Fernandina Police department recognizes early African American law enforcement officers

Fernandina Beach Police Department
February 25, 2021

As February is Black History Month, here’s an interesting fact about three of the first African American law enforcement officers in the City of Fernandina (before it was Fernandina Beach).

Henry Hennahan was born in 1833. He fought in the Civil War with the Union Army and held the rank of Sergeant Major. In 1867, as part of an act titled “To provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States to facilitate restoration,” Mr. Hennahan became a registered voter. In 1870 Mr. Hennahan was appointed the City Marshal of Fernandina, a position that he held for one year. In 1910 he was still living in Fernandina at 214 Eighth Street.

After Mr. Hennahan’s term as City Marshal, Turner Duling was first appointed, then elected City Marshal, and served until 1881 when the City government was reorganized.

After the City’s re-organization, Richard Denefield, served as City Marshal for two separate terms, 1881 to 1883 and again from 1884 to 1886.

Not much more is known about these men who served as early lawmen for the City of Fernandina, however, the members of the FBPD salute their efforts and service.

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