Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Frontier Story.

GeronimoPhoto from Wikipedia
This is a story about a peaceful Quaker family that ended up settling in the west.

My 3G Grandfather John C. Middleton is also the 3G grandfather of a man that lives in Lake County by the name of Dennis Yows. My cousin Dennis has been carefully collecting and preserving his family stories.

I told you a little bit about my 2G Grandfather John Middleton, (Son of John C. Middleton) and their trip to California. I told you that they made friends with the Indian people on their way to California, they hired them as guides, and they helped protect the Indian people to the best of their ability their whole life. Protecting and befriending the Indians was a family tradition passed down by the Middletons. What I didn’t mention was John had a brother that ended up in the west with him. William Middleton was Johns brother.

The Middletons were latecomers to the Laytonville frontier. They couldn’t have arrived until 1865-66 or so, because the dates that I have on birth records show that they had a daughter born in Salt Lake city. Mary Annetta Middleton was the first white non-Mormon child born in Salt lake City. She was born in 1861. Lafyette Dewitte Middleton was born in Grass Valley in 1865. They only moved to Mud Springs 13 miles West of Laytonville after Lafe was born. The records show that John left Illinois in 1853, so they dilly-dallied on their way to Laytonville.

The following stories about William Middleton are by the courtesy of my cousin Dennis Yows. You might not want to read all of them, but at least read one. The stories show that in some cases no matter how well that the Indians were treated by this gentle family, it just wasn't enough. I say this not to be sitting in jugment of anybody, Indians or whites. I'm only interested in the stories, and the history. There is enough blame to go around if we want to start deciding who was right and who was wrong. History only counts for the people that survive it. It really is about survival.
More at the bottom of the post.
William Middleton and Family in Pleasant Valley Arizona... Dennis Yows

The following account is from a draft written by Hattie Middleton Allison I have in my family history files:

That my father, William Middleton, had a genuine pioneer’s wandering foot, goes with out much question, particularly if you will... in which his beloved children were born, and mother was a true pioneer wife, she followed him wherever he wanted to go and never questioned the hardships. If some of you find you are brave in these troubled days you can say to yourselves, “I get at least a part of my courage from my Grandmother Middleton.”
When he was but twenty-two years of age my father went to California. Crossing the plains in 1849...He stayed at home long enough to marry Miriam Titsworth (She was 20 he was 25), to gather some wagons and livestock, and to set off again for California in the spring of 1852.

Traveling overland they stopped at or near Council Bluffs where their first child, my brother was born (1852). They next stopped at Salt Lake, in Utah. Their second child was born there. Then they went on to Oregon and from there into northern California. I do not think they remained long in Oregon. No children were born there, but others were born in different counties of northern California, and I was born over in Nevada, at Austin, and then in the summer of 1875 they set out for Arizona.

I was just past eight years of age when we set out for Arizona, and the first important camping place I can recall is at old fort Grant at the mouth of Aravaipa Creek, on the San Pedro River. We camped here for several days. I recall we were exploring the ruins of the old fort and exclaiming over the beautiful bottles we found in the debris, when we were visited by a large party of Apache Indians. The Indians prowled around the camp some but did not bother us any. We were quite a large party, but we heard that after they left our camp they attacked and killed a Mexican couple living on a ranch only a short distance from our camp.

We drove on toward ...after a rest at Aravaipa Creek, and spent the winter at a camp called Nine Mile... nine miles from...

My father set up a blacksmith shop at this camp and it was while we were living here that my brother Leroy was born (1894). We had our first taste of Apache raiding while living here. A band of Apaches ran off our stock and that of others living at this place. Fortunately for us the friendly Pimas followed the Apaches and recovered our stock, as well as that of other settlers and their own. I recall seeing the Pimas driving our stock past the camp site one day and wondering about how they had gotten past our horses. My father identified his horses and was very grateful to the Pimas for their return. He gave them a horse as a reward for returning the others.

That spring we moved to what is now Tempe, but was then called Hayden’ Ferry, where the judge Charles T. Hayden had a mill, a store and a ferry. My father was employed by Judge Hayden as a blacksmith. The family lived on the Priest ranch.

It was while he was employed here that a man named Sullivan approached my father and urged him to stake him or to go with him to what he claimed was a rich silver discovery he had made in the wild Pinal Mountains, about sixty miles to the east of the Hayden Ferry settlement. In spite of his trip to California in the Gold Rush, my father knew nothing of mining and was not interested. He refused to become a partner in such a prospect. This later turned out to be the Silver King property. My father often spoke of this offer after the Silver King developed into such a rich mine. This mine was discovered in the spring of 1875 by some men from Florence who had heard about it from soldier Sullivan, but Sullivan had gone on to California.

