Geronimo’s Story of His Life | Full Audiobook with subtitles | Native American History


Dedicatory, Preface, Introductory of Geronimo’s
Story of His Life. Geronimo’s Story of His Life by Geronimo.
DEDICATORY by GERONIMO. Because he has given me permission to tell
my story; because he has read that story and knows I try to speak the truth;
because I believe that he is fair-minded and will cause my people to
receive justice in the future; and because he is chief of a great
people, I dedicate this story of my life to Theodore Roosevelt, President
of the United States. GERONIMO. PREFACE
The initial idea of the compilation of this work was to give the reading
public an authentic record of the private life of the Apache Indians,
and to extend to Geronimo as a prisoner of war the courtesy due any
captive, _i. e._, the right to state the causes which impelled him in
his opposition to our civilization and laws. If the Indians’ cause has been properly presented,
the captives’ defense clearly stated, and the general store of information
regarding vanishing types increased, I shall be satisfied. I desire to acknowledge valuable suggestions
from Maj. Charles Taylor, Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Dr. J. M. Greenwood,
Kansas City, Missouri, and President David R. Boyd, of the University
of Oklahoma. I especially desire in this connection to
say that without the kindly advice and assistance of President Theodore
Roosevelt this book could not have been written. Respectfully, S. M. BARRETT. LAWTON, OKLAHOMA.
_August 14, 1906_. INTRODUCTORY
I first met Geronimo in the summer of 1904, when I acted for him as
interpreter of English into Spanish, and vice versa, in selling a war
bonnet. After that he always had a pleasant word for me when we met, but
never entered into a general conversation with me until he learned that
I had once been wounded by a Mexican. As soon as he was told of this, he
came to see me and expressed freely his opinion of the average Mexican,
and his aversion to all Mexicans in general. I invited him to visit me again, which he
did, and upon his invitation, I visited him at his tepee in the Fort Sill
Military reservation. In the summer of 1905 Dr. J. M. Greenwood,
superintendent of schools at Kansas City, Missouri, visited me, and I took
him to see the chief. Geronimo was quite formal and reserved until
Dr. Greenwood said, “I am a friend of General Howard, whom I have heard
speak of you.” “Come,” said Geronimo, and led the way to a shade, had
seats brought for us, put on his war bonnet, and served watermelon _à
l’Apache_ (cut in big chunks), while he talked freely and cheerfully. When
we left he gave us a pressing invitation to visit him again. In a few days the old chief came to see me
and asked about “my father.” I said “you mean the old gentleman from Kansas
City–he has returned to his home.” “He is you father?” said Geronimo.
“No,” I said, “my father died twenty-five years ago, Dr. Greenwood
is only my friend.” After a moment’s silence the old Indian spoke again,
this time in a tone of voice intended to carry conviction, or at
least to allow no further discussion. “Your natural father is dead,
this man has been your friend and adviser from youth. By adoption _he is
your father_. Tell him he is welcome to come to my home at any time.” It
was of no use to explain any more, for the old man had determined not to
understand my relation to Dr. Greenwood except in accordance with Indian
customs, and I let the matter drop. In the latter part of that summer I asked
the old chief to allow me to publish some of the things he had told me,
but he objected, saying, however, that if I would pay him, and if the
officers in charge did not object, he would tell me the whole story of
his life. I immediately called at the fort (Fort Sill) and asked the
officer in charge, Lieutenant Purington, for permission to write
the life of Geronimo. I was promptly informed that the privilege would
not be granted. Lieutenant Purington explained to me the many
depredations committed by Geronimo and his warriors, and the enormous
cost of subduing the Apaches, adding that the old Apache deserved
to be hanged rather than spoiled by so much attention from civilians.
A suggestion from me that our government had paid many soldiers and
officers to go to Arizona and kill Geronimo and the Apaches, and that they
did not seem to know how to do it, did not prove very gratifying to the
pride of the regular army officer, and I decided to seek elsewhere for
permission. Accordingly I wrote to President Roosevelt that here was
an old Indian who had been held a prisoner of war for twenty years and
had never been given a chance to tell his side of the story, and
asked that Geronimo be granted permission to tell for publication, in his
own way, the story of his life, and that he be guaranteed that the publication
of his story would not affect unfavorably the Apache prisoners
of war. By return mail I received word that the authority had been
granted. In a few days I received word from Fort Sill that the President
had ordered the officer in charge to grant permission as requested.
An interview was requested that I might receive the instructions of the
War Department. When I went to Fort Sill the officer in command handed
me the following brief, which constituted my instructions:
LAWTON, OKLAHOMA, Aug. 12th, 1905._Geronimo,–Apache Chief–_S. M. BARRETT, _Supt. Schools_.
Letter to the President stating that above-mentioned desires to
tell his life story that it may be published, and requests
permission to tell it in his own way, and also desires assurance
that what he has to say will in no way work a hardship for the
Apache tribe. _1st Endorsement._ WAR DEPARTMENT, THE MILITARY
SECRETARY’S OFFICE, WASHINGTON, August 25th, 1905. Respectfully referred, by direction of the
Acting Chief of Staff, through headquarters, Department of Texas,
to the Officer In Charge of the Apache prisoners of war at Fort
Sill, Oklahoma Territory, for remark and recommendation. (Signed) E. F. LADD, Military Secretary. _2d Endorsement._HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF
TEXAS, MILITARY SECRETARY’S OFFICE, SAN ANTONIO, August 29th, 1905. Respectfully transmitted to 1st Lieut. George
A. Purington, 8th Cavalry, In Charge of Apache prisoners. (Thro’
Commanding Officer, Fort Sill, O. T.) By Command of Brigadier General Lee. (Signed) C. D. ROBERTS, Captain, 7th Infantry,
Acting Military Secretary. _3d Endorsement._ FORT SILL, O. T., Aug. 31st,
1905. Respectfully referred to 1st Lieut. G. A.
Purington, 8th Cavalry, Officer in Charge of Apache prisoners of war,
for remark and recommendation. By Order of Captain Dade. (Signed) JAMES LONGSTREET, 1st. Lieut & Sqdn.
Adjt., 13th Cavalry. Adjutant. _4th Endorsement._FORT SILL, O. T., Sept.
2d, 1905. Respectfully returned to the Adjutant, Fort
Sill, O. T. I can see no objection to Geronimo telling the story
of his past life, providing he tells the truth. I would recommend
that Mr. S. M. Barrett be held responsible for what is written
and published. (Signed) GEO. A. PURINGTON, 1st. Lieut. 8th
Cavalry, In Charge of Apache prisoners of war. _5th Endorsement._FORT SILL, O. T., Sept.
4th, 1905. Respectfully returned to the Military Secretary,
Dept. of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, inviting attention to
4th endorsement hereon. It is recommended that the manuscript be submitted
before publication to Lieut. Purington, who can pass
upon the truth of the story. (Signed) A. L. DADE, Captain, 13th Cavalry,
Commanding. _6th Endorsement._HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF TEXAS,
SAN ANTONIO, September 8th, 1905. Respectfully returned to the Military Secretary,
War Department, Washington, D. C., inviting attention to the
preceding endorsement hereon, which is concurred in. (Signed) J. M. LEE, Brigadier General, Commanding. _7th Endorsement._ WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE
OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF, WASHINGTON, September 13th, 1905. Respectfully submitted to the Honorable the
Secretary of War, inviting attention to the foregoing endorsements. (Signed) J. C. BATES, Major General, Acting
Chief of Staff. _8th Endorsement._ WAR DEPARTMENT, September
15th, 1905. Respectfully returned to the Acting Chief
of Staff to grant the necessary authority in this matter, through
official channels, with the express understanding that the manuscript
of the book shall be submitted to him before publication. Upon
receipt of such manuscript the Chief of Staff will submit
it to such person as he may select as competent to make a proper and
critical inspection of the proposed publication. (Signed) ROBERT SHAW OLIVER, Acting Secretary
of War. _9th Endorsement._ WAR DEPARTMENT, THE MILITARY
SECRETARY’S OFFICE, WASHINGTON, September 18th, 1905. Respectfully returned, by direction of the
Acting Chief of Staff, to the Commanding General, Dept. of Texas,
who will give the necessary instructions for carrying out the
directions of the Acting Secretary of War, contained in the
8th endorsement. It is desired that Mr. Barrett be advised accordingly. (Signed) HENRY P. MCCAIN, Military Secretary. _10th Endorsement._ HEADQUARTERS DEPT. OF
TEXAS, MILITARY SECRETARY’S OFFICE, SAN ANTONIO, September 23, 1905. Respectfully referred to the Commanding Officer,
Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory, who will give the necessary
instructions for carrying out the direction of the Acting Secretary
of War contained in the 8th endorsement hereon. This paper will be shown and fully explained
to Mr. Barrett, and then returned to these headquarters. By order
of Colonel Hughes. (Signed) GEO. VAN HORN MOSELEY, 1st. Lieut.
1st Cavalry, Aide-de-Camp,Acting Military Secretary. Early in October I secured the services of
an educated Indian, Asa Deklugie, son of Whoa, chief of the Nedni
Apaches, as interpreter, and the work of compiling the book began. Geronimo refused to talk when a stenographer
was present, or to wait for corrections or questions when telling the
story. Each day he had in mind what he would tell and told it in a very clear,
brief manner. He might prefer to talk at his own tepee, at Asa Deklugie’s
house, in some mountain dell, or as he rode in a swinging
gallop across the prairie; wherever his fancy led him, there he told
whatever he wished to tell and no more. On the day that he first gave any
portion of his autobiography he would not be questioned about any details,
nor would he add another word, but simply said, “Write what I have
spoken,” and left us to remember and write the story without one bit
of assistance. He would agree, however, to come on another day to
my study, or any place designated by me, and listen to the reproduction
(in Apache) of what had been told, and at such times would answer
all questions or add information wherever he could be convinced
that it was necessary. He soon became so tired of book making that
he would have abandoned the task but for the fact that he had agreed to
tell the complete story. When he once gives his word, nothing will
turn him from fulfilling his promise. A very striking illustration of this
was furnished by him early in January, 1906. He had agreed to come to
my study on a certain date, but at the appointed hour the interpreter
came alone, and said that Geronimo was very sick with cold and fever.
He had come to tell me that we must appoint another date, as he feared
the old warrior had an attack of pneumonia. It was a cold day and
the interpreter drew a chair up to the grate to warm himself after the
exposure of the long ride. Just as he was seating himself he looked out
of the window, then rose quickly, and without speaking pointed to a
rapidly moving object coming our way. In a moment I recognized the old
chief riding furiously (evidently trying to arrive as soon as the
interpreter did), his horse flecked with foam and reeling from exhaustion.
Dismounting he came in and said in a hoarse whisper, “I promised
to come. I am here.” I explained to him that I had not expected
him to come on such a stormy day, and that in his physical condition he
must not try to work. He stood for some time, and then without speaking
left the room, remounted his tired pony, and with bowed head faced
ten long miles of cold north wind–he had kept his promise. When he had finished his story I submitted
the manuscript to Major Charles W. Taylor, Eighteenth Cavalry, commandant,
Fort Sill, Oklahoma, who gave me some valuable suggestions as to
additional related information which I asked Geronimo to give.
In most cases the old chief gave the desired information, but in some
instances he refused, stating his reasons for so doing. When the added information had been incorporated
I submitted the manuscript to President Roosevelt, from whose
letter I quote: “This is a very interesting volume which you have in
manuscript, but I would advise that you disclaim responsibility in all cases
where the reputation of an individual is assailed.” In accordance with that suggestion, I have
appended notes throughout the book disclaiming responsibility for adverse
criticisms of any persons mentioned by Geronimo. On June 2d, 1906, I transmitted the complete
manuscript to the War Department. The following quotation is from
the letter of transmission: “In accordance with endorsement number eight
of the ‘Brief’ submitted to me by the commanding officer
of Fort Sill, which endorsement constituted the instructions of
the Department, I submit herewith manuscript of the Autobiography
of Geronimo. “The manuscript has been submitted to the
President, and at his suggestion I have disclaimed any responsibility
for the criticisms (made by Geronimo) of individuals mentioned.” Six weeks after the manuscript was forwarded,
Thomas C. Barry, Brigadier General, Assistant to the Chief of Staff,
sent to the President the following: “MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF WAR. “Subject: Manuscript of the Autobiography
of Geronimo. The paper herewith, which was referred to this office
on July 6th, with instructions to report as to whether there
is anything objectionable in it, is returned. “The manuscript is an interesting autobiography
of a notable Indian, made by himself. There are a number
of passages which, from the departmental point of view, are decidedly
objectionable. These are found on pages 73, 74, 90, 91, and
97, and are indicated by marginal lines in red. The entire manuscript
appears in a way important as showing the Indian side of a
prolonged controversy, but it is believed that the document, either
in whole or in part, should not receive the approval of the War
Department.” The memorandum is published that the objections
of the War Department may be made known to the public. The objection is raised to the mention on
pages seventy-three and seventy-four of the manuscript of an attack
upon Indians in a tent at Apache Pass or Bowie, by U. S. soldiers. The
statement of Geronimo is, however, substantially confirmed by L. C.
