Wyatt Earp arrived in Tombstone around December 1, 1879. Quickly the Earps became involved in Mining Properties in the area. Virgil Earp came to Tombstone with an appointment as a deputy U. S. Marshal. it would not be until July 27, 1880 that Wyatt was appointed to any legal position in Arizona. He was appointed a deputy sheriff of Pima County by Sheriff Charles Shibell.
Pima County Deputy Sheriff (July -November 1880)
Wyatt Earp worked for only a few months as a deputy sheriff. However, during this time he showed that he was an effective and respected lawman. The following is the oath that Wyatt Earp swore to when he accepted the position of Deputy Sheriff:
"I, Wyatt S. Earp do solemnly swear that I will support the constitution of the United States and the laws of the Territory; that I will treat faith and alligence bear to the same, and defend them against all enemies whoever,and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of Deputy Sheriff of Pima County Arizona to the best of my abilities. So Help me God . . . ."
The Epitaph was quick to approve of Wyatt's appointment. Over the next few months Wyatt Earp's activities as Deputy Sheriff were often reported by the town's newspapers. He became a well respected officer and continually showed that he could do his duty well.
Altercation with Justice Reilly (August 1880)
While in court for the case of the State vs George Perrine, an argument erupted between Justice James Reilly and attorney Harry Jones. Reilly ordered the officers in the room to remove Jones. Startled by the events, the officers that were present hesitated for a moment. Justice Reilly then tried to forcibly remove Jones from the court room. Jones retaliated by punching Reilly in the face. At that point Wyatt Earp intervened and arresated both parties.
Earp took Jones to Tucson. Judge J. S. Woods later released Jones following his writ of Habeas Corpus. The Tucson newspapers reported the event and momentarily commented that Wyatt Earp had also been arrested in the affair. However, this error was quickly corrected. The Arizona Daily Star on August 19, 1880, stated that an error had been made in the transcription of the original telegram and apologized to Wyatt Earp for the misunderstanding.
Wyatt Earp remained Deputy Sheriff for Pima County until November 1880. During this time he was very active as an officer. However, the contemporary records indicate that much of his actions were simply typical duties. No real spectacular events occured but he had consistently shown that he could perform the job well. In late October 1880, Tombstone Marshal Fred White was killed by the then unknown Curly Bill Brocius.
Arrests Curly Bill Brocius
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