[page 149]


[A large portion of this chapter is from personal narratives kindly tendered me by Ex-Gov. A. P. K. Safford, of Arizona.)

AN estimable lady who was a near neighbor to the Governor in Arizona was taken captive by the Apachés together with a young Spanish girl who was living with her. The Indians came to the house while the men were absent. On leaving the house, the Indians traveled rapidly, as they knew quite well they would be pursued. Toward the close of the first day's travel, the Indians became satisfied that the woman could not travel with them. She had struggled with all her might to give them no trouble, knowing that her life depended upon it. An old man walked beside her most of the day, who could speak Spanish. He talked constantly of the wrongs they had suffered from the whites.

She told him if they had been wronged that she

[page 150]

was not responsible. ‘‘But,’’ said the old man, ‘‘“you are a race of villians. Your tongues are forked. My people were once a powerful tribe and owned all this country. Now we are compelled to hide like the coyotes. Our people have been murdered. Our country has been taken from us, and I hate you all.”’’ During the day she had been allowed to travel behind; but towards evening several savages dropped behind, and without a moment's warning, several spears were plunged into her body, and she was thrown down a bank for dead. She laid where she was thrown for several hours unconscious; but during the night she heard voices, and among them recognized her husband's. Being so weak, however, from loss of blood she could not speak nor move, and they passed on in pursuit of the Indians, not knowing that they had passed within a few feet of her. The next day she recovered sufficient strength, and commenced to crawl towards home, she was sixteen days crawling back, with nothing to eat, save the roots and leaves that she gathered on the way. She had been pierced with sixteen spears, three of which had entered the cavity of the body, but to-day she is alive and well. Failing to overtake the Indians, negotiations were opened to ransom them. The little girl was brought to the place designated and ransomed for gold. But the woman was reported dead and you can imagine the agreeable

[page 152]


[page 153]

surprise when she returned. At first, however, they believed she was a spirit; and it required some time before she could convince them that she was flesh and blood. A few months later her husband, father, and three brothers were murdered, and she was left alone, but subsequently married an excellent man, and a happier, or better family, cannot be found.

Another case is told of a family who lived a few miles from the capital of the Territory. The husband was a member of the Legislature. While engaged making laws, the Indians made an attack upon his house. His wife and a hired man determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible, and as the savages approached near the house, the good wife discharged her trusty rifle and at each discharge, a savage ‘‘bit the dust.’’ Finally, the ammunition began to get short. She sent the hired man with a letter to her husband, saying, ‘‘“John, the Indians are here. Send me plenty of powder and lead. Don't neglect your duties by coming home, for I am master of the situation, and can hold the house.”’’

In another place there was a husband and wife, a little child, and several hired men. The house had been attacked when only the woman and an old man were at home; but the woman stood with rifle in hand, and defended the house until her husband and a few men came to her relief. Her husband begged the

[page 154]

Governor to take her to a more secure place, which he would have gladly done. But when he mentioned it to her, she grew pale and said, ‘‘“Do not, I pray you, mention this to me again. I can watch for the savages, and give him warning of their coming. If they come I can assist to repel them. And if he must die, I can die with him.”’’ This brave little woman and her husband are still alive, prosperous and happy, I understand.

We will narrate one more case, where a farmer was tilling the soil some distance from his house. The Indians had attacked and killed most of the people in the settlements nearest to him but he was unconscious of the fact. The Governor went to warn him of his danger, and urged him to abandon his farm. He said he could not; that his wife and children would suffer for bread if he did not gather his grain. The Governor urged him to leave. Before the week passed the Indians came, they swarmed upon him with their spears, expecting to obtain an easy victim, but he turned upon them with his repeating rifle, and the first, second, and third, fell a lifeless corpse, when the others ran. He continued his fire upon them, and before they got out of the range of his gun, four more were sent to the ‘‘happy hunting ground.’’ Unfortunately, however, a random shot from the retreating

[page 155]

Indians crushed his ankle and made him a cripple for life.

Who are the beings that perpetrated these atrocities?

I have only attempted to give a few of the scenes encountered in the settlement of Arizona. I will now mention briefly the Indians who were the actors in these bloody tragedies. The Apachés are of medium size, physically quick and active, and are capable of enduring great hardships. Their muscles of locomotion have peen developed to the fullest extent, and they are capable of moving with great rapidity. When making raids no horse can overtake or keep up with them.

Intellectually they are very shrewd, have good command of language, are quite witty and fond of joking.

