AND KENNEDY MURDERED
from Phoenix of the horrible murder of two well-known ranchmen who
resided near Livingston. Sam S. Plunkett and Edward A. Kennedy, the
murdered men, were found with their bodies terribly mutilated and their
skulls crushed. It was evident from indications that the murder had
been committed forty-eight hours previous to the finding of the bodies.
Indian scouts are searching the surrounding country for the murderers
with some hope of success. The Phoenix Enterprise says of the crime:
than likely that before another twenty-four hours have passed the
murderers of the ranchers will have been apprehended and landed in
jail. This statement is made on information brought to town by Sheriff
E. P. Shanlcy of Gila county, who is in Phoenix today.
the murder little further information is available, but the scouts, Al
Siebcr and Ranger Peterson, who at once took up the trail when the
crime was discovered, run their men within ten miles of Globe. There
the trail was lost. The men had been traveling on foot. At that point
where the trail was lost, it is thought they were picked up by someone
traveling on horseback, for such were the indications on the road.
men discarded a butcher knife which was all covered with blood and
which was no doubt the same knife with which the lone ranchmen were
stabbed. They also changed their shirts at this point and discarded
clothing showed blood stains.
Ludwig, who has been employed at Roosevelt, arrived in Phoenix this
morning from that camp which he left Saturday morning. He says that
when the news of the murder was received at Roosevelt, Mr. L. C. Hill,
project engineer for the Roosevelt Dam construction, left at once for
the scene of the murder with two Indian scouts. —Douglas Dispatch, 1905
later, in October, 1905, the Dispatch reported:
which surrounded the murder of Plunkett and Kennedy, and which has
baffled the police of the whole southwest, has finally been solved,
but the brutal murderers of the two ranchmen will probably never be
brought to justice. The mystery has been solved by the shrewd work and
detective ability of Lieutenant Harry Wheeler of the Rangers, who
secured the first clue to the identity of the perpetrators of the crime
at Willcox during a visit there.
ago the Dispatch published a story from the Globe Silver Belt of the
arrest of a Mexican bartender at Globe on the charge of being an
accessory to the murder after the Crime had been committed. The
information was never supposed to have been published by the paper, as
the publicity given by the publication will probably give the murderers
an opportunity to get further away, but it leaked out somehow and the
officers are doing their best to land the criminal with this handicap.
which the officers had for months been searching came from a Mexican
girl who had been the lover of the Globe bartender. She told a friend
that this man had harbored for several days the two men who had killed
Plunkett and Kennedy. She told this when she learned that two innocent
men brought from Alamogordo, New Mexico, were in danger of being hanged
for a crime which they had never committed. She said that the bartender
had helped the murderers dispose of their blood-stained clothes and had
secured new ones for them and that when they left for Mexico he had
cashed a check for them. One of them was arrested as a vag the night
after he reached Globe, but was released the next day. They arc now at
Mines Prietas, Sonora, but it is improbable that they will ever be
brought to justice unless Ortega, the bartender gives them away. The
latter is in jail at Globe, and every effort is being made to wring a
confession from him. He seems to be the only man who knows their names
and their description.
Wheeler, who recently returned from Globe, where he caused the arrest
of Ortega, went to the scene of the murder, and he says that from the
indications and from what he could learn of the crime it was one of the
foulest ever committed in this territory. He said there was little hope
of the real criminals ever being caught unless Ortega confesses, and it
is very likely that he will be kept in jail until he does.
the Silver Belt story as mentioned above:
Mexican who has tended bar in Mark Cheever's place for many months, is
now in the Gila county jail charged with being an accessory after the
fact on an alleged confession obtained from him by Mrs. Cheever at the
insistance of local officers.
told in this connection by Ortega is as follows: Officers visiting the
saloon in question noticed that when one of them entered the place in
connection with their official duties Ortega seemed very uneasy and
furtively watched them closely. Mrs. Cheever was asked who he was and
what he had done to make him so sensitive to the approach of the
questioned the man who replied that he was not aware that he had
committed any offense unless it was because of the fact that he had
kept the two Mexicans who had killed Plunkett and Kennedy in hiding for
a couple of days and helped them out of town. It is said that he kept
them at the Cheever boarding house for two or three days, bought them
new clothing and got a pay check cashed for them.
Cheever that they were friends of his and after they had gone he
advised her to have the rubbish cleared out of the open space under the
building because of the danger of fire. She employed another Mexican to
do the work and is now convinced that Ortega's object was to have the
blood-stained garments worn by them and hidden in the rubbish burned
with the trash to remove all evidence of the crime so far as they were
concerned. Mrs. Cheever says that one of the men had three knife wounds
on one of his legs which were attended to by Ortega. They had plenty of
money, but kept very closely to the premises while here. She is very
confident of her ability to identify them if they were brought before
her because she saw them at each meal while they remained in Globe and
had good opportunity to become acquainted with any peculiarity of
says that Ortega admits having received letters from the escapees dated
Minas Prietas where they were at last writing. If this story is true
all clues have been at fault and of the dozen or more suspects examined
all were undoubtedly guilt less of tfae murders. If Filipe Sanchez
would tell what he knows there is little doubt that the identity of the
much sought murderers would be fully established. Whether they can be
secured or not is another story and it is highly improbable that they
will ever be made to answer for the crime even if they were
conclusively proved to be the men wanted. Ortega will have a
preliminary hearing within a few days when it is expected that much
important evidence would be brought out. Ortega made similar statements
to others and to one woman to whom he confessed his story is on the way
and will be here to testify.
expected that a squad of Hangers will go to Minas Prietas in Mexico,
accompanied by Ruralcs the coining week to secure two Mexicans who are
suspected of being the murderers of Ranchmen Plunkett and Kennedy near
Livingston several months ago.
Belt had this to say regarding developments:
Ortega, the man who told Mrs. Cheever and others that he had assisted
the murderers of Sam Plunkett and Ed. Kennedy to make their escape from
this city was placed under bonds of $2000 for appearance before the
next grand jury on a charge of being accessory after the fact. It will
be impossible for him to secure bail. Steps have been taken to secure
the presence of the witnesses at the time. The man suspected of being
one of the two who committed the crime, placed under arrest last week,
was released as there was no evidence to show that he had anything to
do with the case. It is believed that if Ortega and Sanchez would tell
what they know that the full story would be disclosed and the identity
of the murderers clearly established.
ex-Ranger Captain Harry Wheeler was reminiscing and told a Tucson Star
reporter this story of the search for and subsequent capture of the
Plunkett and Kennedy murderers:
1905, shortly after I had become a commissioned officer in the Ranger
service, that all Arizona was horrified by the story of the
Plunkett-Kennedy affair—one of the foulest and most brutal crimes ever
perpetrated in the territory. Sam Plunkett and an aged companion, Ed.
Kennedy, living on a small ranch on Pinto creek within one mile of the
village of Livingston, in Gila bounty. This town is located about
thirty miles from Globe, on the road to Roosevelt. The crime had been
committed on a dark, rainy night, the motive being robbery. Two days
after its commission an awful sight met the eyes of those who
discovered it. Plunkett had been murdered in his bed, his body showing
sixteen knife wounds and his head being crushed in with some blunt
instrument. His companion had been killed in a similar manner, the body
showing knife wounds and the head being crushed beyond recognition.
Mexicans, formerly employed by Plunkett had disappeared and no trace
could be found of them. This, coupled with the finding of a bloody
shirt belonging to one of the men, led the officers to suspect the
Mexicans of the crime, and their trail, leading straight to the
mountains, was taken up by the Rangers. This trail was followed to
Globe, and when the northern Rangers had traced the men to that point
the chase was given up for the time being. The Rangers had no allowance
in the matter of expenses for pursuing the criminals to a railroad
point, hence we adopted our usual plan in such cases—that is, every
Ranger was furnished with as Complete a descriplion of the men as was
possible to secure and orders were issued to keep an eternal vigilance
for the men wanted. And it must be said to the credit of the Ranger
force that, as in other cases, for long and weary months after the
commission of this crime had left the minds of most Arizonans, the
Rangers continued to work quietly upon the case. We finally secured
information that the men were in Sonora, Mexico, where they had been
seen at several mining camps. One informant stated that the men seldom
remained more than two weeks at any one place.
receipt of this meager information. Rangers Old and Hickey, and Eugene
Shute, deputy sheriff at Roosevelt, who by the way was related to
Plunkett, and myself sought permission of the governor to enter Sonora
and seek the men wanted. This permission being granted we arrived at
Nogalcs in December 1905, and were soon on our way into the interior of
doubtless be pardoned for mentioning here that this trip was made at
the joint expense of the Rangers named and the relatives of the
murdered parties. The territory contributed no part to our endeavor to
secure the guilty parties.
searching Magdalena we visited Colonel Kosterlitzky and sought his aid
in our quest for the fugitives. The only en-couragement he gave us was
to warn us against the Yaqui Indians, then engaged in fierce warfare
against everyone who entered their country. We then went to Santa Ana,
where we took a stage for a distant mining camp. After searching this
latter place we returned to Santa Ana and made our way by rail to
Ortiz. There we expected to take a rig overland to La Dura, some ninety
miles distant and located in the heart of the Yaqui country. We were
surprised early next morning after our arrival as we were about to
start when a Mexican officer approached us and positively forbade us
taking the trip. He said the Yaquis were within ten miles of Ortiz,
where a cavalry squadron was encamped, and even declared that the
roadway for that distance was unsafe unless the travelers were
accompanied by a military escort. This latter he promised us, but
failing to get it we determined to make our escape from the military.
Consequently before daybreak next day we quietly hitched up our horses
and, having bought a few provisions, drove cautiously out of the
traveling about twenty miles we were surprised to sec coming toward us
a troop of cavalry, some of the soldiers wearing bandages about their
heads and others wearing their arms in slings. Others were leading
horses with empty saddles, and when we saw these the true import of the
cavalry dawned upon us. The troopers looked like veterans and their
leader had grown old in the service. We were halted, and even before he
spoke he appeared surprised to see us. A terrible fight with the
Yaquis, he said, had taken place the day before, with great losses to
the Indians. Seemingly of a kindly disposition he told us of the
dangers of the Yaqui country and endeavored to pursuadc us to retrace
our steps. Being in charge of the little squad of men with me I called
him to one side and explained to him the situation. We were all
soldiers, I told him, and soldiers in our country were as loath to turn
back as soldiers in his own. Gravely he listened to all I had to say.
Gravely he saluted mc. And gravely he called his troop to attention and
resumed his way.
good progress the remainder of that day and struck camp in a cluster of
mcsquitc trees. It was extremely cold and as we had no blankets and did
not dare make a camp fire we suffered considerably. With dawn, however,
came additional troubles, for following a clatter of horses' hoofs we
were quickly surrounded by a troop of cavalry and placed under arrest.
