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Great Bend. Hays is charged with passing counterfeit money."
The Beacon, omitting mention of Behrens, gave Marshal Meagher
credit for the Hays arrest. 5

The Wichita Weekly Beacon, on November 17, 1875, reversed
itself on who arrested Potts and Hays while complimenting Behrens
for his efficiency:

While we are not aware that Deputy Marshal Behrens cares a fig for
official honors, yet when he is justly entitled to credit it is due him to have the
same. Far be it from us to withhold from so efficient an officer what belongs
to him, much less give the praise to others. We say this much without the
knowledge of Mr. Behrens, in order to set ourselves right in the matter of
several arrests made last week; one of them Ed Hays, the other Bill Potts
and his two associates. Deputy Marshal Behrens spotted all these parties,
arrested Hays, himself; and traced the others to their lair, assisting Mike
Meagher in the arrests.

The Eagle, on January 27, 1876, reported that:

Mr. John Behrens, deputy marshal, arrested two men on Tuesday afternoon,
charged with stealing 136 skunk skins, one cow hide and one coon skin, from
Messrs, Hale & Co. of Hutchinson. They started from Hutchinson with an ox
team, but left it with a farmer on the road whom they hired to bring them
with their plunder to this city. They gave their names as Smith and Kirk-

In the list of salaries paid for the month of April, 1876, John
Behrens' name does not appear although he had received a full
month's salary for March. At a meeting of the city council on
May 22, 1876, that body heard a recommendation of the police
committee that "Script of W. Earp & John Behrens be with held,
until all moneys collected by them for the City, be turned over
to the City Treasurer. . . ." 6 How this was settled is not
known since this was the last contemporary item found concerning
John Behrens.

1. "Proceedings of the Governing Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal A,
p. 376. 2. Ibid., Journal B, pp. 44, 55, 62, 66, 71, 75, 78, 85, 90, 96, 100; Wichita
Weekly Beacon, April 28, 1875. 3. Wichita City Eagle, May 6, 1875; Wichita Weekly
Beacon, July 28, 1875; see, also, section on Wyatt Earp. 4. November 10, 1875; see a
reprint of this article in the section on Wyatt Earp. 5. November 10, 1875; see a re-
print of this article in the section on Mike Meagher. 6. "Proceedings of the Governing
Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal B, pp. 100, 112, 115.





"Ham" Bell was appointed deputy United States marshal for
Ford county about May 22, 1880, succeeding W. B. Masterson. 1
There are contemporary records of his reappointment about May
30, 1882, and again about November 5, 1885. 2 At least one person,
however, held the position between these latter dates. 3

Only two references were found concerning his performance of
the duties of the federal office. The first appeared in the Ford
County Globe on April 11, 1882:


April 1st, 1882.

. . . We are sorry to learn that a controversy has arose between Mr.
Teasing and Mr. Shrader with regard to a tree-claim near "The Trail/' It
seems that Mr. Teasing filed on aforesaid claim about four years ago, and
not complying with the requirements of the law (having skipped the country
in advance of Bat Masterson's six-shooter), Mr. Shrader jumped said claim
and did plow and sow to wheat ten acres. Then comes Mr. Teasing, and
refusing to compromise, plowed under the ten acres of wheat and planted the
same to trees. The latest reports are that Mr. Teasing skipped the country
again, between two days, in fear of U. S. Marshal Bell. How this will terminate
we do not know. Teasing, what is the matter with you; can't you behave
yourself any more?

The second is from the Globe of October 23, 1883:
Deputy U. S. Marshal H. B. Bell, of this city, returned Friday morning
from Buffalo Park, Kansas, where he arrested Charles Ellsworth, better known
as "Arkansaw," who it is supposed murdered Ellsworth Schuttleman in the
latter part of August, who at the time was employed by Mr. Johns. "Arkansaw"
was at the time employed at the V ranch. It is also supposed that he was the
party that stole a horse from J. W. Carter on the Saw Log, as the horse was
found and had been sold by "Arkansaw," and the bill of sale is now in the
hands of H. B. Bell.

1. Dodge City Times, May 22, 1880. 2. Ibid., June 1, 1882; Ford County Globe,
May 30, 1882; Dodge City Times, November 5, 1885. 3. Fred Singer was appointed
about October 8, 1885. See the section on Singer.


