Map of Los Angeles, California circa 1880


1848: Mexican American War ends 1850: California Joins the Union 1853: Murder of City Marshal Prompts the LA Rangers. 1860: William Warren arrives to Los Angeles. Civil War begins. 1865: Civil War ends 1869: LAPD is formed 1870: First official agency line-of-duty death

It is important to know what the current events of the times were.  Why would Marshal Warren hire a former member of a gang?  Why did the marshals during that epoch catch runaway Chinese prostitutes for the pimps?  What was the mind state at the time?

The Mexican-American War ended in the year 1848.  There was an influx of settlers for the next two years.  Mexican settlers established in the Paredon Blanco area, known today as Boyle Heights.  Chinese families, who were the core of the labor for the trans-continental trains, settled in the downtown area.  Today the area is called Chinatown

            Then you had the White population who in their own eyes, fulfilling Manifest Destiny, hence travel westward was…frankly…their duty.  49-ers arrived for the gold rush.  All the while the Native American population continued to diminish. 

            The two years following the end of the war saw a frenzy of people, cultures and different political views fill the west coast faster than a police force could be established.  Lawlessness, vigilantes and mayhem was the norm in the newly acquired land.  In 1850 California joined the Union as a free state. 

            Three more years of lawlessness passed.  In 1853 Los Angeles’ 2nd City Marshal, Jack Whaling, was killed.  This prompted a man by the name of Dr. AW Hope to start the Los Angeles Rangers, as you read in chapter-4.  Marshal Trafford was the city marshal when William Warren arrived to Los Angeles from Michigan in 1860.  He served as then Marshal Trafford’s deputy Marshal from 1865, when the Civil War ended, until 1869 when an official police force was formed.  This is why Warren Marshal was considered the 1st LAPD line-of-duty death. 

            Joseph Dye arrived to Los Angeles before the end of the Civil War.  He was part of a gang called the Mason Henry Gang.  They were basically violent criminals with an agenda to make California part of the Confederacy.  When the country became slave-free, Joseph Dye worked as a tracker. His jobs included tracking down criminals for different city marshals. One of these expeditions was a job he did for the sheriff of modern day El Monte, California.  He tracked a horse thief all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah.  Word got around of his tracking skills and this impressed William Warren

In 1869 the Los Angeles Police Department was formed.  Led by William Warren, he chose 6 officers to help him lead the newly formed organization.  He was given $50 for furniture and supplies plus a $25 monthly stipen for rent. 

In 1870 William Warren met his death by the hands of his own deputy, Joseph Dye. 

And so the story goes…