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 Francis Michael Doyle

Francis Michael Doyle

Limerick, County Limerick, Ireland
Death 28 Dec 1871 (aged 38)
Washington City, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Plot R97/114
Memorial ID 13691485 · View Source
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Private Francis Michael Doyle was a member of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC.

Date of Death: December 29, 1871
Rank: Officer
Age: 38
Years of Service: Five
Marital Status: Married
Children: Three
Location of Death: 329 or 339 Maryland Avenue, SW

Circumstance: Shot in the right chest while officers were trying to wrestle a revolver away from Mrs. Maria Shea, who lived at the house where officers were trying to execute a search warrant to recover a stolen watch. Officer Doyle dies on the scene and Mrs. Shea who was pregnant at the time, was acquitted of murder. Evidently the jury which deliberated fifty minutes, felt the shooting to be an acccident. Officer or Private Doyle was the first officer from the Metropolitan Police Department to be killed in performance of his duty since it's beginning in 1861.

Private Doyle was the son of Catherine (Nash) and Peter Doyle and was born in Limerick City, Ireland. Private Doyle was described as being 5' 7" tall with gray eyes, and a scar on his left cheek. He married Eleanor Branzell (d. June 24, 1892), a Marylander, on October 16, 1858, with the ceremony being performed by Reverend L. F. Morgan of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Four children were born of this marriage: Ambrose, July 4, 1860-October 18, 1864; Emma, July 31, 1864; Mary, June 12, 1868, and Robert Emmet, February 24, 1871. Contributor Jen Walston Harris Hill (#47107475) sends us information regarding the marriage; "Married Oct 18th by Rev L F Morgan, Francis M Doyle and Elenore Bransell"

Private Doyle and his relatives lived near each other in the area of Washington, DC, called "The Island." This area was bordered by the Eastern Branch (presently the Anacostia River) on the east, the Potomac River to the south and the City Canal, which connected the two,to the north. Private Doyle made his home at 62 M Street South.

Prior to his police service, Private Doyle was employed as a blacksmith at Washington's Navy Yard, in the 1850's and early 1860's. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in Captain Robert Clarke's Company of DC Infantry, on April 24, 1861. serving a three month enlistment and being discharged on July 24, 1861. He reenlisted in the Navy on March 2, 1865, serving as a firemen on the Wabash until his discharge on April 18, 1867. Contributor Jen Walston Harris Hill (#47107475)adds "& Last thing is "Captain Robert Clarke's Company" is "Robert Washington Clarke" who is Francis Michael Doyle's Uncle Michael Nash's 2nd Wife's (Ann Maria (Clarke) Nash) Brother."

On February 15, 1868, Francis Michael Doyle was appointed as a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, and would serve continuously until his untimely end.

Private Doyle's brother, Peter George Doyle, memorial 17171807, (1843-1907) was a longtime companion of the poet Walt Whitman. In the spring of 1871, Private Michael Doyle would arrest a young man who was accused of stealing eggs. Accused of brutality and with the press demanding his removal from the police force, Walt Whitman drafts a response in which he commends Francis as, "An energetic officer who bears an excellent reputation and served the Union cause as soldier and sailor all through the war.

Private Doyle's funeral was held On December 31, at his home, 340 K Street SW, with Reverend Father Call officiating. Following the service, a funeral cortege was formed with fifty-two police officers under the command of Lieutenant Gessford, conveying his remains to Congressional Cemetery for interment.

Jen Walston Harris Hill (#47107475) adds the following; 'Also Walt Whitman Was at Francis' Funeral & wrote to his mother 1 Jan 1872 about it...' "Mama dear, I want to hear about your last week—& George & Lou—I sent three letters to you last week, & papers—I knew that policeman Doyle that was shot dead here—he was Peter Doyle's brother—I was at the funeral yesterday—it was in the papers I sent you—love to you, dear mama— here is the Full letter

Francis Doyle had a son, Robert Emmet Doyle, born February 24, 1871, who would go on to be a captain of the Metropolitan Police Department. Memorial number: 99972530.

Thanks to all who have assisted with this memorial, especially, Contributor Jen Walston Harris Hill (#47107475)

Family Members






  • Created by: John Rentz
  • Added: 21 Mar 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13691485
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Francis Michael Doyle (29 Sep 1833–28 Dec 1871), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13691485, citing Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by John Rentz (contributor 46781289) .