Old West News Archives

Tombstone, Az. Sheriff John Behan

John Behan was the sheriff of Cochise County, the county that contained Tombstone, at the time Wyatt Earp was there. He was a friend of the cowboys, the political power at the time. We know of him as a foe of Wyatt. And, the result of movies about the O. K. Corral shootout, we know him as a corrupt lawman. But, just who was John Behan?
John Harris Behan was born in Missouri in 1845. As a young man he went to California, and then to Prescott, Arizona where he became the sheriff of Yavapai County. And, according to locals was trustworthy, brave and intelligent. He even served a couple of terms in the state assembly.
 
When Tombstone was founded Behan moved there. Then in 1881 Tombstone was made the county seat of the newly formed Cochise County, and Behan was appointed the county sheriff. The conflict between Behan and Wyatt Earp was probably more the result of two men displaying their testosterone than a conflict between good and bad.
 
After being voted out of office, Behan became the superintendent of the Territorial State Prison at Yuma, Arizona, the most severe federal prison in the southwest. Later Behan served as a U. S. agent along the Mexican border fighting smuggling. He joined the military during the Mexican-American War. And continuing his service to his country, served as a “secret agent” for the United States in China during the Boxer Rebellion.
Finally, at the age of 67, on June 7, 1912, after spending most of his life in service to his government, he died in Tucson, Arizona.
 
I believe you can agree John Harris Behan was much more than just a corrupt sheriff who opposed Wyatt Earp.

FOLLOWING THE LEGENDS

We’ve been away for a little over a week on our first Following the Legends cruise to Alaska.

What a ball!  There were twenty of us.  Sunny and I were able to meet some great people…A few of whom will continue as close friends.

The food was unbelievable, and the scenery was awesome.  Everyone saw whales.

We learned about the Old West, went on excursions and ate, ate, ate.

We’re planning another cruise in August of 2013.  I’ll be passing on information as things come together.

COWBOY KEEPER AWARD

Each year since 2006, the National Day of the Cowboy 501(c)3 has selected individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to the preservation of pioneer heritage and cowboy culture, to receive its Cowboy Keeper Award.

The award was conceived in support of the NDOC’s mission to increase awareness for and celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy.

The esteemed recipients of the 2012 Cowboy Keeper Award are; Chris LeDoux, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, J.R. Sanders, Susan Thomas, and the Will James Society.

Incidentally, one of the recipients of the 2009 Cowboy Keeper Award was yours truly.

NATIONAL DAY OF COWBOY RESOLUTION

The resolution for the National Day of the Cowboy is under assault in the California Assembly.

An animal rights advocate is maintaining the National Day of the Cowboy isn’t about the pioneer and our western heritage, but ranchers and rodeo.  He wants to change the resolution to the day of the rodeo rancher.  And then he goes on to talk about how animals are abused at rodeos.

This resolution has always been about all who are part of heritage preservation and cowboy culture.  It’s about the music, the art, the artisans, the literature, the cowboys, the cowgirls, poetry, ranching, land and animal stewardship, historic events, cowboy organizations, the cowboy’s horse, landmarks, family stories, ferriers, saddle makers, those who simply love cowboys and our mythical cowboy too.

Anyone from California needs to contact their California State Legislator and express their support of SCR 70 as soon as possible.  The vote is this coming Thursday.

FESTIVAL OF THE WEST

I spoke to Mary Brown, the Head Wrangler for Festival of the West.  For those of you who are not familiar with Festival of the West, it’s one of the premier Old West events that usually takes place in Phoenix, Arizona.

 Mary indicated the attempt to sell the event didn’t work out, and she has it back.  Because of time constraints the event won’t be held this year.

 However she’s still looking for someone to take over as producer of the event.  And she said she may have something important to share in the near future.

 I would advise anyone who wants to know when something happens, to periodically visit their web site.  When Mary gets everything lined up, the web site will be activated again.  The web address is:  http://www.festivalofthewest.com

 

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