Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Valenzuela Gang & Veterans ([Mostly] Wordless Wednesday)

Before we start, I wanted to quickly announce that I'm guest posting over at the A-to-Z Challenge Blog today. Head over for a very brief post I hope will give you some encouragement to get through these last few days of the challenge.

Today is [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, and my word is Veterans.  These photos were taken in Washington D.C. and are a tribute to our veterans.

I know things have been pretty heavy the last couple posts (hey now, YOU try to find something fun and lighthearted about the Wild West for every letter of the alphabet - it's hard!), but I'd like to reassure you that the rest of the posts should be more along the same lines as the previous posts. More general interest and outlaws. Today's post is about the Valenzuela Gang. Okay, they weren't lighthearted, but at least we're back to outlaws.

alenzuela Gang. The Valenzuela Gang was made up of Inocente and Francisco Valenzuela, as well as whoever happened to ride with them. Nothing is known of their early lives, but they appeared along the Hassayampa River sometime in the 1880's, terrorizing those who lived there with robbery and murder. It has been theorized that they were secretly being led by a man named S.P. Stanton. He was a storekeeper who had attempted to be a Catholic priest years earlier, but was kicked out of Maynooth College for immoral behavior. It has never been proven that he had a connection to the Valenzuela Gang.

In the summer of 1886, the gang was thought to have murdered a man named Barney Martin, along with his entire family. They were traveling by stagecoach from Stanton, in Yavapai County, to Phoenix, due to issues with outlaws in the area (man, that's ironic). His arrival was looked forward to and awaited, his having been popular back in Stanton before he sold his shop. They had all their worldly possessions, along with the money from the property they'd sold. When they didn't arrive in Phoenix when expected, a search party was sent out looking for them. What they found was the family's charred wagon and belongings, as well as their burned remains.

 S.P. Stanton was charged with the murders of the Martin family, but nothing stuck. He was killed sometime after this in the same year, by a man whose sister he had previously insulted.

The rest of the gang managed to elude capture. In 1887, they shot the superintendent of the Vulture Mines, along with two guards. They were carrying a gold bullion bar worth $7000, which the gang tried to chop up with an axe, to no avail. Instead, they buried it and fled, splitting up in order to evade their pursuers, who included Sheriff Bud Gray and Jim Murphy, among others. They chased them across the desert until the outlaws were able to disappear into Mexico. The chase is remembered as one of the most spectacular in Wild West history, and is the reason this particular gang made it on the maps.

Francisco never returned to the U.S., living out his life in Mexico. Inocente (more irony) tried to sneak back to retrieve the bullion, but was captured by a posse and killed when he fought back. A third participant claimed he was forced to take part, and no charges were pressed against him.

<b>Glad we're past the really heavy stuff?  Still hanging in there with your challenge?</b>

May you find your Muse.

*Letter V courtesy of Mohamed Ibrahim,
**Seal of Arizona Territory (1863-1912), circa 1890.; Copyright 1916; By Unknown - Based upon an 1879 design used by Arizona Territory [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
***Gold bullion, By Szaaman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


shelly said...

Still hanging in there. Life has thrown me two curve balls since it started. The death of my editor and now my 5 month old grandson is in my care as of this past Monday.

Sharon Hamilton said...

I'm hanging too. In my Underwear still this morning, 'cause I'm a day late, but getting inspired, devoting an hour to all the creative bloggers here.

And I learned something.

It's U in my world, but because it's V in yours, I'll thank a vet.

Thanks for co-hosting this fun blog. I did it last year, and it really helped teach me how to do it, and gave some great examples of what to do (or what not to do in some cases).

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Blogger changed and now my scheduled post no longer post. I have to do it manually. Hey what happened to the bullion? Is there a place I can go look for it?

Shannon Lawrence said...

Shelly, I'm sorry about your editor and whatever situation has brought your grandson into your care. It's unbelievable that you're still hanging in there! I hope things improve for you.

Sharon, there's no more comfortable way to be on the computer, haha! Thank you for your kind words.

Debra, I couldn't find for sure, but it sounded to me like he may have retrieved the bullion when they caught him, so they may have gotten it back. However, for my x post, I'm hoping to lay out a few caches that were never found! (And I hear a lot of people are having issues with Blogger. I do not enjoy change in the form of formatting on something online that I've gotten used to. Grrr).

nutschell said...

Really ironic, considering the career criminal's name means innocent:)

Shannon Lawrence said...

Schell, I thought that was pretty funny. What can I say? His parents were optimists.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet it is difficult to find light stuff in the Wild West history. And the Veteran War Memorial in DC is very moving.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Alex, it really is moving. I've always wanted to visit the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, also, but the line was humongous, so no dice. I'm glad that it receives that kind of attention and heartfelt feeling, though.

Amberr Meadows said...

Thanks for that awesome little bit of history. Enjoyed it a lot!

Andrew Leon said...

I would not want to have to remember where I buried one gold bar. It just wouldn't happen.

You got another one I hadn't heard of!

Tess Julia said...

What an awesome historical account. I love history! I got too far behind to keep up with the challenge but I'm still connecting with others.

soggy in the corner said...

Ah, I wanted to go look for it too! But of course it is the treasure yet unfound that fires our imaginations! My husbands relatives were in Arizona for a time in the ...1880's or so. One may have stayed but the others went back to Arizona. Fascinating times! Thanks for more history, really enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I'd like to know if the bar of gold was ever found. That might make for an interesting wild west story. There could be different endings, depending on how it is written.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Amberr, thank you!

Andrew, especially in areas where it was all open field, open valley, forest. How do you find something amidst all that?

Honey, definitely understandable!

Soggy, interesting! My ancestors were all easterners, minus the Cherokee side. Some strayed a bit west, but I don't think we had any major Wild West stories.

Susanne, it would be interesting to look into, for sure. They don't show up on the list of still missing caches.