ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


   Chapter on Watertown Police Department


Sudden Death of Herman C. Block

Ex-Chief of Police of Watertown


Member of police dept:  1893-1916  /  Police Chief:  1896-1916


Watertown's first Chief of Police in the modern sense of that term was the late Herman C. Block.  He was first named in 1896 and served by appointment of the City Council from 1903 to 1910, when he was appointed to the same position by the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners, serving until 1916 when he resigned and was succeeded by Charles Pieritz. 


Mr. Block became a Milwaukee Road detective after leaving his position here.  His home for many years was at South Fourth and Market Streets, the site now [1954] occupied by the office building of Dr. A. C. Hahn, Dr. A. C. Nickels and Dr. Vernon P. Smebak.


Watertown Gazette, 11 25, 1926


Thursday night of last week at 10:20 o'clock Herman C. Block died quite suddenly of heart trouble.  Although he had not been in the best of health for several months past, he was up and around attending to his duties as lieutenant of police for the C.M&St.P. Ry.  On Thursday, the day of his death, he was up and around with no indication that his death was close at hand, hence when the news of his death spread, our people were greatly shocked and surprised. 


Deceased was born July 31, 1860, in Germany and when nine years of age located in Watertown with his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. William Block [Sr.], and has made this city his home up to the time of his death. 


March 26, 1883, he was united in marriage with Miss Ida Krebs of this city, who survives him, also one daughter, Mrs. F. W. Borth, and three sons, George C. Block, William H. Block and Fred W. Block, all of Milwaukee, and six grandchildren.  Three brothers and three sisters also survive him, Mrs. Frank Steffen, Mrs. Albert Guetzlaff, of Watertown, Mrs. Fred Borth of the town of Emmet, John Block and Charles Block of Watertown and Albert Block of Milwaukee.


He was a member of the Masonic lodge and Platttdeutscher Verein of this city, and of the Wisconsin Association of Police Chiefs. 


On May 1, 1893, he was appointed as night man on the police force of this city, and on May 1, 1895 [1895 City Dir has Kerr listed as Chief, so 1896 is assumed], he was appointed Chief of Police, and served faithfully in that office until December 1, 1916, when he resigned to accept a position as detective for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. P. Ry. Co., which position he held up to the time of his death. 


He was one of the best known and most highly esteemed police officers in Wisconsin, not only for his good work while employed as a police officer of this city, but also while doing duty as a railway detective. 


He performed his duties zealously and faithfully, yet with a kindly spirit to those whom he had occasion to arrest and bring to court.  His calling during the greater portion of his life was one that needed caution, good judgment and zealous work in looking after evil doers, and Mr. Block was equal to his work at all times, and when it was necessary for him to make an arrest and run down the lawless, he did it in a peaceful, yet determined manner, that not only commanded the respect of the law abiding people [but] as well as the evil ones.


Being of a courageous, manly and genial manner, he commanded the respect of all with whom he came in contact, as was well typified last Sunday by the very large number of people who attended his funeral, which was conducted at his late home in North Washington Street by Rev. William E. Berger, pastor of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  His remains were interred in Oak Hill cemetery, and at the graveside the services were conducted by the Masons of this city, who attended the funeral in a body. 


The police department of this city also attended in a body, and police chiefs were present from other cities, and many police officers of the C.M.&St.P. Ry. were also present.




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