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Old December 1, 2011, 02:52 PM   #1
Doc Hoy
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Here is one for you historians

What approximate percentage of sheriffs or marshals in post civil war nineteenth century owned a horse? I would include those who had a horse provided for them by the organization which sanctioned their office. And I would restrict the land area to that west of the Appalacians.
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Old December 1, 2011, 04:41 PM   #2
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I would imagine the percentage was pretty low, since a town sheriff or city marshal had little need to travel beyond the town or city line to perform his duties. I'll guess 5%
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Old December 1, 2011, 06:13 PM   #3
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Since you don't make any kind of geographic limits I'm sure the number is very low. Why would the Marshall in New York or DC need a horse?
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Old December 1, 2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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Shotgun

"West of the appalacians"

That would exclude NYC
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Old December 1, 2011, 06:50 PM   #5
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90-100%
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Old December 1, 2011, 06:52 PM   #6
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About a third. I figure they borrowed them most of the time when they needed to go out of town.
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Old December 1, 2011, 07:02 PM   #7
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I would guess 95%, = or -. Only transportation around.
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Old December 1, 2011, 07:06 PM   #8
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I'd be curious to know where you'e going with this Doc?
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Old December 1, 2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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Nearly every town had some kind of Livery or Livery service. Most people in a town didn't need to own a horse, they could rent one when it was needed. Shoot, very many Cowboys rode the Ranch's stock when they were working.
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Old December 1, 2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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It has to do with economy

Bedbug.....

Actually it is just a curiosity about how much the local town was willing to spend on the peace officer....

I think that horses were expensive to the average person. They are not maintained for free. So the continuous expense of a horse for a sheriff who may not use it very often might be questionable.

I must emphasize that I know nothing at all about the west of 120 years ago.

I am in danger of citing a source which is monumentally questionable but my thought is that it is quite likely that the model suggested in Kostner's Open Range where the bulk of the economy of a town was controlled by one or very few folks. If it became financially important to these few folks to hire a sheriff, then they would be in control of what things he did and therefore what equipment he needed.

I am told that Kostner is fairly careful about historical accuracy and the movie Open Range is very credible. Dances with Wolves wasn't bad either.
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Old December 1, 2011, 07:32 PM   #11
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I'd say less than 25% owned a horse or had one provided by the town. Since liveries were in abundance, if the town marshall needed one, it would be easy to borrow one if needed.
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Old December 1, 2011, 08:57 PM   #12
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I should have read the whole deal.
As I understand it, per-1900 all US Marshals were political appointments and few did much if any field work themselves. The Deputies were the real working guys. At least in Texas, many Deputies carried several commissions. A Deputy US Marshal could also be a Texas Ranger, RR Special Agent and any other number of Law Officer types.
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Old December 1, 2011, 09:34 PM   #13
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I'm having a rough time thinking this one through. a sheriff, the town's top peace officer, has to have transportation throughout the county. Having a cop walking a beat made sense in chicago. having deputies on foot in towns out west made sense. beat cops in the big cities and localized security forces made sense. But, if a law enforcemnt officer had to travel more than a few blocks, he would have to have available transportation.

It's really hard to take current values and situation and compare it to the 1800s. Every cop on our force has his own car, and has several of his own on top of that. I'd expect that at least the top men of a department would have horses. probably nearly every other citizen in a lot of those towns walked.
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Old December 2, 2011, 02:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Hoy
Actually it is just a curiosity about how much the local town was willing to spend on the peace officer....
I'm confused about how the term "sheriff" is being defined within the context of the original question, is the sheriff local or county?
Nearly every sheriff seems to have county jurisdiction, according to the state constitutions in many cases they're the chief county law enforcement officer. And depending on the state also has coroner duties, county jail duties, helping to support the circuit courts, and also exercise the authority of posse comitatus, or power of the county to hunt down criminals.
In that context, then perhaps the local sheriff was more like a deputy serving under the county sheriff, and summoned the help of the county sheriff when needed. A local sheriff may not have enough jurisdiction or resources to chase a bad guy very far, only a county sheriff would, with the help of a judge issuing warrants or legal orders.
I would think that most all of the county sheriffs would have had horses at their disposal.



