Up: Contents Previous: CHAPTER XIII. INDIAN TROUBLES. Next: CHAPTER XV. PROGRESS OF THE TERRITORY.
Indian Question not Solved—General Mason Succeeded by Colonel Wallen and Colonel Lovell—General Gregg and General Crittenden
Succeed Colonels Wallen and Lovell—Arizona Declared Military District by General Halleck—General McDowell Makes Visit to Arizona—Raids
and Massacres Continue—Expedition by General Gregg—Attack on Miller's Ranch—Bravery of Mrs. Miller—A. M. Erwin, Member of
Legislature, Killed by Indians — General Ord Succeeds General McDowell—Charles Spencer and Party Attacked by Indians —Expedition
by General Alexander — La Paz Threatened by Indians — Attack Upon Joseph Melvin and J. P. Gibson—Josiah Whitcomb and Party
Attacked by Indians—George D. Bowers and Party Attacked, Bowers Killed — Begole and Thompson Attacked, Thompson Killed—Fight
at Burnt Ranch — Jake Miller Kills Indian Chief and Saves Ranch and Stock—E. A. Bentley, Editor and Proprietor of "Miner"
Killed by Indians—Murders and Raids in Southern Part of Arizona Detailed by Charles A. Shibell—Sol Barth's Experience With
From the Fish Manuscript:
The Indian question in Arizona had not been solved and many plans to arrange the small
military forces were proposed so that they would accomplish the best results. In 1866 Arizona was divided into what was called
the north and south districts, and Mason's successors were Colonel H. D. Wallen in the north, and Colonel Charles S. Lovell
in the south. These two did not hold their positions very long, nor does it appear that they did much. They were succeeded
by General J. I. Gregg in the north and General T. L. Crittenden in the south, early in 1867. General Crittenden came from
California with three hundred men and arrived on the lower Gila early in the year. He had a difficult time in getting through,
encountering some very bad sand storms as well as unfavorable weather.
Regular troops had been sent in to take the place of the volunteers and now numbered from fifteen hundred to two thousand,
and were soon increased. In October, Arizona was formally declared a military district by order of General Halleck. In December,
General McDowell made a visit to this part of his department which did not result in much good. He was not well liked by the
people of Arizona, and while he was acknowledged as a gentleman, he was wholly incapable of comprehending the nature and requirements
of Indian warfare. As a cabinet officer he may have had few equals in the service; but for Indian campaigning it would have
been difficult to select another so poorly qualified.
Raids and massacres still continued, and there was some agitation in the south during the winter of 1866–67, in consequence
of the Imperialists
leaving Mexico and going to California by way of Yuma. When Maximilian first came there was an exodus of the liberals, but
now Juarez had triumphed and the Imperialists emigrated in large numbers. These agitations on the border were continually
occurring, and the Indians never slackened their vigilance, and thefts and attacks upon the emigrants were constant. During
this winter a party came into southern Arizona, camping one night at a station on the lower Gila. They secured their animals
by putting them in an adobe corral, and then lay down at the entrance for the night. The Apaches got to the back of the corral
and with strips of rawhide sawed out a section of the wall, and when the Americans arose in the morning, they found themselves
In April, 1867, the Apaches made an attack on a ranch three miles east of Prescott and drove off several head of cattle. A
detachment of troops was at once sent out from Fort Whipple, and though they marched seventy-five miles in twenty-four hours,
they failed to come up with the redskins. The officer in command reported that the hostiles were strong in numbers, and had
fled in the direction of Hell's Canyon. General Gregg, then commanding the northern district, immediately started with two
fresh companies of cavalry, himself at the head, and made a forced march by night, in order to surprise the enemy. Next morning
at daybreak he was at Hell's Canyon, but no Apaches were to be found there nor any trace of them. After scouring the country
down the Verde, he returned to Fort Whipple. However, a day or
two afterwards a detachment of cavalry succeeded in finding and surprising a rancheria of Apaches to the southwest of the
Verde, and killing five and wounding twice as many more at the first fire. The rest fled but soon rallied and came on in such
numbers that the troops were compelled to fall back to the main column. It was then thought best to retire to Fort Whipple
as their rations were about exhausted. Subsequently Gregg sent them out again, and this time they succeeded in damaging the
The main roads and trails from Prescott to Antelope, Rich Hill, Date Creek, Wickenburg, and Ehrenberg, on the Colorado river,
went through Skull Valley, and at least fifty white men were killed on them during the war times. A small detachment of soldiers
was stationed at the lower end of the Valley in 1866 to escort the United States mail, and to protect the settlers along the
roads. Lieutenant Hutton was in command of this force which was made up of Mexican volunteers.
