CHAPTER VI. THE INDIANS AND THE MILITARY.
FIRST RESERVATION IN ARIZONA—INCREASED MILITARY PROTECTION AGAINST INDIANS—GENERAL MASON'S ORDER TO KILL ALL MALE APACHES ABLE TO BEAR ARMS—GENERAL MASON'S POLICY—CHARLES A. SHIBELLHIS STORY—PRINCIPAL INDIAN FIGHTS IN NORTHERN PART OF TERRITORY—SKULL VALLEY FIGHT—FORT ROCK FIGHT—FIGHT BETWEEN MINT AND SKULL VALLEYS—BATTLE FLAT FIGHT—KILLING OF INDIAN AGENT LEIHY—KILLING OF DR. TAPPAN—RECEPTION TO GENERAL McDOWELL AT PRESCOTT-GOVERNMENT FARM ESTABLISHED AT FORT McDOWELL—MILITARY HEADQUARTERS REMOVED TO TUCSON.
Through the influence of Mr. Poston, Congress appropriated twenty thousand dollars for presents, etc., for the Indians on the. Colorado River. This reservation was located in the latter part of the year 1865, and on it were gathered Iretaba's tribe of Colorado Mohaves. It does not appear that any other band of Indians were located permanently at that time upon this reservation. Iretaba, their chief, was taken on a visit to Washington, which so impressed him with the power of the nation, that he used his influence, meager though it was, to induce his Indians to discontinue their warfare against the whites. The result was that during the year 1865, there were but few murders committed by these Indians, their depredations being confined to the stealing of livestock. This was the first
The larger portion of the California Volunteers were mustered out in September, 1864, and only skeleton forces remained to occupy and defend the posts. So hostilities continued with but little cessation, and the year 1865 came in with raids and depredations by the Indians in full swing. Early in February, 1865, Colonel C. E. Bennett visited Fort Bowie and condemned the quarters as being unfit for use, and recommended that the new quarters be made of rock. About this time Old Fort Buchanan was being used as a vidette station, some six or eight men being stationed there. On the 17th of February, 1865, it was attacked by about one hundred Apaches, who fired the roof of the building. The soldiers escaped, but afterward it was found that one was missing; whether he ran away or was captured and killed, it was not known. He was out hunting at the time, and probably was killed by the Indians. All the horses, clothing, supplies, etc., fell into the hands of the Apaches.
In the northwest part of the Territory, around Fort Mohave, there seems to have been much trouble. The commander of the post reported that the Indians had been massacring and robbing travellers and capturing freight trains. On February 22nd, orders were issued to arrest twenty of the Chimehuevi Indians, and hold
Three years had been spent in war against the Indians since the advent of the California Column, and it became apparent to the military authorities that the force in Arizona was not sufficiently large to cope successfully with the Indians. On March 22d, General Drum wrote to the United States Judge at La Paz, stating that a sufficient number of troops for the wants of the public service were on the way to Arizona, and that the citizens of the Territory would receive full protection. Judge J. P. Allyn replied that the people were then leaving the Territory in consequence of the Indian hostilities, and he feared that the coming of the troops would be too late to stop them.
On February 4th, 1865, Arizona was transferred from the Department of New Mexico to the Department of California, and on the 20th of the same month, General McDowell assigned General John S. Mason to the command of this department, with a re-enforcement of California Volunteers, raising the force to about twentyeight hundred men.
This re-enforcement included the Seventh Infantry California Volunteers under Colonel Charles H. Lewis, and the First Battalion Native California Cavalry under Major Salvador Vallejo, and, later, Captain John C. Cremony. In addition to these were the four companies of Arizona Volunteers already mentioned, which, as we have seen, were mustered out in July, 1866.
General Mason arrived in Yuma on May 14th, 1865 and immediately set about arranging his command for the protection of the settlers. He ordered Captain Kendall to proceed to Prescott via Fort Mohave, and Company E was ordered to La Paz by steamer, with instructions to proceed to the Wickenburg District. General Mason found himself greatly in need of supplies, and to give the soldiers all the freedom possible in the use of their arms, he arranged to get citizens to haul supplies so as to relieve the troops from this duty. In his report he stated that the whole Territory was virtually in the hands of the Indians; that he was preparing to start Colonel Lewis with three companies of his regiment and some two hundred Papago Indians on a campaign in northern Arizona, also to start a force of cavalry and two hundred Pimas and Maricopas for the Tonto Basin, into the center of the Apache nation. The chief of the Maricopas, Juan Chiavria, was willing to furnish one hundred men. For his services he wanted to visit San Francisco, as other chiefs had been there, and he did not wish to be behind any of his neighbors in becoming acquainted with the whites.
