Wild West Book Review: Robert Havlin Paul | HistoryNet MENU

Wild West Book Review: Robert Havlin Paul

By Gregory Lalire
1/11/2018 • Wild West Magazine

Robert Havlin Paul: Frontier Lawman, the Arizona Years

 by Roy B.Young, Young & Sons Enterprises, P.O. Box 759, Apache, Okla., 73006, 2009, $29.95 (plus $4 shipping and handling)

 Author Roy B. Young, who doubles as editor of the Wild West History Association Journal, has a family connection to Cowboy Frank Stilwell but says he is not anti-Earp or biased against Wyatt Earp’s friends. One of those friends, Bob Paul, is certainly worthy of the author’s respect. In 1872 Paul became associated with Wells, Fargo & Co., first as a shotgun messenger and then as a detective. About six years later, the company sent him to Tucson, Arizona Territory, where he would also serve as Pima County sheriff and U.S. marshal for Arizona. Almost all contemporary descriptions of Paul were complimentary. For instance, a Tucson paper in August 1884 said, “It is men like Bob Paul who have made Southern Arizona a comparatively safe place of residence and have taught robbers the terrific force of the law.”

Although Paul spent his early career as a lawman in California, Young’s book deals only with his Arizona activities (promising a second volume about Paul’s California days). In chronicling Paul’s life, the author relied heavily on contemporary newspaper articles and avoided most secondhand information. The first mention of Paul’s detective work in Arizona came in a letter from Wells Fargo chief detective James B. Hume to his future wife; on Thanksgiving Day 1878, Hume and Paul were chasing stage robbers about 30 miles from Prescott, the territorial capital. Although Paul was elected Pima County sheriff in January 1881, the election was disputed, and Paul couldn’t start performing his duties until May. In 1882 he tried without success to get old pal Wyatt Earp into custody in Arizona (after Wyatt’s famous vendetta had forced him to flee the territory), but Paul was still re-elected sheriff that November and again in 1884. In March 1890, Paul took over as U.S. marshal for Arizona, serving until May 1893 and continuing to show his passion for justice. He died in 1901. This 172-page gem is limited to 500 copies.

 

Originally published in the December 2010 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here

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