In 1867 S. C. Miller's ranch at the edge of Prescott was attacked by Indians, who commenced to drive off the stock. Miller
was not at home but Mrs. Miller, who was alone, took her husband's gun and opened fire on them. Miller, who was on his way
from town, heard the firing, and soon came to the rescue, but it was through Mrs. Miller's pluck that the stock was saved.
The year 1868 does not record as many murders as usual, but among them were those of A. M. Erwin, a member of the Legislature,
was killed by Indians, and George Bowers, one of the brightest young men in Prescott, while on the road coming from Camp Verde
Notwithstanding the statement made by Mr. Fish in the paragraph just above quoted, the following items taken from the files
of the Arizona Miner for the year 1868, speak for themselves:
February 29th, 1868.
Band of Indians stole horses and mules near Wickenburg. A band of twenty-four men was organized at Wickenburg and followed
them into Tonto Basin. It was charged that the Indians were some of those who have been fed all winter at Camp Reno by the
Government, who stole the animals. It goes on to say that the tracks of all animals stolen from this section of the country
have been seen going in that direction. If this be the case, and from our knowledge of the Indians and their country, we believe
it is so, we are sorry that the officers in command of the troops en route to Reno do not keep their friendlies at home. The
Mexicans, Pimas and Maricopas say that the Apache cares nothing for treaties, and they look upon a treaty with an Apache as
a farce, and claim they are friendly with the military at some government post in their country, where they can draw rations
from the commissary, and upon them travel to settlements, steal and kill, and hurry back with their booty. We do not blame
the officers at McDowell and Reno for trading with
the Indians, as we suppose they are carrying out instructions from their superiors.
In the same paper appears the following:
‘‘General Ord, who succeeds General McDowell, declares that they may talk of Peace Commissioners, but the only way to make
peace with the Apaches is to kill them off, the sooner the better.’’
Under date of April 4, 1868, the Miner says:
Hualapais attack a mail party, kill the escort, wound one rider and capture the mail, within three miles of a camp of U.S.
Volunteers. They brutally mutilated the lifeless bodies of their victims, cut off their limbs, etc. Under this heading is
given this description of the fight:
Camp Willow Grove, Arizona,
March 23, 1868.
I am extremely sorry to have to inform you that Mr. Charles Spencer has been severely wounded by Indians, but I am happy to
state, not mortally. He is now in the hospital at this post and is doing as well as could be expected.
He and the escorts started from this post with the mail for Hardyville and Grant, on the morning of the 21st inst., at the
usual time, nine o'clock. Before they got into the cotton-woods four miles from here, they were fired upon by a party of Hualapai
Indians, and the escorts, consisting of Corporal Troy and Private Flood, were killed at the first fire, as was also the mule
which the mail carrier was riding. Spencer, as
quickly as possible, disengaged himself from the saddle, grabbed his seven shooting rifle, and ran behind a green wood birch,
which was the only shelter close at hand. Soon after getting behind this cover he saw a party of savages go up to the dead
body of the corporal, strip and mutilate it. While they were engaged in this bloody work Spencer kept up a steady fire upon
them, and had the satisfaction of killing two of the red devils. The others then ran for shelter. Spencer did the same, and,
on reaching a safe retreat, and just as he was about to get securely covered, he was fired upon by about a dozen Indians who
were hidden behind some rocks. One of the shots hit him in the thigh, passing through the fleshy part, causing him to fall.
They then rushed towards him, thinking they had him sure. In this they were mistaken, for Charley had not yet commenced to
fight. He soon gathered himself up and made the savages hunt their holes. He then crawled into a cave between some rocks,
and took a rest, which he needed. During all this time a party of the Indians were stripping the bodies of the murdered soldiers
and cutting up the carcasses of the horses and mules, which occupied them for about twenty minutes. They then surrounded Spencer
and tried to shoot him out, but he could shoot and they found that that was no good. Then they tried to scare him out with
yells, but he yelled back defiance at them and, whenever an opportunity offered, sent a bullet after them. Changing their
tactics, they tried to flatter him by telling him to go home; that they did not want to kill him. About 4 P. M. they got up
and left the place. The cause of their leaving was the appearance of a squad of soldiers sent out to learn the cause of the
firing which had been heard at camp. The men came upon the dead bodies of the corporal and the escorts. Hastening to camp
they reported, and a wagon and twenty men were sent out under Lieutenant Robinson to bring in the bodies. Spencer heard the
rumble of the wagon, but being unable to go to it on account of his wounds, he yelled and discharged his pistol, by which
means he attracted the attention of the lieutenant to his situation. He was immediately placed in the wagon and brought to
camp here. All the care and attention necessary was and will be rendered him by the officers and men. He says there were all
of seventy-five Indians, one-half of whom were armed with guns. The officers were censured for not sending troops to the scene
of action sooner as the reports of the firing were heard at the military camp several hours before they moved.
