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Old West Lawmen - B - Page 1

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Elfego BacaElfego Baca (1865-1945) - Born in New Mexico, Baca and his family later moved to Topeka, Kansas when he was still a boy. After his mother's death in 1880, he returned with his father to Belen, New Mexico where his father became the marshal. In 1884, at the age of 19, Baca stole some guns and bought a mail-order sheriff's badge, intending to follow in his father's footsteps. He soon appointed himself a deputy sheriff in Socorro County, an untamed, lawless land in southwestern New Mexico. In no time, Elfego became embroiled in a shoot-out after arresting a cowboy who had been shooting up the town of Frisco (now Reserve.) A standoff ensued when Baca took shelter in the tiny house of Geronimo Armijo. The standoff resulted in a furious attack by over 80 cowhands, in which over 4,000 rounds were fired into the house by those outside. Elfego Baca managed to kill four of his assailants and wounded eight others. Thirty-six hours after it began, Elfego Baca walked out unharmed. Baca was admitted to the Bar in 1894 at the age of 29 and later became a Deputy United States Marshal, an assistant district attorney, the held the positions of both sheriff and mayor of Socorro County. Elfego Baca died in 1945. More ...

 

 

William "Billy" Bailey, aka: Bill Wilson, William Baylor (18??-1871) - A lawman and cowboy, Bailey was thought to have been from Texas before winding up in Newton, Kansas in 1871. A career cowboy, and sometimes lawman he probably wound up in the Kansas cowtown after a cattle drive. Though he was reportedly easy going and even-tempered, he also had a reputation as a gunfighter. having known to have been in three gunfights, where he killed two men.

 

During the August elections of 1871, Bailey was hired by the Newton authorities as a Special Policeman to help keep order. On August 11th, he and another Special Policeman by the name of Mike McCluskie argued over local politics in the Red Front Saloon. The dispute soon turned violent and Bailey was knocked outside the saloon into the dusty street. McCluskie followed, drew his pistol, and fired two shots at Bailey, hitting him in the chest. The wounded man died the next day.

 

McCluskie immediately fled town to avoid arrest, but returned just a few days later, after he heard that the shooting would most likely be deemed self defense. Though Bailey never produced a weapon, McCluskie claimed he feared for his life, because of Bailey's reputation as a gunfighter. In no time, Bailey's Texas cowboy friends vowed to revenge his death which ultimately led to the famous Hyde Park Gunfight on August 19, 1871.

 

Frank Baker (18??-1878) - An outlaw member of the Jesse Evans Gang and a lawman, Baker served as a deputy sheriff in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Embroiled in the Lincoln County War, he rode in the posse that killed John Tunstall on February 18, 1878. Tunstall, a wealthy 24-year old English cattleman and banker, along with a man named Alexander McSween, had earlier established a rival business which competed with the powerful Murphy & Dolan Mercantile and Banking Company that monopolized the trade of the county. In February, 1878, Murphy & Dolan obtained a court order to seize some of Tunstall's horses as payment for an outstanding debt. When Tunstall refused to surrender the horses, Lincoln County Sheriff, William Brady, formed a posse led by deputy William Morton to seize them. Riding in the posse were also Jesse Evans, Tom Hill and Frank Baker. After protesting the presence of the posse on his land, Tunstall was shot in the head. This incident started what became known as the Lincoln County War.

 

The very next day, Billy the Kid, who had worked for Tunstall as a cattle guard, along with a man named Dick Brewer went to the Justice of the Peace of the town of Lincoln, John Wilson, who swore out affidavits and warrants for the posse that had killed John Tunstall. Wilson ordered town constable, Atanacio Martinez, to serve the warrants. Not enthused about confronting Murphy & Dolan, Constable Martinez deputized Billy the Kid and a man named Fred Waite to go with him. When they arrived at the Murphy & Dolan Mercantile, they found it guarded by troops from Fort Stanton, along with Lincoln County Sheriff, William Brady. Backed by the soldiers and his own heavily armed party, Brady not only refused to let Martinez make any arrests; but, in fact, disarmed the three men and marched them to the jail. Martinez was let go but Billy the Kid and Fred Waite remained in jail until February 23rd, missing Tunstall's funeral. On March 1st, Justice of the Peace John Wilson appointed Dick Brewer as town constable and deputized several others, including Billy the Kid. Once again, the group, who called themselves, the Regulators, were sent to bring in Tunstall's murderers. On March 6th, the Regulators arrested Bill Morton and Frank Baker near the Pecos River some 60 miles away from Lincoln. Three days later, on March 10, 1878, as the posse and their prisoners were making their way back, Bill Morton suddenly snatched Regulator William McCloskey's pistol and shot him dead. He then began to flee with Frank Baker closely following. Both were speedily overtaken and killed.