Hughes, editor of _The Star_, Tucson, Arizona. On pages ninety and ninety-one of the manuscript,
Geronimo criticised General Crook. This criticism is simply Geronimo’s
private opinion of General Crook. We deem it a personal matter
and leave it without comment, as it in no way concerns the history
of the Apaches. On page ninety-seven of the manuscript Geronimo
accuses General Miles of bad faith. Of course, General Miles made the
treaty with the Apaches, but we know very well that he is not responsible
for the way the Government subsequently treated the prisoners
of war. However, Geronimo cannot understand this and fixes upon General
Miles the blame for what he calls unjust treatment. One could not expect the Department of War
to approve adverse criticisms of its own acts, but it is especially gratifying
that such a liberal view has been taken of these criticisms, and
also that such a frank statement of the merits of the Autobiography
is submitted in the memorandum. Of course neither the President
nor the War Department is in any way responsible for what Geronimo says;
he has simply been granted the opportunity to state his own case as he
sees it. The fact that Geronimo has told the story
in his own way is doubtless the only excuse necessary to offer for the
many unconventional features of this work. PART I. THE APACHES
CHAPTER I. ORIGIN OF THE APACHE INDIANS In the beginning the world was covered with
darkness. There was no sun, no day. The perpetual night had no moon or
stars. There were, however, all manner of beasts
and birds. Among the beasts were many hideous, nameless monsters, as well
as dragons, lions, tigers, wolves, foxes, beavers, rabbits, squirrels,
rats, mice, and all manner of creeping things such as lizards and serpents.
Mankind could not prosper under such conditions, for the beasts
and serpents destroyed all human offspring. All creatures had the power of speech and
were gifted with reason. There were two tribes of creatures: the birds
or the feathered tribe and the beasts. The former were organized under
their chief, the eagle. These tribes often held councils, and the
birds wanted light admitted. This the beasts repeatedly refused to do.
Finally the birds made war against the beasts. The beasts were armed with clubs, but the
eagle had taught his tribe to use bows and arrows. The serpents were so
wise that they could not all be killed. One took refuge in a perpendicular
cliff of a mountain in Arizona, and his eye (changed into a brilliant
stone) may be seen in that rock to this day. The bears, when killed,
would each be changed into several other bears, so that the more
bears the feathered tribe killed, the more there were. The dragon could
not be killed, either, for he was covered with four coats of horny scales,
and the arrows would not penetrate these. One of the most hideous,
vile monsters (nameless) was proof against arrows, so the eagle flew high
up in the air with a round, white stone, and let it fall on this monster’s
head, killing him instantly. This was such a good service that
the stone was called sacred. (A symbol of this stone is used in
the tribal game of Kah.[1]) They fought for many days, but at last the
birds won the victory. After this war was over, although some evil
beasts remained, the birds were able to control the councils, and light
was admitted. Then mankind could live and prosper. The eagle was chief
in this good fight: therefore, his feathers were worn by man as
emblems of wisdom, justice, and power. Among the few human beings that were yet alive
was a woman who had been blessed with many children, but these had
always been destroyed by the beasts. If by any means she succeeded in eluding
the others, the dragon, who was very wise and very evil, would come
himself and eat her babes. After many years a son of the rainstorm was
born to her and she dug for him a deep cave. The entrance to this cave
she closed and over the spot built a camp fire. This concealed the babe’s
hiding place and kept him warm. Every day she would remove the fire
and descend into the cave, where the child’s bed was, to nurse him; then
she would return and rebuild the camp fire. Frequently the dragon would come and question
her, but she would say, “I have no more children; you have eaten all
of them.” When the child was larger he would not always
stay in the cave, for he sometimes wanted to run and play. Once the
dragon saw his tracks. Now this perplexed and enraged the old dragon,
for he could not find the hiding place of the boy; but he said that
he would destroy the mother if she did not reveal the child’s hiding place.
The poor mother was very much troubled; she could not give up her child,
but she knew the power and cunning of the dragon, therefore she lived
in constant fear. Soon after this the boy said that he wished
to go hunting. The mother would not give her consent. She told him of
the dragon, the wolves, and the serpents; but he said, “To-morrow I go.” At the boy’s request his uncle (who was the
only man then living) made a little bow and some arrows for him, and the
two went hunting the next day. They trailed the deer far up the mountain
and finally the boy killed a buck. His uncle showed him how to
dress the deer and broil the meat. They broiled two hind quarters, one
for the child and one for his uncle. When the meat was done they placed
it on some bushes to cool. Just then the huge form of the dragon appeared.
The child was not afraid, but his uncle was so dumb with fright
that he did not speak or move. The dragon took the boy’s parcel of meat and
went aside with it. He placed the meat on another bush and seated
himself beside it. Then he said, “This is the child I have been seeking.
Boy, you are nice and fat, so when I have eaten this venison I shall
eat you.” The boy said, “No, you shall not eat me, and you shall not
eat that meat.” So he walked over to where the dragon sat and took
the meat back to his own seat. The dragon said, “I like your courage,
but you are foolish; what do you think you could do?” “Well,” said the
boy, “I can do enough to protect myself, as you may find out.” Then
the dragon took the meat again, and then the boy retook it. Four times
in all the dragon took the meat, and after the fourth time the boy replaced
the meat he said, “Dragon, will you fight me?” The dragon said,
“Yes, in whatever way you like.” The boy said, “I will stand one hundred
paces distant from you and you may have four shots at me with your
bow and arrows, provided that you will then exchange places with me
and give me four shots.” “Good,” said the dragon. “Stand up.” Then the dragon took his bow, which was made
of a large pine tree. He took four arrows from his quiver; they were
made of young pine tree saplings, and each arrow was twenty feet in
length. He took deliberate aim, but just as the arrow left the bow the
boy made a peculiar sound and leaped into the air. Immediately the arrow
was shivered into a thousand splinters, and the boy was seen standing
on the top of a bright rainbow over the spot where the dragon’s aim
had been directed. Soon the rainbow was gone and the boy was standing
on the ground again. Four times this was repeated, then the boy said,
“Dragon, stand here; it is my time to shoot.” The dragon said, “All right;
your little arrows cannot pierce my first coat of horn, and I
have three other coats–shoot away.” The boy shot an arrow, striking the
dragon just over the heart, and one coat of the great horny scales fell
to the ground. The next shot another coat, and then another, and the dragon’s
heart was exposed. Then the dragon trembled, but could not move.
Before the fourth arrow was shot the boy said, “Uncle, you are dumb
with fear; you have not moved; come here or the dragon will fall on
you.” His uncle ran toward him. Then he sped the fourth arrow with true
aim, and it pierced the dragon’s heart. With a tremendous roar the
dragon rolled down the mountain side–down four precipices into a
cañon below. Immediately storm clouds swept the mountains,
lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and the rain poured. When the rainstorm
had passed, far down in the cañon below, they could see fragments
of the huge body of the dragon lying among the rocks, and the bones of this
dragon may still be found there. This boy’s name was Apache. Usen taught him
how to prepare herbs for medicine, how to hunt, and how to fight. He
was the first chief of the Indians and wore the eagle’s feathers as the
sign of justice, wisdom, and power. To him, and to his people, as they
were created, Usen gave homes in the land of the west. CHAPTER II SUBDIVISIONS OF THE APACHE TRIBE The Apache Indians are divided into six sub-tribes.
To one of these, the Be-don-ko-he, I belong. Our tribe inhabited that region of mountainous
country which lies west from the east line of Arizona, and south from
the headwaters of the Gila River. East of us lived the Chi-hen-ne (Ojo Caliente),
(Hot Springs) Apaches. Our tribe never had any difficulty with them.
Victoria, their chief, was always a friend to me. He always helped our
tribe when we asked him for help. He lost his life in the defense of the
rights of his people. He was a good man and a brave warrior. His son
Charlie now lives here in this reservation with us. North of us lived the White Mountain Apaches.
They were not always on the best of terms with our tribe, yet we seldom
had any war with them. I knew their chief, Hash-ka-ai-la, personally,
and I considered him a good warrior. Their range was next to that of the
Navajo Indians, who were not of the same blood as the Apaches. We held
councils with all Apache tribes, but never with the Navajo Indians.
However, we traded with them and sometimes visited them. To the west of our country ranged the Chi-e-a-hen
Apaches. They had two chiefs within my time, Co-si-to and Co-da-hoo-yah.
They were friendly, but not intimate with our tribe. South of us lived the Cho-kon-en (Chiricahua)
Apaches, whose chief in the old days was Co-chise, and later his son,
Naiche. This tribe was always on the most friendly terms with us.
We were often in camp and on the trail together. Naiche, who was my companion
in arms, is now my companion in bondage. To the south and west of us lived the Ned-ni
Apaches. Their chief was Whoa, called by the Mexicans Capitan Whoa.
They were our firm friends. The land of this tribe lies partly in Old
Mexico and partly in Arizona. Whoa and I often camped and fought
side by side as brothers. My enemies were his enemies, my friends his
friends. He is dead now, but his son Asa is interpreting this story for
me. Still the four tribes (Bedonkohe, Chokonen,
Chihenne, and Nedni), who were fast friends in the days of freedom,
cling together as they decrease in number. Only the destruction of
all our people would dissolve our bonds of friendship. We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot
think we are useless or Usen would not have created us. He created
all tribes of men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating
each. For each tribe of men Usen created He also
made a home. In the land created for any particular tribe He placed
whatever would be best for the welfare of that tribe. When Usen created the Apaches He also created
their homes in the West. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game
as they needed to eat. To restore their health when disease attacked
them He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to find
these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine. He gave them a
pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at hand. Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches
and their homes each created for the other by Usen himself. When they are
taken from these homes they sicken and die. How long will it be until
it is said, there are no Apaches? CHAPTER III EARLY LIFE I was born in No-doyohn Cañon, Arizona, June,
1829. In that country which lies around the headwaters
of the Gila River I was reared. This range was our fatherland; among
these mountains our wigwams were hidden; the scattered valleys contained
our fields; the boundless prairies, stretching away on every side, were
our pastures; the rocky caverns were our burying places. I was fourth in a family of eight children–four
boys and four girls. Of that family, only myself, my brother,
Porico (White Horse), and my sister, Nah-da-ste, are yet alive.
We are held as prisoners of war in this Military Reservation (Fort Sill). As a babe I rolled on the dirt floor of my
father’s tepee, hung in my tsoch (Apache name for cradle) at my mother’s
back, or suspended from the bough of a tree. I was warmed by the sun,
rocked by the winds, and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. When a child my mother taught me the legends
of our people; taught me of the sun and sky,’ the moon and stars, the
clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength,
health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person,
but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance.
We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels
of men. My father had often told me of the brave deeds
of our warriors, of the pleasures of the chase, and the glories of
the warpath. With my brothers and sisters I played about
my father’s home. Sometimes we played at hide-and-seek among the rocks
and pines; sometimes we loitered in the shade of the cottonwood trees
or sought the shudock (a kind of wild cherry) while our parents worked
in the field. Sometimes we played that we were warriors. We would practice
stealing upon some object that represented an enemy, and in our
childish imitation often perform the feats of war. Sometimes we would
hide away from our mother to see if she could find us, and often when
thus concealed go to sleep and perhaps remain hidden for many hours. When we were old enough to be of real service
we went to the field with our parents: not to play, but to toil. When
the crops were to be planted we broke the ground with wooden hoes. We planted
the corn in straight rows, the beans among the corn, and the melons
and pumpkins in irregular order over the field. We cultivated these
crops as there was need. Our field usually contained about two acres
of ground. The fields were never fenced. It was common for many families
to cultivate land in the same valley and share the burden of protecting
the growing crops from destruction by the ponies of the tribe, or
by deer and other wild animals. Melons were gathered as they were consumed.
In the autumn pumpkins and beans were gathered and placed in bags or
baskets; ears of corn were tied together by the husks, and then the harvest
was carried on the backs of ponies up to our homes. Here the
corn was shelled, and all the harvest stored away in caves or other secluded
places to be used in winter. We never fed corn to our ponies, but if we
kept them up in the winter time we gave them fodder to eat. We had no
cattle or other domestic animals except our dogs and ponies. We did not cultivate tobacco, but found it
growing wild. This we cut and cured in autumn, but if the supply ran out
the leaves from the stalks left standing served our purpose. All Indians
smoked–men and women. No boy was allowed to smoke until he had hunted
alone and killed large game–wolves and bears. Unmarried women were
not prohibited from smoking, but were considered immodest if they
did so. Nearly all matrons smoked. Besides grinding the corn (by hand with stone
mortars and pestles) for bread, we sometimes crushed it and soaked
it, and after it had fermented made from this juice a “tis-win,” which had
the power of intoxication, and was very highly prized by the Indians.
