Jeff Milton & George Scarborough
The two lawmen had a great deal in common. Besides there only being about two years difference in age, both were from the South, both left the South for Texas, both were working cowboys, both became lawmen, both were Deputy U.S. Marshals for a while, and both became a big part of the history of the Old West.
George Scarborough was born on October 2nd, 1859 in Louisiana. He was a cowboy and lawman. And yes, like other lawmen of the time, he may or may not have even been an outlaw in the Old West.
After Louisiana, Scarborough's family moved to Texas, where he worked as a cowboy until 1885 when he was appointed sheriff for Jones County. He would later work as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in and around El Paso, Texas.
On June 21, 1895, while working alongside El Paso Police Chief Jeff Milton, Deputy U.S. Marshal Scarborough shot and killed notorious Texas outlaw and rustler Martin McRose.
George Scarborough's partnership with Jeff Milton actually brought down several outlaws during their time together.
Later, it's said that Milton lied about his age and joined the Texas Rangers in 1878. After serving with the Texas Rangers for four years, he moved through west Texas and into New Mexico, where he became a Deputy U.S. Marshal in 1884.
For a time in the 1880s, he worked under Sheriff John Slaughter in Cochise County, Arizona, during which time the two were involved in several manhunts and shootouts with outlaws including capture of Jack Taylor Gang. Their pursuit of the Jack Taylor Gang in late 1886 to the middle of 1887 became local folklore.
In fact, Milton and Slaughter trailed the gang to the home of Flora Cardenas in Mexico. But not good for the lawmen was the fact that the bandits had been tipped off that the American lawmen were after them, and they left before Milton and Slaughter reached their Cardenas' home.
Returning to Arizona, the two lawmen traveled to Willcox on the outlaw's trail, then to Contention City, where they found gang member Manuel Robles and one of the others asleep. When Slaughter shouted at them to put their hands up, a gun battle ensued.
Guadalupe Robles, Manuel's brother, joined the gun battle, but he was killed quickly. Manuel Robles and Nieves Deron tried to run away and while still firing back, one of their bullets hit Slaughter's ear.
Slaughter's next bullet killed Deron, but Manuel Robles escaped.
Jack Taylor was soon arrested in Sonora, and Robles, along with Geronimo Miranda, were killed by the Mexican police in the Sierra Madre mountain area.
Later in June of 1895, Milton partnered with Scarborough when they shot rustler Martin McRose. McRose had been captured, and was killed while being brought back from Mexico by the two lawmen on an outstanding warrant.
Gunman John Wesley Hardin claimed that he had paid Scarborough and Milton to kill Martin McRose. But frankly, from what I've been able to find out, most folks at the time knew how full of beans Hardin was and didn't put much credence in what he had to say.
But as in today's world, there is always someone who will take what a liar says as the truth. Because someone took what Hardin had said as fact, both Scarborough and Milton were arrested. They were only released later after Hardin withdrew his comments -- owing up to the fact that he made it up.
And yes, then people wonder why I don't believe Hardin's jailhouse yarn about beating Wild Bill Hickok to the draw. Like it or not, besides being a psychopath, Hardin was known for telling some very tall tales. And yes, I find it only fitting that John Wesley Hardin gets buried near McRose later.
It was actually a Hell-of-a-shootout which all started when Jeff Milton substituted for another Express Agent who was sick. When the train arrived in Fairbank, Arizona, Jeff Milton was handing packages to the station agent when former lawman-turned-outlaw Burt Alvord and five of his gang attempted to rob the Express Car of its cash.
Milton got off a shot that struck outlaw "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop. It was a good shot in that it badly wounded him, and he died days later. Milton also shot but only wounded gang member Bravo Juan Yoas during the gunfight.
During the exchange, Milton was shot up pretty badly. The most serious wounds were to his left arm. Keeping a clear head, Jeff Milton improvised a tourniquet which stopped the blood loss from a severed artery.
Then deciding to make things harder on the remaining Alvord gang members, he managed to throw the keys to the express car safe into a pile of packages at the far end of the car just before Alvord and his men boarded the car.
