Sheriff Peter R. Lanahan
Peter R. "Rattlesnake Pete" Lanahan (18??-1871) - In 1861, Lanahan was employed by the Quartermaster’s Department at Fort Hays, Kansas. On February 22, 1868, he was hired as a city policeman for the newly incorporated Hays City, a position he held until August, when he returned to Fort Hays. In August, 1869, he went to work for James B. "Wild Bill" Hickok as a deputy, but In November, ran against the infamous gunfighter in the Sheriff's election. Defeating Hickok, Lanahan assumed the new position in January, 1870 and Wild Bill moved on. However, some of the rowdy crowd of Hays City were none to happy at the replacement and soon began to plot an assassination. On the night of July 16, 1871, several of these assassins started a fight in the Tenth Street Saloon, knowing that Sheriff Lanahan would come running. When Lanahan arrived an tried to stop the violence, he was shot twice in the chest for his efforts. The Sheriff was then taken to his quarters in the court house and tended to by a doctor, but he died a couple of days later.