Agnes Tully Stevens’ father, John Tully, died just before her nineteenth birthday in 1907. He was sixty-five, an age which had not yet been established as the traditional age of retirement. Tully had worked as a beat cop for a subsidiary police agency of the Chicago Parks system, an agency which, unlike its City counterpart, offered no retirement pension. Tully worked right up until illness prevented his further service. Evidently, what befell him at that point later became a rallying cry for the police organizers of his day, according to an undated clipping from an unnamed Chicago newspaper, found among his daughter’s personal papers.
The death of John Tully, for more than a quarter of a century a familiar figure to frequenters of the south parks, has interested residents of Garfield boulevard in the petition for south park policemen for an increase in wages and the organization of a pension system by the park commissioners.
Tully served as a policeman in the south parks and boulevards for thirty-three years. He was known personally to thousands of motorists, bicyclists, equestrians, and drivers and was counted by Supt. Foster, Capt. Theodore Richards, and other park officials as one of the most efficient and level-headed policemen in Chicago. He was the hero of many runaway accidents and was said to have saved more lives by his coolness in handling fractious horses than any other man in the city.
Tully’s health failed him several months ago and finally he had to give up his post on Garfield boulevard, from Halsted street to Wentworth avenue. Although he had worked for the South park board longer than any other employe, he was, in accordance with the rules, carried on the pay roll only one month and then summarily dropped.
“Tully took the action of the commissioners in stopping his salary during his sickness to mean that he was fired,” said one of his old companions today, “and a broken heart hastened his end.”
“Tully’s family has no pension to fall back upon, as would be the case had he been a city policeman. There are several other old-time South park policemen who have served nearly as long as Tully did. There is Mike Hellenan, Tully’s old partner, who has served about thirty years. He has to keep on working and there is no pension to which he can look forward. Dan Kilberry has served on the force for about twenty-five years and Ed Boghart, Richard Reordan, Ed Coleman and others have served more than twenty years. Capt. Richards, Lieut. Hayes and Sergt. McGardle have all served more than twenty years.”
The policemen want $100 a month instead of $87, which they are getting at present. They also want the park board to adopt a pension system.