Quote:
Historically, the tasks and roles of sheriff's departments and police departments have been fundamentally different. Sheriff's law enforcement functions have often been relegated to jurisdictions of sparse populations that could not support a municipal police agency.

http://www.idahosheriffsassociation....20Sheriff.html
Quote:
...Sheriffs were generally allowed to hire assistants or deputies to help with the day to day responsibilities of his office. He was also allowed to appoint citizens to perform certain functions to preserve the peace. The posse comitatus, or power of the county, enabled sheriffs to summon aid. An 1861 Colorado statute formally called for this procedure:

"When any felonious offense shall be committed, public notice thereof shall be immediately given in all public places near where the same was committed, and fresh pursuit shall forthwith be made after every person guilty thereof by sheriffs, coroners, constables, and other persons who shall be by any of them commanded or summoned for that purpose"


Wyoming allowed for sheriffs to use a residence for his law enforcement purposes at county expense. New Mexico extended jurisdictional limits of the sheriff to permit him or his deputies to enter all counties in the state to affect an arrest and to have concurrent rights of posse comitatus in every county. While the duties of sheriffs and their deputies were multitudinous, the primary law enforcement functions were virtually identical throughout the early West. . . .

As chief law enforcement officer of the county, the sheriff performed diverse duties. In many jurisdictions he served as tax collector, similar to the duties of the colonial sheriff. Also in contrast to its colonial forerunner, the sheriff had to administer corporal punishment, as directed by the courts. The sheriff often times was required to carry out the sentence of death. Rustic executions in the Wild West were performed primarily by hanging an offender. Sometimes sheriffs constructed formal gallows for this purpose, and other times a rope was simply tossed over a stout tree limb to accomplish the execution. Other duties of the office were rather mundane and involved the service of process or other civil enforcement functions . . . .

http://www.correctionhistory.org/htm...eriff/ch13.htm
For sheriff info by state:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheriff..._United_States

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Old December 2, 2011, 08:44 AM   #15
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Yes...Articap

Very useful.

I would add that as most of the midwestern states did not become states until the late 70s to mid 90s or even later, the rule of law prior to statehood might have been based upon authority that existed in a more de facto way. EG. territorial authority or even less.

And the mere existence of a constitution which delineated the office of sheriff, or constable, or whatever, does not automatically lead to the execution of the office in practice.

An indication of what am suggesting might be found if we knew how many people acted as bounty hunters in 1885 in comparison to the number of people who were quasi official law enforcement officers.

Was there actually a status known as "Wanted, Dead or Alive" and if so, what did it take to get on that list? What did it take to verify the identity of a person before the photo ID existed? How did we rationalize the merger of three functions; apprehension, judgement and executioner into one person.
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Old December 2, 2011, 08:46 AM   #16
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To Shotgun...

....Yes, Your explanation is very credible.
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Old December 2, 2011, 08:58 AM   #17
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To brian

Yep....

Quote:
It's really hard to take current values and situation and compare it to the 1800s.
Correct. This is what I am hoping to avoid.

It would be easy to emerge from a session watching the cowboy shows and declare that every sheriff in every town had a horse, two revolvers, and a rifle. Wore a leather vest, and when he wanted to go somewhere simply walked out the front door and mounted the saddled horse that was tied perpetually to the hitching post. (No feed bag and no horse crap. Ever see a shot of an outhouse in "Gunsmoke" or "Have Gun Will Travel"?)

I am no historian (well, I could become a historian by reading but...) so I have to guess and my guess is that it was not that way universally.
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Old December 2, 2011, 10:19 AM   #18
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Here's two interesting articles to glance through. The first describes how some U.S. territories are administered by territorial governments, and by the Dept. of the Interior and Indian Affairs.

United States territory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_territory

Quote:
At times, territories are organized with a separate legislature, under a Territorial governor and officers, appointed by the President and approved by the Senate of the United States. A territory has been historically divided into organized territories and unorganized territories. An unorganized territory was generally either unpopulated or set aside for Native Americans and other indigenous peoples in the United States by the U.S. federal government, until such time as the growing and restless population encroached into the areas. In recent times, "unorganized" refers to the degree of self-governmental authority exercised by the territory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_territory
The second article has a lot of small maps (which can be clicked on to enlarge) showing in detail how each state territory developed over time leading up to it being admitted as a state. All of the maps are in chronological order which helps to place all of the states and remaining territories during the time period in question into a historical perspective. It's interesting just to gloss it over to see some of the development issues involving each state as they were split from other territories, along with the dates.


Territorial evolution of the United States

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territo..._United_States
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Old December 2, 2011, 04:50 PM   #19
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In Idaho, prior to statehood in 1890, there were "Committees of Vigilance" in a few counties. One of them, in Payette County, was headed up by the future first governor of the state.

I don't know how things worked politically in other states between 1860 and 1890, but in Idaho, there tended to be more Southerners than Yankees in the mining towns and there was significant friction between them. Since Idaho became a territory during the Civil War, the appointed officials were all Northerners. But due to the significant Southern population of certain counties, elected officials tended to sympathize with the Confederate side.

