The War Ends The Pleasant Valley War was making national news by now...

jim roberts true west magazine
Jim Roberts.

The Pleasant Valley War was making national news by now and lawmen from the county seat at Prescott were moving through the area trying to arrest members of both factions. Yavapai Sheriff Billy Mulvenon and his posse of some twenty men rode towards Young again.

The sheriff was still smarting from two earlier visits where the feudists literally ran him out of Pleasant Valley. This time the sheriff meant business. The Perkins Store, in Young was about a mile south of the Graham ranch. Mulvenon posted his men behind the 4-foot high rock wall at the store and dispatched riders to circle around the valley to attract attention.  Signal shots were fired from the Graham house and that of a partisan, Al Rose. Strangers in the valley were always cause for curiosity and Charlie Blevins and John Graham rode cautiously down towards the store to check out the strangers. When they were near enough to see the danger, they spurred their horses and headed towards an arroyo north of the store. Lawmen opened fire and emptied their saddles.  They also arrested two others, Al Rose and Miguel Apodaca. Rose talked tough, saying, “If you want anything here come and get it.” But when he saw the number of guns pointed at him, he meekly surrendered. Tom Graham, the leader, was able to escape the posse’s of both Sheriff Mulvenon and Commodore Perry Owens and made his way to Phoenix.

Following those arrests, the posse rode into the lair of the Tewksbury’s. Their surrender had been pre-arranged, the Tewksbury’s and Jim Roberts had said they’d come in peaceably once the Graham’s were corralled and they did. Later, when it was learned Tom Graham had gotten away, the Tewksbury’s were livid.

jim roberts pistol and badge true west magazine
Jim Roberts’ pistol and badge.

The fighting men from both sides were taken to Payson to appear before Justice of the Peace, John Meadows and all were released for lack of evidence except Roberts, Joe Boyer and the Tewksbury brothers.  They were held over for a grand jury in Prescott over the shootings at the Middleton ranch. Bond was posted and they all returned to Pleasant Valley and tried to pick up the pieces of their lives. Although Jim Roberts was indicted for murder in the range war, prosecutors eventually dropped all charges. Roberts would hire out as a Yavapai County deputy sheriff would spend the rest of his life as a peace officer in several Arizona towns. In 1928, at the age of 70 he thwarted a bank robbery in Clarkdale, killing one and capturing the second robber.

On November 1st, 1887, Al Rose would wither be shot or hung by vigilantes.

The price in blood had been heavy for both sides, especially for the Blevins, Graham and Tewksbury families. John Blevins wounded at Holbrook was the sole survivor of the fighting men in his family. His father, Mart, along with brothers Andy, Hamp, Charlie and Sam were all killed during the feuding. Tom Graham was the sole survivor of his family, losing his two brothers, Billy and John.

Ed was the last of the fighting Tewksbury’s. Frank died of pneumonia in 1883.  John was killed during the war and Jim would die of consumption in December, 1888.

The “war proper,” as they called it was over, however, assassinations and lynchings would continue for quite some time.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu.

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