World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Tom Horn

Article Id: WHEBN0000694264
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tom Horn  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mr. Horn, Gunfighter, Pleasant Valley War, Apache Scouts, Cowboys
Collection: 1860 Births, 1903 Deaths, 20Th-Century Executions by Wyoming, 20Th-Century Executions of American People by Hanging, American Assassins, American Criminal Snipers, American Folklore, American Law Enforcement Officials, American People Convicted of Murder, American Police Detectives, Cowboys, Executed People from Missouri, Gunmen of the American Old West, Outlaws of the American Old West, People Convicted of Murder by Wyoming, People Executed by Wyoming by Hanging, People Executed for Murder, People from Missouri Executed by Hanging, People from Scotland County, Missouri, Pinkerton National Detective Agency, United States Army Indian Scouts
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tom Horn

Thomas "Tom" Horn, Jr.
Born (1860-11-21)November 21, 1860
Scotland County, Missouri
Died November 20, 1903(1903-11-20) (aged 42)
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Cause of death Hanging
Resting place Columbia Cemetery, Boulder, Colorado
Nationality American
Other names Tom Hale[1]
Citizenship United States
Occupation US Army Scout, lawman, cowboy, detective, assassin
Years active 1876–1903
Employer Pinkerton Detective Agency
Notable work Assisted in the capture of Geronimo, disputably killed Willie Nickell
Height 6'2"
Weight 200 lb (91 kg)

Thomas "Tom" Horn, Jr. (November 21, 1860 – November 20, 1903) was an American Old West scout, who carried out varied roles as hired gunman, Pinkerton, range detective, cowboy, and soldier. Believed to have committed 17 murders as a hired gunman in the West,[2] in 1902 Horn was convicted of the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell near Iron Mountain, Wyoming. The boy was the son of sheep rancher Kels Nickell, who had been involved in a range feud with neighbor and cattle rancher Jim Miller. On the day before his 43rd birthday, Horn was executed by hanging in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

While in jail he wrote his autobiography, Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter (1904),[3] which was published posthumously. Numerous editions have been published of this book since the late 20th century, and debate continues as to whether he was guilty of Nickell's murder.


  • Early life 1
  • Scout 2
  • Career as a detective, lawman and gun for hire 3
    • Colorado Range War 3.1
    • Working for the government 3.2
    • Murder of Willie Nickell 3.3
  • Execution 4
  • Debate 5
  • Representation in Movies and Television 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Early life

Known as "Tom," he was born in 1860 to Thomas S. Horn, Sr. and Mary Ann Maricha (née Miller) on their family farm in rural northeastern Scotland County, Missouri. They had 600 acres (bisected by the South Wyaconda River), located between the towns of Granger and Etna. Tom was the fifth of twelve children.[4] During his childhood, the young Tom suffered physical abuse from his father, and his only companion as a child was a dog named Shedrick. The dog was tragically killed when the young Tom got into a fight with two boys, who proceeded to beat Tom and killed the dog with a shotgun.[5]


Horn allegedly killed his first man in a duel—the man was a second lieutenant in the Mexican Army, whom he killed as a result of a dispute with a prostitute.[1][6] At sixteen, Horn headed to the

  • Tom Horn StoryChip Carlson, , Tom Horn website
  • Tom Horn at
  • "": "Tom HornStories of the Century".  
  • "Thomas "Tom" Horn, Jr". Find A Grave. 

External links

  • Horn, Tom; John C. Coble (1904). Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter (full-text view via Google books). Denver: The Smith-Brooks Printing Company.  Also available as:
    • Horn, Tom, and John C. Coble, (2001). Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter. Narrative Press. ISBN 978-1-58976-068-4.
    • Horn, Tom, edited by Doyce B. Nunis, Jr., (1987). Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter—Written by Himself: A Vindication, Chicago: The Lakeside Press, R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company.
    • Horn, Tom, Introduction by Dean Krakel, (1973/1985). Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter: A Vindication. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-1044-8.
  • Henry, Will, (1975). I, Tom Horn. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-29835-2. Historical novel.
  • "Hanged By The Neck Until You Are Dead", Tom Horn's Story, (includes Horn's last letter saying his confession was staged and inaccurate)

Numerous editions of Horn's autobiography have been published and the 1904 original is available online:

Further reading

  • Carlson, Chip, (2001). Tom Horn: Blood on the Moon: Dark History of the Murderous Cattle Detective. - Glendo, Wyoming: High Plains Press. - ISBN 978-0-931271-58-8.
  • Herring, Hal (2008). Famous Firearms of the Old West: From Wild Bill Hickok's Colt Revolvers to Geronimo's Winchester, Twelve Guns That Shaped Our History. Globe Pequot. pp. 121–136.  
  • The Saga of Tom Horn: The Story of a Cattlemen's WarKrakel, Dean, (1954). : with Personal Narratives, Newspaper Accounts, and Official Documents and Testimonies. Powder River Publishing.


