Charles Bennett Collis

Charles Bennett Collis

Death 7 Mar 1904 (aged 44–45)
Springfield, Clark County, Ohio, USA
Burial Springfield, Clark County, Ohio, USA
Memorial ID 33079942 View Source
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On March 7, 1904, Patrolman Collis became the first officer in Springfield, OH to be killed while on duty.

March 6, 1904: Richard Dixon, an African American resident of Springfield, approached Patrolman Collis while he was on duty, asking for assistance in getting his personal effects from his ex-girlfriend, Anna "Mamie" Corbin's house, who had barred him from the residence after he got released from jail for beating her and being drunk in public.

When Collis and Dixon arrived at the Corbin house on Washington Street, a fight erupted between Corbin and Dixon when she would not give him his blanket and books. Dixon pulled out his revolver, and shot his ex-girlfriend in the breast, above her heart. When Patrolman Collis tried to stop Dixon, he was shot in his abdomen and right arm. Dixon fled the scene, and the mortally wounded Collis followed in chase.

Patrolman Collis, regardless of being fatally wounded, chased Dixon to the police station on Fountain Avenue, where the fugitive turned himself in. It was there that Collis collapsed to the floor. Both victims where taken to City Hospital. (Now called Community Hospital) Anna Corbin survived the shooting, but Patrolman Collis died from his injuries at Noon, on March 7, 1904. He was 45.

A riot spread through Springfield after Patrolman Collis' murder. A posse of roughly 1,500 went to the jail house at 7:30 pm, demanding Richard Dixon. Sherriff Routzahn appeared on the steps, and pleaded with the mob to leave as a party, armed with railway irons, were beating the inner lattice metal doors that seperated Dixon from the angry people of Springfield that wanted him dead.

The mob overpowered the Springfield Police Force, and stormed the turnstile leading to the cells. The jail clerk's life was threatened if he didn't open the door, but before he could, the padlock was busted, and Dixon was dragged from his cell, and forced down the stone steps leading to the jail yard. He fought and begged for his life, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

The mob formed a hollow square around the murderer to keep him out of the hands of any officers trying to save him. There, he was kicked to the ground, falling down at least five feet of stairs, then shot nine times. They grabbed his corpse, and with a cheer, the mob went to the corner of Main Street, and Fountain Ave.

A rope was tied around Dixon's neck, and he was hung by a telegraph pole eighteen feet above the street. The mob let him hang for over 8 hours as they filled Dixon's corpse with more bullets as the 1,500 lyncher went crazy.

The next day, rioters began to burn and loot the "black side of town", known as the Levee, located along Mad River, where the murder took place. Chief O'Brian had to call the state militia to break the mob up. The Levee was destroyed again in another race riot nearly two years later.

There were no convictions in the lynching of Richard Dixon. Everyone one knew, but no one was talking.

Patrolman Collis left behind his wife, Anna, and daughter Bertha. He was preceded in death by his son William. He had been an officer in Springfield from May 1, 1891 until his death in 1904, and was considered one of the best at what he did.



-An Article From The New York Times in 1904.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: If anyone has further information on Patrolman Charles B. Collis, then please contact me. Patrolman Collis's story inspires me, and I'd love to learn more about him. I am also interested in anyone that can lead me to more information on Anna Corbin and Richard Dixon. They are from Sylviana, KY.)Charles was a Springfield,Oh Police officer.
Patrolman Charles Collis was shot and killed by a man that had requested help from him. Patrolman Collis was on post when the suspect approached him and asked him to accompany him to a room where a woman had some cloths that belonged to him. Patrolman Collis followed the suspect into the room, where the suspect gathered his cloths. As he was doing so he got involved in an argument with the female occupant. The suspect drew a handgun and shot the female. When Patrolman attempted to arrest the suspect, he was shot four time by the suspect. The suspect was chased to police headquarters by Patrolman Collis' partner, where he was arrested. The next day he was taken from the jail by an angry mob, shot, and then lynched.

Patrolman Collis had served with the Springfield Police Department for 12 years. He was survived by his wife and one child. He is buried in Saint Raphaels Cemetery in Springfield, Ohio.

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