Gustav Becker remembers The Blanton Gang (the below mentioned scoundrels, thieves & desperados). Click here to read his account..
Tucson, Arizona,         Thursday, October 25, 1877
ED. ARIZONA STAR.---Sir:            Camp Apache, Oct. 12, 1877
     There are some scoundrels plying their full trade of robberies and, perhaps, murders in and around Springerville. It's really high time some steps were taken, by the peaceable and law-abiding citizens in Yavapai county, to put a stop to the many and unparalleled outrages that have been committed, end are still being perpetrated, by a lot of rascals who have their headquarters in the neighborhood of Springerville. The other day (10th instant) a gentleman doing business in the latter town arrived here in a terrible state of mind relative to the state of safety of his family and property from which he was forced to fly, as he said, to save perhaps his life, the latter being threatened by one of those scoundrels, if the unfortunate man refused to comply with their demands to give them money and goods for nothing. In this great strait he appealed to the authorities--the Governor of the Territory, Judge Tweed and the Sheriff---for protection---explaining to those distinguished functionaries, that not only his property, but his life and those of his wife and family were in imminent danger; but for technical reasons the protection---an imperative right, made so by the perilous situation of the appellant--was not extended to him.
     It is a simple matter for a person to tell another how to put a fire out that is consuming his property at the same time the adviser calmly looks on at the work of the destruction without assisting to prevent its damaging progress, having at the same time in his sole possession the only means of prevention of the evil.
     It must always be a disagreeable task for people to be forced to complain of things which appear, at first glance, trivial in themselves, but which require time to develop the enormity of their danger and their injurious existence.
     This seems destined to be a case in point, judging from the culpable indifference relative to the its importance manifested by
the guardians of our safety. This matter needs official investigation, and its the duty of the Territorial Press, regardless of "sectional feelings," to ventilate the subject with a view towards the discovery, arrest, and punishment of the parties, reported to be depredating.
Prescott November 2, 1877

     A band of horse thieves and desperados have become a terror to the people of St. Johns in the eastern part of this county.  They have their headquarters in and about Springerville, from whence they raid in different directions and are perfectly lawless, going out, helping themselves to whatever they want and wantonly destroying goods and other property.
     Several citizens got together at or near St. Johns a few days ago to take measures for self protection against these outlaws, when they were met by a portion of the band and a fight ensued in which two citizens were killed and one wounded, the names of whom
we have not learned, and one desperado killed by the name of "Pete."
     These facts are learned by a telegram received last night by Governor Hoyt from Captain John A. Andrews, Eight Infantry, at Camp Apache.  As we have before remarked, these gentry are becoming too plentiful in Arizona and should be shot down on sight, they are entitled to far less mercy than the Apaches, and if the officers of the civil law are unable to manage them the soldiery should be turned loose after them with all the Apache scouts that the service can command, with orders to employ all their most improved methods of torture.  Anything is too good for such cattle.
     The dispatch received on Friday evening by Governor Hoyt from Captain Andrews, at Camp Apache, and which was noticed in Saturday's DAILY MINER, was, as we stated, with reference to the operations of a band of desperadoes, operating on the Little Colorado, near St. Johns and Springerville, where in a recent combat with the citizens they killed two good men, wounded another and had one of their own number killed.  Finding themselves unable to cope with these outlaws, with the meagre supply of arms and ammunition on hands, parties representing themselves to be a Citizen's Committee went to Camp Apache, the nearest Military Post, and asked the commander to furnish them with arms, ect., with which to defend themselves. Captain Andrews, having no authority to loan arms to citizens telegraphed to Governor Hoyt for authority to furnish arms on the credit of the Territory.  The Governor at once gave the order to let them have arms, but, subsequently, information was received which left the matter in doubt as to the identity of the parties waiting at Apache to receive them, and the Governor countermanded the order until such time as he shall be assured that they are not going into the hands of the wrong party.
PRESCOTT, ARIZONA                     November 9, 1877
      Captain Cramer and a party of soldiers from Camp Apache are now on the Little Colorado examining into the late difficulties between the citizens and a band of outlaws that are reported to be committing their deeds of murder and pillage all over the eastern portion of Yavapai county.