About three years after the Silver King discovery, and after the Pinal mountain country had been pretty well explored my father moved the family to the Picket Post on Queen Creek. This was the mill site for the Silver King mine, and ore was hauled here from the mine to be milled. It came over a little hill, through a rock out and down grade about two miles from the mine to the mill on the creek bank.

We did not stay long at Picket Post, for father went over the mountain to the Globe district looking for a place where he could raise cattle. He found just what he was looking for in the Wheat fields, and took up land there. He built an adobe house a half mile below the big springs which well up in the Pinal Creek bed, and about six miles above the Salt River. There is just a wall corner of this old house still standing now. (1876-1943).

In the next few years so many settlers joined him, taking up land along the creek, that he was seeking more room, and sold his Wheatfield...rights and moved to Cherry Creek, in the vicinity of Pleasant Valley.

My brother Clifford was born at the Wheatfields ranch in October of 1876. We had come to Globe over the old Silver King Trail, a part of Stoneman Grade, down the Rock Slide into the Devil’s Canyon and on across...Creek to Pinal Creek’s West branch- as it was called- now known as Miami Wash, one of the wildest and most beautiful trails anywhere in the mountains.
The Cherry Creek ranch was very remote and beautiful too, though our home there was necessarily very crude. We reached it only by trail, no good road went into that country until many years afterward, and although people did take in a few wagons it was very difficult. We had no windows, but wooden shutters we could close. Father made the shakes for the roof and hewed the logs for the walls. They were chinked with mud. We had only home made furniture there with us too.

Frank was married by this time to Elizabeth Price and was not living at home. Eugene was working in Globe, so that Henry and father looked after the ranch. I was just past sixteen, and my brother Willis was thirteen. The three younger children were ten, seven and five respectively. Sister Ella too had married and remained in Tempe when we moved to Picket Post.

Because so many things happened to the family I have tried to set them down for you, my children. I wish so many times that I had had my mother do this for me, because there were many things she could tell that I was not old enough to understand or even remember.

The following is from “A Little War of Our Own” by Don Dedra
In 1875 William Middleton moved to Pleasant Valley, AZ and settled on a small tributary of Canyon Creek near the western boundary of the White Mountain Apache reservation. He built a small log cabin with a shake roof and shuttered, unglazed windows. William’s herd of milk cows from California may have been the first sizable herd in Pleasant Valley. For the Middleton butter-making enterprise, a log dugout milk-house anchored an angle of a fenced back yard.

Of twelve Middleton children, six younger ones still lived at the ranch. On September 6, 1881, all hands were busy with chores – rounding up horses, nailing together butter cartons, churning cream. Two young neighbor men, George Turner and Henry Moody, rushed in from Globe with news that Indian raiders were on the loose after a battle afield with soldiers, followed by an assault on Fort Apache. Though forewarned, most of the Middletons resumed work after their midday dinner. A few Indians appeared. Peaceful conversation ensued: a wish to borrow a cook pot, a request for food. Mrs. Middleton was obligingly handing a loaf of bread through the milk-house window when one of the braves yelled, “Now!” and a volley of rifle fire raked the yard.

Turner, walking to get a cup of buttermilk, fell dead. Moody, seated on the porch, also died instantly, a bullet in the eye. William Middleton and son Willis, age thirteen, scampered from the milk-house to the main cabin. Eighteen year old Henry Middleton grabbed up the family’s only weapon, a rifle, and was looking for a target when another Indian fusillade peppered the cabin. A bullet zipped through a crack in the log wall and smacked Henry in the shoulder above the heart. Now Mrs. Middleton and the rest of her children fluttered across the courtyard through another volley and miraculously tumbled unhurt into the cabin. For the Middletons, there followed an afternoon of blistering battle, a harrowing night hiding in the brush, a brutal hike to Globe. The raid cost the Middltons seventy five good horses.

Late next spring, Henry Middleton’s shoulder was about healed when Nan-tia-tish again bolted the reservation, raided here and there, and again beset the Middleton ranch, this time not only stealing the Middleton horses, but unmounting a heavily armed troop of the irregular Globe Rangers. That was enough for the Middletons. They moved to globe and sold the ranch to George Newton and J.J. Vosburgh.