Under date of June 6th, 1868, the Miner had the following:
On the 3d of March General Alexander and Major Clendenin arrived at Camp O'Connell with their force which numbered about 170
men, and had a talk with the Indians, some two hundred in number, under two chiefs, Delchayha and Skivitkill. The former is
the miraculous gentleman I have spoken of before. The latter the War Raven Chief, and a Pinal. The general wished them to
remain in camp until
he returned, and if they wished to give him a dozen men as scouts or guides, all well; if not, to remain in camp and they
would be safe; but any caught outside would be shot. To this they agreed and sung all night. Next morning they received a
beef, and as soon as the cavalry made its appearance over the hill coming into camp, Skivitkill and his tribe took to their
heels and made for the mountains. The other chief took it coolly and remained, but during the forenoon most of his men left,
and about noon he departed in peace. At two o'clock the command was under way, and camped in Tonto Creek the night of the
3rd. The next morning they proceeded direct for the mountains of the east. As we reached the canyon, on the left was a small
hill on which the Indians were standing, almost over the trail. The guide being ahead, the Indians motioned him to come up,
which he did, and found Delchayha was there. They immediately lit cigars, and were joined by the Apache interpreter, the Spanish
interpreter being about half way up the hill. When the general at the head of the command arrived, he wished to know of the
chief what he wanted. The chief was not alone, an Indian orderly standing about twenty paces in the rear, the remainder being
behind rocks. The chief stood upon a rock that projected over a hill, with his gun in his hand and having on a blouse, shoulder
straps and a black hat. He said he had come there to meet the Capitania to declare war against the Americans as he had made
up his mind to that since the night before. He required
blood and wanted the general to leave his country. He said that the Captain Little, meaning Lieutenant Dubois, was a good
man, but the Capitanias Grandes were bad, and he would not hear of peace with them. Skivitkill, with a thousand of his warriors
was coming to attack our camp, and we would be wiped out of the country in no time. All this was accompanied by formidable
gestures, and at last the 'Gentleman' broke into the most abusive language. The general called to the guide and the interpreter
to come down, and told some of the men to shoot the chief up. The words were not finished when about half a dozen bullets
greeted the chief, leaving nothing to be seen of him but his breechclout, the Apache national flag, floating for an instant,
and then disappearing. The infantry and cavalry ascended the hill immediately, but the Indians were nowhere to be found; nothing
but a tin pail remained. The general, not wishing to lose time, moved on, and when the rear guard was passing, the Indians
came to the front but without injury to either party. The march was continued to Red Rock Canyon, where we camped for the
night, and started the next morning for Meadow Valley, and arrived there about three o'clock Sunday, the 5th, and saw no Indians.
Monday evening we started back again, but the general, Major Clendenin, and the cavalry, started southeast in the direction
of Fort Grant. As the infantry climbed the hill, a sergeant of Company L, 8th Cavalry, who was some distance in the rear,
leading his horse which had given out, a shot was fired from the woods, hitting
the horse in the flank with a charge of buck shot. The sergeant and the Indians had it pretty warm for about fifteen minutes,
when a squad of the rear guard went back, dislodged the Apaches, and brought off the horse, which was shot soon after. On
arriving at the top of the hill and looking in the direction that the cavalry was taking, the country was covered with slopes
as far as the eye could reach. From Meadow Valley the infantry marched in two days to this camp, losing a number on the road.
I forgot to say that after firing on the chief, the general immediately dispatched a corporal and six men into camp, with
orders to capture all the Indians in and around there. Some half dozen were still around, but were soon put in confinement.
The next night one buck bolted, was fired on and missed, and on reaching the hill over the camp, made quite a speech, cursing
all Americans. The day after, four Indians came in under a flag of truce from Skivitkill, saying as well as could be understood,
that the chief was scared on seeing so many Americans and ran away, but did not intend to be hostile, and, seeing that the
general meant him no harm, he wished to come in right away. These four were confined also. Two Apache-Mohaves came in a day
after the scout left, but were hunted out. The most of the Apache-Mohaves have soldiers' clothes on, and may be from the reservation.
The other Indians say they are great thieves. In a few days a scout will leave for Green Valley, which is to be Camp Reno
instead of the first place located. This valley is ten miles from Meadow Valley west, and a little north of it.
A splendid place for a post and to hunt Indians. With another post between this and Grant, with plenty of cavalry, the Apache
will be kept hopping. Let the posts be planted in the homes of the reptiles at any expense, roads made there, and it is the
end of the hostile Apache in Arizona. Hunting them, we can follow them and accomplish nothing. Infantry they laugh at, but
cavalry and Pimas they dread, the latter the most. For anything but garrison duties and road making, the infantry is useless.
