CHAPTER XIII. INDIAN TROUBLES.


Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER XII. THE MILITARY (Continued). Next: CHAPTER XIV. INDIAN TROUBLES (Continued).


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Attack on T. Lambertson—Killing of Henry Twaddle—Killing of Gonzales—Attack on Le Roy Jay and William Trehan—Fight With Frenchmen on Hassayampa—Attacks in and Around Wickenburg—Jackass Smith — Expedition of Lieut. Cradlebaugh Against Indians—Jackson McCracken's Plight—Killing of George Bowers—Experience of "Jeff" Davis—Orick Jackson Describes Conditions — Thomas Thompson Hunter's Description of Conditions—Hostilities at Fort Bowie—Killing of Commander of Post—Murder of Col. Stone and Escort—Duel Between Keeper of Station and One of Cochise's Band—Murder of Mail Carrier Fisher—Attack on W. A. Smith and Companions—Depredations Around Tucson — Camp Grant Massacre — Mrs. Stephens' Fight With Indians — "Miner" Editorial on Situation—W. M. Saxton Killed.

The following are some of the outrages committed by the Indians up to and including the year 1868:

In Hamilton's Resources of Arizona, are given the following:

‘‘

T. Lambertson, of Walnut Grove, was one of the first settlers who brought cattle into that valley. He had seven or eight cows and watched


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them continually. He was driving them home one evening in 1867, when he was ambushed by the redskins within half a mile of his house. The old man was badly wounded in his side at the first fire and fell to the ground. The Indians rushed upon him from the brush, but Lambertson had a Henry repeating rifle, and as he lay on the ground killed three of them, when the rest retreated and he made his way home with the cows. He never entirely recovered from the effects of the wound, though he lived for several years afterwards.

Harvey Twaddle, a pioneer prospector, was waylaid on a trail in Walnut Grove and shot in the heart, but drove off the Indians who attacked him. Assistance arriving shortly, he was carried home and lived eight days. A post-mortem examination showed the bullet imbedded in his heart a half an inch from its lower point. This is one of the most extraordinary instances of vitality on record.

In 1866 a marauding band of Tontos surprised a Mexican named Gonzales between the Agua Fria Valley and Prescott, killed and stripped him, set the body up with the knees, elbows and head resting on the ground, and then shot seventeen arrows into it, and left it in that position.

In 1867 two well known citizens, Le Roy Jay and William Trehan, while escorting a wagonload of provisions from Prescott to the Bully Bueno mining camp, fell into an ambush and were killed between Big Bug and Turkey Creek. The driver escaped, the Indians getting away with the provisions and animals. The B. B.


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Mining Company, from 1866 to 1869, lost by Indians 240 mules and horses, five of their employees were killed and four badly wounded and their ten stamp quartz mill burned.

In 1867, two Frenchmen mining in Hassayampa Creek owned two burros and lived in a stone cabin with a log roof covered with earth. One afternoon they observed three Indians on a hill near the creek. Immediately they got the donkeys, took them into the cabin, and shut the heavy plank door. In five minutes there were twenty Indians around the house. At first they tried to break in the door by throwing heavy rocks against it, but as one of the attacking party advanced with a heavy boulder in his hands he was shot through the heart from a crack in the door and fell dead in front of it. That was the only shot the Frenchmen fired. The reds then went behind the house, which was built against a high rocky bank, and tried to break it down by throwing great rocks upon it from the bluff above and kept that game up well into the night, but the roof withstood all assaults. The inmates remained in the house until the middle of the next forenoon, when a mining neighbor named Wallace came along and found the dead Indian at the door. Seeing smoke rising from the chimney, he hailed the inmates and the badly scared Frenchmen opened the door. They stated that they had plenty of provisions and thought they would wait and let the Indians go away.

Wickenburg was a town on the Hassayampa, built by those who worked quartz from the Vulture mine in 1864 to 1865.


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Many men were killed in those years in that neighborhood, and hundreds of animals stolen. In 1865 there were thirty-three arrastras in the town running on Vulture ore. In the summer, on moonlight nights, many of them were run all night. Bigelow & Smith were running three arrastras day and night, having six animals. One night in June, as Smith (known as 'Oregon Smith') was on duty, he saw a suspicious object moving in the tall grass near the arrastra. He aroused his partner, saying: ‘‘The Indians are here.’’ Both went out, Smith with a rifle, Bigelow with a shotgun. Smith said: ‘‘Lay low, Big, and you'll see the cuss raise up his head above the grass out there,’’ pointing where he had seen him. In less than two minutes a head raised, and Smith fired. A groan followed, and all was still. Smith reloaded and both cautiously approached the supposed dead Indian, and found a young donkey lying dead in the brush; it was shot in the throat and its neck broken. The slayer, after that, was known as 'Jackass Smith.'

