Johnny Behan

First Sheriff of Cochise County Arizona Territory
Born Oct 24, 1844

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 24, 1844 in Westport, Missouri in what is now Kansas City, the third of nine children. … 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 - 1869 4 More Events
1871 26 Years Old 1 More Event
Victoria and Johhny had a son, Albert Price Behan, born in Prescott on July 7, 1871 or 1872 (d. … Read More
1873 28 Years Old 1 More Event
Behan was elected to the 7th Arizona Territorial Legislature, which met in Tucson on January 8, 1873, for a six- to eight-week legislative session. … Read More
On September 28, 1874, Behan was nominated as Sheriff at the Democratic convention in Yavapai County.


1875 30 Years Old On May 22, 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
1876 31 Years Old 1 More Event
In April 1876, Johnny became the census marshal for Yavapai County and spent several weeks covering the district and completing his census chores.
1877 32 Years Old 1 More Event
In January 1877, he was selected as sergeant at arms for the Ninth Legislative Assembly while it met in Tucson.
1879 34 Years Old 1 More Event
He was elected to represent Mohave County at the Tenth Arizona Legislative Assembly, which met beginning January 6, 1879, in Prescott.
On June 2, 1880, Behan was counted in the 1880 census in Tip Top, Arizona as a saloon keeper. … Read More
On February 1, 1881, during the vote counting investigation, the eastern area of Pima County containing Tombstone had been split off to form the new Cochise County. … Read More
Behan's posse never caught up with the much smaller federal posse. The Earps left Tombstone under a cloud of suspicion. Sadie left Tombstone for San Francisco in early 1882, and Wyatt Earp followed her to San Francisco, where they began a lifelong relationship that lasted 46 years. … Read More


1886 - 1890 4 More Events
1891 46 Years Old After twenty-seven 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 percent 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 1 More Event
In 1901, he was living in Willard's Hotel at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.. … 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. … Read More
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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