By the middle of the 1880s, the American West was filling fast. Although the game of gold had not yet crossed the Atlantic, California was prospering through its fourth decade of statehood. The boundaries of states and states-to-be
of the nation largely were scribed. The boundaries of states where in American exceeded ten stories, but the Brooklyn Bridge was nearing completion, and well over a hundred thousand miles of railroad stitched together a union of fifty-five million Americans. Geronimo, symbolic of aboriginal resistance, had not yet surrendered. Already there were a million and a half Texans, and the population center of the United States was traversing Ohio, hurrying to Illinois.
On a four-color map ambitiously published as a companion to the leather-bound Elliott’s History of Arizona Territory 1884, the cartographer dutifully located literally hundreds of places of occupation: the territorial capital of Prescott, the Spanish pueblo of Tucson, the fabulous silver strike dubbed Tombstone, and the paddle wheel steamship port called Yuma. And not so obviously, the map maker also entered a dot for each and every tiny Charming Dale, Fort Defiance, and Chloride City.
Yet, in all the expansive watershed of Cherry Creek and other drainages associated with Pleasant Valley and Tonto Basin, in a stretch of country encompassing some five thousand square miles and more--not one settlement was deemed worth of inclusion in the map of 1884. Not one.
Even the minute names tucked into the perimeters of the Tonto country
were tentative: Green Valley then, to become Payson later; Robinson’s Grove, doomed to be drowned by another generation’s irrigation reservoir; Forest Dale, not even to appear on a future official map of Arizona. This was the arena of the bloodletting that would begin as the Graham-Tewksbury Feud and end as the Pleasant Valley War.
On a enormous scale, the setting was mindful of a geographical poker
table: a horizon-wide sensuous green circle around which growing communities of gigantic ambition pulled up chairs for no-limit jackpot. Globe could have tossed in the first ante from its tall stacks of silver and copper chips ("...in 1886 the camp bragged that all the copper coins minted by the United States Government were being made from bullion extracted at Globe.") Phoenix was more adept at dealing docile desert Indians out of their water rights; Prescott, wise to the worth of fawn skin sacks of gold dust, knew more of price than value of humanity; into another seat slumped Holbrook, reeking of cheap whiskey and cheaper perfume; most of St. John created wealth from communal sweat, but one element got rich financing at a premium a government purposely balanced on the brink of bankruptcy.
The economic stakes were enormous for Tonto Basin, of greater area than
some Atlantic states. By the time the last hand was dealt, the gamble attracted distant players--Albuquerque and Salt Lake City and Tucson and Los Angeles, for example--and kibitzers even father off like San Francisco, Tacoma, Dallas, Boston, and Washington.
Pleasant Valley was settled late for good reason. The broad, open avenues easily sprawled east-west across Arizona, north-south travel would remain comparatively adventuresome even into an era when men frolicked on the moon. When Kearny’s dragoons dashed from Santa Fe to San Diego in 1846 to secure the Southwest for America, they descended the west-flowing Gila River. When surveyors sought ways to turn wheels between California and the national middle, an attractive option was a vast chord of the Colorado Plateau that forms the northern one-third of Arizona. Again, the gentler natural grades extended east and west. Those back-and-forth sweeps, difficult though they were, were the logical routes for troops, forty-niners, mule-skinners,
camel-drivers-drivers, and track-layers.
Not so easy was travel aligned with the compass needle. Beaver trapper James Ohio Pattie called Grand Canyon "horrid." He wanted to get across. The two-hundred-fifty-mile-long abyss so thwarted explorers, the Colorado River through the Inner George wasn’t navigated by white boatmen until after the Civil War. The other grand-scale geographical feature oriented east-west was the abrupt southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The Mongolian Rim confronted travelers not only with its own series of immense canyons, but with rocky ramparts extending nearly from Arizona’s Grand Canyon deep into central New Mexico. Little wonder that Coronado, testing a northward path
through Arizona in 1540, called it "a way worse than ever."
Hard to get to. That was the reality of nineteenth-century central Arizona. The tablelands perched at five, six, seven thousand feet, with peaks above twelve. The escarpment of the Mongolian Rim here and again plunged fifteen hundred feet. Passes were few. Pleasant Valley--pristine and prime--was positioned almost dead center in the transition zone from rim to the low-lying
In a day’s ride, a horseman experienced the climate change from Mexico
to Canada: cacti to conifers, roadrunners to snow geese, sand dunes to cinder cones, dust devils to driving blizzards, putrid pot holes to springs nectarous as chill wine, buried firewood to mile-high seashells, day lit desert mirages to magnified nighttime starscapes. In such a topographical spectrum, one could make a list of two hundred species of bird and six hundred kinds of plants. Included in forms of life would be a rat that never drinks, a dwarf cactus sitting atop a hundred-pound bulb, a giant cactus that sucks a ton of water from a summer shower, a toad that sleeps a year, a poor will that hibernates with bated breath and heartbeat, a lizard that blows up like a balloon, and symbiotic moths and lilies.
Yet another extraordinary life form worked its will through Pleasant
Valley as late as the 1880s. While foreign players shuffled themselves hands in the Tonto Basin play, the wild card for a while remained the wily, wiry, whimsical Apache. They were not a chivalrous enemy. When the Christian Cline family drove in one of Tonto’s first cattle herds from California, they passed the startling figure of a white man, quite dead, lashed to a tree, his penis amputated and stuffed in his mouth.
The Apaches themselves were relative newcomers--southwestern people
for only a few centuries. Of Athabascan lineage, the Apaches drifted down from the north and appropriated as hunting grounds the upland home of less aggressive tribes. Evidence of human occupation for thousand of years, prehistoric ruins dotted the cliffs and vales of Pleasant Valley.
Ceding of lands by Mexico to the United States meant nothing to the
Apaches. "No Indian had more virtues and none has been more truly ferocious when aroused." Apaches knew every arbor and gulch of their broken, varied range. They were as at home on the desert floor as in the "steepest, highest, rockiest mountains where one would not believe a bird would dare to fly." By the time Americans moved in, the Apaches represented the most effective human resistance form West Texas to Central Arizona, from Colorado to Chihuahua. Few homelands were as highly prized by the Apaches as the Eden white men
began to call Pleasant Valley.
