GRAND VALLEY FEUD


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How a feud between the city's founding fathers shaped Monroe Center and downtown Grand Rapids

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Houck confessed that he was the man who shot Willy Graham after he mistook him for his brother John Graham. Many people in the valley believed, though, that this was just a ruse to keep the allegations away from Ed Tewksbury.

Linger Nots Valley Feud by Agnes Miller

In September , the Graham faction rode to the Tewksbury cabin in the early morning. They hid in the foliage and spotted John Tewksbury, Jr. They ambushed and killed both men. The Grahams then went to the cabin and continued firing at it for hours, with fire returned from within. According to some accounts, the Grahams did not offer a truce , but John Tewksbury's wife, Eva, came out of the cabin with a shovel.

The firing stopped while she scooped out shallow graves for her husband and his companion. Firing on both sides resumed once she was back inside, but no further deaths occurred that day.


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Historian Joseph G. Rosa disputed this account, however, and believed that the bodies lay where they fell until morning.

GRAND VALLEY FEUD by Mark Bannerman

When the law was approaching their positions, the Graham faction quickly rode away. A few days later, Andy Cooper, one of the leaders of the Graham faction, was overheard in a store in Holbrook , bragging that he had shot and killed both John Tewksbury and William Jacobs.

Commodore Perry Owens , newly elected sheriff for Apache County , was a former cowboy turned lawman. At that time he was known for his skills as a gunman, being able to accurately shoot one pistol in each hand. He made a name for himself in his skirmishes with neighboring Apaches and Navajo. The Blevinses, on the other hand, were notorious for their cattle rustling activities and cold-blooded murders in and out of the territory.

As soon as Owens heard of the Blevins' whereabouts, he rode alone to the Blevins house in Holbrook to serve a warrant, carrying a Winchester rifle. Twelve members of the Blevins family were present at the house that day. Owens stated that he had an outstanding warrant for Andy Blevins and asked him to come out of the house. His half-brother, John Blevins, came out the front door and fired a shot at Owens with a rifle.

Owens returned fire, wounding John and killing Andy. A friend of the family named Mose Roberts, who was in a back room, jumped through a window at the side of the house. Owens, hearing the noise, ran to the side of the house and fired on Roberts, killing him. It is disputed as to whether Roberts was armed or not. Some reports indicate he was armed with a rifle, others allege that he was unarmed. It has also been said that he went out the window only to avoid bullets that passed into his room.

At that moment, year-old Sam Houston Blevins ran outside, armed with a pistol picked up next to the body of his brother Andy. Owens shot and killed him, as the boy fired on Owens; Sam died in his mother's arms. Witnesses said the gunfight took less than a minute; it resulted in three dead and one wounded.


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Despite being fired at, Owens was not injured. The afternoon made Owens a legend but further inflamed the feud. Owens was not indicted , and his shootings were ruled as self defense by the three coroner's juries called to review each death. The cases were never prosecuted, and Owens lost his position as sheriff. After the murder of a Graham sympathizer named Henry Middleton, Sheriff William Mulvenon of Prescott, Arizona , led a posse in an attempt to finally quell the war. His instructions came directly from Governor Conrad Zulick , and he left Prescott in September 10, His posse made a stop at Haigler ranch in the northern side of the valley, and six others such as Tewksbury ally J.

Houck reinforced his pack. The posse hid themselves behind a stone wall and waited, before surprising John and Charles and ordering them to put up their hands.

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During the grand jury hearing concerning the events at the Perkins Store, Mulvenon said that Graham and Blevins tried to reach for their guns, forcing him and his posse to shoot them. Blevins died quickly, and Houck ran up to the mortally wounded Graham and shot him dead. Some posse members were unaware of this understanding and didn't fire. McKinney intervened to stop Houck and Mulvenon from shooting the dying Blevins again. People who viewed this item also viewed. Picture Information. Have one to sell? Sell it yourself. Get an immediate offer.

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