CHAPTER X. INDIAN TROUBLES, THE MILITARY, MURDERS AND LYNCHINGS.
California Legislature Passes Resolution Relating to Indian Affairs in Arizona— General Stoneman Superseded by General Crook—Newspaper Criticism of General Stoneman—Murders by Mexican Outlaws —Reprisals — Murderers Lynched—Settlement of Valley of San Pedro by Mark Aldrich—More Indian Outrages—Roads Built by Stoneman—Fights of Captain Moore and Captain Russell With Indians —General Crook Takes Command.
Arizona and the West were anxious that the Apaches should be conquered at once, because about this time it began to dawn upon the West that Arizona was a great mineral country. The California Legislature in 1871 passed the following resolution:‘‘
“That for the murder of the fewest number of its citizens who have been slain by these savages in Arizona in any two months in the last two years, the United States Government would have declared war against every Power in Europe had its citizens been so murdered there for want of proper protection from European Powers;
“That the feeling and belief are universal on the part of the people of this State, and we believe of the Pacific Slope, that when General Crook was sent to Arizona, he was the right man in the right place;
“That he is as humane as energetic, and if allowed sufficient means and given the discretion to which his experience in the management of Indian Affairs entitles him, and not interfered with in his operations, he will, in a brief period, arrest this reign of terror and blood, and give
“1. BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE (the Assembly concurring), that it is the duty of the Government of the United States to give the most prompt and efficient protection to the people of Arizona against the Apache Indians; that all attempts to treat with or otherwise appease them until they are made to feel the power of the Government, will prove futile in the future as they have in the past, and must result only in encouraging these savages to continue deeds of carnage.
“2. That in no other way can this protection be so promptly and efficiently extended to our suffering brethren in Arizona as by furnishing General Crook with ample means and by giving him the largest discretion on the course to be pursued toward the savages.
“3. That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, urged and implored to prevent further interference with the military operations of General Crook, otherwise than by aiding his designs, until these savages are subdued and the people of Arizona are made secure in their lives, homes and property.
General Stoneman was superseded by General Crook through the influence of Governor Safford, and, as far as I can see, he was much misjudged. The following, from the Los Angeles “Daily Star” of May 6th, 1871, is one of the many harsh criticisms which were indulged in against him at that time:‘‘ “REMOVAL OF GENERAL STONEMAN.
“There must be something very peculiar in the atmosphere of Arizona, as it certainly is very unhealthy down that way for military commanders. Scarcely does one get installed in office, and certainly before he has become acquainted with the peculiarities of the country and the interests of its inhabitants, than he is removed, and another takes his place—to be, in his turn, summarily sent to the right about. The Territory was organized in 1863, but it was well on in 1864 before the ‘outfit’ reached the country, and the formal declaration of the organization of the country made, which took place at old Fort Whipple, on what was known as Postle's ranch. During these seven years we think we are safe
“Well, we have now another change, and that, as usual, before the incumbent has become properly acquainted with his charge. We see by the papers from Arizona that General Stoneman is on a tour of inspection of the Territory, the second since his appointment. His fault seems to have been that he was too ready to give expression to a hastily formed opinion, and to act on what he thus believed to be for the economical administration of the affairs of his command, rather than as it turned out, for its efficiency. He went there with the very best intentions, as was testified to by the ‘Miner,’ and as, indeed, it was to be expected. But on making his first tour of inspection or investigation, he came rather suddenly to the conclusion that because, traveling with a numerous escort, he was not attacked by the Apaches, the country was perfectly peaceable, the alleged outrages by the Apaches were magnified, if not manufactured for sensational purposes as well as interested motives, and, acting on this conviction, he so reported to the Government and began dismantling camps and sending the soldiers out of the country. A greater mistake was never made. It was worse than the
It was not only the Apaches the early settlers had to contend with, but the Mexican outlaws as well, who, escaping to Sonora, were protected by Governor Pesquiera. The following are well authenticated incidents of Mexican outlawry, some of which met well merited punishment:
On December 24th, 1870, three men, Reid, Lytle, and Oliver, were murdered at Mission Camp by three Mexicans, who escaped to Sonora. On the 2nd of January, following, Governor Safford sent an agent for them. They were found without difficulty, but the Governor of Sonora, Pesquiera, declined to give them up, and referred the matter to the Secretary of State.
