Lew Cooley was a stage driver and friend of the Earps in southeast Arizona. In mid-April 1882, he boarded an eastbound train in Benson—and met with Wells Fargo General Superintendent John J. Valentine. Reportedly, Cooley got funding for the Vendetta Ride from Valentine. Cochise County Sheriff John Behan got wind of the meeting and arrested Cooley at the Willcox stop; he allowed Valentine to continue the trip. Behan charged the driver with “aiding and abetting the Earps.” But there was no law covering that, so Cooley went free.
True West June 2023