In 1867 or 1868, Lieut. Cradlebaugh was sent out from Camp Verde with a detachment of men to the Black Hills, for the purpose of having a talk with a band of Indians who signified a willingness to make peace and come into the post. He camped the first night in a small flat below a high ledge of rocks, the horses being fastened to a picket rope in front of the camp. Towards morning the slumbering troopers were awakened by the most unearthly yells and showers of arrows and bullets. Every horse at the picket line was soon shot down. The troops


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huddled closely under the rocky cliff. One man was killed, and several wounded, including a doctor, who had his arm broken and afterwards amputated at the post. Jackson McCracken, afterwards the discoverer of the famous mine which bears his name, was with the party. When the attack began, he was sound asleep with his head against a small pine tree about eight inches in diameter. He was in full range of the fire, and when the leaden hail became fast and furious he hugged the protection of that small tree with praiseworthy pertinacity. Being a large, fat man, the little sapling was insufficient to cover his whole body, and years afterwards, in telling the story, he used to say that as he heard the arrows whiz by and the bullets strike the tree near his head he thought he would give all of Arizona to have that tree six inches larger.

In 1868 George Bowers, one of the brightest young men of Prescott, was killed on the road coming from Camp Verde to Prescott. In 1869, a party of thirteen prospectors outfitted in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and came into the eastern portion of Arizona looking for placer diggings. They were successful in finding gold, but the Indians attacked them while at work, killed four or five of the party and got possession of their camp, provisions and animals. The remainder made their way across the mountains to the Verde settlements, and coming down Clear Creek approached the camp of a detachment of soldiers who took them for Indians, and fired more than fifty shots at them before the ragged,


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half-starved wretches could convince them of their mistake.

C. Davis, better known as 'Jeff' Davis, of Yavapai County, had a lively experience in those days. He lived on a lonely ranch near the head of the Hassayampa, and was engaged in farming and stock raising. The latter pursuit, however, was not a success, for whenever he had accumulated a few head of stock the Indians were sure to steal them. 'Jeff' was a great hunter, and on one of his expeditions he came upon a band of Indians in the heavy pine timber. Stepping behind a tree he waited until the foremost savage got within range when his trusty rifle rang out and the Indian fell to rise no more. The astonished redskins looked around to see from whence the attack came, and ere they could recover themselves two more bit the dust. The remainder fled panic stricken, while 'Jeff' pumped the lead after them while one remained in sight.

’’

Orick Jackson in his White Conquest, says:

‘‘

During the carnival of blood that extended from 1863 to 1873, over 600 white men were killed by the Indians in that zone lying north of the Gila and Salt Rivers. These fatalities were confined principally to 'picking off' travelers in parties of from two to five. Organized bodies were very seldom molested, excepting of course the military operations in a general fight. Many ranchers fell in the field while at work or in going from home to a neighbor. Invariably the white victim was scalped and horribly mutilated otherwise.

’’


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The following from the pen of Thomas Thompson Hunter, an old timer, shows the attitude of the Indians at this time:

‘‘

In the fall of 1867 I entered the Territory of Arizona with a herd of cattle gathered in Central Texas and driven across the plains, seeking a market at the Government Posts, the only beef supply available at the time for the different army posts. The trip was a dreary one from the start, accompanied with dangers and hardships innumerable. Every inch of the distance across was menaced with hostile Indians, who never lost an opportunity to attack our outfit. For weeks at a time we subsisted solely upon our herd, for beef straight was our only ration. Apache Pass was the first place reached in Arizona of any note. A small company of U. S. Infantry occupied the military post there, known as Fort Bowie. On the day of our arrival at Bowie, it looked pretty gloomy and lonesome for the few soldiers stationed there. The Indians were hooting and guying the soldiers from the cliffs and boulders on the mountain sides. They spoke mostly in Spanish, but several of their number could make themselves understood in our native tongue (English).

A few days before our arrival at Fort Bowie happened a sad incident that impressed me very much. The Commander, a captain of the Post, could not believe that there existed such a thing as a hostile Indian. He had never been close to one. An alarm was given by some of the herders that they had been attacked by Indians. The captain indiscreetly mounted his


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horse, with only one assistant, and galloped off to where the Indians were last seen. The wily Apaches concealed themselves, and when the captain approached near enough, instead of shooting him as they generally did, they roped him, jerked him off his horse, and dragged him to death. On the day of our arrival, one of the Indians rode up on the captain's horse, and charged around, yelling and hooting and defying the soldiers. I could relate other just such performances by the reds.