Governor Safford was present at the first attempt to make a general peace between them, and the whites, and the friendly Indians. The Conference lasted two days; and the chiefs who spoke for the Indians argued their points with great ingenuity, and, far excelled in shrewdness the tame Indians. One of the most vexatious things we had to deal with on that occasion was the case of some captive Apaché children that had been taken by the whites, and given to different families in the country. The Indians demanded, as one of the conditions, that these children should be

[page 156]

brought in and given up to them. The children had been with the whites so long that they had forgotten their parents, and had as much affection for their adopted parents as though they had been their natural offsprings; and the adopted parents reciprocated the feeling. It was a heartrending separation. The children clung to their adopted parents with deathlike tenacity; and to tear them from weeping women and turn them over to naked Savages was a scene, as the Governor said, he hoped never again to witness. We tried in every way to compromise with them, and save the children. We offered them money, horses, anything they might covet. But they replied; ‘‘“Do you think we are dogs, and would sell our own children?”’’

The principal spokesman upon that occasion, and who is now chief of the Apachés, is named Eskimenzen. I shall never forget with what pride and pomp he rode down to the place of meeting on his noble charger, with his favorite squaw seated behind him. He was then about thirty five years old; tall and straight, and moved with the dignity and independence of a king.

As he sprang from his horse he gave the reins to his wife. She was young, and very pretty for one of her race; and looked with pride and admiration upon her liege lord. All day long she remained seated upon the horse intent upon hearing every word that

[page 157]

escaped from her husband. Eskimenzen was bold, defiant, and unreconstructed. He was a wild man, filled with hatred and suspicion of the white man. ‘‘I had grave doubts about the peace enduring,’’ said the Governor, ‘‘and it was not long before my doubts were realized.’’ The Indians were subsequently however, very roughly handled, and afterwards sued for peace in good faith. They are now living quietly and peacably on a reservation. The Governor said, ‘‘“I have been much interested in the great change in action and feeling that has been made in these Indians. I have often talked with great freedom with Eskimenzen. Not long ago he said to me, “you can hardly imagine what an erroneous opinion I had of the white people before I became well acquainted with you. I supposed that no other condition could exist between us except war. As far back as legend carried us we had been at war with every one with whom we came in contact, and I supposed that must go on, until one or the other race was exterminated. But now I see there are good and bad among the whites, as well as among the Indians, and that many of you desire to help us, and want to see us prosperous and happy. I see that your ways are better than our ways for you lay up something ahead and never have to go hungry as we often did. I am getting old, and I am past the time to make much improvement, but I want my children

[page 158]

to grow up like white children, and learn to work and read and write.”’’

Thus it will be seen that our misunderstandings, quarrels and fights, whether with our own people or the rude savages, are mainly brought about by not knowing and understanding each other. These wild men fought us cruelly, savagely, unrelentingly. But from their stand-point they believed that they were doing right, and that we were all wrong. At this time when Eskimenzen broke the peace, the first man he killed was his friend who had been very kind to him. I afterwards asked him why he killed his friend, and he replied that he wanted to break the peace; that any coward could kill an enemy, but it took a brave man to kill a friend.

Cochise was the greatest war chief the Apachés ever had. He never was whipped in a fight, and was a natural born chief. He was kind to his men, and never tasted food until they were first supplied. But he exacted in return, implicit obedience to his commands, and a very slight deviation cost the offender his life. He had no more hesitation in plunging his spear through the heart of one of his own men, than in killing an enemy in battle. I met him once and spent one day with him at his camp in the mountains. He gave me a history of his wrongs; and although he had been the cause of killing more white men, than

[page 160]


[page 161]


[page 163]

any other chief or Indian, and had been cruel beyond discription in his tortures, I could not help but feel that he had been deeply wronged; and, that from the light given him, and the law and morals upon which he had been educated, he had acted conscientiously, and had done what he believed to be right. He was a man of great energy, of superior ability and firmness of purpose, and was generally faithful to his promises. He was tall, straight and commanding in appearance, and his features were regular with a placid, though rather sad countenance. He rarely ever smiled, and was thoughtful and studied in all his expressions. I talked to him of the superior advantages of civilization, but he replied, ‘‘I am too old to adopt new customs.’’ He had captives with him who could speak and read the Spanish language, and he was well advised of everything the newspapers said about him. He expressed a desire that his children should learn to read and write, ‘‘but of us old people’’ he said; ‘‘you can make nothing of us but wild men.’’ He died a natural death three years ago. During the last three years of his life he and his people lived at peace with the citizens of Arizona, but carried on a relentless war against the Mexicans across the frontier. I tried to persuade him to cease this warfare, as it was liable to involve him and the people of Arizona in difficulty. But his eyes flashed fire with indignation at the mention

