Wetherill Wetherill

A History of Discovery  

The Murder of Richard Wetherill 

In 1901, Richard Wetherill homesteaded land that included Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo Del Arroyo, and Chetro Ketl in what is now the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Richard Wetherill remained in Chaco Canyon, homesteading and operating a trading post at Pueblo Bonito until his controversial murder in 1910. Chis-chilling-begay, charged with his murder, served several years in prison, but was released in 1914 due to poor health. Richard Wetherill is buried in a small cemetery west of Pueblo Bonito. What follows is a description of the events leading up to the murder described in the book Richard Wetherill Anasazi by Frank McNitt.

Sometime in the dust and heat of that afternoon Bill Finn went to Richard Wetherill's office, found it empty, and sat down to wait. When Wetherill arrived later he stopped just inside the doorway, his eyes fastened on the cowboy. An hour before he had been told that Finn had gotten into a fight with an Indian and had been killed. "What's this all about?" Richard said. There had been a scrap, Finn admitted in his usual terse way. Not he but the Indian had been hurt. Nez-begay. How badly hurt? Finn shrugged. He didn't know. The fight was over a horse stolen the day before and goaded into running so hard it had foundered. Others had seen Nez-begay mistreating the animal cruelly, beating it with a whiplash on the Ranks, striking its head with the whip butt until blood came on the glossy black coat. Now the horse was dead. It belonged to Richard's daughter Elizabeth. Hardly more than a colt, the horse was a thoroughbred given by Richard to his daughter and prized by her. She would cry when she heard what had happened. We will attend to it, Richard said grimly, attend to it later. Now there is work to do.

All but a few stray drags from Sheriff Talle's herd of cattle had been driven onto the mesa. These last had been rounded up and were waiting. Talle was on the mesa. If Finn would help him they would get it done and be back in time for supper. They went out, mounted their horses, and rode to the nearby place where the strays were bunched and grazing. At Pueblo del Arroyo a small group of Navajo men were gathered, watching as Richard and Finn approached behind the cattle, and at the same time listening to the excited jabber of one man who stood out from the others. A few of them were armed, one old man on horseback holding an ancient rifle across his saddle. When they came abreast of this group, Richard reined in and stopped. The short, thickset man who had been doing the talking came forward. Richard recognized him. He was Chis-chiIling-begay, a Navajo of such little account his own people rarely listened long to what he had to say. He had traded heavily on credit at Richard's Bonito store, before the store was sold, and still owed Richard much money.

