Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Announcing the Release of Black Canyon Underground

I've been remiss, again, in maintaining my blog. I'm blaming life, baby burros, a newly-torn rotator cuff, the long hot summer ... oh, and the release of my latest book on Arizona history. Book releases aren't just a sigh of relief and a bottle of celebratory adult beverage - they're hard work, really. They entail festivities: a party of appreciation for the people who supported the project ... some live music ... and marketing. It means some public speaking, lots of signing, updating websites, and arranging for online sales. Then there's the business end of things ... and in all of the chaos and fun and learning things about retail I've never had to learn before, I've neglected to update this site.

So here it is, for those of you who love Arizona history, are curious about my efforts at linocut and woodcut illustration, or want to support local authors (and their newly-adopted BLM donkeys): Black Canyon Underground. It's a story-driven volume, with what I consider "the best of" Black Canyon City's historical tales from the 1800s to the 1970s. If you've lived in Arizona for any length of time,  you'll recognize many of the names - but you may be surprised at their often-indirect relationship to Black Canyon City.

Meanwhile, I'm immersed in writing another book on Black Canyon City, one which will be more reference-style than about the story - although certainly stories have made their way in. I expect to have it in print by January.

Although I haven't mentioned the hardcover editions of Black Canyon Underground on my site, I do have a very limited number of them available for those who, like myself, appreciate a book that feels more solid and durable. I'm a bookish person, and I'll never tire of hardcover books. From that subtle sound of the "crack" when you first open them, to the way they stand neatly on a shelf without the saggy trousers of a paperback, they're a book-lovers' book. But they're expensive to produce and ship, and for that reason I have few on hand. Drop me a line if you'd like to get your hands on one.

With a little luck and self-discipline, I'll be back soon with more Arizona history for you!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

May 28th, 1918: On this Day in Arizona History (Memorial Day edition)

It's Memorial Day, May 28th, 2018 - and an appropriate time to remember the first Arizonan killed in World War I, exactly one hundred years ago today. That man who died a hero's death on May 28, 1918, was a Pima Indian, Matthew B. Juan. Born in San Tan, Juan grew up in Sacaton, a village of the Gila River Pima Community. Juan was part of the first American offensive on a German stronghold at Cantigny, France, in the first major American battle of the war. 

Matthew B. Juan had already survived the January 24, 2018 torpedoing of his troopship, the U.S.S. Tuscania, in an attack which killed 210 of his fellow troops. The Tuscania, originally a luxury Cunard liner, had been repurposed as a troopship. The German submarine UB-77, under the command of Wilhelm Meyer, launched two torpedoes at the three-year-old ship and brought her down.

Juan was later transferred to the First Division, 28th Infantry, Company K. As his unit advanced on the Germans at 0645, Juan took machine gun fire and was killed.  Although he was initially buried in France, his body was later exhumed and returned home to the reservation at Sacaton. Nearly three years later on April 9, 1921, Juan was laid to rest in the desert. Juan is honored by a stone memorial at the Matthew B. Juan - Ira Hayes Veterans Memorial Park in Sacaton on his native reservation south of Phoenix. The name Ira Hayes, another famed Pima veteran from Sacaton, is recognizable to many from the Johnny Cash song about him. Those who know their history, though, will recognize Ira, a US Marine, as one of the six flag-raisers at Iwo Jima commemorated in the poignant Joe Rosenthal photograph.

When Matthew died, a friend visited the Arizona Republic office to tell them not only of his death but of his life. Matthew (who also went by the name "Matthew Rivers") had been an athlete and a star baseball pitcher at the prominent Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, California. When American entered the war, he promptly enlisted out of Texas, where he was at the time. Matthew's friend also said, "If you put anything in the paper about my friend, tell the people that 30 boys from Camp Kearny, all Indians, have just started for France, and tell them too - tell them that the fighting spirit of Matthew Rivers will live long in the hearts of the Pima Indian people."