This work was done by the squaws and children. When berries or nuts
were to be gathered the small children and the squaws would go in parties
to hunt them, and sometimes stay all day. When they went any great distance
from camp they took ponies to carry the baskets. I frequently went with these parties, and
upon one of these excursions a woman named Cho-ko-le got lost from the party
and was riding her pony through a thicket in search of her friends.
Her little dog was following as she slowly made her way through the thick
underbrush and pine trees. All at once a grizzly bear rose in her path
and attacked the pony. She jumped off and her pony escaped, but the bear
attacked her, so she fought him the best she could with her knife.
Her little dog, by snapping at the bear’s heels and detracting
his attention from the woman, enabled her for some time to keep pretty
well out of his reach. Finally the grizzly struck her over the head,
tearing off almost her whole scalp. She fell, but did not lose consciousness,
and while prostrate struck him four good licks with
her knife, and he retreated. After he had gone she replaced her torn scalp
and bound it up as best she could, then she turned deathly sick and
had to lie down. That night her pony came into camp with his load of nuts
and berries, but no rider. The Indians hunted for her, but did not find
her until the second day. They carried her home, and under the treatment
of their medicine men all her wounds were healed. The Indians knew what herbs to use for medicine,
how to prepare them, and how to give the medicine. This they had
been taught by Usen in the beginning, and each succeeding generation
had men who were skilled in the art of healing. In gathering the herbs, in preparing them,
and in administering the medicine, as much faith was held in prayer
as in the actual effect of the medicine. Usually about eight persons
worked together in making medicine, and there were forms of prayer and
incantations to attend each stage of the process. Four attended to the
incantations and four to the preparation of the herbs. Some of the Indians were skilled in cutting
out bullets, arrow heads, and other missiles with which warriors were
wounded. I myself have done much of this, using a common dirk or butcher
knife. Small children wore very little clothing in
winter and none in the summer. Women usually wore a primitive skirt,
which consisted of a piece of cotton cloth fastened about the waist,
and extending to the knees. Men wore breech cloths and moccasins. In winter
they had shirts and leggings in addition. Frequently when the tribe was in camp a number
of boys and girls, by agreement, would steal away and meet at a
place several miles distant, where they could play all day free from tasks.
They were never punished for these frolics; but if their hiding places
were discovered they were ridiculed. CHAPTER IV TRIBAL AMUSEMENTS, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS To celebrate each noted event a feast and
dance would be given. Perhaps only our own people, perhaps neighboring tribes
would be invited. These festivities usually lasted for about four
days. By day we feasted, by night under the direction of some chief we
danced. The music for our dance was singing led by the warriors, and
accompanied by beating the esadadedne (buckskin-on-a-hoop). No words
were sung–only the tones. When the feasting and dancing were over we
would have horse races, foot races, wrestling, jumping, and all sorts of
games (gambling). Among these games the most noted was the tribal
game of Kah (foot). It is played as follows: Four moccasins are placed
about four feet apart in holes in the ground, dug in a row on one
side of the camp, and on the opposite side a similar parallel row. At night
a camp fire is started between these two rows of moccasins, and the
players are arranged on sides, one or any number on each side. The
score is kept by a bundle of sticks, from which each side takes a stick
for every point won. First one side takes the bone (a symbol of the white
rock used by the eagle in slaying the nameless monster–see Chapter
I), puts up blankets between the four moccasins and the fire so that the
opposing team cannot observe their movements, and then begin to sing the
legends of creation. The side having the bone represents the feathered
tribe, the opposite side represents the beasts. The players representing
the birds do all the singing, and while singing hide the bone in
one of the moccasins, then the blankets are thrown down. They continue
to sing, but as soon as the blankets are thrown down the chosen player
from the opposing team, armed with a war club, comes to their side
of the camp fire and with his club strikes the moccasin in which he thinks
the bone is hidden. If he strikes the right moccasin, his side gets
the bone, and in turn represents the birds, while the opposing team
must keep quiet and guess in turn. There are only four plays; three
that lose and one that wins. When all the sticks are gone from the bundle
the side having the largest number of sticks is counted winner. This game is seldom played except as a gambling
game, but for that purpose it is the most popular game known
to the tribe. Usually the game lasts four or five hours. It is never played
in daytime. After the games are all finished the visitors
say, “We are satisfied,” and the camp is broken up. I was always glad
when the dances and feasts were announced. So were all the other young
people. Our life also had a religious side. We had
no churches, no religious organizations, no sabbath day, no holidays,
and yet we worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble to
sing and pray; sometimes a smaller number, perhaps only two or three.
The songs had a few words, but were not formal. The singer would occasionally
put in such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound.
Sometimes we prayed in silence; sometimes each one prayed aloud;
sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us. At other times one would
rise and speak to us of our duties to each other and to Usen. Our
services were short. When disease or pestilence abounded we were
assembled and questioned by our leaders to ascertain what evil we had
done, and how Usen could be satisfied. Sometimes sacrifice was deemed
necessary. Sometimes the offending one was punished. If an Apache had allowed his aged parents
to suffer for food or shelter, if he had neglected or abused the sick, if
he had profaned our religion, or had been unfaithful, he might be banished
from the tribe. The Apaches had no prisons as white men have.
Instead of sending their criminals into prison they sent them out of
their tribe. These faithless, cruel, lazy, or cowardly members
of the tribe were excluded in such a manner that they could not join
any other tribe. Neither could they have any protection from our unwritten
tribal laws. Frequently these outlaw Indians banded together and committed
depredations which were charged against the regular tribe. However,
the life of an outlaw Indian was a hard lot, and their bands never
became very large; besides, these bands frequently provoked the wrath
of the tribe and secured their own destruction. When I was about eight or ten years old I
began to follow the chase, and to me this was never work. Out on the prairies, which ran up to our mountain
homes, wandered herds of deer, antelope, elk, and buffalo, to be
slaughtered when we needed them. Usually we hunted buffalo on horseback, killing
them with arrows and spears. Their skins were used to make tepees
and bedding; their flesh, to eat. It required more skill to hunt the deer than
any other animal. We never tried to approach a deer except against the
wind. Frequently we would spend hours in stealing upon grazing deer.
If they were in the open we would crawl long distances on the ground,
keeping a weed or brush before us, so that our approach would not be noticed.
Often we could kill several out of one herd before the others
would run away. Their flesh was dried and packed in vessels, and would
keep in this condition for many months. The hide of the deer was soaked
in water and ashes and the hair removed, and then the process of tanning
continued until the buckskin was soft and pliable. Perhaps no
other animal was more valuable to us than the deer. In the forests and along the streams were
many wild turkeys. These we would drive to the plains, then slowly ride
up toward them until they were almost tired out. When they began to
drop and hide we would ride in upon them and by swinging from the side of
our horses, catch them. If one started to fly we would ride swiftly under
him and kill him with a short stick, or hunting club. In this way
we could usually get as many wild turkeys as we could carry home on a horse. There were many rabbits in our range, and
we also hunted them on horseback. Our horses were trained to follow
the rabbit at full speed, and as they approached them we would swing
from one side of the horse and strike the rabbit with our hunting club.
If he was too far away we would throw the stick and kill him. This was
great sport when we were boys, but as warriors we seldom hunted small
game. There were many fish in the streams, but as
we did not eat them, we did not try to catch or kill them. Small boys
sometimes threw stones at them or shot at them for practice with their bows
and arrows. Usen did not intend snakes, frogs, or fishes to be eaten.
I have never eaten of them. There were many eagles in the mountains. These
we hunted for their feathers. It required great skill to steal
upon an eagle, for besides having sharp eyes, he is wise and never stops
at any place where he does not have a good view of the surrounding country. I have killed many bears with a spear, but
was never injured in a fight with one. I have killed several mountain lions
with arrows, and one with a spear. Both bears and mountain lions are
good for food and valuable for their skin. When we killed them we carried
them home on our horses. We often made quivers for our arrows from
the skin of the mountain lion. These were very pretty and very durable. During my minority we had never seen a missionary
or a priest. We had never seen a white man. Thus quietly lived
the Be-don-ko-he Apaches. CHAPTER V. THE FAMILY My grandfather, Maco, had been our chief.
I never saw him, but my father often told me of the great size, strength,
and sagacity of this old warrior. Their principal wars had been with
the Mexicans. They had some wars with other tribes of Indians also, but
were seldom at peace for any great length of time with the Mexican towns. Maco died when my father was but a young warrior,
and Mangus-Colorado became chief of the Bedonkohe Apaches. When
I was but a small boy my father died, after having been sick for some
time. When he passed away, carefully the watchers closed his eyes, then
they arrayed him in his best clothes, painted his face afresh, wrapped
a rich blanket around him, saddled his favorite horse, bore his
arms in front of him, and led his horse behind, repeating in wailing tones
his deeds of valor as they carried his body to a cave in the mountain.
Then they slew his horses, and we gave away all of his other property,
as was customary in our tribe, after which his body was deposited
in the cave, his arms beside him. His grave is hidden by piles of stone.
Wrapped in splendor he lies in seclusion, and the winds in the pines sing
a low requiem over the dead warrior. After my father’s death I assumed the care
of my mother. She never married again, although according to the customs
of our tribe she might have done so immediately after his death.
Usually, however, the widow who has children remains single after her
husband’s death for two or three years; but the widow without children
marries again immediately. After a warrior’s death his widow returns
to her people and may be given away or sold by her father or brothers. My
mother chose to live with me, and she never desired to marry again. We lived
near our old home and I supported her. In 1846, being seventeen years of age, I was
admitted to the council of the warriors. Then I was very happy, for I
could go wherever I wanted and do whatever I liked. I had not been under
the control of any individual, but the customs of our tribe prohibited
me from sharing the glories of the warpath until the council admitted
me. When opportunity offered, after this, I could go on the warpath
with my tribe. This would be glorious. I hoped soon to serve my
people in battle. I had long desired to fight with our warriors. Perhaps the greatest joy to me was that now
I could marry the fair Alope, daughter of No-po-so. She was a slender,
delicate girl, but we had been lovers for a long time. So, as soon
as the council granted me these privileges I went to see her father
concerning our marriage. Perhaps our love was of no interest to him;
perhaps he wanted to keep Alope with him, for she was a dutiful daughter;
at any rate he asked many ponies for her. I made no reply, but
in a few days appeared before his wigwam with the herd of ponies and took
with me Alope. This was all the marriage ceremony necessary in our tribe. Not far from my mother’s tepee I had made
for us a new home. The tepee was made of buffalo hides and in it were many
bear robes, lion hides, and other trophies of the chase, as well as
my spears, bows, and arrows. Alope had made many little decorations
of beads and drawn work on buckskin, which she placed in our
tepee. She also drew many pictures on the walls of our home. She was
a good wife, but she was never strong. We followed the traditions of
our fathers and were happy. Three children came to us–children that played,
loitered, and worked as I had done. PART II. THE MEXICANS CHAPTER VI. KAS-KI-YEH _Part I–The Massacre_ In the summer of 1858, being at peace with
the Mexican towns as well as with all the neighboring Indian tribes, we
went south into Old Mexico to trade. Our whole tribe (Bedonkohe Apaches)
went through Sonora toward Casa Grande, our destination, but just before
reaching that place we stopped at another Mexican town called by
the Indians “Kas-ki-yeh.” Here we stayed for several days, camping just outside
the city. Every day we would go into town to trade, leaving our camp
under the protection of a small guard so that our arms, supplies, and
women and children would not be disturbed during our absence. Late one afternoon when returning from town
we were met by a few women and children who told us that Mexican troops
from some other town had attacked our camp, killed all the warriors
of the guard, captured all our ponies, secured our arms, destroyed our
supplies, and killed many of our women and children. Quickly we separated,
concealing ourselves as best we could until nightfall, when we assembled
at our appointed place of rendezvous–a thicket by the river. Silently
we stole in one by one: sentinels were placed, and, when all were
counted, I found that my aged mother, my young wife, and my three small
children were among the slain. There were no lights in camp, so without being
noticed I silently turned away and stood by the river. How long I stood
there I do not know, but when I saw the warriors arranging for a council
I took my place. That night I did not give my vote for or against
any measure; but it was decided that as there were only eighty warriors
left, and as we were without arms or supplies, and were furthermore
surrounded by the Mexicans far inside their own territory, we
could not hope to fight successfully. So our chief, Mangus-Colorado,
gave the order to start at once in perfect silence for our homes in Arizona,
leaving the dead upon the field. I stood until all had passed, hardly knowing
what I would do–I had no weapon, nor did I hardly wish to fight, neither
did I contemplate recovering the bodies of my loved ones, for
that was forbidden. I did not pray, nor did I resolve to do anything
in particular, for I had no purpose left. I finally followed the tribe
silently, keeping just within hearing distance of the soft noise of the
feet of the retreating Apaches. The next morning some of the Indians killed
a small amount of game and we halted long enough for the tribe to cook
and eat, when the march was resumed. I had killed no game, and did not
eat. During the first march as well as while we were camped at this place
I spoke to no one and no one spoke to me–there was nothing to say. For two days and three nights we were on forced
marches, stopping only for meals, then we made a camp near the Mexican
border, where we rested two days. Here I took some food and talked
with the other Indians who had lost in the massacre, but none had lost
as I had, for I had lost all. Within a few days we arrived at our own settlement.