How was Pleasant Valley named? The conventional assumption: "descriptive". Perhaps, although no shred of written record seems to survive to support that theory. There does repose in the National Archives a map of one of the early United States cavalry sorties from Fort McDowell, September 27-October
6, 1866. This bold invasion of Apacheria crossed to the eastern drainage of Tonto Creek and pushed due east from "North Masatzal Mtn.," probably Mount Ord. The scale and geometry of the hand-inked map suggests a penetration of thirty or forty miles beyond Tonto Creek along such long-forgotten landmarks as "Bedrock Creek" and "Mt. Titty" and curiously, "Crescent Cr." running through the large "Crescent Valley." The smudged and scratchy script of the anonymous army chart maker at some official level may have been misread as "Pleasant" instead of "Crescent," a supposition at least as valid as the wholly unsupported claim of "descriptive" for Pleasant. For Pleasant Valley was also crescent-shaped, and as long as the Apaches held
title, the valley was not particularly pleasant for white squatters.
Consider the agonies inflicted upon the Meadows and Middleton ranches. Neither family was first in Tonto Basin, but they both tried to take possession of a corner of Apache land before the original tenants were permanently evicted. The dire results made only minor footnotes to the larger saga: for three decades an Apache nation of five thousand disrupted the expansion of a nation of fifty million; toward the end of one of humankind’s classic guerrilla wars, a few hundred Apache braves were tying down one-half the combat troops of the United Sates. A general newly in command of these troops reported to Washington: "A more terror-stricken class of people than the citizens of these territories I have never found....
In the 1880s, banished to reservations headquartered at hot, dry San
Carlos and high, lonesome Fort Apache, the once free-roaming sub-tribes
chafed under the often-conflicting orders of the civilian Indian agents
and military commanders, restricted movement, a demeaning dole of marginal rations, corrupt white management, loss of choice lands, and forced residency with traditional Indian enemies.
Usually all it took to incite rebellion was a tiswin (intoxicating native drink) party, a hopeful dream of a medicine man, or an Anglo’s bad administrative judgment. All three factors--plus the heady power of several thousand rounds of stolen army ammunition--put Nan-tia-tish on the warpath through Pleasant Valley in the summer of 1881.
Six years earlier, on a small tributary of Canyon Creek near the western boundary of the White Mountain Apache reservation, William Middleton built a small log cabin with a shake roof and shuttered, unglazed windows. Middleton’s herd of milk cows from California may have been the first sizable herd in Pleasant Valley. For the Middleton butter-making enterprise, a log dugout milk-house anchored an angle of a fenced back yard.
Of twelve Middleton children, six younger ones still lived at the ranch. On September 6, all hands were busy with chores--rounding up horses, nailing together butter cartons, churning cream. Two young neighbor men, George Turner and Henry Moody, rushed in from Globe with news that Indian raiders were on the loose after a battle a field with soldiers, followed by an assault on Fort Apache. Though forewarned, most of the Middletons resumed work after their midday inner. A few Indians appeared. Peaceful conversation ensued: a wish to borrow a cook pot, a request for food. Mrs. Middleton was obligingly handing a loaf of bread through the milk-house window when
one of the braves yelled, "Now!" and a volley of rifle fire raked the yard.
Turner, walking to get a cup of buttermilk, fell dead. Moody, seated on the porch, also died instantly, a bullet in the eye. Father William Middleton and son Willis, thirteen, scampered from the milk-house to the main cabin. Eighteen-year-old Henry Middleton grabbed up the family’s only weapon, a rifle, and was looking for a target when another Indian fusillade peppered the cabin. A bullet zipped through a crack in the log wall and smacked Henry in the shoulder above the heart. Now Mrs. Middleton and the rest of her children fluttered across the courtyard through another volley and miraculously tumbled unhurt into the cabin. For the Middletons, there followed an afternoon of blistering battle, a harrowing night hiding in brush, a brutal hike to Globe. The raid cost the Middletons seventy-five
Late next spring, Henry Middleton’s shoulder was about healed when Nan-tia-tish again bolted the reservation, raided here and there, and again beset the Middleton Ranch, this time not only stealing the Middleton horses, but unmounting a heavily armed troop of the irregular Globe Rangers. That was enough for the Middletons, they moved to town and sold the ranch to George Newton and J.J. Vosburgh.
Now well mounted, Nan-tia-tish and company thundered through Pleasant
Valley. They stole more horses from the Tewksbury and Rose families. They surprised and slew prospectors (Charles) Sixby and (Louis) Houdon on Haigler Creek.
..."and attacked Bob Sixby as he was entering his cabin with a bucket of water. He was shot through the lungs but managed to bar the door and brace himself up against one of the gun holes of the cabin, put up a desperate resistance--pools of blood indicated that he killed no less than a dozen of the renegades".
Sixby survived, not so much by his grit than by pure chance. A trooper on the trail of Nan-tia-tish wrote in his diary:
"...the Indians rushed the cabin and set it afire, Instead of coming out, Bob Sixby clambered up inside the large fireplace chimney. H. Troop, also on the trail of the erring Indians, happened along and sighted the smoldering ruins of the cabin. The Indians had gone, thinking their victim had perished in the flames".
"In rummaging through the debris of the cabin we saw a movement in the fireplace and, on closer investigation ,we saw that it was a man wedged in the chimney. Only his feet were visible. We pulled him out with some difficulty. He came out fighting but soon heaved a sigh of relief when he saw that it was us rather than the Indians".
"...The Indians’ next stop was a ranch, owned by a Frenchman on Tonto Creek. The owner saw the Apaches coming and escaped to a hiding place on a nearby mountain side. He watched the savages set the buildings afire and saw all his belongings go up in smoke. He was lucky."
"...We found Houdon and (Charles) Sixby alongside the trail, about a mile from the Frenchman’s ranch...both men were naked, lying face up, and bore many marks of torture inflicted on them before they died. Their feet and hands were burned. One had a large rock on his stomach. The other had been hacked wide open...."
And so on. Nan-tia-tish could afford his own losses. By some official estimates he led as many as two hundred fifty adults on his rampage northward through Tonto Basin. The route of the raiders then aimed directly for the homestead of the John Meadows family near a Diamond Point some fifteen miles northeast of Payson.
