Lawman killed in 1913 gets ceremony and headstone

Memorial » Deputy tracked outlaw who killed 4 other officers
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A riderless horse carried Old Glory, seven riflemen fired three volleys, and a bugler blew taps. Ninety-six years gone, Salt Lake County's Sheriff's Deputy James Douglas Hulsey finally got a grave marker.

On Nov. 29, 1913, Hulsey was gunned down near what was the town of Bingham at the foot of the Oquirrh Mountains by a notorious desperado known as Red Lopez.

Four other Salt Lake County lawmen met their fate that week from the barrel of Lopez' gun. The outlaw made a clean getaway.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder called Monday's ceremony a "bittersweet occasion."

"Law enforcement officers ... take risks to protect our society and culture ... and the very life we enjoy," he said. "We need to open our hearts and reopen the wounds and think about their sacrifices."

In December 1913, Hulsey was given one of the biggest funerals in Bingham history, according to Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby, a former cop. About 500 folks from the raucous mining town gathered to praise and mourn him.

He was then laid to rest in the lonely Bingham Cemetery west of Copperton and promptly forgotten.

Until now.

About 100 people, mostly affiliated with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, gathered Monday to dedicate a headstone and to memorialize the officer who lost his life in the line of duty.

The private Utah Law Enforcement Memorial organization raised the funds for the marker.

Hulsey's exact whereabouts in the cemetery aren't known, Kirby, a part-time historian, told the gathering.

At one time, Hulsey may have had a wooden grave marker. If so, it's long gone.

But it's important, Kirby said, that those officers who "gave all their tomorrows" for their communities should never be forgotten.

Deputy Randy Lish, also a member of the memorial organization, said Hulsey was a fine cop and excellent tracker who led lawmen back to Bingham to find Lopez.

The events were ignited when Lopez killed a Bingham man on Nov. 21, 1913, and fled, Lish recalled for those gathered Monday.

A posse followed him to Saratoga Springs in Utah County, where Lopez set an ambush. Bingham Police Chief J.W. (Billy) Grant and Salt Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Nephi S. Jensen rode into the trap. Another deputy, Otto Witbeck, who rushed to aid the downed lawmen, also was shot dead.

The last member of the posse, Deputy Julius Sorensen, rode away for help.

Some 200 lawmen joined the manhunt that eventually came back to Bingham, where Lopez had holed up in a mine tunnel. The posse tried to smoke him out. But when Hulsey and Special Deputy Vasso Mandarich pushed a mine car filled with hay kerosene into a tunnel, Lopez killed them both.

Unknown to Utah authorities -- who put a $3,000 price on Lopez' head -- the desperado slipped out of a hidden tunnel entrance and made his way to Texas, where he continued his killing ways.

In 1998, Lish began to seek Lopez' fate and four years later got the answer: The desperado was shot down in 1921 by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who gained fame in 1934 as the lawman who got the outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.