There’s a man living in Cardiff who joined the United States Marine Corps because ‘that’s where the fighting was overseas.’ He rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Conowingo to Washington D.C. to lead a motorcade for the inauguration of President Harry S. Truman in 1948. Then rode it back in a snow storm behind a manure truck.
“It was cold and freezing so I stopped at the Waterloo Barrack to warm up. I fell down three times in downtown Baltimore because snow had covered the trolley tracks, I couldn’t see them and the rails were slick.”
He continued on though and near Overlea where the trolley line ended he pulled up behind a flat-bed truck “fully loaded with steaming horse-manure.”
Bernard T. Haywood thought then and there, “I lucked out now, I can keep warm behind this truck load of steaming manure. I followed that truck all the way to Conowingo Post which was my home at the time.” The flat-bed continued on to the mushrooms farmers north on Route 1 to Kennett Square.
“The choice I made was to keep warm on the long ride home. Once I got to the barrack I parked my bike in the garage and went inside; it had been a long day, then the Barrack Commander John Novicki chewed me out for stinking up the place!”
“It’s the closest I ever came to quitting the Maryland State Police,” Bernie notes as he sits in his living room in Cardiff. The interview with him took place because it was a cold day and his wife, Evelyn, had cancelled her beauty parlor appointment. The following day would be her 90th birthday. Bernie is leafing through his scrapbook. The couple has been married 60 years.
“After being chewed out that cold day in 1948, I took a shower, changed my uniform and went back out on the road to patrol. I respected First Sergeant Novicki, he was a capable man…but a loudmouth that day and I didn’t like it a bit.”
Sixty years after that snowy ride from our nation’s Capitol, Bernie had the distinction of leading off the annual Delta-Cardiff V.F.C parade in July, 2008. Actually, Bernie had led the Delta Parade prior to the Inaugural parade in 1948 on his motorcycle.
In the uniform he wore when he retired in 1987, Bernie was at the wheel of a fully restored State Police patrol car, a 1971 Ford Custom 500 with a 429 cu. in. engine, the prized possession of another retired state trooper, Jerry Scarborough.
Bernie Haywood was born in Dundalk of German and Cherokee decent. His father’s mom was a full-blooded Cherokee and he is very proud of that.
At age 17, after grade school in Baltimore, he enlisted in the Marines because ‘that’s where the fighting was.’ He served in two major battles: on Tinian and on Iwo Jima serving with the 4th Marine Division in the Pacific theater of operations against the Japanese. The battle on Tinian saw the first use of napalm in the Pacific. He made it through those battles and was discharged in November, 1945.
He said his time as a Marine was part of the reason he became a state trooper.
In April 1946 he joined the Maryland State Police. Along the way he married the former Evelyn Bryson, from Gatchelville, who later served as Postmaster for Cardiff for many years.
Graduating with 37 recruits at the police academy, he was sent on his way to a distinguished career in police work throughout the state of Maryland.
“Cardiff and Whiteford are not incorporated towns, no police force, so living here I took that job on. Folks would come knocking on the door at all hours in some kind of trouble, and I’d take care of it,” he says. He was a ‘lawman’s lawman’ no doubt. The stories of Bernie Haywood are legendary.
Some of the Delta Crew, a band of brothers who celebrate their Delta heritage have stories of the famed lawman.
“I was driving along with my girlfriend, one arm out the window and the other around her…she was sitting close to me and I let her steer. Well, Bernie stops me and gives me a ticket for $6.45.”
“Yes, I gave him a ticket for allowing a 15 year old, without a license, operate the car.” The young man ignored the ticket and the trial…and whenever he saw Bernie he always tried to get back over the Mason-Dixon line before he got stopped. On one such occasion Bernie yelled out the window, ”I’ll get you!”
He finally appeared in court, and the fine was doubled to $12.90. Case closed.
Another crew member was 17 and had had a few poppers one night and must have been driving a little strangely when Bernie spotted him. Usually the local guys in Delta would just try to outrun Bernie back over the state line. This time Bernie pulled the guy over, knowing he’d been drinking…but to the young man’s amazement the trooper known for sticking to the letter of the law asked him, ‘Have you been drinking?’
“Yes, sir” was the reply. “Well, your lane is just down the street another block. Better be getting home.” D.Jones, Delta.