The two men faced each other across the necks of their horses. Neither carried a weapon. Speaking in Navajo, angrily and loud, Chis-chilling-begay demanded: "Are you on the warpath, Anasazi?" Richard's gaze was stony. "If you want trouble it will start here and right now. The old man with the old rifle edged his horse forward. There was trouble already, he said, bad trouble. A young man had been beaten -to death, perhaps -by that Blue Eyes, that man over there in the pay of Anasazi ...As he spoke, the old fellow's voice rose to a shout, and he waved his rifle in Richard's face. Richard leaned across his saddle and seized the gun out of the Navajo's hand. From the chamber he shook out the ammunition. Then angrily he grasped the rifle by the barrel and beat the stock to splinters against a fence post.
The sheriff's cattle were trailing down the canyon, a hundred yards or so now between them and where Finn had halted on the road, and twice that distance between Finn and Wetherill. For the moment, Chis-chilling- begay was silent. This will wait, Richard told the Indians, just as he had told Finn when he received the information about Elizabeth's colt. This will have to wait until later. He turned his back on them, rejoined Finn, and together their horses broke into a trot to catch up with the cattle. In his left hand, unmindingly, Richard still grasped the old Navajo's gun barrel. A few minutes later, over the tops of the low sagebrush and in the roiling dust, his figure and Finn's became indistinct and then disappeared. The group of Indians broke up, the Navajos moving off quickly in several directions.
The distance by road between Pueblo del Arroyo and Rincon del Camino is about half a mile. It was, and is now, a dirt road that winds and turns as the canyon's north face of yellow sandstone projects or retreats. At one place the road runs straight as it skirts the standing walls, to the right, of Yellow House. From the rubble of this ruin Richard once brought wagonloads of faced stone to build the Del Arroyo guest house. Shortly beyond, the dirt road swerves closer to meet the advancing rock of the cliff, and then canyon wall and road, now wedded, move downstream together. A slide of fallen rock -blocks of jumbo size -bend the dirt road outward into a tight curve. Pecked low into the cliff face, in some places visible from the road when the light is right and there is not too much dust, are strange whorls, snake shapes and man-figures -petroglyphs left by the Chacoans eight centuries ago. Canyon swallows nest higher up, in clay-and-stick nest clusters built under protective ridges of cliff overhang. To the left of the road, still winding downstream, the bed of the Chaco River cuts dry and deep in its arroyo, its course traceable by a green line of cottonwoods and willows that grow roots into the sand of the arroyo bottom. Except for its turnings the road runs almost due west and therefore, a few minutes before six o'clock on a June evening, a rider's eyes are nearly level with a setting sun. The light is so blinding that only the nearest clumps of brush dotting the canyon floor are made out with any clarity (the natural dusty green color turned almost to black), objects distant thirty or forty yards blurring into shapes of unrecognizable form and reddish color.
At the big turn of Rincon del Camino, several head of Sheriff Talle's cattle -sun-blinded -wandered off the road to plod straight ahead into sage- brush. Bill Finn followed the main bunch of cows keeping to the road while Richard circled out into brush to head-in the strays. Ahead and nearly between Richard and Finn a rifle was raised and sighted. Richard heard the echoing blast of the first shot but not the whistling lead that missed Finn. Still unseen, the rifle barrel swung in an arc of nearly sixty degrees. The second shot tore through Richard's raised right hand, the hand holding the reins, and smashed into his chest. He fell from his horse, not knowing who had killed him. Or why.

What follows is an eyewitness account of the murder of Richard Wetherill by Eleanor L. Quick a teacher at Putnam, New Mexico (Chaco Canyon) The account was in a letter to Mrs. D.K.B. Sellers of Albuquerque and published in the McKinley County Republican July 1, 1910.

McKinley County Republican
July 1, 1910
New Light on San Jon Tragedy in letter from an Eye Witness

That Richard Wetherill was shot by ambushed Indians, unarmed without a chance to defend himself: that Bill Finn, his head cow puncher, was arrested taken off leaving Mrs. Wetherill and her young children at the mercy of a band of Indian murders who sat upon the Richard Wetherill Headstone Chaco Canyon, New Mexicodoorstep; that for some reason the order for troops was countermanded and the mounted policemen turned back; and that the attack was instigated, are features of a new version of the recent murder of the pioneer and Indian trader near Putnam, N. M. This story of the killing, as told by Miss Eleanor L. Quick, a teacher who was with the Wetherill's at the time, paints a picture of injustice and brutal indifference which, if true, will arouse the most intense indignation on the part of everyone who reads it.

According to Miss Quick the trouble arose from the act of an Indian in stealing, as alleged, a  colt which belonged to a little daughter of Wetherill.  Finn, it is alleged, went to recover the animal which had been nearly killed and the Indian showing fight, Finn laid him out with a blow on the head.  A short time later as Finn and Wetherill rode out with some cattle, (text unreadable) arroyo and commenced firing .Wetherill fell McKinley County Republican July 1, 1910and his body was brutally mutilated after he was dead, while Finn, out of ammunition, fled for his life to the house with Indians shooting at him as he rode.  One Indian, it is told tried to kill Mrs. Wetherill; and the woman and children, after the arrest Finn, were left to face these murderous savages with practically no protection, spending a terrible night in hourly expectation of being massacred by the Navajos.

The story, however, is best told in the letter from Miss Quick received by Mrs. D.K.B. Sellers of Albuquerque.   It is as follows:

Putnam, N.M., June 27, 1910 Mrs. Sellers, Albuquerque, N.M.