[page 164]

of making peace with the Mexican people; and he said; ‘‘“while life is spared me, I will never cease to hate and kill that infamous people. I know their treachery to my sorrow. I once placed confidence in them only to be betrayed. Many years ago I became tired of war, and made peace with them. I crossed the line and settled in their Country, and everything seemed harmonious and lovely. After we had remained there a few months and all passed on pleasantly, the Mexican authorities proposed to get up a grand barbacue to celebrate the era of love and good will. All the Indians and vast numbers of Mexicans came together and hundreds of cattle were slaughtered for the occasion. Liquor was freely given which resulted in the intoxication of many of my bravest and best soldiers. When they were in this helpless condition, an indiscriminate massacre was commenced, of my braves, women and children. By this treachery we lost a large number of our people, but I with some of my followers, were spared; and since that time we have done what we could to revenge that terrible wrong. If we have been cruel, then they set the example to us. That they have greatly suffered at our hands I know full well. They now cry for peace, but there can be no peace between us.”’’

Since the Apacheé Indians have been brought on the reservation, and have become tame, and acquainted

[page 165]

with civilization, they have undergone a great change, and appear like a different people. They have commenced to labor, and seem desirous, many of them, to earn their own living. They have accumulated some property, and it would now be difficult to drive a large majority of them on the war path. They have for several years been self-governing; the police duties have been entirely performed by men belonging to the tribe, and these policemen have in every instance been vigilant and true. In one instance an Indian attempted to kill the U. S. Agent at the reservation, but was almost instantly killed himself by his brother, who was acting as a policeman. All the Indians that I have ever met are superstitious, and are firm believers in witchcraft. A witch is considered a very great criminal, or rather, an unclean and dangerous spirit and not fit to live. Many are killed for this grave offence. The victims are almost invariably women, and generally aged. Death, pestilence, or any great calamity is usually charged to the influence of witches, who have to pay the penalty by death. Their doctors practice their profession by sorcery. They chant songs and go through with all manner of mysterious manoeuvres. If the patient gets well, the cure is conceded to the doctor. But if he is unsuccessful in his practice, and cannot prove that his ill success is attributable to the interference of witches,

[page 166]

he often pays the penalty by death. Last Spring, the Governor took a scouting party of Indians into Mexico. One of them had a felon on his finger. I applied the usual remedies, but the night before it broke he lost all faith in my skill. He called in the Indian doctor, and the night was spent in chanting. In the morning the sore broke. The patient was relieved, and the Indian doctor received full credit for performing the cure. By Indian custom the woman is the property of the man. When an Indian desires to marry, he purchases his wife from the father. A man is allowed as many wifes as he is able to purchase. She is thus his property to do with as he pleases. He can beat her at will, and even kill her if he so inclines. Of course she is treated according to the disposition of the husband. Some are kind and indulgent while others are brutal and cruel. There is nothing in Indian custom to which they cling with more tenacity than this supreme power over their wives; and no Indian, however unjust or cruel another may be, ever thinks of interfering to protect her; and the sentiment of a whole tribe has often been united against the efforts of agents who have tried to correct these abuses. Infidelity on the part of the women among the Apaches is usually punished by cutting off their noses. I have seen many thus mutilated. These customs seem very strange to us; but it must be

[page 167]

borne in mind that within the history of our own country, with all the advantages of books and education, many people have been by our laws executed for witchcraft. The subject of man's superiority and power to rule and control women too, has only vanished as we have advanced in civilization; and there yet remains many abuses to correct before we place women on that high plain which God designed they should occupy. While we may deeply regret the benighted condition of the red man, we must bear in mind that they are unlettered, and have never received the light and elevated influence of the Christian religion.

But we might run on in this strain until our powers of speech were exhausted, and then leave much behind. This is but one chapter. A thousand might be written. When we had first learned of the wealth that lies hidden within the folds of Arizona, we might think it was neglect on the people's part, and ask the question, why has it not been worked? But when we learn of its history and former conditions, as explained in this chapter, any stigma is cast aside, and we forget the past, in our eagerness to grasp the brilliant present and future.


© Arizona Board of Regents