Also, under date of October 10th, 1868, the Miner says:
‘‘La Paz threatened by Indians. The citizens and seventy or eighty Chimehuevi Indians prepared to defend the place against
the combined hostile force of Apache-Yumas, Apache-Mohaves and Yavapais. Forty families are removed to Ravena's large store.
Pickets were placed outside the town, and the Chimehuevis were actively scouting the country and advising their white friends
of the movements of the hostile savages.’’
NOTE: These Indians were supposed to have been on the Colorado Reservation in charge of Mr. George W. Dent, Indian Agent.
On October 31st, 1868, in an editorial, the Miner gives the following reference to hostile Indians and attacks upon settlements:
The first attack was made upon Mr. Joseph Melvin and Mr. J. P. Gibson while they were going from the Agua Fria to the Verde,
the particulars of which are as follows:
While riding along the road near Ash Creek they were waylaid and fired upon by a large
band of Indians, when Mr. Gibson received four bullets in his arm, and two in his right breast. The bullet passed through
Mr. Melvin's boot leg, and he having so miraculously escaped unhurt, held his friend Gibson on the saddle while they retreated
toward the Agua Fria, pursued by the murderers. When shot at, Gibson tried to take his shot gun out of the gun leather on
the pommel of his saddle, but a rope by which he was leading a pack mule was fastened to the pommel, and in order to facilitate
matters he pulled his knife and cut the rope, when, unfortunately, the gun dropped to the ground, and both it and the mule
fell into the hands of the Indians.
Upon reaching Willow Springs, Gibson, from loss of blood became too faint to ride further, and Melvin was forced to leave
him and ride to the ranches for assistance. He procured a wagon and hauled the wounded man to his home.
Sunday night Messrs. Brainard, Lount and others started from town for Gibson's ranch, and brought him to Fort Whipple hospital
where he now lies. This is the second time within the past two years that Gibson has been attacked by Indians.
Sunday last, about four o'clock in the afternoon, Josiah Whitcomb, William King, and Boblett were coming to Prescott from
their ranches at the Toll Gate, and when near the Burnt Ranch about four miles from Prescott, fire was opened upon them from
both sides of the road. Whitcomb was shot dead and King, while in the act of firing at the savages received
a severe bullet wound in the left leg. Boblett, who rode on the seat alongside of Whitcomb, escaped without a scratch. A discharged
soldier who rode behind the wagon also escaped. Upon being shot, Whitcomb, who was driving, dropped the reins, and would have
fallen out of the wagon had not Boblett taken hold of him. Boblett then got hold of the reins and drove out of the trap as
fast as possible. When the attack was made upon the party, a large body of recruits were coming on behind them close enough
to hear the firing, but not near enought to render assistance. Mr. Lee, of the American ranch, informed us that the ground
in the vicinity of the place where the attack was made was literally covered with arrows. Mr. Lee was with the volunteers
coming into Prescott.
Mr. Whitcomb was buried in this place on Monday, resting in the Masonic burial ground. He leaves a wife and three small children,
and an aged father and mother, all of whom reside in this vicinity.
The next day, Monday, about ten o'clock, another party of Indians attacked a party of five men, composed of Mr. George D.
Bowers, Joseph C. Lennon, and three soldiers, as they were coming from Camp Lincoln to Prescott. The attack was made upon
this party at a point about one mile east of the Cienega. At the time of the attack Bowers was in the lead, followed by a
soldier; next came Lennon, who was followed by two soldiers. The first intimation the party had of danger was the seeing of
a blazing fire issuing from the mouths of about thirty guns which the Indians had leveled upon
them from both sides of the road, accompanied by showers of arrows and deafening savage yells. Poor brave George Bowers was
shot in the abdomen and the soldier who rode behind him was shot from his mule and wounded in six places. Lennon and the two
soldiers who rode behind him escaped. After managing to get the wounded soldier upon an animal, the party retreated, Lennon
holding Bowers in the saddle, and the two soldiers doing the same with their wounded comrade. They were followed for about
a mile and a half by about sixty yelling, fiendish red skins. They were met by Lieutenant Derby and about twenty men, who
were coming to Fort Whipple with some wagons. They put the wounded man in a wagon, and returned to Camp Lincoln.
Wednesday night Augustus Begole and B. F. Thompson were attacked three-quarters of a mile from Prescott by a large band of
Indians who were hidden in the rocks. Thompson was killed by the savages, and Begole was wounded severely in the shoulder.
