During the Earp-Cowboy confrontation period in Tombstone, did the chief of police (Virgil Earp) share an office with the county sheriff (Johnny Behan)?

During the Earp-Cowboy confrontation period in Tombstone, did the chief of police (Virgil Earp) share an office with the county sheriff (Johnny Behan)?

Ben D. Lawson
Eureka, California

Casey Tefertiller, an expert on the Tombstone troubles, says: “One of the problems is that the offices were moved at different times. I have two city directories for the period. Behan is not listed in either. One has Virgil Earp, City Marshal (or chief of police), Corner of Fifth and Allen. The other directory was published when Ben Sippy was city marshal, so it is earlier.

“From what I have found, I think Behan had two offices. One was in the Dexter, the livery stable that he co-ran. The other was at the jail. Again, I am not certain of that.

“The jails are also confounding. The lockups were moved around. I am fairly certain that the county jail was down on Toughnut, catty corner from what is now the new Dragoon Saloon. I have seen a reference to a city jail, but I suspect that was a mistake in the paper and there was only a county jail.”

Thus, according to the historical documents, it is highly unlikely Earp and Behan shared office space.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.