McCloud proud

By on June 29, 2016
(Left to right) Chief William Harvey, Lt. Thomas Shumaker, Lt. Christopher McKim, Mayor Ralph Mowen, and Scott McCloud hold a box donated to Ephrata that honors Ephrata Police chief James McCloud, who held the position from 1926 to 1928. Photo by Patrick Burns

(Left to right) Chief William Harvey, Lt. Thomas Shumaker, Lt. Christopher McKim, Mayor Ralph Mowen, and Scott McCloud hold a box donated to Ephrata that honors Ephrata Police chief James McCloud, who held the position from 1926 to 1928. Photo by Patrick Burns

Months of indecision preceded Scott McCloud’s call to the Ephrata Police Department in December.

Even as Lt. Christopher McKim picked up the phone, McCloud wasn’t convinced if Ephrata PD would be interested in items he’d gathered in his Manville-N.J. home.

It was evidence for sure but nothing police were actually looking for, he thought.

Still, McKim insisted that McCloud come to Ephrata.

Chief William Harvey last month removed all doubts when he looked into the glass box McCloud had placed on a table at the police station.

“This is an incredible collection of Ephrata history,” Harvey said while glancing at a 1920s-era nightstick and .38-caliber revolver owned by former Ephrata Police Chief James McCloud, who held the position from 1926 to 1928.

The collection also contains photos, newspaper clippings and other tools of the trade used by Scott’s grandfather, James McCloud, who lived at 320 W. Sunset Ave. in Ephrata Borough.

The box, which will be put on display soon at Ephrata police station on State Street, contains James McCloud’s .32-caliber pistol. That weapon’s history and legend grew even more fascinating when Scott explained its mysterious return path to Ephrata nearly 80 years after his grandfather’s policing days.

Scott obtained the gun from a former Ephrata resident known only as “Dubs,” a distant cousin of the McClouds, whom was a roommate at Penn State with football star Rosie Grier, he said.

Grier became part of the legendary “Fearsome Foursome” of the Los Angeles Rams and TV actor in the 1960s and 70s.

“I’m not sure of (Dubs’) last name but he lived in Ephrata,” Scott McCloud said. “I contacted Dubs every so often. Somehow he got my grandfather’s .32 that he gave to me.”

The stories fascinated McKim, Mayor Ralph Mowen, Chief Harvey, and Lt. Thomas Shumaker, who praised Scott McCloud at an impromptu ceremony at the police station.

“This is such a unique and generous gift,” McKim said. “It will hold a place of honor at our police station.”

Scott McCloud, who hopes the gift will help secure his family’s legacy, said he’s “extremely honored to ensure the McCloud name is brought back to Ephrata.”

McCloud also believes the box provides clues that the Ephrata PD may be older than believed and that his great-grandfather was an integral piece of Ephrata’s early history of law enforcement.

A picture of his great-grandfather Jack McCloud wearing the same police uniform as his father, suggests both his great-grandfather and grandfather were Ephrata police chiefs, he said.

According to the Ephrata PD’s history page, James McCloud, Ephrata Police Chief from 1926 to 1928 was probably one of the first few chiefs of the department which was initiated in the 1920’s after the early 1900’s “boom of industrial revolution” in and around Ephrata.

Ephrata PD’s history states that population growth led to “a rise in mischief” which compelled Harry A. DeLong in 1915 to apply “for the position of detective for the sum of one dollar per month.”

“In his application to borough council he stated that trains are running at forty miles per hour, 10-year-old boys are smoking cigarettes, hotels are selling to minors, and automobiles are traveling at unsafe speeds.”

Scott McCloud said the photo of his great-grandfather suggests Ephrata PD may have actually launched in some form prior the 1920’s “maybe in the 1890s.”

McCloud insists he’s doesn’t want to change Ephrata history, “I just want to be a part of it,” he told McKim and Harvey.

Still, it’s possible, he said, his great-grandfather Jack McCloud may have preceded Aaron Ibach, who is credited as the first official chief according to Ephrata PD’s history.

“Jack (McCloud), my great-grandfather, has the same uniform with the same insignias on the buttons as (in the picture of) my grandfather did when he was Ephrata Police Chief,” he said. “The uniform of the chief would be different than a patrolman.”

“So we figure there is a 30-year change from father to son,” he said. “So that puts Jack before everybody there including Aaron Ibach (as the first police chief).”

Harvey wouldn’t discount Scott McCloud’s observations and isn’t “doubting his research verses our records….historically there is truth in both however,” he said.

The historical facts, according to Harvey, are that in the beginning of law enforcement there were town watchmen, night watchmen, borough constables, town guards, chiefs of police and more.

“They could not give you enough money but gave you a cool title,” Harvey said. “It sometimes convolutes history. At the Law Enforcement monument of recorded deaths in the line of duty some of the titles from late 1800s to early 1960s are unusual.”

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

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