Tucson Arizona, Thursday, November 15, 1877, Page
"Pete" The Desperado Killed _____ Two
of His________ also killed ____ An
Invitation For Governor Hoyt to Act.
CAMP APACHE A.T. Oct 29, 1877.
EDITOR WEEKLY STAR---Last Tuesday there was quite a sanguinary struggle at St. Johns, A.T., between the reputed leader of the band of murderers and cattle thieves who have their headquarters in the neighborhood of Springerville, and some of the residents of St. Johns, resulting in the death of the former and two of the latter _____ _____ _____ _____ ____ _____ _____.   This man, "Pete" the desperado who got killed, came into St. Johns on a _______ _______, accompanied by a man named Spencer, the latter it is claimed being on business(?) and while travelling around town, it appears loud and frequent boasts were made that a few Mexicans were going to get killed by these parties before they returned to Springerville, or left the town.  Some say that one of them boasted that the United States Marshal, backed by a posse of comiticus could not arrest any man connected with this gang, etc. etc., but as the onus probandi remains with the principals peadente lite, I shall say no more on the causes, etc.  The people of St. Johns, fearing that these threats might be carried into execution, determined to put a stop to this man's crimes, and took into their own hands the task of doing that which their civil officers appeared powerless to do, arrest and punish a murderer and horse thief.  As "Pete" was crossing the Plaza a shot was Fired at him by some unknown party, whereupon he fled, accompanied by Spencer, into the house of Morris Barth, Deputy Sheriff, at St. Johns.  The house was immediatedly surrounded and Spencer was ordered out which he quickly obeyed, when the people demanded the surrender of "Pete."  He replied to them by threats and two men who entered the room where he was were shot dead in attempting to arrest him whilst a third was seriously wounded in the neck and shoulders.  Seeing that to capture him by entering the room by the door would be attended by too many fatal consequences they stripped the roof off the house, and, notwithstanding a desperate resistance continued to the end, one of the men on the roof, after having narrowly escaped two shots, one passing through the rim of his hat almost grazing his forehead, suceeded in hitting the desperado in the breast rendering him here de combat, and causing his death soon afterwards.  Thus ended the life of a man who is reputed to have killed many men (some say he killed 27 before the last two) for the "fun of it" or for their money. It seems to be a confirmation of the: "He that lives by the sword, etc."  Unfortunately, for the peace and protection of the county, (and even of the Territory) the rascals ain't all dead yet, and the sooner they are cleaned out the better for all law abiding citizens.
       Within the last two or three months, several men of money and means, principally stockmen, have passed through this section with a view of settling down on a good range, but, notwithstanding they have been perfectly well pleased with this country, around the neighborhood of Springerville, and even were anxious to settle, they could not do so on account of those desperadoes.  How long this state of things is to be permitted "rests" with the Governor and the civil authorities in Prescott, for the civil officers in this section, Justices and Deputy Sheriffs, are either incompetent or incapable (probably a little of both) to properly perform their legitimate duties.   The latter defect can be readily excused, however, when we take into consideration the desperate men with whom they'd have to contend with in case of an attempt to arrest them in order to bring them to justice; particularly when they'd have to "go it alone", for the "rest of the inhabitants", fearful of direful consequences to themselves in case of failure of
an attempt to capture the villians, will not have anything to do with them--meaning the desperadoes.
     The Sheriff is wanted here to stir up his present sleeping, or very passive, Deputies, or to make new ones.  Springerville wants a weeding out of some of her "white" citizens of "cow-boy" lineage,
cattle thieves from the Rio Pecos who have _______there and
afford a rendevous to all the desperadoes from Texas who desire to "prospect" in this section.
Prescott Friday November 16, 1877
     Gov. Hoyt, last evening received a telegram from C.E. Cooley, Deputy U.S. Marshal at Camp Apache, informing him of the hanging of two desperados on the Little Colorado.  Cooley went with a detachment of soldiers to Springerville, and arrested Wm. Snider, alias Bill Cavaness, and E.M. Overstreet, and as their offense was a Territorial one, he turned them over to Wm. Milligan, Deputy Sheriff, to bring to Prescott, to jail.  After Cooley had left Springerville, with the soldiers, a mob arose, and took the prisoners from Milligan, and, in the language of the telegram, disposed of them according to frontier law, which, we presume, means that they hung them.  District Attorney, Paul Webber, received a similar telegram.
