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Law & Order Series: Catching the Power Brothers

This is Frank Haynes. Shortly after serving as Gila County sheriff, Haynes became a Deputy U.S. Marshal. In February 1918, he was ordered by U.S. Marshal Dillon to capture the Power brothers, two draft evaders, or “slackers,” who were holed-up near the old Bowman gold mine. Haynes recruited three Graham County authorities to help him.

Accompanying Haynes was Sheriff R.F. McBride, Chief Deputy Sheriff Martin Kempton, and Deputy Sheriff T. Kane Wootan. When the four arrived at the Powers’ log cabin in the Galiuro mountains, “old man Power” (father of brothers John and Thomas Power) came out of the house wielding a gun, and a shootout ensued.

The three Graham County officers were killed, and old man Power was left wounded and unconscious. The Power brothers, accompanied by ex-convict Tom Sisson, fled the scene. Haynes went to Klondyke and then Safford, where he reported the incident, and townspeople rounded up posses to head back toward the Powers’ cabin.

Before long, more than 200 men were trailing the Power brothers, accompanied by bloodhounds. Posses were rounded up from Gila, Pima, Greenlee, Cochise and Graham Counties.

Frank Haynes, former Gila County sheriff and deputy U.S. marshal. Photo from Graham Guardian , Feb 1918

Meanwhile, it was believed the Powers and Sisson might try to head Old Mexico, so two U.S. cavalry troops were dispatched to patrol the border east of Douglas.

Just days after the murder, on February 16, 1918, the Mohave County Miner reported news from Bisbee that the outlaws were killed in a fight with cowboys. But the news was wrong.

The three outlaws were very much alive and still running by mid-March. By that time they had been on the run for about a month, escaping the murder scene at the Powers’ cabin in the Galiuro Mountains, and evading posses of two hundred cowboys and officers, when six cavalrymen captured them at their camp just south of the Mexican border. The outlaws had made it almost 40 miles south of the border when they ran out of water in the desert, and had hardly any food. They were headed back north when they were caught.

Sisson and the Powers were transported to Safford and “immediately placed in the upper steel cage” at the jail. The Graham Guardian reported that the outlaws “presented a tough appearance as they sat in their cells. Their clothing was torn almost into shreds.” John Power lost vision in his left eye from a splinter of wood during battle with the officers, and Tom Power lost vision in his left eye from a cactus thorn. As for Sisson, he was “a hard looking specimen, unshaved and dirty in appearance, but seemed to be at home in his cell.”

A clipping from The Graham Guardian on March 15, 1918

About two months later, on May 17, the three were convicted in the Superior Court of Greenlee County to life imprisonment. They were shackled and taken to the state penitentiary in Florence.

[Based on reports from the Mohave County Miner on Feb. 16, 1918,  and The Graham Guardian on February 15, March 15 and May 24, 1918. Clipping from The Graham Guardian.]

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