Saturday, January 2, 2016

Jeff Davis Milton - Cowboy Turned Lawman

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Cowboy Jeff Davis Milton was born in November 1861. After the Confederate surrender, Jeff Milton was raised on a once proud family estate called Sylvania, located in Florida. When it became evident the south would lose, his father had committed suicide near the end of the Civil War. When Milton was fifteen, he moved to Texas and took on a job as a cowboy, and then in 1878 lied about his age and joined the Texas Rangers.
After four years serving with the Rangers, he moved through west Texas and into New Mexico where he became a Deputy U.S. Marshal in 1884. For part of the 1880s he worked under Sheriff John Slaughter in Cochise County, Arizona. During that time the two were involved in several manhunts and shootouts with outlaws.
On June 21, 1895, while working alongside lawman George Scarborough, Scarborough shot and killed Martin McRose, a Texas rustler. McRose is buried near John Wesley Hardin, and Texas Ranger Ernest St. Leon. Milton was at that time, Chief of Police in El Paso, Texas, and Scarborough was a Deputy U.S. Marshal. McRose had been captured and was killed while being brought back from Mexico on an outstanding warrant by the two lawmen. Outlaw and gunman John Wesley Hardin claimed that he had paid Scarborough and Milton to kill Martin McRose. Milton and Scarborough were arrested, but Hardin later withdrew his comments and the two men were released.
In July, 1898 working with Scarborough again, the pair tracked down, shot, and captured Bronco Bill Walters near Solomonville, Arizona. They scattered Walter's gang from their hideout, killing another gang member in the process.
In February 1900 Milton substituted for another Express agent who was sick. When the train arrived in Fairbank that day, Milton was handing packages to the station agent. Former lawman-turned-outlaw Burt Alvord and five other robbers attempted to rob the express car of its cash. Milton shot outlaw Three Fingered Jack Dunlop, badly wounding him. He died days later. Milton also shot and wounded Bravo Juan Yoas during the gunfight. When Milton's left arm was seriously wounded, he improvised a tourniquet and stopped the blood loss from a severed artery. He then managed to throw the keys to the express car safe into a pile of packages at the far end of the car before Alvord and his men boarded the car. The gang was about to shoot Milton again when the train engineer intervened, saying he was already dead. The robbers were unable to open the safe and escaped with only a few dollars for their efforts.
The railroad dispatched a special engine and boxcar to transport Milton from Benson to Tucson for the treatment. The doctor tied the shattered bone together with piano wire. When the wound wouldn't heal, he sent Milton to San Francisco so he could be seen by experts at the Southern Pacific hospital. They wanted to amputate his arm at the elbow, but Milton refused and found a ride to his friend Dr. George Goodfellow's office. Goodfellow cleaned and treated Milton's wound, but gave him the bad news that he'd never have the use of his arm again.
Milton retired to Tombstone, Arizona and then settled in Tucson, Arizona in 1932, where he lived the remainder of his life. Louis L'Amour wrote in his book Education of a Wondering Man that he'd met Milton, who bought him breakfast and gave him a ride to Tucson.
CHRISTMAS SURPRISE Release November 11, 2015
Widower Hank Hughes has had it with his headstrong daughter. She'll be married by Christmas come hell or high water.
Nobody, including her father, would force Caroline Hughes to marry a man she doesn't love. She plans to choose her own husband. Her hopes are set on Tam MacGregor, but would he sever his family ties to stay with her?
Tam MacGregor and his brother came to the Northwoods to deliver horses and a new governess. Neither one of them expected to get caught up in a world of smuggling and even more dangerous, match making.
Caught between her own stubborn pride and the love she prays is enough to keep Tam in Wisconsin, Caroline is determined to have her Christmas wedding on her own terms.


  1. What an exciting life Milton extraordinary man with a huge spirit. I liked the part where the robbers couldn't get the money in the safe after all that violence and trouble.
    I particularly liked the ending where you mentioned that Louis L'Amour made a comment about meeting him in one of his books. Pretty dang neat.
    All the best to you, Paisley.

  2. Thank you, Sarah. I love these tales of the law officers from the old west. They always had tall tales to tell.

  3. Very interesting post, Paisley. Tough guy, that Milton. Amazing he lived with the arm not being amputated. I thought for sure he would die of blood posioning etc. I will never think of piano wire without remembering Milton. All the best to you in 2016. :)

    1. I was thinking the same thing about the piano wire. I guess they used what they had on hand. Thanks for stopping by, Ashley.

  4. What an interesting man Milton must have been. I look forward to reading your book, Paisley. I'm a little behind, but I definitely will get your new series read! Best wishes for the new year.

    1. Aww thank you, Caroline. I hope you do have time to read Christmas Surprise. :) I love learning about the men and women who helped build the west.

  5. He was the kind of man who settled Texas--tough and persistent and fearless. I would like to have seen a photo of him, so I went to Wikipedia and found one. (these are always in the Public Domain). He was incredibly handsome and stylish, too.
    Your new series looks great-- congratulations and much luck with it in this new year.

    1. Thank you, Celia. I'm having fun learning about the history up north for a change. Milton was a good looker. I imagine he had a way with the ladies. ;)

  6. Milton would have made a great Hollywood hero back in the days of TV cowboy westerns! Celia had me curious, so I took a gander at his photo too! Quite dashing with that mustache!


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