For our own good, we were told, we were to remain guests of the
military until such time as other arrangements could be made. In vain I
informed the officer in command that we were Americans; that we had
done no evil and that we were perfectly willing to go on our way and
take all responsibility for the dangers to which wc were subjected. The
captain ordered his men to take us in charge and we were marched to a
block house about five miles distant. Here we found another small
garrison of soldiers and were given good quarters and plenty of food.
The best of all, though, was that we had a comfortable bed.
fourth day of our enforced habitation of the fort we were gladdened by
the arrival of dispatches from Ortiz, ordering a safe escort for us to
the point of our destination. About ten days were required in making
the trip to La Dura and return, a careful search of the camp having
failed to reveal the presence of our men. We went to Guaymas and were
met with the same disappointment. Then we returned to Empalme, then in
the first stage of its growth, and took up our search along the right
of way for the new road then building. After riding over twenty miles
of completed roadway we proceeded on foot. Mile after mile we trudged
through cold and dark, with not a single human habitation within the
next 100 miles, guided only by the open space cleared for the
right-of-way for the road. We had been told there were several parties
of laborers at work along the line, and it was among them that we hoped
to find the men we were seeking. "The next morning after beginning our
long hike across country we ate our last morsel of food and put
ourselves on short rations of water, and the close of the day found us
footsore and terribly hungry. Hickey's feet got so sore that he had to
take off his shoes. We laughed, in spite of our desperation, as we
trudged along, his shoes tied about his neck. The next day, however, we
were all in the same condition—four straggling Rangers, all nearly
starved, with canteens which no longer held a drop of water. Around the
neck of each dangled a pair of shoes tied with a string. Things were
desperate indeed by this time. We were compelled to rest every ten
minutes, and no one spoke We knew we could not go back and we knew not
how far it was to the first gang of workmen. Fully fifty miles and
already been covered by us.
passed three days without food and two without water. Hope was giving
place to despair, but I determined that we should travel that night. It
seemed that hours had passed when Hickey uttered an exclamation. That's
a house,' he said and pointed out to us a faint flicker of light.
Pressing onward we finally came to the little adobe shanty, which we
found to have but one door and a few portholes opening into a single
room. Rapping on the door we were astonished to hear several voices, a
scurrying of feet and a voice cry out, 'Get your pistols, boys. Kill
the Yaquis' This, spoken in a high pitch of the voice was evidently
meant to intimidate us, the inmates having mis taken us for the
terrible Yaquis. After a short consultation we decided to take the
chance of being shot and force an entrance into the building, for we
were in no condition to proceed further on our journey that night.
Pandemonium broke loose within when we went to the door in a body and
again demanded admittance. I scarcely ever heard such yelling. Cries
and curses mingled with prayers. It was in vain that we hammered on the
door. Wc could not make ourselves understood in that noise and
confusion. The only thing left was to break through the door and risk
being shot clown. Starving men, however, will take chances. We broke
through the door. By this time the room was dark. Lighting a match, our
eyes were greeted with a sight impossible to describe. The Yaquis went
up in our estimation several hundred per cent when we saw what
consternation and terror they had created among those Mexicans. Seven
men, three women and half a dozen children were huddled in one corner.
The women were holding their ehilden to their breasts while they knelt
on the hard floor. Children were whimpering and clutching at their
mother's dresses. The men, terror stricken and kneeling, had
nevertheless placed themselves in front of the women and children,
evidently intending to be the first to die. Not a weapon had they.
some difficulty that we finally succeeded in convincing them we were
not the dreaded Yaquis, but when they saw we made no move to injure
them they finally became quiet, permitting us to explain. After that
they could not do enough for us. They washed and bound up our injured
feet and made us as comfortable as possible on their crude pallets.
They then brought us water, giving it to us first in small quantities,
increasing the allowance gradually until we were allowed all we
wanted. In the meantime, the women went to work cooking for us, and
soon tortillas of flour, with beans, coffee and goat's milk cheese,
were ready. They permitted us to sleep until three the next afternoon.
After again attending to our needs our benefactors told us the main
body of the working crew on the new railway had gone ten miles farther
on, but was expected to return within a few days. We decided to remain
where we were until the crew returned, which it did on the third day.
We again failed to locate our men, however.
now being well again we struck out on our return trip to Empalme, and
from there went to the famous mining camp of Minas Prietas. Here we
discovered our first clew to the men we were seeking. Men answering
their description perfectly had left the camp a few days before that,
stating that they were going to Nogales.
we started at once. There we separated and other Rangers were sent for.