That fighting spirit did indeed live on and continue to grow. A tribute to Juan in the May 30, 1941 Arizona Republic, as the nation again faced war, said 81 Pima Indians had entered military training camps to again fight. In May, 1943, the Pima High School at Sacaton had no graduation ceremony. Every single graduate, with the exception of one girl, either enlisted or was drafted into the war. One of those was Ira Hayes.

 Only three of the soldiers in the iconic photo survived the war; one with physical wounds, and all scarred by their experience. Ira's fame - and perhaps the inevitable and tragic survivor's guilt - contributed to his downfall. Ira now lies at rest in Arlington National Cemetery. 

With gratitude to all who gave all under the colors of our flag, and with special respect to the Native American heroes of our wars and conflicts. 

Copyright (c) 2018 by Marcy J. Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content, including photographs, may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the author * Links, however, are truly appreciated * Thank you for linking, liking, forwarding, tweeting, and otherwise helping grow my readership * Most of all, thank you for visiting and - veterans - thank you for your service.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Historic, Under-Appreciated Willcox, Arizona

The Willcox Depot

I'm a sucker for authentic old western towns, unspoiled by tourism and kitschy re-creations of sites and events. Put a life-size diorama at an old fort site and I'm unimpressed. Do mock shoot-outs in the streets and I'm heading the other way. But leave the old buildings intact, and do tasteful markers and monuments - well, I get a bit weak at the knees.

That's Willcox. Still a cow-town with cow-haulers parked on the streets and the livestock auction grounds barely on the edge of town, it has that slow-paced and wonderful western feel. There aren't scads of out-of-state plates, nor do easterners clog the sidewalks. It's still genuine. Many of the old buildings are still intact, although perhaps the most famous building of all - what was once Brown's Headquarter's Saloon, where Warren Earp was shot to death - burned down in that most-Arizona-of-fates in 1940.

Willcox, part of the Sulphur Springs Valley in Cochise County, owes its origin to the Southern-Pacific railroad. The depot, shown above, was built in 1881 to service the area. It's the oldest extant redwood station in the country and has been lovingly maintained. To the left, partly obscured by the stop sign, you can see the old signal booth, complete with early phone numbers scratched into the metal on the door.

The historic downtown area is quiet now, but during territorial days, it was a notoriously tough town. Many of Arizona's most nefarious characters passed through, and many made Willcox their home. Working girls populated the saloons, and rival rustlers and cowboys engaged in gunplay on the street. Shootings weren't uncommon.  Train robber Burt Alvord, infamous in the state's history, was deputy sheriff under the famed Sheriff John Slaughter (a much tougher Arizona sheriff than Joe Arpaio ever was, by the way). Here in Willcox, Alvord killed the cowboy William King.

At left, the site of the original Headquarter's Saloon, where Warren Earp was gunned down in 1900.

Another notorious outlaw, train robber Bill Downing, kept a house of ill repute appropriately named the "Free and Easy Saloon" on Maley Street (the street across which the above photo is taken). Downing was killed by Arizona Ranger Billy Speed in 1908, just a year before the Rangers were disbanded after an eventful - and highly successful - eight-year run.

Willcox's most famous son, though, was cowboy star Rex Allen. As a boy, Allen performed in a barber shop on the street where today stands the Rex Allen Museum. The museum itself is in the old Schley Saloon building. Rex Allen never let his fame ruin his natural down-to-earth personality. He often visited old friends in Willcox. Leonard Sly performed in town, as well, before becoming Roy Rogers.

Although Marty Robbins was from Glendale, the Marty Robbins Museum and Gift shop stands next to the Rex Allen Museum. You can pick up my favorite Marty Robbins CD there, too - Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. I grew up listening to it on vinyl; it was one of Dad's most-played albums.

In the town square, a larger-than-life sculpture of Rex Allen by prominent Arizona artist Buck McCain looks over the town. Rex is keeping an eye on more than the passers-by, though. In front of the sculpture is a section of concrete imprinted with ranch brands, and beneath the concrete lies Rex Allen's famous co-star and stallion, KoKo. KoKo traveled half a million miles with Rex. 

