The Amarillo Pioneer

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Rosser's Ramblings: Friends

by Trent Rosser

Joe was just a regular cowboy. He was born on January 11 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. He was the 6th of 11 children and just like Doc Holliday, he also studied medicine. He studied in New Orleans whereas Holliday studied in Philadelphia.   He wanted to become a cowboy so he went west. He went on to become one of John Chisum's best cowboys. He worked as a line rider. He was also used as protection against cattle thieves in that area. Joe had a couple of riding partners but after they both were killed by Indians, he decided to quit. Chisum, (not wanting Joe to quit) refused to pay him so Joe stole 3 horses, a couple of saddles and a rifle. Chisum’s men soon caught up with him and after explaining what had happened, they agreed that he had the right to everything that he took and they let him go. Joe made his way to Arizona.

While in Arizona, he met a man named Charlie. They quickly became friends and they went into business together. They started a cheese factory on the Gila River. Business was good so they needed to hire a new person to help. They hired Will. Unfortunately good things must come to an end and in the spring of 1876 they closed the cheese factory. Joe and Charlie packed up and moved to Ruidoso. While in Ruidoso, Joe married Marie Antonia Miguela Herrea. A few years later Charlie married Marie's sister so Joe and Charlie became brother-in-laws. Joe ended up having 10 children.

Joe was involved with many posses to arrest horse thieves. He and Charlie lynched some of the ones that they caught. But in 1877 he was arrested for suspicion of harboring a fugitive. After days of being tortured by the new sheriff, he was finally released. In October of 1877 one of the men he was in jail with stole some horses, so Joe went off in pursuit of them. Joe was able to locate them but was unable to regain the horses that were stolen. Joe became deputy sheriff and actually led a posse that included his old friend Charlie and his old employee Will. During a “raid” of the posse, Joe ended up having being removed of his position of authority and he was replaced.  He was also issued a warrant for his arrest for murder. He was soon captured and was held in custody with Will for murder of many different men. June 17, 1879, facing extradition, he and Will rode out of town and the sheriff did nothing to stop them. Later in August, Will and a few others stole some cattle from John Chisum. Knowing what lengths that Chisum will go through to get cattle thieves and rustlers, Joe warned Will  and Charlie, then left and headed towards Texas.

Charlie and Will continued with the wild ways and with a new sheriff coming down on them, they decided to ambush the sheriff. After the gun battle, most of Charlie and his friends escaped, but now they were wanted men. The only one that was safe and clear was Joe, who was away in Texas. Just recently married Charlie wanted to get out of this way of life and join his old friend and brother-in-law back in Texas.  December 23, 1880 just two days before Christmas, while holed up in a rock house in Stinking springs, Charlie stepped outside to feed the horses and his body was riddled with rifle fire from the sheriff and his posses. Later that day, Will gave up and was arrested by the sheriff, but his friend, and former employer Charlie Bowdre was dead. Less than a year later, Will- aka, Bill- Billy the kid- was ambushed and killed in the same town by the same sheriff that he tried to ambush just before Charlie was killed, Sheriff Pat Garrett in the town of Fort Sumner. 

Hundreds of miles away, Joe, aka Josiah “Doc” Scurlock is an upstanding and highly respected citizen of Potter County, Texas and is running the mail station. He survived the rustling of John Chisum horses, saddles and rifle, he survived the battle of Lincoln when he was the leader of the “Regulators”, and he survived being hunted as an outlaw while riding with his friends Charlie Bowdre and Billy the Kid. In 1884, Pat Garret, was the newly appointed Lieutenant in the Texas Rangers, stationed just outside of Potter County. Not wanting to be around the man that killed his friends, and could possible try to kill him, Josiah Scurlock moved to Eastland, Texas. Within a year, Pat Garrett resigned his commission and returned to Roswell, New Mexico. Josiah “Doc” Scurlock, died on July 25, 1929 at the age of 80 years old. He was the last of the “Regulators”, from deputy sheriff to outlaw to a mailman in Potter County, Texas.

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