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Badge History

LB-1 “U.S. MARSHAL” : This is the type of badge as worn by Crawley P. Dake, senior U.S. Marshal for the Arizona Territory. Two of his deputies were VIRGIL and WYATT EARP. This badge is also the type worn by James Arness in the “Gunsmoke” T.V. Series.


LB-2 “MARSHAL DODGE CITY” : This is the type of badge as worn by famous lawmen such as Bat Masterson, Ed Masterson, Charlie Bassett and Wyatt Earp.


LB-3 “DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL” : When Wyatt Earp’s brother, Virgil, was shot and crippled in Nov. 1881, his status as an Arizona Deputy U.S. Marshal was effectively “cancelled”. Wyatt had no such authority, and when brother Morgan was murdered in March, 1882, Wyatt very much wanted legal authority to pursue his brothers killers. At this time, he went to U.S. Marshal Crawley P. Dake and asked for his authority. Dake gave him temporary commissions for his posse and federal warrants for the murderers. The posse included Sherman McMasters, “Texas Jack” Vermilion, “Turkey Creek” Jack Johnson and Doc Holliday. This only lasted about two months and Doc must have appreciated the irony; it was the only time he ever wore a badge. This turned out to be an embarrassment for Dake, however the Earp “posse” never arrested anyone. Instead, it went on a killing rampage. While there are a great many styles of badges used by lawmen in the old west, this badge is authentic to the time and place.


LB-4 “MARSHAL DEADWOOD” : This is a known example of an authentic badge for the position of “Marshal Deadwood” and it refers to the boom camp of Deadwood, South Dakota, a town with  a colourful past in the history of the west. Our research hasn’t turned up the name of a single person who actually held this post, however, we know that some city lawman arrested Jack McCall for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok on Aug 2, 1876. Who this was seems to be unknown. We also know that James Butler Hickok (his real name), had a colourful career and that his name is linked with the town of Deadwood more than anyone else’s. Hickok was a Deputy U.S. Marshal at Ft. Riley, Kansas in 1886, the first of several jobs he had as a lawman. After the civil war, he was Sheriff of Ellis County, Kansas and Town Marshal at Hays City in 1869. By 1871, Hickok was the Marshal of Abilene. All of these were wild old cowtowns in their day. During the next 5 years, the legendary “prince of pistoleers” was a gambler, prospector, a showman with Buffalo Bill, and allegedly had a child with Calamity Jane. He was shot from behind and killed by Jack McCall in Mann’s Number 10 Saloon in Deadwood, S.D. The aces and eights he held in his poker hand have become known as the “dead man’s hand”. It is debated as to whether Hickok was ever Marshal of Deadwood, if he was, this would surely have been his badge.


LB-5 “TEXAS RANGERS” : An early Texas Rangers badge made from Mexican Silver Peso coins with a cut out star in a circle. This is an authentic example as it shows the peso stamping on the reverse. An original badge of this type is very rare and valuable today.


LB-6 “SHERIFF TOMBSTONE A.T.” : This badge was worn by Sheriff John Behan. In 1881, Cochise County was formed from the eastern part of Pima County, with Tombstone as the county seat. That’s why this unusual County Sheriff’s badge reads “Tombstone”. Behan and the Earps were on opposite sides in the Cochise County War.


LB-7 “DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL” : Bass Reeves was probably the first African-American to hold a Deputy U.S. Marshals commission. He pinned on the badge for “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker and the court for the Western District of Arkansas and, for the next 35 years, hunted, captured and killed outlaws in the Oklahoma Territory. Reeves was called “the most feared man in the Nations”. If a prisoner tried to escape or resist arrest, Bass shot him dead. A Marshal faced unimaginable hardships when bringing in prisoners from Indian Territory, endless days of riding through rough country, having to go without sleep, and remaining alert every second for escape attempts. Bringing them in alive was a very risky business. Rather than risk his life, Reeves shot the most troublesome criminals and saved the court the expense of a trial and hanging. He died in 1910. To the last, he was a lawman. The last 2 years of his life, he was a Muskogee policeman. There was no crime on his beat!


LB-8 “U.S. MARSHAL” : A badge of this type was worn by Deputy U.S. Marshal Wiley Green Haines in the Oklahoma Territory at the turn of the century. By this time, most of the more “famous” outlaws had been killed or captured, but the wild old days weren’t over yet. Sam and Will Martin were robbers and murderers; they even killed a City Marshal. In 1903, Haines and 2 other lawmen caught up with them. A fierce gun battle ensued and both Martins were killed. Haines was wounded, but recovered.


LB-9 “U.S. MARSHAL” STAR : Virgil Earp wore such a badge as this during his time in Tombstone. He was commissioned by Crawley P. Dake, U.S. Marshal for Arizona. After Virgil was ambushed and crippled in 1882, it was Dake who appointed Wyatt Earp as a (temporary) Deputy U.S. Marshal, thus giving Wyatt official sanction to apprehend the murderers of brother Morgan. Dake was a key figure, without him the Earps would have had no authority outside Tombstone.


LB-10  U.S. MARSHALL FANCY SHIELD A fancy engraved shield worn by the more flamboyant of Marshal, similar history to SB-1 but no precise details available. This star has been used on countless movies.