KoKo's Grave

Throughout town are the sort of subtle gems that make photography a delight: ornate scrollwork accents on building facades; old signs painted on red-brick walls; the occasional amusingly misspelled business sign. 

Willcox is cult-free, so don't hesitate to step inside. They mean "Cutlery."

An accent piece on a vintage building.

Should you make your way to Willcox, stop in at the Friendly Book Store - they're friendly, and they have a good selection of Arizona history books.  The milk shakes at the Mother Lode ice cream store are not to be missed, either. You can pick up a free self-guided walking-tour map at the Chamber of Commerce (or many of the local businesses). 

If you'd like to enjoy some vintage photos and history of Willcox, you can pick up your copy of Arcadia's "Images of America: Willcox" book here:  Willcox, Arizona  (affiliate link).  Support local authors!

On the edge of town is the Old Willcox pioneer cemetery, too - but more on that later, so make sure you sign up to follow my blog by email.  

Copyright (c) 2018 by Marcy J Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content, including photographs, may be reproduced without the express permission of the author * Links, however, may be freely shared and are greatly appreciated * Thank you for linking, liking, tweeting, sharing, and otherwise helping grow my readership * Most of all, thank you for stopping by and sharing my enthusiasm in the great American west.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Death Site of Sheriff Glenn Reynolds

Cross along the Florence-Kelvin Road
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

Outside of Florence, there's a sandy dirt road that leads east. Called the Florence-Kelvin Road, it's still a rural drive, as yet uncluttered by subdivisions (although they're in the plans for the future) and untroubled by too much traffic or asphalt. You'll first drive by the Arizona State Prison in Florence and if you're lucky you'll get a glimpse of the mustangs and burros being trained by the inmates on the prison ground's edge.

The long, sandy grade where Sheriff Glenn Reynolds was killed.
(c) 2018 MJ Miller
There are no historical markers along this road, but here, on November 2, 1889, Sheriff Glenn Reynolds and his deputy, William H. "Hunky-dory" Holmes, were murdered by Apache convicts they were transporting from Globe to Yuma Territorial Prison. I've described the event in detail here:  The Death of Sheriff Glenn Reynolds

The Florence-Kelvin Road is an old stagecoach road connecting Globe to Florence. Take the road from the east and start at Ray Junction (formerly Kelvin) to re-create Sheriff Reynolds' final journey. Kelvin has since been devoured by the vast Ray Copper Mine, but the old historic Kelvin Bridge remains across the Gila. Soon, it will be closed to vehicular traffic and the much larger, much stronger new bridge will open. Take a few minutes to enjoy the bridge; it's historically significant as a bridge designed by Daniel Luten, constructed in 1916.  More on the bridge here: The Historic Bridges of Kelvin and Riverside

Old adobe at Riverside along the Gila
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The stagecoach carrying the Apache prisoners - including the notorious Apache Kid - stopped at Riverside in the late afternoon on November 1. There, they overnighted. William T. Branaman, a stagecoach driver himself, opted to guard the prisoners overnight for $5 rather than drive the stage in the morning.  Starting afresh at five the next morning, they left idyllic Riverside (and Branaman) behind, Eugene Middleton driving the stage while Holmes and Reynolds tended the prisoners. 

About four miles west of Riverside, the stagecoach reached Zellweger Wash, the low point at the base of a long, steep grade. The deep sand made the haul tougher on the horses. The prisoners were, according to Branaman's later account, numb with cold. Reynolds allowed six of the eight prisoners - one Mexican and seven Apache - to get out of the stage and walk up the hill, partly for their own warmth and partly to help the horses ease up the grade. The prisoners who got out were shackled; the Apache Kid remained in the coach with one other prisoner and the driver, Middleton, continued onward with them. He was to wait at the top of the hill until the rest caught up.

