James Henry East
(August 30, 1853 - June 30, 1930)
Born in eastern Illinois, East headed to Texas at the age of 16. He worked as a cowboy for various ranches in western Texas driving a herd New Orleans in 1870 then to Kansas and Nebraska around 1877. A few of these journeys required fighting off indian attacks and Mexican bandits.
Working on ranches with such notables as Charles Siringo, East accompanied a group of men from the Texas Panhandle in pursuit of Billy the Kid. Intercepted by Pat Garrett, James East was one of the group chosen by Garrett in tracking Billy to Stinking Springs. It was here Charlie Bowdre and Tom O'Folliard were killed and Billy the Kid was captured.
James was elected sheriff of Oldman County Texas. Here he helped Pat Garrett's Home Rangers in their tracking of outlaws. His territory included the wild town of Tascosa, TX where he stopped a gun battle after four men were killed and two wounded. In another incident, East killed a gambler in a shootout at one of the local Tascosa bars.
He opened a detective in Amarillo then moved to Douglas, AZ. Here East was a city marshal, chief of police and a city judge. East became friends with John Horton Slaughter and when Slaughter died on February 16, 1922, East was one of the pallbearers.
In 1928, East collaborated with Viola Vivian in writing the play titled Billy the Kid which was presented in Tucson, AZ.
At the age of seventy-seven, James Henry East died and was buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Douglas, AZ.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm