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Old West Lawmen - F

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William "Billy" B. Fain, aka: Billy Profane (1856-1929) - Born in Tennessee, Fain moved to California in 1883. A tough and rugged man with a forceful manner of speaking, he soon gained the nickname, "Billy Profane."  In 1884, he killed his own uncle, james C. Fain, but the killing was ruled self-defense. While living in the Warner Springs area of San Diego county, he got into a dispute with the Helm brothers and in 1887 a shootout occured between Fain and Chat Helm. Though Fain was tried twice on assault to murder charges, he was later cleared and moved on to Oak Grove, California. There, he was elected constable, a position he held until July, 1890. He ten moved on to Yuma, Arizona, where he married, raised a family, and lived until his death on March 20, 1929.

 

H. D. Fannin - U.S. Deputy Marshal commissioned in the Western District at Fort Smith, Arkansas. After Fannin had arrested a man named Jason Labreu in 1883, for the rape and murder of a woman, Labreau escaped on the way to Fort Smith, Arkansas and was killed by Fannin. Later that same year, Fannin was one of the deputy marshals that helped capture Johnson Jacks, who had been charged with the killing of U.S. Deputy Marshal Addison Beck.

 

Edward J. Farr (1867-1899) - Born on November 22, 1867 at Kerrville, Texas, he later moved to New Mexico with his older brother, Jeff. Later, both men moved to Huerfano County, Colorado, where Edward was elected sheriff in 1898. It was during this time that the Ketchum Gang was roaming the area robbing trains, banks and post offices. On July 11, 1899, Sam Ketchum, Will Carver and Elza Lay pulled a heist without their leader, Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum in Folsom, New Mexico. Though the bandits made off with some $50,000, they were quickly pursued by a posse, which included Sheriff Farr, to a hideout in Turkey Canyon, near Cimarron, New Mexico. On July 16th, the posse caught up with the bandits which quickly resulted in an all out gun battle. when it was over, Sheriff Farr had been shot three times and killed. Also seriously wounded was posse man, Henry M. Love of the Colfax County, New Mexico who would die of his wounds on July 21st. Of the gang, Sam Ketchum was hit and taken into custody, where he died on July 24th. Also, hit was Elza Lay, but he, and  Will Carver were able to make their escape. Lay was caught up with in August and sent to prison. Carver would later be killed two years later by Texas by lawmen.

 

Jefferson "Jeff" Beauregard Farr (1862-1920) - The older brother of Edward J. Farr, was born in Kerrville, Texas and when he grew up moved to New Mexico. Later, his younger brother Edward joined him and the pair made their way to Huerfano County, Colorado, where Edward was elected sheriff in 1898. Jeff went to work for his brother as a deputy sheriff and when Edward went after the Ketchum Gang in July, 1899, he left Jeff in charge. Unfortunately, Edward was killed by the gang near Cimarron, New Mexico on July 16th. Jeff then became sheriff, a position he retained until 1917. He then worked as a rancher and cattleman.

 

Sam Farris (18??-1894) - While serving as a Canadian County Deputy Sheriff in Oklahoma Territory, Farris recognized two outlaw brothers named James and Victor Casey in Yukon, Oklahoma on May 21, 1894. The Caseys were suspected of murdering two men near El Reno earlier in the month and when Farris confronted them, the brothers shot the deputy. However, Farris returned the fire, wounding Vic Casey in the foot before he died. Vic Casey would later develop blood poisoning from the wound and die on November 12, 1894. His brother Jim was later arrested and placed in jail in Oklahoma City. On June 30, 1895, when he tried to escape the jail with the Christian brothers, he was killed.

 

John F. Fields (18??-1892) - A half-blooded Cherokee Indian, Fields was commissioned as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in the Western District at Fort Smith, Arkansas. In June, 1885 Fields was riding with Sam Six Killer to a murder scene near Fort Gibson, Oklahoma where notorious outlaw Dick Glass and his gang of rustlers killed a man named William Cobb and seriously wounded another named Alex Cowan. The deputies trailed Dick Glass and his outlaw buddies to about five miles south of Emet, in the Choctaw Nation where Glass was killed in a shoot-out by Sam Sixkiller. In October, 1892, when Fields rode with a posse to arrest Cherokee outlaw Ned Christie, he would not be so lucky. On October 19th, as a posse approached Christie’s cabin ordering the fugitive to come out, Christie came out of his cabin with his guns blazing.  Fields recived a fatal gunshot to the neck, another deputy was wounded and the posse retreated.

