Type of Officer: Sheriff
Jurisdiction: Ellis County
Death Date: 7/18/1871
Added to Memorial: 1987
Circumstances of Death: Gunshot
A former deputy of Wild Bill Hickok, “Rattlesnake Pete” Lanihan (or Lanahan) defeated Hickok in the sheriff’s election of 1869. Evidently, Lanihan’s election upset some criminal elements and it is conjectured that they plotted to “set up” the new sheriff. On the night of July 16, 1871, a fight started in Henry “Dog” Kelley’s saloon, and when Lanihan attempted to stop the disturbance, he was shot twice. He died of the wounds within two days.