TERRITORY OF ARIZONA Springerville, A.T. SS
COUNTY OF APACHE June 11, 1897
TERRITORY OF ARIZONA: To B.F.Ross, P.T.Coleman, T.C.Hill, W.F.Lesuer, W.J.Winsor, Philip Martin and J.D.Murray.
GREETING We command you, that all and singular business and excuses, being laid aside, you be and appear before the undersigned Coroner of Springerville Precinct, County and territory aforesaid, at the house of George A. Phelps, in said Precinct, on the 11th day of June, at 4 P.M. then and there to serve as a Juror in a certain Inquisition now pending before said Coroner, and herein fail not at your peril. Given under my hand this 11th day of June, 1897.
THE PEOPLE OF THE TERRITORY OF ARIZONA send Greeting to: Wm. Flanagan, Jone Jones, Bruce Blain, Wm.M.Rudd, James Owens.
We command you, that all and singular business and excuses, being laid aside, you be and appear before the undersigned Coroner of the Village of Springerville, County of Apache, Territory of Arizona, at the residence of George Phelps, on the 11th day of June 1897,at 4 O'clock P.M. then and there to testify and give evidence in a certain Inquisition now pending before said Coroner. Given under my hand, this 11th day of June, 1897.
DEPOSITION OF WITNESSES
William Flanagan: He was not at the place at the time of the shooting. Knows nothing except what Mr. John Gibson told him, when he met him after the shooting. He (Gibson) said he had a little trouble at the Cow Count with Charles Thompson. He said that he and Chas. had some trouble over a heifer. He asked me if I had brought that heifer back. I told him, "No, I was not the boy to bring it." He (Chas.Thompson) started toward him pulling his glove or his hand. Being a bad man, I gave him no show to get the advantage of me. I pulled my gun and turned loose on him. I am sorry that this thing occurred. I would have killed him but Oly Bishop got in between two of us. But I am not going to leave the County. I am going in and give up. "Bill, you know Thompson is a bad man and has a bad name." This was on the 8th of June, sometime between 10 and 11 O'clock A.M. He (Gibson) was going from where the shooting occurred toward his house. I think this talk was in Apache County.
Second Witness, John Jones, 28 years old, resides in Graham County. Mr. Jones says he was present at the shooting of Charles Thompson.
Mr. Thompson was cutting cattle out of the herd. He was trying to cut out a steer that was wild, and he couldn't cut it out of the front of the round-up and had to cut it out on the other side close to Mr. Gibson. When he cut it out he run by Mr. Gibson. He run the steer around the front and Mr. Gibson followed up. As Mr. Thompson went after the steer, Mr. Gibson rode up pretty close and Mr. Thompson said, "John, did you bring that cow back?" Gibson said, "No, I didn't bring that cow back, I am not the man to bring her back." Mr. Thompson says, "Well, you had better bring her back." Then Mr. Gibson says not much. "I don't think I cut that cow and I am here to settle with you for it." Then Mr. Thompson says, "Let's talk it over" and started out of the herd. Then Mr. Gibson says, "I will settle it with you" and pulled his gun, and Mr. Thompson reined up his horse and held up his hand and said, "Don't shoot, let's not have any trouble" at the same time, Mr. Gibson shot. Then Mr. Thompson asked him the 2nd time not to shoot. And Gibson shot again and then, Mr. Thompson said again, "Damn it, don't shoot, let's not have any trouble." Then Gibson shot the 3rd shot as Mr. Thompson got off his horse. Then he (Gibson) shoots the 4th time. Mr. Thompson tried to get his Winchester out of the scabbard but didn't get it from some cause. Think it was because his wrist was shot. Mr. gibson was right up on him then, and as Thompson run away, Gibson shot again. And as Thompson run he pulled his gun and shot about the same time that Gibson did. Then Mr. Gibson run a little ways and Mr. thompson shot once more. Mr. Gibson jumped off his horse and pulled his saddle gun out of the scabbard. Then he shot at Mr. Thompson, and I asked him not to shoot any more. He followed Mr. Thompson up and shot again. Then Mr. Bishop asked him not to shoot again. Mr. Gibson shot 4 or 5 shots before Mr. Thompson shot. Thompson never touched his gun or six-shooter until he got off his horse. Thompson had his gun on the saddle and pistol buckled around him. I don't think that but one shot took effect. I think that it was the first shot. That one struck him in the wrist and body. Mr. Thompson is dead. I would think that he died from the shot that took place between 9 and 11 O'clock on the 8th day of June, 1897. I don't know where the County lines are, but it was in Arizona about 10 miles at Pete Slaughter's Ranch, I think a little west of north. I never was in that County before.
(Signed) John Jones
Third Witness, Bruce Blain, age 27.
