Title: Police officer
Death Date: October 14, 1868
Plot Location: Section 44, Lot 70, Grave 4; GPS: 39.93245* N, 075.24003* W
The young life of James Young could be a truly romantic story: his girlfriend Mary left their homeland in Ireland for America in 1853. The heart wants what the heart wants, so he followed her, arriving June 9, 1854, and they exchanged wedding vows on July 17. The problem with that fairy tale is that the only confirmed fact is the date of their marriage and that they were both born in Ireland. There was no exact birth date for James Young to identify him from among the many others with that common name. Another source put his immigration to Philadelphia in 1846, and it’s not certain that they even knew each other until they arrived here, whenever that was.
The next known fact is the birth of their daughter in 1855 followed by four boys in 1857, 1859, 1861, and 1865. It’s believed James began his career with the police in 1862. With a steady income as a “bluecoat,” he and Mary hoped to save for a larger home and provide a better life for their growing family.
The nation voted for its next President on November 3, 1868 but there was a mayoral election in Philadelphia on Tuesday, October 13. It was a tight race with the results being contested and eventually resolved in court. That may explain why there was a disturbance at a polling place at 8th and Lombard Streets just after the polls closed. Officer Young was struck and then shot, as this newspaper article describes, and died in the hospital the next day. A fellow officer, Marshall Parker, was a few steps behind him. He managed to avoid four bullets while running to summon help. His own “Notable” story can be found here.
A relief fund was established to provide for Mary and her five young children, since there was no life insurance or source of income. All five local newspapers set up collection boxes and publicized the fund drive. One happy ending to this story is contained in this notice in the newspaper which was received from Mary:
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