What they ended up with was that the Sheriff and his deputies tended to not arrest those of their ilk and the judges tended to drop charges against their kind. Into the breach came the Committees of Vigilance.

That doesn't really answer the question of who owned horses. I know that the sheriffs in Idaho City tended to own them because the county is very large and they had to regularly travel between several towns. But my impression is that they had their own horses, not provided for by the county.

Incidentally, Idaho is littered with ghost towns (and living ones, too) that are named after places in the south. Atlanta and Dixie among others, and the Secesh (for "secession") river, as examples.
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Old December 2, 2011, 11:16 PM   #20
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Hey Doc - thanks for your reply to my inquiry - have to be honest, I never gave the horse question much thought. I've been looking in some references I have but haven't come up with anything. A good question though!

I can tell you (based on coming from a large family of "outlaws" - at least my Dad always called 'em that ) - that outlaws ALWAYS owned a horse - that way they could get away from the lawman who probably didn't own one!?!?

Seriously though - I hope someone out there has a good reference that could answer this question. Those of us who grew up on Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Matt Dillon and The Cisco Kid are probably influenced in to thinking that EVERYONE owned a horse - and that couldn't possibly be true. Just thinking of my own hometown which is in Michigan (not the wild west) - I know for a fact that our local "Marshall" in the 1800s was not furnished a horse - the village was only a mile square and he walked everywhere he went. We did have a jail - built in the 1880's which was also a village office upstairs and it held a hand pulled "pumper" on the gound floor. We used it to house our fire grass rig in up until the 1970s when we built a new fire station and the old building was torn down. The jail cell was in the back of the downstairs and I ended up witht he door when the building was torn down - I kept it for historical reasons and after storing it for close to 30 years, I finally gave it to a cousin in lower Indiana who now uses it for a trellis in their garden.
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Old December 3, 2011, 03:37 AM   #21
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Good info Triple B

We had a similar discussion a while ago about the number of folks who had a revolver.

I thought during that conversation that there is a way to know the total number of revolvers manufactured up until the period we were discussing in comparison to the population of the US at the time. A little harder to know the number of revolvers available in the geographic area under discussion but at least we would have a number to start with.

This question about horses may be a little more difficult because it might be harder to pin down the total number of horses available.
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Old December 3, 2011, 07:54 AM   #22
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I did a little reading this morning

I pulled up the census from 1880 and reviewed about ten municipalities in midwestern to western states.

The lowest population was 8500. I think that was Laramie, Wyoming. The highest was San Francisco at 233,000. Each of the cities I looked at were served by railroads. All had a senior police official refered to as either "Marshall" or as "Police chief". Those assisting the senior law enforcement guy were known as patrolmen. San Francisco's Chief was the highest paid at 4,000.00 per year. The lowest was paid 1,000.00 per year. Patrolmen were paid a low of $50.00 per month. A substantial meal in a cafe cost 10 to 20 cents. Most of the places I looked at had a population under 20,000.00 and had under 15 members of the law enforcement force. Every town required that law enforcement officers to carry a "club" and a revolver. In half the cases it was refered to as a "Navy revolver". It is interesting to note that two towns had equal population, one in Ohio and one in a western town, (I think Atchison, Kansas) But the western town had a law enforcement force twice the size of the Ohio town and made five times as many arrests in the year. I got a chuckle from that fact.

Only one town, Los Angeles made any mention of mounted patrolmen who were detailed to patrol the outlying regions. One fifth of their force (2 patrolmen) were mounted.

The word "sheriff" or "deputy" was never used. All of the entries mentioned the power of the sanctioning body to appoint "supplemental patrolmen" who acted precisely as did the regular patrolmen but on a temporary basis. It seemed as though the supplemental patrolmen in San Francisco might have been nearly permanent in their status.

All refered to a uniform which was invariably dark or navy blue. In some cases the town provided the uniform with the patrolmen required to provide the hat. In other cases, the officer provided their own uniform. In one case, they were given a $25.00 alotment to buy uniform items.

In most cases, the total annual expenditure for law enforcement services was included and in every case but one it equalled almost precisely the sum of the annual salaries for the members of the force. Most of the articles mentioned expenditures for meals provided to "lodgers" (folks incarcerated in the jails) at from 8 1/2 to 14 cents each.

