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. 

Copyright (c) 2018 Marcy J. Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content, including photographs, may be used without the express permission of the author * Links, however, are enthusiastically encouraged * Thank you for linking, liking, tweeting, sharing, and otherwise helping grow my audience * Most of all, thank you for stopping by!