View Full Version : A little Tombstone, AZ history - the hanging scaffold
January 25, 2011, 02:17 PM
I know this is a gun forum but I also know a lot of you fellas enjoy "Western History" - so . . . I thought I'd post this little article which was in today's edition of the ARIZONA DAILY STAR (Tueday, January 25, 2010.
"In this year leading up to Arizona's centennial, on Feb. 14, 2012, we'll reprint a story or excerpt each day from the Arizona Daily Star or Tucson Citizen archives.
"Jan. 25, 1912
TOMBSTONE - The historic scaffold which has been stored in the county courtyard adjoining the courthouse is no more. The last of it was cut up to furnish kindling for the fire of the county jail. The scaffold was built in the early part of the year 1884 by C.J. Ulmer, who at present is a resident of Yuma. It was ordered built by the board of supervisors for the purpose of the hanging of the five Bisbee murderers and was built so as to accomodate them all at once.
It was used on the 27th of March, 1884, at which time Dan Dowd, James Delaney, Tex Howard, Red Sample and J. Kely were hung, the trap being sprung by sheriff Ward. It was then stored away and kept until Nov. 16, 1900, when it was erected under the direction of sheriff Scott White and was used for the execution of William and Thomas Halderman, who were convicted of the murder of constable Ainsworth in the Swisshelm mountains the month of June 1899.
The scaffold was erected twice for service since that time but was never used.
- Tucson Citizen"
January 25, 2011, 02:20 PM
I never thought about the scaffolding being taken down and stored.
You probably can already tell, but I'm a rabid fan of this sort of stuff :D Thanks for the post!
January 25, 2011, 03:27 PM
I recently read a book about Az sheriffs, a great read, especially since my wife and I go to Yuma at least once every year. The name of it is "Arizona Sheriffs: Badges and Bad Men".
January 25, 2011, 04:00 PM
A true shame the gallows were destroyed.
Maybe they could today be erected in Tuscon for a terribly needed public hanging.
January 25, 2011, 04:54 PM
shortwave - I fully agree with you! I'm just a few miles south of Tucson - in fact, was not too far away from the incident location on that Saturday. That night, we had to take my 89 y.o. mother in law to the ER as she was quite ill. The casualities were sent to a number of hospitals in the Tucson area and I talked with several of the nurses that had worked on them in the ER that day. Needless to say, a very, very unfortunate incident which has shocked all of the decent people of Tucson and AZ. The Tucson community has pulled together though in their outpour of prayers and assistance to the victims and their families but the whole thing just sort of leaves you "numb". The following Monday, we had to take my mother in law back to the ER only a different hospital this time amd she ended up being admitted for some emergency surgery. Last week, when we got there to visit her, they were getting ready to have the memorial service for the Border Patrol Officer who was shot and killed to the south of us a number of days ago. It was being held at the baseball stadium next to the hospital and if looking at and seeing all of the uniformed services in attendance, the officers, patrol units, etc. didn't put a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye, then nothing would. A very sad occasion to witness and yet a very fine tribute to a fallen officer who died in the line of duty. My heart and prayers go out to them all. You have to wonder if and when it will all end. So yes . . I'm all for your suggestion . . . in fact, I'll even help build it.
January 26, 2011, 09:53 PM
Cochise County, Arizona
November 16 1900
TWO BROTHERS HANGED FOR MURDER IN ARIZONA
Phoenix, Ariz., Nov. 16. William and Thomas Halderman were hanged this afternoon in Tombstone jail for the murder of Ted Moore. Both died without the slightest exhibition of fear. Thomas, the younger brother, was the cooler of the two. He lifted the noose and placed it around his neck. "What do you shake that paper that way for, you look scared." he said to the sheriff.
Just before the trap was sprung he said: "Boys, I forgive all my enemies and hope they forgive me. "William, the elder of the two, did no show so much bravery. As his brother repeated the farewell words, he muttered as the noose was placed about his neck: "This rope is choking me. My brother is Innocent." Thomas was pronounced dead in 13 minutes and William in 15 minutes.
On April 15, 1899, the Haldeman brothers shot and killed Constable Frank Ainsworth and Ted Moore, when the latter came to arrest them for shooting cattle. Acting Governor Akers refused a respite and the friends of the Haldemans laid the case before President McKinley. securing a reprieve until October 5. Governor Murphy then gave an extension until November 16.
January 26, 2011, 10:07 PM
I disagree with it being burned for kindling(destroyed, whatever). That is a waste of history, but I bet the locals have more to the story than the paper+its possible there was another reason of some sorts I guess. Its almost like they spread its ashes. I mean they know exactly what happened to it; they didn't just discard it.
January 27, 2011, 01:56 PM
simonkenton - thanks very much for adding that story! A nice follow-up to what I posted and very interesting! I'm wondering why the article from 1912 didn't mention the murder of "Ted Moore" as well - but, I also suppose that 12 years had passed and whoever wrote the article in 1912 may not have even had any first hand knowledge of the original hanging in 1900 as well. (And whatever resources they used for the article - possibly a "local" - just failed to mention that they were hung for 2 murders). In regards to the comment on the destruction of the scaffold, one has to remember that Arizona became a state in 1912 and was no longer a "Territory". As such, a state constitution was enacted along with other laws which I'm sure covered the execution of prisoners somewhere along the line. "Local justice" now had to conform to "State justice" and this would have covered "open hangings" as well. While today ( a 100 years later) we may view the scaffold as a "historical object" - in 1912 it was a scaffold built approximately 30 years before for the purpose of hanging and esecution - nothing more. With state law taking effect, the scaffold was nothing more than a "piece of county property no longer needed" and what better way to get rid of it and get it out of the courtyard than to cut it up for kindling for use in the county jail stoves?
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