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A General History Of Arizona


In 1864, a member of the Walker Party named King S. Woolsey conducted several raids against the Apache Indians. Woolsey stopped at nothing when it came to killing Indians. He was probably best known for poisoning Apache Indians with strychnine in 1864 while prospecting in the Bradshaw Mountains. Later that year, Woolsey led an expedition to Fish Creek Canyon, near the Salt River, in search of hostile Apaches. Woolsey's command, which included Daniel E. Connor, Abraham Peeples, Juan Chivaria, Cyrus Lennan, and Joe Dye, fell upon an Apache camp on Fish Creek, killing over 20 warriors. Cyrus Lennan lost his life in this engagement.

The following year, General John S. Mason led a military expedition into Apache country. During this campaign, Mason's troops had numerous encounters with the hostile Apaches. In 1866, several companies of civilian militia were raised to fight the Apaches, among them the Arizona Volunteers and the Yavapai County Rangers. The Arizona Volunteers, consisting of Anglos, Mexicans, and friendly Pima Indians, killed over 100 hostile Apaches that year.

The year 1866 also witnessed the death of Herman Ehrenberg near present-day Palm Springs, California. Ehrenberg was a prominent figure in the early mining history of Arizona. In 1855, Ehrenberg produced the first accurate map of the Gadsden Purchase; the following year, he and his partner, Charles D. Poston, established their mining business at Tubac. Ehrenberg had lived a life of adventure: in 1836, he miraculously survived the Fannin Massacre at Goliad, Texas. After the war, he traveled extensively, visiting Europe, Hawaii, the South Seas, and Mexico. His final journey ended near present-day Palm Springs, California, where he was killed by Mojave Indians. Another man of adventure passed away that year. On October 15, 1866, after leading several fruitless expeditions in search of his lost mine, Thomas L. "Peg-leg" Smith died in San Francisco.

In the summer of 1867, the aging mountain man, Joseph Reddeford Walker, left Arizona forever. Walker's wandering days were over. Accompanied by Daniel E. Connor, Walker journeyed west from Prescott, Arizona to the Colorado River. Crossing over to the California side, the legendary mountain man eventually made his way to Manzanita Ranch, where he retired. Powell Weaver's wandering days also come to an end that year. Weaver passed away near Fort Whipple, Arizona.

Meanwhile, the war with the Apache Indians continued unabated. In 1869, the Apaches ruled supreme throughout most of Arizona. Cochise was the undisputed master of southeastern Arizona. From his stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains, the great Chiricahua war chief carried out his raids on the white men. 1869 was also the year of Corydon E. Cooley's first expedition into the upper Salt River country in search of the fabled Lost Thorn Mine. Somewhere in the rugged mountains near the headwaters of the Salt River, "Doc" Thorn had seen a fabulous deposit of gold and silver nuggets. A curious, hat-shaped butte marked the deposit. Cooley's first expedition was unsuccessful; he soon organized a second trip with Calvin Jackson, Adna French, Rodney McKinnon, and Jacob Snively and continued the search. A number of expeditions were mounted to search for the Lost Thorn mine during this period of time. The largest expedition, which included Ed Peck, Al Sieber, Willard Rice, Lew Ellit, and Governor A.P.K. Safford, was organized by Thomas Miner. (Although they were unable to find the Lost Thorn mine, several members of the Miner expedition eventually managed to acquire mining properties in Arizona. One of the richest silver mines in Arizona, the Peck mine, was discovered by Ed Peck during a scouting expedition. Willard Rice was an experienced prospector who had worked in the California gold fields; he was the owner of the Cornucopia mine, located in the Cherry District. Al Sieber, George B. Kell, and George Hull


discovered the famous Copper Queen mine, near Jerome, Arizona in 1874.)

In November of 1870, 1st Lieutenant Royal E. Whitman arrived in Arizona. Whitman's assignment was Camp Grant, a small post located near the junction of Aravaipa Creek and the San Pedro River. With Whitman's arrival at Camp Grant, there began a chain of events that eventually culminated in the infamous Camp Grant Massacre. Royal E. Whitman was a fair-minded and conscientious officer who quickly established a special rapport with the local Apaches. Soon, a number of friendly Apaches were living near the fort. Then disaster struck. On April 29, 1871, a large party of Anglos, Mexicans, and Papago Indians descended on the Apache camp near Fort Grant, killing over 120 Indians. The majority of the dead were women and children. This raiding party was led by an adventurer from Virginia named William Sanders Oury. (Oury participated in most of the engagements of the Texas Revolution. He was at the Alamo with William B. Travis but fortunately, was sent out just prior to the massacre. Oury fought in the final battle of the San Jacinto and later became a Texas Ranger. In 1849, Oury joined the exodus of gold-seekers on their way to California. In 1856, William Sanders Oury and his brother Granville arrived in Tucson.) The Camp Grant Massacre resulted in a dramatic increase in Apache raids throughout southern Arizona. On May 5, 1871, the finest cavalry officer serving in Arizona, Lieutenant Howard Bass Cushing, was killed by Apaches in the Whetstone Mountains. (His brother Alonzo was killed at Gettysburg during Pickett's Charge. He died heroically defending the famous "Bloody Angle" against a surge of Confederate infantry. Now, both brothers were gone.) The following month, John Benjamin Townsend led an expedition into the mountains in search of hostile Apaches, eventually killing over 35.

Taos Plaza
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June of 1871 proved to be a turning point in the war against the Apaches. During that month, General George Crook arrived in Arizona. Crook would eventually defeat the hostile bands by employing Apache scouts to find their own people. But that was still several years in the future. Shortly after Crook's arrival, a peace commission led by Vincent Colyer arrived in Arizona with authority to treat with the Indians. The peace commission took priority over military operations and Crook was forced to halt his campaign in mid-stride. Colyer met with several Apache bands during his visit. Treaties were signed that officially set aside four locations in Arizona and New Mexico that would serve as reservations for the Apaches. These were: Camp Grant, Camp Verde, Fort Apache, and the Tularosa valley of New Mexico. Unfortunately, the peace treaties did nothing to stop the raids from the many hostile bands still out on the warpath. On November 5, 1871, seven people were massacred by Apaches near Wickenburg, Arizona. The victims included Frederick W. Loring, a writer from Massachusetts who was a member of the famous Wheeler Surveying Expedition. 1871 was marked by the death of another famous figure in Arizona history. On March 18, 1871, that tireless prospector, Jacob Snively, was killed by Yavapai Indians in the White Picacho Mountains, some 20 miles east of Wickenburg. He was prospecting at the time.

In July of 1872, General Oliver O. Howard met with the great Chiricahua leader Cochise in the Dragoon Mountains and managed to negotiate a treaty. General Howard was assisted by Thomas Jonathan Jeffords, the only white man to gain the trust of the Chiricahua chief. (A few years before, the Chiricahuas had made a habit of attacking the mail run between Tucson and Fort Bowie. The superintendent, Thomas J. Jeffords, decided to meet with Cochise personally to try to stop the raids. Cochise admired the incredible bravery of Jeffords who actually rode into the Chiricahua camp by himself in search of the chief! A truce was reached and the two became fast friends. This remarkable friendship was never broken.

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