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Constable Court Services Media Source 12/30/2022

  Written by Constable Court Services


In order for you to have clarity, there are some things you need to know about skip tracing and its origin. In this article, we will give you a profound look at skip tracing from what it was to what it has become. 


The legacy of the cowboy ERA is the period in history that ranges from 1865 to the 1900s. This began with the loring of the people from the  13 original colonies to the open Old Wild West which is deeply rooted in American culture because of the famous cowboys and the authors who immortalized them and the actors who made them real.


Upon completion of the railroad after the civil war, the south was still densely populated with Federation Troops aimed at making sure the confederate army would never gather again with the intention to revolt against the people and or any of the African American former slaves or indenture Asian servant living in the southern region. Propaganda of prosperity began to spread from the Chinese railroad workers and the Spanish Vaqueros, who worked as rustlers driving cattle long distances. The Spanish Vaqueros were the first cowboys, as they would slaughter bison and buffalo on their journeys across the barren straight leaving the meat of the bison to rot and using the fur from the carcass for coats and blankets.


The American Indians were already settled in the baron straight but choose not to disturb the land by industrializing the open frontier. Contrary to what is written, the American Indians were a very resourceful and industrialized people. The American Indians chose to use only what they needed to survive on the land. Their villages had running water systems, heating systems, and lighting at night. The candle wick system is credited to them, but what we are here to learn is the history of skip tracing. Therefore, the American Indians were the first trackers on record. As keen hunters, they used their resources to track buffalo, bison, deer, mountain lions, man and so much more. Although the tools of their day were primitive, it’s preposterous to try and use those same tools today to accomplish the same task at hand. No one would position a stick in the ground to tell the time of day, or glass angled at the sun to start a fire, or footprints on the ground to tell the direction of travel., even though those methods still work.


The early Caucasian Settlers started to spread west and forced settlement on any and every territory revealing a water source. They built towns and cities and created laws to govern their way of living. The newly formed U.S. House of Representatives incorporated the idea of Sheriffs and Marshals to govern the territories as lawmen. These lawmen would form bodies of men to help enforce laws and capture men on the run as fugitives from justice. Sheriffs and Marshals would often employ Indians to track fugitives.


Around 1861, The US Congress came up with the Bounty System that was originally used to entice enlistees into the army. From 1861 – 1865 the US Government paid out around $750.000.000, which led to massive abuse of the system as soldiers entered quickly and left shortly thereafter receiving the $100 bonus. In 1917 the Selective Service Act was created to recruit soldiers for a three to four-year period, giving enlistees $300 for three years and $400 for 5 years of service. The army ran and controlled everything dealing with our system of justice before 1873. If a felony crime was committed before 1873, a Sheriff or Marshal could summons the army to assist in the capture of fugitives as well as forming a posse comitatus (body of men).


It is important to understand the history of bounty as it plays a significate roll in the capture of fugitives up to this present day and time. With the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, Congress decided to restrict the use of federal soldiers to be used to capture fugitives who had broken local and state laws. Thus, came the restructuring of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and the 8th amendment.


Congress expressed bond would not be excessive and that certain crimes concerning life and limb would not receive such a bond. The act also defined the responsibilities of the surety agent and their right to bring back the prisoner dead or alive. The law states that the bondsmen, whether it be he or she is legally allowed to pursue the defendant into any building, including private property to regain custody of the fugitive. The offenders of that time were crafty and dangerous. Few ordinary men would participate in posses because the hunt was brutal and grueling causing them to be away from home for months on end. These long endeavors took away the time that family men needed to farm their land. Thus you have Bail Bondsmen Agents becoming the new trackers and skip tracers

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