Tombstone Sheriff Badge
Tombstone Sheriff Badge
acrylic on shaped panel with inset letterforms
24 inch diameter
Jim Sweazy, 2013
This is a Pop Art sized replica of Johnny Behan's badge. The original badge was formed by hammering an old coin, cutting and shaping it, then using a nail or pick to tap in the needed letterforms. Makes a nice addition to Cowboy Culture displays.

So why didn't Behan back the Earp's play at the OK Corral? Well, Behan was a Democrat, and the Earp brothers were Republicans. At the time these terms were not related to deadlocked political parties! Democrats wanted stronger state control, and liked traditional agri-business, such as farms and ranches. Republicans were in favor of more federal power, and felt that the new-fangled industrialism was the economic answer.
Behan, appointed by the governor of the territory in the Prescott capitol and backed by ranch owners around Tombstone, had no problem with the Cowboy's business of selling cattle to feed the miners, in spite of the fact that most of the cattle were rustled from northern Mexico. (Back in the day, being referred to as a "Cowboy" was not a compliment.) The Earps were backed by the more well-to-do townspeople, and owned a mine and several local businesses. They increased their power by becoming federal marshals.

Add to all that the fact that Sadie Marcus, described by 
Bat Masterson as the “belle of the honkytonks, the prettiest dame in three hundred or so of her kind” (a sly reference to her work as a prostitute), had left Johnny Behan and was then cavorting with Wyatt Earp (later to be Wyatt's common law wife for 46 years), and there you go.
This is the second version in a series. Custom sizing is available.