Side A: In March 1884, public confidence of Cincinnati law enforcement was extremely low. The public believed that murderers and other serious offenders were not brought to justice promptly or received little punishment. Civil unrest was brought to a boil when a seventeen-year-old was sentenced to only twenty years for manslaughter after brutally murdering his employer. On March 28, thousands of citizens stormed the county jail and courthouse. The riots lasted three days requiring forces from the Sheriff’s Office, city police, and local and state militia to restore order. Fifty-four people were killed and more than 200 wounded. The courthouse and jail suffered enormous damage, and valuable records were destroyed from the assault and fire. The riot gained international notoriety and helped pave the way for removal of political favoritism and a larger police force.
Side B: On March 28-30, 1884, the Courthouse Riots of 1884 raged in the streets of Cincinnati resulting in death and injury to more than 250 Cincinnatians. A small group of Hamilton County Deputies, led by Sheriff Morton Lytle Hawkins, saved the jail from a complete takeover and successfully protected the lives of all the inmates. Sheriff Hawkins’ planning and foresight was largely responsible for this success. Sheriff Hawkins also called upon the Ohio National Guard to help quell the Riots and assisted in deploying the troops. Sheriff Hawkins earned the respect of the citizens for his calm and skillful demeanor throughout the Riots. He also served his state as Ohio Adjutant General and the nation as a volunteer in the Ohio Infantry during the Civil War. He was also a noted newspaperman throughout Ohio.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentenninal Commission, The Longaberger Company, James Krouse, dba Color Products, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and The Ohio Historical Society