More prudent Rim Country settlers had by now heeded the army’s advice
and retreated to Fort McDonald, a flat-topped hillock abutting the hamlet
of Payson. But assuming the danger past, Meadows took his wife, four sons, and daughter, and even a young woman house guest, Sarah Jane Hazelton, back to the Diamond Point ranch on July 14. Hard to believe, the Meadows family possessed perhaps only one and no more than two reliable firearms. Next day, according to Mrs. Meadows’oft-told account:
"It was early in the morning and we heard the dogs barking. My husband said, "My dogs are baying a bear, I’ll take my gun and go over there and kill it." I saw him pass that bare spot (a bit of open ground) and just as he entered those vines on the other side, the Indians opened fire. I saw him fall. He kept up
one continuous war whoop and a continual rain of bullets were falling on
the house and yard. The boys rushed out with guns to save their pa. The kicking up of the sand around them showed how thick the bullets were falling. I could not see how they got back to the house without being shot all to pieces. (Henry), the oldest, always directed all the works. He had us pile up sacks of flour or any other sacks in such a way as to furnish protection from any stray bullet".
":...During that time I was so excited...but I noticed that the boys looked pale. John came to me and said, "Ma, can you get me some splints"?
"Yes, what’s the matter"?
":My arm is all shot to pieces."
...A little later Henry came to me and said, "Ma, have you a pair of scissors"?
"Yes, here they are."
He made a quick movement and I saw something fall to the floor. It was part of his entrails. He said afterward that he knew he could not live long, and that he wanted to save his mother and the children before he passed on."
Thanks to a neighbor’s alarm, Payson learned of the siege at about the time another son, Charley, arrived on the Globe stage. Charley joined forces with Marion Derrick, veteran Tonto freighter and Indian fighter, and several other local men, including Carter Hazelton, to ride to the rescue. They reached the cabin about simultaneously with the cavalry, sixty loyal Apache Indian scouts, and their famous and infamous leaders, Al Sieber, Tom Horn, and Mickey Free.
Now in pursuit of Nan-tia-tish a formidable army converged. Feeling invincible, the defiant Indians dawdled along, but soon fifteen troops of cavalry were about to drum down upon them "like a lead storm". By the sixteenth of July, soldiers from five Arizona army posts pressed the renegades up the Tonto Rim on the Old Navajo Trail. Suspecting a trap at an ideal defensive position near General Springs, the soldiers set one of their own. With Major Adna R. Chaffee as battle commander, the troops on July
17 baited the Indians with a column of cavalry on white horses, and then
outflanked the distracted natives. In the ensuing close-quarter Battle of Big Dry Wash, the last significant pitched struggle of the Arizona Indian wars, Apache Fatalities numbered about twenty-two. On the army side, one Apache scout was killed and several soldiers wounded. Had a severe, high-country thunderstorm not obscured the battlefield for twenty minutes, Indian losses surely would have been greater.
The proximate cause of catastrophe is seldom anticipated. Neither are good times predictable. But gradually people realized that the days of Indian depredation were about done, and that Pleasant Valley again promised paradise. A few hardy individuals and families took the chance and did well. Then, word of the valley’s seemingly inexhaustible grass and timber spread. Settlement accelerated.
David Harer may have been the first to acquire a trouble-free
Apacheria meadow of his own, in Greenback Valley in 1875. He went to the Indians, made friends, promised to share his fruit and beef at harvest time, and kept his word. The Indians let him be. "Old Man" Gentry went Dave one better...married an Apache woman and gained the whole Athabascan race as in-laws. William Burch, in putting down roots in 1876, was so remote in the Payson area that his brand served as the only place name for a while. Not long afterward, David Gowan was hunting horses when he
stumbled onto quite a rock formation: Tonto Natural Bridge, the largest travertine arch in the world.
The Gordons came, froze out, and moved to a warmer clime, but their
name remained on a canyon. L.J. Horton’s rhapsodic recollection of Pleasant Valley’s early days literally sings of a land of grapevines and black walnuts, acres of wild iris and pools of watercress, flowing milk and free honey--and unflagging, neighborly dairy folks peddling butter at a dollar a pound and bee nectar at a dollar a quart to the well-paid miners of Globe. Dutch bachelors Louis and William Naegelin put their name on a rim-like mountain which would never be famous--yet taller than the highest elevations of thirty-six of America’s eventual fifty states. Lost in the Tonto country, Naegelin Rim, at 7, 117 feet above sea level, would qualify as a national park if it had occurred in New York.
Florence A. Packard earned his first Tonto Basin pocket money hunting mountain lions--for which the government paid him twenty dollars bounty each. George Allen, near the mouth of Tonto Creek, raked wild hay into windrows, and he milked a herd of Devonshire cows. Revilo (Oliver spelled backward) Fuller, as early as 1877, freighted off the rim into Tonto Basin by dragging a braking log on a chain behind his wagon. Christopher C. Cline, his five sons, and four hundred cows from San Diego caused a population explosion of both bovines and humans on the lower Tonto. Andrew and Samuel Houston, six miles east by north of Payson, felt bad when Old Man Star died, so when they fenced Star Valley they made sure the grave was on the cienega side and wouldn’t be trampled by livestock. Levi Berger had two partners at his spread on Little Green Valley: his brother-in-law,
and a bull brought all the way from England. William O. St. John, at his mining claim south of Payson caroused with his old army buddies, and built up a herd of goats to five thousand. J.H. Baker went up on Aztec Mountain, raised twenty-two tons of potatoes one summer, built a trail over a mountain range to Silver King, and sold the spuds for half a cent a pound. Ike Lothian, a Missourian, didn’t have any cattle in 1877, but he had two mules and a horse, so he plowed the virgin Strawberry Valley, brought off a bumper crop of corn, fed it to his hogs, butchered them, cured the meat, and packed it off for sale to several army posts.
La Tereatte, January, McDonald. The names of the Tonto were the roster of America. Roundtree, Freeman, Randall. They were English and everything else. Pyeatt, Haught, Nebuchar. The names went upon the peaks, and down the draws. Clark, Willis, Sanders, Gowan, Packard. Lemmings on the rebound from California, gone broke Oklahomans halfway to the Promised Land. Ashur, Sears, Mullen, Booth, Connelly. Many were Mormons far from a temple; some were Roman Catholics even farther from a cathedral. Conway, Protero, Boyd, Lawler. They’d drag all of their possessions to a clearing, raise a tent, and call it home forever. Dudley,
Felton, Watkins. Some had a belly-full of the war between brothers; other just wanted a Second Chance. Craig, Hicks, Weber, Vogel, Griffin. They had the peculiar courage to put down a dug well, straight side, and stand at the bottom staring up forty feet to daylight. Hazelwood, Armer, Crouch, Church, Drew, Nash, Haigler. Women brought rose canes, tomato seeds, and Kentucky pole beans in a sack marked hope. Cole, Chase Higden, Hill. Kids went to school by horse, with maybe a pistol in a saddlebag. Fisk, Stahl, Robbins, Donohue, Christopher. "The cowards stayed home," they’d laugh about their Eastern forebearers. "And the weak died on the way." Coler, McCliintock, Chilson, Lazon, Fain.