Dear Madam      

Mr. Wetherill met his death at exactly six Wednesday evening and the facts are these: 

Tuesday night Billy Chigay, Tjomasito, Joe Hostine Yasssi, Juan Utcitty, Pesh Thlukai, Nelson White and others came to Mr. Wetherilll and told him that Antonio had stolen a blooded colt belonging to Elizabeth Wetherill and was riding it to death.  The next morning Mr.  Wetherill sent Mr. Finn and a man by the name of O'Fallon who happened to be here, after the colt.  They found it hitched behind the hogan almost dead.   Mr. Finn lead it around to the front of the hogan, told Antonio that it was Mr. Wetherill's and that he was going to take it.   Antonio called him a liar and began to fight to prevent his taking the horse.  Mr. Finn struck him once with his fist and then knocked him down with a six shooter.  Then he took the colt and tried to take it home, but it was so sick he never got home until after four o'clock and had to leave the colt.  By noon some Navajos, who had brought the news, had begun to collect around here.   Joe ate dinner here and held the baby.  About two o'clock Mr. Wetherill and Sheriff Talle came and got their dinner and Mr. Wetherill sent Joe back after some cattle that Mr. Talle had to leave.  Then he and Mr. Talle rode upon the mesa.  As soon as Mr. Finn and Mr. O'Fallon got in, Pesh Thlukai rode up to the mesa and told Mr.  Wetherill that the Navajos has Killed Mr. Finn and that they were going to take him to Gallup. Mr. Wetherill was very well mounted on a new sorrel that he had just got and he came in a very few minutes. Only to find Mr. Finn in the office and everything apparently all right. Just then Joe brought in the cattle and Mr. Finn and Mr. Wetherill started to take them to the mesa at ten or fifteen minutes to six.  When I saw them ride off there were two or three Navajos riding with him.  Those Navajos ran ahead of the cattle and when Mr. Wetherill and Mr. Finn reached the first big arroyo crossing about a half a mile west of (unreadable text).......armed Navajos sprang out of the arroyo and without a word began firing at them with Winchesters that they had concealed in the arroyo.  The first shot was fired at Finn but missed him; the second killed Wetherill.  Hostine Taca fired it then Pesh Thlukai ran up and shot him as he lay dead.  Mr. Wetherill was unarmed but Mr. Finn had his six shooter and of course began using it.  His horse was a half bronco and began bucking, which circumstance probably saved his life.  Knowing that Mr. Wetherill was dead and that the odds were fearfully against him, he turned and raced for his life up through the field to the house. Padilla followed him and shooting as fast as he could.  When Mr. Finn got opposite the Mexican house two hundred yards from home.  Joe Hostine Yazza and Hostine Sto's brother rode out and attempted to cut him off from the house.  Joe fired three shots at him behind the barn with a Winchester.  Hostine had a club and a rope with which he was trying to drag him off the saddle.  Mr. Finn kept his gun trained on Hostine (unreadable text)  body here.  The shot that killed Mr. Wetherill struck him in the chest a little to the right side .  After he fell, they shot the right side of his head and his right hand off.  He died instantly and without a struggle

You can doubtless imagine the horror of that night when we all sat up and watched for the daybreak attack that we expected.  There was with us six Mexicans, one of them scared to death.  Mr. Finn, Mr. Ivy, who is not an able-bodied man, and Mr. O'Fallon.  Mr. O'Fallon was so frightened that he would have gone that night.  He did leave in the morning.  B------ the rest we were very anxious for Mr. Talle, for five Indians had ridden out the gap just ahead of him.  We were alone until four o'clock the next day, when Mr. Blake, an Indian trader from below here and Mr. and Mrs. Jones came.  at midnight Thursday George Ransome came from Gallup with a message from Mr. A. Wetherill.  It was the first that we knew that Mr. Talle had gotten through.

That night we sent a Mexican with a message to Simpson's to call the coroner, but his horse died and he never got there.  Friday morning Mr. Al Wetherill and Mr. Talle came from Gallup.  Mr. Talle had called for troops and three cars had been ordered for them. he had word that mounted police were on the way. He left horses and a guide for them at Gallup.  Where are they?  Some time during the night Mr. Six and Mr. Pickney (two of Stachers creatures) got in to do what they could to harass and annoy us.

About noon Justice of the Peace Fay and the sheriff of San John County got in.  The inquest was held and at 3 o'clock Mr. Wetherill was buried under the rock in a place that he himself had selected years ago.

Mr. Pickney had Mr. Finn arrested for assault with intent to kill upon Hositne Sto's brother and Antonio.  They took him to Farmington immediately after the burial.  Mr. Jones went to defend Mr. Finn.  They left Padilla standing on our doorstop and Mr. Pickney spent the night at Joe's.  Mr. Pickney and Mr. Six said the murderer had given himself up and that there was no use of arresting the others.  Do you not think that we are living under an enlightened and exalted kind of justice.

Since the burial we have to collect and water the stock and protect us.  Mr. Ivy and Ralph McJukin, a boy not yet 21.  Mr. Six gave orders to the Navajos who were herding the stock not to dig water for them and they have turned them loose.  Half of the sheep are gone.  Richard, Elizabeth and baby Robert are all out riding after cattle and horses and herding like men.  The two boys, Ivy and McJunkin, are doing their utmost to save what they can. Mr.  Wetherill has gone to Gallup to see if some one cannot be sent to protect us and help us to save the little that is left.

Among the other kind things that Pickney did, he brought 12 Indian police here and kept them in front of the house nearly all day Friday.

The baby is well. Mrs. Wetherill is as well as could be expected.  Mrs. Jones went right back Friday night so she and I have everything that an old Mexican man cannot do to do.

Mrs. Wetherill said that she thanks you will send you if we need help.  Please feel free to call on me for any information that the colonel needs to bring the murders to justice.  I know that he and every other good friend of Mr. Wetherill's wants justice:  I have been an eye witness of much of what I am writing and I know other interesting things.

Please get the papers that contain the accounts of the murder and send them to Mrs. Wetherill's mother.  Mrs. S.L. Palmer, Burdette, Kansas.  Mrs. Wetherill is unable to write her and in that way she will get at..............garble account of it. 

