CHAPTER IX. CITIZEN EXPEDITIONS AGAINST HOSTILES.
C. B. Genung's Description of Townsend's Expedition—Indians Kill Herder and Steal Herbert Bowers' Cattle—John Townsend Appointed Captain of Pursuing Party—Joined by Party of Soldiers Under Lieutenant Morton—Catch Indians and Kill Thirty-five—Rest of Indians Escape—Again Catch and Kill Indians Pursuers Return to Prescott and are Banquetted—Fifty-six Indians Killed, and Almost All Stock Recovered.
One of the most successful raids against the Indians by a volunteer party was made under the command of John Townsend in June, 1871, an account of which is published in the Los Angeles “Mining Review” under date of May 13th, 1911, by C. B. Genung, who assisted in organizing the expedition, and was Townsend's lieutenant, which account follows:‘‘
“In June, 1871; I was farming in Peeples Valley, Arizona. Having occasion to go to Prescott and my wife not feeling safe at the ranch with the small force of men that I could leave behind, she concluded to go with me as far as Ed Bowers' ranch and station and visit with Mrs. Bowers until I returned. The Bowers family were our nearest neighbors at that time, and they were twelve miles away on the road to Prescott in Skull Valley. I took with me W. H. Smith, my wife's brother, and a young man named Boyce
“I had told my wife that I would remain in Prescott but one day and return the third day. I had some business with the Quartermaster which took me to Whipple where Herbert Bowers was keeping the sutler store. I found Herbert a very sick man, and, as he was a dear friend of mine, I spent a good deal of time with him, trying to cheer him up. He had a bad case of yellow jaundice, and was in bed all the time that I stayed with him.
“I got settled up with the Quartermaster and got my voucher for what he owed me, and was back in Prescott late in the evening and had everything ready to start home in the morning. At 9:30 I started from the Diana Saloon—across the plaza to where I slept. Right out on the plaza I came upon Herbert Bowers standing there like a statue. My first impression was that he was out of his head. I asked him what in the world he was doing there. He said, ‘Charley, the Indians killed one of the herders and have gone with a hundred and thirty-seven head of horses, mules and cattle from my Agua Fria ranch. The other herder escaped the Indians and brought the word to the ranch. Nathan, my brother, sent a courier in to me, also one to Camp Verde. I have applied at Whipple for help, but there are no men or animals there to go; all I can get there is one old pack mule.’
“I walked into the saloon and told the people what had happened, and called for volunteers to go out and get the stock back. The Diana Saloon stood on the corner where the St. Michael Hotel now stands, and there were several more saloons right along side by side. The news spread like a flash and there were plenty of men to go but they had no horses. Just two men who were willing to go had horses, Tom Rodrick of Kirkland Valley, and Jeff Davis of Davis ranch on the head of the Hassayampa. I saw John McDerwin in the crowd and called him to one side and asked him if he would tell my wife the next day that I had gone after Indians and not to expect me back until she saw me, which he agreed to do. By this time the horses began to come to the hitching rack. I singled out the men that I wanted, and we all got some lunch of whatever kind we could scrape together, and at eleven o'clock—just an hour and a half from the time I left the saloon to go to bed—there were eleven of us mounted and ready to make the most successful raid against the Apaches that ever started from Northern Arizona.
“I had met John Townsend and been introduced the day that I stayed in Prescott, and as he was an Indian fighter I made inquiry for him before we got started and learned that he had started for his ranch on the lower Agua Fria, which was about twenty miles below Bowers' ranch; that he had gone via the Vickers ranch which was on the then only wagon road from
“By sunrise we all had had breakfast, and had a sack of flour, some bacon and coffee that we had got at the ranch. Just as we were ready to start I called all to attention and suggested that we elect Townsend captain of the company, which was agreeable to us all. Then we were off, sixteen of us, having picked up four men besides Townsend in the Agua Fria settlement.
“We travelled pretty fast after we got strung out on the trail of the stock until about noon, when we stopped to water and rest our horses. Tom Rodrick had been in town drinking pretty hard for several days and was very anxious to have a drink of whiskey, thinking perhaps some of the men had a bottle in their saddle bags. We all had saddle bags on our saddles those days. Tom called to Townsend and said, ‘Captain, if I can't get a drink I'll die sure.’ Townsend replied: ‘Oh! not so bad as that, Tom.’ Says Tom: ‘I bet you two hundred dollars I'll die in fifteen minutes if I don't get a drink.’ He lived, although he didn't get the drink.
