Feudin’ and Fightin’ Friday: Graham-Tewksbury Feud (Bovine vs. Ovine)

This range war conducted in the 1880s, sometimes called The Pleasant Valley War or Tonto Basin Feud, was anything but pleasant.   It turned out to be one of the more bloody and vicious feuds in American history, certainly in Arizona history.  So fierce and violent was this feud that Zane Grey memorialized it in his book “To the Last Man”.

to the last manThe feud pitted the Graham family (joined by the Blevins family) against the Tewksbury family – the Grahams were cattlemen and the Tewksburys were cattlemen who supported the sheepherders.  The Tewksbury family worked as sheepherders for the Dagg Brothers who owned a large sheep ranch.  As early as 1882 tensions began to arise over grazing and water rights and property boundaries, continuing for several years.  Some of the conflict was fueled by personal distaste for the other side – the Tewksburys were half Indian.  Plus, cattlemen just didn’t like sheepherders.

NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription here.


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  2. Every story i have read about this incident has been different. Its confusing yet fun to see what other people thought happened.


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