Sincerely yours, Eleanor Quick

Events leading up to Richard Wetherill's Murder


 Harvey Leake

The misinterpretation of Richard's activities is based on an old smear campaign by a government surveyor in 1901-2. About that time, an interest finally developed to make a national monument of Chaco Canyon. Richard had filed a homestead application and made it clear in a sworn deposition that his purpose in encompassing the major pueblos was to protect them. He said that he would gladly relinquish his claims to the pueblos if the government would make of them a national monument. The only stipulation was that the American Museum of Natural History would be able to continue their investigations there. The surveyor, Holsinger, did not want to go along with the stipulation, and he thought he could force Richard out of the canyon by defaming his character.
At about the same time, Edgar Lee Hewett of New Mexico also alleged that the excavations that were being conducted at Chaco Canyon were being done irresponsibly. This was based on a lack of understanding of what was going on there, and he later acknowledged that he had misrepresented the situation.
Richard fought back. A few years later, another government investigator, Grygla, concluded, correctly, that Richard's motive for being there was to protect the sites. When the time came, Richard gladly turned over his interest in the pueblos with no strings attached.
There were plenty of vandals digging up artifacts at that time, but Richard was not one of them.
Writers who claim that Richard was a major impetus behind the Antiquities Act have failed to cite source documentation to back up their assertion. I have been through files of correspondence on this subject in Washington, D. C. and have found nothing to substantiate this outlandish claim.
These misinterpretations are ironic given the fact that Richard's investigations employed the best archaeological techniques of the day under the guidance of the nations preeminent archaeologist, Frederick Ward Putnam.
On November 16, 1900, the Santa Fe Archaeological Society passed a resolution asking the Commissioner of the General Land Office to investigate the ruins of Chaco Canyon "with a view to their preservation and the prevention of the system of spoliation [sic] and destruction that now prevails". They sent this to the Secretary of the Interior. (John R. McFie to Secretary of the Interior, November 17, 1900. National Archives, National Park Service, Chaco Canyon)
On December 8, 1900, the Commissioner of the General Land Office wrote S. J. Holsinger, requesting that he investigate the situation. He attached a copy of the Santa Fe Archaeological Society's resolution. (Referred to in S. J. Holsinger to Commissioner of the General Land Office, December 21, 1900. National Archives, National Park Service, Chaco Canyon).
On December 21, 1900, S. J. Holsinger wrote to ex-governor J. Bradford Prince, advising that he had been directed to investigate Chaco Canyon and requesting information about it. (Prince papers, New Mexico State Archives)
On December 22, 1900, Edgar L. Hewett replied to an inquiry from ex-governor Prince. "In regard to more definite facts concerning the destruction of ruins in Chaco Canon, I would suggest that the most definite and convincing facts that could possibly be secured are those forwarded to Washington by Secretary Wallace last summer. I believe those reports are in the hands of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and they are of great value in this matter because they come direct from the despoilers themselves." (Prince papers, New Mexico State Archives)
On May 20, 1901, S. J. Holsinger obtained a sworn deposition from Richard Wetherill.
"Deponent is desirous of preserving said ruins and has exercised proprietorship and by so doing has protected said ruins from vandalism. Some excavations have been made in Pueblo Bonita in a scientific & methodical manner by the American Museum of Natural History of N. Y. under the auspices & patronage of the Hyde Exploration Expedition of which deponent is manager.
Deponent has only a desire to see these ruins used for the advancement of science and believes that they should be owned and protected by the Government, of no limited status under some appropriate reservation or park. To further this and accomplish the ends desired by the Government, deponent will cooperate with the Government & deponent stands ready & will when requested by the proper authority turn over to the Government the [---?] ruins making or returning title to the Government to such ruins with such blocks of land as are necessary [---?] the said ruins retaining for himself the remainder of said lands as his homestead entered & settled upon in good faith such divisions & [---?] conveyance of ruins & plats of land to be the subject of further negotiation & considerations.
Deponent states further that his wife Marietta P. Wetherill has recently purchased at great expense Sec's 11,13 & 15 in Tp 21 n R 11W from the Santa Fe Pacific Ry Co. Upon these lands are three large communal houses or pueblo ruins and many small ones. Deponent not only will donate the three said ruins on his homestead to the Gov. but deponents wife stands ready and is desirous of making title to the three ruins on said private (railroad lands) lands to the Government & she will hold the same subject to the pleasure of the Government should a reservation or park be established."
(National Archives, not sure what file. I have a copy of deposition, probably from Frank McNitt files in New Mexico State Archives)
On July 3, 1901, S. J. Holsinger wrote ex-governor Prince:
"The Wetherills own three sections of R. R. land upon which there are large ruins and they have made the Gov. this proposition i.e. allow the American Museum to complete the excavation of Pueblo Bonita and they will deed the three sections referred to to the Government together with those (2) secured under homestead entry.
We can easily defeat the homestead here that is out of the consideration, not is the ruins on said homestead but the three other ruins would be of great value as two are very large. This arrangement would give the Government all the ruins including Bonita with the permit to the American Museum to complete the excavation.
I doubt if the Gov. will consider their proposition unless the people of N. M. consider it to their advantage & accept it. How does the proposition impress you? If possible you should make a trip to the canyon very soon. If we join issue with the Hyde Exploration Co. it will be absolutely necessary to secure further evidence. The only way the Gov. can secure witnesses against the Co is to send them into the canyon. If you should visit the ruins soon I would like for you to note the character [---?] on this point.
