Owens-Blevins Shootout (1887)
- In the 1880's Navajo County,
was home to the Pleasant Valley War, a bitter range war between the
cattle-herding Grahams and the sheep-herding Tewksburys. In September,
1887, members of the Graham faction surrounded the Tewksbury cabin and
killed two men. A few days later, a man named Andy Blevins, a member
of the Graham faction, was overheard in Holbrook,
bragging that he had killed both of the Tewksbury men. Holbrook
Commodore Perry Owens,
got wind of the confession and having a warrant for Blevin's arrest
for cattle rustling, decided it was a good time to pick up the lawless
man. When Owens
went to the Blevins family home on September 4, 1887, the
family was in the midst of Sunday dinner and Andy refused to come out.
Within moments, Andy’s half brother, John, opened the door and took a
shot at the sheriff, who quickly drew his six-guns, sending bullets
into both John and Andy.
inevitably erupted and Sam Blevins, just 15 years-old, ran out the
door firing at Owen, who returned the shots. A friend of the Blevin family named Mose Roberts also fired upon the Sheriff. The melee, lasting less than a minute, left Andy and Sam Blevin, as
well as Mose Roberts dead. John Blevins was wounded.
Fight (1827) - The Sandbar Fight occurred just north of Natchez,
Mississippi on a sandbar in the Mississippi River on September 19, 1827. When two men, Samuel Levi Wells, III and Dr. Thomas Maddox, decided to
solve their issues by participating in a duel,
Jim Bowie attended as Wells' "second." In those days, a "second"
always attended an "official" duel to ensure that the proper rules were
followed. Surrounding the duelers were several spectators, including
Wells supporters, Major George McWhorter and General Samuel Cuny.
Supporting Maddox were his "second," Major Norris Wright, Colonel Robert
Crain, and brothers, Carey and Alfred Blanchard. Others were also gathered
about to watch the spectacle, numbering about 16 men in total.
When the principles exchanged shots, neither
hit the other, but all hell broke loose. From the crowd that surrounded
the duel, Robert Crain fired upon Samuel Cuny, and when Cuny fell, Bowie stepped in and fired at Crain but missed.
Norris then shot Bowie through the lower chest, at which time
Bowie drew his long butcher knife, that he was known to wear, and
began to chase down Wright. The Blanchard brothers then shot Bowie in the thigh, while Write and Alfred Blanchard stabbed him in
several places. However, Bowie still fought back, plunging his long knife into Wright's chest
and slicing Alfred Blanchard's forearm. Carey Blanchard then fired a
second shot at Bowie then he and his brother, Alfred fled. However, Carey Blanchard
was shot and wounded by Major McWhorter as he ran.
Though the Battle of the Sandbar lasted less than ten minutes, it left
General Samuel Cuny and Major Norris Wright dead, and
Jim Bowie and Alfred Blanchard wounded. Eyewitnesses, who remembered
Bowie's "big butcher knife," began to spread the word of Bowie's prowness with the lethal blade, capturing public attention and
starting the legend of Bowie's reputation as the South's most formidable knife fighter. Soon,
men were asking blacksmiths and cutlers to make them a "Bowie
Courtright Duel (1887) - In 1887,
"Longhair Jim" Courtright was
was running the T.I.C. Commercial
agency in Fort Worth,
Texas, which provided "protection" to gambling
saloons in return for a portion of their profits. At the same time,
Luke Short, a former friend of
Courtright's, was running the
Jim was trying to get
Short to utilize his
services. But the
Courtright to "go to hell," he could do any gunslinging that was
necessary to take care of his business. On February 8, 1887, the
two quarreled, resulting in one of the most famous gunfights
in western history. With Bat Masterson
dueled in the street in one of the few face-to-face gunfights
in the American West. Drawing their pistols at close range,
Short fired first, blowing
Courtright then attempted the "border shift" a
move where a
gunfighter switches their gun to an uninjured hand, but he was too
Luke Short shot him in the chest, killing him.
Gunfight (1902) - In the railroad town of Spokogee,
Indian Territory, which is now Dustin,
occurred on September 22, 1902. A feud between the Willis Brooks
family and an
outlaw gang headed by Jim McFarland had been ongoing for almost a
decade. Willis Brooks held the Jim McFarland responsible for the murder of
his son, Thomas, in 1896 but could prove nothing. Finally, the
long-simmering hostilities came to a head on September 22, 1902 when
Brooks rode into town with sons, Clifton and John, to pick up their mail. In the post office, the Brooks' encountered a man named George Riddle who
sided with the McFarland faction. Immediately, they began to threaten the
unarmed Riddle who dashed out of the post office and ran toward U.S.
Deputy Marshal Morton Rutherford, who was standing across the street. Willis Brooks followed him out and drew his gun, at which time Rutherford
commanded him not to shoot. However, Willis shot Riddle in the head,
killing him instantly, then sent two more bullets into the dead man's
prone body. In the meantime, Jim and Joe McFarland, along with George
Riddle’s son, Alonzo, who were also on the street, immediately began
to shoot back at the Willis faction. When the smoke cleared, Willis
and Clifton Brooks lay dead on the street along with George Riddle, and
John Brooks was severely wounded. Marshal Rutherford promptly arrested Jim
and Joe McFarland and Lon Riddle. Though all three were tried, they were
later All acquitted. John Brooks recovered from his wounds and lived until
the 1950’s. See full story HERE.