Johnny Behan

First Sheriff of Cochise County Arizona Territory
Born Oct 24, 1844
Hometown Kansas City, Miss...
Died Jun 7, 1912
Death Place Tucson, Arizona
Nationality United States
Other Names John Harris Behan

John Harris Behan was from April, 1881 to November, 1882 sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona Territory. Behan was appointed the first sheriff of the newly-created county in February, 1881. The mining boomtown of Tombstone was the new county seat and Behan's headquarters. Immediately before taking office as sheriff, Behan had served five months as undersheriff for the southern area of Pima County, which included Tombstone, succeeding Wyatt Earp in this position.… Read More

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1844 Birth Johnny H. Behan was born in October 23, 1844 in West Port in what is now Kansas City, Missouri, the third of nine children of carpenter Peter Behan from County Kildare, Ireland, and his wife Sarah. … Read More


1860 15 Years Old Bourke had married German immigrant and widow Harriet Zaff in 1860, and her daughter, then 14 year old Victoria, must have caught Behan's eye. … Read More
1862 17 Years Old He fought in the Battle of Apache Pass on July 14–15, 1862 and in 1863 settled in Tucson where he found work delivering freight to military installations.
1864 19 Years Old In 1864 he served as a clerk to the First Arizona Legislative Assembly in Prescott, the territorial seat.


1865 20 Years Old In 1865 he moved to Prescott, the new capital of the Arizona Territory, where he speculated in real estate and prospected for minerals.
1866 21 Years Old 1 More Event
While prospecting along the Verde River February 28, 1866, he and a few other men were attacked by Indians. … Read More
1868 23 Years Old He resigned to run for Yavapai County Recorder which he won in 1868. … Read More
1869 24 Years Old In March 1869, Behan married 17-year-old Victoria Zaff in San Francisco, the girl's home town. … Read More
1871 26 Years Old While living in Prescott with this wife and children, Behan served as sheriff of Yavapai County from 1871-73.
1873 28 Years Old 1 More Event
He was elected to the Territorial Legislature twice, first from the 7th Arizona Territorial Legislature, which met in Tucson on January 8, 1873 for a six to eight week legislative session. … Read More


1875 30 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1875, Behan's wife Victoria filed for divorce, complaining that Behan "at divers times and places openly and notoriously visited houses of ill-fame and prostitution at said town of Prescott." … Read More
1877 32 Years Old Behan moved for a time to the northwest Arizona Territory where he served as the Mohave County Recorder in 1877, and then deputy sheriff of Mohave County in Gillet in 1879.
1879 34 Years Old 1 More Event
He represented Mohave County at the Tenth Arizona Legislative Assembly which met beginning January 6, 1879 in Prescott.
Behan was counted in the 1880 census in Tip Top, Arizona as a saloon keeper. … Read More
It is not known how Marcus and Wyatt Earp began their relationship, but at some point in 1881 they began having a relationship. … Read More
1882 37 Years Old 1 More Event
In September, 1882, after the Earp Vendetta Ride, Behan had a feud with his own deputy, Billy Breakenridge. … Read More


1886 - 1890 4 More Events
1891 46 Years Old After 27 years in Arizona, Behan moved east, and in 1891 was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and by 1892 was in a commission business in Washington, D.C. He worked in various government and commissary capacities to the end of his life.
1893 48 Years Old On July 3, 1893, he became an Inspector at Port of Customs at El Paso, Texas.
1894 49 Years Old On March 12, 1894 he received a 50% pay increase and was elevated to the position of Chinese Exclusion Inspector. (Behan had been a founding member of the "Anti Chinese League" in Tombstone). … Read More


1897 52 Years Old In 1897 he worked in the U.S. Patent Office, until at the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, Behan volunteered for and became corral-master or quartermaster at Tampa, Florida.
1900 55 Years Old When this conflict ended, trouble in the Far East began, and in 1900 he served overseas during the Boxer Rebellion.
1901 56 Years Old In 1901, after the war ended, he returned to Tucson where he became the Business manager for the Tucson Citizen. … Read More


1908 63 Years Old While in El Paso during 1908, he campaigned for sheriff but lost. … Read More
1911 66 Years Old During 1911-12, he was head of the commissary for the Arizona Eastern Railroad.
1912 67 Years Old 1 More Event
Behan died at St. Mary's Catholic Hospital in Tucson, Arizona on June 7, 1912. … Read More
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