Desert Lawmen: The High Sheriffs of New Mexico and Arizona, 1846-1912

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University of New Mexico Press, 1992 - Social Science - 414 pages
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The popular image of the frontier lawman fearlessly facing down outlaws in dusty, windswept streets is a lot of myth and a little reality. Ball shows that few southwestern sheriffs were genuine gunmen but that wielding firearms with nerve and determination in the line of duty was expected of them by their constituents.
Elected for two-year terms, frontier sheriffs were the principal peace-keepers in counties that were often larger than New England states. Officers of the court, they defended settlers and protected their property from the violence ever-present on the frontier. Their duties ranged from tracking down stagecoach robbers and serving court warrants to locking up drunks and quelling domestic disputes. Sheriffs were also jail keepers, tax collectors, quarantine inspectors, court-appointed executioners, and dogcatchers.
The breadth and detail of Ball's study, which includes informative lists of sheriffs, legal hangings, and lynchings, make this volume the definitive work on frontier law enforcement.

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Contents

The Origins of the Sheriffs Office
1
New Mexico and Arizona Territories
18
The Sheriff and the Law Enforcement System
38
Copyright

18 other sections not shown

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South by Southwest
David G. Urban
Limited preview - 2006
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About the author (1992)

Larry Ball is Professor Emeritus of History at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, and the author of five books, including "Desert Lawmen: The High Sheriffs of New Mexico and Arizona, 1846-1912" and "Elfego Baca: In Life and Legend.

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