All Arizona was systematically searched for these men. After separating
in Nogales I went to my territory in northern Cochise county, while
other Rangers scoured the camps in the Helvetias, Silverbell, Mammoth,
Washington, Mowry, and a dozen other places, for the word had gone out
to the Rangers that the murderers were again in Arizona.
happened that I was destined by chance to pick up the fugitives. It
happened at Willcox. The constable there for a long time had borne the
reputation of being such a terror to the lawless that he and his town
were usually given a wide berth by criminals of all kinds. Hence when
two Mexicans considered it more advisable to remain outside the town,
even in a terrific downpour of rain, than to show themselves there in
daylight, I became suspicious. I found them sitting alongside the
railway track, in a perfect deluge of rain. When I approached they
attempted to move away, and upon being informed of their arrest, the
larger man, named Gonzales, drew a big, murderous looking knife. The
smaller of the men, named Ascension also slyly opened a smaller knife
which he had concealed in his pocket. The descriptions were perfect,
and I knew I had the men we had so long sought.
that night the larger of the two men walked to and fro in his quarters
until daylight. 'We will be hung in Globe,' he urged repeatedly,
addressing his remarks to Ascension.
latter would reply. 'They will hang you but not me.'
little more than a boy, later told us how the other man had committed
the foul murders on the lonely little ranch near Livingston; how
Gonzales had compelled him to witness the deed and how the money had
were bound over to the grand jury of Gila county. The smaller one was
subsequently released and the sheriff in some manner, allowed Gonzales
to escape and he afterwards committed suicide.
the Rangers* work had been completed; they had done their duty well and
the company, at least, knew that the territory had been ridded of two
of the most undesirable criminals. Over nine thousand miles had been
traveled in order to capture these men. Every conceivable hardship and
danger had been endured uncomplainingly. Rangers drawing $100 per
month, with absolutely no expense allowance, had readily and willingly
spent their own wages, month after month, in the performance of their
duty. I know of no other peace officers in the territory who have done
this. "Hence arises the question: "Were the Arizona Rangers patriots or
fools? "I leave it to the questioner."
Rynning will leave this morning on his big gray horse for a trip over
the territory, which will take about a month of his time. He goes
provided with bedding and supplies and will take along a pack horse to
carry the outfit. The first stop will be at Bisbcc and from there the
captain will push on toward the west. He expects to cover about 1,500
miles before returning to Douglas and during his absence his duties
will be attended to by Lieutenant Wheeler, though the captain will keep
continuously in touch with headquarters.
later the Dispatch had this story:
weeks in the saddle and cover thirteen hundred miles is not what an
ordinary man would care to do. Captain Thomas Rynning has just
completed such a ride, and without any ill effects.
Rynning is spending today in Phoenix on his way from his headquarters
in Douglas to Prescott and the northern part of the territory, where he
will be for a few days on official business.
Captain Rynning visited with his superior officer, Governor Kibbey, and
together they discussed matters that concern the Arizona Rangers and
the work they are doing along the southern and eastern borders of
Arizona, as well as at interior points.
becoming modesty Captain Rynning consented to tell some of the features
of his long ride. In the telling he did not appear to think it had been
much of an exploit, though to almost anyone else it would be an event
of a lifetime.
of cattle killing cases was what took the Ranger captain from Douglas
on horseback to the extreme northeastern portion of Arizona. Indians
have been giving the cattle owners considerable trouble by killing
first ride was from Naco through Santa Cruz and Pima counties and back
a distance of about 500 miles. He saw nothing exceptionally startling
on the trip, but wherever he found a Ranger, gave him instruction.
After returning to Douglas, Rynning got a fresh horse and started
north, going through Cochise, Graham and Gila counties and into Pinal
county. At one time he was within seventy-five miles of the Tonto Basin
reservoir. From there he continued north into Navajo and Apache
In the White
River country Captain Rynning met a party of Bisbee hunters who were
out for a vacation. He had the pleasure of acting as their
CHARLES EDWARDS MURDER
Charles Edwards, one of the prominent cattlemen of the Tonto country
and the oldest son of the late Judge Edwards, was assassinated
yesterday while on his way home from Globe, after attending court in
his capacity as deputy sheriff. Details are lacking owing to the fact
that the body was found about twelve miles north of Roosevelt and
telephone communication ends at that point.
The first word of the tragedy was received here at 2:30 yesterday
afternoon, when a telephone message was received at the sheriff s
office. It stated that a man had just ridden into Roosevelt with the
story of having discovered the body of Edwards lying in the road. He
did not stop to ascertain the cause of death, but rode immediately to
Roosevelt to notify Justice of the Peace Evans and Ranger Holmes.
Edwards' riderless horse had turned back from the scene of the crime
and arrived at Roosevelt shortly after noon.
Sheriff Thompson and Gus Williams, a brother-in-law of the deceased,
left Globe immediately for Roosevelt and were followed a few hours
later by District Attorney L. L. Henry and Deputy Sheriff W. G. Duncan.
The mere fact that Edwards had been found dead in the road was
sufficient evidence to the local authorities that he had been murdered,
but not until late last night was their conviction confirmed. This was
contained in the following telegram sent by Ranger Holmes from
Roosevelt via Phoenix:
Sheriff's Office, Globe, Ariz.: Charles Edwards was murdered. J. T.
Edwards left Globe Thursday evening for his home near Cline, after
returning the night before from a trip to Phoenix in charge of two
insane men. He was armed with a six-shooter when he left here, which
leads to the belief that he was shot from ambush. The body will
probably arrive here some time today for burial, a wagon having been
sent by F. L. Jones & Son for the remains. At the sheriff's office
yesterday it was the generally accepted conclusion that Edwards had
been murdered and all afternoon and evening was spent in waiting for
additional details, which failed to arrive. Edwards is said to have had
a number of bitter enemies in the Tonto country and it was probably one
of these who assassinated him.
