Dover police to honor officer killed in 1888
Dover resident Kirk Purington Sr., is one of the last living relatives of Special Police Officer George Pray, who was killed in the line of duty in Madbury in 1888. Purington, who enjoys delving into family history, was pleasantly surprised when the Dover Police Department wanted to honor his great-great grandfather after a Tuftonboro officer discovered a long-forgotten report. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)
On Dec. 31, 1888, George E. Pray was shot and killed while working to return Charles Tanner to the Concord Insane Asylum. Pray and his friend — William Robinson, who worked at a bottling company — found Tanner eating supper at his home. After learning of the purpose of this visit, Tanner shot Pray in the chest.
“He was a special police officer — he worked when needed,” Purington said. “He was actually a dairy farmer. He also worked for the highway department when needed.”
While a photo of Pray has not been found in old police records or at the city library, Purington said City records listed that there was one murder in Dover in 1888, Purington said. There were no other details about the police officer’s murder.
Police became aware of the incident after Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury stumbled across documents while doing unrelated research. Shagoury submitted the discovery to the N.H. Law Enforcement Memorial Committee, who contacted Dover police and initiated a search for the history of the incident, which was published in local newspapers, according to police.
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