Irvin M. House began prowling the Tonto country in 1876 in search of
valuable minerals--and indeed he discovered the Golden Waif Mine four miles southwest of Payson. But his strangest assignment was surveying a Globe-Flagstaff railroad that put down thirty-five miles of track before the scheme went broke. Pyle, Gibson, Thompson. Al Fulton was a cowboy, just passing through, in September, 1888, and up on the Rim at Lake Number One he was shot and killed for no known reason. Folks buried him decent, and put up
a marker at Al Fulton Point. At least they remembered that he lived, and that he died. Peach, Gray Colcord. S. A. Haught said, "I started May 1, 1885, for Arizona from a point fifteen miles east of Dallas City, and was driving a hundred fifteen head of cattle. The Texas Panhandle had a quarantine on cattle south of the Texas and Pacific Railroad and I went through Indian Territory, thence through no mans’ land to New Mexico, crossed
the Rio Grande River at Albuquerque, then to Holbrook and Tonto Basin. It was four hundred fifty miles out my way...but I never lost a cow." Belluzzi, Packard, Boardman, Bonacker. They arose before daylight and made fire
and fetched water and slopped hogs and mended fence; they hitched teams,
trapped wolves, fought fires; they filled lamps, carried ashes, scrubbed
clothes; they watched their children die of diseases without names. Robbins, Webb, Bowman, See. They also experience autumn in the Southwest, about a mile high: seemingly overnight the aspen turned flaxen, sumac to scarlet, oak to russet, bulbous pumpkins and dry pole beans; chill mornings and shirtsleeve afternoons; goodbye white-wing doves, hello Oregon juncos; split cedar, smoked pork, apple butter. Isadore Christopher twice was burned out by Indians, and he rebuilt with logs chinked with clay and hog’s hair. Franklin,
Hilligas, Hise, Callahan. If life became unbearable, there was Pieper’s Dance Hall, an adobe saloon complete with gunports.
And if it should happen that you were Thomas Beach taking the hand of
Maggie Meadows, and Charley Cole marrying Julia Hall, in the middle of
an August day in Payson, and your new brother-in-law was the irrepressible Arizona Charley Meadows, he would announce to the wedding parties as they filed from the office of the justice of the peace:
It is my pleasure to offer, as my present to these newlyweds, that
if all the parties in attendance will saddle up with their lariats and
ride over my ranges, the brides and grooms can have any of my unbranded
calves you can catch.
Eehah! Bridal bouquets and wish book neckties were flung aside in favor of Stetsons and spurs. And away Payson rode in a twenty-mile calf scramble. By dusk, thirty-six head of Charley’s doggies were roped and branded as starter stock for the newlyweds. Then Payson whacked the dust from its britches and powdered its sun burnt cheek, and danced the night away. Any wonder that the first organized cowboy tournament, or rodeo, occurred at Payson to be repeated as the August Doin’s every year without fail for the next century and more?
When they came into the Tonto country, there were no subdivision plats, or boundary markers. Most of the convoluted panoramas would not be surveyed until after the turn of the century; not an acre of Pleasant Valley could be tired to civilization’s cornerstone: legal title to land. Newcomers attached to a relative or ally, looked about, espied an appealing dell, and moved in. Possession. Nine-tenths. By habit and handshake, metes would come together at three-hundred-year old oak trees, and bounds would take angle from Polaris, and length would derive from men’s paces. A corner could be a boulder in a creek subject to flood, or--where no natural feature existed--a spot of soil blackened by a huge bonfire.
Not until 1884 did Payson qualify for a post office, and that was a
hard, two-day ride by horseback from Pleasant Valley. Fifteen miles northwest of Payson was the nearest law: a lanky Missouri pig farmer and magistrate only marginally literate. The railroad along the Southern Route did not enter Arizona until 1880, was not completed until 1882. Several years later, far to the north the Atlantic & Pacific’s steel tracks energized four towns of note: the Holbrook shipping center, the Winslow railroad maintenance burg, the Flagstaff lumbering town, and the St. Johns county seat. Between,
on faith and sometimes flawed vision, the Saints from Utah designated their agricultural villages: Snowflake, Woodruff, Eagar, Shumway, Taylor. Mormon influence at St. Johns was a sometimes-thing, for adjacent Concho made headquarters for gentile sheep men and Hispanic herders. For some years after the railroad went by, the main street of St. Johns doubled as a demarcation--Mexicans
to one side, Texans to the other, and God help a Mormon caught in the middle. The cattle-ranching Greer family fought its own range war with sheep interests funded from New Mexico.
The convoluted trek of James Dunning Tewksbury to his Pleasant Valley
was both unique, and typical of late nineteenth century-westering. Perhaps of English or Welsh birth around 1823, and assuredly with a quintessential old English name, Tewksbury was a Bostonian who may have married his lissome Shoshone Indian bride when she was a student in an Eastern school. More likely, he was a bachelor Argonaut--maybe a forty-niner over the Oregon Trail, or as he told one man, one who came to the West Coast by sailing vessel via Cape Horn. In Oregon, a staircase of dark, clean-limbed, striking Tewksbury children were born. By certain recollections, the elder Tewksbury brought west his passion for breeding and racing fine horses. The Tewksbury
family in Oregon were considered propertied, wealthy, solid citizens, and
But Tewskbury’s foot itched. He cashed out in Oregon, and sought elsewhere his western dream. In San Francisco, Tewksbury, a devoted Mason, maintained membership in Mt. Moriah Lodge Number 44 from 1854 to 1866, when he withdrew and presumable moved on. He was a charter member in 1876 in a lodge in Battle Mountains, Nevada, where he listed his occupation, "miner." A man who knew the Tewksburys at the Western Pacific Railroad junction of Battle Mountain in 1872 was struck by the beauty of Mrs. Tewksbury and the handsomeness of the children: John about fourteen; Edwin, about twelve; James, about
ten; and Elvira, about eight. A younger son was Frank. Tewksbury and his older boys were regulars at the horse races, where they entered some of their own steeds.
Absent evidence, the cause of the Indian mother’s death is left to latter-day speculation. When grown, three of her children would die prematurely of tuberculosis--possibly she breathed into her offspring not only life, but death. Tewksbury seemed never to mention his first wife’s demise, but death set him drifting again, this time to Prescott, Arizona, in 1877. His children accompanied him.