Colonel Lewis did not accomplish much, and on June 15th he was ordered to abandon the post at Tubac, and establish his command at Calabasas. That part of the Territory south of the Gila River, and east of the Pima villages, was made a sub-military district. A few feeble efforts were made against the Indians. Colonel C. E. Bennett left Fort Bowie on June 26th,
In June, 1865, General Mason visited Fort Bowie, and changed the location slightly, and on the 29th arrived at Fort Goodwin. Governor John N. Goodwin accompanied him on this trip. They remained at Fort GoOdwin for a few days, during which time not a single Indian visited the post, although they had been notified of the coming of the Governor and the General. They evidently feared some treachery, as it is stated that during the previous year five flags of truce had been violated. The General reported that the commander of the post, Major Gorham, was rendered incompetent on account of intoxicating liquors. On this account, and because of
The campaign was to commence on the 25th of November and continue until the Indians were exterminated or brought to terms. A plan of operations was laid out for Colonel Lewis, commanding at Calabasas; Colonel Wright, commanding at the mouth of the San Pedro; Lieutenant-Colonel Pollock, commanding at Fort Goodwin; Major Benson, commanding at Fort Whipple; Captain Grant, with a company at Date Creek; Lieutenant Gibbs, with a detachment at Wickenburg, and Lieutenant-Colonel Bennett, commanding a force of friendly Indians, probably Pimas and Maricopas, who was ordered to scout up Salt River, and to take care “that these Indians do not through mistake, come in contact with scouting parties of whites.” A few of these expeditions were of some effect, but on the whole the campaign was a failure,
General Mason's policy was to place the Indians on reservations, offer them food and protection, and, on the other hand, to keep up incessant attacks upon them from all directions, which he thought would insure success, but his plan was interrupted by the withdrawal of the volunteers, and, in May or June, 1866, General Mason was removed. His plan was not much different from General Crook's who finally achieved success, but he lacked the means to carry it out.
During this period there was a lull in hostilities in the southeast, but settlers were still waylaid and murdered. One of the pioneers of that section was Charles A. Shibell, who was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1841, and attended the high school at Davenport, Iowa, and the Iowa College. He left St. Louis with his father, travelling with horse teams via St. Joe, the North Platte, and the Sweetwater, Humboldt and Carson route, through South Pass, to California, the trip from St. Joe consuming sixty days.
After a short period as a clerk in Sacramento, in the fall of 1861, Mr. Shibell entered the government employ as a teamster. February 15th, 1862, he arrived at Fort Yuma, and from there started toward the Rio Grande with the First and Fifth California Infantry, and the First California Cavalry Regiments. During this expedition he visited Tucson. On the 1st of January,
By his first marriage Mr. Shibell had four children: Mamie A. and Lillie M., of Tucson; Charles B., of Los Angeles, California, and Mercedes A., Mrs. Green, of Los Angeles. The second marriage of Mr. Shibell took place in San Francisco, and united him with Miss Nellie Norton, a native of Alabama. To this union were born two children: Lionel J., who is in the employ of the Southern Pacific Company, and Orpha. Fraternally Mr. Shibell was connected with the National Union, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In the Arizona Society of Pioneers he held the offices of Secretary and President. During the three years in which he was a member of the board of school trustees, he was for one year president, and for two years
The following is from an address which was given by Mr. Shibell to the Pioneer's Historical Society, and it gives a very graphic account of conditions in Pima County in the early days of its settlement:‘‘