In December, 1871, a man named Baker who lived at Blue Water station, and drove stage between that place and Tucson, was killed, together with his family. A reward of a thousand dollars was offered for the murderers, but the case was abandoned when it was learned that the Mexicans had reached Sonora and were under the protection of the Mexican Government.
Governor McCormick, in speaking of the border troubles, remarked that when the Blue Water and Mission Camp murders were committed, he reported the same to the authorities in Washington, saying that should such things continue, it was probable that a strong force would invade Mexico and retaliate. The matter was brought to the attention of the Mexican Government, whose reply was that they were unable to guard their frontier, and could not be responsible for acts of their people across the border.
On January 14th, 1871, the Arizona “Miner” said: “The alarming frequency of deeds of violence in our community, and the tardiness with which justice is meted out, will, we fear, judging from the ominous mutterings of the people, culminate in a vigilance committee, a self-constituted arbiter of justice so common to the frontier wherever laws are not promptly and strictly enforced.” The futile appeals to both the Mexican and American Governments for protection, and the prolonged delay in the adjustment of difficulties, compelled the citizens to avenge their own grievances, or to submit unprotected to continued wrongs and outrages.
In March, 1872, a stationkeeper, William McFarland, at Sacaton, on the Tucson road, mysteriously disappeared after leaving Gandara's ranch. A large party of Americans went to Gandara's to make investigations. One of the party, Bedel, attempted to go into the house when Gandara shot him, and then tried to escape, but was riddled with bullets. On the following day a party went in pursuit of Manuel Reyes, who had threatened to kill four Americans in revenge for the death of a comrade. Reyes took refuge in a house where there were several women and children. All the inmates were ordered to leave the house; as soon as they were out, an onslaught was made, and amid the general shooting Reyes was killed. An hour or two before Aguilar, another Mexican, was shot from his horse. Fears were entertained of a general uprising of the Mexicans, and places of business in Sanford and Florence were closed, the citizens holding themselves in readiness to act, if
King S. Woolsey, who had a ranch at Stanwix station, (Agua Caliente), had a Mexican boy whom he had brought up with the kindness of a father. A Mexican desperado, formerly in his employ, met the boy one day and, after some words about his going to kill Woolsey, he shot the boy. The Mexican was captured. On the following day, August 8th, 1872, the boy was buried, and the man was led out and shot beside the boy's grave. At Kenyon Station, on the Yuma road, Edward Lumley was killed on the 18th of August, 1873, by Lucas Lugas and Manuel Subiate. He was beaten, stabbed and shot. On the 31st of the month Lugas was found in a thicket of underbrush, where he was shot after a vain attempt to kill his pursuers. Subiate was also captured the same day and placed in the Yuma county jail. He denied having any connection with the affair but this statement was rebutted by strong circumstantial evidence. On the 8th of August, four men were hanged for murders committed the previous day.