C. F. Betts was appointed city marshal of Caldwell on June 30,
1880, 1 apparently as an interim appointee while the city officials
of Caldwell, including Mayor Mike Meagher and Marshal William
Horseman, were under arrest for suspected complicity in the mur-
der of George Flatt who had been killed June 19. Betts must
have served only until about July 8 for on that date the Caldwell


Post reported that the "old police force resume their former places
and everything is quiet." (See the section on Mike Meagher for
the complete story of the arrested officials.)

1. Caldwell Post, July 1, 1880.


(1829- )

The Wichita City Eagle, June 11, 1874, reported that "Mr. Botts
has been added to the police force, which business he understands,
having been deputy marshal of Jacksonville, Illinois."

In July, while attempting to arrest a man for carrying a gun in
the city, Botts was set upon by a dozen or more armed men and
his would-be prisoner released. However, a secret citizens' police
came to the rescue and all the gun toters were arrested. The
Wichita City Eagle reported the event on July 9, 1874:

A little episode occurred upon our streets on Monday evening which we
hope will serve to teach certain roughs and would be bullies who infest this
town, a lesson. Sam. Botts, one of our policemen, in attempting to enforce
the law which says "that no firearms shall be carried within the city," was
braved by some twelve or fourteen fellows who pulled their weapons upon
him and prevented him from arresting a man whom he just disarmed. The
police alarm was sounded and in a shorter time than it takes to write this,
forty or fifty citizens armed with well loaded shot guns and Henry rifles,
rushed to the aid of the officers. In the mean time the roughs had taken
refuge in hotel. Of course they were arrested, and of course they were taken
before the police judge and fined, just as they would have been had there been
a hundred of them. We have a secret police force, all sworn and armed,
numbering, we shall not say how many, which was organized in view of an
outrage committed by the above class this spring in broad day light upon a
principal street, and had it not been just at supper time these defiers of law
would have been surprised at the array of armed and determined men that
would have confronted them. As it was, but forty or fifty appeared, but
they were from among our best and most substantial citizens, many of whom
were officers of rank in the late war and who consequently know how and
dare to use arms when it comes to sustaining the majesty of the law. There
is no use talking or caviling about the matter, the laws of this city will and
must be enforced and they shall be respected, whether our authorities feel able
to so enforce or not. The past two years Texas dealers, cow boys, roughs and
gamblers have obeyed our laws and regulations and respected our citizens; and,
if they would advoid trouble, it would be well for them to continue to do so.
There are no better class of people in the world than our permanent citizens
quiet, orderly, law abiding and moral, but they will not be run over and have
their laws and rights trampled under foot, though it become necessary to
clear the town of every vestage of the cattle trade upon half a day's notice.

On July 24, while taking a prisoner, who had attempted to escape,
back to jail, Botts beat him over the head until he was stopped


by Policeman John Behrens. (The article reporting this is reprinted
in the section on William Dibbs.)

Apparently Botts made some remonstrance against what Milton
Gabel, the editor of the Beacon, had said of his conduct in this
matter for in the August 5, 1874, issue of the Beacon Gabel printed

. . . With regard to the conduct of Samuel Botts . . . it is claimed
by him that he did not strike McGrath, yet he admits that he "chucked him
about roughly," and says that under the excitement coming up as he did
after the shooting had begun, and while McGrath was shooting at Dibbs the
second time thinking that Dibbs was fatally wounded, &c., and, in his over-
zealous efforts to save him, etc. etc., he treated McGrath more roughly than
he intended to, and, under the excitement, and what he considers aggravating
circumstances, more so than he otherwise would have done, and thinks that
should at least partially excuse the rough treatment, which we characterized
brutality, and of which we made mention in Wednesday's article. This may
in a measure palliate the offense, but it shows inefficiency, and even this I
think will not justify the mistreatment of a prisoner disarmed, and on the way
to the calaboose, and I will not alter my judgment on this matter as heretofore
expressed. I gave the facts as they came under by own observation, together
with the evidence of others, the truth of which can be substantiated by sworn
statements of at least seven witnesses. . . . l

The last contemporary mention found concerning Samuel Botts
was the payment of $42 for his services as policeman for "part of
April/' 1875. 2 At the rate which other policemen were being paid
($60 per month) this would indicate that Botts was on the force
for about 21 days in April, 1875.