It was near Bowie a few years later that Col. Stone and his escort were murdered by Apaches. Old Fort Bowie, now abandoned, is a dreary, lonesome place, yet the Indian war is over, but it gives one the shivers to go through that pass and recall the horrible deeds that have been committed thereabouts. While there in 1867 I looked at the little old stone cabin built by Butterfield's men, and while I am relating dark tales of old Apache Pass, I'll just relate an incident that I never heard of in print. A friend of mine was stationed there about the time that Butterfield's lines were drawn off. A fine looking young man, known to the employees as 'John,' I think an Ohio boy, was the keeper of the station. The stages brought in what little grain was used by the stage company's horses from the Pima villages. At this time old Cochise's band was friendly with the whites, and at the time would camp in and around the station. On one occasion, John, the keeper, discovered one of the Cochise men stealing corn out of a little hole in one of the sacks. John, acting upon the impulse of the moment,


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kicked the Indian out of the cabin. In a little while afterward, the old chief Cochise came and made a bitter complaint to John about his abusing one of his best warriors—that it was the act of a coward, and he demanded that John fight his warrior like a brave man, that he could not tolerate such an insult to one of his best men, whereupon Cochise staked off the distance. His man toed the mark, with an old Colt cap and ball six-shooter. John, the boy keeper of the station, accepted the challenge readily, and took his station in the door of the cabin facing his antagonist, with a duplicate of the same arm that the warrior had. He looked the true specimen of frontier manhood that he was, with two white men his only backers, while the Indian had his able chief with his tribe to back him. The critical moment had arrived. John, the Ohio boy, represented the white race of America, while the Indian represented the Indian world. Would John weaken? Could John face such an ordeal? The great chief stood for fair play, and he gave the signal by dropping something from his own hand. The two fired nearly together. John's dark, curly locks touched the wooden lintel over his head. The Indian's ball was a line shot, but too high by about half an inch. John's ball centered the Indian's heart, and he fell dead in his tracks. The old chief stepped forward and grasped John's hand, and told him that he was a brave man. This closed that particular incident, and the white boys and the Chiricahua Indians remained good friends until the stage line was taken off—an act of the Civil War. About this time there were many


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terrible crimes committed. Arizona was certainly a bloody battle field.

As we entered the Territory north of Stein's Pass, we crossed through Doubtful Canyon in the night time. At the divide where we turn down on the slope of the San Simon, we ran upon a gruesome scene. A number of dead men were scattered around. We passed along as rapidly as we could in order to reach the plains before daylight. At the very time that we were passing through Doubtful Canyon, the signal fires were burning on the mountain side (Apaches), telling each other of our movements. We passed on to Fort Bowie as fast as we could. In going up the mountain side entering Apache Pass, we saw where a battle royal had been fought. Just before we got there, the party who had contracted to deliver the U. S. mails was at the time very hard pressed. It was so discouraging, so many riders had been killed and stock lost, that the contractor would hire men for the trip to carry the mails from Bowie to Las Cruces and return. One hundred and fifty dollars would be paid for the trip. The boy who made this fight, whose name was Fisher, had agreed to make the trip to Las Cruces. He left Bowie one afternoon mounted upon an old condemned government mule, armed with two 45 six shooters. When about half way down the slope toward San Simon flats, the enemy attacked him, and if he had had a decent mount, I believe to this day that he would have won out. They forced him to zigzag along the side of the mountain, their numbers driving him to the hills, and preventing him from getting them in


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the open. All along his trail were dead ponies that Fisher had shot. We never knew how many Indians he got, as they removed their dead. Not a thing did I know about this boy except that his name was Fisher. After exhausting his ammunition, they finished him up, after a fight against fearful odds, the equal of which never came off in any other fight by a single lone boy in all of Arizona's Indian wars. Fisher was one of God's own boys, and the splendid leather in his makeup was duly respected by the Apache nation. The record left on his mutilated body was evidence sufficient that he died game,—his heart was taken out and probably eaten,—a custom of the Indians practiced in those days by them, a belief that it would make them brave like their victims. His stirrup foot (the left) was skinned,—a mark of honor and respect to a fallen brave enemy, as also his right hand, the bridle hand. The Indians honored the brave boy in his death, and nature did the rest by erecting the grand old brown mountains for his monument, which will last through Eternity.

