ask-the-marshallIn the Old West, was there ever a female peace officer?


Via the Internet

The article “Frontier Women at Arms” in the July 2005 issue of True West features female hunters, cowgirls, ranchers, teamsters, prospectors, exhibition shooters, adventurers and outlaws, but I haven’t run across a female peace officer in the Old West. I believe if there was one, she would have been heralded in print by now.

That being said, let me introduce you to Catherine Jones. She moved to Cave Creek, Arizona, in the 1920s and operated a cow ranch. A small woman, she was known locally as Cattle Kate. She enjoyed painting and reading poetry, and she always packed a pistol. She served as a deputy sheriff in the Cave Creek area until she was in her 70s.

During prohibition, she declared war on bootleggers who were using her spring water to make moonshine. One day, she ordered one off her property. He looked at the small lady in the wide-brimmed hat and decided to call her bluff. She immediately drew her pistol and promptly shot off a piece of his ear. That was the last time she had any bootleggers around her place.

Marshall Trimble
is Arizona’s official historian.

His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall,

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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