The Seven Rivers Warriors were made up mostly of small-time ranchers from the Seven Rivers area of southeastern Lincoln County, New Mexico that operated in the 1870s.
This gang of rustlers began their life of crime out of their frustration with the cattle barons, specifically John Chisum. The warriors felt that Chisum’s more than 100,000 head of cattle ate up most of the grazing land in the area. In retaliation, several small-ranchers grouped together, forming the Seven Rivers Warriors and began to steal Chisum’s livestock.
When Chisum supported the Tunstall/McSween faction against that of Dolan and Murphy in the Lincoln County War, the “Warriors” quickly joined up with Dolan-Murphy to oppose Chisum’s friends. They often rode with the Jesse Evans Gang and the John Kinney Gang, both of which were employed by the Murphy-Dolan faction.
Led by Henry M. “Hugh” Beckwith, the gang had influential connections with local law enforcement, which assisted in their being able to carry out cattle rustling without interference. Bob Beckwith and Wallace Olinger were deputies for Sheriff William J. Brady, while gang member Bob Olinger was a US Deputy Marshal.
The Lincoln County Regulators were formed to counter the gunmen on the side of the Murphy-Dolan faction. Including some 40 men, some of them included Billy the Kid, Richard “Dick” Brewer, Charlie Bowdre, and Doc Scurlock.
Several of the gang members were killed in the Lincoln County War and afterward, they began to turn against each other. Gang member Bill Johnson was killed by Hugh Beckwith on August 17, 1878, and John Beckwith was killed by fellow member John Jones on August 26, 1879. On November 23, 1879, gang member Tom Walker was killed in a saloon gunfight in Seven Rivers. Gang member and U.S. Deputy Marshal Bob Olinger was killed by Billy the Kid on April 28, 1881, during a jail escape. Afterward, the gang fell apart, with some members working as cowboys and ranchers, other becoming lawmen, and some continuing their outlaw ways.
Deputy Jose Chavez y Baca – Nothing is known of him after the Lincoln County War.
Henry M. “Hugh” Beckwith – Continued his outlaw ways and was killed during a robbery of a general store at Presidio, Texas in 1892.
John M. Beckwith – Killed by fellow Seven Rivers Warrior John Jones in Seven Rivers, New Mexico on August 26, 1879.
Deputy Robert “Bob” M Beckwith – Was killed by a Regulator in Lincoln, New Mexico on July 19, 1878.
Andrew “Andy” Boyle, died of unknown causes in Dona Ana County on May 14, 1882, or 1887.
Charlie ‘Lollycooler’ Crawford – Killed by Regulator Fernando Herrera in Lincoln, New Mexico on July 17, 1878.
Thomas Gaffney – Nothing is known of him after the Lincoln County War.
John Galvin – Possibly killed by the Regulators in Lincoln, New Mexico on April 30, 1878.
Tom Green – Probably killed by the Regulators in Lincoln, New Mexico on April 30, 1878.
John Hurley – He survived the war but was killed by Nicholas Aragon in Chaperito, New Mexico on January 25, 1886.
William “Bill” H. Johnson – Killed by fellow Seven Rivers Warrior Hugh Beckwith at Seven Rivers, New Mexico on August 17, 1878.
John A. Jones – Killed by fellow Seven Rivers Warrior Bob Olinger in Seven Rivers, New Mexico on August 29, 1879.
Jim P. Jones – He died of cancer at Carlsbad, New Mexico on February 5, 1930.
William M. ‘Bill’ Jones – He died of natural causes in Carlsbad, New Mexico on March 17, 1952.
“Dutch Charlie” Kruling – Nothing is known of him after the Lincoln County War.
Charles Marshall – Possibly killed by the Regulators in Lincoln, New Mexico on April 30, 1878.
John Wallace Olinger After the war he led a quiet existence until he died of broncho-pneumonia at Van Nuys, California on February 25, 1940.
Jim Patterson – Killed by the Regulators in Lincoln, New Mexico on April 30, 1878.
Sam R. Perry – Died in a wagon accident at Perry Canyon in November 1901.
Milo L. Pierce – Died of natural causes at Roswell, New Mexico on October 20, 1919.
Deputy Thomas B. “Buck” Powell – Died of natural causes in Texas on August 31, 1906.
Jim Ramer – Nothing is known of him after the Lincoln County War.
James B. Reese – Killed by the Sanchez brothers at Tularosa, New Mexico on August 2, 1878.
Bob Speakes -When the conflict was over he became a member of Selman’s Scouts, a vicious gang that terrorized the county. He later moved to Texas, enlisted in the Texas Rangers in 1880, was soon discharged, and then disappeared.
Tom Walker – He was Killed in a saloon gunfight in Seven Rivers in Seven Rivers, New Mexico on November 23, 1879.
By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, December 2018.