Step aside, thugs: There’s a new sheriff in town. “I got a revolver to protect us, and I soon had use for it,” declares Connie Kopp when interviewed about the midnight marauders intimidating her family.
Her assistance with the arrest of an ex-con, for threatening to kidnap her sister, led to her role as detective. She went on to become deputy sheriff of Bergen County, New Jersey. Later on, the Kopp sisters managed their own private-detective agency. Read more about it!
The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
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- June 1914: A brand-new automobile driven by Henry Kaufman, a Paterson, N.J. silk manufacturer crashes into the Kopp family buggy. Soon after, the sisters Kopp start receiving anonymous threatening “black hand” letters and nocturnal prowlers begin to discharge revolvers and shotguns under the bedroom windows at Wyckoff Farm.
- November 22, 1914: The Kopps receive a letter demanding them to hand over $1,000 to a “woman dressed in black” under the penalty of having their home burned. Guards are stationed around the farm to protect the girls.
- 1915: Constance aids with the arrest of ex-convict, George Johnson, for threatening to kidnap her younger sister, Florette; qualifying her for the role of deputy sheriff of Bergen County, New Jersey.
- April 10, 1916: Dives into Hackensack River and rescues Tony Hajanack, an insane prisoner who tried to drown himself.
- November 14, 1916: Constance loses her job as Under Sheriff when John W. Courter is sworn in as the new sheriff; claiming that he “can’t find anything for Miss Kopp to do.” Miss Kopp, along with Under Sheriff Thomas English, claim that they are protected under the newly adopted Civil Service Law, which states that employees who have held their jobs 45 days prior to the election are retained despite of who wins.
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Pages in Chronicling America.] Constance Kopp
Sample Articles from Chronicling America:
- "Girls Arm to Fight Blackmail,"
New-York Tribune (New York, NY), November 23, 1914, Page 12, Image 12, col. 7.
- "Girl Waits with Gun for Black Handers,"
The Sun (New York, NY), November 23,1914, Page 5, Image 5, col. 3.
- "Girl, Armed, Waits for Black Handers on Street Corner,"
Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA),
November 23, 1914, Page 13, Image 15, column 7.
- "Say Man They Sued Sent Death Threat ,"
The Sun (New York, NY), June 3, 1915, Page 5, Column 5.
- "Girl Captures Fugitive Parson, Who Fights Her,"
New-York Tribune (New York, NY), December 20, 1915, Page 2, Image 2, col. 3-4.
- "Women Sheriff Keeps Order,"
Harrisburgh Telegraph (Harrisburg, PA) March 18, 1916, Image 20, col.4.
- "Girl Deputy Dives Into River to Rescue Drowning Man,"
The Evening World (New York, NY), April 10, 1916, Page 1, col.2.
- "Girl Sheriff Dives, Rescues Crazy Man,"
The Sun (New York, NY), April 11,1916, Image 6, col. 2.
- "Rescues Insane Man,"
North-Platte Semi-weekly Tribune (North-Platte, Neb.), May 9, 1916, Image 6, col. 1.
- "Woman Captures Dangerous Men,"
Tammany Farmer (Covington, LA), July 29, 1916, Page 6, Image 6, col. 5.
- "Sherriff Will Drop Constance Kopp as Deputy To-Day,"
The Evening World (New York, NY), November 14, 1916, Page 2, Image 2, col.5.
- "Female Sheriff Wants Job Back ,"
Evening Herald (Klamath Falls, OR), November 30, 1916, Image 1, col. 3.