On his back and dieing, the gang was about to finish Jeff Milton for good when the train engineer intervened -- telling Alvord that Milton was already as good as dead, "Why waste the bullet?"
Because Milton's trick of throwing the keys away had worked, the remaining gang was unable to open the safe and escaped with only a few dollars. For his heroism, the railroad dispatched a special engine and boxcar to transport Jeff Milton from Benson to Tucson for treatment.
In fact, Dr. H. W. Fenner tied the shattered bone together with piano wire. But when the wound wouldn't heal, Fenner sent Milton to San Francisco where he could be seen by experts at the Southern Pacific Hospital there.
There they wanted to amputate his arm at the elbow, but Milton refused and got a ride to his friend Dr. George E. Goodfellow's office. Dr. Goodfellow cleaned and treated Milton's wound, but told him that he would never gain use of the arm again.
For the rest of his life, Jeff Milton's left arm was permanently disabled and shorter than his right arm. He would later return to Tombstone and then Tucson where he would retire.
Jeff Milton's story is legendary and is told very well in J. Evetts Haley's book Jeff Milton, A Good Man With a Gun. I find it interesting that lawman Jeff Milton described Wyatt Earp as a "scrub."
As for the Alvord gang, well Alvord was captured later that year, and taken to Tombstone. Billy Stiles went to see Alvord, and buffaloed the deputy on duty. With the deputy out cold, Alvord and 24 others to escape. Alvord would be captured and put in prison later.
He deserted from Fort Washita, Choctaw Nation (Indian Territory), in April 1863 and joined his family at Fort Davis, a Stephens County settlement at the fort on the Clear Fork of the Brazos.
On August 17, 1865, John married and they had four children. In the mid-1870s the Selmans moved to Fort Griffin, Texas, where John became a deputy for Shackelford County sheriff John M. Larn.
The two were crooked and controlled the vigilantes, rustled cattle, and at times actually terrorized the county. That is, until the local vigilantes had enough and locked John Larn in his own jail -- only later to returning to shoot him to death in his cell.
After Selman's wife died in 1879, he fled to Lincoln County, New Mexico, and organized the "Selman Scouts," a band of desperados accused of murder and rape during the late 1870s.
In 1880, the law drove Selman to Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County, Texas, where the Texas Rangers captured him and took him to Shackelford County for trial. He escaped, however, and fled to Chihuahua where he lived until 1888. He only returned when the Texas charges were dropped.
That year Selman moved to El Paso, where he married his second wife while living as a gambler and a city constable.
On April 5th, 1894, he killed former Texas Ranger Sebastian Lamar "Bass" Outlaw, aka Bass Outlaw, during a wild brawl in Tillie Howard's brothel. It started when Bass Outlaw arrived at Tillie's and demanded his favorite girl only to be informed she was with a client, and that Tillie had no intention of disrupting her.
While people were going to see what was taking place there, a young Texas Ranger, Joe McKidrict of D Company, who was walking nearby with a City Constable, and they also heard the shot. Both rushed to the yard from the opposite direction.
McKidrict was in El Paso attending court sessions and only by chance had he been on Overland Street when the shot rang out. McKidrict knew Outlaw, and had always been friendly towards him. It is said he felt safe enough as he approached.
What was said is unknown but whatever it was Outlaw took exception and shot the young Ranger just above his right eye. Texas Ranger McKidrict died on the spot.
The moment Outlaw fired at McKidrict, Selman, and two others entered the yard. Outlaw turned to face the three but Selman, the only one armed, had not yet drawn his pistol.
Outlaw, turned, fired, and hit Selman in the thigh. Before Selman knew what had hit him Outlaw fired a second shot. It too found Selman's leg.
On the ground, Selman drew his pistol and fired one shot. The bullet ripped into Outlaw's chest. Recoiling in shock, he dropped his pistol and slumped to the ground. He died later.
John Selman was then put on trial for killing Outlaw, but the judge instructed the jury to find him not guilty.
|John Wesley Hardin|