I was present at the time of the shooting of Chas. Thompson and John Gibson. It was on the White Mountain in the Territory of Arizona at a herd of cattle. I presume it was about 9 O'clock in the morning. Mr. Gibson and another gentleman rode up to I and Mr. Bishop. We were sitting on our horses, talking and past the time aday. In a few moments, after Mr. Gibson rode up to us, Mr. Thompson brought a cow brute of some kind out of the herd and run it in behind us and ran the brute around the herd, but I didn't see where it went. But Mr. Thompson rode back in the herd. After he was out in the herd some distance, Mr. Thompson hollared to Mr. Gibson and said, "Did you bring that cow back?" And I didn't understand what Mr. Gibson said but he turned his horse around and rode back from where he came, slowly, and was saying something, but I did not understand what he said. And Mr. Thompson, at the same time, was riding in a parallel direction with Mr. Gibson. Then they turned. I did not understand what was said but Mr. Gibson, before they met, pulled his pistol from his scabbard and rode several steps with it in rapid succession. About the time he fired the 3rd shot, Mr. Thompson got off his horse on the opposite side of his horse from Mr. Gibson. Then Mr. Gibson went around Mr. Thompson's horse and fired one shot as he was going around. Mr. Jones was in a position where he could see Mr. Thompson all through the occurrance. The next, I noticed Mr. Gibson off in a trot from Mr. Thompson. As he was going off, I saw Mr. Thompson fire one shot at him. Mr. Gibson rode in that direction about 25 yards and dismounted and took his Winchester from his scabbard. Then Mr. Thompson run directly from him. Mr. Gibson was walking after him, sighting his gun at him and finally fired. And by that time, Mr. Thompson run around the point of the herd and went on that way some distance and stayed and laid down.
(Signed) Bruce Blain
Fourth Witness, Dr. Wm.M.Rudd, age 68 years old, resides in Apache County, Arizona and a practicing Physician.
On the 8th of June, 1897, I was called to attend Mr. Thompson, to treat him for wounds that he had upon his body. I arrived at about 10 O'clock P.M. I found him suffering with the two wounds that are now upon the body. I had him under treatment until the 10th of the present month, and until the arrival of Dr. Craig and Wedgforth. A few minutes before 9 O'clock P.M. on the 10th, Mr. Thompson died from the effects of one of those wounds. The one in the body, the ball that inflicted the wound, entered in the front of the body and then exited from the position then present from the backside of the body. I carefully examined the patient while alive and found no other cause to produce death than the wound described. I was present when Mr. Thompson died but was not present when the wounds were inflicted. I found Mr. Thompson at the Cow Camp where the wounds were inflicted which is located in Apache County, Arizona. I am confident in my own mind as a Physican, in the absence of a post-mortum examination, that the wound located on the body of Mr. Thompson was necessarily fatal and the cause of his death.
Fifth Witness, James Owens, age 33, raised in Apache County.
On the morning of the 8th of this month, we rounded up our cattle to cut our steers. Mr. Thompson and Montie Slaughter had commenced to cut their cattle out at the round-up. They had worked something like three quarters of an hour, when Mr. Gibson and another man rides up. Mr. Gibson rides up to where Mr. Bishop and Bruce Blain were standing. He stopped there about twice and then I noticed him riding in a south direction, along the side of the cattle. At that time, Mr. Thompson was riding up through the round-up in a northward direction. Just as he had passed Mr. Gibson, I heard him say something in a loud tone but I didn't understand what he said. I thought I understood him to say Johnie at the last. Then Johnie Gibson turned his horse around. Comes right back up to the round-up in a northward direction, parallel the way Thompson was riding. They rode that way some 10 or 15 steps. If there was any words passed, I didn't understand what they was but think they were talking. Thompson then turns his horse toward Gibson. Gibson turns his horse toward Thompson. They then rode up facing each other. When Gibson got within 4 steps of Thompson, I saw him pull his six-shooter. It looked to me as though he hesitated something like 10 seconds and then fired. He fired three shots in sucession. As he fired these 3 shots, he kept riding along down on the left hand side, as he came, meeting him firing the second and third shots as he came along close to Thompson. About the time of the third shot, Thompson had got on the ground. About that time, I think, Gibson fired his 4th shot. And just about that time, Thompson's horse went running off and Thompson had got his six-shooter and fired a shot in the direction of Gibson, as well as I remember. Each of them fired another shot with with their six-shooter. At the same time Gibson was riding away from Thompson. He had got a few steps from Thompson when he got off of his horse. I am not positive whether he got his gun or whether he followed his horse and got it, and at this time, Thompson was advancing a little after him. When Thompson saw Gibson was going to get his gun, he turned back and he was traveling at a fast gait back toward the cattle. Gibson got his gun and came following along after him a little ways, and then he fired in that direction. I think that then someone, I think it was Oly Bishop run in and got so far around the cattle that Gibson couldn't shoot at him anymore. He (Thompson) came on around the cattle where I was. He had then passed around the north end of these cattle and was going on a southward coarse, on the east side of the cattle. As he passed along by me, he said, "Stop him boy's, I only wanted to talk with him." I then rode right across through the cattle toward Gibson and asked him not to shoot anymore. At this time I didn't know that Thompson was hurt until after I had asked Gibson not to shoot anymore. I then rode back across the round-up the way I had went back to where Thompson had passed me. When he had passed me he went something like 30 steps and stopped and was lying down on his hip and elbow. We then gathered around and found about where he was shot. We then got him some water. Some of them got a hock and moved him up to camp. I was told by Sol Barth that the County line was settled. He said that Pete Slaughter's Ranch was in Apache County. According to that this would have ocurred something like about 6 miles in Apache County.
