Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West

Patrick Sughrue


(1844 - 1906)


Patrick Sughrue was born in County Kerry, Ireland. His beginnings have not been researched, but it is known he was in Leavenworth, Kansas at one point working as a blacksmith. He moved to Dodge City and applied this trade.


In 1877 Pat, operating in some law enforcement capability, stopped an incident involving two men who were rivals in the affection for a Creole maiden. As one pulled a gun on the unsuspecting other who was in an delicate position with the black eyed beauty, Sughrue happened along and grabbed the gun.


"Dodge City is now favored by the tramp fraternity" exclaimed the Dodge City Times in May of 1877. Pat felt sorry for one particular hard luck case and provided him with room and board, new shoes and a shot gun to kill ducks until he could find employment. However this destitute was just lazy. Sughrue found him a job which only lasted a short time. As Pat was returning to his blacksmith shop, the wanderer was leaving and Sughrue noticed a large file extending out of his pocket. Pat repeatedly kicked the tramp and more tools fell from the clothing. Picking up his tools from the ground, Pat headed into the blacksmith shop as the tramp pulled a metal object from a pocket. Only a warning from a nearby resident kept Sughrue from receiving a deadly blow to the head.


On November 6, 1877, Pat Sughrue was elected constable of Dodge City. The newspapers reported a few incidents of arrests during his tenure.


As a city council member during the "Dodge City War" who sided with Luke Short, Sughrue would be elected commander of the "Glick Guards". This militia unit was a means to patch up the eroded political arena caused by the Luke Short incident.


In the fall of 1883 Sughrue was elected sheriff of Ford County. His under sheriffs included his twin brother, Michael Sughrue, and Mysterious Dave Mather. The newspapers reported arrests of horse thieves, burglars, forgers, the transporting of prisoners, etc. by Sughrue. Pat must have been a good tracker as he went to Texas and even to New York to catch some of the lawbreakers. The Ford County Globe on June 12, 1884 stated:


Too much credit cannot be given Sheriff Sughrue, who, whenever he has been sent after a criminal has brought him back and has been the means of capturing some very hard citizens. When you want a man send Pat after him.


As Captain of the Glick Guards, he went to a meeting of the state militia where he broke up a tense situation when he drew his "old 45's". On his return he arrested Dave Mather after he killed Tom Nixon over the affections of a woman.


It seemed Sughrue was making one major arrest a month as sheriff. As the Dodge City Democrat reported:


Horse Thieves are getting numerous around here again, two were brought in last week. Our sheriff don't let them linger long.


On a couple of occasions, Sughrue rode to incoming cattle herds suspected of having "Texas fever" and ordered them to turn back. This disease would have caused havoc among any healthy bovines in the Dodge City area. This must have been a most difficult task.


Sughrue successfully ran for re-election in 1884. However, Dodge City now was not the trail end city for cattle drives as the railroads moved further south. Dodge City would become a progressive quiet city.


Patrick Sughrue is buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas.



Gravesite Map


Information compiled by Steve Grimm


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© Wild West History Association - a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation