VIGIL, JUAN - Gila County, Arizona | JUAN VIGIL - Arizona Gravestone Photos


Gisela Cemetery
Gila County,

Died Dec 22, 1903 in Gila County, Arizona

Juan's father, Santiago Vigil, was the chief sheepherder for a Mormon by the name of William Berry.

In December of 1903, Berry decided to move his herd of sheep from St. Johns, Arizona to Thatcher, Arizona. Santiago, his son Juan and Berry's son Wiley moved the 500 head of sheep while William Berry was still in Thatcher finalizing the details of the move.

As the sheep moved through Brushy Basin, near Gisela, Arizona, they came upon some local cowboys, Zachary and John Booth, who were not at all pleased to find sheep in the area.

Without warning, the cowboys shot 17 year old Juan Vigil and Wiley Berry. Santiago ran to the scene to find a bullet hole burning in his sons sweater where he had been shot. Santiago rode into Payson, Arizona to report the murders to the local sheriff.

Shortly afterward, Juan and Wiley were both buried in the cemetery at Gisela, although this was home to neither boy. Three days later, Christmas Day of 1903, there was a Christmas party held in the "16 to 1" Saloon in Payson. Among the attendees was Santiago Vigil and he spotted his son's murderers, Zachary and John Booth. He pointed the men out to the deputies who arrested the brothers and placed them on trial in Globe, Arizona.

In the trial Zachary swore that John was not present at the murders, even though Santiago swore he was there. John was eventually released and continued to live and prosper in Gisela where he raised a family.

Zachary was found guilty and hanged behind the old courthouse in Globe and is buried in the Globe Cemetery. Wiley's body was moved to Thatcher.

Even Juan's body was relocated within the cemetery and ended up next to the grave of the man accused of his murder.

The grave identified here, by me, is unmarked. Reliable historians have placed him next to John Booth. The grave on the other side of John would be his wife and there are no other possibilities in the area.

Contributed on 3/10/09 by goldwing.traveler
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Submitted: 3/10/09 • Approved: 3/11/09 • Last Updated: 10/28/12 • R66329-G0

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