The indication of the absence from annual budgets of a sum that would cover horses is that either, a) the patrolmen did not use mounts, b) provided their own without be paid for them, c) were paid from a fund not covered under reported law enforcement expenses, or d) were provided mounts on an as-needed basis which was so rare and therefore minimally expensive as to have been covered under the reported expenses but not itemized in the census documents.
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Old December 3, 2011, 10:46 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Hoy
Only one town, Los Angeles made any mention of mounted patrolmen who were detailed to patrol the outlying regions.
Maybe that's a problem with those records.
This is what I discovered about San Francisco having mounted police (along with a photo) on the SFPD history page:

Quote:
Department staffing was gradually increased during the early 1870s in an attempt to match the growing population and increasing problems. Mounted patrols were established in the area west of Van Ness Avenue. In the First District, which then encompassed 20 square miles running from South of Market to Ocean Beach, the officers were equipped with a horse and a wagon for patrol purposes. There was also another wagon to transport prisoners from the outlying stations to the Hall of Justice.

Police Districts 1880s
Because of the previous inability of officers to control vice in Chinatown, the Chinatown Squad, shown at left, was established in the early 1880s.
In 1889 the department established a patrol wagon/call box system through which officers could call their stations for the first time and obtain speedy backup assistance. Reserve officers standing by in stations would mount the wagons and respond quickly to calls for assistance and other emergencies.
In the mid-1890s the early wagons had open beds. They were later converted to the covered "New York" type, pictured below.

http://sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=1592
Quote:
Mounted police officers patrol the [Golden Gate] park today as they have for more than 90 years, beginning in 1910.

http://sfrecpark.org/GGP-History.aspx
Excerpts About San Antonio:

Quote:
1870: * Reconstruction Texas Governor E.J. Davis set up a State Police force under the Police Act, with authority to operate anywhere in the state (known as the "Davis Police").
1872: * Police Act overturned. Texas Rangers re-instated.

1874: * Texas Legislature creates two special Texas Ranger forces to deal with widespread lawlessness. Between 1870 and 1900 a series of "Black Books" of wanted fugitives were issued to Texas Rangers. the books served as blanket arrest warrants; crimes ranged from theft (hog theft was a felony) to rape and murder. The 1878 version contains names of more than 3,000 wanted felons.

MILEPOSTS: The post-Civil War/Reconstruction period brought increased prosperity to San Antonio, particularly due to the cattle drives that originated in this area, as well as the continued military presence and an increase in tourism. During the last three decades of the 19th c, the city enjoyed a population and building boom, gained electric street lighting and telephones, and witnessed the arrival of the automobile.

LAW ENFORCEMENT : According to the Texas Ranger History, by 1875 the biggest threat to Texas was lawless Texans. The growth of San Antonio as a center for commerce (particularly cattle drives and military-related business) and tourism led to new law enforcement problems. The cattle trails connected the Texas cowboys with the saloons, gambling and dance halls of Kansas. So many cattle made cattle rustling so much more attractive. Ex-soldiers and deserters from the Civil War, along with local and family feuds begun during Reconstruction, continued to cause problems. The 1870s to 1890s were the period of famous Texas outlaws such as John Wesley Hardin and Sam Bass. In 1879 Texas Governor Oran Roberts told the legislature that the "amount and character" of crime in Texas was "entirely unprecedented" in the United States.

1890: * POPULATION of San Antonio = 37,653

1893: * W.D. Druse becomes City Marshal 2/27/93.
A new "Police Station", with 4 mounted officers, is set up on Alamo Street.[This appears to have been San Antonio's first "police substation".]


http://www.sanantonio.gov/sapd/history1d.htm

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Old December 3, 2011, 11:00 AM   #24
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Yes....More good info

In the history of one of the states I read in the census data, the author complained of 100 murders all of which went unpunished in 1851. He was proud of the fact that in the year before the census, all murderers had been apprehended or "chased off". I guess as long as murderers were not killing local folks, it was okay.
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Old December 3, 2011, 08:49 PM   #25
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Doc - from some of the reading that I've done since I started wintering here in AZ, the AZ Territory used to put some of their "criminals" (I'm assuming that didn't include murderers - only my assumption though) on a train and ship them to Deming, NM.

Your approach through the census records is interesting. It's too bad that more detailed information wasn't collected in the late 1800s. There are of course errors due to the information being collected by local census takers - I've found a number of discrepencies in doing my family genealogy from one census to the next. My g-grandfather came over from Ireland in 1847 - his parents and siblings followed about 1848 or 1849 - first to NY and then to MI. In checking the census though, my g-grandfather does not show up on many of them nore his family members. He was an established farmer in MI - but, I truly believe that he "dodged" the census taker. My thoughts on it are that #1, he didn't "trust" the government (after all, they had come from Ireland where there was a lot of problems caused by the government - they were Scotch Presbyterians but they still did not escape the strife over there) and #2, what he had, owned and did were nobody's business but his.
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