The Hurley Jails
The first Hurley jail was a little two-cell 8 x 10 brick, steel and concrete building with steel doors. It was built just back of the Company store across the tracks. The first sheriff and deputy were the famous Wright brothers, Luther and John. The first Justice of the Peace was the chief mail clerk, Dave Boise.
The rough element of a boom mining town was very much in evidence and included floaters, panhandlers, stock promoters, hoboes, gamblers and job seekers. Violators of the law were jailed at night. Employees unfortunate enough to be caught in the net of minor infractions were released the next morning in time to go to work. Others were held for a JP hearing court that was held after work, every evening. Those sentenced to a fine were released on payment of fine. Those sentenced to jail terms, or bound over to District Court, were sent to Silver City by buggy.
By this time the Company began to hire the best peace officers available. Among them was the famous, (?) Red Schrimpshire, who was first hired by Charlie Recanzone as house officer. Later he was head of the Chino police force. Another noted man was Jesse Stansel, a famed officer from El Paso. Also, the noted El Paso detective Claud Smith; Layman Garrett, brother of the famous Pat Garrett; John Armstrong from West Texas; Bill Carrigan, Elmo Murray and Johnnie St. John. During peak times in Hurley, the Company maintained a large force of competent officers, especially during World War I.
In due time the little red brick jail was replaced by a larger one back of the butcher shop, across the tracks. It had four cells with bunks, a gun room where Chino housed their machine gun, rifles and ammunition. It held the police headquarters, JP office and court room. Hurley’s first elections were held there after statehood in 1912. It became the City material yard and storage area.
Note: The doors of the Hurley jail were donated to the JW Art Gallery in Hurley. Stop in and ask for a tour of the original Hurley Store, built in 1910 and to see the second Hurley jail doors.