Apparently, John Kelly Stevens had attempted an appointment to the Fort Wayne Police force prior to being named to the position in the midst of the political turmoil of 1896.
What he may not have realized, at the time of this previous attempt, was the importance of knowing who his friends were.
The date at which John Kelly’s name was first brought up was Friday, September 19, 1890. At that point, Daniel L. Harding, a Republican, was mayor.
Knowing what we now know about the political landscape in Fort Wayne during those years, the result of John Kelly’s candidacy was predictable.
Listed under the headline, “A Deadlock,” a subtitle in The Fort Wayne Sentinel explained, “After Twenty-Five Ballots the Police Commission Cannot Agree.” Though the article never stated who the successful candidate ended up being, now that we know how business was conducted in Fort Wayne at that time, we can assume it wasn’t the Democrat one.
The police commissioners met last night to investigate the charges of intoxication against Fred Bandeau, the policeman. The officer was promptly dismissed. The election of a successor was next in order. The name of Wm. Borgman, of the Ninth ward, and John K. Stevens, a moulder at Bass' foundry, were submitted as candidates. The commission voted tie, the mayor and Hilbrecht for Borgman, and Smith and Gordon for Stevens.Twenty-five ballots were taken and the vote was yet a tie. The commission then adjourned without having accomplished the new appointment. Councilman Michaels, who is down with typhoid fever, is a member of the commission and his vote would have settled the question on the first ballot.