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Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

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Version 090207

 

John Tewksbury William Jacobs Grave

Information on Feud

By Richard Pierce

 

Joint graves of John Tewksbury and William Jacobs. c. 1997

Buried together when the bodies were found, decomposition made moving them impossible.

Photo Courtesy: Jim McBride

 

A single grave and two bodies, the corpses had already started to decompose and likely had been gnawed on by some critters in the area by the time they were found and buried.

 

As the photos sort of show below , you can't see the James Dunning Tewksbury cabin from the site of the murders, but the tail is that the Graham faction kept the people in the cabin pinned down with a "withering fire" for several days.

 

Any one with an good-eye who has stood on the ground there, will tell you it was not likely! Like a Tewksbury descendent said, who would set around waiting on Ed Tewksbury? Especially after killing his older brother.

 

 

The old Tewksbury ranch photo Courtesy William D. Brown a Tewksbury descendent.

Actually a descendent of John Tewksbury, buried in the grave

 

The old J.D. Tewksbury place was at the confluence of Cherry Creek and Couch Creek.

 

Mrs. Crouch was tending J.D. who was sick at the time of the killings. The Crouch family lived up near the headwaters of Crouch Creek and she was a school teacher at a point in time.

 

Section 10, T8N, R14E on the Tonto map, but they no longer show the grave on the new map nor do they show the road going to the fence, but it does. then you have to walk down to the grave, half mile or so... ?

 

 

Courtesy:

The Pleasant Valley War

Arizona, The Youngest State

McClintock, 1913, page 484

 

 

Ed Tewksbury as it turns out, was the last man in the bitter Arizona range feud of the 1880s and 1890s. Historians list from 19 to 30 men as casualties in the vendetta between the cattle-ranching Grahams and the sheep-raising Tewksburys and their friends.

 

Two Graham brothers died in an ambush. The surviving brother, Tom Graham, left Pleasant Valley in 1887 and moved to Tempe to homestead a farm near the city. He was shot in the back and killed in 1892 while hauling grain to the Tempe Flour Mill. Some witnesses identified Ed Tewksbury as his slayer.

 

Ed Tewksbury was tried two times for Tom Graham's murder. The first trial resulted in a hung jury. The second trial ended in conviction. Because of a legal technicality the verdict was deferred and in 1895 the case was dismissed.

On his return to Globe, Tewksbury married the former Brawley Lopez. But he was in failing health as a result of illness contracted during the three years he spent in jails in Phoenix and Tucson. Ed Tewksbury died in 1904. The community of Globe held a dance, and the proceeds were turned over to his widow and four children.

 

One of the bloodiest features of Arizona's history was the Pleasant Valley War or Tonto Basin War. It began with the driving southward from near Flagstaff of several bands of

sheep, reputed to have been the property of the Daggs brothers. Theretofore, the Rim of the Mogollons had been considered the "dead line" south of which no sheep might come. There were allegations at the time that the Tewksbury brothers had been employed to take care of any trouble that might materialize over the running of sheep out of bounds. At first there seemed to be little active opposition, but early in 1885 a Mexican sheepherder was killed. The opposition centered around the Graham family to which gathered a considerable number of cowboys and cattlemen.

 

Tom Graham later told how at first he tried to use a form of moral persuasion. Not wishing to kill anyone, there would be a wait till the sheepherder began the preparation of his evening meal and then, from the darkness Graham would drop a bullet through the frying pan or coffee pot. This intimation out of the night usually was effective in inducing the herder to forget his hunger and to move his band very early the next morning.

 

Several old residents of the Tonto Basin section decided that twenty-nine men had been killed in the war and that twenty two graves of men of the graham faction could be found in the vicinity of the old Stinson ranch. Only four of the Tewksburys died, but the most awful feature of all was the manner of the death of two of them. John Tewksbury and one Jacobs had brought in bands of sheep "on shares." Both were ambushed near the former's home and killed. Their bodies, in sight of the house were left to be devoured by hogs, while members of the Tewksbury family were kept away by a shower of bullets from a hillside on which the Grahams watched. Finally Deputy Sheriff John Meadows entered the valley, to bury what was left, defiant of the wrath of the Grahams. The Tewksburys were half bloods, their mother a California Indian and it is probably their actions thereafter were based upon the Indian code of revenge. Few were left of the Blevins family of the Graham faction.