The following is from the book “The Crooked Trail to Holbrook” by Leland Hanchett, Jr.

The Q Ranch
Located just west of the Apache Indian Reservation, the Q Ranch is nearly as inaccessible today as it was a hundred years ago. A seemingly endless, winding road finally enters a wide valley that provides a transition from mountain to high desert.

Each family that settled here had to learn to live with the Native Americans to the east or move on to more civilized ground. As late as 1896, whites and Indians fought over their differences.

Middleton Ranch
The first settlers in this area were the William Middleton family who wandered over from California around 1873 stopping first near Tucson and then at the community of Wheatfields northwest of Globe. By 1881 they were settled in at the Middleton Ranch two miles south of what is now the Q Ranch., southeast of Young. They ran cattle and milk cows, producing milk and butter for market at the mines near Globe.

A harrowing experience with the Apache Indians was vividly recalled in an article written by Hattie Middleton Allison around 1930. At the time of the encounter she was about sixteen years of age, old enough to be a credible witness. Her story follows:
At this time our family was engaged in the cattle business and living about 8 miles from Pleasant Valley in Gila County.

On the morning of September 2, 1881, my father had intended to go to Globe some eighty miles distant for provisions. Not being able to find his horses in time he delayed in starting. Later in the day my brother Henry, now living in Seattle, brought in the horses, some 75 head, and put them in the corral.

Mr. Allison, who later became my husband, was in charge of the telegraph office at Globe at the time and it was he who first received the news of the fight between the Indians and soldiers on August 30 on Cibecue Creek, a tributary of the Salt River, between our ranch and Fort Apache. This fight proved to be the beginning of an Indian outbreak that lasted for several years, or until the surrender of the celebrated war chief, Geronimo.

Immediately on hearing the news of the outbreak, George Turner left Globe on horseback alone, to warn us of the danger. On his way out he stopped overnight at the Moody Ranch on Cherry Creek and the next morning was joined by Henry Moody.

Both of these men were old friends of our family. They reached our ranch about 11 o’clock in the forenoon, bringing news of the fight at Cibecue Creek between Captain Hentig’s troop of Cavalry and the Indian scouts from Fort Apache and the Apaches, which had taken place a few days before, and in which Captain Hentig and seven soldiers were killed.

Captain Hentig had been ordered to arrest a medicine man, Hokay-del-Klinnay, who was stirring up the Indians to go on the warpath against the whites. Quite a number of Indians were killed in the fight including the medicine man.

Cibecue Creek is about 30 miles from our ranch. Some of this same band of Indians who were in the fight came over to our ranch reaching there about noon of the same day Turner and Moody came. Seven of them came to the house all armed and asked for a kettle to cook meat in. When asked if they knew of the fight they said “no”, that they were hunting.

As Indians had often been at our ranch to trade for flour and other provisions, we thought little about danger.

After they had been hanging around until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon we thought the Indians were peaceful, we were all busy at various occupations; my father was making boxes at a workbench against the house, my brother Willis was sitting on the end of the bench, my mother was at the milk-house with the three younger children some fifty feet from the house. Mr. Turner had just gone to the milk-house for a drink of buttermilk, and I was sitting near him on a box at the side door sewing. My brother Henry was the only one in the house at the time. There was one Indian in front of the house outside of the yard fence, three were standing near my father just outside of the yard and one of these was standing in a pile of shingles, the other three had gone to the milk-house where my mother was. They asked her for some bread and she sent my sister, Della, for the bread. Mother had just given them the bread and turned around when the Indians commenced shooting.

Moody and Turner were killed instantly, each being shot twice. The bullet that struck Moody in the temple first cut off a lock of hair on my forehead just grazing my head.

When my brother Henry heard the shooting he knew what was happening and grabbed the only gun we had and ran to the front door and saw the Indian who had been standing in front of the house, running towards the corral and shot him through the hips, for he saw him fall.

He then ran to the back door and had just located the Indians behind a bank when an Indian on the hill shot him through the left shoulder. In the meantime my mother ran in to the milk-house with the three children and closed the door. The rest of us got into the house someway. I ran through the house to the kitchen door just as brother was shot; it must have been then that I screamed and my mother hearing me thought I was shot, for she threw open the door of the milk-house and ran to the house with the three children while the bullets were whistling all around them, but they escaped without a scratch.

After we were all in the house we barricaded the doors with tables, beds and chairs as we thought the Indians would rush the house and kill all of us like Indians did in the olden times.

