Pueblo County, Colorado
Patrick J. Desmond

Contributed by Karen Mitchell and Jean Griesan. Photo by Floyd Kelling.

Patrick Desmond 1841-1890
Patrick Desmond, a native of Ireland, came to America when a young man and worked his way westward. He arrived in South Pueblo in 1873 to operate a hotel. He became South Pueblo marshall, deputy sheriff, and member of the Rocky Mountain Detective Association. Desmond probably apprehended more suspected criminals than any of his peers in Southern Colorado in the 1870's and 1880's. He also engaged in numerous successful business enterprises, including a livery stable, employment service, and saloon. Incidents resulting from an uncontrollable temper, fueled by liquor, were frequent. In one instance, he beat the daylights out of a South Pueblo newsman who wrote something with which he disagreed. Desmond moved to Ogden, Utah in 1889 and was shot to death March 1, 1890, in a saloon which he owned. His body was returned to Pueblo and he was buried alongside a son and a daughter who had died from diphtheria in April 1882.

The above-named gentleman was born in the county of Cork, Ireland, in 1841, and is a distant relative of the Earl of Desmond, with whom his father was imprisoned by the English Government for opposing its measures, and by it had his property confiscated, which left him unable to obtain for his children the school advantages he otherwise would. Hence, the subject of this writing had only a slight schooling, and has had to win his own way in the world independent of a thorough education and influential friends, excepting those he has acquired by his individual efforts. Acting on the suggestion of a cousin, one John Buckley, a stockholder in the New Orleans Street Railway, he, in 1864, came to the United States. He stopped in Chicago, Ill., a year, went to Lake Superior where he worked another year, then to Oil City, Penn. From Oil City he went to Chicago with quite a sum of money, where he joined the Perry Guards, and crossed into Canada with the Fenians in 1866; he was in the fight of Ridgeway. He returned to Chicago and went out on the Chicago & North-Western Railroad, with bridge contractor Sherman, arriving in Council Bluffs, Christmas, 1867. As assistant wagon-master of a Government train, he left Council Bluffs for Fort McPherson. Forty miles from the celebrated Jack Morrow's ranch, on McFarlan's Bluff, the train was corraled by Indians, and escaped massacre through the arrival of a company of soldiers, who guarded it to Fort Sedgwick. There he was occupied for a short time in keeping the fort in meat by hunting antelope. From Sedgwick, he made an important trip to the North Platte for a load of Spencer carbines. He stayed in the Government employ till 1868, plying between Forts Sedgwick, Sanders, Laramie and Fetterman, doing different duty, as freighting, helping to protect apostate Mormons from the Mormon Church authorities, and others from Indians, having many fights with them. He left the employ of the Government in 1868, and entered the service, as watchman of freight, of Wells, Fargo & Co., between North Platte and Julesburg, and was at Julesburg when the Indians attacked the station and burned the stations between that place and Denver. Leaving Wells, Fargo & Co., he went on the Union Pacific Railroad as detective, remaining on it until it was finished to Corinne, Utah; then went to Omaha, St. Louis and Chicago—being comfortably well off financially—on a two-months' visit. In 1869, he went to Fort Hays, beginning work on the Kansas Pacific Railroad as foreman for Messrs. Fields & Jones, and acted as such until that road was built to Kit Carson, a place which, besides being a railroad terminus, was a frontier rendezvous for desperadoes and other rough and lawless characters. To ferret out and arrest them, needed a man of shrewdness and courage, and Mr. Desmond was selected as such a man by the Sheriff and Justice of the county, and appointed by them Constable and Deputy Sheriff. He appointed Thomas Smith his assistant, and captured many of the gang of roughs, ridding the place of the dangerous element which infested it. In order that the reader may get a correct idea of the death he continually faced, it is incidentally remarked here, that Smith was since Marshal of Oberlin, Kan., and in the discharge of his duty had his head completely severed from his body by an ax in the hands of an outlaw. Fields, in a partnership with a Mr. Hill, took a contract to grade a portion of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, and sent to Kit Carson for Mr. Desmond to come to Denver and again be foreman for them, which he did, staying with them until the road was built to Colorado springs. The road being built no further for awhile, he, wishing not to be idle, took several teams he owned and joined the bridge builders and returned to Denver. Becoming tired of living in Denver, he went to Golden and opened a restaurant. From Golden he went to Georgetown, where he engaged in mining. In 1873, he went to Denver again, and from there to South Pueblo and leased a hotel. Soon after arriving at the last-named place, he was appointed Constable and Marshal, and holds these offices at the present time. He has been a member of the Rocky Mountain Detective Association for a number of years.  History of the Arkansas Valley, Colorado O L Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1881

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