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 Jefferson Davis “Jeff” Milton

Jefferson Davis “Jeff” Milton

Birth
Marianna, Jackson County, Florida, USA
Death 7 May 1947 (aged 85)
Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: 32.21864 N -111.13060 Near original parking lot of the Old Tucson Movie Studio near Tucson, Arizona. This info provided by Tombstone Historian Ben Traywick.
Memorial ID 17966830 · View Source
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Frontier Lawman. Jefferson Davis Milton was the youngest child of fourteen children of Florida Governor John Milton. He had a sad childhood being four-years-old when his father committed suicide after the Confederacy had lost the war. The governor left his wife Caroline Howze with several young children to face the hardships of living on their huge plantation, the Sylvannia in Jackson County, FL, in a war-torn state without slaves to work the fields. Since the Milton family was now penniless, young Jeff Milton did not receive the formal education, which his older siblings were offered. At the tender age of fifteen years old, Jeff Milton left home and headed west for a better life in Texas. First, he was a helper in his older brother's store then he was a cowboy on a ranch. It was at this point his long and successful career in law enforcement began. At the age 17 years, Milton stated his age was 21 to become a Texas Ranger where he quickly mastered the fast draw with a handgun. Standard weapons were issued to each new ranger, but Milton decided to use a .45 single action for his handgun, and he did for the rest of his life. After about 4 years, he drifted through west Texas to southern New Mexico as he continued his career as a Deputy U.S. Marshal, sheriff's deputy, police chief and in other law enforcement positions. In March 1887 he accepted a post as a mounted customs inspector on the Arizona-Mexico border with the duties of making one-man patrols of the desert close to the border. Later he became a cattle rancher, prospected for gold and was a railroad conductor at one point before returning to law enforcement. In the Texas frontier town of El Pasco, Milton took the position of sheriff in 1894 and had to deal with the outlaw John Wesley Hardin, who had been documented to killing at least 50 lawmen. Knowing Milton history as a fast gun, Hardin just handed over his gun, as he would not gamble his life to fight Milton. This lawman was quoted, "I never killed a man who didn't need killing, and I never shot an animal except for meat." As with other lawmen of this era, he was accused a couple of times of not being fair in a gunfight but was never arrested. Bringing the law to the wild west was no easy task, and Milton had to use his gun often bringing down such outlaws as Bronco Bill" Walters, "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop, Bill "Kid" Johnson, and "Bravo Juan" Yoas. In 1900 a train robber wounded the Wells Fargo guard Milton in his left arm leaving it disable for the rest of his life. In 1904 he accepted the position as Border Agent to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act for the Immigration Service at the appointment of President Theodore Roosevelt. He patrolled the borders between Mexico and the United States for the next 28 years apprehending smugglers, illegal aliens and other outlaws who crossed this lawman's path. This was before the present day Border Patrol was organized. Today, U.S. Border Patrolmen recognize Jeff Milton as their hero, and he is known as "the first Border Patrolman." He continued with the agency until he was 72-years-old, when he was forced to retire due to federal job cuts of the Great Depression. Milton did marry in 1919 to Mildred Taitt of New York, but never really settled down to a "stay-at-home" married life-style. Dying at home at the age of 86, Jeff Milton lived a long and productive life. After his body was cremated, his ashes, without any traditional religious service, were scattered over his beloved Arizona desert.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: C. Fahey
  • Added: 17 Feb 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17966830
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jefferson Davis “Jeff” Milton (7 Nov 1861–7 May 1947), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17966830, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a 32.21864 N -111.13060 Near original parking lot of the Old Tucson Movie Studio near Tucson, Arizona. This info provided by Tombstone Historian Ben Traywick..