1. A full report on this incident will be found in the section on William Dibbs. 2.
"Proceedings of the Governing Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal B, p. 55.


( -1874)

Charles G. Bratton served four days as a special policeman
on the Wichita police force, probably in February, 1872. For this
work he was paid $8.00 on February 21. 1

On December 22, 1874, while assisting the city marshal of
Burlingame to take a drunken butcher to jail, Bratton was stabbed
and killed. The following article appeared in the Wichita City
Eagle, January 7, 1875:

Charley Bratton, a former policeman of Wichita, under Mayor Allen, was
brutally murdered at Burlingame last week, by a butcher named Dan Wortz.
Wortz was drunk and abusing his wife, Bratton, who was a city officer, inter-
fered, when he was stabbed twice, both wounds being severe enough to pro-
duce death. The weapon used was a butcher knife. One stab severed a rib
and sftnk deep into the kidney. Young Bratton was a quiet boy. He came


to Burlingame with his parents, when quite a small boy. The murderer is
in custody and will go up for life. 2

1. "Proceedings of the Governing Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal A,
p. 148. 2. See, also, the Topeka Datiy Commonwealth, December 27. 1874.


(1839?- )

The earliest mention yet found of Jack Bridges as an officer of
the law was in a letter from Maj. George Gibson of Fort Hays to
Gov. James M. Harvey, dated October 3, 1869. Gibson stated that
Deputy United States Marshal Bridges and his assistant had ar-
rested one Bob Connors for the murder of a drover near Pond City
and had lodged their prisoner in the fort's guard house to protect
him from mob violence in Hays City. (A copy of the letter is re-
printed in the section on James Butler Hickok.)

The 1870 United States census listed Bridges as being a deputy
United States marshal in Hays. Reporting as of June 25, the census
showed Bridges as 31 years old, holding real estate valued at $1,800.
He was born "at sea."

Bridges next turned up in Wichita in February, 1871. He ar-
rived there well reinforced to arrest J. E. Ledford. Resistance
was offered and Ledford was killed. Here is the story from the
El Dorado Walnut Valley Times, March 3, 1871:


We have just learned the particulars of an unfortunate affair that occurred
at Wichita on Tuesday afternoon the 26th of February, at about four o'clock.
It seems that Deputy U. S. Marshal Jack Bridges, and Lee Stewart, a scout,
with a party of 25 soldiers under command of Capt. Randall of the 5th U. S.
Cavalry, from Fort Harker, came to Wichita to arrest J. E. Ledford, the
proprietor of the Harris House at that place, on the charge of resisting a
U. S. officer.

The troops came into town with a rush and immediately surrounded the
hotel. Ledford seems to have had an idea that they were there to arrest him
and secreted himself in an out building. Bridges, Lee Stewart and a Lieu-
tenant, discovered Ledford in the out building and advanced to the door
with their pistols in hand; Ledford seeing them advancing immediately threw
open the door and came out; both parties immediately commenced firing, after
emptying their revolvers at Ledford the three persons, Bridges, Lee Stewart,
and the Lieutenant, turned and ran; Bridges, being badly wounded fell faint-
ing; Ledford walked across the street into Dagner's store, mortally wounded.
Dr. Hilliard immediately examined Ledfords wounds and pronounced them
mortal, he being shot twice through the body and twice through the right
arm. He was carried into the hotel parlor and lived about a half hour. In
a difficulty last summer between Ledford and Bridges on the line of the
Kansas Pacific railroad, Ledford gave Bridges a sound threshing, and Bridges


is said to have threatened to shoot him on sight. The fatal wound received
by Ledford was given him by Lee Stewart, who being behind him shot him
in the back.

Ledford has had the reputation heretofore of being a wild and reckless
man but had recently married a fine young lady at Wichita, and seemed to
have settled down and was gaining the good will of all at that place. Deputy
U. S. Marshal Walker, who is also Sheriff of Sedgwick County, had recently
arrested Ledford on the same charge for which these men proposed to arrest
him, and Ledford had given bail for his appearance at the next term of the
U. S. Court at Topeka. Our informant was an eye witness of the affair and
we are satisfied that the statements are as near substantially correct as one
can give them witnessing so sudden and exciting an affair, the whole of which
transpired in a few moments time. This is the first instance of bloodshed by
violence in the streets of Wichita since its organization all reports to the con-
trary notwithstanding.

