The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to tell the stories of our Fallen Officers on the anniversary of their End of Watch.
Samuel Henry Kilbane was born in Northern Ireland in 1875 and came to Cleveland in 1897. On October 20, 1910 Samuel became a member of the Cleveland Police Department and was assigned to the Mounted Unit.
On April 19, 1923, after completing a tour of duty in the downtown area, Officer Kilbane was riding his horse Sporty Rex at the rear of a column of fifteen Mounted Policemen. As was their custom each day at the end of their duties, they would assemble at East 9th Street and Prospect and ride in a double column to their barn on Woodland Avenue at East 22nd Street. Nearing the barn Sporty Rex bolted toward the head of the column. He stepped in a hole in the pavement throwing Officer Kilbane to the street. Patrolman Joseph Kennedy’s mount Newton stumbled over Sporty Rex throwing his rider. Officer Kilbane sustained a severe head injury and Officer Kennedy suffered a fractured ankle.
Patrolman Kilbane was transported to Charity Hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. The accident occurred in front of 1100 Woodland Avenue, where one month earlier another mounted Officer was injured after his horse stumbled into a hole in the street.
A rut in the roadway was blamed for causing Kilbane’s death. This triggered a demand to repair the mass of ruts, holes and breaks in the roadway by repaving Woodland Avenue.
Officer Kilbane was one of the best-known Mounted Officers in the downtown district. He was 46 years old was survived by his wife Christina, son Samuel and daughter Mary