There were the decorations that Alope had made–and there
were the playthings of our little ones. I burned them all, even our tepee.
I also burned my mother’s tepee and destroyed all her property. I was never again contented in our quiet home.
True, I could visit my father’s grave, but I had vowed vengeance
upon the Mexican troopers who had wronged me, and whenever I came near his
grave or saw anything to remind me of former happy days my heart would
ache for revenge upon Mexico. _Part II–Revenge_ As soon as we had again collected some arms
and supplies Mangus-Colorado, our chief, called a council
and found that all our warriors were willing to take the warpath
against Mexico. I was appointed to solicit the aid of other tribes
in this war. When I went to the Chokonen (Chiricahua) Apaches,
Cochise, their chief, called a council at early dawn. Silently the
warriors assembled at an open place in a mountain dell and took their
seats on the ground, arranged in rows according to their ranks.
Silently they sat smoking. At a signal from the chief I arose and presented
my cause as follows: “Kinsman, you have heard what the Mexicans
have recently done without cause. You are my relatives–uncles, cousins,
brothers. We are men the same as the Mexicans are–we can do to them
what they have done to us. Let us go forward and trail them–I will lead
you to their city–we will attack them in their homes. I will fight in
the front of the battle–I only ask you to follow me to avenge this wrong
done by these Mexicans–will you come? It is well–you will
all come. “Remember the rule in war–men may return
or they may be killed. If any of these young men are killed I want no blame
from their kinsmen, for they themselves have chosen to go. If I am
killed no one need mourn for me. My people have all been killed in that
country, and I, too, will die if need be.” I returned to my own settlement, reported
this success to my chieftain, and immediately departed to the southward
into the land of the Nedni Apaches. Their chief, Whoa, heard me without
comment, but he immediately issued orders for a council, and when all
were ready gave a sign that I might speak. I addressed them as I had addressed
the Chokonen tribe, and they also promised to help us. It was in the summer of 1859, almost a year
from the date of the massacre of Kaskiyeh, that these three tribes
were assembled on the Mexican border to go upon the warpath. Their
faces were painted, the war bands[13] fastened upon their brows, their
long scalp-locks ready for the hand and knife of the warrior who
could overcome them. Their families had been hidden away in a mountain
rendezvous near the Mexican border. With these families a guard was posted,
and a number of places of rendezvous designated in case the camp
should be disturbed. When all were ready the chieftains gave command
to go forward. None of us were mounted and each warrior wore moccasins
and also a cloth wrapped about his loins. This cloth could be spread
over him when he slept, and when on the march would be ample protection
as clothing. In battle, if the fight was hard, we did not wish much clothing.
Each warrior carried three days’ rations, but as we often killed
game while on the march, we seldom were without food. We traveled in three divisions: the Bedonkohe
Apaches led by Mangus-Colorado, the Chokonen Apaches by Cochise,
and the Nedni Apaches by Whoa; however, there was no regular order
inside the separate tribes. We usually marched about fourteen hours per
day, making three stops for meals and traveling forty to forty-five miles
a day. I acted as guide into Mexico, and we followed
the river courses and mountain ranges because we could better thereby
keep our movements concealed. We entered Sonora and went southward
past Quitaco, Nacozari, and many smaller settlements. When we were almost at Arispe we camped, and
eight men rode out from the city to parley with us. These we captured,
killed, and scalped. This was to draw the troops from the city, and the
next day they came. The skirmishing lasted all day without a general
engagement, but just at night we captured their supply train, so we
had plenty of provisions and some more guns. That night we posted sentinels and did not
move our camp, but rested quietly all night, for we expected heavy work
the next day. Early the next morning the warriors were assembled to
pray–not for help, but that they might have health and avoid ambush or
deceptions by the enemy. As we had anticipated, about ten o’clock in
the morning the whole Mexican force came out. There were two companies
of cavalry and two of infantry. I recognized the cavalry as the
soldiers who had killed my people at Kaskiyeh. This I told to the chieftains,
and they said that I might direct the battle. I was no chief and never had been, but because
I had been more deeply wronged than others, this honor was conferred
upon me, and I resolved to prove worthy of the trust. I arranged the
Indians in a hollow circle near the river, and the Mexicans drew their
infantry up in two lines, with the cavalry in reserve. We were in the
timber, and they advanced until within about four hundred yards, when
they halted and opened fire. Soon I led a charge against them, at the same
time sending some braves to attack their rear. In all the battle I
thought of my murdered mother, wife, and babies–of my father’s grave and
my vow of vengeance, and I fought with fury. Many fell by my hand, and
constantly I led the advance. Many braves were killed. The battle
lasted about two hours. At the last four Indians were alone in the
center of the field–myself and three other warriors. Our arrows were
all gone, our spears broken off in the bodies of dead enemies. We had
only our hands and knives with which to fight, but all who had stood against
us were dead. Then two armed soldiers came upon us from another part
of the field. They shot down two of our men and we, the remaining
two, fled toward our own warriors. My companion was struck down by
a saber, but I reached our warriors, seized a spear, and turned. The
one who pursued me missed his aim and fell by my spear. With his saber I
met the trooper who had killed my companion and we grappled and fell.
I killed him with my knife and quickly rose over his body, brandishing
his saber, seeking for other troopers to kill. There were none. But the
Apaches had seen. Over the bloody field, covered with the bodies of Mexicans,
rang the fierce Apache war-whoop. Still covered with the blood of my enemies,
still holding my conquering weapon, still hot with the joy of battle,
victory, and vengeance, I was surrounded by the Apache braves and made war
chief of all the Apaches. Then I gave orders for scalping the slain. I could not call back my loved ones, I could
not bring back the dead Apaches, but I could rejoice in this revenge.
The Apaches had avenged the massacre
of “Kas-ki-yeh.” CHAPTER VII. FIGHTING UNDER DIFFICULTIES All the other Apaches were satisfied after
the battle of “Kaskiyeh,” but I still desired more revenge. For several
months we were busy with the chase and other peaceful pursuits. Finally
I succeeded in persuading two others warriors, Ah-koch-ne and Ko-deh-ne,
to go with me to invade the Mexican country. We left our families with the tribe and went
on the warpath. We were on foot and carried three days’ rations. We
entered Mexico on the north line of Sonora and followed the Sierra de
Antunez Mountains to the south end of the range. Here we decided to attack
a small village. (I do not know the name of this village.) At daylight
we approached from the mountains. Five horses were hitched outside.
We advanced cautiously, but just before we reached the horses the
Mexicans opened fire from the houses. My two companions were killed. Mexicans
swarmed on every side; some were mounted; some were on foot, and
all seemed to be armed. Three times that day I was surrounded, but I kept
fighting, dodging, and hiding. Several times during the day while
in concealment I had a chance to take deliberate aim at some Mexican, who,
gun in hand, was looking for me. I do not think I missed my aim either
time. With the gathering darkness I found more time to retreat toward
Arizona. But the Mexicans did not quit the chase. Several times the
next day mounted Mexicans tried to head me off; many times they fired
on me, but I had no more arrows; so I depended upon running and hiding,
although I was very tired. I had not eaten since the chase began,
nor had I dared to stop for rest. The second night I got clear of
my pursuers, but I never slackened my pace until I reached our home
in Arizona. I came into our camp without booty, without my companions,
exhausted, but not discouraged. The wives and children of my two dead companions
were cared for by their people. Some of the Apaches blamed me for
the evil result of the expedition, but I said nothing. Having failed,
it was only proper that I should remain silent. But my feelings toward
the Mexicans did not change–I still hated them and longed for
revenge. I never ceased to plan for their punishment, but it was hard
to get the other warriors to listen to my proposed raids. In a few months after this last adventure
I persuaded two other warriors to join me in raiding the Mexican frontier.
On our former raid we had gone through the Nedni Apaches’ range into
Sonora. This time we went through the country of the Cho-kon-en and
entered the Sierra Madre Mountains. We traveled south, secured more
rations, and prepared to begin our raids. We had selected a village
near the mountains which we intended to attack at daylight. While asleep
that night Mexican scouts discovered our camp and fired on us, killing
one warrior. In the morning we observed a company of Mexican troops coming
from the south. They were mounted and carried supplies for a long journey.
We followed their trail until we were sure that they were headed for
our range in Arizona; then we hurried past them and in three days reached
our own settlement. We arrived at noon, and that afternoon, about
three o’clock, these Mexican troops attacked our settlement. Their first
volley killed three small boys. Many of the warriors of our tribe were
away from home, but the few of us who were in camp were able to drive
the troops out of the mountains before night. We killed eight Mexicans
and lost five–two warriors and three boys. The Mexicans rode
due south in full retreat. Four warriors were detailed to follow them,
and in three days these trailers returned, saying that the Mexican
cavalry had left Arizona, going southward. We were quite sure they would
not return soon. Soon after this (in the summer of 1860) I
was again able to take the warpath against the Mexicans, this time with
twenty-five warriors. We followed the trail of the Mexican troops last
mentioned and entered the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. The second
day in these mountains our scouts discovered mounted Mexican troops.
There was only one company of cavalry in this command, and I thought that
by properly surprising them we could defeat them. We ambushed the trail
over which they were to come. This was at a place where the whole
company must pass through a mountain defile. We reserved fire until all
of the troops had passed through; then the signal was given. The Mexican
troopers, seemingly without a word of command, dismounted, and
placing their horses on the outside of the company, for breastworks, made
a good fight against us. I saw that we could not dislodge them without
using all our ammunition, so I led a charge. The warriors suddenly pressed
in from all sides and we fought hand to hand. During this encounter
I raised my spear to kill a Mexican soldier just as he leveled his gun
at me; I was advancing rapidly, and my foot slipping in a pool of
blood, I fell under the Mexican trooper. He struck me over the head
with the butt of his gun, knocking me senseless. Just at that instant
a warrior who followed in my footsteps killed the Mexican with a spear.
In a few minutes not a Mexican soldier was left alive. When the Apache
war-cry had died away, and their enemies had been scalped, they began
to care for their dead and wounded. I was found lying unconscious
where I had fallen. They bathed my head in cold water and restored
me to consciousness. Then they bound up my wound and the next morning, although
weak from loss of blood and suffering from a severe headache,
I was able to march on the return to Arizona. I did not fully recover
for months, and I still wear the scar given me by that musketeer. In this
fight we had lost so heavily that there really was no glory in
our victory, and we returned to Arizona. No one seemed to want to go on
the warpath again that year. In the summer (1861) with twelve warriors
I again went into Mexico. We entered Chihuahua and followed south on the
east side of the Sierra Madre Mountains four days’ journey; then crossed
over to the Sierra de Sahuaripa range, not far east of Casa Grande.
Here we rested one day, and sent out scouts to reconnoiter. They reported
pack trains camped five miles west of us. The next morning just
at daybreak, as these drivers were starting with their mule pack
train, we attacked them. They rode away for their lives, leaving us the
booty. The mules were loaded with provisions, most of which we took home.
Two mules were loaded with side-meat or bacon; this we threw away. We
started to take these pack trains home, going northward through
Sonora, but when near Casita, Mexican troops overtook us. It was at daybreak
and we were just finishing our breakfast. We had no idea that
we had been pursued or that our enemies were near until they opened fire.
At the first volley a bullet struck me a glancing lick just at the
lower corner of the left eye and I fell unconscious. All the other
Indians fled to cover. The Mexicans, thinking me dead, started in pursuit
of the fleeing Indians. In a few moments I regained consciousness
and had started at full speed for the woods when another company coming
up opened fire on me. Then the soldiers who had been chasing the other Indians
turned, and I stood between two hostile companies, but I did not
stand long. Bullets whistled in every direction and at close range
to me. One inflicted a slight flesh wound on my side, but I kept
running, dodging, and fighting, until I got clear of my pursuers.
I climbed up a steep cañon, where the cavalry could not follow. The troopers
saw me, but did not dismount and try to follow. I think they were
wise not to come on. It had been understood that in case of surprise
with this booty, our place of rendezvous should be the Santa Bita
Mountains in Arizona. We did not reassemble in Mexico, but traveled
separately and in three days we were encamped in our place of rendezvous.