  1. ^ a b c d Desert Evening News November 20, 1903
  2. ^ Andrews, Evan (September 9, 2009). "Top 10 Deadliest Gunslingers". TopTenz. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter (1904)
  4. ^ a b c Carlson, Chip (2001). Tom Horn: Blood on the Moon: Dark History of the Murderous Cattle Detective. High Plains Press. pp. 22–28.  
  5. ^ Ball (2014) p.10
  6. ^ Ball (2014) p. 307
  7. ^ Monaghan (1997) p.59-60
  8. ^ Ball (2014) p.29
  9. ^ Ball (2014) p.54
  10. ^ Prisbrey, Denis. "The Legend of Tom Horn". Rare Winchesters. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  11. ^ Carlson.(2001) p.33.
  12. ^ Runkle, Benjamin (2011). Wanted Dead Or Alive: Manhunts from Geronimo to Bin Laden. Macmillan. pp. 29–33.  
  13. ^ Monaghan (1997) Introduction
  14. ^ Ball (2014) p.44-47
  15. ^ a b c d e Carlson, Chip (June 12, 2006). "Tom Horn: Misunderstood Misfit". Wild West Magazine. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  16. ^ Carlson.(2001) p.36
  17. ^ Dan L. Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Volume 1: A-F (1991); University of Nebraska Press, pp. 127
  18. ^ Tom Horn, Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter (1904); Doyce B. Nunis Jr., editor; Chicago: The Lakeside Press, R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company, 1987, pp. 317-318
  19. ^ Anderson, Dan; and Laurence J. Yadon (2007), 100 Oklahoma Outlaws, Gangsters, and Lawmen: 1839-1939, Pelican Publishing Company, p. 231,  
  20. ^ a b Tom Horn at
  21. ^ Charlie Siringo, Thrilling Detective website
  22. ^ "The Murder of Fred U. Powell", Tom Horn website
  23. ^ Dan L. Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Volume 1: G-O (1991); University of Nebraska Press, pp. 676
  24. ^ a b Ball (2014) p.232-234
  25. ^ "Johnson County War". Wyoming Tails and Trails. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  26. ^ Ball (2014) p.237
  27. ^ Ball (2014) p.238
  28. ^ Ball (2014) p.237-239
  29. ^ Sheriff Josiah Hazen, Converse County Sheriff's Office, Wyoming,  
  30. ^ Ball (2014) p.214
  31. ^ Ball (2014) Murder on Horse Creek
  32. ^ Carlson (2001), Blood on the Moon
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Carol L. Bowers. "School Bells and Winchesters: The Sad Saga of Glendolene Myrtle Kimmell", READINGS IN WYOMING HISTORY (5th Revised Edition), Ed. Phil Roberts, University of Wyoming, 2007, Retrieved 2012-10-10
  34. ^ "Glendolene M. Kimmell, The Schoolmarm", Tom Horn's Story website
  35. ^ Krakel, Dean Fenton (1954). The Saga of Tom Horn: The Story of a Cattlemen's War, with personal narratives, newspaper accounts, and official documents and testimonies (2 ed.). Powder River Publishers. p. 204. 
  36. ^ Johan P. Bakker, Tracking Tom Horn(Union Lake: Talking Boy, 1993) pp. 127, 131-132
  37. ^ Wilson, R. Michael (2008). Outlaw Tales of Wyoming: True Stories of the Cowboy State's Most Infamous Crooks, Culprits, and Cutthroats. Globe Pequot. p. 115.  
  38. ^ Ball (2014) A Man Apart
  39. ^ The Saga of Tom HornKrakel, Dean, (1954/1988). , Powder River Publishing
  40. ^ a b Becky Orr (August 22, 2014). "Legend of Tom Horn refuses to die: Western history authors Larry Ball and Chip Carlson talked about Wyoming legend Tom Horn Friday at a program at the Wyoming State Museum".  
  41. ^ Fairbanks, Brian W. (2005). "Tom Horn". Brian W. Fairbanks - Writings. Lulu Press. p. 349.  
  42. ^ Davis, Steven L. (2004). "Tom Horn". Texas literary outlaws: six writers in the sixties and beyond. TCU Press. p. 368.  