No doubt his horses did, too. According to descendants, "James D. Tewskbury first saw the Pleasant Valley from the Mongolian Escarpment when he and a group of men were following a herd of stolen stock. Tewksbury’s party stopped there, deciding not to pursue the cattle. The stock would have been scattered among the trees, in the direction of the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
Not unusual for America and its western region, Tewksbury with a large
family of motherless youngsters, was attracted to a widow with a fatherless brood. The union November 6, 1879, of Tewksbury and Lydia Ann Shultes, a native of Wales and resident of Globe, was conducted before a justice in Tempe, where Lydia owned cattle. Lydia had three children by two husbands now deceased. In time, the offspring could be categorized "his’n, her’n and our’n". The vaunted Tewksbury reputation for conviviality got a boost from the reporter who not only covered the news, but made some:
Mr. J.D. Tewksbury was married at 4 o’clock p.m. yesterday afternoon to Mrs. Lydia Shultes. The ceremony was performed by Justice H. Dunham. After the wedding the company partook of a fine repast, and then adjourned to the schoolhouse where dancing was kept up until midnight. The Expositor man got into the fun about 8 o’clock and the way he made that schoolhouse floor quake was something new to Tempe’s terpsichorean bands.
For a while, the older couple resided in Tempe. The four Tewksbury boys took the horse herd to Pleasant Valley, and on a Cherry Creek site likely selected by their father, built a cabin and bunkhouse, corrals, a smithy and stables. The romance of the eldest boy, John, and Lydia’s daughter, Mary Ann Crigger, culminated in their marriage in 1882. But for the occasional Indian outbreak, the idyllic life sought by Old Man Tewksbury for his clan seemed within reach. He and Lydia joined the boys at Pleasant Valley. The first of two sons born to James Sr. and Lydia arrived in 1881. The family set out an orchard of clingstone peach saplings. Lydia’s green Welsh thumb
nurtured rose bushes that continued to bloom and bristle along fence rows
more than a century later. While work reigned as the universal human lot, at Pleasant Valley, a part spirit eased the toil.
James D. Tewksbury Sr., who had lived for many years in California
had grown accustomed to the Spanish custom of "Fiestas", and sponsored a yearly Fiesta at his ranch in Pleasant Valley. It was a gala affair, a beef was barbecued, horse races were matched and run, matched roping were the order of the day, dancing, feasting and an all around pleasurable get-together for the settlers of lonely and isolated Pleasant Valley. The men loaded their families in wagons and came from far and near, the women bringing their most prized gourmet dish, and a fabulous time was had by all....
Four tranquil and productive years passed. But according to pioneers G.W. Shute, a fateful meeting occurred in the summer of 1882. Pleasant Valley could be a boring backwoods for young people, and when relief from duties was permitted, the Tewksbury boys, by now in or approaching their twenties, would ride into Holbrook, Prescott, or Globe for a few days’ recreation. On the agenda: drinking and gambling in some of the better saloons. Edwin Tewksbury, lithe and swarthy, on such occasions affected starched shirts, tie pins, and gloves; the man enjoyed being clean and neat.
Ed Tewksbury left his mountain home and proceeded to the little mining town of Globe. Here, while walking up and down the single street that made up the business part of town, he met a tall, handsome young fellow who turned out to be Tom Graham.
Graham told Tewksbury that he was prospecting for a place to locate
a herd of cattle. Tewksbury told Graham of a wonderful place where he had his own range with the result that when Tewksbury returned to Pleasant Valley, Tom went with him....
Graham was greatly pleased at what he saw and stayed with the Tewksburys a few days, leaving with a promise to return as soon as he could with his outfit.
This tale "that passed from man to man during and immediately after the trouble" does not differ greatly from that handed down in writing from the pen of Mary Ann, John Tewksbury’s wife. Her version identifies Ed’s visiting Graham as John, not Tom:
...Uncle Ed Tewksbury met John Graham in Globe and Graham was looking for a location as he and his brother wanted to start in the cattle business. Ed told him about Pleasant Valley for at that time there was not many ranchers there. Graham became very interested and came out to see the valley, he liked it so much he went back to Globe and sent for his brother Tom Graham to come on as he had found just what they wanted. They met in Globe, they had some money, not very much, and they bought a small bunch of cows and drove them out to the valley and settled...
And so the Grahams staked a segment of the broad, open inclined main
valley, just a mile or two up Cherry Creek from their new friends the
Tewksburys. That close-knit clan sized up the Graham boys, helped them build their first shelter, and gave them sound advice in livestock husbandry. The Tewksburys agreed...it would be downright pleasure some, having some new neighbors.
IV. WHO ARE YOU HUNTING?
Cold Arizona Oxymoronic to the minds of many a newcomer, the hard truth hurt: Arizona winters bitterly chill the thin blood of unclimatized settlers. This country, which might swelter in 105 degrees in August, could drop below zero in December. At high altitudes, beginning usually in late autumn,
frigid air masses from the North Pacific rolled along the wind-raked rims
and soaked the shaded hollows and crept down chimneys into the very marrow. Marvelously adapted creatures, the nuthatches and the gray squirrels and the black bears might feast and frolic and slumber through frosty spells, but humans had no hair or humor for seasons that commonly shifted from balm to blizzard overnight. A mile above sea level, in central Arizona Territory, the winter if 1882-1883 helped establish the ever fresh paradox: Arizona, hot and dry, could in reality turn cold and wet.
It was the first winter in the Tonto wilds for Tom and John Graham. They had made their home in Pleasant Valley only since September. They new ninety-degree afternoons, tropical nights, and fruited morns of Indian summer. The indulged their doomsaying friends to the degree that the felled and squared great ponderosa pine logs and interlocked them around a little chimney. In these labors the Tewksburys helped. Then, one November day, winter mugged the Grahams--rushed out of the cedars and wrapped a soggy arm around their one-room cabin, and pierced their flesh with frost. Every small duty in the high country turned into a cold-fingered chore. The Grahams sought relief from the cabin fever of their simple hut; they relished the companionship, advice and aid of the Tewksburys, who by now oversaw a variety of houses, outbuildings, improvements. At Tewksburys’, too, resided attractive women and amusing children, elements altogether lacking in the Graham cabin. The Graham boys and the Tewksbury colony, day by day, forged friendships that with better luck, might have sustained shared dreams.