We leave Apache Pass now and travel on toward Tucson, the next place of any note, except that I might mention Pantano, the historic place where W. A. Smith made one of the best fights on record. He and three companions were attacked early one morning by the Indians. He was the only one of the four men left to tell the tale. Is there any one person to-day in all of Arizona who can possibly realize or appreciate the position of this man, fighting for his


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life with his three dead comrades piled around him, he with his big old shotgun carrying death and destruction at every discharge of the terrible old weapon—justly earning for himself the name of 'Shotgun Smith.' Afterwards, the Indians in relating the battle, said that the man who handled the shotgun killed or wounded seven or eight of their number. Old 'Shotgun Smith' is an old man now, and lives at the Soldiers' Home at Santa Monica, California, a personal friend of thirty years' standing—a friendship that has grown with the years. Many other horrible deeds were committed in and around Pantano, but I got through O. K., and arrived in Tucson in time to take my Christmas dinner in 1867, which I might state consisted of a can of jelly and a piece or two of Mexican sugar panoche. This was a luxury for cow boys after our drive, and a fare of principally beef broiled upon a stick, and oftentimes not even that much. Oh, how I did love the old city then, a place of rest, a place of refuge. I could spread my blankets on the ground and sleep so good, with my system relaxed—no horrible dreams, no nightmare. For once I was happy and contented, and had not a single desire to move on and hunt something better. At that early date I felt that Arizona was good enough for me. Already I loved her grand old brown mountains. I felt at home in the strange unknown land of my adoption. Tucson was peculiarly afflicted with Apache depredations at this time. The government at Washington could never hear the cries of distress from the pioneers—people who were struggling against


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such fearful odds to maintain themselves. Our petitions and prayers were ignored, and at times of unusual activity on the part of the enemy, we felt like giving up the unequal contest. The policy of the Government at this time was certainly contemptible. Under the guns at Fort Grant, with the strong arm of the Government protecting a gang of Apache cutthroats, and issuing rations to them, maintaining their families, in order that the bucks could more easily raid Tucson, murder her citizens and steal the stock, and maintain a reign of terror for unfortunate old Tucson. There must be a beginning and an ending of all things, and, like the old Kentuckian who, summing up the political situation, said, ‘‘when politics got bad it's mighty hard to mend them, but when they got d----d bad, they just tear loose and mend themselves,’’ the Apache situation had reached this point, and something was going to happen. Only one of those old pioneers of Tucson who faced that crisis and made himself an outlaw in order to save his country, is alive, old and feeble Sidney R. DeLong. (Since deceased.) W. S. Oury and his friends were the leaders in leading a band of Papago Indians to old Fort Grant, surprising the Government renegades, and exterminating the whole outfit. Tucson enjoyed a rest after this, but the Federal Grand Jury afterwards arraigned Sidney R. DeLong and one hundred others, but the only thing that did happen was that the Government ordered General Crook to Arizona, and my old friend DeLong's action was the beginning of the end of the terrible Apache war.


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The war continued for years, many crimes were committed, many pioneers were murdered after this, but DeLong's action forced the Washington authorities to listen to our prayer and petitions for the first time. The war is now over, peace reigns supreme. Let us cover the past with the mantle of charity, forget the past in so far as we can, and when the true history of Arizona is written, may it remind the future generation of its obligation to the old pioneer Sidney R. DeLong, who is spending the evening of his useful life in the old historic town of Tucson that he loved so well.

As we take the western trail from Tucson, we pass on to the Gila River, and enter the Pima and Maricopa Indian country. These Indians were found in a pitiful condition, poverty stricken in the extreme. They made their boast to us that they had never taken white blood. It was very easy to see why this was the case. They were being hard pressed by the Yumas, Apaches and other Indians. They were compelled to accept the whites as allies, otherwise they would have been exterminated root and branch in a few years more. We felt safe among them from the hostiles. The greatest trouble was their stealing propensities, which were thoroughly developed. Our stock was getting so poor and worried with travel that we camped some days in this section. Quite a number of immigrants fell in with us for protection from the Apaches, and while here at Maricopa a few pioneers came over from Salt River to tell us about the wonderful country over there, and induce the immigrants to settle with them.


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They also held out the inducement to us that there was plenty of grass there also, and that it would be a fine place for our cattle.