From this place we returned home empty-handed. We had not even a partial
victory to report. I again returned wounded, but I was not yet discouraged.
Again I was blamed by our people, and again I had no reply. After our return many of the warriors had
gone on a hunt and some of them had gone north to trade for blankets
from the Navajo Indians. I remained at home trying to get my wounds healed.
One morning just at daybreak, when the squaws were lighting the
camp fires to prepare breakfast, three companies of Mexican troops
who had surrounded our settlement in the night opened fire. There
was no time for fighting. Men, women, and children fled for their lives.
Many women and children and a few warriors were killed, and four women
were captured. My left eye was still swollen shut, but with the other
I saw well enough to hit one of the officers with an arrow, and then
make good my escape among the rocks. The troopers burned our tepees
and took our arms, provisions, ponies, and blankets. Winter was at hand. There were not more than twenty warriors in
camp at this time, and only a few of us had secured weapons during the
excitement of the attack. A few warriors followed the trail of the troops
as they went back to Mexico with their booty, but were unable to
offer battle. It was a long, long time before we were again able to go
on the warpath against the Mexicans. The four women who were captured at this time
by the Mexicans were taken into Sonora, Mexico, where they were compelled
to work for the Mexicans. After some years they escaped to the mountains
and started to find our tribe. They had knives which they had stolen
from the Mexicans, but they had no other weapons. They had no blankets;
so at night they would make a little tepee by cutting brush with their
knives, and setting them up for the walls. The top was covered over with
brush. In this temporary tepee they would all sleep. One night when
their camp fire was low they heard growling just outside the tepee. Francisco,
the youngest woman of the party (about seventeen years of age),
started to build up the fire, when a mountain lion crashed through the tepee
and attacked her. The suddenness of the attack made her drop her
knife, but she fought as best she could with her hand. She was no match
for the lion, however; her left shoulder was crushed and partly torn
away. The lion kept trying to catch her by the throat; this she prevented
with her hands for a long time. He dragged her for about 300 yards,
then she found her strength was failing her from loss of blood, and she
called to the other women for help. The lion had been dragging her by
one foot, and she had been catching hold of his legs, and of the rocks
and underbrush, to delay him. Finally he stopped and stood over her.
She again called her companions and they attacked him with their
knives and killed him. Then they dressed her wounds and nursed her in
the mountains for about a month. When she was again able to walk they
resumed their journey and reached our tribe in safety. This woman (Francisco) was held as a prisoner
of war with the other Apaches and died on the Fort Sill Reservation
in 1892. Her face was always disfigured with those scars and she
never regained perfect use of her hands. The three older women died before
we became prisoners of war. Many women and children were carried away
at different times by Mexicans. Not many of them ever returned,
and those who did underwent many hardships in order to be again united
with their people. Those who did not escape were slaves to the Mexicans,
or perhaps even more degraded. When warriors were captured by the Mexicans
they were kept in chains. Four warriors who were captured once at a
place north of Casa Grande, called by the Indians “Honas,” were kept in
chains for a year and a half, when they were exchanged for Mexicans
whom we had captured. We never chained prisoners or kept them in
confinement, but they seldom got away. Mexican men when captured were compelled
to cut wood and herd horses. Mexican women and children were treated
as our own people. CHAPTER VIII. RAIDS THAT WERE SUCCESSFUL In the summer of 1862 I took eight men and
invaded Mexican territory. We went south on the west side of the Sierra
Madre Mountains for five days; then in the night crossed over to the southern
part of the Sierra de Sahuaripa range. Here we again camped to watch
for pack trains. About ten o’clock next morning four drivers, mounted,
came past our camp with a pack-mule train. As soon as they saw us
they rode for their lives, leaving us the booty. This was a long train,
and packed with blankets, calico, saddles, tinware, and loaf sugar.
We hurried home as fast as we could with these provisions, and on our return
while passing through a cañon in the Santa Catilina range of mountains
in Arizona, met a white man driving a mule pack train. When we first
saw him he had already seen us, and was riding at full tilt up the
cañon. We examined his train and found that his mules were all loaded with
cheese. We put them in with the other train and resumed our journey.
We did not attempt to trail the driver and I am sure he did not
try to follow us. In two days we arrived at home. Then Mangus-Colorado,
our chief, assembled the tribe. We gave a feast, divided
the spoils, and danced all night. Some of the pack mules were killed
and eaten. This time after our return we kept out scouts
so that we would know if Mexican troops should attempt to follow us. On the third day our scouts came into camp
and reported Mexican cavalry dismounted and approaching our settlement.
All our warriors were in camp. Mangus-Colorado took command of one
division and I of the other. We hoped to get possession of their horses,
then surround the troops in the mountains, and destroy the whole company.
This we were unable to do, for they, too, had scouts. However, within
four hours after we started we had killed ten troopers with the
loss of only one man, and the Mexican cavalry was in full retreat, followed
by thirty armed Apaches, who gave them no rest until they
were far inside the Mexican country. No more troops came that winter. For a long time we had plenty of provisions,
plenty of blankets, and plenty of clothing. We also had plenty of
cheese and sugar. Another summer (1863) I selected three warriors
and went on a raid into Mexico. We went south into Sonora, camping
in the Sierra de Sahuaripa Mountains. About forty miles west of Casa
Grande is a small village in the mountains, called by the Indians “Crassanas.”
We camped near this place and concluded to make an attack. We
had noticed that just at midday no one seemed to be stirring; so we
planned to make our attack at the noon hour. The next day we stole into
the town at noon. We had no guns, but were armed with spears and bows
and arrows. When the war-whoop was given to open the attack the Mexicans
fled in every direction; not one of them made any attempt to fight us. We shot some arrows at the retreating Mexicans,
but killed only one. Soon all was silent in the town and no Mexicans
could be seen. When we discovered that all the Mexicans were
gone we looked through their houses and saw many curious things.
These Mexicans kept many more kinds of property than the Apaches did. Many
of the things we saw in the houses we could not understand, but in the
stores we saw much that we wanted; so we drove in a herd of horses and
mules, and packed as much provisions and supplies as we could on them.
Then we formed these animals into a pack train and returned safely
to Arizona. The Mexicans did not even trail us. When we arrived in camp we called the tribe
together and feasted all day. We gave presents to everyone. That night
the dance began, and it did not cease until noon the next day. This was perhaps the most successful raid
ever made by us into Mexican territory. I do not know the value of the
booty, but it was very great, for we had supplies enough to last our whole
tribe for a year or more. In
the fall of 1864 twenty warriors were willing
to go with me on another raid into Mexico. These were all chosen
men, well armed and equipped for battle. As usual we provided
for the safety of our families before starting on this raid. Our whole tribe
scattered and then reassembled at a camp about forty miles from
the former place. In this way it would be hard for the Mexicans to trail
them and we would know where to find our families when we returned.
Moreover, if any hostile Indians should see this large number of warriors
leaving our range they might attack our camp, but if they found no
one at the usual place their raid would fail. We went south through the Chokonen Apaches’
range, entered Sonora, Mexico, at a point directly south of Tombstone,
Arizona, and went into hiding in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains. We attacked several settlements in the neighborhood
and secured plenty of provisions and supplies. After about three
days we attacked and captured a mule pack train at a place called
by the Indians “Pontoco.” It is situated in the mountains due west,
about one day’s journey from Arispe. There were three drivers with this train.
One was killed and two escaped. The train was loaded with mescal,
which was contained in bottles held in wicker baskets. As soon as
we made camp the Indians began to get drunk and fight each other. I,
too, drank enough mescal to feel the effect of it, but I was not drunk.
I ordered the fighting stopped, but the order was disobeyed. Soon
almost a general fight was in progress. I tried to place a guard out around
our camp, but all were drunk and refused to serve. I expected an
attack from Mexican troops at any moment, and really it was a serious matter
for me, for being in command I would be held responsible for any
ill luck attending the expedition. Finally the camp became comparatively
still, for the Indians were too drunk to walk or even to fight. While
they were in this stupor I poured out all the mescal, then I put out
all the fires and moved the pack mules to a considerable distance from
camp. After this I returned to camp to try to do something for the wounded.
I found that only two were dangerously wounded. From the leg of
one of these I cut an arrow head, and from the shoulder of another I withdrew
a spear point. When all the wounds had been cared for, I myself
kept guard till morning. The next day we loaded our wounded on the pack
mules and started for Arizona. The next day we captured come cattle from
a herd and drove them home with us. But it was a very difficult matter
to drive cattle when we were on foot. Caring for the wounded and keeping
the cattle from escaping made our journey tedious. But we were not
trailed, and arrived safely at home with all the booty. We then gave a feast and dance, and divided
the spoils. After the dance we killed all the cattle and dried the meat.
We dressed the hides and then the dried meat was packed in between
these hides and stored away. All that winter we had plenty of meat. These
were the first cattle we ever had. As usual we killed and ate some
of the mules. We had little use for mules, and if we could not trade them
for something of value, we killed them. In the summer of 1865, with four warriors,
I went again into Mexico. Heretofore we had gone on foot; we were accustomed
to fight on foot; besides, we could more easily conceal ourselves
when dismounted. But this time we wanted more cattle, and it was
hard to drive them when we were on foot. We entered Sonora at a point
southwest from Tombstone, Arizona, and followed the Sierra de Antunez
Mountains to the southern limit, then crossed the country as far south
as the mouth of Yaqui River. Here we saw a great lake extending
beyond the limit of sight. Then we turned north, attacked several settlements,
and secured plenty of supplies. When we had come back northwest
of Arispe we secured about sixty head of cattle, and drove them to our
homes in Arizona. We did not go directly home, but camped in different
valleys with our cattle. We were not trailed. When we arrived at our camp
the tribe was again assembled for feasting and dancing. Presents
were given to everybody; then the cattle were killed and the meat dried
and packed. CHAPTER IX. VARYING FORTUNES In the fall of 1865 with nine other warriors
I went into Mexico on foot. We attacked several settlements south of Casa
Grande, and collected many horses and mules. We made our way northward
with these animals through the mountains. When near Arispe we made camp
one evening, and thinking that we were not being trailed, turned loose
the whole herd, even those we had been riding. They were in a valley
surrounded by steep mountains, and we were camped at the mouth of this valley
so that the animals could not leave without coming through our camp.
Just as we had begun to eat our supper our scouts came in and announced
Mexican troops coming toward our camp. We started for the horses, but troops
that our scouts had not seen were on the cliffs above us, and opened
fire. We scattered in all directions, and the troops recovered all our
booty. In three days we reassembled at our appointed place of rendezvous
in the Sierra Madre Mountains in northern Sonora. Mexican troops
did not follow us, and we returned to Arizona without any more fighting
and with no booty. Again I had nothing to say, but I was anxious for
another raid. Early the next summer (1866) I took thirty
mounted warriors and invaded Mexican territory. We went south through Chihuahua
as far as Santa Cruz, Sonora, then crossed over the Sierra Madre
Mountains, following the river course at the south end of the range.
We kept on westward from the Sierra Madre Mountains to the Sierra de Sahuripa
Mountains, and followed that range northward. We collected all the
horses, mules, and cattle we wanted, and drove them northward through Sonora
into Arizona. Mexicans saw us at many times and in many places, but
they did not attack us at any time, nor did any troops attempt to follow
us. When we arrived at our homes we gave presents to all, and the
tribe feasted and danced. During this raid we had killed about fifty
Mexicans. NAICHE, son of Coche; ASA, son of Whoa; CHARLEY,
son of Victoria] Next year (1867) Mangus-Colorado led eight
warriors on a raid into Mexico. I went as a warrior, for I was always
glad to fight the Mexicans. We rode south from near Tombstone,
Arizona, into Sonora, Mexico. We attacked some cowboys, and after
a fight with them, in which two of their number were killed, we drove
all their cattle northward. The second day we were driving the cattle,
but had no scouts out. When we were not far from Arispe, Mexican troops
rode upon us. They were well armed and well mounted, and when we first
saw them they were not half a mile away from us. We left the cattle and
rode as hard as we could toward the mountains, but they gained on us
rapidly. Soon they opened fire, but were so far away from us that we
were unable to reach them with our arrows; finally we reached some timber,
and, leaving our ponies, fought from cover. Then the Mexicans
halted, collected our ponies, and rode away across the plains toward
Arispe, driving the cattle with them. We stood and watched them
until they disappeared in the distance, and then took up our march for
home. We arrived home in five days with no victory
to report, no spoils to divide, and not even the ponies which we had
ridden into Mexico. This expedition was considered disgraceful. The warriors who had been with Mangus-Colorado
on this last expedition wanted to return to Mexico. They were not
satisfied, besides they felt keenly the taunts of the other warriors. Mangus-Colorado
would not lead them back, so I took command and we went on
foot, directly toward Arispe in Sonora, and made our camp in the Sierra
de Sahuripa Mountains. There were only six of us, but we raided several
settlements (at night), captured many horses and mules, and loaded
them with provisions, saddles and blankets. Then we returned to Arizona,
traveling only at night. When we arrived at our camp we sent out scouts
to prevent any surprise by Mexicans, assembled the tribe, feasted, danced,
and divided the spoils. Mangus-Colorado would not receive any of this
booty, but we did not care. No Mexican troops followed us to Arizona. About a year after this (1868) Mexican troops
rounded up all the horses and mules of the tribe not far from our settlement.