“In the early part of the year 1862 I arrived in Tucson in the employ of the government, and after a trip to the Rio Grande, returned here in February of the year 1863, and, leaving the goveminent employ, became a permanent resident of the Territory. During the latter patti of 1863, I went to Los Angeles, via Yuma, and returned to Mohave, spent two or three weeks there, and took a canoe trip from Mohave down the Colorado to Yuma in company with one Stebbins and James Gardner, who was afterwards murdered at Texas Hill in the latter part of the year 1864. From Yuma I returned to Tucson, and was in the employ of Gen. J. B. Allen from January to June, at which date the California Volunteer troop which had been stationed at Tucson was ordered to proceed to Las Cruces on the Rio Grande, to be mustered out of service. In the latter part of June I went to the Cerro Colorado mine in company with Alfonzo Rickman, John H. Behan, Charles Roberts and George Blair, where I remained until November in the employment of the company. While there I first became acquainted with Charles T. Etchells, W. W. Williams, C. H. Lord, John Miller, James Walters, and numerous others. During my sojourn at Cerro Colorado, a number of murders were perpetrated by the Indians, the names of most of the murdered
“During the year 1866 we remained at the ranch, but were not attacked, although parties of Mexicans were killed, along the southern border in our vicinity, the names of whom were unknown to us, our own personal loss being the stock driven off as fast as we could replenish it. During the latter part of the year one of our men, a Mexican, name impossible to recall, other than Juan, was killed within one hundred yards
According to his statement, the Apaches and Mohaves gave great trouble to the pioneer settlers during this year. A band of them followed Freeman's train into Skull Valley, and when he went into camp the Indians came out on the hills and wanted to come into the camp. They professed to be friendly. They left their bows and arrows behind, but all of them had knives which they had secreted. They surrounded the train and became “sassy” and wanted Freeman to give up his supplies. After a little while an old squaw came into the camp and wanted to know why the Indians did not start in and kill the white men off, and at that they drew their knives and started for the teamsters who all jumped for their guns. Freeman had an old fashioned goose gun, both barrels loaded with buck shot. The Indians then took to the woods for their bows and arrows. Old Freeman turned his goose gun loose just as the Indians were leading away from him in Indian file, and he must have got six or seven Indians in one shot, which disheartened them. They had quite a little fight, but the Indians finally took to the woods. It is said that the woods were full
Binckley had a team and a train with Freeman. He had lost an eye in the Battle Flat fight, and he said that he had got even with the Indians. Every teamster had bows and arrows and other things which they took from the Indians. Fred Henry was one of the heroes of that fight.
The indians engaged in that fight were from the La Paz reservation on the Colorado, and it was proved afterwards that they had followed Freeman's train more than one hundred miles to find a favorable opportunity for making the attack, leaving the river in small parties by different routes, and concentrating at different points.
In the fall of 1866 Poindexter was the mail carrier between Prescott and Hardyville, and was escorted by soldiers of the 14th U. S. Infantry, Pat McAteer, Ed May, and one other. They arrived one evening at Fort Rock and made a stop for the night. The day they got there Thad Buckman, the son of the man who kept the station, a boy of about fourteen or fifteen years of age, had made a little playhouse in front of the cabin in the form of a crescent of stones, about twelve or fifteen inches high. AS Poindexter and his escort were ready to pull out the next morning, the Indians charged them. At the first shot they shot Thad Buckman through the leg, and his father through the groin, and the shots came so thick and fast that Buckman and MeAteer could not get back into the cabin, and the two men and the boy dropped into the little playhouse, inside of the stones,
There was a clump of bushes about two hundred yards from the cabin, and all day long McAteer was shooting into that clump of bushes, but as fast as he picked one man off, another took his place. The Indians had a Henry rifle.
Poindexter and May had guns which had defective sights so that they could not shoot well, and they loaded guns for Thad Buckman, and he would do the shooting. They would hoist him up to a loophole, and he would shoot from the inside of the cabin.
The little soldier of the 14th Infantry was shooting to the south all day, and keeping the force of Indians on that side from joining the others. The Indians were shooting at the cabin from three or four different points, and this meant keeping the fight up all day long against the whole tribe of Wallapais, of whom there were more than a hundred. There was one big Indian on a black horse riding back and forth, giving orders, and the little soldier said: “I believe I can get that fellow,” and McAteer said: “Do it.” The little soldier raised his sights, shot at the big chief, and dropped him.