It seems now to be a question of policy as to what action the Gov. should take. In my mind there is not a question but the Government can win on every point. But if it does win it cannot get rid of the Hyde Co. for they will own the R. R. land and will be an ughly element to handle. With the Co. cooperating with the Co. conditions would be more favorable to a successful reservation and the satisfactory preservation of the ruins. This is the status of the matter."
(Prince papers, New Mexico State Archives)
On January 13, 1902, S. J. Holsinger files a "Report of Fraudulent Claim or Entry" against Richard Wetherill recommending that his homestead application be cancelled. (National Archives, General Land Office, Richard Wetherill homestead file)
On March 28, 1902, the government cancelled Richard Wetherill's homestead application. This made front page news in the New York Times (March 28, 1902).
In April 1902, the Commissioner of the General Land Office wrote a report to the Secretary of the Interior, attaching the Holsinger report. "While it is possibly true, as claimed by the parties named, that the excavations have been made solely in the interest of science, and that all relics excavated have been donated to the Museum of Natural History of Central Park, New York, not a single specimen of any kind having been sold or even a souvenir retained by any member of the Expedition or his family; nevertheless it has been deemed inadvisable that further private operations should be permitted in the region mentioned until the Government is in a position to control and regulate such work and determine as to the disposition to be made of the vast store of relics, and accordingly, all operations in connection with the ruins by the parties named have been suspended." (National Archives, National Park Service, Chaco Canyon)
On May 15, 1902, Richard Wetherill applied for a hearing regarding his homestead application. (National Archives, General Land Office, Richard Wetherill homestead file)
On December 18, 1902, S. J. Holsinger wrote the Commissioner of the General Land Office.
"I am satisfied that Wetherill is & has been engaged in unlawful excavating in the ruins and that he will continue to do so. I have understood upon reliable information that he has openly boasted that he would pay no attention to the warning notices given by me in the name of the Interior Department, G. L. O., and that he defies any one to prevent his despoiling said ruins.
Wetherill has the reputation of being a 'bad man'. My acquaintance [sic] with him convinced me that at least he wants to be a proverbially 'bad man'. It is not only important that he be detected in his work but that he be made an object lesson for others who would follow his example if given the least encouragement."
(National Archives, National Park Service, Chaco Canyon)
In December, 1902 the Commissioner of the General Land Office wrote to the Secretary of the Interior recommending that Chaco Canyon be made a National Park.
"Too much stress cannot be laid upon the importance of governmental protection of these extensive ruins. The necessity of such protection, if the ruins are to be preserved and proper disposition is to be made of the relics contained therein, is clearly shown bye the instances of unlawful and reckless excavations which have been reported to this office, resulting in the spoliation of the ruins and the theft of valuable relics. The quantity of relics actually removed in such cases, however, is small in comparison with the quantity destroyed by blasting and other reckless modes of excavating.
For a number of years one R. E. Wetherill was employed by the Hyde Exploring Expedition, and, on account of his extensive knowledge in such matters, participated to some extent in the excavating conducted by ;the Expedition. From the report herewith and from other communications which have been received here it is evident that Wetherills participation in excavating the ruins was not prompted by the scientific interest and unselfish purposes which has, throughout, marked the conduce of the Messrs. Hyde and those chiefly associated with them in the research carried on by the Expedition under the direction of Mr. George H. Pepper, of the Department of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History."
(National Archives, National Park Service, Chaco Canyon)
On December 17, 1903, the acting Commissioner of the General Land Office directed Frank Grygla, Special Agent, to follow up on Richard Wetherill's request of a hearing regarding his homestead application. (National Archives, General Land Office, Richard Wetherill homestead file)
On July 5, 1905, Frank Grygla issued his report. "I find that the majority of statements in the report made by Spl.Agt. Holsinger are eronous [sic], and none could be substantiated by facts. Mr. Wetherill located on that ground to make his homestead for himself and for his family, he frankly stated to me, that he will gladly relinquish all the ruins found on the ground to the Government, and he offered all his knowledge and assistance in restoring the same, to its original state free of charge, and while he is living on the ground, the ruins are protected from vandalism, from Indians and other curio seekers. I have carefully investigated the matter of the extracts from letters quoted in my instructions of Dec. 17, 1903, but I found nothing that would implicate the claimant in regard his honesty or integrity as to the homestead." (National Archives, National Park Service, Chaco Canyon)
On July 26, 1905, Edgar L. Hewett wrote to the Commissioner of the General Land Office. "While engaged in my archaeological work in New Mexico this summer, I have had the opportunity to look more fully into the case of the alleged fraudulent homestead of Mr. Richard Wetherill at Pueblo Bonito, in Chaco Canon, New Mexico. Your special agent Mr. Grygla has put me in possession of the facts ascertained by him and reported to you in his letter of July 5, 1905, in which he makes recommendations adverse to those of Special Agent Holsinger who previously reported on this case. I am now perfectly familiar with all the aspects of this case not only from the reports of the two special agents but from my own personal knowledge as obtained from the ground. It occurs to me that certain representations made by Mr. Wetherill to Special Agent Grygla open the way to an adjustment of this case which will accomplish the aim of the government, namely the preservation of these valuable ruins for scientific research, and at the same time afford absolute justice to Mr. Wetherill"
On January 14, 1906, Richard Wetherill wrote the acting Commissioner of the General Land Office, relinquishing his claim to the pueblos encompassed by his homestead application. "We are pleased to do this as we think no Individual should have them." (National Archives, National Park Service, Chaco Canyon)