“We had a bad, slow trail all forenoon, climbing over a rough malapai country, and for long stretches the mescal was so thick that two horses could not pass on the trail. The mescal leaves were as sharp as needles and as hard as steel. It would ruin a horse if he happened to run against one.
“The soldiers soon came stringing along and overtook us about the time that we got to the top of what was known as Ox Yoke Mountain. There we found several ox yokes which had been taken off of oxen that had been run off in other raids by the Indians. The Mexican guide told us that
“Here the Mexican guide said that the Indians were liable to fire the brush ahead of us; so we rushed our horses down the steep brushy trail as fast as we could, but we had not gone more than two or three miles before we saw the smoke rising down the canyon below us. The trail led down the north side of a ridge which was cut with steep gulches, and as it was on the north side and the mountain was very steep the brush and grass did not burn very readily. Still nearly all of the soldiers were cut off by the fire and had to leave the trail and make their way around as best they could, everybody for himself.
“We reached the Verde river about two o'clock in the afternoon, horses and men all pretty tired and hungry, but all safe and sound. We crossed the river at the mouth of the east fork, and camped to let our horses rest and graze while we got something to eat ourselves. Here we scoured the country thoroughly to be sure that the Indians had not divided their party, but satisfied ourselves that the whole lot of them had gone the one trail up the east fork. About four o'clock we started again on the trail, which led up the river for several miles, then turned up the face of a great table mountain which was one mass of lava boulders and the trail so steep that most of the men had to dismount. Townsend had told me about this place, having learned of it from some soldiers who had been there and had to turn back as the Indians had rolled boulders down from the top until the whole face of the mountain seemed to be flying rocks of all sizes. The mountain is several miles long, and from the top
“Townsend said to the lieutenant, ‘Have some of your men fire a shot or two at a mark.’ Townsend wanted the shots fired, but did not want the citizens to waste their ammunition. He thought it did not make so much difference whether the soldiers had ammunition or not. When we overtook the soldiers that morning Townsend was mad, for up to that time the citizens and soldiers when they hunted Indians together never could get along agreeably. The officers had always wanted to boss the job, and made a failure of it every time. So far Lieutenant Morton had not made any suggestions at all, but had just come along, which was agreeable to Townsend and all the rest of us.
“It was very slow travelling until we got past this big black mesa, then we had rolling hills to cross with occasionally a pretty rough canyon. About six o'clock the Mexican guide, who was ahead, threw up a hand and we were all on the alert. There had just gone over the ridge about a mile ahead of us an Indian on a horse. We were then in sight of quite a large piece of comparatively level land and could see cottonwood trees in the bottom along the East Fork, which at this place proved to be dry. Townsend and I jumped off our horses to tighten the cinches on our saddles, which let several of those that were in the line behind us go by, and they were going as fast as they could. Among the others that passed us was the lieutenant.
“As we were crossing the dry river bed I noticed one Indian running apparently behind a hill, and I started for the top of the hill as fast as I could, and just as I reached the top I caught sight of a big fellow running down a gulch. I dropped him, and as he fell, I saw another in a bunch of oak brush about seventy-five yards away. I shot him, and he fell in the brush. Among the soldiers was a Corporal Flynn who had done duty for a long time between Camp Verde and Prescott as mail carrier, and Flynn saw the last Indian that I had shot when he fell, Flynn having followed me up the hill. Flynn said, ‘you hit, but I think you only wounded him.’
“So I told Flynn if he would ride up on a little point of a hill that overlooked the place where the Indian fell so that he could see if he ran out, and at the same time cover my horse, which I left where we stood, that I would go into the brush and see what I had done to the red. Flynn stationed himself where he could see all around, but could see nothing of the Indian, so I advanced cautiously into the brush and in a few minutes heard shots off to my right. I looked and there
“Morton, the trailer, some citizens and a few soldiers had struck a big trail while running on the main trail that we had been following. This trail crossed the main trail at right angles and led up a small ravine to another Indian camp, but much smaller than the one we had struck. The lieutenant had no rifle, but killed a big buck Apache with his forty-five—about the first one that was killed. Altogether we had killed thirty-five Indians that we knew were dead. We plundered the camp and about five o'clock took the trail and followed it until dark.
