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    The Old West: I.D.'d Arizona Rangers Badge. There is little Arizona Rangers material in the market. They were a para-military organization recruited as peacekeepers in mines and saloons of the Arizona Territory, as well as curtailing cattle rustling. This 6-pointed silver badge measuring 2.75" across is inscribed on the back: "B. Webb." We believe it belonged to William W. Webb, a cowboy who had served in Tom Rynning's troop of Rough Riders during the Spanish-American war. Rynning was appointed Captain of the Arizona Rangers in September 1902. He shortly thereafter signed on Webb and three other recruits. Like most other recruits, Webb did not stay for the full one year enlistment period. Being a ranger was a dangerous profession and the turnover, as well as the fatality, rate was unacceptably high. Webb was not welcome at the Cowboy Home's Saloon in Douglas, operated by Lorenzo "Lon" Bass. Bass told Captain Rynning that he'd kill Webb the next time he poked his nose into the establishment. That confrontation occurred on February 8, 1903 when Webb and another ranger arrested two rowdies. That evening, shots were fired and Webb and Ranger Lonnie MacDonald went to investigate. A face-off with Bass took place and, in the resulting confusion, Webb shot and killed Bass, with officer MacDonald being wounded. He was indicted for murder five days later (the Cowboy Home's Saloon accidentally burning down the same day) and sent to Tombstone for trial. A four-day trial resulted in Webb's acquittal, aided by Captain Rynning's diagram made on the day of the murder. Regarding the badge, the members of the organization typically had to provide their own equipment, horses and firearms. A new law enacted in March 1903 authorized a doubling of the fourteen-man force and increased salaries. Pack animals were sold off and the money forwarded to the territorial governor for a Ranger Fund. "Twenty-five silver badges were handcrafted, each one a five-point ball-tipped star with 'Arizona Rangers' engraved in blue on the front," according to Bill O'Neal's reference book "The Arizona Rangers." This book contains several pictures of Webb and fellow rangers, armed with rifles and wearing badges. This badge was obtained by the consignor around forty years ago from a Dublin, Ireland badge collection. As stated, it is inscribed on the reverse with the name of the owner, "B. Webb." We note the addition of the period after the last name, a practice consistent with turn of the century writing. The signature closely resembles examples of Webb's signature seen on copies of his enlistment and discharge papers (included in this lot with copies of 1903 newspaper accounts of his trial and acquittal). It does not have a pin attachment, but a bolo-tie style bracket. There is an impressed "hallmark" with Roman numeral IV, "85." and "U.M.C." (perhaps Union Metallic Cartridge). The badge exhibits random scratches and evidence of wear... strong evidence of authenticity. It has been shown to the leading expert of such items who, despite some anomalies, feels it is real. He suggested it may have been custom-made for Webb for a Frontier Days celebration in the early 1920's. Webb was a Private in the Rangers and, as such, did not have his rank marked on his badge.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    11th-12th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 730

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