George Scarborough

George Scarborough (October 2, 1859 - April 5, 1900) was a cowboy, lawman, and possible outlaw (disputed) who lived during the time of the Wild West. He is best known for having killed outlaw John Selman, killer of John Wesley Hardin, and for his partnership with lawman Jeff Milton, with the pair bringing down several outlaws during their time together.

Early life, controversial killing

George Scarborough was born in Louisiana. His family moved to Texas, where for a while he worked as a cowboy. In 1885, he was appointed sheriff for Jones County. He would later work as a Deputy US Marshal in and around El Paso, Texas. On June 21, 1895, while working alongside El Paso police chief Jeff Milton, Scarborough shot and killed Martin McRose, a Texas rustler. McRose is buried near John Wesley Hardin, and Texas Ranger Ernest St. Leon. Jeff Milton was Chief of Police in El Paso at that time, and Scarborough was a US Marshal. McRose had been captured, and was killed while being brought back from Mexico by the two lawmen on an outstanding warrant. Outlaw and gunman John Wesley Hardin claimed that he had paid Scarborough and Milton to kill Martin McRose. Milton and Scarborough were arrested, but Hardin later withdrew his comments and the men were released.

Scarborough became well known for his unusual tactics when tracking a wanted outlaw. Often, he would drop himself down to the level of those he was pursuing. This tactic was extremely effective, and made him a feared man among the outlaw element. There have always been rumors indicating that Scarborough was at times involved in unlawful actions. However, there is no definite evidence of this. In July, 1898, Scarborough and Milton tracked, shot and captured outlaw "Bronco Bill" Walters, killing another member of Walters gang, and scattering the rest from their hideout near Solomonville, Arizona. In late 1899 and into 1900, Scarborough pursued the Burt Alvord gang. The beginning of the gangs end came during a February 15, 1900 gunfight between five of the gang members and Jeff Milton in Fairbank, Arizona, during which gang member "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop was killed, and both gang member Bravo Juan Yaos as well as Milton were wounded.

Killing of John Selman

On August 18, 1895, lawman/outlaw John Selman shot and killed John Wesley Hardin in the back of the head while Hardin was standing at the "Acme Saloon Bar" in El Paso. Scarborough had long been feuding with Selman. The latter had shot and killed a Texas Ranger named Bass Outlaw on April 5, 1894, who was a close friend to Scarborough. Selman had been tried for the shooting, but found not guilty.

In reality, Bass Outlaw was not innocent in his own death that night. Intoxicated, and having already been ordered by Selman, a constable at the time, to return home and sleep off his intoxication, after he had verbally threatened to kill a local judge, Outlaw instead visited a brothel then a saloon. He became involved in an argument with Texas Ranger [ Joe McKirdict] , who was attempting to talk him into leaving. Outlaw shot and killed Ranger McKirdict, then turned on Sleman, who engaged him in a gunfight. Selman was wounded twice, in the thigh, and Outlaw was killed. So despite Selman being unpopular, his being found justified in the shooting was sound.

On the second anniversary of his friend's death, Scarborough called Selman into the back alley behind the "Wigwam Saloon", the two men argued and began fighting. Both drew their guns, and Scarborough fatally shot Selman. Due to Selman's bad reputation (a known rapist, murderer, and cattle rustler) Scarborough escaped punishment. Scarborough then moved to Deming, New Mexico, where he worked as a gunman for the Grant County Cattlemen's Association. He was also associated with the arrest of Pearl Hart.


On April 1,1900 Scarborough was involved in a shoot-out with George Stevenson and James Brooks. He killed one of the men, but during the shootout he was shot in the leg and was taken back to Deming where he had his leg amputated. He died four days later - coincidentally six years to the day after the death of his friend Texas Ranger Bass Outlaw and four years after he shot Bass' killer, John Selman.


*Tombstone of Martin M'Rose

*Tombstone of George Scarborough

*El Paso, Texas Police Department

*"George Scarborough: the life and death of a lawman on the closing frontier"by Robert K. DeArment

*"Fearless Dave Allison: Border Lawman"by Bob Alexander

*Scarborough Family Genealogy

* [ Western Outlaws]

* [ Scarborough]

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