  • Ball, Larry D., Tom Horn: In Life and Legend. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014. ISBN 978-0-8061-4425-2
  • DeMattos, Jack, "Gunfighters of the Real West: Tom Horn," Real West, December 1980.
  • Horn, Tom, Life of Tom Horn, Government Scout and Interpreter, Written by Himself, Together with His Letters and Statements by his Friends. Denver: The Louthan Book Company, 1904.
  • Krakel, Dean Fenton, The Saga of Tom Horn: The Story of a Cattleman's War. Laramie, Wyoming: Powder River Publishers, 1954.
  • Monaghan, Jay, Last of the Bad Men: The Legend of Tom Horn. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1946.
  • Nickell, Phillip G., "The Family Tom Horn Destroyed," Real West, December 1986.


Representation in Movies and Television

At a discussion of their findings that year, Chip Carlson of Cheyenne continued his support of Horn's innocence, saying: "I maintain that Tom Horn was railroaded" because Horn had been employed by cattle barons who were at odds with the homesteaders. Carlson also noted that the presiding judge at Horn's trial was a candidate for reelection at the time. Carlson described Horn in the trial as "his own worst enemy. The more he talked, the tighter the noose" became.[40]

In 2014, the historian Larry Ball, professor emeritus at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas, published Tom Horn in Life and Legend. Ball was fascinated by Horn's conflicting and enigmatic personality. Ball said that he is convinced that Horn shot and killed Willie Nickell near the Iron Mountain area: "I have to fall back on the historical record." Ball said that he found no evidence of a legal conspiracy against Horn. He added that Horn's penchant for brutality contributed to his being convicted of the murder.[40]

In 1993, the case was retried in a mock trial in Cheyenne, and Horn was acquitted.

It is still debated whether Horn committed the Nickells murder. Historians including Chip Carlson believe he did not, while others such as Dean Fenton Krakel believe that he did, but had not realized he was shooting an underage boy.[39] The consensus is that regardless of whether Horn committed that particular murder, he had certainly committed many others.[20] Carlson, who extensively researched the Wyoming v. Tom Horn trial, concluded that although Horn could have committed the murder of Willie Nickell, he probably did not. According to Carlson's book, Tom Horn: Blood on the Moon (2001), there was no physical evidence that Horn had committed the murder. In addition, he was last seen in the area the day before it occurred, and the conditions of his alleged confession made it without value as evidence. Carlson believed the prosecution made no efforts to investigate other possible suspects, including Victor Miller. In essence, Horn's reputation and history made him an easy target for the prosecution.[4]


Horn was hanged in Cheyenne. At that time, Horn never gave up the names of those who had hired him during the feud.[15] He was buried in the Columbia Cemetery in Boulder, Colorado on 3 December 1903.[37] Rancher Jim Coble paid for his coffin and a stone to mark his grave.[33] After his death, many considered Horn was unrightfully executed for a murder solely based on a drunk confession. Even the old Apache warrior, Geronimo, expressed his doubts about Horn's charges during an interview with Charles Ackenhausen, saying that he "did not believe [Horn] guilty."[38]

Tom Horn was one of the few people in the "Wild West" to have been hanged by a water-powered gallows, known as the "Julian Gallows." James P. Julian, a Cheyenne, Wyoming architect, designed the contraption in 1892. The trap door was connected to a lever which pulled the plug out of a barrel of water. This would cause a lever with a counterweight to rise, pulling on the support beam under the gallows. When enough pressure was applied, the beam broke free, opening the trap and hanging the condemned man.


The Wyoming Supreme Court upheld the decision of the District Court and denied a new trial. Convinced of Horn's innocence, Glendolene Kimmell sent an affidavit to Governor Fenimore Chatterton with testimony reportedly saying that Victor Miller was guilty of Nickell's murder. Accounts of its contents appeared in the press, but the original document has disappeared.[33] The governor chose not to intervene in the case. Horn was given an execution date of November 20, 1903.

Horn’s attorneys filed a petition with the Wyoming Supreme Court for a new trial. While in jail, Horn wrote his autobiography, Life of Tom Horn, Government Scout and Interpreter, Written by Himself, mostly giving an account of his early life. It contained little about the case.

Horn’s trial went to the jury on October 23, and they returned a guilty verdict the next day.[33] A hearing several days later sentenced Horn to death by hanging.