The prisoners on foot had planned their escape. As the coach got well ahead, two of them attacked Sheriff Reynolds and two attacked Deputy Holmes, killing both. Middleton heard the shots and assumed the lawmen were shooting the prisoners to quell an attack, not realizing the men had been fatally wounded. The lone Mexican prisoner took Sheriff Reynolds' gun and advanced on the stagecoach, shooting Middleton. As the team of horses bolted on, Middleton fell from the coach with wounds to his head, neck, and side. The Apache Kid intervened as the other Apaches caught up and began to attack Reynolds as well, telling them Middleton was already dead and so not to shoot. 

Middleton, though, was not dead. One of the bullets struck him in the right cheek, exiting at the top of his head; it likely followed the path of least resistance as it traveled upward, rather than entering his skull. He later said he'd "played possum" while the Apaches took his gun, coat, and valuables. They also took the orders of commitment to prison and tore them up at the scene.

Middleton was able to walk back to Riverside and, although the papers at the time reported him as "nearly dead," he lived until April 24, 1929, dying in the apartment complex he owned in Globe. Middleton, a true pioneer, had lived in Gila County since 1876.

Sadly, there's no official monument to the incident along the sandy stretch of road. From my own exploration of the area and the landmarks described in the papers of the time, the grade on which the murders occurred is easily identifiable. Precisely where the incident happened is uncertain; it's midway up the hill and out of sight of where Middleton waited at top. The photo of the road above is my best estimate as to the rough location of the murders.  Nearby is the cross in the top photo. I believe it is intended to mark the death of the two lawmen and may well have been where the tragedy occurred.

Reynolds and Holmes were among the first of Arizona Territory's line of duty peace officer deaths. Should you drive that dusty highway, take a moment to remember them.

The Florence- Kelvin Road
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

Copyright (c) 2018 by Marcy J. Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content, including photographs, may be reproduced without the express permission of the author * Links, however, may be freely shared * Thank you for linking, liking, sharing, forwarding, and otherwise helping grow my audience * Most of all, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Bridges of Kelvin and Riverside, Arizona

The Old Kelvin Bridge at Riverside, Arizona
(c) 2018 MJ Miller
The Gila River barely flowed this afternoon, relaxed by months of drought and little snowmelt. Like any of Arizona's rivers, it has a ferocious, voracious alter-ego during heavy rains. Our rivers divide communities in the literal sense during the most productive storms; our bridges are lifelines. Our historic bridges spanned the waters beneath old wagon and stagecoach roads; slowly, motorized vehicles and blacktop took over.  Although many of our early state bridges have vanished, enough remain to make bridge-hunting a rewarding pursuit. In recent decades the new bridges have risen above and near the historical bridge, and a few older bridges have been converted to pedestrian bridges or have been abandoned but not demolished. 

The Riverside / Kelvin / Ray Junction area along the Gila is a joy for bridge-chasers. Turn off the highway onto the old Florence-Kelvin Road and you'll find a new bridge under construction. In its shadows is the old Kelvin Bridge just below it. Showing its age in the deteriorating concrete and the single-lane scale, it's a graceful reminder of the elegant and attractive designs once employed in civil engineering projects. Designed by Daniel Luten, an Indiana engineer famed for his patented concrete-arched bridge designs, the Kelvin bridge no longer has its original decorative guard rail but retains its sweeping grandeur. Built in 1916, it is on the original stage road that connected Globe and Florence via Kelvin and Riverside. On that road, not even five miles away as you head toward Florence, Sheriff Glenn Reynolds was murdered by Apache prisoners he was transporting in 1889. 

The Old Kelvin Bridge
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

It is an idyllic area. Swallows build mud nests beneath the bridge. On the southwest edge of the bridge is a quiet hiking trail; one leg leads to the river banks and the other leads farther than I had time to walk it. Hawks, bright yellow finches, and cardinals were nearby in the cottonwoods and salt-cedars. 

The Kelvin Bridge Placard
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The new Kelvin Bridge looms over the 1916 Luten bridge.
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The Kelvin Bridge is actually in the community of Riverside, a territorial town where once Eugene Middleton, the stagecoach driver wounded during the murder of Sheriff Reynolds, resided. Middleton came to Arizona Territory in 1874 and stayed until his death in Globe in 1929.

