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Dennis W Dilda

Georgia, USA
Death 10 Feb 1886
Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona, USA
Burial Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona, USA
Memorial ID 122605646 · View Source
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Dennis W. Dilda was legally executed by hanging, in Prescott, Arizona Territory, for the murder of Deputy John M. Murphy. Deputy Murphy was the first Yavapai County lawman killed in the line of duty, his headstone marker says he died December 27, but all media accounts say it was December 20.
Dilda was reported by media to have been 'of small stature, and was possessed of a rathe pleasing countenance". He and his family had been living on a farm they rented from J.B Williscraft, at Willow Creek, just northwest of Prescott. Williscraft had left some of his possessions stored at the farm, and discovered them missing - along with the old hired hand James 'General Grant" Jenkins. Williscraft filed a complaint, and Deputy John M. Murphy was sent to serve the warrant. Dilda's wife, Georgia Anne, told Murphy that her husband was away, and would be home later. When Deputy Murphy went back later that evening, she told him her husband still was not home, so Murphy went to leave the property and was shot in the back my Dilda, who had been hiding behind the fence. Dilda then forced his wife to help him drag the body into the house and drop it into the cellar, where he buried Murphy. A search party sent out the next day, not only discovered the body of Deputy John Murphy, they also discovered the body of the hired hand, buried in the field.
Dilda had already fled, but a large posse led by Sheriff Mulvenon caught up with him in Ashfork, Arizona Territory, and arrested him without incident. He was taken to the jail in Prescott, Arizona Territory, where he stood trial, was found guilty, and hanged.
Dilda's last request had been that his wife be allowed to collect his body. After he was pronounced dead, his body was taken to the same cemetery in Prescott, where Deputy Murphy was buried, and buried in an unmarked grave, until his wife could arrive from Phoenix to claim it - it is doubtful she ever did.
In an interesting side note, reported by all of the media at the time, later to be famous Sheriff Buckey O'Neal fainted dead away, when Dilda's body dropped through the trapdoor of the hanging platform.
In an interview given shortly before his hanging, Dennis W. Dilda said he had been born near Atlanta, Georgia, and that his family had later moved to Raccoon Mills, Georgia, where they still resided.
He moved to Texas, where he married his wife in Lamar, Texas. He killed a black man, but was aquitted after eluding arrest for two years. Another young man disappeared from the area, and it was generally thought that Dilda had murdered him also. He later moved to the Salt River Valley area of the Arizona Territory, with his father-in-law, William A. Patterson. He was suspected of the disappearance of his wife's brother during the two year period they lived there, before moving his family to the Yavapai County area, less than a year before committing his final two murders.
Dilda's wife, Georgia Ann Patterson, later remarried twice. Her second marriage was in Buckeye, Maricopa Co.,Arizona Teritory,to Ben Anderson on March 26, 1888. Her third marriage was to George Hamlin. According to the Social Security Death Index, Georgia Hamlin (maiden name Patterson) died March 14, 1954 in Los Angeles, California.
Dennis Dilda had a son named Jesse, who got into his own trouble as a boy in Maricopa County, AZ. Jesse and another boy were thought to have been involved in shooting another boy in the leg, but both boys were backed up by alibis by several of their friends.

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  • Created by: Red Dirt Surfer
  • Added: 1 Jan 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 122605646
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dennis W Dilda (unknown–10 Feb 1886), Find A Grave Memorial no. 122605646, citing Citizens Cemetery, Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona, USA ; Maintained by Red Dirt Surfer (contributor 47702356) .