’’

The Miner of September 21st, 1867, says:

‘‘

News was brought to town last evening from the Point of Rocks, about four miles from Prescott and three miles from Fort Whipple, that about 20 Indians had made an attack upon Honorable Lewis A. Stephens' home with the evident intention of murdering the inmates and stealing the stock. At the time of the attack there were on the place but two persons, Mrs. Stephens and a hired man. The house is situated about a hundred yards from an immense pile of rocks, which contains numerous caves and little valleys. As luck would have it, Mrs. Stephens and the man saw the murderous villains as they emerged from the rocks, and ran for their guns, opening fire upon the thieves, who returned the fire for some time, trying at every turn to get possession of the horses, but the quick eyes and steady fire of Mrs. Stephens and the hired man, cowed the savages and they were forced to skulk back to their hiding places without accomplishing the object of their raid. Many a man placed in the same position as Mrs. Stephens would have taken to his heels and ran for dear life, but she stood her ground and fought them like the heroine that she is. Shortly after the Indians left, Mr. Johns, who lives on a neighboring ranch and heard the firing, started with some men for Stephens' and followed the Indians into the rocks, but failed to find them. He then started to town bringing the news, and a request from Mrs. Stephens to her husband, who is a


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member of the legislature, to send her some buck shot, ‘‘A little more shot, Mr. Stephens.’’ Bully for Mrs. Stephens; she is our favorite candidate for the Commander of the District of Arizona.

’’

In the Fish manuscript another version of this story is given. In this version it is stated that Mrs. Stephens' message to her husband was as follows:

‘‘

Lewis, the Indians are here; send me plenty of powder and lead. Don't neglect your duties by coming home, for I am master of the situation and can hold the house.

’’

The following is from the Miner of Oct. 3, 1867:

‘‘Troops on the Colorado, with Col. Price, take warpath against Wallapais.’’ Also,

‘‘The Legislature petitions Maj. W. R. Price to sustain a company of cavalry at the Vegas Ranch for the protection of the road and the settlements in Pah-Ute County.’’

The Miner of Sept. 30, 1867, copies from the "San Francisco Call" the following editorial, which shows the feeling in the West against the hostile Indians:

‘‘Indian raids still continue.’’

‘‘Everything connected with the Indian business of the country seems to be a failure, except massacres by Indians. They flourish 'like a green bay tree' and fill the land with their butcheries. The shrieks of unfortunate women and children while being tomahawked, scalped or disemboweled on the plains, nightly rend the air; yet nothing is done to put an end to the outrages.


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Sherman, who 'rode from Atlanta to the sea,' has proved a big failure as an Indian fighter. Several months ago he made a trip through the borders of the Indian country, and positively announced that there was no danger to be apprehended from the Indians; that all the stories of Indian outrages are false; that there was no cause to fear anything from the Indians; and that, in effect, but few troops were needed to protect the routes of travel, etc. Government, and the people not threatened by Indians, listened to Sherman's oracular sayings, and acted accordingly. The result is before us. Not only are white travelers and settlers being mercilessly slaughtered and their dead bodies shockingly outraged every day, but the Indians have stopped telegraphic communications almost entirely, intercepted the mails and captured railroad trains; they have also endangered the very existence of General Sherman's troops. It cannot be denied that Sherman's management of Indian affairs has resulted in the greatest failure of the day. His pompous assertions at the outset have been falsified by events, and the Indians have constantly grown in strength in spite of him. These things happened partly because he was too wise in his own conceit, and, therefore, above listening to those who knew more of Indian fighting than he did, and partly because he has persisted in fighting the Indians on moral suasion principles, rather than according to the only system they can comprehend, that of destructive force. He has shown himself to be more of a missionary than a soldier in the last Indian campaign, and has consequently,


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relied for success more upon talking than fighting. The amount of it is Government made a mistake in allotting Sherman to the Western District. Sheridan should have been there and Sherman in Louisiana. The former knows how to fight Indians, while Sherman does not. But even Sherman's failures in Indian fighting do not do away with the fact that our whole Indian policy is wrong. We could cease to bestow Indian annuities, to make presents; to recognize Indian nations and tribes. We should give the Indians to understand that they should respect life and property everywhere, or else suffer the most serious consequences. A war of extermination against the Indians would be better for all, than the merciless and continuous butcheries that have been going on.’’

The Miner of Sept. 11, 1867, says:

‘‘W. M. Saxton, Cummings and Manning, were attacked by Indians at Round Valley. Saxton killed, Cummings and Manning wounded. Indians defeated.’’

Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER XII. THE MILITARY (Continued). Next: CHAPTER XIV. INDIAN TROUBLES (Continued).




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