Upton County, Texas


Burton Alvord (1866-?)in Arizona, is a little known lawman and later outlaw of the Old West, who witnessed the Gunfight at the OK Corral at age 15.In 1886 he began working as a deputy under Cochise County Sheriff John Slaughter.

Alvord quickly proved to be an able lawman and tracker, assisting in the capture and or killing of several rustlers and outlaws from 1886 to 1889. However, his reputation soon began to suffer when he showed a weakness for consuming alcohol and becoming drunk. Frequenting saloons in and around Tombstone, he began to keep company with outlaws and gamblers, and when Sheriff Slaughter reprimanded him, he quit.

Throughout the 1890s he worked as a lawman in several towns, to include Fairbank, Arizona and Pearce, Arizona. By the turn of the 19th century, Alvord had formed a gang with outlaw Billy Stiles. The two began committing armed robberies in the Cochise County area of Arizona. In 1900 Alvord was captured, and taken for holding in Tombstone. Stiles went to visit Alvord, and pulled a handgun, shooting and wounding one lawman, allowing Alvord and 24 others to escape.

Alvord and Stiles again began committing armed robberies, this time while being pursued by the Arizona Rangers. In December, 1903, both Alvord and Stiles were captured, and again they escaped. Alvord decided to attempt to fake their own deaths by using the dead bodies of two Mexican men. It is unknown as to whether they killed the two Mexican men, or exhumed the bodies from graves. Either way, they sent the bodies into Tombstone, with news that it was them who had been killed. However, upon examination of the human remains in the coffins, the Arizona Rangers concluded that the two were still alive.

The Rangers tracked them into Mexico, and trapped them near the village of Naco in February, 1904. In the shootout that followed, both Alvord and Stiles were wounded. Alvord spent two years in prison, being released in 1906. He then traveled to South America, where he was last seen working as a canal employee in Panama in 1910. His whereabouts afterward are unknown.



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