Henry Hoagland was born on November 2, 1842 in Somerset County, New Jersey. He attended Eastman Commercial College in Chicago. He married Marietta Randolph in February 1867 in Bunker Hill, Illinois. Together they had three children Frank Hoagland, Albert Hoagland, and Evelyn Hoagland.
Chief Hoagland served the city of Lincoln and Lancaster County in both law enforcement and legislative offices for over half a century. A Civil War veteran originally from Somerset, New Jersey, Hoagland moved to Lincoln in 1878 and served as a deputy sheriff under his brother, Sheriff Joseph S. Hoagland. Hoagland's career with the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office included serving as deputy beneath five sheriffs, as well as holding the office of sheriff from 1908 to 1911. His career with the Lincoln Police Department began in 1895 when he was appointed day captain. He then served as chief deputy for Lancaster County from January 1896 to April 1898 at which time he was appointed chief of police of the Lincoln Police Department.
Chief Hoagland was well-liked by the press and popular amongst citizens. One reporter noted in the Lincoln Evening News dated June 6, 1891 that "…he [Hoagland] is always genial to reporters, is a fund of reminiscences and a source of joy to the news-hunters on dull days." Hoagland was also beloved for his beliefs in reforming society. The Saturday, May 24, 1902 edition of the Courier takes note of this by stating that "[h]e [Hoagland] is a close and ardent student of criminology, believing that there is some good in everyone and that all except the natural born criminals can be reformed and made useful members of society."
A notable event during Hoagland's time as Chief of Police occurred on September 22, 1900 when four masked men robbed a Burlington train. The men were unable to open the large safe, but went through a smaller one and found only a little money before jumping off the train. Chief Hoagland formed a posse, but was unable to track the robbers.
Hoagland's time as Chief of Police ended in 1903. In 1912, he began a career in politics when he was elected to the Nebraska State Legislature where he served two terms. He was then appointed Court Crier by Federal Judge Munger in 1924 and held this position until his death on February 14, 1930.
Chief Hoagland is buried in Wyuka Cemetery along with his wife Marietta Hoagland.
Nebraska State Journal - Sunday, January 27, 1901.
Not long ago a young girl came to this city from Omaha and was induced to enter a place of bad repute. Chief Hoagland found her in jail one morning after a raid had been made and interested himself in her case. She said she was willing to work and he found a place for her in a private family. The young woman called on the chief yesterday to thank him for his acts. She told him that she had been saved because he had taken enough interest in her to warn her of what would follow if she did not reform.
Nebraska State Journal - Tuesday, May 20, 1902.
Headline: The Chief Was Frightened.
Byline: Lightning Plays Pranks around a Box of Dynamite
For several months a box containing nearly twenty pounds of dynamite has been kept on the top of Chief of Police Hoagland's desk at the police station. Yesterday afternoon during the thunderstorm lightning ran into the station on the telephone wires and for a moment a blue blaze was displayed on a phone but two feet away from the box of dynamite. The dynamite was immediately placed under the chief's desk. Chief Hoagland makes it public that this quantity of explosive will be given away to any person desiring to use it for legitimate purposes. Bank Robbers need not apply.
This dynamite was found near Havelock many months ago. It was then supposed that an attempt to rob a Burlington train had been planned. Since that time the explosive has been kept in the police station. Several sticks were given to a farmer who used them to blow up stumps on his farm. He reported to Chief Hoagland that it did the work well and was very powerful.