Capt. Peter A. Cullen Dead

by Laurel | November 16th, 2011

16 November 1933

Capt. Peter A. Cullen of Holyoke Police Dept. Dead

Head of Detective Bureau For Many Years — Appointed to Force by Mayor M. J. Griffin in 1891

Holyoke, Nov. 14 — Death claimed Capt. Peter A. Cullen, 72, of the detective bureau, tonight at his home 20 O’Connor avenue, after a short but gallant fight with double pneumonia, with which he had been ill for the past few days. The disease found him in weakened condition through loyal devotion to his work which had led him to remain out an entire night but a short time before he was stricken, is but one of many causes in which he had not spared himself, forgetting that he was past the 7oth milestone and ignoring that additional risk that comes with overwork in later years.

Devoted To His Work

To him work was his life; and he enjoyed it and reveled in it; and was never happier — aside from his home life which was ideal — than on the track of some lawless gang which in the great majority of cases was sooner or later brought to book. Few unsolved cases lie today at the doors of the detective bureau. But while detective work was his passion, he enjoyed to the utmost the times that allowed him social relaxation; he enjoyed a friendly card party, touring in an automobile, visiting other places and meeting with people.. Newspaper men he enjoyed, especially matching his wit against theirs.

Naturally companionable and affable, he was a good “pal” with those he was friendly with, and loved a joke even if sometimes it might be on himself. He never treasured up a grievance; “live and let live” was not only the unspoken, but the spoken motto of his life. yet to the really guilty ones, who had shown no repentance, he was stern and implacable; to the first offenders he believed that leniency was fitting.

He had a wide acquaintance, not only in, but out of Holyoke, and to the last a retentive and active memory that proved of great value in his work.

Capt. Cullen was a member of the local Police Relief association, of the Massachusetts State Police Association, Holyoke Lodge of Elks, the park lyceum and Holy Cross Church.

Native of Pittsfield

Capt. Cullen was born at Pittsfield, January 3, 1860, and educated in the Pittsfield schools, following which he came to this city and became associated with the late Fred Gilpatrick and Peter Westphal in the machinist business, then located on Bigelow Street, on the site of the present Skinner silk mills. Mr. Westphal later moved to Providence. The other partners are deaf.

Appointed to Force in 1891

Capt. Cullen was appointed to the police force by Mayor Michael J. Griffin in 1891, at the same time as Sergt. John Moriarty who died recently, Cornelius Curran and James B. Griffin. May 3, 1909, Capt. Cullen and Frank R. Metcalf were appointed Inspectors. June 3, 1913 he was appointed Chief Inspector with the rank of Captain. The title of Inspector was abolished some time after. he was next transferred to be captain of the uniformed force and Capt. Metcalf went to the detective bureau, Their positions were reversed a year or so later and he was head of the detective bureau until the end.

Besides his widow, Mrs. Margaret (Walsh) Cullen, he leaves three brothers, Edward H. and Thomas of Pittsfield and Frank of Bellows Falls, Vt., also two sisters, Mrs. William Booth and Mrs. Joseph Kirschner both of Pittsfield.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.