Michael Maddox published his book in May. The book tells the story of Porter and Ike Stockton.
Michael Maddox published his book in May. The book tells the story of Porter and Ike Stockton.

FARMINGTON — Michael Maddox read several books about outlaws Porter and Ike Stockton before writing a word of his own telling of their story.

"They're really the most well-known outlaws in Farmington and in Durango," he said.

And the story of their lives is entwined with the settling of the Farmington area.

But Maddox found contradictions while conducting his research

"One source would say one thing and another source would say another," he said.

Maddox set out on a quest to find the truth and record it. In May, six years after his search began, Maddox self published his book, "Porter and Ike Stockton: Colorado and New Mexico Border Outlaws."

The book can be purchased at Hastings, the Farmington Museum and the Aztec Museum.

The brand of Cedar Hill cattleman Hiram Washington "Wash" Cox was published in the Northwest New Mexican of Bloomfield on February 8, 1887. Cox
The brand of Cedar Hill cattleman Hiram Washington "Wash" Cox was published in the Northwest New Mexican of Bloomfield on February 8, 1887. Cox was one of the men influential in taking down the Stockton gang. In March 1881 members of Ike Stockton's gang surrounded Cox with rifles and a shotgun and told him he would "fare badly" if he interfered with their activities. Cox responded by raising a 2000 reward for what he euphemistically called "the capture" of the Stockton Gang. (Courtesy of Michael Maddox)

Over the course of his research, Maddox studied documents at Fort Lewis College and the New Mexico state archives. He also took three trips to Stephenville, Texas, where the Stockton brothers got their start.

"That was kind of the most enjoyable," he said.

He said the women who worked in Stephenville were very accommodating and helpful.

Maddox was formerly the superintendent of Navajo Lake State Park and has been interested in area history for quite some time. He said that while he is not originally from Farmington, he did have relatives in the Farmington area who would have been around during the Stockton brother's saga.

However, his draw to the brothers was partially due to their continued infamy. Maddox also believed that no one knew the entire story of the brothers.

"I just knew the story hadn't been told fully," he said.

One of the parts of the story he believes he is the first to publish involved a shooting in June 1879 in Otero.

Porter Stockton was accused of shooting Ed Withers. To Maddox's surprise, while researching the event, he found the name John Holliday on the witness list.

He said he knew that the Wild West gunman and dentist Doc Holliday was named John Henry Holliday. Further research confirmed Maddox's suspicion that Doc Holliday was in Otero on June 11, 1879.

From left, George William McCoy, Xuella McCoy, Levi Allen McCoy, Harvey McCoy and James McCoy are pictured in this undated photo. The McCoy family, who
From left, George William McCoy, Xuella McCoy, Levi Allen McCoy, Harvey McCoy and James McCoy are pictured in this undated photo. The McCoy family, who were among the first settlers of New Mexico's Animas River valley, opposed the Stockton Gang. On April 11, 1881, brothers Harvey, George William and James McCoy joined New Mexico cowboys in a shootout in Durango, Colo. with the Stockton Gang. Two bystanders were wounded. (Courtesy of Michael Maddox)

That discovery encouraged him to continue his research.

The story of Porter and Ike Stockton began to grow into a story of the early settlers of Farmington and Durango.

"They were all caught up in the saga of Porter and Ike Stockton," Maddox said.

The book also details the vigilantes who would eventually kill Porter Stockton.

Hiram Washington Cox was the father-in-law of one of the two men who shot and killed Porter Stockton. Cox, who was known as "Wash Cox," had lived in Stephenville, Texas before moving to the Animas River valley, where he settled in the Cedar Hill area.

The Stocktons often stole his cattle and he became frustrated with the thievery. Cox and some other residents decided they would get rid of Porter Stockton.

On January 4, 1881, Porter Stockton was shot and killed by Thomas Nance and Alf Graves. Graves was Cox's son-in-law.

Ike Stockton swore he would get revenge for his brother's killing.

"The fact that Ike was in Texas probably played into the decision to finally rid the world of Porter Stockton, but the men reluctantly realized that sooner or later they would have to deal with Ike," Maddox wrote in the book.

Ike Stockton was killed nine months later.

IF YOU GO

What: Book signing with Michael Maddox

When: 4 to 6 p.m. June 28

Where: Hastings

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.