Glendolene Kimmell had testified during the coroner's inquest, saying she thought both the Miller and Nickell families responsible for maintaining the feud, but she was never called as a defense witness. She had resigned from the school in October 1901 and left the area, but was in communication with people in the case. She submitted an affidavit to the governor while the case was on appeal. It is recounted in secondary sources but the original document disappeared from public records.[33]

Horn's trial started October 10, 1902 in Cheyenne, which filled with crowds attracted by the notoriety of Horn. The Rocky Mountain News noted the carnival atmosphere and great interest from the public for a conviction.[33] The prosecution introduced Horn's confession to Lefors. Only certain parts of Horn's statement were introduced, distorting his statement. The prosecution introduced testimony by at least two witnesses, including lawman Lefors, as well as circumstantial evidence; these elements only placed Horn in the general vicinity of the crime scene. During the trial, Victor Miller testified that he and Horn both had .30-.30 guns, and bought their ammunition at the same store.[33] Another, Otto Plaga, testified that Horn was 20 miles from the scene of the murder an hour after it was committed.[15]

Horn was supported by his longtime friend and employer, cattle rancher John C. Coble. He gathered a team for the defense headed by Judge John W. Lacey, and included attorneys T.F. Burke, Roderick N. Matson, Edward T. Clark and T. Blake Kennedy. Reportedly, Coble paid for most of the costs of this large team. According to Johan P. Bakker, who wrote Tracking Tom Horn, the large cattle interests by this time found Horn "expendable" and the case provided a way to silence him in regard to their activities. He wrote that 100 members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association paid $1000 each toward the defense, but wanted a minimal effort.[36]

Deputy Marshal Joe Lefors later questioned Horn in January 1902 about the murder, while supposedly talking to him about employment. Horn was still inebriated from the night before, but Lefors gained what he called a confession to the murder of Willie Nickell. Horn allegedly confessed to killing the young Willie with his rifle from 300 yards, which he boasted as the "best shot that [he] ever made and the dirtiest trick that [he] ever done." Horn was arrested the next day by the county sheriff. Walter Stoll was the Laramie County Prosecutor in the case.[35] Judge Richard H. Scott, who presided over the case, was running for reelection.[4]

On August 4, 1901, Kels Nickell was shot and wounded. Some 60-80 of his sheep were found "shot or clubbed to death."[33] Two of the younger Nickell children later reported seeing two men leaving on horses colored a bay and a gray, as were horses owned by Jim Miller.[33] (Bay is a common color among horses). On August 6, l901 Deputy Sheriff Peter Warlaumont and Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe LeFors came to Iron Mountain and arrested Jim Miller and his sons Victor and Gus on suspicion of shooting Kels Nickell. They were jailed on August 7 and released the following day on bond. The investigation of the shooting of Kels Nickell was added to the investigation of Willie Nickell's murder in the coroner's inquest.[33]

The Miller and Nickell families were the only ones to have children at the school. Kimmel had been advised of the families' feud before she arrived, and found that it was often played out by conflict among the children.[33] A few days later, on July 18, 1901, Willie Nickell, the 14-year-old son of sheep ranchers Kels and Mary Nickell, was found murdered near their homestead gate. A coroner's inquest began to investigate the murder. More violent incidents occurred during the period of the coroner's inquest, which was expanded to investigate these incidents, and lasted from July through September 1901.[33]

At the Millers, Horn met Glendolene M. Kimmell, the young teacher at the Iron Mountain School. Ms. Kimmell was supported by both the large Miller and Kels Nickell families, and she boarded with the Millers. Horn entertained her with accounts of his adventures. That day he and males of the Miller family went fishing; he and Victor Miller, a son about his age, also practiced shooting, both of them with .30-.30s.[33]

While working again near Iron Mountain, Wyoming, Horn visited the Jim and Dora Miller family on July 15, 1901. They were cattle ranchers. (Jim Miller was no relation to the Texas outlaw Jim Miller.) Jim Miller and his neighbor Kels Nickell had already had several disputes following Nickell's introduction of sheep into the Iron Mountain area. Miller frequently accused Nickell of letting his sheep graze on Miller land.[33][34]

