Reference Entry

Burns, William John

Graham Adams

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Burns, William John (19 October 1861–14 April 1932), detective, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Michael Burns, a merchant tailor, and Bridget Trahey. The family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where William attended parochial schools and business college. In 1880 Burns married Annie Maria Ressler; the couple had six children. When his father won election as police commissioner of Columbus, Burns first developed his detective skills by assisting in a number of important cases, including discovery of fraudulent voter tally sheets in an 1885 election and conviction of a gang of arsonists who had extorted thousands of dollars from insurance companies....

Reference Entry.  1392 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Law ; Criminology and Criminal Justice

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