Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Make your travel reservations here! Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop

 

Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!

 

Content Categories:

American History

Destinations-States

Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Travel Center

Treasure Tales

 

   Search Our Sites

Custom Search

Google

 

About Us

Advertising

Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information

Blog

Facebook Page

Guestbook

Links

Newsletter

Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits

 

We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us

 

Legends' General Store


Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items

Books/Magazines

CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals

Personalized-Engraved
Postcards

Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!

 

  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View

 

Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads
 

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!
 

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View

 

Family Friendly Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old West Legends IconOLD WEST LEGENDS

James Dolan - Bad Boy of the Lincoln County War

Bookmark and Share

One of the primary instigators of New Mexico's Lincoln County War, James J. Dolan was born in Galway County, Ireland, on May 2, 1848. When he was just five years old, his family immigrated to the United States.

 

When the Civil War broke out, Dolan joined the Union Army in 1863, serving two years before making his way to New Mexico. There, he enlisted in the First New Mexico Volunteers and was stationed at Fort Stanton, New Mexico, where he mustered out in April, 1869.

 

While at Fort Stanton he met another Irishman named Lawrence Murphy, who had also served at Fort Stanton and now owned a sutler’s store called the L. G. Murphy & Co. Store.

 

Dolan went to work as a clerk for Murphy and quickly picked up on Murphy's unethical and illegal business practices.

 

James J. Dolan

James J. Dolan. This image available for photographic prints  and downloads HERE!

 

 

 

The store, which had profited from Murphy's military contacts, was awarded government contracts to supply beef and other supplies to Fort Stanton and the local Mescalero-Apache Reservation Agency. However, much of what they supplied was gained illegally. 

In May, 1873, the hot-headed James Dolan attempted to shoot and kill a Fort Stanton Captain named James Randlett. Later that summer, in September, L. G. Murphy & Co. was evicted from Fort Stanton, partly due to Dolan's confrontation with Captain Randlett, but also due to accusations of price gauging and scamming the local Mescalero-Apaches of the supplies they were supposed to be providing. Amazingly; however, Murphy did not lose his government contracts and quickly made plans to establish a new business in Lincoln, New Mexico.

Dolan went with Murphy to Lincoln, and the pair opened the new business as partners in April 1874. Within no time, "Murphy & Dolan Mercantile and Banking” made new contracts with Fort Sumner and continued with their unethical business practices.

Before long, Murphy & Dolan Mercantile and Banking monopolized the trade of the county, controlling pricing, making immense profits on their goods, and virtually having a hand in nearly every part of the economy of the large county. The merchants, along with their allies, who included local law enforcement, were familiarly known as "The House.”

For obvious reasons, Murphy and his allies were disliked by the small farmers in Lincoln County as they were forced to pay high costs for their goods, while at the same time, accepting low prices for their cattle.

 

In May 1877, Dolan murdered one of his employees, a man named Hilario Jaramillo. He claimed that Jaramilo had threatened him with a knife and he was eventually acquitted of the crime.

 

Later that summer, Alexander McSween, a lawyer, and John Tunstall, a wealthy 24-year old English cattleman and banker, set up a rival business called H.H. Tunstall & Company near the one owned by Dolan and Murphy.  Supporting them was a large ranch owner named John Chisum, who owned more than 100,000 head of cattle.

 

 

Lincoln County New Mexico Courthouse, 1930

The Murphy & Dolan Mercantile in Lincoln, New Mexico  would later become the Lincoln County Courthouse. Photo around 1930.

 

Furious at this development, Dolan attempted to goad Tunstall into a gunfight. However, Tunstall refused to use violence himself but soon recruited Billy the Kid, officially, as a "cattle guard.” However, in February, 1878, Tunstall was killed, allegedly on the orders of Murphy and Dolan. The murder started the Lincoln County War, which would take the lives of 19 men, including an unarmed Alexander McSween.

 

When McSween's widow hired an attorney named Huston Chapman to investigate the Dolan faction for her husband's death, Chapman was murdered in February, 1879. Dolan was accused of the crime but with the help of powerful friends, the case against him was dropped.

 

In the meantime, Dolan purchased the property previously owned by John Tunstall, including his store and his ranch.

 

Amazingly, Dolan would later serve as Lincoln County Treasurer and be elected to the Territorial Senate.

James Dolan died on his ranch on February 6, 1898, probably due to heavy alcoholism.

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated December, 2013.

 

 

Lincoln County, New Mexico Courthouse today

Murphy & Dolan's Store later became the Lincoln County Courthouse, which today serves as a museum, February, 2008, Kathy Weiser. This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

Tunstall Store

The Tunstall Store now serves as a post office and a museum in Lncoln, New Mexico, Kathy Weiser, February, 2008. This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

 

Also See:

Lawrence Murphy - Behind the Lincoln County War

Fort Stanton - Rounding Up the Apache

Billy the Kid

Lincoln - Wild West Frozen in Time

New Mexico's Lincoln County War

New Mexico (main page)

Old West (main page)

Old West Photo Galleries

 

 

From Legends' Photo Shop

Vintage Old West photo prints and downloads from Legends' Photo Shop.Vintage Photographs of the Old West - From Legends' Photo Print Shop, you'll find hundreds of vintage images of the Old West that can be ordered in prints or downloaded for commercial use. Providing dramatic glimpses into the rich heritage of the American West, see famous characters including notorious outlaws and lawmen, cowboys and trailblazers, and more; transportation including covered wagons and stagecoaches; Saloons, Gambling & Women; Westward Expansion, and everything in between.

Vintage Old West photo prints and downloads from Legends' Photo Shop.

 

                                                            Copyright © 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com