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Old West Lawmen - S

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George Scarborough (1859-1900) - Born in Louisiana on October 2, 1859, Scarborough was the son of a Baptist preacher. Later, his family moved to Texas and when George grew old enough he began to work as a cowboy. In 1885, he was appointed sheriff for Jones County, Texas and later worked as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in El Paso in the 1890's. On June 21, 1895, Scarborough, along with U.S. Deputy Marshal, Jeff Milton, were pursuing fugitive cattle rustler, Martin Monrose, Scarborough shot and killed the outlaw. Later, John Wesley Hardin would claim that he had paid Milton and Scarborouugh to kill McRose. The U.S. Deputy Marshals were then arrested but when Hardin withdrew his comments, they were released. John Henry Selman, who had been a friend of Scarborough's and had killed John Wesley Hardin in August of 1895, began to accuse Scarborough of having stolen money from Monrose's corpse. When the two met up at the Wigwam Saloon in El Paso on April 2, 1896, the two began to argue and in the end Selman lay dead.


Sometime later, Scarborough moved to Deming, New Mexico, where he worked as a gunman for the Grant County Cattemen's Association and was involved in the arrest of Pearl Hart. On April 5, 1900, he was chasing several members of the Wild Bunch, including Will Carver, when a gunfight broke out and Scarborough was hit in the leg. Placed in a wagon and taken back to Deming, Scarborough's leg had to be amputated. He died the following day.


Lafayette "Lafe" Augustus Shadley (1844-1893) - Born on June 6, 1844, in Licking County, Ohio, Shadley grew up to serve with the Union Army during the Civil War. He married Malinda Randolph in 1866 in Soap Creek, Iowa and the couple had three sons and a daughter. By 1879, the family was living in Independence, Kansas and the following year, Shadley was elected Sheriff of Montgomery County. Later, he was commissioned as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in Oklahoma serving under Marshal Evett Nix. During the bloody gunfight at Ingalls, Oklahoma with the Doolin-Dalton Gang on September 1, 1893, Shadley was shot by Bill Dalton and died two days later. Also killed in the gun battle were fellow U.S. Deputy Marshals Thomas Hueston and Dick Speed. Shadley's body was returned to Independence, Kansas where he was buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery.


Charles A. Shibell (1841-1908) - Born in St. Louis, Missouri and educated in Iowa, Shibell made his way to California in 1860, first working as a clerk in Sacramento . In 1862 he was a teamster employed by the California Infantry which took him across Arizona. In 1865, he was farming and ranching near Sonoita, Arizona about 50 miles southeast of Tucson. In 1876 he was elected sheriff of Pima County, a position he held until 1892. In 1880, he hired a young deputy by the name of John Behan, who would later become the Sheriff of the newly created Cochise County, and famed for his hostile association with the Earp brothers. After serving as sheriff he ran and owned the Palace and Occidental Hotels in Tucson and in 1888 he was elected as the Pima County Recorder, a position he held until 1902. He died in Tucson on the October 21, 1908 and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson. during his life, he was married twice and bore six children.


Ed Short (18??-1891) - Born in Indiana, Short headed west when he was about 17 years old, first settling in Emporia, Kansas. He then got a job as a cowboy near Hunnewell, a small town on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma. However, he was later in Stevens County, Kansas serving as the Woodsdale Marshal in 1888, at the time the area was embroiled in the vicious Stevens County Seat War. When the faction that Short supported failed to win, he next headed to Oklahoma, where he settled at Hennessey.


He then became a U.S. Deputy Marshal. In August, 1891, Marshal Short heard that Charles Bryant, a member of the Dalton Gang was sick and recuperating at a Hennessey Hotel. Wasting no time he arrested Bryant and on August 3, 1891, and he and the outlaw boarded a train so that Short could deliver Bryant to the federal district court in Wichita, Kansas. When Short had to relieve himself, he made the mistake of leaving Bryant under the guard of the express car messenger. The messenger, seeing that Bryant was asleep, laid down the gun and went about his work. When Short returned, Charlie, who had only been pretending to be asleep, grabbed the revolver and shot Short in the chest as he reentered the car. The lawman immediately returned fire with his rifle, blowing Bryant's chest away and severing his spinal column. By the time the train reached Waukomis, Oklahoma both men were dead.