 

The men shot at Holbrook by Sheriff Owens were active Grahamites. The elder Blevins was killed in the hills near the Houdon ranch and a skeleton found in after years is assumed to have been his. Al Rose was killed at the Houdon ranch by a party of a dozen Tewksburys as he was leaving the house in the early morning. The favorite mode of assassination was from ambush on the side of a trail.

 

One of the last episodes was the hanging of three of the Graham faction, Scott, Stott and Wilson, on the Rim of the Mogollons by a large party of Tewksburys. The three had been charged, possibly correctly, with wounding a Tewksbury partisan named Laufer and summary retribution was administered by hanging them on pine trees, hauled up by hand, with ropes brought for the purpose.

 

John Graham and Charles Blevins were shot from their horses in the fall of 1886 by a posse from Prescott, headed by Sheriff William Mulvenon, as the riders were approaching under the impression that the officers had departed from a mountain store in which the visitors still were in hiding. Both were mortally wounded. Mulvenon made several trips into the Basin. There was a bloody battle at the Newton ranch, which had been burned and abandoned. Two cowboys, John Paine and Hamilton Blevins, had been killed at the Newton ranch, while William Graham had been ambushed and killed on the Payson Trail. George Newton, formerly a Globe jeweler, was drowned in Salt River, while on his way to his ranch and it was thought at the time he had been shot from his horse, though this is not now believed. His body never was found, though his widow offered a reward of $10,000 for its recovery. Sheriff O'Neill of Yavapai County led a posse into the valley but most of the damage had then been done.

 

Resident in the vicinity was J.W. Ellison, one of the leading citizens of the basin. He states that at first the Grahams had the sympathy of the settlers, all of whom owned cattle and appreciated the danger to their range from the incursion of locust-like wandering sheep bands. But the fighting soon became too warm for any save those immediately

interested, for the factions hunted each other as wild beasts might have been hunted. Mr. Ellison frankly states that he saw as little of the trouble as he could and is pleased that

he managed to avoid being drawn into the controversy.

 

In the end the Tewksburys were victorious, with a death list of only four. One of the fleeing grahams was Charlie Duchet, a fighter from the plains. He had celebrity from an affray in which he and an enemy were provided with Bowie knives and were locked together in a dark room. It was Duchet who emerged but permanently crippled by awful slashes on his hands and arms.

 

The end of the war was the killing of Tom Graham. His clan about all gone, in 1892 he had fled from Tonto Basin and had established himself and his young wife on a farm southwest of Tempe. He had harvested his first crop of grain and was hauling a load of barley to town. When about opposite the Double Butte school house he was shot from ambush and his body fell backward upon the grain. The deep was witnessed by two young women, named Gregg and Cummings, who positively identified Ed Tewksbury as one of the murderers. A.J. Steneel, a Winslow cowboy, later declared that he had met

Tewksbury, riding hard on the Reno Road on his way back to Pleasant Valley, 120 miles, whence a strong alibi later was produced. Tewksbury and one of his henchmen, John Rhodes, were arrested and charged with the crime. Rhodes was discharged at a preliminary hearing before a Phoenix Justice of the Peace, after a dramatic attempt on his

life by Graham's widow. She tried to draw from her reticule her husband's heavy revolver, but the hammer of the weapon caught, giving time for her disarmament.

 

Tewksbury was found guilty of murder in the first degree, although well defended. His attorneys, however, found that his plea of "not guilty" had not been entered on the record of the District Court and so the verdict was set aside. There was a second trial, at Tucson, on change of venue at an expense probably of $20,000 to Maricopa County, resulting in a hung jury. Over 100 witnesses had been called. Then the case was dismissed. Tewksbury died in Globe in 1904 where for a while he had served as a peace officer.