My father had a bullet hole through his hat and one through his shirt on the shoulder. Afterwards when examining the place where my brother Willis had been sitting on the bench a bullet hole was found just about where his head had been. Apaches are usually poor shots and if they don’t get you the first shot you are pretty safe. We certainly were lucky.

Then they opened the corral gate and after killing a beautiful black stallion, drove the rest of the horses off.

The horses were what they wanted as they knew the soldiers would soon be on their trail. We stayed in the house until 1 o’clock that night till the moon went down as my father was afraid the Indians would slip back under cover of darkness and set fire to the house. So as quietly as possible we stole out into the night and left the two dead boys where they had fallen.

As luck would have it we had one horse left that my brother had been riding that day which the Indians had failed to kill after shooting it through the body behind the forelegs. On this horse we placed my mother and the two youngest children and went about two miles up a mountain and hid there in the brush while my father went on to Pleasant Valley to get help. He told us if he wasn’t back by daylight not to look for him for he couldn’t come. Long after sunrise when we had given up all hope of seeing our father again, we heard him call to us from down below.

We rushed down where he was and found he had one old man, a Mr. Church, with a rifle and only one cartridge. My father said “I don’t believe we will get out of here alive for the mountains are full of Indians”. He then told how when they were coming back from Pleasant Valley they met on top of a little hill those same Indians with our horses and how they deliberately got off the horses and began firing on him and Mr. Church and ran them back toward Pleasant Valley and how they gave them the slip in the willows along Cherry Creek and by a round-about way got back to us.

My father said, “ we dare not take the traveled trails,” so we cut straight through the mountains for twenty miles towards Sombrero Butte, a well known landmark in that country, where we were compelled to come into the main traveled trail leading to Globe, four miles beyond the elder Moody’s ranch on Cherry Creek. Just after coming into the trail about dark we heard voices and the tramp of horses coming toward us.

We thought they were Indians, but you can imagine our great relief and joy to see my brother Eugene and five other men from Globe coming to our rescue. These men, well known to old timers of that day, were sheriff “Bill” Lowther, Jack Eaton, John Burchett, Captain Burbridge and Mr.Mattel. We were put on their horses and taken to the Moody ranch where we spent the night.

The most heartbreaking thing was in breaking the news to Mr. Moody of the tragic death of his only son.

The next morning we left for Globe and had to pass through the camp of Chief Nadaski on Cherry Creek. We were much afraid that these Indians were hostile but great was our relief to find them very friendly. We reached Globe on Sunday afternoon, September 4 after the most tragic experience of our lives.

Apparently that “tragic experience” didn’t dampen the Middleton’s spirits that much as they soon returned to their ranch only to have another encounter with hostile Apaches.

Charles M. Clark was working as a writer for the Globe Chronicle newspaper on July 10, 1882, when a telegram was received from Col. Tiffany, Indian Agent at the San Carlos Reservation. It stated that some eighty Chiricahaus had broken out of the reservation led by Na-ti-o-tish, a Tonto Apache, and had headed north. Tiffany suggested that couriers be sent to outlying camps warning the settlers to be on the lookout for hostiles.

In accord with this suggestion, messengers were sent out in all directions to the outside camps. During the late afternoon, while checking with Capt. Daniel lacey Boone and checking over the camps which had been notified, to ascertain whether any had been overlooked, he stated that the Middleton family were at their camp in Pleasant Valley making butter, to be brought down in the fall. We concluded that it would be of no service to send a courier to them as there were but two men of fighting age in their outfit while there were four or five young children, and two young lady daughters in the family. So it was concluded to make up a party of sufficient strength to make a fight if necessary, go to Pleasant Valley, and bring the family to Globe. This was done immediately.

They crossed the Salt River at Coon Creek Crossing, just below Redman's Flat, during the night. They reached the Middleton Ranch in Pleasant Valley about ten o'clock the next morning. Lacey informed the Middletons that a big band of hostiles had left the reservation and would pass close to their ranch. He advised them to get up horses and start for Globe at once before the Indians reached the valley. This they declined to do as they would have to leave what butter they had made, and their cows would go dry if not milked regularly. They said they were not afraid of the Indians molesting them as they had always given food and tobacco to any Indians passing through the valley. Lacey informed them that these particular Indians were Chiracahuas, while the Indians they were feeding were the Cibecues of Nadaski's band; that these Indians were hostiles and that the Indian Agent at San Carlos had telegraphed warning to the Globe people to look out for them.

