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Famous Indians of Southeast Arizona


COCHISE, as the fabulous leader of the Apaches in the southwestern United States, gave the U.S. Army hell for years. The Apaches knew every canyon and valley, every hill and crag, every stream and spring, and almost every sage bush behind which to hide. They would attack travelers or settlers, wagon trains, or whatever else offered itself as a target, both north and south of the Mexican border. They would disappear into the mountains and scatter, often ambushing their pursuers. The Apaches were a foe no less formidable than the Confederacy of Six Nations, which at one time threatened the very existence of the newly founded American nation.

For some ten years Cochise and his small band held the army at bay and waged a bloody war throughout southern Arizona. In 1872 he finally surrendered and practically dictated the terms under which he would cease his activities. Torn Jeifords, who operated a stage line through the Cochise country and was a highly regarded friend of Cochise, was instrumental in arranging his surrender to General 0.0. Howard.

The birth date of Cochise is not definitely known, but he died at Camp Bowie, Arizona, on June 8, 1874. He had been ill for several weeks.

There is a park in SE Arizona, near Sunsites, called Cochise Stronghold. This is where Cochise and his band lived and held off the US Calvery. Cochise was buried in a secret revine here, along with his favorite horse and dog, with only one white man, Torn Jeifords, in attendance. Today you can hike 5 miles to Cochise Stronghold on a marked trail. The park has an area for RV's and picnic's. It also has a short walk through history of Cochise. It is reached by a 12 mile, mostly primitive, road near Sunsites.

Cochise and Apache Site

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Geronimo {jur-ahn'-i-moh}, or Goyathlay ("one who yawns"), was born in 1829 in what is today western New Mexico, but was then still Mexican territory. He was a Bedonkohe Apache (grandson of Mahko) by birth and a Net'na during his youth and early manhood. His wife, Juh, Geronimo's cousin Ishton, and Asa Daklugie were members of the Nednhi band of the Chiricahua Apache. He was reportedly given the name Geronimo by Mexican soldiers, although few agree as to why. As leader of the Apaches at Arispe in Sonora, he performed such daring feats that the Mexicans singled him out with the sobriquet Geronimo (Spanish or "Jerome"). Some attributed his numerous raiding successes to powers conferred by supernatural beings, including a reputed invulnerability to bullets. Geronimo's war career was linked with that of his brother-in-law, Juh, a Chiricahua chief. Although he was not a hereditary leader, Geronimo appeared so to outsiders because he often acted as spokesman for Juh, who had a speech impediment. Geronimo was the leader of the last American Indian fighting force formally to capitulate to the United States. Because he fought against such daunting odds and held out the longest, he became the most famous Apache of all. To the pioneers and settlers of Arizona and New Mexico, he was a bloody-handed murderer and this image endured until the second half of this century.

To the Apaches, Geronimo embodied the very essence of the Apache values, agressiveness, courage in the face of difficulty. These qualities inspired fear in the settlers of Arizona and New Mexico. The Chiricahuas were mostly migratory following the seasons, hunting and farming. When food was scarce, it was the custom to raid neighboring tribes. Raids and vengeance were an honorable way of life among the tribes of this region. By the time American settlers began arriving in the area, the Spanish had become entrenched in the area. They were always looking for Indian slaves and Christian converts. One of the most pivotal moments in Geronimo's life was in 1858 when he returned home from a trading excursion into Mexico. He found his wife, his mother and his three young children murdered by Spanish troops from Mexico. This reportedly caused him to have such a hatred of the whites that he vowed to kill as many as he could. From that day on he took every opportunity he could to terrorize Mexican settlements and soon after this incident he received his power, which came to him in visions. Geronimo was never a chief, but a medicine man, a seer and a spiritual and intellectual leader both in and out of battle. The Apache chiefs depended on his wisdom. When the Chiricahua were forcibly removed (1876) to arid land at San Carlos, in eastern Arizona, Geronimo fled with a band of followers into Mexico. He was soon arrested and returned to the new reservation. For the remainder of the 1870s, he and Juh led a quiet life on the reservation, but with the slaying of an Apache prophet in 1881, they returned to full-time activities from a secret camp in the Sierra Madre Mountains. In 1875 all Apaches west of the Rio Grande were ordered to the San Carlos Reservation. Geronimo escaped from the reservation three times and although he surrendered, he always managed to avoid capture. In 1876, the U.S. Army tried to move the Chiricahuas onto a reservation, but Geronimo fled to Mexico eluding the troops for over a decade. Sensationalized press reports exaggerated Geronimo's activities, making him the most feared and infamous Apache. The last few months of the campaign required over 5,000 soldiers, one-quarter of the entire Army, and 500 scouts, and perhaps up to 3,000 Mexican soldiers to track down Geronimo and his band. In May 1882, Apache scouts working for the U.S. army surprised Geronimo in his mountain sanctuary, and he agreed to return with his people to the reservation. After a year of farming, the sudden arrest and imprisonment of the Apache warrior Ka-ya-ten-nae, together with rumors of impending trials and hangings, prompted Geronimo to flee on May 17, 1885, with 35 warriors and 109 women, children and youths. In January 1886, Apache scouts penetrated Juh's seemingly impregnable hideout. This action induced Geronimo to surrender (Mar. 25, 1886) to Gen. George CROOK. Geronimo later fled but finally surrendered to Gen. Nelson MILES on Sept. 4, 1886. The government breached its agreement and transported Geronimo and nearly 450 Apache men, women, and children to Florida for confinement in Forts Marion and Pickens. In 1894 they were removed to Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Geronimo became a rancher, appeared (1904) at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, sold Geronimo souvenirs, and rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's 1905 inaugural parade. Geronimo's final surrender in 1886 was the last significant Indian guerrilla action in the United States. At the end, his group consisted of only 16 warriors, 12 women, and 6 children. Upon their surrender, Geronimo and over 300 of his fellow Chiricahuas were shipped to Fort Marion, Florida. One year later many of them were relocated to the Mt. Vernon barracks in Alabama, where about one quarter died from tuberculosis and other diseases. Geronimo died on Feb. 17, 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland. He was buried in the Apache cemetery at: Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 437 Quanah Road, Fort Sill, OK (73503-5000)

GERONIMO LINK: Return to Indigenous Peoples' Literature

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apache kid
The Apache Kid (center)

'Apache Kid'

The Kid is believed to have been born about 1860 at Wheatfields, just north of what is now Globe. However, there are claims for his birthplace that range from Aravaipa Canyon to the White Mountain Reservation. Believe he was a Pinal Apache, probably born near Wheatfields. He later became a part of Capitán Chiquito's band, which ranged throughout this whole region. Wherever he was born, by the 1870s he was often in the Globe area, doing odd jobs for miners and soldiers. It is believed that he was befriended by the great scout Al Sieber in the Globe area. Sieber seemed to consider him almost like a son. Wherever Sieber went, the Kid was there also. It is known that the Kid picked up a considerable amount of scouting lore from Sieber. It is not known exactly when the Kid became a scout, but he must have done so when he was still a teenager. He was already a sergeant in the Battle of Big Dry Wash in July 1882. The renegade Na-ti-o-tish was killed in this engagement, the last big battle between Apaches and U.S. troops in the United States.

feather In 1883 the Kid accompanied General Crook in his great expedition to the Sierra Madre. The Kid was well thought of by all the soldiers at that time. The Kid was probably also in Crook's 1886 campaign against Geronimo in Mexico. Immediately after the 1886 surrender of Geronimo, the trusted scout, Kid, himself became embroiled in affairs that were to result in great tragedy. Sometime in about May 1887 the Kid shot another Apache during a bout of drinking. It is more than likely that this killing was in revenge for the killing of his father, Togo-de-Chuz, although the real circumstances are not actually known. Whatever the reason, the Kid felt remorseful about what he had done and went to San Carlos to turn himself in. On 1 June 1887 Sieber was at the location where the Kid turned himself in. There is considerable confusion about what happened that day, but Sieber was shot in the leg and crippled for life. It is known that the Kid did not actually fire any kind of weapon, but Sieber seemed to consider the Kid at least partially responsible. The Kid escaped and tried to hide, but on 25 June 1887 he decided to surrender again at San Carlos. He was put on trial and sent to Alcatraz briefly, for intent to murder. On Stagecoach Road, in Pinals over which Apache Kid rode, there then occurred a torturous series of events, concerning judicial jurisdiction, and administrative matters, that are difficult to explain in a short presentation like this. Nevertheless, by October 1889 the Kid was placed on trial in Globe Arizona again. There were several other Apaches on trial at that time also in Globe. Of course, it was nearly impossible for any Apache to be acquitted in Arizona at that time. So the Kid was placed on a stagecoach to go to prison in Yuma. Several convicted companions were also with him. South of the Pinals, not far from what is now called Kearny (Ripsey Wash), the Kid and his companions killed Sheriff Glenn Reynolds (a legend himself). One of the guards, "Hunkydory" Holmes, died of a heart attack. Another guard, Gene Middleton, was severely wounded, but survived. Through it all the Kid killed no one. It was his companions who did the actual killing. The Kid even saved Middleton's life at one point, convincing one of the real killers to leave him alone. After this fiasco, the Kid disappeared into the wilderness. Although all of his companions were later captured or killed, the Kid was never again apprehended.

And this is where the mystery becomes very strange indeed. A bounty was placed on the Kid's head, and he is supposed to have killed many people after his escape. Some of the San Carlos Apaches also believe that he stole, or persuaded, several women to accompany him in his adventures. It is truly hard to know exactly what did happen to him. But, many (even some of his own people) began to fear him greatly. Others seemed to protect him. Whatever the case, he is believed to have eventually gone to Mexico, where he joined a few remnants of Geronimo's band who were never captured. The Kid probably died in Mexico with these last few holdouts of the old, free Apache way of life.
(Author: Paul R. Machula, Email to:, Postal Address: Route 1 Box 34, Globe, AZ 85501)(Picture: Joy Thompson)

Click for Anasazi, Mogollon, Hohokam

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Click on Map for larger image. Shows Indian Reservtions in Arizona.

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  • Visit the Apache Warriers Page for more information on Indians that roamed the Southwest USA...Homepage of Paul R Machula, email at:
  • Arizona History and Heritage Collection...Also go to HOME Page

    This page is a composit of many great sites found on the internet. Thank you to those that I have 'borrowed' from to make this page interesting.

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