After firing all the shots out of his revolver, Begole ran to the house, got his rifle, and prevented the savages from taking
Probably the most desperate attack which was made by the Indians during this period was that which is now known as the fight
at the Burnt Ranch. Judge E. W. Wells, of Prescott, gives the following account of this fight:
This occurred in 1865 at a small camp northeast of Prescott, established by Jake Miller, father of Sam Miller, now residing
near Prescott, and the last surviving member of the
famous Walker Party. Miller was an old man who had pioneered and fought Indians from the Ohio river westward. With one companion
he had built a small log cabin northeast of Prescott, and was engaged in making shakes out of the pine timber abundant in
the section, shakes at that time being in great demand in Prescott.
The little cabin was in one of the best grassed sections of the country, and this fact led E. W. Wells, who owned a small
band of cattle, to arrange with Mr. Miller to care for them, keeping more or less herd of them by day, and corralling them
in a pen of logs at night. This corral was perhaps five hundred feet long, and the gate to it joined the cabin, so that the
cattle could not be taken out unobserved. Mr. Miller and his friend were both armed with muzzle loading rifles, and well supplied
with ammunition. One afternoon Mr. Miller went to drive up the cattle feeding in the valley just below him, it being his custom
to bring them in early, thereby avoiding the danger of an evening brush with prowling Indians. At this time the Apache-Mohaves,
or Date Creek Indians were very troublesome, and miners were killed and stock stolen almost within the limits of the town.
As Mr. Miller neared the cattle and began to round them up, he noticed a raven flit from one clump of oak brush near him to
another. A second and a third raven followed—flitting from point to point—till an incautious movement revealed the head of
an Indian instead of a bird. Mr. Miller had his gun, but he continued rounding up the cattle, and hurried
them toward the corral. When the Indians saw they were discovered, they sprang out in open pursuit, but, being armed only
with bows and arrows, feared to close in at once. Hurrying the cattle, Mr. Miller fired and brought down the foremost Indian.
This stopped the others for a moment, and Mr. Miller had with him a big brindle bull-dog, which at once leaped on the dead
Indian and began worrying the body. As the other Indians ran up the dog fought with them till he was killed, but he had created
sufficient diversion to allow time for the cattle to be penned and the gate fastened securely. Inside the cabin the two men
made ready for a siege, for the Indians were approaching in large numbers, so sure and confident of success that they did
not hurry. Had they rushed the attack it is more than likely that they would have met with success, for with only two muzzle
loading rifles, the defenders would have been at serious disadvantage, but with the overwhelming numbers the Indians had decided
to capture the white men alive, and they made their advance in a leisurely manner unusual in savage warfare. They did not
try to kill the cattle—it being always their preference to drive off the stock for use as desired. Inside the cabin the two
men watched, with loaded rifles,—passing from point to point they would remove a bit of chinking from between the logs, fire,
and then hastily replacing the block be away in another part of the room as soon as possible,—for whenever a puff of smoke
came from a chink, that spot was immediately made a target for Indian fire. The white men wasted very few shots, both were
expert with the rifle and Miller particularly so. He kept cool and fought calmly; the young man was excited and often during
the first half hour made some mistakes in loading, by one of which mistakes a bullet was caught half way down the barrel of
his rifle. He could neither draw it out nor ram it home, and the rifle was rendered useless. The fight now devolved upon Miller,
who continued to pick off the Indians as they crawled along the log corral in their efforts to get nearer the cabin. The unarmed
man was stationed with the axe to fell any savage who might succeed in rushing the door. Slowly the battle progressed until
Miller had just one shot left in his rifle. In those days no man spent his last shot; it was always saved for himself, for
the methods of torture practiced by the Indians of the plains were tame when compared with those of the Apache tribes of the
southwest. All this time the chief of the Indians had lain close against the log cabin, just in the place where the corral
joined it, directing the movements of his men while in safety himself. He lay close to the ground, hugged against the logs.
There was no point within the cabin from which he could be reached. Miller and his companion discussed the matter, and decided
to risk their last bullet in an effort to get this man, for once he was killed or wounded they knew the fight would be over,
for the time at least, since the loss of their leader always threw these Indians into a panic. They did not know the exact
location of the chief outside, and Miller decided to reconnoitre. He crawled under his bunk, built at the back of the room,
cautiously removed a bit of chinking,
and poked his rifle through. The end of the gun was caught by the Indian, but Miller wrenched it away from him and sprang
up. As he did so, he displaced the bed clothes and accidentally put his hand on an old horse pistol loaded with buckshot which
he had forgotten. This gave him one more chance—one more shot. He also remembered what in the fight he had forgotten,—a small
square hole like a window near the head of his bed, which was closed with a board which could be removed at will. With much
caution he opened the hole and peeped out—the chief lay directly below him, watching the hole in the chinking through which
the rifle had just been pulled. His broad breast was exposed as he cramped his body to see better. Silently Miller lifted
the pistol and poked it through the hole—then he fired, and the Indian sprang up and backward twenty feet before he fell—his
breast torn in a dozen places.