No raids had been made into Mexico that year, and we were not
expecting any attacks. We were all in camp, having just returned from
hunting. About two o’clock in the afternoon two Mexican
scouts were seen near our settlement. We killed these scouts, but the
troops got under way with the herd of our horses and mules before we
saw them. It was useless to try to overtake them on foot, and our tribe
had not a horse left. I took twenty warriors and trailed them. We found
the stock at a cattle ranch in Sonora, not far from Nacozari, and attacked
the cowboys who had them in charge. We killed two men and lost none.
After the fight we drove off our own stock and all of theirs. We were trailed by nine cowboys. I sent the
stock on ahead and with three warriors stayed in the rear to intercept
any attacking parties. One night when near the Arizona line we discovered
these cowboys on our trail and watched them camp for the night
and picket their horses. About midnight we stole into their camp and silently
led away all their horses, leaving the cowboys asleep. Then we
rode hard and overtook our companions, who always traveled at night instead
of in the daytime. We turned these horses in with the herd and fell
back to again intercept anyone who might trail us. What these nine
cowboys did next morning I do not know, and I have never heard the Mexicans
say anything about it; I know they did not follow us, for we were
not molested. When we arrived in camp at home there was great rejoicing
in the tribe. It was considered a good trick to get the Mexicans’
horses and leave them asleep in the mountains. It was a long time before we again went into
Mexico or were disturbed by the Mexicans. CHAPTER X. OTHER RAIDS When reading the foregoing chapters of Apache
raids one not acquainted with the lawlessness of the frontier might
wonder how this tendency of the Apaches was developed to such a marked
degree; but one acquainted with the real conditions–the disregard for
law by both Mexicans and white men along the border line of Old Mexico
and Arizona in early days–can readily understand where the Apache
got his education in the art of conducting lawless raids. In order,
therefore, that those who are unacquainted with the conditions as they were
in southern Arizona during the eighties, may understand the environment
of the Apaches, this chapter is given. The events herein narrated
are taken by the author from many accounts given him by reliable men
who lived in this section of country during the period mentioned. _ In 1882 a company of six Mexican traders,
who were known as “smugglers” because they evaded duties on goods which
they brought into United States and sold in Arizona, were camped in
Skeleton Cañon, ten miles north of the north line of Old Mexico. They
were known to carry large sums of money, but as they were always armed
and ready to defend their possessions they were not often molested.
However, on this occasion, just as they were rising in the morning to
prepare their breakfast, five white men opened fire on them from ambush
and all save one of the Mexicans were killed. This one, though wounded,
finally made his escape. A few days after the killing some cowboys
on a round-up camped at this place and buried the remains (what the coyotes
had left) of these five Mexicans. Two years later, at the same place,
a cowboy found a leather bag containing seventy-two Mexican dollars,
which small amount of money had been overlooked by the robbers. The men who did this killing lived in Arizona
for many years afterwards, and although it was known that they had committed
the depredation, no arrests followed, and no attempt was made
by any of the Mexicans to recover the property of their fellow citizens. _Mexican Raid_ In 1884 a cattleman and four cowboys from
his ranch started to drive some fat cattle to market at Tombstone, Arizona.
The route they took led partly through Old Mexico and partly through
Arizona. One night they camped in a cañon just south of the Mexican
border. Next morning at daylight, the cowboy who had been on herd
duty the last half of the night had just come in and aroused the camp
when the Mexicans opened fire on them from ambush. The cattleman and
one of the cowboys were severely wounded at the first volley and took
shelter behind the camp wagon, from which position they fired as long
as their ammunition lasted. The other three were only slightly
wounded and reached cover, but only one escaped with his life. He remained
in hiding for two days before his comrades found him. He saw the
Mexicans rob the bodies of the dead and lead away their saddle horses, after
having cooked breakfast for themselves in the deserted camp. He was
severely wounded and all his ammunition was gone, hence he could only wait. On the second day after this raid some of
the cattle strayed back to the old ranch, thereby giving notice to the cowboys
that there had been foul play. They found their wounded companions
lying delirious near the decaying bodies of their comrades. No arrests
were ever made in Mexico for these murders, and no attempt was made
to recover damage or prosecute the robbers. The two instances above
narrated will serve to show the reader what kind of an example was
set for the Apaches by at least a portion of the inhabitants of the
two Christian nations with whom they came in contact. _Apache Raids_ It is thought well to give in this chapter
some of the depredations of the Apaches, not told by Geronimo. They are
given as told by our own citizens and from the white man’s point of
view. In 1884 Judge McCormick and wife, accompanied
by their young son, were driving from Silver City to Lordsburg, when
they were ambushed by Apaches. The bodies of the adults were found
soon afterward, but the child’s body was never recovered. Years afterwards,
an Apache squaw told some of the settlers in Arizona that the little
boy (about eight years old) cried so much and was so stubborn that
they had to kill him, although their original intention was to spare
his life. In 1882 a man named Hunt was wounded in a
row in a saloon in Tombstone, Arizona. During this row two other men had
been killed, and, to avoid arrest, Hunt and his brother went into the
mountains and camped about ten miles north of Willow Springs to await
the healing of his wounds. A few days after they came there, Apache Indians
attacked them and killed the wounded brother, but the other, by hard
riding, made good his escape. In 1883 two Eastern boys went into Arizona
to prospect. Their real outing began at Willow Springs, where they
had stayed two days with the cowboys. These cowboys had warned them against
the Apaches, but the young men seemed entirely fearless, and pushed
on into the mountains. On the second morning after they left the settlement,
one of the boys was getting breakfast while the other went to
bring in the pack horses that had been hobbled and turned loose the night
before to graze. Just about the time he found his horses, two Apache warriors
rode out from cover toward him and he made a hasty retreat to
camp, jumping off of a bluff and in so doing breaking his leg. A consultation was then held between the two
Easterners and it was decided that perhaps all the stories they
had been told of the Apache raids were true, and that it was advisable
to surrender. Accordingly a white handkerchief was tied to the end of
a pole and raised cautiously above the top of the bluff. In about ten minutes
the two Indians–one a very old warrior and the other a mere boy,
evidently his son–rode into camp and dismounted. The old warrior examined
the broken limb, then without a word proceeded to take off the shirt
of the uninjured youth, with strips of which he carefully bound up
the broken leg. After this the two Indians ate the prepared breakfast
and remounted their ponies. Then the old warrior, indicating the direction
with his thumb, said “Doctor–Lordsburg–three days,” and silently
rode away. The young men rode twenty-five miles to Sansimone, where
the cowboys fitted them out with a wagon to continue their journey to
Lordsburg, seventy-five miles further, where a physician’s services could
be secured. In 1883 two prospectors, Alberts and Reese
by name, were driving a team, consisting of a horse and a mule, through
Turkey Creek bottoms, when they were shot by the Indians. The wagon and
harness were left in the road, and the mule was found dead in the road
two hundred yards from that place. Evidently the Indians had not
much use for him. The guns of the prospectors were found later, but the
horse they drove was not recovered. In none of the above-named instances were
the bodies of the victims mutilated. However, there are many recorded
instances in which the Apache Indians did mutilate the bodies of
their victims, but it is claimed by Geronimo that these were outlawed
Indians, as his regular warriors were instructed to scalp none except
those killed in battle, and to torture none except to make them reveal
desired information. In 1884 two cowboys in the employment of the
Sansimone Cattle Company were camped at Willow Springs, eighteen miles
southwest of Skeleton Cañon, and not far from Old Mexico. Just
at sundown their camp was surrounded by Apaches in war paint, who said
that they had been at war with the Mexicans and wished to return to
the United States. There were about seventy-five Indians in the whole tribe,
the squaws and children coming up later. They had with them about
one hundred and fifty Mexican horses. The Indians took possession of the
camp and remained for about ten days, getting their supplies of meat by
killing cattle of the company. With this band of Indians was a white boy
about fourteen years old, who had evidently been with them from infancy,
for he could not speak a word of English, and did not understand much Spanish,
but spoke the Apache language readily. They would allow but one of the cowboys to
leave camp at a time, keeping the other under guard. They had sentinels
with spyglasses on all the hills and peaks surrounding the camp. One evening when one of the cowboys, William
Berne, had been allowed to pass out of the camp, he noticed an Indian
dismounted and, as he approached, discovered that the Indian had
him under range of his rifle. He immediately dismounted, and standing on
the opposite side from the redskin, threw his own Winchester across his
horse’s neck, when the Indian sprang on his horse and galloped toward
him at full speed, making signs to him not to shoot, and when
he approached him, dismounted and pointing to the ground, showed Berne many
fresh deer tracks. Then, as an understanding had been established,
the cowboy remounted and went on his way, leaving the Apache to hunt the
deer. One day when this cowboy was about ten miles
from camp, he found two splendid horses of the Indians. These horses
had strayed from the herd. Thinking that they would in a way compensate
for the cattle the Apaches were eating, he drove them on for about five
miles into a cañon where there was plenty of grass and water and left
them there, intending to come back after the departure of the Indians
and take possession of them. On the tenth day after the arrival of this
band of Indians, United States troops, accompanied by two Indians
who had been sent to make the arrangements, arrived in camp, paid for the
cattle the Apaches had eaten, took the Indians and their stock, and
moved on toward Fort Bowie. The cowboys immediately started for the cañon
where the two horses had been left, but had not gone far when they
met two Indians driving these horses in front of them as they pushed on
to overtake the tribe. Evidently the shrewdness of the paleface had
not outwitted the red man that time. Geronimo says he was in no wise connected
with the events herein mentioned, but refuses to state whether he
knows anything about them. He holds it unmanly to tell of any depredations
of red men except those for which he was responsible. Such were the events transpiring in “Apache
land” during the days when Geronimo was leading his warriors to avenge
the “wrongs” of his people. This chapter will serve to show that the Apache
had plenty of examples of lawlessness furnished him, and also that
he was a very apt scholar in this school of savage lawlessness. CHAPTER XI. HEAVY FIGHTING About 1873 we were again attacked by Mexican
troops in our settlement, but we defeated them. Then we decided to make
raids into Mexico. We moved our whole camp, packing all our belongings
on mules and horses, went into Mexico and made camp in the mountains
near Nacori. In moving our camp in this way we wanted no one to spy
on us, and if we passed a Mexican’s home we usually killed the inmates.
However, if they offered to surrender and made no resistance or trouble
in any way, we would take them prisoners. Frequently we would change
our place of rendezvous; then we would take with us our prisoners if they
were willing to go, but if they were unruly they might be killed. I remember
one Mexican in the Sierra Madre Mountains who saw us moving and
delayed us for some time. We took the trouble to get him, thinking the
plunder of his house would pay us for the delay, but after we had killed
him we found nothing in his house worth having. We ranged in these
mountains for over a year, raiding the Mexican settlements for our supplies,
but not having any general engagement with Mexican troops; then
we returned to our homes in Arizona. After remaining in Arizona about
a year we returned to Mexico, and went into hiding in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Our camp was near Nacori, and we had just organized bands of
warriors for raiding the country, when our scouts discovered Mexican
troops coming toward our camp to attack us. _Battle of White Hill_ The chief of the Nedni Apaches, Whoa, was
with me and commanded one division. The warriors were all marched toward
the troops and met them at a place about five miles from our camp.
We showed ourselves to the soldiers and they quickly rode to the top
of a hill and dismounted, placing their horses on the outside for breastworks.
It was a round hill, very steep and rocky, and there was
no timber on its sides. There were two companies of Mexican cavalry, and
we had about sixty warriors. We crept up the hill behind the rocks, and
they kept up a constant fire, but I had cautioned our warriors not to expose
themselves to the Mexicans. I knew that the troopers would waste their
ammunition. Soon we had killed all their horses, but the soldiers
would lie behind these and shoot at us. While we had killed several Mexicans,
we had not yet lost a man. However, it was impossible to get very
close to them in this way, and I deemed it best to lead a charge against
them. We had been fighting ever since about one
o’clock, and about the middle of the afternoon, seeing that we were making
no further progress, I gave the sign for the advance. The war-whoop
sounded and we leaped forward from every stone over the Mexicans’
dead horses, fighting hand to hand. The attack was so sudden that the
Mexicans, running first this way and then that, became so confused that
in a few minutes we had killed them all. Then we scalped the slain,
carried away our dead, and secured all the arms we needed. That night
we moved our camp eastward through the Sierra Madre Mountains into Chihuahua.