—Globe Silver Belt, 1908
A few days later the Silver Belt continued:
Edwards, whose body was found along the road to Cline, eleven and a
half miles north of Roosevelt, last Saturday, was shot from ambush, the
slayer or slayers lying in wait for him as he came up the road, behind
a mesquite bush. The assassination occurred about 6 o'clock Friday
evening and the body was not discovered until 10 o'clock the next
morning. Travel is heavy on the road between Roosevelt and Cline and it
was because the body was almost out of sight of the road, that it was
not discovered sooner. Guy Solomon and a man named Miller were the
ones who made the grewsome discovery and they hastened to Roosevelt to
notify the authorities, after identifying the body as that of Edwards.
Edwards never had even the slightest chance to defend himself. His
doom was sealed the moment he rode into Roosevelt Friday morning from
Globe, and was seen by the man or men whose enmity he had gained. They
started out on the river road before he did and picked out a good spot
for their deadly work. They knew that following the discovery of the
crime, Indian trailers from Roosevelt would be put on the scent, and
they took all precautions necessary to prevent trailing, even by the
most clever of the trailers. Horses were abandoned at a point some
distance from the ambush, where constant travel would obliterate the
hoof prints and their own shoes were muffled before they started for
the point they had chosen for the assassination.
When Edwards approached the turn in the road where a mesquite bush had
cleverly been converted into a "rats nest" to hide the slayers from
view, it must have been about twilight, judging from the time he left
Roosevelt. When he was just about 57 feet from the ambush, the first
shot was fired. The horse, frightened by the shot, sprang backward and
then bolted from the road, running almost a hundred feet before the
rider fell. The hoofprints of Edwards' horse and the ground where he
fell show this evidence.
Before he fell two more shots were fired, both taking effect, and after
the rider had fallen, probably dead, the assassins, wishing to make
certain of their work, fired another shot through his head. The powder
marks on the face give evidence of this. The first shot struck Edwards
in the breast and the bullet came out behind the right shoulder.
Another struck him in the arm, breaking the bone, and the other, fired
while he was still on his horse, struck him in the side, the bullet
coming out at the abdomen. The last shot was fired into the left eye,
emerging above the right ear.
When Sheriff Thompson arrived at Roosevelt Saturday night, he
immediately went to the scene of the killing with Ranger Holmes and
several Indian trailers. The trailers could do nothing, however, the
assassins having left not the slightest clue or track to follow.
Several 30-30 shells were found in the vicinity, which showed what kind
of weapon did the deadly work.
An inquest was held by Coroner Evans at Roosevelt yesterday morning, at
which a verdict of death by the hand of some party or parties unknown,
Sheriff Thompson and Ranger Holmes were out again all day yesterday and
it is presumed that the clue mentioned by the sheriff in his telephone
message was discovered during the day.
And the following day in the Silver Belt:
No developments of importance in the Edwards assassination were
reported yesterday and it was impossible to secure any information from
Roosevelt. The arrests which were expected to have been made yesterday
did not materialize, but there is every reason to believe that despite
the precautions taken by the assassins to hide their identity and
prevent trailing, they will be apprehended within a few days.
A telephone message was received from Roosevelt last evening saying
that Sheriff Thompson and Gus Williams, brother-in-law of the murdered
man, had left there at 2 o'clock in the afternoon for Globe and that
they would probably arrive here early this morning. The message also
stated that Deputy Sheriff Voris, who arrived there Monday morning,
would remain, and with Ranger Jim Holmes, would attempt to run down the
clues, that were in their possession. Voris and Holmes arc two of the
best officers in the territory and that they will accomplish something
definite is confidently expected here.
At the sheriffs office, no information of any kind regarding the
assassination would be given out, although it was intimated that
valuable knowledge was in possession of the officers.
Later in the Silver Belt:
John Cline, a prominent resident of northern Gila county, was arrested
last evening at Mesa for the murder of Charles Edwards, who was
assassinated last Friday evening about a mile from the town which bears
Cline's name. The arrest was made by Sheriff Hayden of Maricopa county,
on telegraphic advice from Sheriff Thompson of this county, and Cline
was immediately taken to the county jail at Phoenix, where he will
remain until an officer from Gila county brings him to Globe for
preliminary examination. Two sons of Cline, both of whom are boys who
have not yet reached their majority, were probably arrested yesterday
afternoon at their home at Cline by Deputy Voris and Ranger Holmes, who
left Roosevelt at noon for the Cline ranch, fourteen miles up Tonto
creek, for that purpose. Owing to the fact that telephone communication
with the north ends at Roosevelt, it could not be learned whether or
not the arrests had been made, hut at the sheriff's office no doubt was
expressed that the officers had not done what they were sent to do. At
eight o'clock last evening, the time at which the telephone office at
Roosevelt closes, a message from there stated that the officers had not
returned with their prisoners, but were expected at any time.
Warrants were issued by Justice of the Peace Rawlings yesterday
morning for the arrest of John Cline, Joe Cline and Jimmy Cline, all of
whom are charged with the murder of Charles Edwards. Sheriff Thompson
signed the complaints and as soon as the warrants were issued he sent a
telephone message to Deputy Sheriff Bill Voris at Roosevelt to cause
the arrest of the two boys, having been informed that the father had
left for Phoenix Tuesday afternoon. Voris said he would leave at once
for the Cline ranch, with Ranger Holmes, and that he would be in Globe
some time today with his prisoners.
A message was sent at the same time to Sheriff Carl Hayden of Maricopa
county advising him of the issuance of the warrant against the elder
Cline and requesting him to arrest him upon his arrival in Phoenix.