 

William Fields (18??-1887) - A full-blooded Cherokee Indian, Fields was commissioned as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in the Western District at Fort Smith, Arkansas in early 1887. At the same time, he was also appointed to act as the City Marshal of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. Shortly after his appointment, he attempted to arrest a Choctaw Indian named Cash Ellis, who had allegedly killed a black man named Busby. However, Ellis was not to be taken in without a gunfight and wound up with both legs riddled with bullets. The next time, Fields would not be so lucky. On the afternoon of April 10, 1887, he and an African-American deputy named Crowder Nix, were attempting to arrest James H. Cunninus near Eufaula, Oklahoma for robbing a railroad boxcar. The fugitive; however began to flee and in a running gun battle, Fields was killed by Cunninus. Crowder; however, returned the fire, wounding the fugitive and taking him into custody. 

 

 

Edward D. Fink - U.S. Deputy Marshal commissioned in El Reno, Oklahoma Territory in January, 1895 under Marshal Evett Nix. He later worked out of the Western District of Indian Territory, serving under Marshal Leo Bennett and  assigned to Wetumka, Oklahoma. In December, 1902, while attempting to arrest two outlaws named Tunnels and Clark near Wetumka, he was overpowered and received a pistol whipping that left him unconscious. Two years later, on November 20, 1904, he would not be so lucky when he attempted to arrest Indian outlaws, Jim Tiger and Peter Fish.  Pursuing the fugitives on horseback to the Eufaula area, he ordered them to halt when Fish turned in his saddle and fired his Winchester rifle killing the deputy.  The killers were later apprehended by U.S. Deputy Marshals Grant Johnson and Bud Ledbetter, tried and Fish  received life imprisonment for Fink’s murder. 

 

John King FisherJohn King Fisher (1854-1884) - Born northeast of Dallas, Texas, the family moved north of Austin around 1960. When Fisher borrowed a horse without telling the owner, he was soon arrested for horse theft. He soon escaped from the posse with the help of the horse's owner, who decided not to press charges. He then made his way to Goliad, Texas where he was soon arrested for breaking into a house. He was sent to prison but pardoned just four months later. Moving on to Dimmit County, he established a ranch in a area where cattle rustling was rampant. Before long, Fisher was right in the middle of it, with his ranch serving as a haven for drifters and outlaws. He was sometimes known to ride with Mexican rustlers, sometimes making off with as many as 100 head of cattle. His outlaw activities often led to violence and he quickly gained a reputation as a skilled gunfighter. He was arrested at various times by Texas Rangers Leander McNelly and Lee Hall but always managed to avoid conviction. Evidently by 1876, Fisher had his fill of the outlaw life, married and bought a ranch near Eagle Pass.

In 1881 he was appointed deputy sheriff of Uvalde County and two years later became the sheriff. He turned out to be an efficient and popular
lawman and made plans to run for re-election in 1884. However, on the night of March 11, 1884, in the Vaudeville Variety Theater in San Antonio, Fisher and his companion, noted gunman Ben Thompson, were involved in a shootout brought on by a quarrel between Thompson and the theater's owners. Both Fisher and Thompson were killed.

 

George W. Flatt (1853-1880)  - A fearless gunfighter, Flatt was Caldwell, Kansas' first marshal in 1879, but was not well liked. On April 5, 1880, a new mayor was elected in Caldwell, namely one Mike Meagher. One of the first things Meagher did was discharge City Marshal George Flatt because he disapproved of Flatt’s confrontational way of law enforcement. He then appointed William Horseman as the new marshal; Frank Hunt and Dan Jones as deputies, and James Johnson as constable. Flatt was none to happy about this event and wasted no time voicing his complaints about Meagher and the new police department.

 

He insisted that his only enemies were those of the city administration and that the rest of the town was behind him. These words would wind up leading to his demise. On the evening of June 18,1880, a drunken Flatt made his rounds in a number of Caldwell saloons, voicing his complaints to anyone who would listen. Somewhere along the line, he ran into Frank Hunt and the two argued until Hunt was finally able to persuade Flatt to go home about 1:00 o'clock in the morning. But Flatt wouldn't make it. On his way, he was ambushed and died in the street with a bullet in the back of his skull. On June 25th, Sumner County Sheriff, Joe Thralls, arrested Mayor Mike Meagher, and police officers William Horseman, Frank Hunt, James Johnson, and Dan Jones for the murder. Five days later, on June 30th, all but Frank Hunt and William Horseman were released.  Of the event, the local newspaper, the Caldwell Commercial, said on July 1st:

 

 "What the result of all this will be it is impossible to say, but, if we are correctly informed, the whole thing has the appearance of a put up job.

