THE ARGUS January 19, 1901
EX-SHERIFF BEELER OF APACHE COUNTY KILLS ONE MAN
News has reached here from St. Johns that Ex-Sheriff Beeler had shot and killed Montie Slaughter and wounded Clare Peery. The killing took place in Springerville on last Saturday afternoon about 2 O'clock. Beeler and Slaughter have been at enmity for a long time and when they met in Springerville, Saturday, they engaged in a friendly (?) quarrel which no one thought would bare such a bitter ending. But, Mr. Slaughter seemed to tire of quarreling and departed, saying, "I'll be back in a few minutes and I'll fix you." Mr. Beeler fixed himself before Mr. Slaughter returned by procuring a shotgun. When Slaughter came back to Sam Saffell's Saloon he came in at the door, raised his Winchester and fired at Beeler, but missed. Whereupon Beeler, seized his shotgun and called out to Mr. Peery, who was standing near the door, "Get out of the way Perry, I don't want to have to kill two men." Then he fired, and Slaughter, who was about to fire a second shot, fell dead, and a stray shot from the charge took effect in Peery's side, making a painful but not dangerous wound, although it had not been for the shot striking his six-shooter handle there would have been two dead men. Mr. Beeler gave himself up to the authorities at once and asked for a trial. As there was considerable excitement over the affair at Springerville, Beeler was escorted to St. Johns where he had a hearing Wednesday and was placed under $1,000 bonds. The second day after the killing it was thought that a pitched battle between the friends of the two parties was eminent, but the danger ceased when Mr. Beeler was taken to St. Johns. The above report was furnished by parties coming from St. Johns and is supposed to be correct.
THE ST. JOHNS HERALD EDITORIAL April 13, 1901
SHOT FROM AMBUSH
About 1 O'clock Thursday 11 ins. Ex-Sheriff Beeler
Fatally Wounded and Expires In a Few Hours
From Two Gun Shot Wounds.
The body of Mr. Beeler was brought into town today at one o'clock by Henry Thompson and Dr. Jarvis. The HERALD reporter interviewed Mr. Thompson and learned the following with reference to the killing: Mr. Thompson says he was going to Coleman's camp in company with Spence Burke and George Coleman on reaching a point about three-forths of a mile south of Mr. Brachvogel's*(Blankenagle's) ranch they saw a team and wagon inside Mr. Brachvogel's* pasture, and upon drawing near the team Mr. Thompson recognized them as the team of Mr. Coleman's, supposing they had become unmanageable and ran away, one of the horses being thrown down under the tongue of the wagon.
Mr. Thompson says when he spoke to the horse which was standing, his voice was recognized by Mr. Beeler, who was lying in a gully a short distance away, hidden from view of Mr. Thompson, saying, "Henry, is that you?" Mr. Thompson replied it was. Whereupon Mr. Beeler called to him to come quick, and asked him if he knew who shot him. Mr. Thompson replied that he did not. Mr. Beeler said, "I am shot through the shoulders and hips. Mr. Thompson took Mr. Beeler to Mr. Brachvogel's* house and made him as comfortable and then came to St. Johns for assistance. Mr. Beeler died about 6 o'clock Thursday evening.
Mr. Coleman came in shortly after the body of Mr. Beeler arrived. A HERALD reporter gleaned the following from him: "Upon arriving at my camp about the 3rd of this month a Mexican at Mr. Brachvogel's came down to camp and told Mr. Beeler and I that there had been three heavily armed men with 4 packhorses at my camp 3 days before and had inquired of him, if he knew where we were. The Mexican told him that we were in St. Johns. The Mexican told us that these parties waited a day or two and then went off toward the East." When asked what he thought the intention of these parties were, Mr. Coleman replied, "I believe it is possible the band of outlaws that Mr. Beeler followed last year who were so incensed at Mr. Beeler's hot pursuit that they came hack for revenge." Mr. Coleman stated he was in Springerville when the killing took place, but had no doubt that the murderers had made preparations, killed Mr. Beeler and fled toward the North. "The murders," he said, "were undoubtedly acquainted with the country being chased through there two or three times by Mr. Beeler's posse." Mr. Coleman gave his version of the killing in these words: "Mr. Beeler was engaged in hauling barbed wire through Mr. Brachvogel's* pasture upon the mesa. He evidently had taken the load and was returning to camp. Upon reaching the pasture gate, Mr. Beeler got down to open the gate. The outlaws were concealed behind some rocks about 60 or 70 ft. on the other side of the gate. They opened fire upon Mr. Beeler and he ran towards a gully a short distance away where he was found sometime after by Mr. Thompson. The outlaws finished their bloody work by killing one of the team horses and wounding the other. Indications are that they fled North to some of their hiding places. Funeral services will probably he held Sunday.Jack Becker's note:
*The reporter erronously reported this name in the article.