Hayden did not wait until Cline arrived there, but went to Mesa to meet
Just what the evidence against the Clines is, has not been revealed by
cither Sheriff Thompson or District Attorney Henry, but both state that
they have a strong circumstantial case against them. The sheriff stated
to a Silver Belt representative last evening that he was satisfied
that the elder Cline did the killing and that he was assisted by his
son Joe, a boy of seventeen, who was indicted by the grand jury at the
recent term of court for horse stealing. Jimmy, the other boy
implicated in the crime, is only fifteen years old.
When news of the crime first reached Globe, those who were acquainted
with the affairs of the deceased, immediately suspected the Clines, as
bitter enmity had existed between them and Edwards for several years.
At intervals during the past few years there has been trouble between
John Cline and Edwards, and before leaving here last week for his home,
Edwards had confided to friends that he was expecting further trouble
over some cattle deals. He did not suspect or fear his enemies would
try to kill him. Although a very small man in stature, Edwards was held
in fear by his enemies and on several occasions he is said to have
taken advantage of this fact, when trouble arose with his neighbors.
The first trouble Edwards had with Cline occurred when he was acting as
deputy on Tonto for Sheriff Thompson, during a former term of office a
number of years ago.
At that time Cline was running a saloon which was closed on an
attachment by a Globe wholesale house. Edwards executed the papers and
moved a part of Cline's stock to his own home for safe keeping. When
Cline settled his difficulty, he went to Edwards' house for the liquor
and found fault with the way it had been kept. From that time on,
various incidents led to further trouble and increased the bitterness
against the two men. The arrest of young Joe Cline several months ago
for stealing a horse did not tend to better the feeling against
Edwards, who was accused of undue activity in securing the indictment.
When Edwards arrived at Roosevelt last Friday afternoon, the youngest
Cline boy was there. When Edwards left a short lime after his arrival,
he told some friends he intended stopping at the Peters ranch, four
miles up Tonto, on his way home. About a half hour before Edwards'
arrival Felix Lann, who lives near the Clines, started north, but
before leaving, asked Jimmy to go with him, but the boy said he was
going to stay at Roosevelt for a week. Notwithstanding this fact, young
Cline is said to have left almost at the same time that Edwards did,
although he took the upper road out of town. He arrived at Cline at
four o'clock. Edwards stopped at the Peters ranch, where he arrived at
about three o'clock, leaving there for his home an hour later. The
assassination occurred at about six o'clock.
According to Sheriff Thompson, the Clines were the only persons north
of Roosevelt who knew that Edwards was on his way home and that they
had learned of it only when the boy arrived home. There is said to be
another evidence that Sheriff Thompson, Deputy Voris and Ranger Holmes
have gathered, which tends to connect the Clines with the tragedy and
which will not be divulged until the trial, but it is said that all of
it forms a complete chain of circumstantial evidence against the
The Silver Belt continued next issue:
Joe Cline, aged seventeen, and Jimmy Cline, aged fifteen, are now
occupying separate cells in the county jail here and no date has been
set for their preliminary examination on the charge of murdering
Charles Edwards, in which they were alleged to have been implicated
with their father, John Cline, who is in jail at Phoenix awaiting
removal to the Gila county jail.
Early yesterday afternoon Ranger Holmes came in from Roosevelt, having
in his custody the older boy. They came down on horseback and several
hours later Deputy Sheriff Voris arrived with the younger boy, making
the trip on the Roosevelt stage. According to the officers neither of
the boys made any attempt to resist arrest and expressed no surprise
when they were taken into custody, apparently knowing the reason and
expecting the arrests.
Deputy Sheriff George Henderson will return tomorrow evening from
Phoenix with John Cline, who was arrested at Mesa several days ago.
Upon his arrival here he will also be placed in a cell in the county
jail and it is the intention of Sheriff Thompson to keep the father and
sons separated during their incarceration. It was rumored yesterday
that the officers would make an attempt to "sweat" the two boys in an
effort to secure a confession from one or the other.
That the preliminary examination will be held in Globe instead of
Roosevelt, is the result of a disagreement or something worse between
the sheriff's office and J. C. Evans, the justice of the peace at
Roosevelt. According to the sheriff s office. Judge Evans refused to
give the officers any assistance in running down the murderers of
Edwards and went so far as to refuse to issue warrants for the arrest
of the Clines, when requested to do so by Sheriff Thompson. It is also
said that when it became certain that the Clines would be arrested on
suspicion of having committed the crime, Judge Evans left the county,
going to Mesa. Judge Evans' side of the story has not as yet been heard.
The arrest of John Cline and his two sons did not cause surprise or
excitement at either Roosevelt or Cline, according to the officers who
brought the boys in yesterday, the arrests being taken as a matter of
course. Both Voris and Holmes believe that there is a strong case
against the older Cline.
Cline was seen in jail this morning by a representative of the Gazette.
He greeted the newspaper man cordially and expressed entire willingness
to tell his side of the story. And he told a story remarkably clear in
every detail, that seems to ring true in every word.
