Last year we received a donation of several unidentified photos that were taken by a Story City photographer named A.N. Torp. Torp was a photographer in town from approximately 1884 to 1909. One of the photos was intriguing as it pictured a Black man in a police uniform. I had not heard of Story City having a person of color in a police officer/city marshal role from that time period. However I thought I'd seen the photo online somewhere fairly recently so I reached out to the Ames History Museum. They knew it was Wayner Johnson, one of Roland's early city marshals.
I reached out to Jan Stole who is involved with the Roland Historical Society. This photo of Wayner was printed in Roland’s centennial book in 1971. Wayner was appointed as Roland’s city marshal in December of 1892. He held the position until March 1893. From the Roland Centennial Book, “Mr. Johnson in his blue uniform, brass buttons, police badge, cap and club, was reported to be quite an imposing figure, and extremely proud of his position.”
Unfortunately, the Story City Herald newspapers are missing from the early 1890s due to a fire so we don't know if Wayner was mentioned in the Herald during the time he served. The Roland Record newspaper started publishing in 1895 which is after Wayner served. He is mentioned once in both papers with the information that was printed in the Roland Centennial Book. I’ve tried to find out where Wayner went after his time in Roland but have not had any luck. If anyone happens to know more information about Wayner, please let us know.