 

Soon after the Graham murder, a lad named Yost was assassinated while traveling through Reno Pass, on the Tonto Basin road. There was general belief at the time

that the murder had been committed by the Apache Kid, but it was considered significant that Yost had been connected with the Graham faction.

 

James McBride beside grave/s of John Tewksbury and William Jacobs

Photograph c. 1997

 

Dick Pierce beside grave/s of John Tewksbury and William Jacobs. C. 1997

Photo Courtesy: Jim McBride

 

Looking toward cabin. C. 1997

Photo Courtesy: Jim McBride

 

Grave site of John Tewksbury and William Jacobs. Photo taken in 1997

Photo Courtesy: Jim McBride

Looking toward cabin in front of graves. Cant see the current ranch or the old ranch. C. 1997

Photograph courtesy: Jim McBride

 

Walking to and from the grave we could see the current ranch house.

The old ranch house is out of site behind what you see here.

Photo Courtesy: Jim McBride

Roof from near grave, roof is of newer ranch house. The old ranch house is around behind the hill and cannot be seen from the graves. Water tank on top of the hill, old ranch to the right at bottom of hill. Photo Courtesy Jim McBride. C. 1997

 

By: Richard Pierce

 

This was the largest feud ever in the USA . . . Hatfield/McCoy was well known and documented deaths could run only 10-12. The Lincoln County war in New Mexico was only another 10-12 people dead. The Johnson County War in Wyoming was only 5-7 dead. The Graham/Tewksbury feud happened in what was and is a remote area of a remote state and the documented dead is 21 as I see it. Others talk 30-50 but without documentation . . . I can document 21.

 

The area over around Young, Arizona aka Pleasant Valley is still remote even today. The road in from the north is 25 miles of dirt road, from the south is 45 miles of dirt road . . . although there is some paving around some private homes in the area.

 

The Young, Arizona residents are or did vote on getting all the road from the north paved. Old timer say no, new guys say yes . . . we will see!

 

Map Courtesy: Dick Pierce

 

ADDITONAL REFERENCES

 

1) Barnes, Will Croft, Apaches and Longhorns

Reprint: The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona,1988 

 

2) Hanchett, Jr., Leland J., Arizona's Graham/Tewksbury Feud

Pine Rim Publishing, Phoenix, Arizona, 1993

 

3) Dedera, Don, A Little War of Our Own: The Pleasant Valley Feud Revisited.

Northland Press, Copyright 1988 Don Dedera

 

4) Forrest, Earle R., Arizona's Dark and Bloody Ground

The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona

 

These are the books about the feud directly . . . Forrest wrote in the 1930's and had contact with many of those involved. 

 

Will Croft Barnes lived it and wrote exaggerated fiction style, why I don't know, the "style" of the time was the dime novel and I guess larger that life was in order. A shame as far as I am concerned . . . Will Croft Barnes knew so much and wrote so well and could not bring himself to tell the straight story, at all.

 

Zane Grey also wrote of the feud, but that was pure fiction.

 

Amelia Bean also wrote a fictional account and the shame is that they are serving as references to others.

 

Drusilla Butler married George Hazelton in 1938 and his family was nearly involved in the feud but they moved to Liberty(west of Phoenix) an farmed. The rumors and stories abounded amongst the family members so Drusilla wrote them down and had it typed up and it ended up in the archives of the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson. Many reference some of her ramblings, but the least bit of research proves they are just gross family stories handed down with no first hand knowledge of the feud.

 

Such is the world of history!

 

Be careful out there.

 

Additional Information: http://www.pleasantvalleywar.com/index.html

 

 

Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Internet Presentation

Version 090207

 

All rights reserved, 2007 APCRP

 

WebMaster: Neal Du Shane

 

n.j.dushane@comcast.net

 

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