No troops molested us here and after about a year we returned to
Arizona. Almost every year we would live a part of
the time in Old Mexico. There were at this time many settlements in Arizona;
game was not plentiful, and besides we liked to go down into Old Mexico.
Besides, the lands of the Nedni Apaches, our friends and kinsmen,
extended far into Mexico. Their Chief, Whoa, was as a brother to me,
and we spent much of our time in his territory. About 1880 we were in camp in the mountains
south of Casa Grande, when a company of Mexican troops attacked us. There
were twenty-four Mexican soldiers and about forty Indians. The Mexicans
surprised us in camp and fired on us, killing two Indians the first
volley. I do not know how they were able to find our camp unless they
had excellent scouts and our guards were careless, but there they were
shooting at us before we knew they were near. We were in the timber, and
I gave the order to go forward and fight at close range. We kept
behind rocks and trees until we came within ten yards of their line, then
we stood up and both sides shot until all the Mexicans were killed. We
lost twelve warriors in this battle. This place was called by the Indians “Sko-la-ta.”
When we had buried our dead and secured what supplies the Mexicans
had, we went northeast. At a place near Nacori Mexican troops attacked
us. At this place, called by the Indians “Nokode,” there were about eighty
warriors, Bedonkohe and Nedni Apaches. There were three companies
of Mexican troops. They attacked us in an open field, and we scattered,
firing as we ran. They followed us, but we dispersed, and soon were
free from their pursuit; then we reassembled in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Here a council was held, and as Mexican troops were coming from
many quarters, we disbanded. In about four months we reassembled at Casa
Grande to make a treaty of peace. The chiefs of the town of Casa Grande,
and all of the men of Casa Grande, made a treaty with us. We shook hands
and promised to be brothers. Then we began to trade, and the
Mexicans gave us mescal. Soon nearly all the Indians were drunk. While they
were drunk two companies of Mexican troops, from another town, attacked
us, killed twenty Indians, and captured many more. We fled in
all directions. CHAPTER XII. GERONIMO’S MIGHTIEST BATTLE After the treachery and massacre of Casa Grande
we did not reassemble for a long while, and when we did we returned
to Arizona. We remained in Arizona for some time, living in San Carlos
Reservation, at a place now called Geronimo. In 1883 we went into Mexico
again. We remained in the mountain ranges of Mexico for about fourteen
months, and during this time we had many skirmishes with Mexican troops.
In 1884 we returned to Arizona to get other Apaches to come with
us into Mexico. The Mexicans were gathering troops in the mountains where
we had been ranging, and their numbers were so much greater than ours
that we could not hope to fight them successfully, and we were tired
of being chased about from place to place. In Arizona we had trouble with the United
States soldiers (explained in next chapter) and returned to Mexico. We had lost about fifteen warriors in Arizona,
and had gained no recruits. With our reduced number we camped
in the mountains north of Arispe. Mexican troops were seen by our scouts
in several directions. The United States troops were coming down
from the north. We were well armed with guns and supplied with ammunition,
but we did not care to be surrounded by the troops of two governments,
so we started to move our camp southward. One night we made camp some distance from
the mountains by a stream. There was not much water in the stream, but
a deep channel was worn through the prairie and small trees were beginning
to grow here and there along the bank of this stream. In those days we never camped without placing
scouts, for we knew that we were liable to be attacked at any time.
The next morning just at daybreak our scouts came in, aroused the camp,
and notified us that Mexican troops were approaching. Within five
minutes the Mexicans began firing on us. We took to the ditches made
by the stream, and had the women and children busy digging these deeper.
I gave strict orders to waste no ammunition and keep under cover.
We killed many Mexicans that day and in turn lost heavily, for the fight
lasted all day. Frequently troops would charge at one point, be repulsed,
then rally and charge at another point. About noon we began to hear them speaking
my name with curses. In the afternoon the general came on the field and
the fighting became more furious. I gave orders to my warriors to try
to kill all the Mexican officers. About three o’clock the general
called all the officers together at the right side of the field. The
place where they assembled was not very far from the main stream, and
a little ditch ran out close to where the officers stood. Cautiously I
crawled out this ditch very close to where the council was being held.
The general was an old warrior. The wind was blowing in my direction,
so that I could hear all he said, and I understood most of it. This
is about what he told them: “Officers, yonder in those ditches is
the red devil Geronimo and his hated band. This must be his last day.
Ride on him from both sides of the ditches; kill men, women, and children;
take no prisoners; dead Indians are what we want. Do not spare your
own men; exterminate this band at any cost; I will post the wounded
to shoot all deserters; go back to your companies and advance.” Just as the command to go forward was given
I took deliberate aim at the general and he fell. In an instant the ground
around me was riddled with bullets, but I was untouched. The Apaches
had seen. From all along the ditches arose the fierce war-cry of my people.
The columns wavered an instant and then swept on; they did not retreat
until our fire had destroyed the front ranks. After this their fighting was not so fierce,
yet they continued to rally and readvance until dark. They also continued
to speak my name with threats and curses. That night before the
firing had ceased a dozen Indians had crawled out of the ditches and
set fire to the long prairie grass behind the Mexican troops. During the
confusion that followed we escaped to the mountains. This was the last battle that I ever fought
with Mexicans. United States troops were trailing us continually from this
time until the treaty was made with General Miles in Skeleton Cañon. During my many wars with the Mexicans I received
eight wounds, as follows: shot in the right leg above the knee,
and still carry the bullet; shot through the left forearm; wounded
in the right leg below the knee with a saber; wounded on top of the
head with the butt of a musket; shot just below the outer corner of
the left eye; shot in left side; shot in the back. I have killed many
Mexicans; I do not know how many, for frequently I did not count them.
Some of them were not worth counting. It has been a long time since then, but still
I have no love for the Mexicans. With me they were always treacherous
and malicious. I am old now and shall never go on the warpath again,
but if I were young, and followed the warpath, it would lead into Old
Mexico. PART III. THE WHITE MEN CHAPTER XIII. COMING OF THE WHITE MEN About the time of the massacre of “Kaskiyeh”
(1858) we heard that some white men were measuring land to the south
of us. In company with a number of other warriors I went to visit them.
We could not understand them very well, for we had no interpreter,
but we made a treaty with them by shaking hands and promising to be
brothers. Then we made our camp near their camp, and they came to trade
with us. We gave them buckskin, blankets, and ponies in exchange
for shirts and provisions. We also brought them game, for which they gave
us some money. We did not know the value of this money, but we kept
it and later learned from the Navajo Indians that it was very valuable. Every day they measured land with curious
instruments and put down marks which we could not understand. They
were good men, and we were sorry when they had gone on into the west.
They were not soldiers. These were the first white men I ever saw. About ten years later some more white men
came. These were all warriors. They made their camp on the Gila River south
of Hot Springs. At first they were friendly and we did not dislike
them, but they were not as good as those who came first. After about a year some trouble arose between
them and the Indians, and I took the warpath as a warrior, not as a
chief.[24] I had not been wronged, but some of my people had been, and
I fought with my tribe; for the soldiers and not the Indians were at fault. Not long after this some of the officers of
the United States troops invited our leaders to hold a conference at
Apache Pass (Fort Bowie). Just before noon the Indians were shown into
a tent and told that they would be given something to eat. When in the
tent they were attacked by soldiers. Our chief, Mangus-Colorado, and
several other warriors, by cutting through the tent, escaped; but most
of the warriors were killed or captured. Among the Bedonkohe Apaches killed
at this time were Sanza, Kladetahe, Niyokahe, and Gopi. After this
treachery the Indians went back to the mountains and left the fort entirely
alone. I do not think that the agent had anything to do with planning
this, for he had always treated us well. I believe it was entirely
planned by the soldiers. From[26] the very first the soldiers sent
out to our western country, and the officers in charge of them, did not
hesitate to wrong the Indians. They never explained to the Government
when an Indian was wronged, but always reported the misdeeds
of the Indians. Much that was done by mean white men was reported at Washington
as the deeds of my people. The Indians always tried to live peaceably
with the white soldiers and settlers. One day during the time that the
soldiers were stationed at Apache Pass I made a treaty with the post.
This was done by shaking hands and promising to be brothers. Cochise
and Mangus-Colorado did likewise. I do not know the name of the officer
in command, but this was the first regiment that ever came to Apache
Pass. This treaty was made about a year before we were attacked
in a tent, as above related. In a few days after the attack at Apache Pass
we organized in the mountains and returned to fight the soldiers.
There were two tribes–the Bedonkohe and the Chokonen Apaches, both commanded
by Cochise. After a few days’ skirmishing we attacked a freight
train that was coming in with supplies for the Fort. We killed some
of the men and captured the others. These prisoners our chief offered
to trade for the Indians whom the soldiers had captured at the massacre
in the tent. This the officers refused, so we killed our prisoners, disbanded,
and went into hiding in the mountains. Of those who took part in this
affair I am the only one now living. In a few days troops were sent out to search
for us, but as we were disbanded, it was, of course, impossible for
them to locate any hostile camp. During the time they were searching
for us many of our warriors (who were thought by the soldiers to be peaceable
Indians) talked to the officers and men, advising them where they
might find the camp they sought, and while they searched we watched
them from our hiding places and laughed at their failures. After this trouble all of the Indians agreed
not to be friendly with the white men any more. There was no general engagement,
but a long struggle followed. Sometimes we attacked the white
men–sometimes they attacked us. First a few Indians would be killed and
then a few soldiers. I think the killing was about equal on each side.
The number killed in these troubles did not amount to much, but this
treachery on the part of the soldiers had angered the Indians and revived
memories of other wrongs, so that we never again trusted the United
States troops. CHAPTER XIV. GREATEST OF WRONGS Perhaps the greatest wrong ever done to the
Indians was the treatment received by our tribe from the United States
troops about 1863. The chief of our tribe, Mangus-Colorado, went
to make a treaty of peace for our people with the white settlement at Apache
Tejo, New Mexico. It had been reported to us that the white men in
this settlement were more friendly and more reliable than those in Arizona,
that they would live up to their treaties and would not wrong the
Indians. Mangus-Colorado, with three other warriors,
went to Apache Tejo and held a council with these citizens and soldiers.
They told him that if he would come with his tribe and live near them,
they would issue to him, from the Government, blankets, flour, provisions,
beef, and all manner of supplies. Our chief promised to return
to Apache Tejo within two weeks. When he came back to our settlement
he assembled the whole tribe in council. I did not believe that the people
at Apache Tejo would do as they said and therefore I opposed the plan,
but it was decided that with part of the tribe Mangus-Colorado should return
to Apache Tejo and receive an issue of rations and supplies.
If they were as represented, and if these white men would keep the treaty
faithfully, the remainder of the tribe would join him and we would make
our permanent home at Apache Tejo. I was to remain in charge of
that portion of the tribe which stayed in Arizona. We gave almost all
of our arms and ammunition to the party going to Apache Tejo, so that
in case there should be treachery they would be prepared for any surprise.
Mangus-Colorado and about half of our people went to New Mexico,
happy that now they had found white men who would be kind to them,
and with whom they could live in peace and plenty. No word ever came to us from them. From other
sources, however, we heard that they had been treacherously[27] captured
and slain. In this dilemma we did not know just exactly what to do, but
fearing that the troops who had captured them would attack us, we retreated
into the mountains near Apache Pass. During the weeks that followed the departure
of our people we had been in suspense, and failing to provide more supplies,
had exhausted all of our store of provisions. This was another
reason for moving camp. On this retreat, while passing through the mountains,
we discovered four men with a herd of cattle. Two of the men
were in front in a buggy and two were behind on horseback. We killed all
four, but did not scalp them; they were not warriors. We drove the
cattle back into the mountains, made a camp, and began to kill
the cattle and pack the meat. Before we had finished this work we were surprised
and attacked by United States troops, who killed in all seven
Indians–one warrior, three women, and three children. The Government
troops were mounted and so were we, but we were poorly armed, having
given most of our weapons to the division of our tribe that had gone
to Apache Tejo, so we fought mainly with spears, bows, and arrows. At first
I had a spear, a bow, and a few arrows; but in a short time my spear
and all my arrows were gone. Once I was surrounded, but by dodging from
side to side of my horse as he ran I escaped. It was necessary during
this fight for many of the warriors to leave their horses and escape
on foot. But my horse was trained to come at call, and as soon as I
reached a safe place, if not too closely pursued, I would call him to me.[28]
During this fight we scattered in all directions and two days later
reassembled at our appointed place of rendezvous, about fifty
miles from the scene of this battle. About ten days later the same United States
troops attacked our new camp at sunrise. The fight lasted all day, but
our arrows and spears were all gone before ten o’clock, and for the remainder
of the day we had only rocks and clubs with which to fight. We could
do little damage with these weapons, and at night we moved our camp
about four miles back into the mountains where it would be hard for the
cavalry to follow us. The next day our scouts, who had been left behind
to observe the movements of the soldiers, returned, saying that the
troops had gone back toward San Carlos Reservation. A few days after this we were again attacked
by another company of United States troops. Just before this fight
we had been joined by a band of Chokonen Indians under Cochise, who
took command of both divisions. We were repulsed, and decided to
disband. After we had disbanded our tribe the Bedonkohe
Apaches reassembled near their old camp vainly waiting for the return
of Mangus-Colorado and our kinsmen. No tidings came save that they had
all been treacherously slain. Then a council was held, and as it
was believed that Mangus-Colorado was dead, I was elected Tribal
Chief. For a long time we had no trouble with anyone.
