Patrolman Cornelius F. Regan

Patrolman Cornelius F. Regan

Boston Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Thursday, January 13, 1898

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Cornelius F. Regan

Patrolman Cornelius Regan passed away after contracting spinal meningitis after rescuing a drowning man from the Charles River early on Christmas morning.

He was on patrol near the old Charlestown Bridge at 2:15 am when he heard a man shouting. He ran to the center of the bridge, where he observed a man struggling in the icy river 20 feet below.

After taking off his belt, Patrolman Regan climbed down a bridge pylon to the water. He was able to pull the man to the bridge using his belt, at which point he discovered the man was too drunk to assist himself in any way. Despite getting soaked with the ice-cold water, Patrolman Regan was able to secure a boat which brought them both to shore.

Patrolman Regan began feeling ill the following day. His condition worsened and it was determined that he contracted spinal meningitis as a result of his exposure to the cold. He passed away on January 13th, 1898.

Patrolman Regan had served with the Boston Police Department for four years in Division 13, Headquarters, Division 5, and was assigned to Division 1 when he passed. He was survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 13 years, 11 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Saturday, December 25, 1897

water rescue

Most Recent Reflection

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Cornelius Regan was my great grandfather and I know little about him. I didn't know he was a Boston Police Officer or that I have "Townie" roots. Reading this now, even though it was 122 years ago, it brings tears to my eyes. He left a wife and five children, one was an infant girl who died shortly after him.

This is a wonderful tribute to him.

Thank you for posting.

Marilyn Regan
Great Granddaughter

June 23, 2020

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