As the Middletons declined to leave their ranch, Lacey decided that he and his men would remain there a day or two until the Indians had time to pass through. One of the party, Lindsay Lewis, who was well acquainted with the Middletons, asked Mrs. Middleton how they were fixed for food. It developed that up to the previous day they had been well supplied with venison jerky, but the last of it was gone. It was suggested that bread and milk would taste mighty good. Mrs. Middleton and her eldest daughter at once mixed up several batches of bread which they baked in Dutch ovens and the two women went to the little 'dugout' milk cellar to bring a supply of milk. The members of the Globe party meanwhile had unsaddled and thrown their saddles on the ground in front of the cabin.

Most of them were lying down asleep with their heads on their saddles. As the two women returned from a second trip to the milk-house, each carrying a pan of milk, and were just entering the door of the cabin, the Indians opened the fight.

About fifty shots were fired at the house and the men lying around on the ground. One of the bullets shattered a door casing alongside Mrs. Middleton's head. Fortunately, no one was hit. The men lying on the ground grabbed their guns from their saddle boots and jumped for the cabin. When everyone had got inside the door was shut and a wooden bar dropped into the two brackets which held it in place. The chinking was pulled from between the logs and the men began shooting at whatever portion of the Indians they could see.

The hostiles were well armed with fifty caliber 'Long Tom' Springfield rifles and appeared to have an unlimited supply of ammunition. They kept up an incessant fire for several hours. About two o'clock in the afternoon, Lacey called for volunteers to go out with him to a little grove of live oaks a short distance from the cabin, thinking that he could thus get a flanking fire on the Indians who had by this time almost surrounded the house. The door was cautiously opened and Lacey and six of his men ran to the little oak grove. After a few minutes he found that the Indians were cross firing his party so he ordered a retreat which was at once affected by all of the party except one, Mike Whalen, who did not hear the command. When Whalen found he was alone, he ran to a little hill back of the cabin which was covered with loose rock. There he threw up a breast work of stones and fought until after dark, when he rejoined the main party in the cabin. In telling me of his experience after his return to Globe, Whalen said that he got six Indians that he was sure of. But as customary in all of their engagements, where possible, the Indians carried off their casualties, and the exact number was never known. Knowing the personnel of the Lacey party and their ability to place a bullet about where they wished, I am inclined to believe that the Indians had a real job of carrying off their dead. Not a single one of the whites was hit.

After dark the Indians ceased firing and nothing more was heard of them. About ten o'clock that night having heard nothing of the Indians for hours, Lacey sent two of his men to scout around the cabin to find out if the Indians had really withdrawn. The door was carefully opened and the two scouts dropped to the ground outside. Snaking along on their stomachs, they circled the entire area without hearing anything of the hostiles. Returning to the cabin they reported this to the captain. It was then agreed that all parties, including the Middleton family, start at once for Globe. The Indians had run off all the ranch stock, including the horses ridden in by the men from Globe. There was nothing to do but start on foot to walk to Globe. When the party reached Salt River, they found it necessary to build log rafts in order to cross the women and children and the rifles of the party. This was finally accomplished safely and the trip to Globe resumed. The party reached Globe safely about six o'clock in the evening, having walked the sixty-five miles since about ten o'clock the previous night. The hostiles, after leaving the Middleton Ranch, went on up country taking the Middleton horses and those of the Globe men with them.

The San Carlos Indian Police led by Cibecue Charley Colvig caught up with the renegades on July 11th. Na-ti-o-tish had been warned of the attack and ambushed the Indian police killing several and routing the rest, chasing them all the way back to San Carlos. The Army then pursued the hostiles relentlessly. In spite o£ this, several settlers were massacred along the way. Finally the various Army Troops enclosed the Indian position at Big Dry Wash and the final major battle of the Indian Wars was fought. Out of seventy-five warriors, only ten or fifteen survived. Na-ti-o-tish's band ceased to exist that day.

Sometime between 1882 and 1884 the Middleton family gave up their ranch in Pleasant Valley by selling their possessory rights to George A. Newton of Globe. In William Middleton’s probate, dated February 17, 1891, his only real property consisted of a lot in Globe worth $500. Interestingly, he also had a claim against the US Government for $2500, possibly to cover the earlier loss of his horses to the Indians.

The Middleton Family

My Great Grandmother on my father’s side was Uarka Middleton. She married Charles Branscomb in Mendocino, Ca in 1886. Her father, John, was a brother to William.