*Brachvogel is really Blankenagle.
THE ST. JOHNS HERALD April 20, 1901
Last Sunday a large crowd of people came out and paid their last respects to Mr. Edward Beeler. The meeting was conducted at his residence and at 10:30 A.M. The remains were taken to the cemetery followed by a long train of carriages, wagons and footmen.
Holbrook, Arizona April 20, 1901
KILLING IN ST. JOHNS
Ex-Sheriff killed by unknown parties near St. Johns. The following account of the killing of Ex-Sheriff Beeler near St. Johns was sent to the Daily Gazette at Phoenix: Last night at 1:30 O'clock a courier came dashing into this little town, and soon the Sheriff and other peace officers were on the streets and moving around in a hurried manner. An investigation disclosed the fact that a man had brought the news to prove that Ed Beeler had been shot and killed thirty miles east of this place at the Cieniga, the Louis Hunning place, just inside the line of New Mexico about thirty miles east of St. Johns, and when, within about a half mile of the Cieniga Ranch, I saw a wagon standing near a gate leading into Hunning's pasture. One horse was lying down under the _____ I went up to the wagon and saw that one of the horses was dead. I heard a groan nearby, and looking around I found Ed Beeler lying on the ground. I questioned the wounded man. Beeler said, "I am shot all to pieces and am going to die." He said he had driven his team up to the gate, and was going through when a shot knocked splinters from the gate. Several other shots were fired in rapid succession, one hitting him in the hip, others entering his body. He ran for cover but fell before reaching it. The assassins fired eight shots at him after he fell. He said that he was so blinded by the shots that he could not tell who fired. A physician hurried to the scene, but ex-Sheriff Beeler was dead when they arrived. Ed Beeler was the Democratic Sheriff up to the late elections. Three months ago, the 12th, Beeler and Montie Slaughter had a shooting match and Beeler killed Slaughter in self defense. The trial was to come off in Apache County, next term of Court. It is thought that Slaughter's friends ambushed Beeler and murdered him yesterday. The dead Sheriff was a brave man and a good one. He knew no such thing as fear, but was a peace loving citizen. This County is in a terrible condition, and we hope that Governor Murphy will soon organize that Ranger Company and afford relief for this County where this kind of an organization is badly needed.
PROCLAMATION OF REWARD
Phoenix, April 19, 1901
To all to whom these presents shall come, GREETING:
THE ST. JOHNS HERALD October 12, 1901
(Supposed to be the Smith gang.)
The report came in that a posse following 6 outlaws ran on to them at sundown last Tuesday night, where a hot battle took place and the report claims Will Maxwell who was with the pursuing party was shot thru the head and killed.
Carlos Tafoya was shot thru the right side below the ribs. Perhaps fatal.
Owing to the darkness coming on the posse was unable to go nearer the outlaws' position. But it is supposed that there was one outlaw killed and one wounded. The posse afterward gained possession of the outlaws' horses.
Mr. E.T. Holgate a member of the posse who met the Smiths on the evening of the 8th, returned home yesterday. Mr. Holgate says he was in the fight and was near the side of Mr. Tafoya when he was shot. Tafoya is in a very serious condition. The hole in his side is so large that when he drinks the water runs out thru it. He was not expected to live over an hour or so when Mr. Holgate left.
Mr. Maxwell had the top of his head shot off and instantly killed, he was also but a short distance from Mr. Holgate.
They ran the outlaws from their camp which was situated in a hole and gained possession of their camp and horses but did not think any of the gang was hit.
Just as we were ready to go to press the lifeless body of Mr. Tafoya was brought into town.
The Argus October 12, 1901
A letter from Hon. John T. Hogue, of St. Johns, under date of Oct. 10th, has the following about a recent battle with the lawbreakers. "Sheriff's Posse, accompanied by two of Captain Mossman's Rangers.
Had a serious fight down in the Black river country on the 8th inst. Maxwell, of the Sheriff's Posse killed, and Tafoya of the Rangers dangerously wounded." We are unable to learn further particulars at this time. Several of the Territorial Papers have scoffed at the idea of Arizona needing a Company of Rangers. We do need them until the law-breaking element are cleaned out, or made to cease their murderous work and live like civilized people.
From the files of Jack A. Becker, local historian.