The Indians rushed to him wildly, yelling and bearing him among them, stampeded up the hill. As they ran old man Miller flung
open the door and, with a yell of triumph, sent his last bullet after them and brought down an Indian. Late that evening the
mail carrier passed the place and stopped to water his mules. By him Miller sent in word of the fight to the troops at Fort
Whipple, and a note to Mr. Wells telling him to come and get his cattle.
Mr. Wells went out the next morning and found the two men packing up their belongings ready to leave. Miller said that he
had fought Indians since boyhood, all over the United States from Kentucky to Washington, and this
was his closest call; that he was an old man and had had enough of fighting. Although the Indians had carried off all their
dead, the ground all along the outside of the corral was as bloody as a slaughter pen, 'exactly like a barnyard in hog-killing
time.' The cattle were brought into Prescott, and the same night the Indians returned and burned the cabin and corral to the
This ranch has for many years been occupied by Robert Blair as a cattle ranch, and is still known, to old timers at least,
as the 'Burnt Ranch.'
The date of this fight has been given by some writers as 1864, but as Mr. Wells arrived in the Territory in that year, and
as he also owned the cattle which were being herded by old man Miller, it is to be presumed that his statement that the fight
occurred in 1865 is correct.
In the Prescott Journal-Miner of January 10th, 1911, appears the following:
William Bentley, mention of whom was made in the Journal-Miner recently, as the nephew of the late E. A. Bentley, who was the editor and proprietor of the Arizona Miner (now the Journal-Miner), in 1865–66, in an interesting reminiscent mood, Saturday, recalled many thrilling events of that far away day in Prescott
when life was insecure and it was not known at what moment the cruel Apache would claim another victim. Although he was a
mere boy, but sixteen years of age, he remembers the danger attendant upon living in this little hamlet, not to mention such
undertakings as leaving the settlement, except under a strong escort.
While his uncle was not classed as a 'fighting-editor' nevertheless he was a brave man, as were all in that day on the frontier,
and from his intrepidity received a bullet from an Apache, which led to his death later. This was in the spring of 1868, and
in that memorable fight, Louis St. James, a resident of Prescott to-day, was one of the participants. In recalling this thrilling
event, Mr. St. James yesterday stated that he was with Mr. Bentley, both being en route for the old Bowers' ranch, in Skull
Valley, from Prescott. They traveled on horseback, and took the cut off trail route of that day, which passes over a portion
of the present wagon road to Copper Basin. After reaching the latter place, and while going through a long ravine at a low
elevation, the party was fired upon. Mr. Bentley, being in front, received the first wound. He was struck in the abdomen and
fell from his horse. With nerves of steel and a firm determination to make a brave fight to the end he stood erect and poured
several volleys into the redskins. Mr. St. James came up at this critical time and began firing a fusilade of bullets that
astounded the Indians. He had a Henry rifle, the first repeating weapon that had been received in the country. The rapidity
of the fire, together with the good execution, saved Mr. Bentley and himself from a horrible fate. The Indians took to the
brush, with the exception of three killed by Mr. St. James at close range, and while they were ready to descend upon the two
with their knives to begin their
frightful work of mutilation. Mr. St. James was also wounded in this battle, receiving a wound in the leg, which would not
permit of him advancing except at a slow pace.
Mr. Bentley, in his pitiable condition, was brought to Prescott that day, a party of travelers fortunately coming along and
assisting the wounded men back. Eighteen days later Mr. Bentley passed away as a result of his wounds, and a short time afterward
his nephew left the Territory for Oakland, California, and ever since has made his home in California.
Conditions in the southern part of the Territory were as bad as in the north, as the following, from a paper read before the
Pioneers' Historical Society at Tucson, by Charles A. Shibell, of whom mention has been made in this history, will show:
During the year 1867 I was for the first six months at Tubac, and in that time murders by Apaches were of constant occurrence.
On March 1st, Ed. Marcy was killed, and our brother pioneer, Oscar Buckalew, lost his leg and ran a narrow chance for his
life. The circumstances of this case show out in bold relief that bond that knit us a band of brothers, and the feeling that
exists between us, which to those outside of us is hardly understood. Mr. Buckalew was the mail rider between Tubac and the
Patagonia mine, and on approaching the buildings at the mine, that were then in charge of Thomas Yerkes, Richard Dorce, and
E. I. Marcy, he was waylaid by the Indians, fired on by them, his horse mortally wounded, and himself shot. The horse had
life enough in him to reach the gate of the corral, where he fell dead, Buckalew with a broken leg being under him. The Indians
kept up a constant fire, in the midst of which Thomas Yerkes rushed out from the corral, succeeded in extricating Buckalew
and carrying him into the building. His life was saved at the expense of a leg. Richard Dorce was wounded at the same time,
from the effects of which he became demented, and wandering off, was never found. In the same year about July, on the old
Camp Grant road, Tomlinson, Israel and Irwin were killed. In August, Charles Hadsell, known as Tennessee, and two soldiers
were killed on the road near Bowie. About the same time Lieut. C. C. Carrol and John Slater were killed near Bowie.