 

The newspaper was correct. The other two men were discharged after a court examination on July 3rd. Though all of the men were bound over for trial, the judicial system would follow through only with William Horseman. A year later he was acquitted.

Frederick Fornoff (1859-1935) - Born at Baltimore, Maryland on February 6, 1859, Fornoff moved to Galveston, Texas in 1877. Two years later, he was working as a miner in Colorado, and in 1880 landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he became a policeman and worked himself up to the position of Chief of Police. In 1898, he enlisted in the Rough Riders, serving with them until they disbanded.  Afterwards he became a U.S. Deputy Marshal, while simultaneously working as a deputy sheriff of Bernalillo County, New Mexico.  He then moved on to the New Mexico Mounted Police where he became a Captaan. In that position he was tasked with investigating the murder of Pat Garrett on February 29, 1908. Fornoff concluded that Garrett had been killed by hired killer, Jim Miller, although others disagreed. He later served in a number of capacities for the Federal Government and for the Santa Fe Railway. He died on November 26, 1935 in Sheridan, Wyoming.

William "Bill” or "Will” D. Fossett (1851?-1940) - Fossett began his career as a lawman when he worked as an assistant marshal in Caldwell, Kansas during its reckless cowtown period. In 1881, he moved on to Kingman, Kansas, where he served as City Marshal until 1887. He then worked on the construction crews building the railroads until 1889, when he joined with thousands of others taking part in the Oklahoma Land Rush. Lining up west of the Kingfisher Station, he claimed a piece of the land for himself and soon went to work for the railroad as a special agent.

Later, he was appointed as a U.S. Deputy Marshal. He was serving with U.S. Deputy Marshals Heck Thomas and Bill Tilghman, along with  Sheriff Rhinehart, when they Doolin Gang member, Little Dick West in April, 1897 near Guthrie, Oklahoma. The four lawmen shared the $2000 "Dead or Alive” reward.  On November 6, 1897, Fossett was appointed as Chief Deputy of Oklahoma Territory. When outlaws Bob Hughes, Bill Bourland, and other gang members tried to rob a Rock Island train near Pond Creek, Oklahoma, they were surprised to find Deputy Marshal Fossett guarding the train. Fossett killed outlaw leader Bob Hughes in the fray and the rest of the gang fled without any loot. The rest of the gang was captured a few days later by Deputy Marshal Chris Madsen. Fossett later rode with Bill Banks and other posse members when they drove the notorious Zip Wyatt and Ike Black from their strong hold in the Gloss Mountains, which ultimately resulted in the death of the fugitives. Fossett served as a lawman in various capacities for some 50 years. He continued to live in Kingfisher until his death in 1940.

George A. "Bud" Frazer (1864-1896) - The son of George Milton Frazer, Bud enlisted in the Texas Rangers at the age of 16 and later served as a deputy in Pecos County, Texas. When he was 26 years-old, he was elected as the sheriff of Reeves County, Texas in 1890. In 1891, he made the fatal mistake of hiring the infamous killer, James B. Miller as a deputy. He was soon forced to fire him, which resulted in the deadly Frazer-Miller feud which would last for several years. Miller killed Frazer in 1896. See full article HERE.

 

George Milton Frazer (1828-1908) - Born at Brownsville, Tennessee on January 5, 1928, Frazer was in Texas in 1835, where he first lived at San Gugustine and later in Sabine County. In May, 1846, he joined the army in the Mexican-American War for two years. He then settled at Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he worked as a wagon master and did some mining. He later settled in southern New Mexico, opening an express business from Mesilla to Pinos Altos. Close to the Arizona state line, he commissioned a company of Arizona Rangers to fight the Indians in 1861. The Arizona Rangers were mustered into Confederate service at Fort Fillmore, New Mexico in August, 1861 and fought in several battles, primarily against the Indians. He eventually achieved the rank of captain and after the Civil War, he settled in San Antonio, Texas, before moving to Pecos County, where he worked in the ranching and mercantile business. Later, he resided at Toyah, Texas where he served as a judge before his death on August 2, 1908.

 

William B. Freeman - U.S. Deputy Marshal commissioned on July 19, 1869 serving in the District Court at Van Buren, Arkansas under Marshal William A. Britton. By 1894, Freeman was working out of the Southern District Court of Indian Territory at Paris, Texas when he took part in a posse of deputy marshals that attempted to arrest Bill Dalton near Ardmore, Oklahoma on June 8, 1894. As the posse  approached Bill's home, the fugitive, with a pistol in hand, jumped out of a window and ran toward the posse, ignoring orders to halt. He was killed immediately.

 

 

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