Unfortunately the issue of the Wichita Vidette (then the town's
only newspaper) which reported the shooting is missing from the
files of the State Historical Society. However, the Vidette of March
11, 1871, stated that:

The Walnut Valley Times and the Emporia News both publish accounts
of the "Wichita Murder," in which they give substantially the same statement
of the affair as published by us. . . . The News says: "The impression
prevails that there was no occasion for the arrest of Ledford, and that the
pretext of arresting him was only a cloak for the premeditated intention of
killing him.

Jack Bridges disappeared from the pages of the cowtown news-
papers until June 29, 1882, when the Dodge City Times announced
that "J ac k Bridges, well-known by old timers, will receive the ap-
pointment of City Marshal of this city. He is now in Colorado,
and has telegraphed Mayor Webster that he will accept the ap-
pointment, and will be in Dodge City about July 10th/' Bridges
was sworn in on July 8, 1882. The Dodge City Times commented
on his appointment in its issue of July 13, 1882:

Jack Bridges was installed as City Marshal on Saturday last. Marshal
Bridges was for a number of years Deputy U. S. Marshal in Western Kansas.
He is a cool, brave and determined officer, and will make an excellent city
marshal. Jack's friends speak highly of him and of his integrity and bravery.
He has done some fine service for the government, and upon every occasion
acquitted himself with honor. He is a pleasant man socially, and has courage
for any occasion.

At about the same time Bridges assumed the office of city mar-
shal the police force of Dodge City doffed its frontier clothing and
donned newly acquired blue uniforms. "There is a metropolitan
air in their manner/' said the Times, July 13, 1882.

Bridges' appointment caused many to reminisce about the Led-


ford shooting. On July 20, 1882, the Times brought the subject up
in this article:


Early settlers remember Ledford, the chief of a gang of horse thieves,
counterfeiters and desperadoes that traversed the wild regions of Kansas, the
Indian Territory and the Panhandle. Jack Bridges, City Marshal of Dodge
City, at that time was Deputy U. S. Marshal. He caused the breaking up and
arrest of the gang, and in the capture of Ledford a desperate encounter took
place. . . .

There were some, however, who felt that Dodge had made a
poor choice for city marshal. One of these was the editor of the
Caldwell Commercial who published this attack, which the Ford
County Globe reprinted on July 25, 1882:

The Times Dodge City says that Jack Bridges has been appointed City
Marshal of that town. Jack, like Wild Bill and Bat. Masterson, belongs to
the killer-class and it is only a question of time when he will lay down with
his boots on. Jack might have made a respectable citizen at one time, but he
got to running with a psalm-singing U. S. Marshal Jim Lane and Sid Clarke,
shoved off upon Kansas at one time, and learned some of the said Marshal's
pious tricks. He has never been worth a straw since. Still, if the Dodge
folks think they have found a treasure in Jack, it isn't for us to find fault.
Caldwell Kansas Commercial.

Yes we need him in our business [the Globe added].

Then the Dodge City Times, on July 27, joined in with a vigorous

Caldwell, through her newspapers, is jealous of Dodge City. The latest
exhibition of jealousy appears in the Caldwell Commercial, edited by W. B.
Hutchison. It is a scurrilous attack on Jack Bridges, City Marshal of Dodge
City. Caldwell is incapable of self-government. Three city marshals have
been cowardly slain in that city. Yet Hutchison animadverts on Dodge City.
A friend comes to the rescue of Bridges, and furnishes us with the following:

That the venom of the reptile, the sliminess of the toad and the odoriferous
qualities of the skunk cling to them till death, was never more clearly illus-
trated than in the case of W. B. Hutchison and his article on the City Marshal
of Dodge City. We happen to know the why and wherefore of this attack
on Jack Bridges; we can now look back to the year 1867-8, when the said
Hutchison, a Justice of the Peace, was the recognized backer, go-between and
supporter of the infamous horse thieves of Ellis county. We remember to,
how Jack Bridges, almost single handed, drove them from the country; how
Ledford, Black and Strapp, attempted to assassinate him and almost suc-
ceeded; how at last they fled from the country accompanied by their com-
panion Mr. Hutchison. How Bridges exterminated the gang, except Mr. H.,
whose Uriah Heap nature and tactics shielded him from Bridges and the law,
and then we do not wonder after all that Hutchison's natural traits of char-
acter assert themselves and that he makes this scurrilous attack upon him.
Jack is here and should Mr. H., mourning his friends and companions, wish


to interview him, he can readily find him. The old citizens of Ellis county,
many of whom are here, well remember the gang, their dressing as Indians
while making a dash on a herd of horses, and the fact that Hutchison was
one of the boys.


