The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 
 Thomas James “Bear River” Smith

Thomas James “Bear River” Smith

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 2 Nov 1870 (aged 30)
Dickinson County, Kansas, USA
Burial Abilene, Dickinson County, Kansas, USA
Memorial ID 4356 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Western Lawman. A former New York City Policeman, he left the force in 1868 to take a job as a law agent for the Union Pacific Kansas Rail Line and was commissioned a Deputy US Marshal in 1869. In the spring of 1870, Mayor Theodore Henry of Abilene, Kansas, was desperately seeking someone as an effective peace officer to deal with the city's unruly crime rate. On June 4, 1870, Smith was hired as the police chief of Abilene and by himself was the entire police force. He immediately enforced a city ordinance prohibiting anyone from carrying guns in Abilene and then began to banish all the undiseribles from the town. He frequently went out of his jurisdiction to arrest horse thieves and retrieve stolen live stock. On November 2, 1870, Smith was sent to a farm 12 miles outside Abilene, to arrest Andrew McConnell and Moses Miles, who were charged with murdering John Shea, a local farmer. When he arrived at the farm to serve the warrant for the arrest, McConnell shot Smith in the chest. Smith returned fire wounding McConnell before falling to the ground. Lying wounded, Moses Miles then truck Smith with his gun, grabbed an axe and killed him. McConnell and Miles escaped, but were captured in March, 1871, found guilty of murder and sentenced life prison terms. In May, 1904, the citizens of Abilene posted an enduring reminder of gratitude for the service of their martyred marshal after his body was exhumed for re-burial in a more prominent place in Abilene's Cemetery.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Thomas James “Bear River” Smith?

Current rating:

49 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 13 Jan 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4356
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas James “Bear River” Smith (12 Jun 1840–2 Nov 1870), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4356, citing Abilene Cemetery, Abilene, Dickinson County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .