CHAPTER XII. THE PEACE COMMISSION (Continued).


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Arrival at Camp Grant—Refusal to Allow Armed Citizens to Cross Reservation— Apache Children Taken into Captivity —Interview With Apache Chiefs at Camp Grant—Talk With Es-Cim-Enzeen, Head Chief of Aravaipa Pinals— Opposition to the Indian Peace Policy.

‘‘

“We arrived at Camp Grant on the 13th inst., and found a white flag flying over the post, the effect of the telegram forwarded to its commander through the kindness of the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of War on the 3rd of August last. We were hospitably received by Lieutenant Royal E. Whitman and Captain Wm. Nelson, commanding the post. Soon after our arrival we learned that a company of one hundred and seventy-five or two hundred white citizens from Tucson (the town where the body of citizens came from who committed the massacre some few months since) were on their way to, and within twelve miles of, the reservation, and were expected in on the morrow. Two Mexican couriers, who had arrived some days previous, reported that the expedition was gotten up with a view to breaking up the reservation. Captain Thos. S. Dunn, Twenty-first United States Infantry, and Agent Wilbur, of the Papagoes, who came up with the party, informed us that it was a party of ‘prospectors,’ who were coming through, the reservation on their way to the


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mountains. At the same time we were informed that Governor Safford, with a party of three hundred citizens, who had recently passed through the reservation, was expected in on his return homeward on the morrow. As the reservation is within a valley and surrounded with mountains, without a road or trail through it leading anywhere, and as the Indians had only just come in after much persuasion, and were under evident fears of another attack, the impropriety of allowing these armed bands of citizens to rendezvous upon the reservation was apparent. As either the Indians or these citizens had to leave the reservation, I promptly informed Captain Nelson that if he permitted these citizens to come nearer than ten miles of the post, I would have to send out Indian runners to the Apaches, and, gathering them together, ask him for a sufficient escort to conduct them with me over to the White Mountain reservation. Captain Nelson replied that he should regret to have me do that, and instead he would forbid the party of citizens from approaching nearer than within ten miles of the post; and he issued an order to that effect. He forwarded this order by a corporal and four men that evening, who met the party twelve miles away. At four o'clock the corporal sent in word that he had met the leaders, and that they had declared that ‘they would cross the reservation.’ Captain Nelson then directed Lieutenant Whitman to ride out and meet the party and inform them that he was prepared to enforce his order, and had his guns in position, and would open fire upon them on their appearance at the mouth of


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the Canyon opposite the post; Captain Nelson loading up the waterwagon belonging to the post and sending it out to them, that they might not suffer in case they should conclude to go back, which the report of Captain Nelson says they very reluctantly consented to do. They left with the declaration that they could use the white flag as well as we, and if that would bring in the Indians they would bring them in and put them on a reservation where it would not cost much to feed them. They went off around the reservation toward the east, Captain Thos. S. Dunn accompanying them. It was reported that a band of Papago Indians were with them, but Dr. R. A. Wilbur, the agent of the Papagoes, who came into the post with the party, said that he had no knowledge of any of his Indians being present. As the Papagoes, for many years, have had a feud with the Apaches, and as they were the people whom the citizens of Tucson brought with them on their former visit and who had assisted so vigorously in the massacre, I was very much surprised, and expressed my great regret to Dr. Wilbur at seeing him accompany another expedition from the same place of a character so similar to the former, and composed of a portion of the same people, in a foray against another Indian tribe. He informed me that he had no authority from Dr. Bendel, the superintendent of Indian Affairs of Arizona, or from the Indian Office, to leave his agency. I called his attention to the fact that his presence with such a party was calculated to awaken distrust among the Apaches as to the honesty of our intentions in inviting them in, and I suggested to


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him the propriety of returning to his agency as soon as possible. The Doctor said that he had never received any copy of the laws of the Indian Bureau, and being uninformed of his duties, was not aware of there being any impropriety in his being here under such circumstances. He returned to his agency two days after the above interview. Before he left I requested him to use every means in his power to recover from the Papagoes the twenty-eight children stolen from the Apaches during the massacre. He promised to do so.

“Permit me to call your attention to the fact that these children have not yet been returned to their families, though it is now more than four months since they were stolen. As they were captured while their parents were being killed, though held as ‘prisoners of war’ by the Army, the War Department, without other aid, has the power, it seems to me, to recover them if they are still in our country. It is reported that the majority of them have been carried over into Sonora by the Papagoes and sold to the Mexicans. In that event, I would respectfully suggest that application be made to the Government of Mexico, through the Department of State, for their return. Events at this post (Camp Grant) are, in one respect, singularly similar to those at Camp Apache. Here, as there, immediately after the massacre at Camp Grant, the killing of one white man was their official announcement that the Apaches were going out on the warpath. The first Indian chief who came to this post last spring and asked to be allowed to live at peace, was Es-cim-en-zeen. He was


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the leader of his people and, up to the time of the massacre, was as peaceable and contented as man could be. He had two wives, five children, and about fifty of his people killed in the massacre, and this seems to have partially crazed him. He came in after the attack, and, assisting at the burial of his family, seemed reconciled, but, by a very unfortunate blunder, some troops from the White Mountains, who came down the Aravaipa Valley nearly a month after the massacre, getting frightened at unexpectedly coming upon some of the Indians who had peaceably returned, opened fire upon them. It was Es-cim-en-zeen and his family. At this he became enraged, and bidding Lieutenant Whitman a formal goodbye, fled with his people to the mountains, and, it was said, killed a white man on his way. As I considered the massacre of Es-cim-en-zeen's family and people at Camp Grant an inauguration of a condition of war between the whites and the Apaches, and Es-cim-en-zeen's act in killing the white man, assuming that he did it, an incident in that war, and as my instructions were to feed, clothe, and otherwise care for all roving Apache Indians who wished to come in and be at peace, without regard to previous offenses, I had no hesitation when Lieutenant Whitman sent for him, to give him, together with Captain Chiquito and the other chiefs and their people, assurances of peace and protection.

“The chiefs first sent in their runners to see all was right, who, meeting with the Indian runners from the White Mountains, and hearing of the liberality and kindness of the Government,


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as displayed on our journey thither in the distribution of clothing, etc., returned to their chiefs and people, told their story, and brought them in.

“Up to this date two hundred and forty-five Apaches have arrived, all but ten (White Mountain Indians) being the same that were here before the massacre. As at Camp Apache, I distributed a suit of clothing, manta (sheeting), calico, needles and thread to each Indian, man, woman, and child.

“Lieutenant Whitman informed the chiefs that his orders from the Secretary of War were to feed them as long as they remained at peace on the reservation. Commissioner Colyer told them Congress had appropriated the money, and the President had sent him here with the clothing, and instructions to the Lieutenant to feed them. If they left the reservation, the limits of which he explained to them, they were liable to be killed.

“Esce-nela, chief and Cassay, counsellor, claims to have always kept the peace. Ten years ago he was at Goodwin, and then they had a chief named Na-nine-chay, who governed all their tribes. He has met many officers, but that I was the first one to express regret at the Camp Grant massacre. (William Kness, interpreter, here remarked that Lieutenant Whitman had expressed regret, but this chief was not present.) He had no doubt but that God put it into the heart of the President to send me out here. He is satisfied that God is listening to this talk. He intends now to talk with reference to eternity, as though the world was to last forever.


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He believes that I will tell him the truth. He has no doubt but that I am sorry for the killed at the massacre. He is sorry for the Indians who have been taken away prisoners. He believes now that the centipedes and tarantulas (bad reptiles) among their enemies will hurt no more. He believes that now we will protect them; that we are now as father and mother to them. He heard of our coming; now he is glad to meet us. He said his people were living here peaceably, receiving rations three times a week, up to the time of the massacre. He believes neither the lieutenant nor any of the officers knew of the coming to attack them. It was about four o'clock in the morning when they were attacked; 128 killed, 29 taken prisoners. He and all the captains lost some of their families. He lost two wives, four children, three men (one old man), and two of his nephews were taken away. He lost fifty of his band. When the Tucson people attacked him, his best wife got separated from him and he could not find her. It was dark. If he could have found her he would have fought and died with her. There had been over five hundred of his people on the reservation at the time of the massacre. About thirty days after the attack about four hundred had returned, and were on the reservation, when a lieutenant and a party of troops under his command, fired into some of his people.

“Commissioner Colyer asked: ‘Does this country still please them, after what has occurred? Or, if Lieutenant Whitman and the interpreters and soldiers were to take them farther


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up into the Pinal country, would they prefer it?’

“Answer: ‘The country still pleases them; they wish to remain here; this has always been their home, the home of their fathers, and they want Lieutenant Whitman as their agent, and these two men as their interpreters. They wish to go out and hunt, and if this campaign is stopped, they will show that they can behave themselves. They have now had their talk, and they would like to have their share of the goods distributed to them now. When the other chiefs come in, they can have theirs.’

“In the afternoon they came again. Escenela said he had been thinking over what I had told him, and now he had come to speak of it. Said he wanted to plant wheat on the San Pedro, and corn on the Aravaipa.

“Commissioner Colyer remarked that the chief had changed his mind since yesterday. He said nothing to that, but that he wished the man who was there should remain there. Mr. Austin owns the farm. Mr. Filmore occupies it.

“Es-cim-en-zeen said: ‘He was glad to come in to his old home. He was the first to come in and make peace before and was happy in his home here. He got his rations every three days. He was living not far from here. He was making tiswin (a drink) in peace, when one morning he and his people were attacked, and many of them were killed. The next day after the massacre he came into this camp because he knew it was not the people here who had done it; it was the people from Tucson and Papagoes. He then continued to live here in the valley for nearly


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thirty days, when his people were again attacked; this time by a squad of military men, and, although none of his people were killed, yet that made him mad, and he went on the warpath. He now admits he did wrong, but he was grieved, and he could not help it. The one who first breaks the peace is the one who is to blame. He believes Commissioner Colyer has come to make peace, and is glad he has put tobacco before him to smoke. They have always known that they had a great father and a great mother. The commissioner had sent out for him, and probably thought he would see a great captain, but he only saw a very poor man, and not very much of a captain. If he had seen him about three months ago, he would have seen him a captain. Then he had a band of seventy men, but they had all been massacred; now he has got no people. Ever since he left this place he has been in the neighborhood; he knew he had friends here, but the was afraid to come back; but as soon as he heard the commissioner was here then he came in. He never had much to say; he likes this place. He has said all he ought to say, since he has no people anywhere to speak for. If it had not been for the massacre, there would have been a great many more people here now; but, after that massacre, who could have stood it? It was not possible for any man to have stood it. When he made peace with Lieutenant Whitman his heart was very big and happy. The people of Tucson and San Xavier must be crazy. They acted as though they had neither heads nor hearts.’


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“Sunday Morning, September 17, 1871,—The chiefs calling to see Commissioner Colyer, he told them ‘he was glad to see them. They must not expect everything to go right at first. It takes a long time to heal a wound. They have a good friend in the President, and he will do his best to deal justly and kindly with them.’

“Es-cim-en-zeen replied that ‘he thanked God. They are happy now, but perhaps as soon as the commissioner has gone the soldiers will begin to kick them and point their rifles at them. That they didn't like. They are contented now, but their young men are active, and being prevented from hunting they collect around the post, and get mixed up with the soldiers. Sometimes the soldiers kick them and throw stones at them; this makes trouble, as the young men feel bad.’

“Commissioner Colyer told them they would try to separate the post from the Indian agency. This they said was good, and it pleased them. They were glad that nothing had happened while he was here to break this good peace. They think the people of Tucson and San Xavier (the Papagoes) must have a thirst for their blood. They seem to be always pursuing them. They think that as soon as the commissioner has gone these people will return again and try to massacre them. They want, as soon as he hears anything of the kind, that he will return and judge for himself. They believe that these Tucson and San Xavier people write for the papers and tell their own story. The Apaches have no one to tell their story, so they want the commissioner to come again. They think it must have been God who gave him a good heart to Come and see


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them, or he must have had a good father and mother to make him so kind. The commissioner told them ‘It was God’; they said, ‘It was.’ They said, ‘they believed the Papagoes could not have any God, they had always been so cruel, and had tried to persecute the Apaches as long as they could remember.’ It is just three days since they, the Apaches, have been here, and they have been happy. It seems to them that the arroyos, (ravines) have been all smoothed over; that there are no more thorns or briers to prick them, nor snakes and reptiles to poison. He said that Lieutenant Whitman knew their story; knew how happy they were here in peace, up to the time of the massacre; knew all about that massacre; knew how he had returned after it; knew how he had been fired upon by the White Mountain soldiers. After that he wished to confess he had gone on a raid against the Papagoes to recover his children. He liked Lieutenant Whitman, but he was so unhappy that if he had not heard that the commissioner was coming, he never would have come in.

“Commissioner Colyer told them that ‘they must not fight the Papagoes or white people any more. He had already sent for the children, and when he got back to Washington he would ask the President to request the Government of Mexico to return their children.’

“Es-cim-en-zeen said, ‘It seems to him now as if he had his children in his own hands. God had certainly put it in my heart. He was very happy.’

“Commissioner Colyer said that he would ride up the valley with them this morning to see the place of the massacre and hear their story.


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“Es-cim-en-zeen: ‘A long time ago they took off a wife of his, and be believed she now is at Fort McDowell. Na-zen-i-clee is her name. She is living in the house of one of the captains of the soldiers.’

“September 19, l871.—Captain Chiquito, of the Aravaipa. The commissioner told him he was glad that he had seen him before he left for Washington.