Wetherill Ranch, Chaco Canyon

Wetherill Ranch Chaco Canyon, New Mexico


Chis Chilling Begay, Chaco Collection UNM

Indicted for Richard Wetherill's murder in November of 1910. The trial was delayed for almost two years before he was convicted. He served several years in prison, but was released in 1914 due to poor health. Courtesy Chaco Collection University of New Mexico.


Bill Finn 

Frankel on the right. He was a remittance man at Chaco Canyon up until three days before Richard's murder. The ugly scar on his face was acquired in a duel at Heidelberg. Described in a Eleanor Quick letter to McNitt 1963

Richard Wetherill Petroglyph

This petroglyph was found in a site survey inside Weritos Rincon, South of Pueblo Bonito in 1972. During the Wetherill June 22, 2010 reunion a visit to the site was made. Unfortunately the day of the Wetherill family visit the light was very poor and photographs did not turn out well. Drawings were obtained from the park service which are very accurate depictions of the actual petroglyph.

Click here for the petroglyph photo

The Holsinger Report

This report by a government surveyor was produced to discredit Richard Wetherill so that he would leave the Chaco Canyon area.  This report triggered an investigation by the Indian Service.  As a result an investigator was sent to Chaco Canyon and found that the Holsinger report was in error.

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Homestead in Ruins: Richard Wetherill's Homestead in Chaco Canyon

By Francis Levine Ph.D.

A history of the Wetherill property in Chaco Canyon beginning with the Hyde Exploring Expedition.

Click here for a Pdf file of the document.

Kin Kletso

Kin Kletso, Chaco Canyon




Richard Wetherill was murdered just West of this ruin a couple hundred yards. Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Tsaya Trading Post

Tsaya Trading Post also known as Blake's Store

 Chsi-Chilling-Begay bought the ammunition here that was used to murder Richard Wetherill June 22, 1910.   The trading post is ten miles West of Pueblo Bonito and was known as Blake's store in 1910.



With Editor's Note and Remarks
Richard N. Sandlin
Durango, Colorado
January 1978
Copyright 1978

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With Editor's Note and Remarks
Richard N. Sandlin
Durango, Colorado
January 1978
Copyright 1978

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Dr. Prudden Letter charging misconduct of government officials after Richard Wetherill's murder.

Page one

Prudden Letter, Courtesy Anasazi Heritage Center, Wetherill Archives

Page two

Prudden Letter, Courtesy Anasazi Heritage Center, Wetherill Archives

Page three

Prudden Letter, Courtesy Anasazi Heritage Center, Wetherill Archives

Page four

Prudden Letter, Courtesy Anasazi Heritage Center, Wetherill Archives

Page five

Prudden Letter, Courtesy Anasazi Heritage Center, Wetherill Archives