Murder of Willie Nickell

Horn briefly entered the United States Army to serve during the Spanish American War, as the chief packer of the Fifth Corps.[30] He left Tampa for Cuba, where he led some of the pack trains to the front. Horn personally witnessed the bravery of the famous Rough Riders and the colored regiment of the Ninth and Tenth cavalry during their assault on San Juan Hill, as well as the humiliating rout of American soldiers under Brig. Gen. Hamilton Hawkins. Although the packers were non-combatants, they were still prone to being attacked by Cuban rebels. Horn considered himself lucky to have lost no tracker during the war, although Horn recalled that he and his men were under constant fire as they deliver the rations and ammunition to the soldiers.[31] Horn continued working as a packer during the war even though he and many of his men contracted yellow fever. At one point he was bedridden and was deemed unfit for combat. After recovering, he returned to Wyoming. Shortly after his return, in 1901 Horn began working for wealthy cattle baron John C. Coble, who belonged to the Wyoming Stock Men's Association.[32]

During the Wilcox Train Robbery investigation, Horn obtained information from Bill Speck that revealed which of the robbers had killed Sheriff Josiah Hazen, killed during pursuit of the robbers.[29] Either Kid Curry were said to have killed the sheriff. Both outlaws were members of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang, then known as "The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang," for their hideaway in the mountains. Horn passed this information on to Charlie Siringo, who was working the case for the Pinkertons.

Working for the government

At that time Horn also suspected another cowboy named Isom Dart of rustling.[26] Dart was one of Rash's fellow cowboys, but was believed to have been a rustler named Ned Huddleston, a former member of the late "Tip Gault" gang. The gang, which had rustled cattle in the Saratoga area, was wiped out in a gun battle. Dart also had three indictments returned against him in Sweetwater County. When Dart was accused of murdering Rash, he took refuge inside his friend's cabin and waited for the rumors to cool down.[27] Horn however, managed to track down Dart to his cabin, and saw him hiding together with two other armed associates. The assassin was said to have set up a sniping position under the cover of a pine tree, overlooking the cabin from a hill. As Dart and his friends came out of the cabin, Horn shot him in the chest from a distance. Prior to the assassination, Horn instructed a rancher named Robert Hudler to ready a horse miles from the murder scene for his getaway.[28] The next day, two .30-30 shells were found at the base of a tree where it was believed that the murderer had laid in wait. Hicks was said to have been the only one in the area to use a 30-30. The news of Rash and Dart's deaths spread throughout the territory, and as such the other rustlers scattered in fear. Horn tracked them all down and killed three other members of Rash's association. The story goes that he pinned one of the dead cowboy's ears at the homesteaders as a warning.

In 1900, Horn had begun working for the Swan Land and Cattle Company in northwest Colorado. His first job was to investigate the Browns Park Cattle Association's leader and cowboy Matt Rash, who was suspected of cattle-rustling.[24] Horn went undercover as "Tom Hicks" and worked for Rash as a ranch hand, while also collecting evidence of Rash branding cattle that did not belong to him. When Horn finally pieced together enough evidence to determine that Rash was indeed a rustler, he put a letter on Rash's door threatening him to leave in sixty days. The cowboy however, defiantly stayed and continued working on his ranch. As Rash continued to be uncooperative, Horn's employers were said to have given the assassin the "go-ahead signal" to execute Rash. On the day of the murder, an armed Horn arrived at Rash's cabin as the man had just finished eating, before Horn shot him at point-blank range. The dying Rash unsuccessfully tried to write the name of his killer, but no trace was left of the murder. Only the accounts and rumors from various people point to Horn as the one responsible. Rash was supposed to be married to a nearby rancher, Ann Bassett, and the woman accused Hicks of being the murderer.

Although his official title was "Range Detective," Horn essentially served as a killer for hire. By the mid-1890s the cattle business in Wyoming and Colorado was changing due to the arrival of homesteaders and new ranchers. The homesteaders, “nesters” or “grangers”, as they were referred to by the big operators, had moved into the territory in large numbers. By doing so they decreased the availability of water for the herds of the larger cattle barons.[24] Soon, efforts were made to get rid of these homesteaders, including the hiring of gunmen such as Tom Horn. Violent gunfights such as the bloody shootout that resulted in the death of nine trappers in Big Dry Creek, as well as the lynching and burning of homesteaders Luther M. Mitchell and Ami W. Ketchum, precipitated the war.[25]

Colorado Range War

In 1895, Horn reportedly killed a known cattle thief named William Lewis near Iron Mountain, Wyoming. Horn was exonerated for that crime and for the 1895 murder of Fred Powell six weeks later.[22] In 1896, a ranchman named Campbell, known to have a large stash of cash, was last seen with Horn.[1] In 1896, Horn offered his service in a letter to the Tucson marshal in getting rid of William Christian's rustler gang. The next year, William was killed by an unknown assailant, and his associate Robert Christian disappeared the same year.[23]