“I know Bernie. Me and his son, Tommy, were pals as youngsters. Bernie chased me down one evening in his patrol car and pulled me over, on my bicycle, for not having a light. I was 12 or 13 and had a bike made from parts. I thought he was gonna lock me up. I don’t think he liked me much. Used to sit in his basement with Tommy playing chess and monopoly for hours. His wife would make us Kool-Aid and cookies.”
“Heard Tommy has done well. An M.D. now?”, Rex Thompson, Supervisor, Department of Juvenile Services, Eastern Shore Region.
A far cry from what most folks would think but in his way Bernie Haywood made friends by using common sense and respect for the situation.
In a commendation for Outstanding Service given to him by then governor Theodore McKeldin in 1951, Bernie was recognized for his initiative, good judgment and skill in saving the life of a young boy, through ‘mouth to mouth’ resuscitation. The boy had been seriously injured in an automobile accident.
On January 15, 1951, the accident on Route 222 and Rowlandsville Road, Cecil County, involved a car and a tractor-trailer truck colliding resulting in the truck crushing the car, trapping three occupants in the back seat. The truck driver and Bernie used a jack to pry the roof of the car up to free the boy who had stopped breathing and was turning blue with no pulse.
Immediately Bernie began ‘mouth to mouth’ resuscitation, which was not a commonly accepted practice then. The child began to cry and his life was saved. At that time, only chest compressions were done to revive people, and Bernie just held the child’s nose and began breathing continually into his mouth. After this incident and recognition of what Trooper Haywood did, the policy was changed and training was given to other troopers.
“I had to show my superiors how I did it and it was then introduced as part of the training at the academy,” he notes. “Then other police agencies all over the country started using that practice to revive people.” Four years after Bernie saved the boy’s life, the practice was being used throughout the country.
Bernie served at the Conowingo Post for 19 years while working his way up through the ranks. Troopers at that time covered Harford and Cecil counties and along with police duties also had to provide ambulance service.
“I’ve had times when I had to investigate an accident and then drive the victims to the hospital in the ambulance. We lived at the Barracks, there was no such thing as ‘shift work’. You were on call at all times. The Conowingo Barracks was designed to help out with increasing problems there when the Conowingo Dam was being built in the early 1920s.
“I did the right thing…it sometimes was an uphill struggle when you fight the system…but it’s the only thing a man can do,” referring to his tenure with the State Police and his criticism of some of the practices therein.
He had served as Barrack Commander in Glen Burnie, governing four other barracks in that area. Captain Haywood also commanded the Bel Air Barrack for four and a half years.
“I didn’t want to retire, but I was too old for the rules of service. My only regret is that I’m not still wearing the uniform.” At his retirement two color guards served that day. One from the U.S. Marine Corps and the other from the State Police.
The following was dedicated to him at the retirement ceremony:
“THE OLD GUARD…
“Bernie Haywood is retiring! It will be hard to imagine the Maryland State Police without him, and difficult to see him as a private citizen, not a uniformed officer any longer. Capt. Haywood, with his erect posture, proudly wearing his brown uniform, always sticking to the letter of the law, had come to personify the Maryland State Police to generations of Harford Contains. His mark is unblemished, his record is exemplary, his stature of the highest rank.
“We wish him well in his retirement and we thank him for many years of excellent service to the people of Maryland.”
Today, sitting in his home in Cardiff, I ask him if he ever shot anyone.
“No, but I’ve been shot at. I did my duty in the Marines. Shot people, it was war. But never shot anyone as a state trooper.”
Did you ever punch anyone the face?
“Oh, hell yes!”, he replies with a beaming smile across his face.
Did you ever get punched?
“I’ve had a few swing back at me, but they never really hit me. One time I was breaking up a domestic and wrangling with a guy, and his wife, the victim, jumped on my back and started hitting me. I had to deal with both of them at the same time, but I did OK.”
There’s a lot more to tell, and maybe in another column we’ll get to it. For now, this living legend takes care of himself and his wife and recalls his days with pride and self-assurance.
The Haywood’s have one son, Thomas B. Haywood, a cardiologist living in Hanover, Pennsylvania. “He tells us what we must do,” Evelyn says, “But we don’t always listen to him.”