(Signed) James Owens
We, the undersigned, the Jurors summoned before Anyhony Long, Justice of the Peace, Acting Coroner, at Springerville, in said County and Territory, on the 11th day of June, 1897, to inquire into the cause of the death of Charles B. Thompson, having been duly sworn according to law and having made such Inquisitions after inspecting the body and hearing the testimonies advanced, upon our oaths, each and all do say that we find the deceased named Charles B. Thompson, was a native of Texas, age 36 years, that he came to his death on the 10th day of June, 1897, in Apache County, Arizona. That he came to his death by a pistol shot wound inflicted by a pistol in the hands of John Gibson, with the intent to do bodily harm. And we further find that we believe John Gibson is the person by whose act the death of the said Charles B. Thompson is occasioned. All of which we duly certify this the 11th day of June, 1897.
Benj. F. Ross, Walter J. Winsor, Philip Martin, James D.Murray, Prime T. Coleman, W. F. Lesuer T.C.Hill, Anthony Long, Coroner
Witness my hand this 17th day of June, 1897. Alfred Ruiz Dist. Atty.
This is to certify that I served the written Subponea on Bruce Blain On the 18th day of June,1897 That Ollie Bishop cannot be found.
I hereby certify that I served the witness subponea on Wm. Flanigan on the 22 day of June and on Luther Hulsey on the 18th day of June, 1897, and after diligent search, Jone Jones could not be found.
Come Defendant and moves the Court to continue this cause for the term, on account of the absence of two material Witnesses, to-wit: William Benton and Luther Hulsey, whose testimony is material and without which, Defendant, cannot safely proceed to trial; That Defendant has used due diligence to procure their attendance at this term. Subpoenas were issued immediately upon the return of the Indictment and have been returned by the Sheriff. Luther Hulsey being served, but who is now without the jurisdiction of the Court, Benton not served. Both residents of Apache County, as Affiant believes, and that their attandance can he procured at the next term.
That if Benton was present, he would swear that on the morning of the 8th of June, 1897, he rode with Defendant to the round-up of cattle, where on that day Deceased, Thompson, Defendant, Gibson, and others had steers which were to be cut, classed and delivered to a purchaser to whom they had been previously contracted. That when they approached Deceased, Thompson, was cutting an animal from the herd which ran around Defendant and Witness in a circle and back into the herd. That Defendant started to ride around the herd with his left side to it and to Thompson. That as he passed Thompson, Thompson turned his head and holloa-ed."Gibson, did you. bring that cow back?" To which Gibson answered, "No, I brought no cow back." Thompson, then turned his horse heading toward Gibson and said, "By God, you better bring her back." Gibson answered, "I am not the man to bring her back "She is mine, and if you get her, you will get her by law." That Thompson then clasped his right hand with his left hand to pull his glove off the right, and said, "Goddamn you, I will show you whether you don't bring her back or not." At which Gibson instantly grabbed his pistol and shot two or three times in rapid succession. Thompson grabbed his pistol and took it from the scabbard and got off his horse, or fell off, and. shot twice very quick. At this, Gibson and Thompson were close together. Gibson rode quickly away a distance of twenty five paces or so, Thompson running after him said, "Oh, you son of a bitch," and shot again. Gibson then jumped off his horse and drew his saddle gun when Thompson whirled to run away from him, and Gibson after him, when he shot at Thompson with his Winchester. Thompson ran around the herd of cattle from Gibson, out of Gibson's sight.
That Witness, Hulsey, would swear, if here, that shortly before the killing, he rode several miles with Thompson, and that on the ride, Thompson said, " I have found that 3K heifer and vented Gibson's brand and put mine on her." "Just as quick as I strike Gibson, he will have hell, and there is Goddamn liable to be a killing take place." "You want to be over there at the herd." (Meaning, at the herd where the steers were to be delivered on the 8th).
That Witness, Hulsey, communicated this statement to Defendant after the shooting. That Affiant knows of no other Witnesses by whom he can prove the same facts. That the evidence is material to his defense, and that he does not believe he can safely enter into his trial without said Witnesses.
Wherefore, Affiant asks that this case be continued for the term. And, on being duly sworn, Affiant says that the above statements are true, and that if the Witnesses were in attendance upon this Court, they would give the testimony and statements above set forth under oath.
(Signed) J. Gibson)
We the Jury find the Defendant "Not Guilty."
A.S.H. Gibbons, Foreman
Jack Becker's note: Charles Thompson was buried under his own true name ( W. T. Kelly) at Springerville near his father-in-law (Micajah H. Phelps).
From the files of Jack A. Becker