Sam SixkillerSam Sixkiller (1842-1886) - One of the most outstanding members of the Longhorse Police in Indian Territory , Sixkiller was born in the Going Snake District (now Adair County) of the Cherokee Nation in 1842.  At the age of 19, he joined a Union Indian artillery company, commanded by his father, 1st Lt. Redbird Sixkiller, during the Civil War. In 1875, Sixkiller was appointed high sheriff of the Cherokee Nation and warden of the National Penitentiary.


Five years later, in February, 1880, Sixkiller became the first captain of the United States Indian Police headquartered at Muskogee, Indian Territory . He also held a U.S. Deputy Marshal’s commission that allowed him to pursue these outlaws out of Indian Territory into Texas , Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas, as well as being a special agent for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, which gave him access to any railroad property in pursuit of any bandit. With forty men under his command, tasked with policing Muskogee, one of the most dangerous towns in the Wild West, Sixkiller and his men dealt with bootleggers, cattle rustlers, murderers, train robbers, and all manner of lawless characters.


During his six years as captain, Sixkiller’s most famous event was when he attempted to arrest Dick Glass, a notorious outlaw who led a gang of horse rustlers and bootleggers. In June, 1885, Sixkiller and his posse set up an ambush for Glass and his gang near Colbert in the Chickasaw Nation. When the outlaws arrived, the six-shooters began to go off and in the melee, Sixkiller shot Glass. The rest of the gang were either killed or arrested shortly thereafter.


On December 24, 1886, Captain Sixkiller was murdered in Muskogee by two men named Dick Vann and Alf Cunningham. Supposedly holding a grudge against the lawman for a prior run-in, the pair fired on Sixkiller without notice before escaping.







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Judge Wells SpicerJudge Wells Spicer (18??-1885) - Born near Monmouth, Illinois, Spicer was related to the Earp brothers. After becoming an attorney, he too moved westward where he worked as a lawyer and mining engineer at Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1875, he unsuccessful defended John D. Lee when he charged with the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Three years later, he moved to Tombstone, Arizona, where he worked as an attorney, mining broker, and U.S. Commissioner for Deeds. By the time the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place, Spicer was serving as Tombstone's Justice of the Peace. After Sheriff Johnny Behan arrested the Earp brothers - Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan, as well as Doc Holliday, a pre-trial hearing was held on November 29, 1881 where Spicer decided that the defendants had been justified in their actions. His concluding statement read in part:


"In view of all the facts and circumstances of the case; considering the threats made the character and position of the parties, and the tragic results accomplished, in manner and form as they were, with all the surrounding influences bearing upon the result of the affair, I cannot resist the conclusion that the defendants were fully justified in committing these homicides that it was a necessary act done in the discharge of official duty."


Spicer immediately began a potential target for the Cowboy faction who began to take revenge. In December, 1881, he received the following threatening letter:


"Sir, if you take my advice you will take your departure for a more genial clime, as I don't think this One Healthy for you much longer As you are liable to get a hole through your coat at any moment. If such sons of bitches as you are allowed to dispense Justice in this Territory, the Sooner you Depart from us the better for yourself And the community at large you may make light of this But it is only a matter of time you will get it sooner or later So with those few gentle hints I Will Conclude for the first and last time."


Though Spicer wasn't killed by the Cowboy faction, his decision regarding the Earps brought his career to an end and he soon left Tombstone and worked as a mining engineer. In 1885, his body was found in the desert near Ajo, Arizona. He was thought to have committed suicide.


