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Published: January 29th 2019
GEORGE SCARBOROUGHApril 6th
Bass Outlaw, John Selman, and George Scarborough all died on April 6th.
A youngster named George Adolphus Scarborough squalled his way into the world on October 2, 1859 in Natchitoches Parish, LA. His folks made their way into Texas and when George came of age he became a cowboy. By 1885 he was appointed sheriff of Jones County, TX. He would remain a lawman for the rest of his life. Things rolled merrily along for him, he had taken a wife and started in raising a passel of noisy children. By 1895 he had been appointed as a U S Deputy Marshal in El Paso. At that time there was a surly outlaw named Martin M’Rose who was thumbing his nose at the Texas authorities from over in Juarez. Texas authorities badly wanted to extradite him. His wife moved to El Paso and hired a lawyer named John Wesley Hardin to fight the extradition. Before long they had become lovers and Hardin lost interest in the case. He much preferred that M’Rose remain in Mexico. The wife, however, wanted him returned so she could divorce him and ransack his holdings. As US Deputy Marshal George Scarborough was involved in that mess up to his eyeballs. When the extradition finally went through, on June 21 1895, George prevailed upon his pal, Jeff Milton, to assist in transferring M’Rose from Mexican custody to Texas custody. Jeff was the Chief of Police in El Paso. Near the El Paso side of the bridge M’Rose made a break for his freedom and was gunned down for his trouble. Hardin thought that his girlfriend had hired the two lawmen to murder her errant husband. To protect her he made a statement that he was the guy who hired the murder. Scarborough and Milton were placed under arrest for murder. In due course, Hardin withdrew his charges and the two lawmen were released. Hardin, by then had been out of prison long enough to return to his old ways as a surly drunk. He got to making belligerent threats against a young constable named Selman when Selman threatened to arrest him if he didn’t behave himself. Hardin did not reckon with young Selman’s dad, who was also a constable. The old man, John Selman, was an even a worse criminal than Hardin was. In his younger days he was a deputy to the arch-criminal, John Larn, Sheriff of Shackleford County. John Selman was a deadly assassin himself. On the evening of August 19, 1895, two months after M’Rose was killed, Selman came up behind Hardin as he was standing at the bar in the Acme Saloon tickling the bones, and shot him through the back of the head. He then fired the remaining four rounds into the corpse. The last words ever spoken by John Wesley Hardin were, “You’ve got sixes to beat”. Hardin and M’Rose are buried not far apart in the Concordia Cemetery in El Paso. On April 5, 1894 a former Texas Ranger named Bass Outlaw got to whooping it up in Tillie Howard’s Brothel. He was disappointed that his favorite girl was entertaining another gentleman, pulled out six-shooter and began shooting the place up. Officers of the law were summoned and Bass Outlaw was found out in the backyard. A Texas Ranger named Joe McKidrick attempted to mollify Bass Outlaw, but a gunfight ensued and McKidrick was killed. Just then Constable John Selman arrived on the scene and joined the fray. He was shot in the thigh twice, but managed to put Outlaw down. Bass was too drunk to recover and he died the next morning. It turns out that George Scarborough and Bass Outlaw were pals, and it troubled George greatly that Selman failed to take Outlaw into custody without killing him. It stuck in George’s craw. Exactly two years to the day after the altercation at Tillie’s, on April 5, 1896, George encountered Selman in the Gem Saloon, took him out in the alley where an argument ended in gunplay. Selman was badly shot up and died the next morning, on April 6.
Scarborough turned himself in to the law, but Selman’s gun was not found, so George was once again charged with murder. A few days before the trial was scheduled to come up on the docket a kid was found in possession of the missing gun and the charges were dismissed. George lost his appointment as a Deputy U S Marshal though and he moved to Deming, NM to become a range detective for the Cattleman’s Association. His pal, Jeff Milton, also lost his job as Chief of Police in El Paso and became an express guard for Wells Fargo protecting rail shipments. Both of them retained appointments with various jurisdictions that would allow them to make an arrest. A rambunctious cowboy named Bronco Bill Waters grew weary of handling cattle and embarked on a new career as a train robber. Along with his partner, Bill Johnson, they knocked over a train near Gallup, but it hardly seemed worth their while. A short while later they tried again at the Belen Depot and made off with booty amounting to twenty thousand dollars. A posse led by Valencia County Sheriff Vigil caught up with them on Alamosa Creek. When the smoke cleared Vigil and two deputies were killed and Bronco Bill and Johnson were both wounded. After they got patched up they took on another bandit, named Red Pipkin and attempted to knock over the depot at Grants but were driven off empty handed by townsmen. By then Milton and Scarborough were on their trail. In July of 1898 the bandits shot up a dance in Geronimo, AZ and it gave the lawmen a fresh trail to follow. The outlaws blundered into the lawmen at the Double Circle Horse Camp at McBride’s Crossing on Eagle Creek. When gun smoke blew away Bronco Bill and Johnson were both shot up, and Red’s horse was dead. Red scampered off into the brush and made his escape afoot. Johnson died the next day and was buried at the camp. Bronco Bill survived his wounds and was sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled after 19 years though, and returned to being a cowboy. On April 6, 1921 he fell off a windmill on the Double A near New Hachita and broke his fool neck. Johnson’s grave has disappeared. Milton says a hungry bear dug him up and ate him most likely. Jeff Milton was taken out of action in February of 1900 during a shootout with members of the Burt Alvord Gang as they were attempting to rob a train at the Fairbanks Depot. He would lose use of his left arm for the rest of his life. He soldiered on as border guard until he retired in 1931 and moved to Tombstone. Some guys tried to rob a bank there during the Depression and he ran them down in a Ford Model A and brought them to justice. In 1945 he and his wife moved to Tucson where he passed away in 1947 at the age of 85 years. On April Fool’s Day of 1900 Scarborough went in search of rustlers with a fellow named Birchfield who was manager of a ranch in the mountains south of San Simone. They got into a gunfight with a couple of fellows named George Stevenson and James Brooks and Scarborough was shot in the leg. The outlaws finished cooking their meal, packed up their camp and left the canyon. Birchfield went for help but could not return with a wagon until the next morning. They cared for George as best they could and made it to the train station in San Simone that afternoon. The train made it in to Deming on April 4, but by then gangrene had set in on the leg and it had to be amputated. The surgery was scheduled for April 5, but George was too much weakened by loss of blood and he died on April 6. The photo shows his headstone in Deming.
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