CHAS. A. SHIBELL.
During this time murders by the Indians were numerous, and among those killed I recall the following: E. C. Pennington. His
son, Green Pennington, on the Sonoita, during the month of July, 1868. Narboe's cattle, some 660 head, were taken near Picacho,
one man killed and two wounded. Although efforts were made to recover these cattle, the Indians succeeded in getting away
with them all.
The following is contributed by A. F. Banta, who has been mentioned in these pages at different times:
In 1867 the writer had again drifted back to the Zuni villages. Some time in June of the same year Sol Barth and a few Mexicans
from the frontier village of Cubero passed Zuni for the Apacheria. The party was well supplied with saddle animals; also pack
animals loaded with Indian goods. In due time, and without
mishap, the party reached the Rio Carizo, the home country of the Coyotero Apache. In the olden days, before the subjugation
of the Apaches and their confinement upon reservations, the trail from Zuni to Apacheria followed down the valley of the Zuni
river until it reached the last black mesa, which bordered the Zuni river on its northern side. At this point the trail left
the valley and led across some sandy hills and table lands, striking the Little Colorado river among some sandstone cliffs
about twelve miles below the present town of St. Johns. Amongst these rocks was the usual place of meeting for the purpose
of trade between the Zuni Indians and the White Mountain Apaches. It was the usual custom of these Apaches to make signal
fires on the summit of the mountain by which they indicated the day they could be expected at the 'Rock Crossing' for the
purpose above mentioned. Crossing the river at this point, the trail led down the south side to Concho Creek; here the trail
forked, the one for the Coyotero country taking a westerly course, and the trail leading to the White Mountain country followed
up Concho creek in a southerly direction.
From time immemorial, or within the writer's knowledge of the past fifty-four years, the Little Colorado river has been the
neutral ground for the mutual benefit of the various Indian tribes, and no hostilities ever occurred between them in its immediate
vicinity. Nevertheless, it is no bar to scraps (as the writer knows from experience), going to or from the river itself.
The Barth party remained some days at the rancheria of the Coyoteros, by whom they were hospitably treated, when they decided
to visit the White Mountain Apaches, whose country lay some distance southeast from the Carizo. Unfortunately, for the Barth
party, the notorious Cochise, with a large band of his picked warriors had arrived at the rancheria of Pedro, the chief of
the Sierra Blanca Apaches, a short while prior to the Barth party; and, to make matters worse, Pedro happened to be temporarily
absent from the rancheria. Cochise being of a dominating disposition and notoriously cruel and savage, he simply overawed
the sub-chief left in charge of the rancheria, and before they realized what was taking place, the members of the Barth party
were disarmed, stripped of clothing, and of all their animals and plunder. Pandemonium was rampant for a time, and the naked
bunch of terrified captives expected nothing else but instant death. However, the savage Cochise, to give his captives all
the mental distress possible, decided to postpone the execution to the following morning. He had decided, after a conference
with his warriors, to lash the captives to trees, and have another old fashioned human barbecue. In the meantime the sub-chief
had dispatched a swift messenger to meet his chief. The White Mountain chief made all haste to reach his camp. Pedro rushed
in, released the captives, and demanded in a loud angry voice: ‘‘By whose authority is this done in my camp and in my absence?’’
The captives stood huddled together, hardly daring
to breathe, listening to the angry conversation—not understanding a word—between Chief Pedro and the bloody-minded Cochise.
Pedro told Cochise that, ‘‘You have violated my hospitality; have violated the hospitality of my camp and my people; have
committed outrages enough, and when I want people killed in my camp, I alone will give the order. What I have said, I have
said.’’ He then turned to the captives and said, ‘‘Go, go quickly.’’ His motion and words were understood, and they hit the
trail without any ceremonious farewells. As they passed by some women, one of them handed Sol a pair of cotton drawers. And
without food, clothing, or even a match to start a fire, the fugitives had one hundred and twenty-five miles to hoof between
the Apache Camp and the Zuni villages, the nearest point where assistance could be obtained.
