Turns out, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may not be the toughest sheriff after all.
Catherine Jones, born in 1879, was Cave Creek's deputy sheriff beginning in the mid-1920s and made her mark — sometimes literally. "Cattle Kate" was among the harshest gunslinging law-bringers of all time, according to Cave Creek Museum executive director Evelyn Johnson.
Jones wasn't known for her mercy, but she did have some creative ways of enforcing the law in her area. In one instance, Jones shot off the ear of a moonshiner to prove a point rather than just arrest him.
"When people would get a little too rowdy at the local bars, she would chain them up to a tree to let them get sober overnight," Johnson says. "Of course, back in those days, a lot of our wildlife wasn't too afraid of people, so they'd be out there trying to fend off all the rattlesnakes, coyotes, and more."
When Jones wasn't targeting moonshiners or indirectly torturing unruly drunks, she had another passion that most people take for granted these days: getting the mail.
According to Johnson, the rumor is that Jones would drive down to Phoenix to get the mail every day — but she may not have been the safest driver. Since Cave Creek Road wasn't paved at the time, people had a saying, "If you see a cloud of dust, get off the road, it's Catherine Jones."
Until Jones died in the 1970s, she could be seen wearing her gun belt everywhere she went, including to church. To this day, many believe that Jones represents the somewhat lawless and Western feel of Cave Creek better than anyone else throughout history.