Cline admitted that he had heard the shots which probably ended the
life of Edwards. This was about six o'clock Friday evening. He was at a
haystack in a field, not over 150 yards from his house. According to
Cline the stock had eaten deep into the stack and he was away in under
the stack pulling out fodder, when he heard the first shot. The sound
of this was of course rather muffled, owing to his position, but by the
time the next shot came he had scrambled out to the open air and was
enabled to hear clearly. He heard three shots altogether, the last two
He states that standing there near the house were his son, George, and
Guy Solomon, who could see him at the haystack. His work being
completed, he left immediately for the house and arrived there before
the departure of Solomon. Solomon had ridden up only a few minutes
before and began a conversation with young Cline. About ten minutes
after the firing of the shots Solomon put spurs to his steed and
galloped off down the road, passing right by Edwards' body without
seeing it. No one attached any importance to the shots that had been
heard, as there are several ranchers and campers in the neighborhood
that do much hunting.
The next morning about nine o'clock Edwards' body was discovered. His
horse came riderless to his home and a party immediately began to
follow the trail of the animal backward. A rope had been dragged all
the way, making this an easy matter. The body was only about fifty
yards off a much traveled road and in plain sight of the passerby. Had
anyone chanced to glance in that direction the discovery would have
been made with even less trouble.
The members of the searching party were Lee Miller, Lum Martin, Guy
Solomon and George Spears. Upon the discovery of the body the news
quickly spread. Ranger Holmes was soon on the scene. Cline himself
joined the crowd, riding from his ranch on horseback. He states that he
mentioned the importance of tracking up the ground thereabout as little
as possible, but that his warning was almost unheeded. Next day when
the Indian trailers were put to work they were unable to do anything.
At that time no one suggested the arrest of Cline. Wednesday he left
Roosevelt with Judge Evans, going to Fish Creek that night. Yesterday
the journey was continued to Mesa, the two of them getting in there
about five o'clock. After he had been there a while Cline was arrested
by Marshal Burton. He says that he accepted his apprehension
philosophically, slept well last night and at no stage of the game has
evinced any alarm over his trouble. This morning he told the Gazette
that it would only be a matter of time. He would have to be taken to
Globe and it would take some time for him to secure his witnesses.
Besides having his son George and Guy Solomon there are a number of
others he wishes to summon to prove that he never got mad at Edwards,
though the latter abused him on several occasions.
So far as is known the only reason for Cline's arrest is that he was
not on exactly good terms with the dead man. Cline stated that Edwards
had "cussed him out" a number of times and was once heard to say that
he only wanted an excuse to kill him (Cline).
Cline stated this morning that the father of Edwards, the late Judge
Edwards, begged him with tears in his eyes a short time before his
death to keep his son out of trouble. Cline declares that Edwards has
long been known as reckless, if not exactly a bad character. He was
getting into scrapes all the time. Furthermore, Cline declares that he
has kept his promise to his friend Judge Edwards, so far as lay in his
power. He on one occasion prevented him from killing a man named Fred
Golden, by knocking his gun up and pleading with him not to commit
Edwards often declared, states Cline, that he was being interfered
with too much and one time Edwards made the remark that he "just wanted
that s----h to say something so he could shoot him." This was one time
when Cline and another man had a little altercation over a dog fight.
They had been drinking in Cline's saloon when this customer called in a
little shepherd dog of his and made him fight his host's big hound.
When the shepherd dog began to get the worst of it his owner jumped in
and began to choke the hound with his hands. Cline shoved him away and
the two men slapped each others' face for a time or two. Edwards
strolled in about that time and began to abuse Cline, who took
everything in silence and refused to quarrel.
On another occasion Cline stated that Edwards used very vile language
to him. This was after the effects of the latter's saloon had been
attached by process of law by a firm of creditors and stored in
Edwards' house. Cline settled the costs and Edwards told him to come
and get his things. This Cline refused to do, saying that the stuff
should be brought back to him. Finally Edwards went to Cline and told
him that the things would have to be taken away, as he intended moving
to Globe. When Cline again refused Edwards called him the meanest man
on earth and poured out a torrent of abuse. Still Cline would not
quarrel and finally his unwelcome guest departed. Cline says that
friends of his who were present "guyed" him unmercifully for making no
retaliation for the abuse of Edwards, but remembering his promise to
the dead father he would make no demonstration.
"I haven't the faintest idea who killed Edwards," said Cline this
morning. "Had they not tramped up the ground and put these Indian
trailers to work right away, the murderer would have been discovered. I
don't consider myself in any danger. Indeed, I am at a loss to
understand why I have been arrested. They must think they have
discovered some evidence against me. But I can prove an alibi all right
Cline is a rancher about fifty years of age and does not look or act
like a man who would commit the crime of murder. Furthermore it is said
that he has the reputation of being a man of very peaceful
proclivities. —Phoenix Gazette, 1908
The Silver Belt responded:
John Cline arrived in Globe from Phoenix Sunday evening in custody of
Deputy Sheriff George Henderson, who went to Phoenix for him. Cline was
locked up in the county jail, apart from his two sons, who are
occupying cells. The preliminary hearing will be held before Justice
Rawlings, but as yet no date has been set for it. It is reported that
while in Phoenix, Mr. Cline retained Judge A. C. Baker to defend him
and his two sons, and that Attorney George R. Hill of Globe will assist
in the defense. Little or nothing of the evidence in possession of the
sheriff and district attorney against the accused, is known and all the
officials interested are maintaining a discreet silence on the subject.
