Ben Thompson Lawman

Ben Thompson

Not long ago a True West subscriber wrote and asked me if any Englishmen ever became lawmen in the Old West. The Masterson brothers, Bat, Ed and Jim were from Canada but Ben Thompson is the only one who comes to mind and he immigrated to America when he was nine years old. He had many scrapes with the law but in 1879 he ran for city marshal of Austin. He was defeated but ran again two years later and won. They say most of the time he was drunk on duty but was re-elected anyway. He got into a shooting scrape in San Antonio in 1882 and killed Jack Harris, an old adversary, but was acquitted a year later.

In 1884 he returned to San Antonio and with fellow gunman and Ulvalde County Deputy Sheriff, John King Fisher went to a variety theater where they got into an argument with  Bill Simms and Joe Foster, who were friends of Jack Harris. They set up an ambush with two accomplices hiding nearby and when the smoke cleared, Thompson and Fisher lay dead. Thompson had nine gunshot wounds while Fisher had thirteen. Thompson was a lawman but there was often a thin line between men sworn to uphold the law and the bad guys.

Related Posts

  • Ben Thompson, one of the most noted gunmen of the Old West, was a man…

  • Ben Thompson and King FIsher

    Gunman Ben Thompson (right) had his photo taken on March 11, 1884—and promptly signed and…

  • abilene1875-blog

    The stories say various things about lawman Tom Carson—mostly wrong stuff. Like that he was…