Published: December 22nd 2012December 22nd 2012
NOT MUCH MARY ANN
Blazer's Mill is on the Mescalero Reservation about 15 miles southwest of Ruidoso on Hwy 70.
NOT MUCH MARY ANN
In what was clearly an act of cowardice Billy the Kid, that blood-thirsty little weasel and thief, was with a group of pals who murdered Sheriff Brady and Deputy Hindman from ambush in Lincoln, NM on April 1, 1878. They then scampered off to join up with the rest of the Tunstall Regulators for further misdeeds. During the afternoon of April 4 all sixteen of them led by Dick Brewer rode into Blazer’s Mill for lunch at Mrs. Godfroy’s little restaurant. Doc Blazer operated a sawmill and a gristmill serving the Mescalero Reservation there and her husband, Frederick Godfroy, was the Indian Agent. The mills were a handy stopping place for travelers on the route between Tularosa and Lincoln. Mrs. Godfroy served them good meals at the agency building atop the hill. After lunch the Regulators were all set to scour the nearby hills in hopes of getting a clear shot at more of Dolan’s men. Luckily for them Buckshot Roberts rode into town alone just as they were finishing their meal. Roberts was a Dolan man thought to have ridden with the posse that killed the crook, John Tunstall. Brewer had a warrant for him and wanted to take him into custody. Roberts was a fierce old man who had once been hit in the shoulder with a shotgun blast that left him with only partial use of his right arm. The Lincoln County War did not concern him much. He had just sold his ranch, property that adjoined the Coe place, and was on his way to the post office in the agency building to see if funds from the sale had arrived. If so he could pocket his money and ride out of that troubled country for good. Frank Coe was a neighbor and stepped out to persuade Buckshot to surrender peaceably. The others grew impatient though and stepped around the corner armed to the teeth and when Charlie Bowdre demanded his surrender Buckshot knew he was doomed. “Not much Mary Ann” was his response as the guns began to blaze. Buckshot fired a rifle shot that hit Bowdre’s belt buckle, shattered it and Charlie’s gun belt fell to the ground with a stunned Charlie on top of it. The bullet ricocheted into George Coe’s gun hand and he dropped his gun too. Charlie’s shot hit Buckshot hard above the left hip ranging downward, but he continued firing and scattering Regulators in every direction. John Middleton went down shot through the chest. Roberts retreated into the Blazer home, pulled a mattress against the door for protection and comfort, and continued firing until he ran out of ammo; burning Doc Scurlock in the leg with a shot that bounced off the holster, and grazing Billy the Kid in the arm. One crippled and badly wounded old man had taken down five of Brewer’s men. During a lull in the shooting Roberts took down Doc Blazer’s old buffalo gun and found ammo for it. Dick Brewer was enraged. He found a vantage point behind a pile of logs across the road where he could get a shot at Roberts, fired and missed. Roberts saw the puff of smoke and calmly waited until Brewer raised up for another shot then fired a shot with the buffalo gun that took the top of Brewer’s head plumb off. It unnerved the Regulators. Frank McNab took charge, they loaded up their wounded in a borrowed wagon, and left town in another act of cowardice. Roberts held out bravely until the next day before he died of his hip wound. Both men, Roberts and Brewer, were buried side by side in the same hole. Buckshot Roberts died game. The Regulators returned to their normal haunts around San Patricio to lick their wounds and await developments. They elected Frank McNab as their new leader. George Coe soaked his hand in carbolic acid, but ended up getting his trigger finger amputated by Doc Ealy in Lincoln. The grand jury deliberated and passed down indictments against the Regulators Charlie Bowdre, Billy the Kid, John Middleton, Henry Brown, Fred Waite, Doc Scurlock, George Coe, John Scrroggins, and Steve Stephens for the murder of Roberts; Billy the Kid, John Middleton, Henry Brown, and Fred Waite were indicted for the murders of Sheriff Brady and Deputy Hindman. On the other side Jesse Evans, Manuel Segovia, Jack Long, and George Davis were indicted for the murder of John Tunstall with Jimmy Dolan and Billy Matthews being charged as accessories. In addition Jimmy Dolan and Johnny Riley were indicted for the theft of Tunstall’s cattle. Alex McSween was cleared of the embezzlement charges, and John Copeland, a Tunstall partisan, was named county sheriff in place of Matthew Brady. Those proceedings were fair and should have brought an end to the hostilities, however the whole judicial system in Lincoln County had collapsed and a judge could not be found to try those cases. The stage was simply set for further violence. The photo shows what remains of the Blazer home in which Buckshot Roberts fought and died. The view would be approximately what Dick Brewer last saw.