It must be remembered that Chief Pedro labored under a great disadvantage; all his women and children were in that camp, and
Cochise only had his band of picked men; and in the event of a fight, Cochise had much the best of the situation. Cochise
absolutely refused to give up as much as a string of the plunder; but, as a compromise, he allowed Pedro the privilege of
disposing of the captives in any manner suitable to him. Cochise suggested that the proper ending of the affair would be an
old-fashioned 'roast and big dance.' Most of the foregoing facts were obtained from two Mexicans Cautivos,—Miguel of the Coyotero
Apaches, and Concepcion of the White Mountain Apaches. Miguel gave
his version of the affair in 1869, and Concepcion in 1872.
The second day of their flight a little Apache dog came to them, which was caught and killed. They carried the dead dog until
they fortunately came to some flints, and with these the dog was dressed. The next thing was to make a fire. Taking a small
piece of the cotton drawers and pounding it and rubbing it to a fuzzy pulp, and with the flints they struck sparks until one
caught the cotton and, with patient blowing, a fire was made. They made a fairly good meal out of the roasted dog without
salt, were comparatively happy and laughed at their present predicament. Sol Barth, being the only 'aristocrat' in the bunch,
being sumptuously and gaily dressed in a pair of cotton drawers, was unanimously dubbed 'EL REY.' Before leaving this camp
fire, they charred a chunk of wood, and by waving it occasionaly, kept it afire for the following night. The third day's tramp
carried the party well up the Zuni river, and having the fire and the remnants of the dog, they were fairly well off, so to
speak. However, by this time, their feet were sore, and their bodies badly blistered by the sun.
The fourth day the fugitives reached the neighborhood of the Zuni villages, where they concealed themselves in a ravine until
the 'King' could go to the village for some sort of apparel for the party. Mr. Barth came to my place, and after he had filled
himself with beans, mutton and shah-kay-way (an Indian substitute for bread), I let him have sheeting enough to dress his
companions, and late that evening the whole party came in and were comfortably housed.
The party were exhausted, and lay over for a few days to recuperate. In the meantime I let Mr. Barth have more manta and a
full piece of gaiyete (a species of red flannel highly prized by the Indians, and especially by the Navajo). With this he
hired animals to ride and bought baustimento (grub) to last the party till they could reach Cubero, New Mexico. The distance
from Zuni to Cubero, the nearest town, is about one hundred miles.
I doubt if Mr. Barth and the Mexicans ever knew they were to be burned, although they had every reason to expect death at
the hands of the bloodthirsty Apaches.
Another version of this story, which is authorized by Mr. Barth himself, is as follows:
One of the most memorable experiences in the adventurous life of Sol Barth occurred in November, 1868. Barth, Magdalena, Calderon,
George Clifton, Francisco Tafolla, Jesus and Roman Sanches, and a Mexican named Mazon, who had been an Apache captive, had
been trading on the Cibicu with the White Mountain Indians, of which tribe Pedro was the chief. The white men were thence
called over, possibly enticed, to trade with a band of Apaches headed by Cochise. The band had but lately come from the south
and were hostile. Barth and his party were led about forty miles to a point near the present Fort Apache, by a treacherous
Mexican, who effectively delivered them into the hands of their enemies. The Indians had been making tizwin and all were drunk.
The traders approaching by a narrow trail, were seized singly by the Indians and stripped of everything including
clothing. Barth was last, and found his companions standing naked and waiting for death, within a circle of Indians, who were
threatening them with clubs that had been charred and hardened by fire. Barth's arms and clothing went the same way as had
his companions' belongings. Juana Marta, a Mexican captive of the band, then appeared in the role of Pocahontas. It appeared
that she cited some tribal law concerning the taking of captives on the lands of a friendly tribe, and so the case had to
be appealed to Pedro, chief of the White Mountains. He was not long in coming, and there was only a short confab after he
arrived. He was a decent sort of Indian and well disposed toward the white man, but the best he could do was to save their
lives, without any reference to the loot. The conference concluded, the white men were dismissed with a mere wave of the hand.
It happened that none of them had been robbed of their shoes, a fortunate circumstance, inasmuch as it took four days of travel
to reach the nearest point of safety, the Zuni village in northwestern New Mexico. During that time the men's bare skin was
scorched by the sun of the days, while they huddled, nearly frozen, around fires at night, for winter was coming on. Barth
tells that he stood the trip rather better than the others and kept in the lead. The journey was made on a very light diet,
consisting almost entirely of tuna fruit, and an all too scanty share of the carcass of a small dog that had followed them
from the Indian camp. On the last day Barth was well ahead, and, at a point
fifteen miles out from Zuni, met an Indian who divided with him a few tortillas. Barth happened to be well acquainted with
the Indian, but the recognition was not mutual, for the fugitive, by that time, had little resemblance to the well fed and
cheerful freighter who for years had made Zuni a stopping place. Refreshed by the tortillas, Barth then made rapid time into
the village, from which he sent runners out with assistance and food. All recovered from their hardships, though Barth suffered
a severe attack of 'Chills and fever.'
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