Tewksbury enterprises assured an abundance and diversity of food for
themselves and neighbors. Their bands of half-wild hogs provided sausage, bacon, lard. With Apaches, the Tewksburys traded for dried corn and beans. Apples, apricots, plums, cherries, nuts flourished in the Pleasant Valley climate. For enjoying fresh, for canning, and for bartering, the Tewksburys specialized in cling peaches. Coffee, sugar, tobacco, liquor, salt, flour from town spiced and complemented the cornucopia of the land. Much could be put by as jerky, dried fruit, dehydrated squash, cold stored roots an butter. If butchering a beef seemed too rich a luxury, the hunt began at a threshold: deer, elk, bear, rabbit, squirrel, beaver, coon, javelina, turkey, three kinds of quail, two of dove, duck goose. Streams ran with trout. Prospering amid plenty, the Tewksburys welcomed the new year of 1883 with the erection of a new house, a forge, extended corrals.
At mid-morning, January 12, all four Tewksbury brothers, John and Tom
Graham, and Mary Ann Tewksbury, busied themselves at the northernmost Tewksbury residence on Cherry Creek. They were chinking logs, brewing coffee, hammering metal...hardly preparations for trouble. But trouble, spelled Gilleland, was on the way.
John C. Gilleland, at age twenty-four, already qualified as a
genuine Tonto Basin pioneer cattleman. A refugee plowman from the black furrows of central Texas, John found footloose Arizona to his liking in 1879. He quickly hired on as a cowboy for James H. Stinson, the first American to run cattle in Pleasant Valley. Now well-off, Stinson kept his own comfortable home near lowland Phoenix, where his young stepson could go to school. Gilleland was entrusted with the day-to-day management of Stinson’s high country ranch and herds.
It’s likely that Elisha Gilleland on this day experienced enough true-West excitement to last him the rest of his life. Also from Texas, he was visiting his uncle, O. C. Felton, a prominent rancher at the confluence of Rye and Tonto Creeks. The younger, yearning for adventure, was handed off another fifty miles east by "Potash" ruiz to his older cousin, John.
The identity of Epitacio Ruiz was whittled in both directions. Arizona North American shortened his name to "Pitac," pronounced Pee-tass. That must have struck Texas emigres as a tad effete; the dubbed the hombre "Potash". Although bearing one of Hispanic Arizona’s venerable surnames (he himself wrote it at least once "Ruis" while Anglo officials spelled it "Ruiz"),
he generally was obliged by authorities and bosses to answer to the nickname Potash.
On a mission perhaps never to be certified, this unlikely trio arrived
horseback at Tewksbury headquarters. Mary Ann, John Tewksbury’s wife, whose decades of terror and tragedy were just beginning, swore later in court to facts here condensed.
Her occupation, "ranch woman". She knew John Gilleland and Potash. She was just stepping into the doorway of the old house, near a new house then under construction. Inside the old house was her brother-in-law, Edwin Tewksbury. When she first saw the Gillelands and Potash coming down the trail, Ed was affixing an explosive cap to a piece of fuse in preparation for blasting a foundation in the frozen earth for the forge. Ed immediately
went out to meet Gilleland. A sack of guns customarily hung above the door. She saw Ed take no firearms with him. She peered out the door, and from a distance of some fifty feet, heard Ed and John Gilleland "Talking very low--they did not seem mad. I then saw Mr. Gilleland drawing his pistol and fired. I got back into the house. I saw no more."
Assuming she told the truth, Mary Ann missed witnessing a real-life
scene that, as fictional drama, would mesmerize mid-twentieth-century American audiences over and again...angry men in confrontation...curses...hands groping for weapons...horses wheeling...guns blazing...blood flowing.
In a country eighty miles from the nearest telegraph line, a hundred
fifty miles from the closet rudimentary telephone, news of the shooting
traveled with surprising speed. No doubt by mounted messenger, the word flew across mountain ranges and canyons quickly and convincingly enough to cause the issuance of the following handwritten in ink:
-Territory of Arizona vs Tweks Berry + Tewks Berry / Warrant
Strawberry Valley Yavapai Co Arizona Territory Jan 14 1883 to Wm
Burch special Constable greeting Whers Complaint has been made
in this office by Wm Mc Donald against John and Ed Tweks Berry and
others charging them with Murder as hee Verily believes you are herby Commanded to Arrest them and bring them before me at my office in Strawberry Valley Yavapai Co A Y in this the said Tewks Berry and others are here by commanded to not Resist under the Penalty of law
Witness my hand and seal done at my office this 14th day of January
Issac Louthian J P
Pinecreek Precincit Yavapai Co A Y
The charge was murder. The dirty work fell to Constable Burch, in the first rank of Tonto Settlers. Two weeks went by, and Burch filed his written report--a remarkable document indeed--with Justice Louthian:
Having a warrent of Arrest for the Tewksberrys and others on a charge of Murder, acting as a special constable, I started with a force of nine men to make the arrest of the above named persons having proceded as far as within one mile of Hudon Ranch and a distance of nine miles from Feltons Ranch we met Felton Broide and others with their wounded young man that was supposed to have bin killed in the shooting affair at Tewksberys Ranch. Mr. Felton and Brody told to me that there was a force of armed men from 14 to 20 and was in a strong position of defence at Tewksburys Not having sufficient men to cope With the numbers reported there it was thought best to increase the number of our men strong enough to make the arrest in a few days after I returned with a force of 18 men found Tewksberys and others willing to submit to the Law.
Burch put down (rather causally and phonetically spelled) the
names of some of his posse: "Alfred Peach, Andrew Piatt, Poley Chilson, Enos Cole, Marion Deric, Henry Sidler, Wm Henry, Joseph Gibson, Epham Blake, John Davis, W Th Dickson." They brought in John James and Frank Tewksbury, and Tom Graham. But "Edward Tewksbery and John Graham could not be found. Was informed by the above named prisoners that they was on their way to Prescott to diliver their selfs to the Law".
From the considerable documentation surviving more than century following the Gilleland/Tewksbury gunfight--from a large body of country gossip--and from articles of faith indelible yet as erroneous as the report of Elisha Gilleland’s death--historians, descendants, and vicarious allies have derived a diversity of conclusions. At opposites:
* Gilleland-the-villain theory. Stinson knew his herds were being rustled, and he demanded that his foreman, John Gilleland, stop the thievery. Fortified with a few fingers of whiskey, Gilleland, known for his quick temper, mustered his adolescent nephew (so tender a foot that he had never so much as shot at a deer or turkey in all his life), and the vaquero Ruis into a hostile reconnoiter of Tewksbury headquarters. This troop, armed with two six-shooters and a small-calibre rifle in the hands of the boy, mounted up, rode to the Tewksbury ranch, and boldly inspected brands of animals penned in a Tewksbury corral within plain view of the Tewksburys and their cronies. Directly the Gilleland patrol walked horseback to the knot of men working at Tewksburys’. Unprovoked,
John Gilleland jerked free his revolver and snapped off a shot at Edwin Tewksbury. Tewksbury reacted in self-defense. He easily could have killed Gilleland and company. Instead, Ed drew his own pistol, which by chance reposed in his hip pocket, and elected to inflict relatively harmless wounds upon his tormenters.
