Descendants of Bloomfield chief killed in line of duty in 1904 contact current chief

Thursday, June 12, 2008
The headstone believed to mark the burial place of George Greer. (Corey Noles/Daily Statesman)

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. — A recent story in the Daily Statesman regarding the untimely death of former Bloomfield Marshal George Greer seems to have passed the right set of eyes.

Leon Brown of Bernie, Mo., read the story and knew immediately who it was talking about: his great-grandfather.

According to Bloomfield police chief Jason Curtman, who has been looking into the case during his spare time for several months, Brown was reading the story and recognized it as one that he had heard from relatives in the past.

"It was really neat to hear [Brown] come in and tell the story as he remembered hearing years ago," Curtman said. "They were extremely grateful to see the story finally coming to light."

On March 27, 1904, city marshal George Greer became the one and only Bloomfield police officer ever to be killed in the line of duty.

Curtman took the Browns out to see where it is believed Greer was buried and showed them the vandalized stone broken in half above the ground where he lay.

The Browns granted permission to erect a new stone in place of the damaged one and donated money to help start the project.

Curtman said they also shed light on some of his relatives, pointing out that he has quite a few descendants scattered about the country still alive. None are old enough to remember the fallen Marshal, of course, but plenty who have heard the story of their ancestor.

Curtman said Monday that the Browns have a grandson in Irving, Texas, who is also a police officer and that they were anxious to share the story with him.

According to Curtman, one of the things that surprised them most was that Jim Jones, the man who allegedly shot Greer, was only sentenced to 20 years in prison. They had expected a much more stringent sentence, especially during those days when people were hanged for crimes like murder.

Curtman was excited about being contacted by a family member so quickly. The original story ran on June 4, and the call came in from the Browns on June 5.

"Mrs. Brown was the one who actually called and I was tickled to death when I found out who she was," Curtman said.

In addition to Greer's name being placed on the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial in Washington, D.C., plans are in the works for a monument to be placed in his memory at the Bloomfield Police station.

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