Unknown Navajo SHEEPHERDER

Shepherd's Roadside Grave Cemetery
Gila County,

he identity of the person buried here is unknown, as is the identity of the guilty person(s) who committed the act.. What is known is that he was the very first victim of the bloody Pleasant Valley War.

One newspaper carried the following Article:

The body of a sheepherder—a Ute Indian in charge of the Daggs buck herd—was found dead about ten days ago near his camp in Pleasant Valley, his body riddled with bullets. Some days previous to his death, some unknown person shot at the herder in his camp. He returned the shots. His gun misfired at the second at the second shot or he would most certainly have killed his assailant.

Dan Dedera in his book A Little War of Our Own states: It is fair to suppose the source of the Globe news was a Tewksbury sympathizer who additionally conceived a persistent local legend: the murderers' tracks led to the Graham stronghold. The news story was also published in the February 10, 1887 edition of Buckley O'Neill's livestock journal, Hoof and Horn, with one additional inflammatory detail: The herder's head was completely separated from his body, presumably to make identification hard.

True or false, the story was too compelling to forget. The Tewksburys embraced it as gospel.

The truly hard feelings between the Grahams and the Tewskburys, once good friends, had been brewing for a long time prior to this killing. This act did not start the war, but was the first actual murder victim in a long list.

Contributed on 3/4/09 by goldwing.traveler
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Record #: 66064

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Submitted: 3/4/09 • Approved: 3/4/09 • Last Updated: 3/24/18 • R66064-G0-S3

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