by Jeannette Reed and Diane Vaughn
Andrew Jackson “Johnny” Moore is another of Arizona’s infamous lawmen or “Peace Warriors.” Johnny Moore is one of the few true romantic figures that link our wild west past with the staid and law abiding present. Larger than life, strikingly handsome, tall in stature, Johnny stood out donning a black ten-gallon western hat when not attired in his police uniform.
Johnny was born June 24, 1875, in Prescott, Arizona. His parents died when he was very young, his mother in 1883 and his father, Jack Moore (also a lawman) in 1885. Johnny had no other relatives to care for him, so he was forced to survive on his own at the tender age of ten. Despite the odds, he became a self-made man, enviable by most.
Johnny began his career in law enforcement as a deputy for Sheriff Orme in 1897. During his first year on the job, he captured a Mexican outlaw in dramatic fashion after becoming embroiled in a running gun battle where thirteen shots were fired. Johnny ultimately captured the outlaw hiding under a bed in his own house. As a lawman, Johnny was committed to enforcing the laws of the area and protecting the citizens of Phoenix from the outlaws that roamed the West.
Like many young men of
the time, Johnny was quite an accomplished horseman. When the Spanish-American
war began in 1898, he eagerly joined the Army and served as an Army Packer. He
was stationed in the Jefferson Barracks in Missouri from May 14, 1898
to August 28, 1898, until he contracted Malaria. Johnny was discharged from the military due to his health and returned to Phoenix. In 1899, Johnny married Ida May McCullough of Phoenix. The couple made their home on West Moreland street.
Johnny resumed a career in law enforcement in 1900 after being appointed a prison guard in the town of Florence, Arizona. During this time, he became a highly respected member of the Fraternal Order of Knights of Pythias, an organization established following the Civil War dedicated to the cause of universal peace. Johnny remained a prison guard until 1902 when he returned to Phoenix and joined the Phoenix Police Department under Chief McKinney. Although it was just Chief McKinney and Johnny who comprised the department at the time, the Phoenix Police Department was beginning to expand. Additional officers were added to the force in the coming years.
Johnny Moore dedicated his life to public service in the Arizona law enforcement profession. When the official Police Department became operational, he was the driving force in making sure the laws were both enforced and observed. His dedication and skill catapulted him to the top positions within each of the agencies he served.
One of Johnny’s natural talents was his keen investigative ability. His skills led to the capture of many infamous criminals. He worked closely with the Attorney General, George Purdy Bullard, who was then the District Attorney. Their combined talents ensured the service of justice was consistently bestowed upon the land.
To exemplify Johnny’s proficiency, just prior to 1905 he masterminded a brilliant piece of detective work that netted the capture of murderer Florentine Sanchos. Sanchos had killed a man for a mere fifty cents. When Sanchos went to trial, he received a twenty year prison sentence which was attributed directly to Johnny’s expert investigative abilities. In 1905, Johnny also captured a crook named Hernandez and his accomplice. The two had robbed the Hammond place of $700 in jewelry, which Moore later found in a river bed, along with other items taken in the crime.
Johnny was elected to the office of City Marshall on May 11, 1907 and continued to be hold the same elected office until 1913 when he became Chief of Police for the City of Phoenix where he served for seven years.
As Police Chief, Johnny encountered many hazards, but one event that occurred on September 16, 1912 by far illustrates the lawlessness of the time. Johnny and three of his assistants were handling a disturbance which began in a saloon during a Mexican celebration. After safely lodging six or seven of the combatants in jail, Johnny was seriously injured after one of the detainees stabbed him three times. Johnny’s condition was critical in the initial period following the attack, but he made a full recovery. It was later revealed that a thick packet of letters which he had in his shirt pocket spared his life.
In 1924, Johnny ran for and was elected to the office of Maricopa County Sheriff, where he served out a two year term. In 1933, he was re-hired by the Phoenix Police Department and he continued to work for the organization until his death on September 14, 1939, which occurred while he was vacationing in California.
Johnny was buried in Greenwood Memorial Park in Phoenix, Arizona under the auspices of the benevolent and protective order of the Elks which he had been a member of for years. Following his death, Johnny’s wife continued to live in Phoenix.
Johnny’s passing brings to a close the saga of yet another infamous Arizona “Peace Warrior.” The legacies of both Jack & Johnny have been permanently inscribed in a chapter of history of Arizona.