two men were seen to appear in the doorway of the Junction building. They spoke together for a moment and parted.

“ ’Those fellows are burglars,’ Hayes told his partner, ’You go after one and I will get the other.’

“Instruction were followed, and in due time both men were landed in the station. On each was found a complete set of fine burglar tools. Nothing but the keenest of detective instinct told John Hayes what those men were. Had they gotten away he always would have stuck to his statement that they were burglars.”

“At another time,” continued Chief Snow, “Hayes was on a Twelfth street car bound for his home. Passing Tracy avenue his ever shifting eyes caught sight of three negroes standing in the shadow, but they looked suspicious to John Hayes. Call help? No, he never thought of such a thing. Hayes could arrest one or more men, desperate or otherwise, with the least bluster, blare of trumpets or brandishing of firearms of any man living. He always seemed to time his arrest just right, just at the crucial moment, and he always bagged his game.

“When he left the car it was unnoticed by the negroes or by those on the car. He trailed the three blacks to the Belmont flats, fifteenth street and Tracy avenue, and bagged all of them while they were in the act of breaking into the basement of one of the flats.”

“Besides being a natural born police officer,” Chief Snow continued, “John Hayes was one of the strongest and best developed men physically I ever knew. I recall the time shortly after Hayes went on the force. It must have been a long time ago, for Caption John Branham, who resigned last October, the oldest officer on the force, was than a jailer at headquarters.

“Branham was a powerful man and so was Captain Charles Ditsch. Both of these me, in fun, tried to take from Hayes a small bottle of liquor, 30 years old, which had just been given him. Well, sir, they fought and tussled all over the station and Hayes got the better of both of those big men—but they never broke the bottle.”

“I went on the force May 19, 1881,” smiled the chief, when speaking of John Hayes’s strength and wonderful endurance. “Hayes went on the previous October. My first night on the force I was assigned to walk with John Hayes. that man nearly killed me; he almost walked me to death, and he never once breathed more than natural. I was so sore the next day I hardly could sleep.

“Along in the night Hayes and I sat down on some salt barrels at Fifth and Broadway. I was afraid I would go to sleep and said I would take a turn down to the river and back. Well, sir, on the way back I went to sleep while I was walking and actually fell down and incline in the sidewalk that let into John May’s theater. That is, they called it a theater,”

“Hayes was a man who feared nothing on the earth, in the heavens above or in the waters below,” the chief said. ”He never would desert a fellow officer in time of need, and would sacrifice his life for him in a twinkling if the occasion called for it. One time there was a fight in a Main street saloon near the station. I reached there first and the combatants ran out the rear door into the alley. When I got there several men were holding the door to keep me form getting out. As Hayes entered the salon all he could see back in the rear was my helmet bobbing up and down in the soufflé with the door.

“The men saw Hayes and I was let through, but he did not see it. When he reached there the door was being held from the other side. He did not know but that my life was in jeopardy out in that dark alley. He drew his club and with one swipe tore all the screen out of that door and broke his way through. but I was running after the men then. Had he bee needed, however, he was there and ready to die if necessary.”

“In conclusion,” said the old chief, and there were tears in his eyes, “I want to say that John Hayes was the best-hearted man I every knew. For twenty-five long years I was on the department with him, eleven years of which I was property clerk at headquarters directly under him. He always was good natured and good humored, and in all that time John Hayes never gave me one cross word. While we were of opposite politics, he never spoke of that, and had I not already know I don’t believe I ever would have learned his politics from anything he said.

“And John Hayes was a man of his word. a business man once told me this, ’I am worth $250,000 and more and I want to say that my faith in John Hayes is such that I will let him have every cent I posses without one scratch of the pen. such is my confidence in his integrity,’ and mine was the same,” was the chief’s parting words.

To prove what efforts John Hayes would go to in order to keep his word one has only to recall the case of Carey Snyder. Several years ago young Snyder, son of R. M. Snyder, a wealthy banker here, was arrested with a well known crook charged with holding up and robbing Mr. and Mrs. ”Hampy” Stevens near their home, Twenty-second street and Troost avenue. Nearly $5,000 in diamonds were secured—afterwards gotten back from pawnshops in Chicago.

The well known crook was held, but Snyder was released on the personal guarantee of two well known bankers that they would produce him at any time. the police board criticized Hayes for releasing the son of a banker and “holding a poor man’s son.” And Snyder had left the city.

Chief Hayes assigned Detectives Eugene Sullivan and Thomas F. McAnany on the case with instructions to do nothing else but locate young Snyder. He was located on a ranch fifty miles from Tulsa, Ok., and got away before they got there. After ten months’ work Snyder was located at Billings, Mont., and brought back here for trail. The work in locating and bringing back young Snyder cost Chief Hayes $1,100, which he paid out of his own pocket. He was keeping his word.

Snyder was given three years and paroled by the criminal judge. His accomplice went to prison. Carey Snyder then went to Oregon where he was later suspected of being implicated in a bank robbery. Some months later a body, riddled with bullets, was found in the corner of an old rail fence. It was supposed he had been killed by the suspected bank burglars.