This prompt and determined action of the people was deemed necessary to save the lives and property of the scattered population. A Mexican named Mariano Tisnado was arrested for cattle stealing in Phoenix, and strong suspicions were entertained that he was accessory to the murder of Mr. Griffin a short time before. It was announced that his trial would take place on the 3rd of July, 1873. Early that morning
At midnight of August 3rd, 1873, a Mexican couple, Vicente Hernandes and his wife, were murdered in their home at Tucson with knives and clubs, by Leonardo Cordoba, Clemente Lopez, and Jesus Saguaripa. The murderers were arrested on the following day, and a confession obtained from Cordoba acknowledging their participation in the deed. He also disclosed the place where the plunder was buried. After the funeral the following day, a meeting was held. The unanimous demand was that the murderers should be executed at once. At the March session of the court, two noted criminals had been given their freedom, although it was well known that they had taken the lives of innocent men. At the time of the Hernandes murder there was in the jail another murderer, John Willis by name, who, it was determined, should be hanged with the three Mexicans. Accordingly the meeting adjourned until the following morning, August 8th, when, at an early hour, the jail was surrounded, and the prisoners demanded. Two forked posts were planted in front of the jail door, and a pole placed on them. Four ropes with nooses were then suspended from the pole. A Catholic priest was summoned and allowed
“We, the undersigned, the jurors summoned to appear before Solomon Warner, the coroner of the county of Pima, at Tucson, on the 8th day of August, 1873, to inquire into the cause of the death of John Willis, Leonardo Cordoba, Clemente Lopez, and Jesus Saguaripa, find that they came to their death on the 8th day of August, 1873, about eleven thirty o'clock in the morning, in the courthouse plaza, in the town of Tucson, by hanging; and we further find that said hanging was committed by the people of Tucson enmasse; and we do further say that in view of the terrible and bloody murders which were committed by the three Mexicans above named, and the tardiness with which justice was meted out to John Willis, a murderer, the extreme measures taken by our fellow citizens this morning, in vindication of their lives, their property, and the peace and good order of society, while it is to be regretted and deplored that such extreme measures were necessary, seem to have been the inevitable results of allowing criminals to escape the penalties of their crimes.”’’
G. R. Whisler, keeper of Burk's station on the lower Gila was murdered at noon on July 7th, 1874, by a Mexican named Ventura Nunez. Threats had been made by the border bandits to murder all the station keepers from Gila Bend
The valley of the San Pedro was first settled by Mark Aldrich and others in 1865. In 1868 they took out a ditch. Apache depredations commenced in 1867 and continued during 1868. In 1869 a number of new settlers came in, but up to February 7th, 1871, only one death came from natural causes. The Indians committed their usual atrocities. During the time of which we write, 1868 to 1871, Cochise's band was busy in the southern part of the territory. Settlers on the Sonoita and the Santa Cruz, and as far south as Nogales, were murdered and their stock driven off. The only one who stood the test was Pete Kitchen, whose adopted son was killed on his home place, and whose laborers plowed his fields with rifles at hand ready for use. Upon his buildings he had lookouts to warn him of the approach of Apaches. At no time, probably, in the history of Arizona, was there a darker outlook than in 1871. Stoneman had done but very little, except in the way of building roads. Two
The most important fights during Stoneman's command of this department were those of Captain Moore and of Captain Russell. Captain Moore left Tucson on the 12th of March, 1871, and reached McDowell about the first of April. Continuing his expedition, a few days later he attacked a rancheria, which is said to have contained more than a hundred warriors, of whom twenty-nine were killed during the engagement, besides many wounded, who, according to the custom of the Indians, were removed from the battlefield. Returning to Tucson Captain Moore went to the relief of Captain Russell who, with a small force, had engaged Cochise with about a hundred and fifty well armed, well drilled warriors, about twelve miles from the crossing of the San Pedro, near what was afterwards known as Benson. Captain Russell had about eighteen men in the engagement, one of whom was killed and one wounded. While the fight was confined to the plain, Cochise rapidly fell back for a distance of five miles, with a loss of fifteen warriors killed, and it was not until after the Indians had reached the mountains and entrenched themselves among the rocks that Captain Russell was compelled to retire and send for re-enforcements. Among those killed was Azul, the chief who planned the expedition which resulted
General Crook took command in June, 1871, but almost immediately was halted in his military operations by instructions from Washington to await the result of the labors of the Peace Commission, which was then on its way to New Mexico and Arizona.