     This disposes of the entire gang of outlaws that have infested that county for several months, maintaining a reign of terror over the people.  Some time ago, two were killed in a fight among themselves: afterwards, another, known as "Pete," killed two citizens who were attempting to arrest him, and was himself killed in a house where he had taken refuse, the pursuing party being obliged to remove a portion of the roof in attempting to arrest him.  He was shot and killed from the top of the house.
[Read The Blanton Gang as told by Gustav Becker (under 'Oral Histories' on the menu.]
     C.E. COOLEY, ONE OF THE MEN WHO DID MUCH TO BRING the White Mountain Apaches under subjection, and now a resident of Show Lou (sic) 28 miles north of Camp Apache, has been doing some excellent work in the way of capturing outlaws for which he should receive the thanks of every law abiding citizen in the eastern portion of our territory. Five of these desperadoes have recently been killed, which, it is thought, constituted the whole band.
Prescott Page 4 Col. 2 November 23, 1877
     The following which is handed us by Dodson, who has just
returned from Springerville, was furnished by Deputy Sheriff Milligan, and shows that there have been nine instead of five killed as heretofore published.  Milligan (?) says that on the 7th of November, Mrs. Snider came to the court house in the evening while I had charge of the prisoners and said, "Mr. Milligan, you and posse will be mobbed tonight, and that she would hold my life responsible for Snider in the morning.  I asked Snider if he thought there would be danger of a mob and he said yes, we will all be murdered tonight.  Feeling a little uneasy I ordered a two horse wagon and started with the prisoners for the military camp fifteen miles down the river, and after going about three miles we were surrounded by a large body of masked men, the prisoners taken from me, and I was ordered to leave there.  About that time they commenced shooting and I left without waiting to ask what they were shooting at.
     I went to the military camp, and reported to Deputy U.S.
Marshal Cooley what had happened.  He immediately put me under arrest, and, next morning, he and Captain Kramer brought me before them and asked me if I thought there was any further danger of violence.  I said there might be: they told me to go home and if there were any further disturbances, to let them know immediately. They appeared to be anxious to proceed to St. Johns to investigate the troubles there.  As I returned, I saw the prisoners, dead, near where they were taken from me.  When I got to Springerville, I summoned a posse of men to bring in the bodies and burry (sic) them.  
     Those who have been killed are Pete Godfrey, who killed a German near Horsehead Crossing October 24th.  Sam Godfrey, killed by a horse throwing him against a house while drunk; Frank Owen,
killed by Pete.  Will Sheppard, killed by Overstreet, who stabbed him seven times about a woman.
     The following list was obtained from Snider, alias Bill
Cavaness: Sam Blanton killed by a horse at Springerville. 
(There is where the trouble commenced as we got to fighting among ourselves. Pete Blanton, (brother of Sam) killed Frank Owen, and wounded me: this happened in Gonzales store: Abe and Sam Goddard, supposed to have been killed by Pete Blanton and Charley Carr alias Wheeler.
     The horses belonging to Goddard are in the hands of Overstreet.  Pete Blanton and Charley Carr killed a German near Horsehead. (Cooley has strong proof of this.) Carr was wounded badly and he is still at large.  E.M. Overstreet killed Sheppard while in bed. Pete Blanton was killed by a mob at St. Johns. Joe Spencer was killed fifteen miles above St. Johns.  We are assured by Mr. Dodson that the question of race or nationality cuts no figures in the case.  The Mexicans simply have assisted the better class of citizens to rid the country of these outlaws, all of whom were Americans.
PRESCOTT, ARIZONA                 December 7, 1877
     At a meeting held at Springerville, a few days since, the citizens of that place and surrounding country resolved to tender their sincere thanks to Capt. C.E. Cooley, Deputy U.S. Marshal, Capt. A. Kramer, and Dr. G.S. Oldmixon, for the gentlemanly, carefull and impartial manner in which they conducted their investigations and established peace in the eastern portion of Yavapai County.

From Jack Becker's Collection