Saturday, July 26, 2014

Outlaws Kill Gus Gibbons & Frank LeSueur

On Monday, March 26, 1900 the mail carrier traveling between St. Johns and Springerville saw five men killing a beef.  When he got to Springerville, he reported it to Sheriff Beeler, who happened to be in Springerville that evening.  The Sheriff pulled together a posse and headed after them.

The thieves had spent the night camped about 3 miles north of St. Johns, and when the posse caught up to them a gunfight ensued as the outlaws fled with the posse in pursuit.   The sheriff had left word for his deputy to organize a second posse to come and help them.  This second posse headed north to help out, and included the men who would never return:  Andrew A. (Gus) Gibbons and Frank LeSueur.

Andrew "Gus" Gibbons & Frank LeSueur
The second posse headed out of town, but meanwhile the horses in the Sheriff's posse got run-down and they turned back to St. Johns.  Unbeknownst to each other, the two posses passed each other, but were too far apart to realize what had happened.  The second posse with Gibbons & LeSueur continued on, following the tracks, all of the time thinking the Sheriff's posse was still ahead of them and needing their help.

As evening approached several other members of the posse decided to rest up for the night at a sheepherder's camp, but Gus and Frank unfortunately decided to continue the pursuit.  It was late in the afternoon when the two approached a rock bluff unaware of the fact that the outlaws were hiding at the top.  As they slowly made their way up the steep, rocky trail they were ambushed!  After killing both of the young men, the outlaws disfigured them by continuing to shoot them at point-blank range in the face/head.  They then stole their horses and belongings, leaving the lifeless bodies bleeding in the desolate place.

They were found the next day by a 3rd posse who had been organized by Gus' brother Richard Gibbons.  Being fine, upstanding young men, they were mourned by all.

Here is an excerpt from the Diary of Dick Gibbons that describes the scene they came upon:

"When we were about a half a mile away from it the ground over which we were traveling was a red clay formation and was all cut up by ruts and little washes and all of them ran toward the main wash. The country faced the northeast and when we came to where we could see the different object in the badlands, I saw an object on the steep hillside that startled me. It looked like the body of a man, but I would not admit it to myself. It was still too far away to be able to identify it and while I was thinking about it I saw another object that looked like a quilt had been thrown away by the outlaws and had been rolled up by the wind and lodged in the wash where it now laid, but as we drew nearer, I saw that it was the body of a man, and upon closer inspection, I recognized it as the body of my nephew, Gus Gibbons. It was lying in the bottom of a little draw with head down hill and face upwards, with three ghastly bullet holes through the head. One of them had entered his mouth and had come out the back of his neck, one had gone in at the left ear and come out below the mouth, breaking the lower jaw and disfigured the face awfully. In addition to these, he had several wounds in the body that we did not examine at the time.

We well knew what the other object was that we had noticed lying on the hillside. The sight was horrifying to the senses. To see the two boys lying there, boys I had known since they were in the cradle and had watched grow up. They were just in the pink of manhood and for them to be ambushed and shot down like dogs, without even a chance to fight for their lives, made me sick. It was murder in its worst form and there is not another crime beneath the roof of heaven that can stain the soul of man with a more infernal hue than an assassination such as this. They have out- villained villainy so far that the rarity of their crime almost redeems them. As soon as we had time to recover from the shock, we took steps to take care of the bodies. Will Gibbons, brother to Gus, and I stayed with the bodies while the rest returned to St. Johns and Will Sherwood was to come back later with a team."



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Amelia Hunt de Garcia and Monico Garcia - Two amazing early pioneers of Apache County

So this week I was at my "real" job - when I had a visit from a very nice couple who had been at the Museum and were researching some ancestors.  We then proceeded to have an incredibly interesting conversation about the woman's great grandparents:  Amelia Hunt and Monico Garcia.  She mentioned that Amelia had been the County Superintendent of Schools at one time, and also that she was a sister to George W. P. Hunt the first Governor of the STATE of Arizona!  That's all it took to set me off on another exciting adventure. 

Monico Garcia
I knew the name Monico Garcia sounded familiar and that is because his photo is in our exhibit on the town of Concho - as he and Amelia lived there at one time.   My visitor had mentioned seeing a photo of her Great-grandmother Amelia in the exhibit - so of course I had to go look at the exhibit again - and sure enough - there was the photo of beautiful Amelia!

Amelia Hunt de Garcia

What an amazing pair these two were!  They were outstanding citizens, and extremely involved in educating the children of Concho and St. Johns.  They each held many positions of responsibility as can be seen in this short summary I came across on the USGenWeb site while I was researching them:

History of Arizona, Page 484

"In one of the most exacting of vocations Mrs. Amelia Hunt Garcia has achieved distinctive success.  She has long been active in education affairs and is now serving as Superintendent of Schools of Apache County and as a member of the State Board of Education. She was born on her father's ranch, about eight
miles north of St. Joseph, Yavapai County on November 15, 1876, and is a daughter of James Clark and Juanita (Rubi) Hunt, the former of whom is referred to on other pages of this work.  She attended the public schools, completing her education in St. Johns Academy and the high school at Prescott in 1891. In that same year she began teaching in the schools at St. Johns and during the two following years taught at Concho. In 1896 she served as principal of the Concho schools in 1900 took the school at El Tule, where she remained two years, followed by another year as principal of the school at Concho. In 1907 Mrs. Garcia gain resumed her education work by taking the school at St. Johns after which she devoted her attention to her home until 1923 when she was elected County Superintendent of Schools, which position she is still filling.

On July 7, 1902 she became the wife of Monico Garcia of St. Johns, who at that time was County Recorder.  During the ensuing five years he served as Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, and as manager of A&B Schuster Company at Concho. In 1908 he was elected County Superintendent of Schools and Probate Judge, which dual position he held for two years, after which he was elected County Treasurer, in which office he served from 1910 to 1914.  In 1926 he graduated from the State Teachers College, since which time he has served as principal of the St. Johns schools. 

Mr. and Mrs. Garcia have been born four children..." 

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Monico and Amelia's Wedding Announcement
In searching the historical Apache County Newspapers on the Arizona Digital Newspaper Project I found many references to them in the early newspapers.  Including their wedding announcement:

Some other items of interest include Campaign mentions when Amelia was running for Apache County Superintendent of Schools.

St. Johns Herald Newspaper - 16 September 1920

St. Johns Herald Newspaper - 16 September 1920

I found many interesting anecdotes in the newspaper about them; Monico was a successful cattleman, among other things, and Amelia had a beautiful singing voice, but perhaps those are for another day.   Here is, what I thought to be, one of the most interesting items I found...this article in the Coconino Sun Newspaper in 1922.  I have searched quite a bit online seeing if I could find a copy of the song, and although I did find some other songs composed by A. Leopold Richard - I have not yet been able to find "My Arizona".  But I love the words!!

Coconino Sun Newspaper - August 14, 1922

Arizona!  Arizona!  We pledge our honor for thee to live, for thee to die;
No traitor's hand shall ever mar the brightness of thy glorious star.

Then here's to Arizona, with skies of deepest blue;
Then here's to Arizona, a dear land
We'll sing thy praises true.

Arizona!  Arizona!  To thy sons thou art the land of faith, the land of truth.
So quick to strike to right a wrong, with equal love for weak and strong."

Amelia Hunt de Garcia
Photo found on