The parents of William and John Middleton were John C Middleton (1795-1884) and Nancy States (1795- )

The children of John C Middleton were:
Alfred Middleton (1818 – 1884)
John Middleton (1822 – 1903)
Mary Middleton (1824 - )
William Middleton (1827 – 1891)
Nancy Middleton (1828 – 1907)

The children of William & Miriam were:

Franklin W. Middleton (1853 – 1896)
William Henry Middleton (1856 - )
Eugene Middleton (1860 – 1929) Drove the stage when the Apache Kid escaped and was seriously wounded in the mouth and neck but lived.
Ella Middleton (1862-1936)
Hattie Middleton (1865-1947)
Alfred Willis Middleton (1867-1909)
Idella (Della) Middleton (1871-1937)
Leroy Middleton (1874-1962) Friend of Al Sieber
Clifton Middleton (1876-1948) Was in Troup “B” of the Rough Riders during the Spanish American War

The children of John and Suzanna were:
Tabatha Jane Middleton (1847-1896)
Granville Agustus Middleton (1849 – 1928)
Donjuan Dewane Middleton (1850 - 1913)
Silvia Lurene Middleton (1851 – 1886)
Mary Annetta Middleton ( 1863 – 1931)
Marion Henry Middleton (1863 – 1931)
Lafayette Dewitte Middleton (1865 – 1945)
Uarka Middleton (1868 - 1945) My Great Grandmother

The following information is from “Encylopedia of Frontier Biography” Thrapp, Dan L.
Middleton, Eugene, stagecoach driver, pioneer (Feb. 7, 1861-Apr. 24, 1929). B. in
California his parents, William and Miriam Middleton took their family to Arizona,
settling first at Tucson and about 1876 at Globe, a mining camp in Gila County; they
then established a ranch eight miles from Pleasant Valley. In September 1881 the ranch
was attacked by Apaches following the Cibecue incident, and Gene, who was in Globe, quickly brought assistance. Gene was with a party of "Globe Rangers" organized to fight the Apaches who, however outguessed them and stole their mounts. In November 1889 Gene who, with his father was proprietor of a small stage line, agreed to haul eight Apache prisoners along with Sheriff Glenn Reynolds and William Holmes as guards, to the railroad, two days distant. Among the prisoners was one known as the Apache Kid. On the second day, near present Kelvin, Arizona, the Indians turned on their guards, killed one, the other dying of a heart attack, and Pas-lau-tau shot Gene Middleton, dropping him from the driver's box, the bullet entering the right cheek and emerging from his back. It is reported that one of the prisoners wanted to finish Middleton with either a rock or a shot, but was dissuaded by the Apache Kid, though the record is obscured by the several versions Middleton apparently told; it would seem however that the Indian desired to spare his life since the Apache Kid to that time had neither attacked nor killed any white. Middleton lived at Globe the remainder of his life, being described on his death certificate as an "apartment house owner" at the time he succumbed to "natural causes which are unknown."

Jess G. Hayes, Apache Vengeance. Albuquerque, Univ. of New Mex. Press, 1954; Dan L.

Thrapp, Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts. Norman, Univ. of Okla. Press, 1964; author interview Leroy Middleton, July 13, 1958.

Middleton, Henry, pioneer (c. 1863- c. 1949). 1891). B. probably in California he reached Arizona with his parents about 1873; the Middletons established a cattle ranch in the Sierra Ancha Mountains north of Globe about 1879. In September 1881 the ranch house was attacked by Apaches as a spinoff of the Cibecue affair, two men were killed and Henry Middleton was shot above the heart; he had no medical attention for four days until he could be gotten to Globe, but survived to recover completely. Middleton had a close brush with hostile Apaches just before the battle of Big Dry Wash in the summer of 1882 but escaped unscathed although his horse was shot. He was a brother of Eugene (Gene) Middleton who was wounded seriously in an Apache Kid outbreak in 1889. Lee Middleton said Henry “lived to die at 86 at Seattle.” But there does not seem to be an offical record of his death there at the date cited.

