The law comes to Newcastle

April 30, 2015

After watching western movies and TV shows, one might believe that justice in the “Old West” (Tombstone or Dodge City) of the 1880s was meted out by stints in territorial prison, hangings, or gunfights with marshals Wyatt Earp or Matt Dillon.

The process of law was very different in Newcastle, however.

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The mining community of the early 1880s had a well-established legal process of constables, courts and justices of the peace, as well as a practical system of crime and punishment based on fines rather than imprisonment. A coal miner in that period might make only $2 or $3 a day and the loss of those earnings was a big motivator to follow the law. Read more