“After we had eaten something and were sitting around camp, Townsend asked the trailer what was the meaning of ‘Wapop’ in the Indian language. He said it meant ‘Oh, Father!’ Then Townsend told of shooting a young Indian about eighteen or twenty years old and breaking his leg. The fellow grabbed hold of a brush and pulled himself up, stood on one foot and slapped his breast and cried out: ‘Wapop! Wapop!’ two
“The next morning we took the trail as soon as we could see distinctly, not wishing to miss any sidings, as we were on the rolling country which we knew was the divide between the East Verde and some other stream, and we were expecting the Indians to break up into small parties as was their custom when followed and pressed by the whites. However, this did not happen in this instance, as we had completely fooled them and put them entirely off their guard by doubling back to the Verde from the foot of the big mesa. It was very lucky the Indian the men saw on horseback the day before did not see us, or the alarm would have been spread, and we should only have got the thirty-five.
“We traveled on a trot or lope for several hours the morning of the fourth day out, through cedar and juniper timber, over mesa and rolling hills along the foot of the mountain. About ten o'clock the leaders came right on to a big rancheria in a big canyon, the banks of which were so high and so near perpendicular that there was no way of getting down into the canyon only by single file down a narrow trail. The Indians were getting away. I took in the situation at a glance, and saw several Indians skulking into a gulch that ran into the main gulch near their camp. I forced my horse to jump down about ten feet, where he landed on loose sloping dirt, and made across the big gulch (which was about
“I had seen an Indian down the gulch when I jumped off to shoot the first one, and I tried to watch the banks to prevent him from escaping; I had never taken my eyes off the place where I saw him long enough for him to climb the steep bank, and the mountain was too bare for him to try that side. Several of the men had followed up the gulch on foot from the Indian camp at the mouth, and I had asked them to look carefully, which they thought they did, but none found him. Still I would not give it up and remained in my position. Finally a young fellow named John Bullard came in sight from among the juniper trees and stopped right above where I had lost sight of the Indian. I hailed him and told him what I had seen, and for him to get into the gulch and hunt carefully while I watched from where I stood.
“With as little delay as possible he climbed down, and pretty soon a big boulder hid him from me; then a gun went off and Bullard's head came up from behind the boulder. Then down it went again out of my sight. Then up came
“I went back now to the place where the Indians were camped, and the men had already plundered the camp, looking for valuables, and among other things they had found a buckskin sack with a lot of indigo balls in it, and that reminded me of what my wife had sent me to Prescott for. I poured about a pound of them into my saddle holsters to take home with me. The men had captured several guns, a few buckskins, etc., but nothing of much value.
“In the scrap at the Indian camp Townsend had a very narrow escape from an Indian bullet. He was walking through some brush and was within a few feet of a wounded Indian who was lying behind a boulder, so that Townsend could not see him, with his rifle cocked and sighted, and if Townsend had taken one more step he would have been within range, but Providence was with him. Jeff Davis caught sight of the Indian, called out to Townsend and stopped him, and, in the same breath, finished the Indian. We got a lot of roasted mescal and some horse meat at this camp, and took up the trail again, which led to the southeast from this point through low hills and long mesas.
“We had traveled some three or four hours and were following a long, low grassy ridge which was skirted on the south and west by a big wide canyon which seemed to run far back into the mountain. The trail ran along the top of the ridge, which in some places was quite narrow as it wound around the head of some short gulch that ran off toward the big valley below to the east. There was quite a little rise in this ridge just before it pitched off into the large gulch to the west of us, and as the Mexican trailer rode nearly to the top of the ridge, he threw up his hand and stopped and turned his horse partly around. He had seen what he supposed were two Indians on horses going ahead of us on the same trail about six hundred yards in advance. Townsend slipped up and peeked over the ridge, watched a very few moments, then turned and came back and started down a very steep gulch which we could see led to the big wash. If we could get down it with our horses we should not be in sight of the Indians until we were close to them.
