By Mick Woodcock
William Owen “Buckey” O’Neill was born February 2, 1860, likely in St. Louis, Missouri, to Irish immigrant parents. In 1879 he came to Arizona, and after stays in Tombstone and Phoenix, arrived in Prescott in 1882. He was nicknamed "Buckey" for betting heavily in faro games, (called "bucking the tiger" for the tiger illustrations on faro cards).
During sixteen years in Prescott, O’Neill worked as a court reporter, editor of the Arizona Miner and editor and publisher of Hoof and Horn—a paper devoted to the Arizona cattle industry. Elected Yavapai County Probate Judge and School Superintendent, Yavapai County Sheriff and Tax Assessor and Mayor of Prescott, Buckey also ran unsuccessfully for territorial delegate to Congress.
In 1884 Captain W. F. R. Schindler was posted to Fort Whipple, bringing his wife, Rosalie and daughter, Pauline, who taught elementary school in Williamson Valley. O’Neill first saw Pauline at a traveling medicine show and wrangled an introduction. When Pauline married O’Neill in April 1886, her husband announced his happiness in Hoof and Horn, prescribing the “right kind of girl” as what every man needed to keep his head above water.
On January 1, 1889, O'Neill became Yavapai County Sheriff. On March 20, four bandits robbed the Atlantic and Pacific Railway’s eastbound passenger train during a wood stop at Canyon Diablo, which was within Yavapai County at the time. Sheriff O’Neill formed a posse to arrest them. By April 15, he was back with four prisoners after a chase that led into Utah.
Jan 31, 2023
By Mick Woodcock
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