Frank C. Stillwell (1857-1882) - Born in the border area between Kansas and Missouri, Stillwell arrived in Arizona in 1878 where he first worked as a miner and teamster in Mohave County. Later, he hooked up with the Clanton Gang and began a new career of cattle rustling. Thief or no, Johnny Behan appointed Stillwell as a Cochise County Deputy Sheriff in 1881. While acting in that capacity, he and a man named Pete Spence robbed the Tombstone -Bisbee stage of $3,000 on September 8, 1881. Though arrested, they were acquitted. Not satisfied with this result, Wyatt Earp soon rounded them up and brought them in for a second trial, but they were again acquitted and released. After the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the Earps suspected Stillwell, along with Ike Clanton, as having been the killers of Morgan Earp on March 18, 1882. Two days after Morgan was murdered, Wyatt and Warren Earp, along with Doc Holliday, ambushed Stilwell at the Tucson Train Station. His bullet ridden body was found the next morning.


Michael Sughrue (1844-1901) - Kansas lawman, Michael Sughrue was born in County Kerry, Ireland, to Humphrey and Mary Sughrue on February 17, 1844, along with his twin brother Patrick. When the boys were just three years old, their mother died and when they were ten, they immigrated with their father and sister to the United States. After living in Illinois for a time the family moved to Kansas about 1858. When the Civil War erupted, Michael joined the 7th Kansas Cavalry, serving until 1865. A decade later, he married Anna Walters in Ashton, Kansas and the pair would eventually have ten children. Later, he moved to Dodge City, Kansas where he worked as a deputy under twin brother Patrick. In 1884, he was sent to Ashland, Kansas, about 50 miles southeast of Dodge City, to arrest two wild cowboys who were terrorizing the town by riding up and down the streets shooting off their pistols and had killed two men and wounded a woman. When Sughrue arrived in Ashland, he captured one of the cowboys named Joe Mitchell, but the other, Nels Mathews fled. After placing Mitchell under strong guard, he pursued Mathews and while the deputy was gone, vigilantes hanged Joe Mitchell. Though Sughrue was unable to track down the other wild cowboy, the citizens of Ashland were so pleased with his performance that they named him the town Marshal in December, 1884. The following year, he became the first sheriff of Clark County, a position he held until 1890, and again from 1899 to until his death in 1901. Both he and his brother were seen as two of the most courageous lawmen in the west.


Dodge City, Kansas, 1878Patrick F. Sughrue (1844-1906) - Dodge City, Kansas lawman during the final days of the cattle era, Patrick originally hailed from County Kerry, Ireland. He and twin brother, Michael, were born toHumphrey and Mary Sughrue on February 17, 1844. When the boys were just three years old, their mother died and when they were ten, they immigrated with their father and sister to the United States. After living in Illinois for a time the family moved to Kansas about 1858. Patrick worked as a blacksmith in Leavenworth , Kansas before becoming a policeman in Dodge City, Kansas in March, 1877. The following year, he was elected town constable in November 1878. In 1884, he was elected Ford County sheriff and was in office during the final days of the cattle era. When an epidemic of splenic fever among the Texas longhorns caused the Kansas borders to be closed to Texas cowboys and their herds, Sughrue was tasked with the difficult job of turning back the trail-hardened drovers.


In July, 1884, Sughrue arrested Mysterious Dave Mather, who the year before, had worked for him as a deputy. Charged with killing assistant marshal Thomas Nixon , Mather was later acquitted. The following year, in May, 1885, Mather was arrested for killing another man, but never came to trial as he was soon run out of town by Marshal Bill Tilghman. During his years as a Dodge City lawman, he traveled as far as New York and Fort Worth, Texas to pick up prisoners becoming known as one of the best lawmen in the west. After Dodge City finally settled down, Sughrue served for many years as the postmaster at nearby Fort Dodge. In 1906, he met an untimely death when he fell down an open elevator shaft in the Copeland Hotel in Topeka, Kansas while he was attending a political convention.



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Old West Lawmen, by Kathy Weiser-Alexander and Legends of AmericaOld West Lawmen -  By Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor of Legends of America - Autographed - Marshals and sheriffs were in high demand in some of the most lawless settlements as well as the numerous mining camps that dotted the West. Though the vast majority of these lawmen were honorable and heroic figures, ironically, many of them rode both sides of the fence and were known as outlaws as well. 

Old West Lawmen is a collection of stories featuring 57 lawmen. Included are more than 70 vintage photographs plus articles about various organizations like the Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshals, and the Pinkerton Detective Agency. This is the first in a series of books to be published on
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