Lawrence Murphy and the Lincoln County War

dolan and murphy lincoln county war true west

Lawrence Murphy’s name is synonymous with New Mexico’s Lincoln County War. He began his business there in 1869, monopolizing mercantile goods and banking, charging exorbitant prices.  In 1874, James Dolan became his partner in the Murphy-Dolan operation (photo).

John Tunstall and Alexander McSween started a competing business in 1876, and the Murphy-Dolan forces struck back, essentially starting the war.  But by the time it got going, Murphy was out of the picture—a victim of cancer and alcoholism, dying on October 20, 1878, just three months after the Battle of Lincoln.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.