* Tewksbury-the-villain theory. Elisha, newly arrived from Texas, nagged his uncle into leading a hunt for game. The men entrusted the lad with their only rife, of .22 calibre. They pursued a logical hunt down the Cherry Creek trail wending through Tewksbury headquarters, wished everybody a congenial good morning, and somehow inadvertently offended Edwin Tewksbury. Ed without provocation, cursed John Gilleland, and punctuated his
profanity with the contents of his revolver. The horsemen tried their best to flee. Only John Gilleland managed a few ineffectual shots in self-defense.
Variations of such themes soon appeared in news columns of journals
published in the nearest (yet decidedly distant) towns. Fair to assume, Stinson pressured the press of Phoenix and the Salt River Valley. Tewksbury backers had editorial friends in Globe. Newsmen, then as now, could be gulled by ruse and rumor. Among reports running through early 1883.
Word reaches us from Tonto Basin that two herders of Mr. Stinson
and the Tewksbug boys, herding for Mr. Stearns, had a row in which one
of the former was killed and another dangerously wounded.
--Arizona Gazette, January 15
A serious shooting afray took place in Tonto Basin on the 16th ins., between the Tewksbury boys and John Gillen and cousin. Gillen was wounded and his cousin, a boy, shot through the shoulder, the ball lodging in his lungs. The wound is mortal. The trouble was about cattle.
--Phoenix Herald, January 20
We learn that the shooting affray...is likely to lead to very serious trouble among the stock men, a number of whom are in pursuit of the Tewksbury boys with the intention of taking summary vengeance upon them, and the Tewksbury boys, have sworn that the matter should be settled without resort to the law, it is said, have decided that they will never be arrested. The probability is that there will be still more serious trouble.
--Phoenix Herald, January 22
THE TONTO AFFARY
The Statement Made by One of Mr. Stinsons’s Men.
In conversation with Epitacio Ruis, a Mexican, who has been in the employ of James Stinson, for the past nine years, we learn the following regarding the shooting affray which occurred between the Tewksberry boys and Stinson’s men, in Pleasant Valley, some weeks since. Epitacio say that on the Friday on which the shooting occurred, he and John Gilleland, who is also employed by Mr. Stinson, accompanied by Elisha Gilleland,
(a mere lad of sixteen years of age, who was visiting the place for the
purpose of hunting turkeys) started down below to look after the stock. When they reached the Tewksberry’s house they all stopped and John Gilleland bade the boys good morning. Ed Tewksberry, James Tewksberry, and one of their particular friends, Graham by name, were present. Instead of answering the salutation, Ed Tewksberry spoke up to John Gilleland, nterrogatively:
"You are hunting somebody"? to which John replied, "I’m not; I’ve lost no one". Simultaneously with this reply Ed Tewksberry pulled his pistol and remarking, "Well, I have, you thieving s-- of a b----," began firing. There at Ruis started to run, followed by the boy Elisha. John
Gilleland, however, pulled his pistol and twice returned the fire. Seeing his brother fall from the horse, and being seated on a colt that was plunging and pitching, and also having a painful wound in the left shoulder, he rapidly followed the Mexican. It is claimed that ten or twelve shots were fired, and as John Gilleland only shot twice, it is probably that Jim Tewksberry and Graham ran into the house, armed themselves, and then participated in the affray. Young Gilleland had a rifle and pistol, but never attempted to use either, being host in the back while attempting to get away. He is now hovering between life and death. A gentleman named Rose, living at Stinson’s, went down to Tewksberry’s after the shooting,
and they helped bring the wounded boy home. It was rumored that the Tewksberrys would resist arrest, and Constable Burch organized a posse of sixteen men and went to their house. Jim and two other persons were arrested, but Ed and Graham were reported as being in Prescott a few days ago, and it is very probably that they are also under arrest now. What makes the affair look worse is that there had been no previous quarrel between the parties. This version of the story, it will be seen, differs essentially from that published in our issue of last Saturday, by J.D. Tewksberry. The whole affair will shortly undergo official examination, pending which, suspension
of public judgment is asked.
(Adjoining column). James Stinson received a dispatch from Prescott to-day, stating that Ed Tewksbury was under arrest, and that the capture of Graham was considered certain.
--Arizona Gazette, January 30
Mr. J. Stinson left on this morning’s stage for Prescott, to attend
the preliminary examination of the parties concerned in the late shooting
scrape in Tonto Basin.
--Phoenix Herald, February 8
In due course, testimony of participants and witnesses was taken down,
the grand jury in Prescott returned indictments against John Gilleland and Epitacio Ruiz, and a trial went forth in Prescott. Some records likely were lost with their transfer to Phoenix, followed by a destructive flood. The case ended in acquittal.
Never published was the full statement obtained by Justice Louthian
of Pine/Strawberry. Apparently, Louthian himself journeyed some seventy-five miles back and forth in order to interview the wounded boy. Preserved in the Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott is Louthian’s labored handscript:
Tonto Creek Yavapai Co Arizona Feb 3 1883 the Statement of Mr.
Elisha Gilleland Not being able to appear at Prescott on account of
wounds recieved at Pleasant Valley do sweare this statement be the truthe. Borne in Texas age 16 sixteen years ocupation farmer local residence Tonto Basin on the 12 day of January my self and John Gilleland and Potossio went to Pleasant Valley close to Tewks Bury house Ed Tewks Bury says you look as though you were hunting some one John Gilleland said no Ed Tewksbury said if you will get down I will hunt you very quick John Gilleland said I am not around hunting Rows this morning Ed Tewks Bury said yes you are you black harted son of a bitch and began pulling his pistol then John Gilleland began pulling his also. John Gilleland
got his out first and as he pulled it out his horse whirled and as he whirled Ed Tewks Bury shot at him then John gilleland shot at Ed Tewks Bury then Ed shot at John gilleland twice and wounded him dont know which shot struck him then John gilleland shot once more at Ed Tewks Bury then I was shot onect, I was about 30 thirty steps from John gilleland to the left, then my horse began running then I fell of my horse. I do not know whot shot once there was about 12 twelve shotts fired as near as I could tell there was present Ed Tewks, Bury James Tewks Bury and a man by the name of Graham, I think his name is John graham. I did not know any thing from the time I fell of my horse until I was taken to the house about an hour after I was shott
E D Gilleland
Taken before mee this 3 third day of February at Felons Ranch Tonto
Creek Yavipai Co Arizona 1883 a Justice of the Peace for Pine creek Precinct Yavipai Co Arizona
Isaac Louthian, J P.