Interview with Leroy (Lee) Middleton July 13, 1958; Clara T. Woody, Milton L. Swartz, Globe Arizona. Tucson, Arizona Historical Society

Middleton, Leroy (Lee), stagecoach driver (Jan 24, 1874 – May 31, 1967) B. at Tucson Arizona, he was taken by his family to Globe in 1876 and laterr to their ranch in the Sierra Ancha Mountains near Pleasant Valley, also in Arizona. When Apaches attacked the place in September, 1881, Lee with two other children and their mother were in the milkhouse; the mother dragged the three through a hail of bullets safely into the log home. Lee was a stage driver between Globe and Florence, Arizona, on the line run by his father and older brother, Gene, who was seriously wounded in 1889 during an Apache Kid outbreak. On one occasion Lee was held up by Henry Blevins who took from the strongbox some bars of silver (later lost in a flash flood). Lee at that time did not know who the robber had been, but Blevins and his partner were arrested and did time for the affair. In December 1921 Lee ran into Blevins in a speak-easy and they got drunk together. Middleton worked copper claims on Pinto Creek, Arizona, in 1902-1904 during which time he became friendly with Al Sieber; later in life Lee lived in Phoenix, where he died.

Interview, July 13, 1958
Middleton, William, pioneer (c. 1827-Feb 19, 1891) B. in Kentucky, he went to California in 1849 where his son, Eugene (Gene) Middleton, later wounded in a Apache outbreak, was born. Middleton, a blacksmith by trade, brought his growing family (which eventually included nine children) to Tucson, Arizona about 1873 and after a few months moved to Hayden’s Ferry (the present Tempe, Arizona). He refused an invitation to accompany John Sullivan, an ex-soldier, in his search for s silver lode he had discovered while in the service and thus missed out on possible wealth in the vicinity of the present Globe, which Middleton reached in 1876. About 1880 the Middletons located a cattle ranch in the Sierra Ancha Mountains near Pleasant Valley; the place was attacked twice by hostile Apaches, in 1881 and 1882. One son, Henry, was seriously wounded in the first affray and a daughter, Hattie narrowly escaped death while two young men at the ranch were slain. The Middletons took no part in the Pleasant Valley War, but as a result of the tense atmosphere in the surrounding area they removed to Globe, the sons operating stage lines and the father running a blacksmith shop in town and later becoming head blacksmith for the Old Dominion Copper Smelter at Globe. In early 1891 heavy rains caused the flooding of Pinal Creek at Globe and Middleton was killed either in a 75-foot fall to the water or by drowning.

Globe, Arizona Silver Belt. Feb. 21, 1891; Clara T. Woody, Milton L. Schwartz, Globe, Arizona.
Tucson, Ariz. Hist. Soc., 1977; interview with
Leroy (Lee) Middleton, July 13, 1958.


The following books or documents have references to the Middleton family or the Middleton ranch in Arizona.
General Crook and the Sierra Madre Adventure, Thrapp, Dan 1972
Frontier Times, Middleton, Hattie June, 1928
True West, Vol. XI, No. 4 (March-April, 1964)
Thank-you Dennis Yows for recording some amazing family history. As anyone can see the Indian wars in the South-West fought on long after we settled them in California in the late 1860s.


Dave said...

What a great read!

I really enjoyed this post.

I've always liked frontier stories and have read scads of books by Louis L'Amour, Zane Gray, and Max brand.

I suspect that I've read about your relatives in Western magazines and books. I've been a subscriber to "Old West" magazine forever.

thanks for sharing...

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Dave
Most people will not read all of the stories, but for me, being related to these people adds a touch of reality for me, and I hang on every word. These are first person accounts, so there is a lot of credibility in the stories. But, it is always amazing to me how details and dates change in the old stories. About the only fairly accurate dates are weddings and births, the rest are usually just close.

Can you imagine being attacked by Geronimo Apaches? The thing that I got a kick out of was where the settlers were saying that the Apaches were "bad shots".

olmanriver said...

Great read Ernie...thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I read the whole thing. Do you have more?


Ernie Branscomb said...

Yep, I have more, but it comes with a class five "Bullshistory warning".

One of John and Susanna Midleton's sons was named Granville Middleton. He was 2G Grandfather Lafayette Middletons brother. One of the old families stories that I heard is that he was wanted by the law. Some say it was murder most foul that he was wanted for. As the story goes, he hid out in the Cahto Mountain area. They say that he pretended that he was crazy to get the law to leave him alone.

The story may have some truth, I have no way of knowing. I do know that some of my family has perfected the pretense that we are crazy. If anybody has heard anything about this, please tell the story.

Anonymous said...

So which Medleton is buried on the point South Of Usal?


Anonymous said...


olmanriver said...

Second time through even better!

Ernie Branscomb said...


Another category five "bullshistory warning" here, okay? Bullshistory warnings are the same as strong wind warnings.

