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Beaumont Police searching for family of fallen officer killed in line of duty in 1902

Tyrrell Historical Library is home to a Beaumont Enterprise article from 1902 about the shooting that killed officer Frederick and another woman.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Recent historical research has identified a Beaumont officer killed in the line of duty in 1902 as officer George Frederick.

Frederick was also Beaumont’s first Black police officer. Beaumont Police want help finding his descendants and where the fallen officer is buried.

This isn't the kind of mystery you can solve with a magnifying glass or even a flashlight. But it does help to take a closer look.

Tyrrell Historical Library is home to a Beaumont Enterprise article from 1902 about the shooting that killed officer Frederick and another woman.

On May 3, 1902, officer Frederick was at his home when he heard gunshots nearby.

He responded to a fight between two sisters. One of the sisters shot at Frederick, injuring him, and he returned fire.

The sister, Ella Dickinson, died the next day, and officer Frederick died three days later.

"With it being over 120 years ago, it was very different than what it is now,” said Beaumont Police officer Haley Morrow.

Until recently, his sacrifice was lost to history, but Beaumont Police wants to change that.

"Making sure that he is properly recognized on our memorial here at Beaumont PD, on the State of Texas Police Officer Memorial, and of course the National Memorial in Washington D.C.," Morrow said.

So, now they are working to find any surviving family members, and where he's buried.

"When you're doing descendance research or reverse genealogy, like I call it, in order to identify descendants, instead of building that tree backward, you're now flipping that upside down and you're coming forward, and it takes some different skills,” said genealogy expert Cece Moore.

Moore said the best way to put together a family tree like this is through public records like the census or newspaper clippings.

But finding records from 120 years ago can be tricky. There's not even a photo of officer Frederick.

"Right now what I've been looking for are city council minutes, it's from even earlier, like as early as 1882, from when this officer would have been hired,” said Katherine Leister with the Tyrrell Historical Library

Leister said the article about the shooting is the only newspaper article she found. She didn't even find Frederick’s obituary in the paper.

So, appealing to the public for some oral family history might be an easier course of action.

"If there are persons of interest like that potential relatives, those trees could always be built back in time then to see if they are connecting to that family,” Moore said.

Beaumont Police are asking anyone who thinks they may have any information about officer Frederick to contact Sergeant Bobby Anderson at Bobby.anderson@beaumonttx.gov or by phone number at (409) 980-7256.

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