University of Arizona

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Papers of the Behan Family

Family Member Riding a Mule

The Behan family were a prominent pioneer Arizona family in public service and law enforcement. John Behan (1845-1912) was County Deputy Sheriff of Tombstone, AZ from 1879-81 and went on to become the first County Sheriff of Cochise County upon its creation in 1881. Behan served as Sheriff in several other Arizona counties, as well as a Chinese Inspector from 1896-97. His government services took him to work in Cuba during the War of 1898 and to China during the Boxer Rebellion. Lastly, he settled as the business manager of the Tucson Citizen in 1901-1911. His son, Albert Behan, worked for the U.S. Customs Service along the Mexican border from 1913-28.

This collection includes personal and official correspondence, financial records, notes, a photograph album, and other personal photographs relating to Behan’s family life—including his sister, Julia Behan, and her family. Also present in the collection is his diary documenting his time as a Chinese Inspector in which he describes his railway travels, expenses, and inspections. Along with the diary there are account books and other journals from Albert Behan’s customs work.