It is a sad thing that a Medal of Honor winner lies forgotten in an unmarked grave because of a rat bastard like Ike Clanton.
Eben was introduced to the cosmos on Valentine’s Day of 1844 in Decatur County, Iowa. His folks were Hiram and Hannah Stanley. When the Civil War fetched loose Eben was 17 years old and residing in Santa Fe. He didn’t have any better sense, at that age, than to join the army. It seems likely that he would have been sent off to Fort Union to guard against the Confederate invasion of New Mexico, but when the Confederates were defeated at Glorieta Pass, he would perhaps have made his way to F ort Sumner to look after the Navajo and Mescalero as they starved nearly to death at the Bosque Redondo. It would have been a fine opportunity for him to learn scouting. The Civil War ended, but the Apache War was raging merrily along. By the spring of 1873 Eben found himself marching along as a member of Company K, 5th US Cavalry under command of General George Crook. They were involved in the Tonto Basin campaign and a detachment from Company K rode in support of Company I, 23rd Infantry commanded by Major Randall. They were in pursuit of a band of miscreants who had recently murdered three white guys and stole their mules. Along the way some Apache Scouts captured a lamed up old lady and prevailed upon her good graces to lead them to the miscreant’s camp. The camp was located atop Turret Peak and crept up on in the middle of the night. At dawn on March 27, 1873 a surprise attack was launched that so startled the camp that some of the Apaches jumped over the side of the cliff. Eben distinguished himself for bravery during the attack and on April 12, 1875 was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. By then he had resigned from the army and taken up with the widow Mary Elsie Slinkard. Mary had two sons by Slinkard before he died and a comfy ranch near Solomon on the Gila River east of Safford, AZ. Mary had come into the country with her dad, Newman Hayes Clanton, when the old man had attempted to start up a planned community like the one he had just been kicked out of in Point Hueneme, CA. The community of Clantonville failed because of malaria, but not before Clanton had succeeded in attracting Mormon settlers to the area. Yes. The whole Mormon presence on the Gila is because of Ike Clanton. He had gotten his whole family kicked out of California because of his surly demeanor. By 1878 when Tombstone was getting underway the Clanton’s had relocated from the Gila to a ranch on the San Pedro River a few miles above Charleston. Ike quickly deduced that the most expedient method to stock the new range was with cattle stolen from Mexico. Cattle rustling took off like a wildland grass fire because there was a huge demand for beefsteak to slake the hunger of a growing mine camp, the army, and the Apache reservations. Everybody was fond of cheap beef at the time and did not much care that it was stolen. Life rolled on smoothly enough for Eben and Mary until Ike managed to get himself kicked out of the San Pedro. By then his dad, Newman had been killed in possession of a stolen herd down in Guadalupe Canyon by Mexican soldiers, his brother Billy had been killed by the Earps in the gunfight at OK Corral, and his brother Phineas had been sentenced to a stretch in the Yuma pen for rustling. Outlawry was about all that Ike was capable of. No honest man would hire him to do a legitimate job. As his notoriety increased Ike became more reclusive. He began stealing Apache cattle because it was still wild country with few minions of the law. He found it convenient to hold his stolen cattle on Mary’s property and sell it to a local butcher. Before long stock detectives found stolen cattle there and Eben was arrested as a cow thief. When his trial came up on the docket Eben found a sympathetic judge who offered an acquittal under the stipulation that Eben leave Arizona to be seen nevermore again within the territorial boundaries. He and Mary left in disgrace and settled in Clear Springs, New Mexico. Eben went up the flume on November 19, 1904 and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Hillsboro Cemetery. Ike was eventually shot down at Pegleg Wilson’s place on West Prong Creek and also lies in an unmarked and unmourned grave.
When I retired a few years back my little bride insisted that I find something to do so that I would not get underfoot in such a way that it might bring about marital discord. I am all for that. Leukemia is a piece of butterscotch pie compared to marital discord. Anyway I have bought a camera and a laptop and have set off to locate sites that are of interest to me. I take pictures at those sites and write short little stories about what took place there. My cousin, Bill, has encouraged me to start a blog, whatever that is, so that I can share my adventures. Next summer, 2013 will be th... full info
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