Marcellus E. Joyce, Union spy during the Civil War and well-known journalist of this day, presided from 1867 to 1868 as justice of the peace for most of the western Kansas. "Chief Justice" Joyce legends unanimously suggest that he frequently made bizarre interpretations of the law. When W.A. "Medicine Bill" Comstock, noted frontier scout, pleaded guilty to a murder charge in 1868, Joyce reportedly said he was a fool for admitting it and discharged him for lack of evidence. During the controversial period in 1869, when J.B. "Wild Bill" Hickok served as Ellis County Sheriff, Joyce again acted as Justice of the Peace and presided at the inquest over Sam Strawhim who Hickok killed on September 27, 1869. Joyce's courthouse stood on this site.
Hays City, Kansas