Guns and Gold
History of the Galiuro Wilderness

The "Shoot-Out at Dawn"

The climax came several weeks later. On February 9, 1918, Deputy U.S. Marshal Frank Haynes, Sheriff McBride, and deputy sheriffs Martin Kempton and T. K. "Kane" Wooten started for the Powers' camp. Marshal Haynes carried arrest warrants for Tom and John Power on draft evasion charges, while the sheriff had warrants for the Old Man and Sisson, who were wanted for questioning in connection with Ola May's death. The lawmen drove as far as the Upchurch Ranch near Klondyke the same evening. They borrowed horses, saddled up and rode south into the Galiuros during the night. Some time in the early morning hours the posse arrived at the cabin near the Power's Mine and silently took up positions, two men north of the house and two to the south. Inside were Jeff Power, his two sons, and Tom Sisson.

Just before dawn on Sunday, February 10th, the Old Man rose and started making a fire in the fireplace. John built a fire in the cookstove. They heard two of their horses gallop by and the dogs started barking. Jeff Power grabbed his rifle, went to the door (which faced to the east) and stood there looking out. Just then "Kane" Wooten yelled, "Throw up your hands! Throw up your hands!"

What happened next was a shoot-out that left four men dead and a bloody trail in Arizona's history. Marshal Haynes, the only survivor of his party and a badly rattled man, made a statement a few days later. In 1969, over 50 years later, Tom Power gave his version of events. Their accounts disagreed at points since neither man saw everything that happened; Power remained inside during the fight while Haynes witnessed part of what happened outside.

According to one reconstruction, Jeff Power had stepped out in the yard when almost immediately someone inside the cabin began firing through the doorway. Marshal Haynes pumped two bullets through the door and one into a nearby window as he and McBride ran for the north end of the cabin. One or both of the deputies then opened up from the yard, but Mart Kempton was cut down either by the Old Man or by a shot from inside. Kane Wooten fired and felled Jeff Power with a bullet in the chest. Wooten ducked for cover at the southeast corner of the house, where he glimpsed a figure at the window and fired through it. He tried to scuttle away again but Tom Power caught his silhouette outside the window and fired once, downing Wooten with a shot in the back. Both deputies now lay dead in the yard. Meanwhile, flying glass had hit Tom Power in the left side of his face while slugs striking the doorjamb had driven wood splinters into his brother's face.

Powers Cabin as it appeared many years ago. The kitchen (at rear) has since been removed.

Sheriff McBride hugged the northeast corner of the cabin while the marshal went to check the west side. He could see nothing and came back to find the sheriff sprawled on the ground, dead. Empty cartridge cases indicated that Tom Sisson had poked his rifle through a crack in the logs and put three bullets into the sheriff. The shooting stopped about this time and Marshal Haynes retreated to where they had tied the horses, mounted his own and then "I came on into Klondyke just as fast as I could come." About 25 shots had been fired. It was all over in a few minutes.

What followed was the biggest manhunt in Arizona's history. The Power boys and Tom Sisson made their father comfortable (he died later in the day), mounted the officers' horses and a mule, took plenty of guns and ammunition and rode south towards Redington on the San Pedro River. From there they worked their way east across southeastern Arizona, slipping past the posses that criss-crossed the country and finally entering Old Mexico south of Hachita, New Mexico. There on March 8th they surrendered to a U.S. Army patrol that had picked up their trail and crossed the border in pursuit.

At their trial, all three men were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Sisson eventually died in prison at the age of 86, but the Power brothers lived on. In 1960, forty-two years after their conviction, they were released on parole. Nine years later Governor Williams signed their pardons. Tom Power lived until September of 1970. John spent his last years near Aravaipa, passing on in 1976.

Ellis Ball Mill near Gold Mountain.

The Powers never shipped any ore from their own mine. It passed into other hands and in the early 1930's a few test lots of ore were shipped from there. An Ellis ball mill installed about five miles to the north, near the old Gold Mountain workings, processed about 100 tons of ore (apparently from the Power's Mine) in 1933. The last recorded production in this district dates from 1940. More recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey have shown a spotty occurrence of gold and silver at the Power's Mine, most assays indicating little more than a trace of precious metals. Other mines and prospects in the Galiuros have approximately the same values. Historically this district yielded only 163 ounces of gold.

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Last Updated: 28-Jan-2008