Elisha’s perilous condition excused him from further deposition, not so, the others. Arizona’s 1883 February was the dead of winter. With a hint of snobbery, the Phoenix Herald noted: "Prescott cold. Folks happy. Thermometer failed to get below zero." Traveling, camping out, and putting
up in town in such weather compounded the hardships of separation for all
witnesses and defendants from work and family. The central surviving fact: through these court proceedings the Grahams and Tewksburys were staunch pals; the relationship generated not a hint of animosity. This presented a solid front opposing Gilleland and his boss, James Stinson.
The summoning of Francis (Frank) Tewksbury especially rankled the Tewksbury clan. This frail-of-health (tuberculosis?) teenager had sworn to Justice Louthian he didn’t see or know much about the Gilleland shooting. Frank was driving a wagon some distance from the house. He had gone to fetch some bolts a half mile from the house, and on his way back, heard some shooting. Requiring Frank to travel to Prescott in the winter was never forgiven by the Tewksbury family.
On the stand in Prescott, John Graham told Justice Fleury he was thirty-eight years old, had resided in Pleasant Valley four or five months, and had been in Arizona Territory "a little over two years. I am a miner by trade, got a few head of cattle now". With a hammer, he was pounding lead into rivets with which to repair a knife scabbard. Jim Tewksbury was pumping
at the bellows of the forge.
"Edwin Tewksbury was standing there, had something in his hand," Epitacio and John Gilleland wore holstered pistols and Elisha carried a pistol on his belt, and bore a Winchester rifle. All had belts of cartridges.
The Gilleland party "rode up within fifteen or sixteen feet of
us--we all spoke good morning--I mean Ed Tewksbury and Jim Tewksbury and
myself John Graham. Mr. Edwin Tewksbury asked Mr. Gilleland who he was hunting. He said ‘You, you-son-of-a-bitch,’ and reached for his pistol, shot over Edwin Tewksbury’s head, and fired again. I thought it was at me--the pistol was pointed in my direction the ball going through my hat--cut the bellows off--close to James Tewksbury’s head--the defendants Gilleland turned the horses, fired a shot over his left shoulder--Epitaso reached for his six shooter, the horse jumped and he didn’t get it out; they--Mr. Gilleland,
Epitaso, and a young man I didn’t know--run up the valley about two hundred yards; the young man fell off--I waited about two minutes, started up to the young man asked him if he was hurt bad--he said yes. I raised him up, took his six-shooter off. James Tewksbury came up, packed the young man to Mr. Tewksbury’s...laid him on the bed. I started to get Mr. Rose and Mr. Epitaso to come down and help and carry the young man up to Stinson’s stock ranch--I had taken my gun up with me--met Mr. Rose between Mr. Stinson’s Ranch and Mr. Churche’s--he had his gun and six-shooter with him--I asked him to come down and help pack the boy up--he refused to do it--we traveled up to Stinson’s stock ranch together--I talked to him and coaxed him till
I got him to--Mr. Rose, James Tewksbury, John Tewksbury and Frank Tewksbury helped to pack him up to Stinson’s ranch. (punctuation added)
Questioned further, John Graham said Gilleland drew first, and that
his second shot "and Edwin Tewksbury shot--was about alike--you could not
tell any distinction between the two shots--Edwin Tewksbury shot three
or four times; I could not say." John Graham emphasized, "Tewksbury did not attempt to draw his pistol till Gilleland draw’d his’n."
Then, "You have said the ball from the second shot of Gilleland
passed through your hat--have you that hat here." Answer, "Yes Sir", (showing).
John Graham’s recollections were largely substantiated by his brother,
Tom. Tom gave his age as twenty-eight; his residence, Pleasant Valley. Tom said he was standing inside the new house and could see between the unchinked logs. Brother John was pumping the bellows, and James Tewksbury had a pot of coffee in the fire. The Gilleland horsemen rode up to within a few feet of Ed Tewksbury, who said, "Good morning, fellows--and asked them who they were looking for--Mr. John Gilleland said, "You, you son-of-a-bitch’ and fired". Tom described Ed’s pistol as a "bulldog pistol they call them, I believe". Gilleland’s pistol was "large", and "nicle plated". Ruiz never got his pistol out of his holster. The boy had a "small-size Winchester rifle--he had a six-shooter on": A defense
attorney raised doubts about the wound, and Tom stated he couldn’t swear
as to how the boy was wounded, or whether the wound was made by gun or
Testimony of the other parties largely buttressed the opposing versions. The defendants were bound over for scrutiny by the Grand Jury, which returned a true bill of assault with intention to commit murder. In the spring of 1883 a jury, hearing virtually the same evidence, found both John Gilleland and Epitacio Ruiz innocent.
But for one twist of fate, the finding may have been acceptable. But stuck like a bone in the Tewksbury throat, the youngest boy of the family paid an awful price. Frank knew little of substance, but, dragged to the nearest justice in Strawberry, and forced by subpoena even farther to Prescott, Frank’s vitality went into a decline. The Phoenix Herald of January 20, and other territorial newspapers, carried a single paragraph:
Frank Tewksbury died last week in Pleasant Valley, from measles contracted while en route home from Prescott, where he had been to attend the trial of Gilleland, et al.
Probably in the context of its time and place, the death of Frank Tewksbury was laid at the doorstep of enemies of the Tewksbury Family. In time, blame may somehow have been transferred to the Grahams. Open to speculation: possibly it was in Prescott, during the Gilleland court actions, that Stinson approached the Graham brothers with an attractive business deal: a quick path to riches at the expense of the Tewksbury family. All it cost was a classic double-cross.
Frank was probably doomed anyway. And it was Gilleland who first fostered Stinson interests. No matter. As in both midsize and colossal wars, the progress of human volition and unavoidable act of God muddled into a mosaic of clan belief. As time went on, the death of Frank Tewksbury came to be considered the first casualty of "The little war of our own". The Tewksbury perception: the Grahams did it.