John Hayes figured in many sensational arrests. Many years ago this city was terrified for weeks by bold robberies, one or two such night, by men who were described only as ”the long and short man.” They would walk boldly into a store while the proprietor was counting up his day’s receipts, holdup the man at the point of revolvers and walk calmly out. They always wore masks.

The robberies became so bold that the town was fairly terrorized. The fact that the ”long and short man” grew bolder worried chief Hayes until he went out personally after the men. With him were Captain Thomas Phillips, new city license inspector, and Detective Patrick Cahill of Kansas City, Kas., who was seeking another man.

Walking down Grand avenue Chief Hayes’s attention was attracted to two men, one tall, the other short, looking into the window of a jewelry store near Thirteenth street.

“There’s the long lost long and short man,” said the chief calmly. “Let’s get ’em.”

When John Hayes said, “Let’s get ’em.” the others knew what that meant. Hayes grabbed Johnson, the tall man, and the other took charge of Hatton, the short man. Both men attempted to make a flight, and both were heavily armed. They got long terms in the penitentiary. Johnson later effected his escape, and was located four years later by Lieutenant Edward Hickman in the Joliet, Ill., state’s prison. He was paroled and taken back to Jefferson City, where he died being the bars.

Once John Hayes and tow others went down into Toad-a-loup, a most lawless section between the two cities, after “Bill” Burke, a notorious highwayman, in the fall of 1888. There was a desperate pistol duel in the dark between Hayes and Burke, in which Hayes was shot in the heel. He registered an oath to get his man, and later did so, outwitting the highwayman in a most clever manner.

Another great catch of Chief Hayes was that of Duana ”the gentleman burglar, whom he arrested single-handed on East Fifth street. Duane went “over the road” for his many crimes.

Hayes was noted for working tricks on criminals in order to make them disclose their identity. Edward Hickman, former Bertillion man, tells of one instance.

“We had a man whom we suspected of being a murderer, wanted down in Missouri. He denied it with all his might. Hayes knew he was the man from descriptions we had, however. He was the best man on descriptions and in remembering faces I ever saw.

“This fellow, however, held out so long that I began to be in doubt. Hayes left the room for a moment. Then he tiptoed back, stuck his head in the door behind the man and called him by name. He turned immediately at the sound of his name and, seeing the smiling confident face of Chief Hayes, gave in and told the whole story.”

“When it came to getting confessions from criminals,” said an old officer who worked with him for years, “he never has had an equal. and he made no splurge or blare of trumpets about it either. The confessions Hayes secured went direct to the prosecutor’s office, not to the newspaper room in headquarters—unless the reporters happened to get the top that a confession had been secured. Then, time and again, I have seen John Hayes sit down and quietly tell the reporters how his mean had done all the work in the case, and how this one and that had aided greatly in the getting of the confession.

“Take the arrest of Johnson and Hatton, the long and short men. Hayes was the first man who recognized those men and to him along should have gone the credit. But what did he do? Because a Kansas City, Kas., detective who was along, happened to be over here after a man, Hayes let him have most of the credit, so as to make him strong across the line. He never was a man to blow his own horn, not John Hayes.”

“When Hayes was not at work in his office” said a newspaper man who had worked at the station when the former was chief of police, “he always turned his desk chair about and sat facing the street. No a thing escaped his eye and many and many a time he has ’picked up’ criminals in that way.

“One day I was sitting in his office. while we talked his shifting eyes watched the passerby. Turning calmly he pushed a button and in a minute an officer appeared.

“ ’Go over into that saloon there,’ he said, ’and bring in the tall man wearing the brown derby hat and the light overcoat.’ In due time the officer returned with his prisoner. Hayes scrutinized him closely and asked many questions. The man said he never had been in the city until three days before.

“’That this man into the Bertillon room,’ Hayes commanded, ’and see if he is not Edward B., who was sent up from here ten years ago for burglary.’ And Hayes was right. ’B.’ then admitted his identity marveling that Hayes should know him after ten years and from such a distance. ’There’s no use trying to get by such as you’ the former burglar said.”

“On another occasion Hayes hurried from his office and returned in a few moments with a man whom he had seen standing at the corner of Fifth and Main streets, a block distant. This man also denied his identity and no one appeared to recall him as he, was with mustache and beard.

“ ’See if he hasn’t got a bullet scar on his right shoulder. If I am not mistaken it was put there when we was escaping from a detective eight years ago during carnival week. He was with a ’gun mob’ picking pockets here that week.’ And the scar was there. The forlorne ’dip,’ for that is what police call pickpockets, was ’vagged’ the following day for being in the city and given one year in the workhouse.”

Major Richard Sylvester of Washington, D.C., at the head of the department there for years, now is president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. At a meeting of the association once in New York Sylvester directed the attention of a friend to John Hayes and said:

“There is the only real and genuine police officer I see in this entire crowd of police officers. John Hayes was born to be a police officer. He was cut out for it.”

William Pinkerton, one of the greatest detectives this country ever has produce, once said of John Hayes: “Hayes is one of the shrewdest officers in this or any other country, for that matter. He is a detective from instinct. While other men depend on information and tips to do effective work, John Hayes works by instinct and intuition.