A third bridge at the Kelvin Bridge site: a working bridge for construction crews.
(c) 2018 MJ Miller
Mud swallow nests cling to the bridge's underside.
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The town of Kelvin itself was consumed, as much of the area's settlements were, by the Ray Copper Mine operations. That vast mining operation is responsible for the small Copper Basin Railroad that makes its way back and forth throughout the area. With that railroad came the gorgeous but purely functional iron bridges across the Gila.

A Copper Basin Railroad Bridge near Ray Junction
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

Abandoned bridge near Ray Junction
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

Just south of the Kelvin bridge, where the 177 and 77 meet, is the abandoned concrete bridge above. It angles across the road to what was once the old wagon road, now replaced by the paved highway, crossing not the Gila River but one of the larger creek beds feeding it.

A small bridge on the Ray Junction / Kelvin Road
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The terrain throughout the region is rugged and ever-changing. Dotting the landscape are small concrete bridges across the channels variably known as ravines, washes, arroyos, creek beds, and coulees that texture the land.

Ethan and Me at the Copper Basin Railroad Tracks

I have Jerry A. Cannon and his co-author Patricia D. Morris to thank for my relatively recent appreciation of Arizona's bridges. Until I began packing a copy of their Arizona's Historic Bridges, I too often drove over, passed by, or stopped and photographed our scenic, historically significant bridges without knowing their history or importance. I recommend Jerry's book for your own Arizona history library:  Arizona's Historic Bridges (affiliate link).

Copyright (c) 2018 MJ Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content may be reproduced without the express permission of the author * Thank you for liking, linking, sharing, tweeting, and otherwise helping grow my readership * Most of all, thanks for visiting and sharing my love of the west!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

An Apache Trail Outing

My childhood was filled with adventures by proxy: my father's return from his frequent outdoor expeditions always included his tales of Arizona history and sights. An avid outdoorsman and amateur historian who'd moved to Arizona by the 1950s, he took every opportunity to venture out in his faded blue Land Rover whether it was to go rockhounding, gold panning, hunting, fishing, or visit historic locations.

Although I was too young to accompany him on all his adventures, I cherish the memories of those I did participate in - and the ones I missed, I'm catching up on now.  Others, I was too young to well recall, and I'm repeating them now with camera in head. One stretch of twisting, winding dirt was particularly notorious. Dad (sometimes with my mom bouncing along white-knuckled beside him) drove the Apache Trail on many occasions; I can barely distinguish between my own youthful memories of it and Dad's references to it as a treacherous piece of road.

Tortilla Flat
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The Apache Trail is somewhat tamer now, but no straighter nor flatter. The first part of the journey - because you want to take it from Goldfield north rather than from Roosevelt south - is paved, and offers an opportunity for the less adventurous to enjoy the trail without hitting the winding washboard slopes. If you count yourself among that group, consider a trip to Tortilla Flat for lunch. Stop at the Superstition Mountain Museum on the way; enjoy some views of Canyon Lake below it; enjoy the atmosphere at Tortilla Flat; and by all means have some prickly pear ice cream at the shop next to the restaurant before you head back to urban mayhem.

Tortilla Flat
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The restaurant is generally packed on even weekdays, drawing tourists from all over the world, so get your name on the list (there's going to be a wait) before you visit the tourist shop. Take some time to appreciate western kitsch and choose a souvenir or two. Don't miss the guacamole when you win the "your table is ready" lottery!

Fish Creek Canyon
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

Should you decide to continue onward (and high five to you, intrepid traveler!) make sure you've got fresh batteries in your camera and someone riding shotgun who can snap photos for you. Wear sensible shoes because you don't want to miss the overlook stops.

My good friends, Jennifer & Steve, who never say no to an adventure and have introduced many to the Trail.
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The Apache Trail, largely built onto the ancient footpath of the prehistoric Anasazi indians, is a microcosm of Arizona's history. Its story is that of famed scout Al Sieber, stagecoaches, wagons, freighters, dam builders, Teddy Roosevelt, Model A's, Sunday drivers, farmers, water sources, flood control, and fishermen. It features sweeping vistas, deep canyons, historic bridges, and the memories of lives lost. Built as a supply road to the worksite of what would be the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, the road was once called the Mesa-Roosevelt Road. Early territorial tour guides and tourism boosters gave it the name by which it's known today.