 

 

 

Old West Lawmen book by Legends of AmericaAndrew "Andy" W. Balfour (or Belfour) (18??-1891) - A Deputy Sheriff in Kiowa County, Kansas, Balfour was tracking Zip Wyatt, who had shot up the town of Mulhall, Oklahoma in June, 1891. Having wounded two citizens, and with a warrant out for his arrest, Wyatt fled to Kansas, where he stole some riding gear in Greensburg, in Kiowa County in July. Balfour tracked Wyatt to Pryor's Grove about ten miles north of Greensburg, where he attempted to arrest the fugitive, only to be shot in the abdomen, with the bullet striking the officer in the spine and killing him. However, the deputy rallied before he died, shooting Wyatt twice, but only wounding him slightly in the hand and on his left side. Deputy Sheriff Balfour left a wife and six children. In the meantime, Wyatt escaped to return to Oklahoma, formed a gang, and terrorize the territory for the next several years. He was finally captured after a gunfight, in which he was wounded, and died in jail in Enid, Oklahoma.

William "Bill” Dudley Banks - U.S. Deputy Marshal commissioned in Oklahoma Territory and assigned by Marshal Evett Nix to the Cheyenne District on July 15, 1893. In 1894, Deputy Bank rode with Heck Thomas, Bill Tilghman and Chris Madsen to try to apprehend the Bill Doolin Gang, but were unsuccessful. In February of 1895, Banks rode with several other deputies in pursuit of outlaws, Jim Harbolt and Dan McKenzie, who were charged in the murder of Canadian, Texas Sheriff Tom McGee who was killed on November 24, 1894, during a robbery. Banks and the other marshals were successful in apprehending the two outlaws. After the Doolin Gang robbed the Rock island train at Dover, Oklahoma, Banks and other officers pursued them once again. The officers caught up with the gang about 30 miles west of Hennessey, Oklahoma where a gunfight erupted. In the melee, Banks killed outlaw "Tulsa Jack" Blake and collected the reward. The following year, in July, 1895, Banks, along with numerous lawmen from various jurisdictions participated in the manhunt for notorious outlaws, Zip Wyatt and Ike Black. In July, 1898, Banks was riding with U.S. Deputy Marshals Alberty and Dobson when they killed Bill Nail of the Moose Miller Gang.

W.H. Barbee - U.S. Deputy Marshal commissioned in the Western District at Fort Smith, Arkansas on December 14, 1891 by Marshal Jacob Yoes. By 1895, Barbee was living at Braggs, Oklahoma. In April, 1895, outlaws Sam "Verdigris Kid” McWilliams, George Sanders and Sam Butler, who were wanted for robbery and murder, rode into town ordering everyone to put up their hands. The trio of outlaws quickly marched their prisoners Madden General Store and when the store clerk panicked and ran into the street, the outlaws shot him down. As their hostages stood waiting, the thieves robbed the general store and exchanged their clothing and boots for new ones. One of the hostages was then sent to bring a horse to the store, exchanging it for one of theirs.  Fortunately, the owner of the store was not present but could see the robbery taking place and quickly reported it to two law officers, one of which was U.S. Deputy Marshal Barbee. When the two officers arrived, they shot the Verdigris Kid and Deputy Marshal Barbee opened fire on the rest of the gang. George Sanders was also killed, and Sam Butler, though wounded, escaped.

 

Joe I. Barnett (18??-1882) - A Creek Lighthorse Policeman, Barnett was a part of the National Constitutional Party during what was known as the "Green Peach War," a civil war which occurred in the Creek Nation of Indian Territory in 1882. On July 30, 1882, Barnett was one of a group of Creek Lighthorse Polecemand that tried to arrest a group of "Loyal Creeks" (the opposing party,) when the officers were attacked. Both Officer Barnett as well as the officers' leader, Captain Sam Scott were killed.

 

 

 

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