Night Watchman Joseph Burnham

Night Watchman Joseph Burnham

Haverhill Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Monday, December 23, 1867

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Joseph Burnham

Watchman Joseph Burnham was shot and killed after interrupting a bank burglary in progress.

At approximately 0200 hours, Watchman Burnham and his partner were walking to a fire at a paint shop on Fleet Street when they heard an explosion from inside the Merrimack National Bank on Pecker Street. Watchman Burnham went to the back of the building, while his partner remained in the front. While in the back, Watchman Burnham confronted two burglars, who had attempted to blow the door off of the bank vault. The burglars shot and killed Watchman Burnham and then escaped.

The suspects were captured later in the night and were charged with murder.

Watchman Burnham had served with the Haverhill Police Department for six years. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 50
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Apprehended

Most Recent Reflection

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Night Watchman Burnham, it has been 156 years since you were taken from us. New England law enforcement has continued to thrive, learn and become safer due to the traditions and sacrifices you, your family, and many others have made for us. Thank you for your 6 years of law enforcement service.

Chief (Ret) Steven Marshall
Georges Mills, NH

December 23, 2023

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