"Texas, by God"
and the
No Ben
Sun Jun 2, 2019 18:46

I was avoiding telling about Hooker's arrest because not only is it shocking but opens up the whole can of worms about Sheriff Behan being o the take, not only from the Cow-boys but also from "Big Ed" and "Off Wheeler." The latter is the one who was telegraphed by Behan TO MAKE THE ARREST. Diabolical? He's one of the guys who tried to kill Tex Hooker. Hooker was taken up to Tombstone by Behan's order.

Many year ago I wrote an 86-page article which was a biography of both Edwards Byrnes - a.k.a. Big Ed Burns - and the top and bottom gang while it lasted. Their m.o. was the same as most bunko gangs - that of greasing the palms of law enforcement for complicity wherever they went. In Leadville they actually procured police badges from the City Marshal, supposedly for the purpose of helping out, but Byrnes and Harlan actually used to badges for holding people up and rob citizens, garroting, etc. But Byrnes could never contain himself for long and finally after he shot an killed a couple of men with a saw-off shotgun he had to flee Leadville, simultaneous to the huge clean-out of gamblers and bunkos by the vigilantes. (I actually have a couple of photos of vigilantes on the streets of Leadville at the exact time.)

So we can figure it out for ourselves that upon reaching Benson they (or their advance man - the nasty C. H. "Red Dick" Howard) appealed to the top lawdog with jurisdiction in Benson, not to mention the whole Cochise County, that they were good guys and loved to help out wherever they could, and may have still had the Leadville badges in their possession with which to impress the Sheriff. Take it from there.
There is no direct evidence that Luke Short was associated directly with Byrnes and Harlan, but that he just got caught in the huge sweep. A very large contingency of these gamblers went down the Arkansas Valley - the railroad just then being completed to Leadville - stopping along the way at major towns. Buena Vista came first, and the fledgling top and bottom gang set up shop in a building they named the "Joint saloon." Sound familiar? This all was happening around Census time - some of them and Luke Short being captured on the June 1880 census at Buena Vista. Meanwhile Byrnes took his wife ad daughter on the train all the way to Dodge City, Kansas, and laid low there for six full months. During that time his gang moved from rail town to rail town, and he finally rejoined them at Deming, N. M. I could go on for 40 more pages just on Deming and Benson.

  • To TombstoneBen Harleman, Sun Jun 2 11:53
    Is it possible that Hooker fled to Tombstone to submit to arrest where he could be protected by friends and reduce any risk of danger, as opposed to the Benson or Tucson jails where the gang would... more
    • No Ben — K.t.K., Sun Jun 2 18:46
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