During the Johnson County War, he worked for the Wyoming Stock Grower's Association, as well as being assigned by the Pinkerton to be in the county with the alias Tom Hale. He is alleged to have been involved in the killing of Nate Champion and Nick Ray on April 9, 1892, and was a prime suspect for the assassinations of ranchers either John A. Tisdale and Orley “Ranger” Jones.[1] The Pinkerton Agency forced Horn to resign in 1894. In his memoir, Two Evil Isms: Pinkertonism and Anarchism, Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo wrote that "William A. Pinkerton told me that Tom Horn was guilty of the crime, but that his people could not allow him to go to prison while in their employ." Siringo would later indicate that he respected Horn's abilities at tracking, and that he was a very talented agent, but had a wicked element.[20][21]

In one case, Horn and another agent, C. W. Shores, captured two men who had robbed the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (on August 31, 1890) between Cotopaxi and Texas Creek in Fremont County, Colorado. Horn and Shores tracked and arrested Thomas Eskridge (aka "Peg-Leg" Watson) and Burt "Red" Curtis without firing a shot. They tracked them all the way to the home of a man named Wolfe, said to be in either Washita or Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, along the Washita River. In his report on that arrest, Horn stated in part "Watson, was considered by everyone in Colorado as a very desperate character. I had no trouble with him."[19]

Later, Horn took part in the Pleasant Valley War in Arizona between cattlemen and sheepmen. Historians have not established which side he worked for, and both sides suffered several killings for which no known suspects were ever identified.[16] Horn worked on a ranch owned by Robert Bowen, where he became one of the prime suspects in the disappearance of Mart Blevins in 1887.[17] Horn also participated with Glenn Reynolds in a lynching of three suspected rustlers in August 1888. He claimed that throughout the war, he was the "mediator" of the conflict, serving as a deputy sheriff under three famous Arizona lawmen of the time: William Owen “Buckey” O’Neill, Commodore Perry Owens, and Glenn Reynolds.[18] Horn worked in Arizona for a time as a deputy sheriff, where he drew the attention of the Pinkerton Detective agency due to his tracking abilities. Hired by the agency circa late 1889 or early 1890, he handled investigations in Colorado and Wyoming, in other western states, and around the Rocky Mountain area, working out of the Denver office. He became known for his calm under pressure, and his ability to track down anyone assigned to him.

Horn wandered and took jobs as a prospector, ranch hand and rodeo contestant, but he's most infamous for being hired by numerous cattle companies as a working cowboy and a hired gun to watch over their cattle and kill any suspected criminals preying on them. In his line of work, Horn developed his own means to fight cattle-rustling, which he described: "I would simply take the calf and such things as that stopped the stealing. I had more faith in getting the calf than in courts." If he thought a man was guilty of stealing cattle and had been fairly warned, Horn said that he would shoot the thief and would not feel "one shred of remorse."[15] Horn would often give a warning first to those he suspected of rustling, and was said to have been a "tremendous presence" whenever he was in the vicinity.[15] Fergie Mitchell, a rancher of the North Laramie River described Horn's reputation: "I saw him ride by. He didn't stop, but went straight on up the creek in plain sight of everyone. All he wanted was to be seen, as his reputation was so great that his presence in a community had the desired effect. Within a week three settlers in the neighborhood sold their holdings and moved out. That was the end of cattle rustling on the North Laramie."[15]

Career as a detective, lawman and gun for hire

After the war, Horn used what he earned to build his own ranch in his return to the Aravaipa Canyon in Arizona. His ranch consisted of 100 cattle and 26 horses, and he also laid claim in the Deer Creek Mining District near the canyon. Unfortunately, it was short-lived as cattle thieves stormed his ranch one night and stole all his stock, leaving a tremendous loss and bankruptcy for Horn. This incident would mark Horn's hatred and disdain for thieves, which would escalate in him taking the profession of range detective.[13][14]

[12].Charles B. Gatewood Finally on September 4, 1886, Horn was present at Geronimo's final surrender and acted as an interpreter under [11] by a Mexican militia, and he was wounded in the arm during the shootout and led to the death of Crawford.attacked During one operation, Horn's camp was mistakenly [10][9] command in Fort Bowie.Emmet Crawford's major stronghold. By November 1885, Tom Horn earned the position as a Chief of Scouts under Captain Geronimo's Tom Horn became a respected scout by then, known for going out alone in reconnaissance missions as well as helping track down [8]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.