Fish Creek Canyon
(c) 2018 MJ Miller
Often described as the most picturesque section of the Trail is the Fish Creek area, including the steep Fish Creek Hill and Fish Creek Canyon below. There's a good pull-out and parking area for you to stretch out, take some photos, and enjoy the breathtaking views. 

The author at Fish Creek Canyon Overlook

A narrow passage approaching a single lane bridge

(c) 2018 MJ Miller

A glimpse of Apache Lake
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

 One of many historically-significant sites along the Trail is the Alchesay Canyon Bridge. Built in 1905 by Apache laborers, the bridge remains today as Arizona's oldest extant vehicular bridge.

Precious, life-giving water
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The queen-mother of the Trail is the Theodore Roosevelt Dam. Construction began while Teddy was president and, on completion of the masterpiece of engineering, Teddy himself was on-site for the dedication ceremony.

Theodore Roosevelt Dam
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The dam is taller now than it was on that memorable day. The maximum flow was initially under-estimated. Seventy-seven feet have been added to the top to handle the higher levels of water. The dam resolved water supply issues as well as addressing the frequent flooding the valley suffered in territorial days as water surged down the Salt River.

The stunning Roosevelt Bridge
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

The reservoir created by the dam is Roosevelt Lake, popular with fishermen and boaters. Dad used to fish there frequently in his old bass boat. I don't know if, as he fished, he thought about the one-time community of Roosevelt far beneath the boat's bottom. Wherever large-scale infrastructure projects were built in the territory, pop-up towns were built to accommodate construction workers. Just as Frog Tanks lies beneath Lake Pleasant, once the site of a thriving community of dam-builders and their families, so lies Roosevelt, having served its purpose. Of those dam-builders, 44 died in the construction of Roosevelt Dam.

Roosevelt Bridge
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

Our final site of note on the Apache Trail was the Roosevelt Bridge. Arguably the most elegant bridge in Arizona, this arch bridge is reminiscent of a rainbow. For scale, see the close-up photo (two pictures above) and note the size of the car. This bad boy is a massive, daunting structure - and so large it isn't the least bit intimidating to drive across even for the most bridge-wary driver. 

Should you decide the Apache Trail isn't for you but the views of the lake, dam and bridge are irresistible, take the alternate route from the Beeline Highway to the Roosevelt exit. You'll pass through scenic pastoral land as well as the communities of Jake's Corner, Punkin Center, and the historic Tonto Basin. 

To fully appreciate the drive, you might want to pick up a copy of Richard L. Powers' Images of America: Apache Trail before you go. Available in the Superstition Mountain Museum bookstore in Gold Canyon, you can also purchase it here: Images of America: Apache Trail (affiliate link). The book features vintage photos of the Apache Trail scenery, early drivers and freighters, and construction of the Roosevelt Dam, with a good overview of the history. 

If you love historic bridges as I do, I recommend packing a copy of Images of America: Arizona's Historic Bridges by Jerry A. Cannon and Patricia D. Morris. You can purchase a copy here: Images of America: Arizona's Historic Bridges (affiliate link).  Mr. Cannon is a structural engineer and in addition to the book's historic photos and background, he provides an expert's guide to the types of bridges and information specific to their construction. I fear my copy will soon be tattered as I explore the bridges he and Ms. Morris have featured.