“Townsend had brought the gun that came so near killing him and had several buckskins laying across his saddle upon which rested the two guns. As he passed me he started down the gulch, dropped the Indian's gun, then dumped the buckskins, and was cleared for action. I had no plunder to dispose of except the indigo, and I could not part with that, for my wife sent me after it. That was a rough gulch, but our horses were surefooted, and we landed on the level ground side by side. Here the ground was soft, sandy land, and we turned our horses loose and gave them the spur.
“The Indians were going very slowly and appeared to be asleep, for we were in plain sight of them for as much as three hundred yards. They were following the main trail and were crossing a grassy flat with bunches of oak brush scattered here and there. We ran our horses at full speed to within forty yards of them, and both jumped off at the same time and fired. Both of us shot the same Indian as he was nearest to us, and we could see that he had a long rifle laying across the horse in front of him. We had both noticed before we jumped off that there were two on one horse, and at the crack of my gun the nearest Indian pitched head foremost off the horse, and with him went the gun and a big quarter of horse meat that he had laying across the horse's withers.
“The other two Indians jumped off the horse they were riding, and began firing at me, as I was in the open ground and Townsend was behind a small bunch of grass brush and the Indians had the horse between them and Townsend. They fired three or four shots at me, one with a Henry rifle and the other with a six shooter. I was jumping sidewise and trying to reload my rifle when Townsend got in a shot and broke the right arm of the Indian who had the rifle. Then they both started to run, keeping as much as possible the brush between them and us. They had run only a few steps when they ran together, and the one with the six shooter got the Henry rifle and gave the pistol to the one with the broken arm. All of this time I was trying to get a shot, but there was too much brush and they were taking advantage of it.
“Then we both made a dash for our horses. Townsend's horse had stood still where he left him, but mine had moved off a little way, and I suppose he did the wise thing, for if he had stood right beside me as the other horse did, he might have been shot and killed. When I ran toward the horse he became frightened and would not let me catch him. When I realized that I could not catch him readily, I started running after the Indians. Townsend had started along the side of a low hill trying to get a shot, and at the same time trying to head them off to give me a chance. The Indians kept in the wash which headed about one-quarter of a mile from where we shot the first one. Along the wash on each side was a growth of oak brush higher than a man's head, which prevented Townsend from getting a shot. Townsend was on the left of the Indians, which made it necessary for him to turn in his saddle in order to use his gun. He said if he had been on the other side he could have had plenty of shots at them.
“At the head of the gulch there was a low divide, and there the Indians separated. One ran down the gulch and the other through some brush and was out of sight, but Townsend kept in sight of the one with the rifle and followed him for something like a mile before he got a good show to shoot. Then he hit him in the back of the head and killed him instantly. When Townsend rode up to where the Indian lay he took hold of his ankle to pull him down out of some brush, and the grain of his hide slipped like he had been scalded. When I came up to Townsend he was examining the Henry rifle, and he asked me if I had seen the wounded Indian,
“One of the soldiers had noticed a road leading up the mountainside across the valley some eight or ten miles away, and recognized it as a road that he had traveled several years ago, and said that it led from old Camp Reno on Tonto Creek to Green Valley. That was the first that we had an idea where we were at. From what I can learn from people who have lived in that country, the creek that we were camped on is now known as Wild Rye.
