York County Police
June 4, 1901
Fifty-eight-year-old Constable William Boyd had been a member of York County Police for 15 years before being shot and killed during a prisoner transfer on June 4, 1901.
On route from a local court house to a Toronto Jail, Constable Boyd and two other officers were transferring three gang members of the vicious Chicago Bank Robbers, charged with breaking into an Aurora post office the previous year.
As the horse drawn carriage carrying Constable Boyd and his fellow officers neared a man standing on the road, the stranger – an accomplice of the gang members – threw a hat into the carriage holding three revolvers. A struggle ensued over the weapons until one of the prisoners, Fred Rice, got hold of one of the guns and shot Constable Boyd in the head.
The prisoners fled the carriage but were captured soon after by York County Police officers. Constable Boyd was taken to hospital where, tragically, he succumbed to his injuries only an hour later.
On Saturday June 8, Constable Boyd was laid to rest. His funeral was attended by a dozen County Constables, High Constable Ramsden and many others. Floral tributes represented the final sentiment and tribute or the Boyd family, the County Constables, the Toronto Police Department, the Ontario Provincial Police.
On June 11, a coroner’s jury charged Frederick Lee Rice with the murder of Constable Boyd and stated that the deceased Rutledge and the unknown man who threw the guns into the carriage were parties to the crime. They also recommended that the County provide all Constables engaged in transportation of prisoners with uniforms and fire-arms and a suitable conveyance. Rice was tried for murder in October and convicted.
His case was brought to the attention of the Ontario Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court of Canada; but his efforts to obtain a new trial were vain. He was hanged at Toronto in July 1902.
Constable Boyd left behind a wife, two sons and two daughters. Little else is known about Constable Boyd, except that he operated a general store and post office on Main Street in Markham during the late 19th Century.