In the late 19th Century, Arizona was plagued by cattle rustling, stage coach robberies and other forms of Wild West lawlessness. A vigilante group of masked men became active in dispensing quick and violent justice. Their activity became known as the Mason County War. In 1887, A.G. Hill applied for and received a name change to George A. Olney, an action some believe was intended to mask his involvement with the vigilante group. Olney rode in the John Belhan posse in the early 1880s in pursuit of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Olney was born in Texas in 1861. At 20, he moved to Arizona and arrived at Tombstone. Uninterested in mining, Olney was attracted to cattle ranching and remained in that business for his entire life. In 1891, he was elected sheriff of Graham County and served two terms. He was known to be tough on justice. When stage coach robberies were prevalent, he planted himself with a shotgun on a stage. When three robbers approached, Olney emptied his shotgun, killing all three. Olney was paid by the arrest, $2.50 for each. He amassed a large amount of wealth, some of which he used to buy a ranch. He later sold his cattle for $70,000. Olney was also elected to the Twentieth Legislative Assembly, representing Graham. In 1916, he moved to Phoenix and sought the Democratic nomination for governor. Over the years, Olney owned a meat market, an ice manufacturing plant, a creamery and a hardware store. Edward D. Tuttle, Clerk of the Court, was also an Arizona pioneer. Tuttle enlisted in the Civil War, serving in the Fourth Infantry Regiment of California Volunteers in 1861 and was stationed as a 2nd Lieutenant of Company A at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. In August 1862, he was sent to Camp Drum, near Los Angeles, and in February 1863, he marched to what is now Yuma, AZ, where he was elected to the first legislature of the Arizona Territory in Prescott. Tuttle was also a miner and a businessman. Tuttle also served as clerk of the Graham County Court. One page, 8 ¼” x 12 ¾” November 7, 1893, Arizona Territory Bench Warrant signed by both Olney and Tuttle, charging Charles Duke with grand larceny. ANS on verso by Olney certifying that “the within named Defendant is not to be found. Dated this 29th Day of Nov. 1893.”
Very fine Arizona Territory and Wild West Americana. Folds. Minor chipping in left margin.
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