Copyright (c) 2018 by MJ Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content, including photographs, may be reproduced without the written permission of the author * Links, however, may be freely shared and are appreciated * Thank you for linking, liking, sharing, emailing, tweeting, and otherwise helping grow my readership * Most of all, thank you for visiting and for sharing my love of western history.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Death and Gravesite of Sheriff Glenn Reynolds

Tombstone of Sheriff Glenn Reynolds
Copyright (c) 2018 MJ Miller

By five a.m. on a cold November 2, 1889, Gila County Sheriff Glenn Reynolds and his deputy, William A. Holmes, had barely begun the second day of their long trek from Globe to the Yuma Territorial Prison with nine prisoners. Eight of the convicts were Apaches - one of them the infamous Apache Kid, another Pash-Tan-Tah - and the remaining prisoner a Mexican man named Jesus Avott. The prisoners rode in a stagecoach driven by its owner, Eugene Middleton.  Next to Middleton sat Deputy Holmes, riding shotgun, while Sheriff Reynolds accompanied them on horseback.   

On the Globe - Florence stagecoach road about four miles west of the town of Riverside, the travelers arrived at a steep and sandy hill known as the Kelvin Grade.  To ease the burden on the four horses, the lawmen directed seven of the prisoners to exit the coach and walk up the hill, leaving the Apache Kid and another shackled in the coach.  The Apaches, handcuffed but not shackled, managed to overpower 35-year-old Reynolds and 44-year- old Deputy Holmes, seizing their weapons. Deputy Holmes was shot once, an immediately lethal round through the heart. Sheriff Reynolds did not die as mercifully. He was shot in the shoulder and had several buckshot wounds in the face and head, but struggled for his life. For his efforts, he was beaten to death with rocks and the butt of a long gun until his skull was crushed. 

The Apaches shot Eugene Middleton as well. Initial accounts varied, some saying Middleton was shot in the right side of the face, the bullet exiting through the top of his head, but that he was still able to walk to Riverside for help - and arrived after the two-hour walk near death.  Another account said he was shot in the shoulder as well as taking a round to the cheek and sustaining a scalp wound. A third report simply described him as "wounded."  As it turns out, Middleton survived. The round, likely a 40-80 from Holmes' rifle, penetrated his face and somehow missed his vertebrae, exiting his neck at the base of his skull. By November 9th, Dr. Mann of San Carlos deemed he was mending well. 

The Mexican was soon captured but the Apaches, now well armed, headed south. Shortly after the news was reported, a posse led by Deputy Ryan left Globe in pursuit. Another posse left from Florence, led by Sheriff Jerry Fryer - husband to the renowned Civil War spy, Pauline Cushman. (The Florence posse, interestingly, included Peter Gabriel, one of the combatants in the famous Florence saloon shootout.)  By one in the afternoon, the Cavalry commander at San Carlos had received telegrams and dispatched two lieutenants with 30 men from Troop G as well as Lt. Watson with 20 scouts. Arizona Territorial Governor Lewis Wolfley quickly published a "Wanted" notice in the papers announcing $500 reward for the murderers.

Copyright (c) 2018 MJ Miller

The Arizona Silver Belt, a Globe territorial paper, paid flowery tribute to the mens' death. "... While we greatly miss their presence and deeply regret the sudden ending of their useful lives, it is a consolation to believe that while they can no longer enjoy life's alluring cup there is a lighthouse for the soul that beacons to a tranquil home. Then why should we mourn that the shroud and the vault have left a blank in the tome of a busy life? The part of the living is simply to cherish the names and virtues of the loved ones who have passed the boundaries of time."

Sheriff Glenn Reynolds, a Texas native, left behind his widow, Augusta, and four surviving children of the five they'd had. 

Deputy William Holmes, a native of Texas, had arrived in Arizona in 1869.  Known as "Hunky-dory Holmes" he was one of the original settlers of Phoenix and had donated 160 acres to the townsite. 

Eugene Middleton lived to be 66, when in 1929 he succumbed to a heart attack at the apartment building he owned in Globe. 

The Apache Kid was never caught. Having shot famed scout Al Sieber and spent time in Alcatraz prior to the murders of Reynolds and Holmes, his name - unlike those of his more heroic victims - remains a household word to the casual enthusiast of western history.

