Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of Michael W. RIORDON


         Michael W. RIORDON was a member of the Martinsburg Police under Mayor W.E. Minghini and carried the scars of four bullet wounds, one of which the bullet was never extracted. He received those on two different occasions, two while on the police force and two when he was a detective for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. He held the latter position for 20 years.

         In 1878 he received word that some party or parties were robbing box cars at the west end of the B&O freight yard. He, with another detective, Christopher Lance, were detailed to try and capture the thief or thieves, if possible. Between one and two o’clock at night, they saw two men enter a car. They rushed to the scene when a pitched battle with revolvers at close range ensued between the detectives and the robbers. Lance was wounded severely and died the next day. Michael Riordan, though shot twice, succeeded in capturing one of the offenders (Marshall Smith), but the other escaped. Afterwards, Smith reformed and entered the ministry, later the pastor of the largest Negro congregation of Washington City. The other later drowned in the James River, having fallen from a barge on which he was working.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928

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