Great Gampa Lafe Middleton was a redwood slit-stuff maker. They lived in Usal off and on for his work. He ran a split camp. Lafe and Laura's first child was born dead. Maybe the Middleton at Usal was that child. My mother wants to know how you knew that there was a Middleton there.

The Middletons lived just upstream of Wilderness Lodge at Branscomb Ca. during the 1906 earthquake. The house that they lived in is still there. Gramma Ruby Middleton Branscomb was almost killed when the chimney fell over in the earth quake.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Edwin told me a long time ago.


Anonymous said...

John Whaley told me i should go to Usal Beach and camp out!!!How far is that off Hiway 1 ???

olmanriver said...

Class VI?:
One of the old settlers at Usal, Sandy Turner, had an Indian wife named Sal. There is a great photo of her from the Lee Collection of her on horseback. Turner told the story that the place had gotten its name from him hollering out for his wife...Ooooo Sal!

spyrock said...

that was a great story. dove and i went to sedona for new years and hit some great weather and saw quite a bit of arizona. so i can really feel this story. what is interesting is that your cousin is dennis yows. yows is a pretty strange name. in fact i've only heard it once before. a gustave yow owned the land that the spyrock school was on that my mother and uncle went to in spyrock. it was located about a mile and a half northwest of the spyrock depot. the children of lola short who wrote in mendo remembered, christine and larry went to that school with my mom. it was called the yow school. the first school at spyrock in about 1895-7 closer to the simmerly or sherburn homestead was named the branscombe school where my grandma grace and uncle guy went to just north of shell rock creek. branscomb is one of five different names for this school so she might have been the teacher. maybe later on married a yow. that's just a guess but two yows might make a right in this case. there's also a town named middletown just south of clear lake if i'm not mistaken. any relation to that place? quite a few strange things happened to me at clear lake. i had a very strong vision on cobb mountain back in 73 and again on a mountain north of clear lake i had a dream about indians being killed and me living there. it was near a spring that we swam in by an oak where a baby ratler bit this dude's dog and its head swelled up. in the dream i was looking north of that spot which was north of clear lake so it wasn't the massacre at the lake for killing the kelseys it was something else. what was really strange was, i was by myself looking north, the land and invisible people who i thought were indians were talking to me without words sort of painting a picture for me of what happened there. it was one of those things you don't talk about and i didn't at the time until you are really old like i am now and can say anything i want. i call it a dream but i was wide awake on a walk by myself and it came to me. better to have it written down by an ancestor for generations to come to enjoy. thanks for sharing your story ernie and dennis yows.

olmanriver said...

Thanks for sharing your vision spy!

Ben said...

The Sierra Ancha mountains are in a National Forest now. Not far from the White River and San Carlos Apache Reservations.
Unlike most tribes, the agressiv Apaches were given a beautiful reservation filled with grazing and timber and have prospered.
The Hupa through their dogged resistance to white incursion, were also granted a fine reservation with huge timber reserves.
The two tribes are distantly related as are the Wailaki.

spyrock said...

its amazing the part of women in the old west. as dark as it got, the women held the light. one of my favorite stories out of mendocino county remembered is the one by lola short. she had a granny like the clampets who smoked a pipe and who they dragged to 10 mile island. and their audrey married a rhorbough and became queen of round valley. but the best thing lola says is that she is so old that if she meets someone she loves, she can tell them. that is totally cool. the women held the light in those days. that's why i am what i am.
love, spyrock

Anonymous said...

All too cool that you put the information on your blog. A great
1st hand account of how it was back when things were straight forward and unaltered.

Laura and Lafayette Middleton also lived up Mud Creek, and far behind the now Sizemore property across from Farley Peak, which in those day was very near the town of Cahto. Laura and Lafayette were married at Usal (picture in book)

Had to laugh at the redwood slit-stuff maker. That's how I was talking last night, lol.


Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to say anything about the slit-stuff cousin. Mostly cuz I never been caught talking like that.


Ernie Branscomb said...

"Split stuff" is posts and pickets and stuff like that. "Slit stuff" is slats and lathing and slim stuff that is slit out of split stuff. (Would you believe that?)

Anonymous said...

I'll let it go Ernie but I can't speak for cousin.


Anonymous said...

Whatever you say Ern. I enjoyed it..then you had to go and ruin it, dangit!! Maybe I wasn't really talking like that the night before either, I just thought I was. Damm'it Ern, didn't you even laugh?


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post.


Anonymous said...

Well according to I am related to you all. My father is Robert James Middleton of Klamath falls Oregon whom I have never met. This is definitely interesting to read