MF Hall of Honor to induct fallen officer

A MARTINS Ferry police officer, killed in the line of duty a few days before Christmas in 1928, will be one of this year’s inductees into the Martins Ferry Hall of Honor,

Patrolman Peter A. Reddy died after being wounded when he and another officer attempted to arrest a man who reportedly had been beating a woman. After the shooting, police “found a barrel of mash fermenting and a dismantled still” as well as jugs of liquor around the house in the North Ninth Street area, and the officers believe the still may have been the real reason that the man opened fire.

The deceased officer and other inductees will be honored during a ceremony Sunday, April 6, at 2 p.m. in the Martins Ferry High School cafetorium. This event is open to the public free of charge, and cookies and punch will be served after the ceremony.

Also to be honored are Jack Canfield, originator of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series and motivational speaker; May Louise Hinton Wykle, Ph.D., first African-American graduate of the Ruth Brant School of Nursing and first African-American dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University; Dr. C.B. Messerly, an early Martins Ferry physician who helped to found Martins Ferry Hospital; Dr. R.A. Raimonde, whose general practice in the city was opened in 1952 and and who later was president of the hospital’s medical staff and on its board of directors as well as president of the Belmont County Medical Society; and Calvin and Betty Pokas, journalists with Calvin being in the OVAC Hall of Fame, two state Halls of Fame and the Bellaire Wall of Fame while Betty is in the Barnesville Area Education Foundation HofF.

Other deceased inductees in addition to Reddy are Messerly and Cal Pokas.

The HofH, whose sole sponsor is The Citizens Bank, was established in 2007 to honor persons whose actions or accomplishments have affected, aided or brought fame to Martins Ferry. Those eligible for the honor must have been born, lived or worked in Martins Ferry. HofH founder is Les Douglas when he was Martins Ferry mayor.

Reddy, who was honored in various ways immediately after his death, and Patrolman George Murphy, a Martins Ferry officer killed in the performance of his duty in 1893, were remembered and honored by the Mother of God Council 1421, Knights of Columbus, in 2008.

The Evening Times, a forerunner of The Times Leader, published an account on Dec. 24, 1928, about Reddy’s funeral and how police officers and firefighters were among the mourners.

That report in The Evening Times began: “A fallen soldier of peace, an officer who was the victim of an assassin’s bullet, received the homage of a sorrowing city, Monday morning. Martins Ferry suspended its pre-holiday activity and dismissed all thoughts of Christmas to pay tribute to Peter A. Reddy, officer, fireman and citizen.

“St. Marys Catholic church on N. 4th St., was filled to its capacity for the service conducted by Rev. C.A. Mulhearn (a former HofH inductee). Every walk of life and every religious denomination was represented among those who mourned at the bier of a man who was slain in the performance of his duty.”

Reddy had been a member of the Alert Engine Co., and the Alert pumper was used as a hearse with the hose bed emptied of fire hose and filled with flowers for the trip to the cemetery. Other flowers were sent to the hospital.

According to The Evening Times, “Firemen from the central station rode with Pete ‘on his last run’ while alarm bells and the whistle at the light plant tolled at intervals. With him marched the fire departments and the remnants of the old Independent racing team.’

Reddy had been a member of the old Independent Racing Team, which won the world’s championship in 1895.

When he and the other officer had attempted to arrest the wanted man, that individual barricaded himself in a garage and refused to come out so Reddy tore open the door. The man began firing, and his first shot hit Reddy in the chest.

After Reddy was taken to the hospital, Dr. R.H. Wilson (an earlier inductee into the HofH) and Dr. Harry Harris “worked frantically to save the wounded man and reported that he had a “fighting chance’ to recover. In the end, his wounds proved to be too severe for recovery.”

With Reddy’s death, flags at the city building flew at half-staff until after the funeral. The new Christmas decorations on that building remained dark until Christmas Eve.

Pokas can be reached at