In some quarters it is hinted that the evidence against the Clines is
of a very flimsy nature, and that when it comes out of the preliminary
hearing, it will be insufficient to justify holding the accused to the
The Phoenix Republican of January 20 says:
Deputy Sheriff George Henderson of Gila county arrived in the city
yesterday after John Cline. Cline has been very cheerful and confident
during his stay in the jail, but last night when the deputy sheriff put
handcuffs on him his eyes filled with tears and turning to the deputy
he broke out into an indignant oath. He quickly recovered himself and
followed it with a smile, protesting though against the irons. He had
known the deputy so long that it seemed that this humiliating
precaution was unnecessary. But the officer was insistent and a
compromise was effected by the loosening of the handcuffs so that they
would not press painfully against the wrists.
A large majority of those who know Cline do not believe that he is
guilty and are confident that he will be able to establish the alibi
which he says he will have. The Cline family, that is, the most of the
members, have a bad name, but John Cline is said by those who know him
to be the best of the lot and that he has always been straightforward
in his dealings.
He has never been regarded as a quarrelsome man and it is further
pointed out that if he had wanted to assassinate Edwards he would not
have waylaid him within a quarter of a mile of his own house and so
have invited immediate suspicion.
Concerning the examination of John Cline and sons, the Silver Belt says:
John Cline of Tonto Basin, and his two sons, Joe and Jimmy, appeared in
the court of Judge W. F. Rawlings for their preliminary hearing. The
defendant was represented by Judge A. C. Baker of Phoenix and Attorney
George R. Hill of Globe, while the interests of the territory were
looked after by District Attorney Henry and Attorney Wiley E. Jones of
Safford, an old friend of the Edwards family, who has been retained by
them to assist in the prosecution of the case.
The hearing began at one o'clock yesterday afternoon and nine witnesses
for the prosecution had been examined when adjournment was taken until
ten o'clock this morning. Just before adjournment the territory rested,
but announced that two witnesses who had not arrived from the north had
been delayed and that the prosecution would be reopened if the
witnesses arrived by the time court convened this morning. It was
supposed that no witnesses would be called for the defense, but
counsel for the Clines stated that witnesses in their behalf would be
placed on the stand this morning.
Ranger J. T. Holmes, who is stationed at Roosevelt, was the first
witness called in the examination. He told of finding the body of
Edwards, its location and the efforts made to pick up the trail of the
Felix Lann, who lives at Cline, testified to seeing Jimmy Cline at
Roosevelt on the afternoon of January 10. He asked the boy if he were
going home, but the latter said he was not, that he intended to stay
with his sister at Roosevelt. He arrived at Cline's home at about four
o'clock and saw George Cline, the oldest son, there. Had a conversation
with him regarding Edwards, whom George said had threatened to kill him
(Cline). He saw nothing of John Cline.
C. H. Gilbert, who drives the commissary wagon for the O'Rourkc company
between Roosevelt and the damsite, testified to seeing Charley Edwards
about a mile out of Roosevelt on the afternoon of January 10. He was
riding north at a walk. When he was within a quarter of a mile from
Roosevelt, witness saw Jimmy Cline riding north from Roosevelt,
probably a mile behind Edwards. The witness spoke to both Edwards and
the boy. Probably the most important witness of the day was Guy
Solomon, one of the men who, Cline said in his story to the Phoenix
paper, could prove an alibi for him. Solomon testified to meeting Felix
Lann about a mile above Cline's. He was on his way to the Bar A ranch
and reached the home of the Clines at about five o'clock. He talked for
a few minutes with George Cline and asked him where his father was.
George answered that he was down at the haystack, but the witness did
not see him. Soon after his arrival he saw Jimmy Cline ride up from
below. When the witness started to leave, Jimmy came up on his horse,
riding bareback, and said he was going to Thompson's ranch for some
coffee. While talking to George he heard shots from the direction in
which the body was later found.
The next morning the witness was told of the fact that Edwards' horse
had come to his home riderless with the horse which he had obtained at
the Peters ranch. In company with others, Solomon followed the trail of
the horses back along the road and discovered the body of Edwards. John
Cline appeared there a half hour after the body was discovered when
they were waiting for the coroner from Roosevelt.
Sheriff J. H. Thompson and William E. Wooten testified to ill feeling
which existed between Edwards and the Clines and Wooten testified that
Cline had expressed the wish to him that he would buy Edwards' cattle,
as it would be a good thing for the country if Edwards were out of it.
Mrs. Fannie Edwards, the widow of the murdered man, testified
concerning the return of the horses and of the trouble between her
husband and the Clines.
I. M. Delbridge and John Spear were the last witnesses. Their testimony
related to conversations with Cline and expressions of ill-feeling by
him toward Edwards.
Two weeks later, the Silver Belt concluded:
John Cline, the well known Tonto cattleman, and his two sons Joe and
Jimmy, who were arrested and bound over to the grand jury without bail
for the murder of Charles Edwards five weeks ago, were yesterday
afternoon released from custody and the case against them dismissed by
Judge Frederick S. Nave, who granted the application for the writ of
habeas corpus made by the attorneys for the defense. The decision of
the court made after argument had been heard yesterday morning, caused
considerable surprise, as it was generally expected that the writ
would be denied. Mr. Cline and his sons left for their home immediately
after their discharge from custody.
Judge Nave announced that the evidence was not sufficient to hold the
defendants and he ordered them discharged from custody. The decision
was evidently a surprise to the defense also, as Judge Baker had
already made public at Phoenix his plan of defense for his clients.
It is very improbable that the slayers of Edwards will ever be brought
to justice and the crime will go down into history as one of the many
mysterious murders which have occurred in the Tonto country and of
which the perpetrators have never been punished.