Legendary Lawman JJ Webb

As with a great number of old west legends, this month's lawman has been depicted as serving both sides of the law.


About four o'clock this morning, Michael Kelliher, in company with William Brickley and another man, entered Goodlet (a member of the Dodge City Gang) & Roberts' Saloon and called for drinks. Michael Kelliher appeared to be the leader of the party and he, in violation of the law, had a pistol on his person. This was noticed by the officers, who came through a rear door, and they requested that Kelliher lay aside his revolver. But he refused to do so, remarking, "I won't be disarmed - everything goes," immediately placing his hand on his pistol, no doubt intending to shoot. But officer Webb was too quick for him. The man was shot before he had time to use his weapon. He was shot three times - once in each breast and once in the head... Kelliher had $1,090 ($1,900) on his person when killed.

Webb's Marshall title not withstanding, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. A jail-break was attempted by Rudabaugh and John Allen but was unsuccessful. The death sentence was eventually reduced to life in prison and two months later Webb and Rudabaugh along with five others, removed a stone block from the jail wall and escaped thru the 7 x 19 inch hole. Webb would return to Kansas and changed his name to Samuel King and again work as a teamster. He died in 1882 of smallpox, never having been married.



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