“Captain Chiquito: ‘He has nothing more to say than the other chiefs had said; he confirms all that they have said; he had heard that his father and mother had come and he asked to see him. The same God who rules the sun, he believes, had sent me here to see them. Ever since the other Indians had told him that I was here he wished to see me, and for that reason he had hurried in from the hills. It must have been God who had put it into both of our hearts to hurry to see each other. He thanks us for having sent him out food and clothing last night.’

“Two Pinal Indians came with Es-cim-en-zeen. Says that yesterday he sent a boy named Un-pin-al-kay to the Pinals, and about noon he saw a smoke on his trail, and he don't know what it means unless he saw his people. He was to return in four days. He will bring in all the people he can. He thought that all the Pinals would come into this reservation as soon as they heard of the treatment he was receiving.

“I visited the scene of the massacre on Sunday morning, September 17th; some of the skulls of the Indians, with their temple bones beaten in, lay exposed by the washing of the rain and the feeding of the wolves: I overtook Es-cim-en-zeen,


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who had ridden before us, and found him wiping the tears from his eyes when he saw them.

“By referring to accompanying papers, it will be seen that the account of this horrible massacre as given by Lieutenant Royal E. Whitman, Third Cavalry United States Army, the officer in charge of the camp at the time, is amply sustained by his brother officers and citizens then present. Some of these affidavits make the affair even more horrible than Lieutenant Whitman described it to be.

‘‘ “OPPOSITION TO THE INDIAN PEACE POLICY.

“The ‘Arizona Citizen,’ a professedly republican paper, published at Tucson, and the ‘Arizona Miner,’ democratic paper from Prescott, have been excessive in their abuse of Lieutenant Whitman, Colonel Green, and all other officers of the army who have shown the least sympathy for the Apaches, charging them with many crimes. The editors seem to fear the damaging effect produced in the public mind by the statements made officially by these Army officers of the general good conduct of the Apaches whenever they have been allowed an opportunity to display it, and of the horrible brutalities committed by the people of Arizona upon them at the Camp Grant massacre. Their statements that the Indians left that reservation and went on raiding parties against the citizens is denied by every officer and citizen at the post.

“Oscar Hutton, an old pioneer, who has the reputation of having personally killed more Indians that any other man in Arizona, testifies under


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oath not only that the statement of Lieutenant Whitman is correct, but that he had never seen Indians on a reservation or at peace about a military post under so good subjection, so well satisfied and happy, or more teachable and obedient, than were these. ‘I was repeatedly requested to watch every indication of anything like treachery on their park, and I will give it as my deliberate judgment that no raiding party was ever made up from the Indians fed at this post. I have every reason to believe that had they been unmolested, they would have remained and would have gradually increased in numbers, as they constantly had been doing up to the time I left the post.’

“And Mr. F. L. Austin, the post trader, a gentlemen well known and respected, not only fully indorses Lieutenant Whitman's statement throughout, but says, ‘the Indians, while here, seemed to be under perfect control, and in all my business with them, in paying for some one hundred and fifty tons of hay for the contractor, never had any trouble or difficulty of any kind. They very readily learn any little customs of trade, etc. It is my opinion they would have remained and increased in numbers had they not been attacked.’

“Mr. Miles L. Wood, the beef contractor for the military, testifies that he ‘was not absent one day, and personally issued every pound of beef drawn by them. They brought tickets to me, on which I issued. After completing the issue, I took the tickets to acting commissary of subsistence, and verified them by the official count of that day. I never had any trouble in my delivery.


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Lieutenant Whitman selected art Indian for policeman, gave him his orders, and good order was always preserved. I have lived in California, and have seen a great deal of Indians. Have heard a good deal of the Apaches, and was much surprised at the general intelligence and good behavior of those I saw at this post.’

“William Kness, the mailcarrier at the post, swears that though he has lived on the Pacific coast; for twenty-six years, familiar with Indians, and prejudiced against the Apaches, yet ‘made it a point to study the character and habits of the Apache Indians at Camp Grant, before the massacre, and the result was that I was convinced that they were acting in good faith and earnestly desired peace. They were industrious; the women particularly so. Among all the Indians I have ever seen I have never met with as great regard for virtue and chastity as I have found among these Apache women. In regard to the charge that after they were fed they went out on raiding parties, I have to say that I do not believe it. They were contented under our supervision, being in every three days for rations, and their faces familiar, and their number constantly increasing. I have read the statement of Oscar Hutton in regard to this point, and I have no doubt that he is correct, that no raiding parties were ever made by the Indians from this post. I also believe that if the massacre had not occurred we should have had from eight hundred to one thousand Apache Indians on this reservation before this time.’

“On the day of my arrival at Camp Grant, finding that no copy of the orders of the War Department


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dated Washington, July 18, 1871, had yet been received here by General Crook, I took the liberty of inclosing copies, and also a copy of the instructions of the Interior Department, to him for his information:

“In our interviews with the chiefs of the Aravaipa and Pinal Apaches at Camp Grant we found that, notwithstanding so many of their people had been killed at Camp Grant, they still clung to the Aravaipa and San Pedro Valleys as their home, and would not listen to our proposal to remove them over to the White Mountains. Believing it better, for the sake of peace, that their wishes should be acceded to for the present, in consultation with the officers of the post we concluded to fix the limits of their reservation as follows: Bounded north by the Gila River; west by a line ten miles from and parallel to the general course of the San Pedro River; south by a line at right angles to the western boundary, crossing the San Pedro ten miles from Camp Grant; east by a line at right angles to the southern boundary, touching the western base of Mount Trumbull, terminating at the Gila River, the northern boundary.

“We carefully instructed the chiefs about these boundaries, impressing it upon their minds that they must not go beyond them; that while. within these limits they would be protected and fed; if they went beyond they would become objects of suspicion, and liable to be punished by both citizens and soldiers. They said they understood it.

“Our first intention was to limit the boundaries of the reservation to a distance of ten miles


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square on each side of the post; but as the Gila River on the north did not much exceed that distance, and formed a good natural boundary which the Indians could easily remember, and the country on the east was a barren waste, yielding nothing that the white man cared for, but considerable food, such as mescal, mesquite beans, and cactus fruit, of which the Apaches were very fond, we concluded to extend the limits to the Gila River on the north, and the westerly base of Mount Trumbull on the east. The assurances given to us by the officers and citizens most familiar with the habits of the Indians before referred to, that they would not leave the reservations if properly fed and cared for, dismissed all doubts from our mind concerning this point.

“Should the Government approve my action in locating this reservation, there are some improvements made by several settlers, on the San Pedro, which should be appraised by Government officers and the owners paid for them. Several of the ranches are good adobe buildings, which will be of value for the use of the Indian Department. While it is true that no claim of pre-emption by settlers holds good as against the Governmerit, when made on Government land not yet surveyed, yet it is but fair that where the improvements can be of use to the Government, as in this case, the owners should be compensated.

“As the mountains are barren and the valleys infected with a malarial fever, the tract of country designated above is worth little or nothing to anyone but the Indians, who are acclimated. And as it is absolutely necessary that a certain and well-defined tract shall be first set


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apart for them before We can expect them to leave the highways and other portions of the Territory, it seemed to me that justice, as well as wisdom, suggested that we should select such places as they themselves chose and would reside upon—where we could protect and civilize them.

“That the massacre at Camp Grant fairly illustrates the sentiment of a large portion of the people of Arizona and New Mexico on the Indian question, is painfully confirmed by the fact that nearly every newspaper here has either justified or apologized for the act. That the President's ‘peace policy,’ so popular in the States, does not meet with much approval out here is unquestionably true; and any one who comes here to execute it must expect to meet with disapprobation. I have been met with a storm of abuse from these newspapers in their every issue; but, thank God, it does me no harm, and though I have received positive assurances that my life would be in danger if I visited certain localities, yet, as much of this is probably mere bluster, I should go there if my official duties required it.

“Probably I should not have referred to these threats if the Governor of the Territory, A.P.K. Safford, Esq., had not taken the precaution to issue a ‘proclamation’ in the ‘Arizona Citizen,’ calling upon the people to treat the commissioners ‘kindly,’ as though the governor supposed they were not likely to treat us kindly, unless he took some such extraordinary means as this to induce them to do so. This proclamation concludes with the following words: ‘If they (the commissioners) come among you entertaining erroneous opinions upon the Indian question and


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the condition of affairs in this Territory, then, by kindly treatment and fair, truthful representation, you will be enabled to convince them of their errors.’ A manifesto so remarkable, that we thought, in kindness to the governor, the less notice I took of it the better.

“There is evidently a wrong impression in the minds of the editors of these newspapers concerning the object of our visit to these Territories. They seem to think that we have come to ‘examine into the Indian Affairs of the Territories’ generally; whereas, our instructions from the President, through the Secretary of the Interior, are simply to ‘locate the nomadic tribes upon suitable reservations, bringing them under the control of the proper officers of the Indian Department, and supplying them with necessary subsistence, clothing, and whatever else may be needed.’”

’’ ’’

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