There as a six mule team, driven by Joe Phy who was absolutely fearless, He had one escort with him by the name of McNulty. They were coming into Prescott, loaded with supplies, and had reached about where the hill known as Woolsey's Hill is. The Indians charged them and told Joe that if he would go off and leave his team and the supplies, they wouid let him go. Joe took one of the lead mules, put McNulty on it, and sent him back to Skull Valley. Joe took the other lead mule, and hitched him to the back of the wagon, and held the Indians off until
McNulty had gone to Skull Valley and brought back help, and when the Indians saw them coming, they dispersed. He must have kept up the fight for three or four hours. The date of this fight is somewhat in doubt, but it occurred in 1864 or 1865.
Fish's manuscript gives the following account of the fight with the Indians, known as the “Battle Flat” fight. Fish says that this account was taken from a manuscript shown him by Judge Brooks in Prescott in 1900, giving the whole details of the fight. It varies somewhat from the account given by Hamilton in his work, “The Resources of Arizona,” and I am of the opinion that it is the true version, for the reason that it was taken from an original manuscript owned by Judge Brooks, whom all settlers in
“In the latter part of May, 1864, Stewart Wall, Frank Binckley, DeMorgan Scott, Samuel Herron and Fred Henry, started from Walnut Grove on a prospecting trip. They took three pack animals and a good supply of provisions. They took their time passing the Hassayampa and Turkey Creek, and camped on the 2nd of June on what has since been known as ‘Battle Flat.’ About two hours before daylight the next morning they were attacked by a large body of Indians. The Indians would, doubtless, have waited until daylight, but one of the boys raising up, led them to believe that they were getting up. Every man was wounded and two of the horses killed before daylight. There was a continuous shower of arrows coming from the enemy, who were all around in fearful odds, and the boys were driven from their camp, taking up their position some three hundred yards away where they were still surrounded by the foe. The Indians took possession of the camp and made a breakfast upon the two dead horses. The boys found themselves in a terrible condition—all wounded and some of them in a frightful manner. Henry was wounded in the arm, but his legs were all right, so it was decided that he should break through the enemy's line and go for help. He took Frank Binckley, who had a ball through the bridge of his nose which drove a bone into an eye putting it out, with him. It was feared that Binckley would go insane if left. The two attempted, at about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, to crawl through the brush, but were soon discovered, and a running fight was
“Hon. G. W. Leihy was the Indian Agent at La Paz, and had the utmost confidence in those under his charge. Though warned that he had offended some of them and should be on his guard or they would kill him, he laughed at his advisers and would go about the country alone and unarmed. He made a visit to Prescott either in the fall of 1865 or 1866 with only one companion. About ten miles below Skull Valley the road passes for more than a mile through a rocky defile, where, in 1864, two prospectors named Bell and Sage were killed by Indians—hence the name, Bell's Canyon. On his return from Prescott, Leihy and his friend were waylaid and killed in Bell's Canyon by his own wards, and their bodies horribly mangled. His murderers at once returned to the reservation and spread the news, whereupon for two days
In September, 1865, Fort McDowell was established, with five companies of California Volunteers, as a point from which to operate against the Indians of the neighboring mountains. The post was situated on the west bank of the Rio Verde, about eight miles from its junction with the Salt River, and is about eighteen hundred feet above sea level. The sickly place called Camp Date Creek, about sixty-five miles southwest from Prescott, was first established as Camp MePherson in 1866, the name being changed in November, 1868. It afforded considerable protection to travellers between Prescott and the Colorado River.
The killing of Agent Leihy and his companion was entirely due to his own negligence. He had been warned not to travel without a sufficiently large escort, but wilfully disregarded the warning, and paid the penalty of his carelessness. Another instance of this negligence or carelessness resulted in the killing of Doctor Tappan in 1866. Dr. Tappan was escorted by Major Miller of the 14th U. S. Infantry. Major Miller said there were no Indians, but the party was waylaid in a canyon called Round Valley while
The “Arizona Miner” says that General McDowell was given a reception in Prescott on the 14th day of February, 1866, at which reception he stated that he had sent all possible troops to the Territory, including a regiment of regulars. According to the same authority, General McDowell issued a special order on February 7th, 1866, establishing a government farm at Fort McDowell in charge of Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, and authorized the employment of three men at $50 per month, and twenty men at $40 per month and rations, to build a ditch and drain and cultivate the soil.