Apparently all the editors concerned felt it was time to let well-
enough alone, for the matter disappeared from the pages of the

In September, 1882, Bridges was involved in this interesting case
on which the Globe reported, September 12:


On last Thursday a gentleman presented himself at the Wright House and
asked for board and lodging for himself and wife; a room was assigned to
him, and he left for a few minutes to bring in the woman he claimed as his
wife. While he was gone Mr. Lybrand selected the room and noted on the

register, Mr. and Mrs. and noting the number of the room. When

the person returned he registered after the Mr. and Mrs., 'H. G. Petty/ the
couple were shown to their room and remained there until Sunday, after the
arrival of the three o'clock train, which brought with it a person by the name
of F. Ruble, who at once made his mission known, saying he was in search
of a recreant wife who he had reason to believe had come to this city in com-
pany with some other person. He closely scrutinized the hotel registers and
failed to find anyone registered in the name he was looking for, but finally
on making inquiries at the Wright House concerning certain individuals he
was assured by some of the employees that a couple were occupying rooms
there that answered the description he gave. This afforded enough clue for
him and at once ascended the stairs and proceeded to said room and knock[ed]
for admission. It appears that his approach had been noticed by the occupants
and the door was barred against him. The loud talk brought Mr. Lybrand to
the scene, who demanded to know the cause of all this disturbance. Mr.
Ruble explained and told the landlord that his wife was in the room and that
he wished to see her. Mr. Lybrand informed him that he would send for
the city marshal and have the whole outfit arrested. At the same time prep-
arations were going on inside for a hasty exit through the window. Sheets
and quilts were tied together and the fellow made his descent and landed safe
and sound, after which he made hasty steps across the hill, hotly pursued by
the city marshal [Bridges] who brought him back to the city and took him
before his honor Judge Burns, before whom a complaint was made against
the individual for disturbing the peace and quiet of the city/

Court was convened (although Sunday) and all the parties were brought
face to face, all being charged alike. The court was promptly opened and
the charge made, and the court prefaced his remarks by saying "that on ac-
count of its being Sunday he could enter no plea from either of said parties
except the plea of guilty." Mr. Petty 's case being the first called he plead
guilty as charged, and the court before passing sentence insisted on knowing
some few facts and proceeded to examine witnesses, and finally assessed a fine
of twenty-five dollars and cost against number one. This he said he would
not pay, but rather than to be further annoyed paid the fine. The other two


Mr. Ruple and his supposed wife were called on to plead, both of whom an-
swered not guilty, and their cases were continued to Monday, both being re-
quired to give bond in the sum of one hundred dollars each, which bonds we
learn were readily given.

Monday morning when court opened the lone and deserted woman was the
only one of the trio to make their appearance in court, who was fined fifteen
dollars and cost. What became of Ruple and his case we cannot say. Petty
took the first train out of town, and the only one remaining is the woman, who
is still here and disclaims being the wife of either.

In the spring of 1883 Bridges was caught in the middle of the
"Dodge City War." Being city marshal he was directly responsible
to Mayor L. E. Deger who was one of the protagonists in the affair.
Finally Bridges declared that he was "as much the marshal for one
party as the other" * and seemingly was content to remain astride
the fence. The full story of that "war," including the role of Jack
Bridges, may be found in the section on Luke Short.

On July 6, 1883, the city council of Dodge City increased the
marshal's salary. The Globe, on July 17, 1883, reported the change
in this article:

The City Council on the 6th inst. passed an ordinance which gives the
City Marshal a salary of $150 per month and the assistant marshal $125 per
month, and on the following day they considered it a retractive ordinance
and instead of allowing the salaries as prescribed by the old ordinance $100

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 26) → online text (page 3 of 59)