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 Alfred A. Gifford

Alfred A. Gifford

Death 28 Jun 1922 (aged 63–64)
Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, USA
Burial Maquon, Knox County, Illinois, USA
Plot Section 2
Memorial ID 100141684 · View Source
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GIFFORD--Alfred A. 108 Fredonia avenue Tuesday, June 27, at 7:45 p.m. aged 54 years. Memorial services Friday afternon at 1:30 o'clock at the Cumerford Funeral Home. Friends invited. Mr. Gifford will be taken to Maquon, Illinois for interment.
Source: The Peoria Star, Thursday June 29, 1922, p20


Memorial services for Alfred A. Gifford, special agent for the Rock Island Railroad, who died Tuesday night from wounds received by shots fired by an unknown gunman that morning, were held at 1:30 o'clock this afternoon at the Cumerford Funeral Home. Rev. Thomas Baxter, acting pastor of Westminster Presbyterian church, officiated. The body was taken to Maquon, Ill., for interment.
Mr. Gifford was 54 years old and resided at 108 Fredonia Avenue.

Source: The Peoria Star, Friday June 30, 1922. Page 24, col. 7

Railroad Detectives

Peorians were fortunate over the years to have been served by a brave, well-run police department. People that are familiar with my work know that I found five officers that died in the line of duty and were only just recently honored on police monuments. At one time we elected five Constables to augment our police protection and the downtown merchants hired merchant police officers as well. Constable Arthur Smith died in the line of duty as did Officer Otto Hoffer, a store detective. I would like to tell you of two brave railroad detectives that lost their lives here in Peoria protecting boxcars and railroad property. During the police memorial services here in May they are not mentioned nor honored in any way because they were not Peoria Police Officers. They died in the line of duty, were buried and forgotten.

It was June 28, 1922, when Special Officer Alfred Gifford, a detective with the Rock Island Line lost his life. It was well into Prohibition and the cargo that he was hired to protect was alcohol. Down near the river, there at Spring Street and Rock Island Street, a tremendous number of boxcars waited for locomotives to move them across the United States. Booze, good old Peoria whiskey, stored in our warehouses, was shipped all over America.

Naturally, these cars became targets of bootleggers and violent men after their very prized cargo. Bad guys tunneled under warehouses, came in through the roofs and attacked freight trains on a regular basis. Detective Gifford's job was to protect his railroad's property here in Peoria, Illinois.

He came upon a suspicious man that was nosing around one of the boxcars on the early morning of June 27, 1922. "Hey…hey over there where you going?" The man stopped as the detective caught up to him. "What's your name and where are you from?" The man whirled around to face the officer, a deadly .45 in his hand. Without warning he fired hitting Detective Gifford in the hand. Gifford immediately pulled his weapon and returned fire. The second shot from the intruder slammed into the detective's stomach.

The detective was now on the ground but still firing. He saw the man crumple and fall to the ground from his third shot. Both men got off a few more shots as the man got up and began to run off towards the river.

Gifford, sitting up now, continued to fire at the escaping trespasser. A massive manhunt was launched in the city and the county, but to no avail.

Detective Alfred Gifford of 108 Fredonia died at Saint Francis Hospital during the evening of June 28, 1922. He was buried in Maquon, IL.

(Excerpt printed with permission from Norman Kelly)

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  • Created by: cj
  • Added: 4 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100141684
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Alfred A. Gifford (1858–28 Jun 1922), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100141684, citing Maquon Cemetery, Maquon, Knox County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by cj (contributor 46953377) .