Yeah maybe. Or could have been a deputy. I'm helping a niece with this and sometimes it comes down to family oral history, her recall is sometimes being a little different than what we find.
There is something to the tale somewhere, because I'd more recently found another married-into branch of that local family, West, I think it was, with the same story! I believe he was a named-for: Anderson Peeler WEST. Seems I recall that one hightailed it for California. Don't recall what timespan that would have been in, could be a little more recent.