The Gravesite of Miriam Middleton, mother of Eugene Middleton
Copyright (c) 2018 MJ Miller
The Gravesite of William Middleton, Father of Eugene Middleton
Copyright (c) 2018 MJ Miller

The Gravesite of Willis A. Middleton, brother to Eugene Middleton
Copyright (c) 2018 MJ Miller

Copyright (c) 2018 Marcy J. Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content may be reproduced without the express permission of the author * Links, however, may be freely shared and are appreciated * Thank you for linking, liking, tweeting, sharing, and otherwise helping grow my audience * Most of all, thank you for stopping by and sharing my affection for Arizona history *

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Stumbling onto Phineas "Phin" Clanton's Gravesite

Globe Cemetery, Arizona
(c) 2018 MJ Miller

Historical research is, at its best, full of serendipitous finds and surprising epiphanies. Rarely have I visited a site or buried myself in archives and not had the sudden goosebumps that accompany the discovery of an unexpected and exciting nugget. Sometimes it's the key to unraveling a mystery I've been working on; other times, it's recognizing a connection between places or people; often, it's something as tangible as happening across a grave you weren't looking for, but that's somehow relevant to the search you were on. When you're open to detours and digressions, one line of research always links to another in the most wonderful ways whether you're interviewing an old-timer or turning brittle pages of a dusty document.

I've been trying to verify the details of a relatively unknown 1877 shooting that occurred in Yavapai County for my current book-in-progress. The victim in that shooting had, a few months earlier, killed a man in Globe. After chasing down some worthwhile details last night, the incident was fresh in my mind as we made a trip to a gun show in Globe today. My other-half Russ wanted to look for the grave of Mattie Blaylock, Wyatt Earp's common-law wife; I wanted to look for any familiar names in the less-than-focused, spontaneous, laissez faire method of research I do.  Some might call it haphazard, even. (Some might even be accurate in doing so.)

Short of time after a few side trips, we stopped at the Globe Cemetery rather than verifying which plot of land held ill-fated Mattie's remains. Russ wandered in one direction, I wandered in another, and we found many of the nuggets I'd hoped for. One of the more interesting was Phin Clanton's grave.

Phineas Fay "Phin" Clanton's Gravesite, Globe Cemetery, Arizona
(c) 2018 Marcy J. Miller

The graves the cemetery had determined to be of greatest historical significance were clearly marked with signage - Al Sieber, Glenn Reynolds, and so forth. In contrast, Phin's grave had no additional marker to call attention to it, no sign indicating his relevance to the historian. 

Phineas Fay "Phin" Clanton was one of the seven children of "Old Man" Clanton, Newman Haynes Clanton.  Phin, along with his brothers Ike and Billy, was involved in the conflicts in Tombstone culminating in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. For those of you who need a brief refresher, Billy (William Harrison Clanton) was killed in the gunfight, while Ike (Joseph Isaac Clanton) was uninjured. Phin and Ike were suspects in the attempted revenge murder of Virgil several weeks after the gunfight as well as the successful murder of Morgan Earp two months after that.

Phin danced in the grey throughout his life. He was known to be a cattle rustler. He also was tried and did time for crimes he was apparently innocent of; on one occasion, he was acquitted of burglary after it was determined he'd been framed by the actual embezzler of the money. On another he completed nearly a year and a half of a ten-year sentence in the notorious Yuma Territorial Prison for larceny until being released when it came to light the star witness had falsely and perjuriously accused him for the reward money. Whether guilty or not, Phin was later arrested in an armed robbery of a Chinese man - and again, Phin was acquitted.

Copyright (c) 2018 MJ Miller

As he approached 60 years old, Phineas Clanton ultimately married and settled down. He never celebrated his third anniversary, contracting pneumonia in January, 1906, and succumbing. Phin left behind a widow and stepson, William.  He was buried in Globe, where he and his friend, fellow outlaw and Yuma Penitentiary alum Pete Spence, raised goats. In an apparent jab at the lawmen who'd fought his family and friends, Phin's grave marker bears the quote, "Not all good men wore badges." 

Spence married Phin's widow, Laura, and after his 1914 death was buried beside Phin. There is no marker for Spence's grave. 

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