“The next morning we were out as soon as we could see and tried to locate the wounded Indian. We found his track where he had crawled through the brush and skulked along for nearly half a mile, then in some way he built a signal fire and other Indians had come to him during the night and taken him away. So Townsend only counted eight for the trip. After satisfying ourselves that there was no show to find the wounded Indian, we took the trail and about ten o'clock struck Tonto Creek and the old wagon road before mentioned. The Indian trail led down the creek to a point below a small canyon that the road was built around. There the Indians had left the road and creek and taken to the hills again, going east. Here we halted for the first time to consult. As our horses were in very bad shape (several being entirely or partially barefooted) and our grub all gone, that
“Some of the party were in favor of going back and trying to get home via Camp Verde. It was also suggested by some that we might as well take our back trail. The suggestion made some merriment among the wise ones, and Townsend spoke up and said five hundred men could not get back by the way we came without losing half of them. Townsend hunted up the soldier who had recognized the wagon road the day before, and learned what he could about the country and the road. The soldier had been over the road but once, but he thought we were not more than a few miles from Old Camp Reno and from there there had been wagons over the Reno Mountain road. We concluded to go to McDowell, and as we began to mount our horses, Townsend remarked, ‘We will have to be on our guard from now on or somebody may get hurt.’ That was the most talk that he had made on the trip at any one time, and the lieutenant had not said that much so as to be heard by the citizen part of the crowd, and we all began to think he was all right. Even Jeff Davis had quit calling him ‘corporal’ when he had occasion to address him, and called him ‘Mr. Morton.’ We were halted on a mesa of a considerable extent while we were consulting about the road to take. The mesa was covered with prehistoric ruins of some kind, and they had covered many acres of ground. We had a good road until we
“As we found a fine large stream or spring near the old camp we concluded to camp there that night to rest our horses. Several of the citizens had walked all the morning to favor their horses. My own horse was very lame, and the first thing that I did after reaching the camp was to hunt up the old blacksmith shop, and I found plenty of shoes that were good enough to keep a horse's foot off the ground. I also picked up quite a lot of nails, most of which had been bent, but I got enough to put a shoe onto my own horse and a lot to spare for the others. While several other men and I were hunting for the nails, we were startled by seeing some of the fellows in camp run to their horses, while others were running to camp from where they had been picking blackberries, of which there was quite a patch at this place,—the first that I had ever seen on the Pacific coast growing wild. The excitement was caused by a big cloud of dust about two miles up the McDowell road— just at the mouth of a canyon that the road passes through before it reaches the open mesa country. Our first impression was that it was
“Our party slept at the Old Post that night, and we could see signal fires in every direction on the mountains. The next day we started to make McDowell. Townsend spoke to the lieutenant, whom we had all learned to like by this time, and told him to have his men keep close up and not get scattered as there was liable to be Indians trying to cut off any who might lag behind. It was a long rough ride over the Reno Mountains, and we were all tired after the excitement of the chase and our horses were badly fagged and sore footed. We scattered out on both sides of the road and after we came in sight of McDowell (which we could see ten or twelve miles away) I was riding on the upper side of the road and Townsend was below the road. I noticed him working his way up toward me and when he got alongside he said to me, ‘Suppose they don't give us rations when we get down there,’ nodding at the post, ‘what shall we do?’ I replied, ‘I don't know.’ Says he, in an undertone, ‘We will take the post,’ and turned to go back to his place in the line of march. As he started off, I said, ‘All right, Townsend.’ I will say here that we had been living off the soldiers' rations after the third day out and had eaten everything they had the day before, except some mescal that we had found in the Indian camps.
“Our party broke up next day at the Bowers ranch, having been gone eleven days and recovered all but fourteen head of the horses and mules stolen. The soldiers went to Camp Verde, and those of the citizens that didn't belong in the Agua Fria Valley, returned to Prescott, where we found the citizens organizing a searching party to go out and find and bury us. As they didn't know that we had joined issues with the soldiers, they concluded that the Indians had got us into some tight place like the Black Mesa on the East Fork of the Verde, and killed
“When I had put my team back in Brook & Lind's stable, I walked down across the plaza, and someone introduced me to a Mr. John Dun, from Virginia City, Nevada. We talked a few minutes and he asked me to come into the store a minute (we were standing in front of Levy Bashford's store). Dun said: ‘Mr. Bashford, give me that gun, if you please.’ Bashford went and brought out a new Winchester rifle, one of the latest models. Mr. Dun passed the gun to me and said: ‘See if that is any good. If it is, keep it.’ I certainly kept it until it was burned with my house and all its contents in Salt River Valley. That act of Dun must have suggested
“The night's entertainment consisted, first, of a wine supper, the table being the full length of a new store that Bashford was building. In the center of the table was a row of wine baskets set end to end the whole length of the table. This wine was Hammond's Port Wine,—the first I ever saw. The first course served was wine, and then Judge Howard made a little speech, and winked with both eyes. Then we had a course of wine, then a short speech from R. C. McCormick, and another course of wine. We had short speeches and wine until most of the party went wine-ding home. The old Prescott pioneers did do things right when they started.
“The next morning, having my load all ready the night before, I started with William H. Smith and Charles Boyce for Skull Valley. Arriving at the Bowers station where there were several military officers sitting on the porch, I drove up alongside of the steps, and as my wife and Mrs. Bowers came down the steps, I handed my wife the holsters that I had put the indigo