It was more than a year after I had been made Tribal Chief that United
States troops surprised and attacked our camp. They killed seven children,
five women, and four warriors, captured all our supplies, blankets,
horses, and clothing, and destroyed our tepees. We had nothing left;
winter was beginning, and it was the coldest winter I ever knew. After
the soldiers withdrew I took three warriors and trailed them. Their
trail led back toward San Carlos. CHAPTER XV. REMOVALS While returning from trailing the Government
troops we saw two men, a Mexican and a white man, and shot them off
their horses. With these two horses we returned and moved our camp. My
people were suffering much and it was deemed advisable to go where we could
get more provisions. Game was scarce in our range then, and since I
had been Tribal Chief I had not asked for rations from the Government,
nor did I care to do so, but we did not wish to starve. We had heard that Chief Victoria of the Chihenne
(Oje Caliente) Apaches was holding a council with the white men near
Hot Springs in New Mexico, and that he had plenty of provisions. We had
always been on friendly terms with this tribe, and Victoria was especially
kind to my people. With the help of the two horses we had captured,
to carry our sick with us, we went to Hot Springs. We easily found
Victoria and his band, and they gave us supplies for the winter. We stayed
with them for about a year, and during this stay we had perfect
peace. We had not the least trouble with Mexicans, white men, or Indians.
When we had stayed as long as we should, and had again accumulated some
supplies, we decided to leave Victoria’s band. When I told him that
we were going to leave he said that we should have a feast and dance
before we separated. The festivities were held about two miles
above Hot Springs, and lasted for four days. There were about four hundred
Indians at this celebration. I do not think we ever spent
a more pleasant time than upon this occasion. No one ever treated our tribe
more kindly than Victoria and his band. We are still proud to say that
he and his people were our friends. When I went to Apache Pass (Fort Bowie) I
found General Howard[30] in command, and made a treaty with him. This
treaty lasted until long after General Howard had left our country. He always
kept his word with us and treated us as brothers. We never had so good
a friend among the United States officers as General Howard. We could
have lived forever at peace with him. If there is any pure, honest white
man in the United States army, that man is General Howard. All the
Indians respect him, and even to this day frequently talk of the happy times
when General Howard was in command of our Post. After he went away
he placed an agent at Apache Pass who issued to us from the Government
clothing, rations, and supplies, as General Howard directed. When
beef was issued to the Indians I got twelve steers for my tribe,
and Cochise got twelve steers for his tribe. Rations were issued about once
a month, but if we ran out we only had to ask and we were supplied. Now,
as prisoners of war in this Reservation, we do not get such good
rations. Out on the prairie away from Apache Pass a
man kept a store and saloon. Some time after General Howard went away a
band of outlawed Indians killed this man, and took away many of the
supplies from his store. On the very next day after this some Indians
at the Post were drunk on “tiswin,” which they had made from corn. They
fought among themselves and four of them were killed. There had been
quarrels and feuds among them for some time, and after this trouble
we deemed it impossible to keep the different bands together in peace.
Therefore we separated, each leader taking his own band. Some of them went
to San Carlos and some to Old Mexico, but I took my tribe back to Hot
Springs and rejoined Victoria’s band. CHAPTER XVI. IN PRISON AND ON THE WARPATH Soon after we arrived in New Mexico two companies
of scouts were sent from San Carlos. When they came to Hot Springs
they sent word for me and Victoria to come to town. The messengers did
not say what they wanted with us, but as they seemed friendly we thought
they wanted a council, and rode in to meet the officers. As soon
as we arrived in town soldiers met us, disarmed us, and took us both to headquarters,
where we were tried by court-martial. They asked us only
a few questions and then Victoria was released and I was sentenced
to the guardhouse. Scouts conducted me to the guardhouse and put me
in chains. When I asked them why they did this they said it was because
I had left Apache Pass. I do not think that I ever belonged to those
soldiers at Apache Pass, or that I should have asked them where I might
go. Our bands could no longer live in peace together, and so we had
quietly withdrawn, expecting to live with Victoria’s band, where
we thought we would not be molested. They also sentenced seven other
Apaches to chains in the guardhouse. I do not know why this was done, for these
Indians had simply followed me from Apache Pass to Hot Springs. If it
was wrong (and I do not think it was wrong) for us to go to Hot Springs,
I alone was to blame. They asked the soldiers in charge why they were
imprisoned and chained, but received no answer. I was kept a prisoner for four months, during
which time I was transferred to San Carlos. Then I think I
had another trial, although I was not present. In fact I do not know that
I had another trial, but I was told that I had, and at any rate I was
released. After this we had no more trouble with the
soldiers, but I never felt at ease any longer at the Post. We were allowed
to live above San Carlos at a place now called Geronimo. A man whom the
Indians called “Nick Golee” was agent at this place. All went well here
for a period of two years, but we were not satisfied. In the summer of 1883 a rumor was current
that the officers were again planning to imprison our leaders. This rumor
served to revive the memory of all our past wrongs–the massacre in the
tent at Apache Pass, the fate of Mangus-Colorado, and my own unjust
imprisonment, which might easily have been death to me. Just at this
time we were told that the officers wanted us to come up the river above
Geronimo to a fort (Fort Thomas) to hold a council with them. We did
not believe that any good could come of this conference, or that there
was any need of it; so we held a council ourselves, and fearing treachery,
decided to leave the reservation. We thought it more manly to die
on the warpath than to be killed in prison. There were in all about 250 Indians, chiefly
the Bedonkohe and Nedni Apaches, led by myself and Whoa. We went through
Apache Pass and just west of there had a fight with the United
States troops. In this battle we killed three soldiers and lost none. We went on toward Old Mexico, but on the second
day after this United States soldiers overtook us about three o’clock
in the afternoon and we fought until dark. The ground where we were
attacked was very rough, which was to our advantage, for the troops
were compelled to dismount in order to fight us. I do not know how many
soldiers we killed, but we lost only one warrior and three children.
We had plenty of guns and ammunition at this time. Many of the guns
and much ammunition we had accumulated while living in the reservation,
and the remainder we had obtained from the White Mountain Apaches when
we left the reservation. Troops did not follow us any longer, so we
went south almost to Casa Grande and camped in the Sierra de Sahuaripa
Mountains. We ranged in the mountains of Old Mexico for about a year,
then returned to San Carlos, taking with us a herd of cattle and horses. Soon after we arrived at San Carlos the officer
in charge, General Crook, took the horses and cattle away from
us. I told him that these were not white men’s cattle, but belonged
to us, for we had taken them from the Mexicans during our wars. I also
told him that we did not intend to kill these animals, but that we
wished to keep them and raise stock on our range. He would not listen to
me, but took the stock. I went up near Fort Apache and General Crook
ordered officers, soldiers, and scouts to see that I was arrested; if
I offered resistance they were instructed to kill me. This information was brought to me by the
Indians. When I learned of this proposed action I left for Old Mexico,
and about four hundred Indians went with me. They were the Bedonkohe,
Chokonen, and Nedni Apaches. At this time Whoa was dead, and Naiche
was the only chief with me. We went south into Sonora and camped in
the mountains. Troops followed us, but did not attack us until we
were camped in the mountains west of Casa Grande. Here we were attacked
by Government Indian scouts. One boy was killed and nearly all of our women
and children were captured. After this battle we went south of Casa Grande
and made a camp, but within a few days this camp was attacked by
Mexican soldiers. We skirmished with them all day, killing a few
Mexicans, but sustaining no loss ourselves. That night we went east into the foothills
of the Sierra Madre Mountains and made another camp. Mexican troops trailed
us, and after a few days attacked our camp again. This time the Mexicans
had a very large army, and we avoided a general engagement. It is
senseless to fight when you cannot hope to win. That night we held a council of war; our scouts
had reported bands of United States and Mexican troops at many points
in the mountains. We estimated that about two thousand soldiers
were ranging these mountains seeking to capture us. General Crook had come down into Mexico with
the United States troops. They were camped in the Sierra de Antunez
Mountains. Scouts told me that General Crook wished to see me and I went
to his camp. When I arrived General Crook said to me, “Why did you leave
the reservation?” I said: “You told me that I might live in the reservation
the same as white people lived. One year I raised a crop of
corn, and gathered and stored it, and the next year I put in a crop of oats,
and when the crop was almost ready to harvest, you told your soldiers
to put me in prison, and if I resisted to kill me. If I had been let
alone I would now have been in good circumstances, but instead of that
you and the Mexicans are hunting me with soldiers.” He said: “I never
gave any such orders; the troops at Fort Apache, who spread this report,
knew that it was untrue.” Then I agreed to go back with him to San Carlos. It was hard for me to believe him at that
time. Now I know that what he said was untrue,[34] and I firmly believe
that he did issue the orders for me to be put in prison, or to be killed
in case I offered resistance. CHAPTER XVII. THE FINAL STRUGGLE We started with all our tribe to go with General
Crook back to the United States, but I feared treachery and
decided to remain in Mexico. We were not under any guard at this time.
The United States troops marched in front and the Indians followed,
and when we became suspicious, we turned back. I do not know
how far the United States army went after myself, and some warriors turned
back before we were missed, and I do not care. I have suffered much from such unjust orders
as those of General Crook. Such acts have caused much distress to my
people. I think that General Crook’s death was sent by the Almighty as
a punishment for the many evil deeds he committed. Soon General Miles was made commander of all
the western posts, and troops trailed us continually. They were led
by Captain Lawton, who had good scouts. The Mexican[36] soldiers also
became more active and more numerous. We had skirmishes almost every day,
and so we finally decided to break up into small bands. With six men
and four women I made for the range of mountains near Hot Springs, New Mexico.
We passed many cattle ranches, but had no trouble with the cowboys.
We killed cattle to eat whenever we were in need of food, but we frequently
suffered greatly for water. At one time we had no water for two
days and nights and our horses almost died from thirst. We ranged
in the mountains of New Mexico for some time, then thinking that perhaps
the troops had left Mexico, we returned. On our return through Old Mexico
we attacked every Mexican found, even if for no other reason than to
kill. We believed they had asked the United States troops to come down
to Mexico to fight us. South of Casa Grande, near a place called
by the Indians Gosoda, there was a road leading out from the town. There
was much freighting carried on by the Mexicans over this road. Where the
road ran through a mountain pass we stayed in hiding, and whenever Mexican
freighters passed we killed them, took what supplies we wanted,
and destroyed the remainder. We were reckless of our lives, because we
felt that every man’s hand was against us. If we returned to the reservation
we would be put in prison and killed; if we stayed in Mexico they would
continue to send soldiers to fight us; so we gave no quarter to anyone
and asked no favors. After some time we left Gosoda and soon were
reunited with our tribe in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains. Contrary to our expectations the United States
soldiers had not left the mountains in Mexico, and were soon trailing
us and skirmishing with us almost every day. Four or five times they
surprised our camp. One time they surprised us about nine o’clock in the
morning, and captured all our horses (nineteen in number) and secured
our store of dried meats. We also lost three Indians in this
encounter. About the middle of the afternoon of the same day we attacked
them from the rear as they were passing through a prairie–killed one
soldier, but lost none ourselves. In this skirmish we recovered all
our horses except three that belonged to me. The three horses that
we did not recover were the best riding horses we had. Soon after this we made a treaty with the
Mexican troops. They told us that the United States troops were the real
cause of these wars, and agreed not to fight any more with us provided
we would return to the United States. This we agreed to do, and resumed
our march, expecting to try to make a treaty with the United States
soldiers and return to Arizona. There seemed to be no other course
to pursue. Soon after this scouts from Captain Lawton’s
troops told us that he wished to make a treaty with us; but I knew
that General Miles was the chief of the American troops, and I decided
to treat with him. We continued to move our camp northward, and
the American troops also moved northward, keeping at no great distance
from us, but not attacking us. I sent my brother Porico (White Horse) with
Mr. George Wratton on to Fort Bowie to see General Miles, and to tell
him that we wished to return to Arizona; but before these messengers
returned I met two Indian scouts–Kayitah, a Chokonen Apache, and Marteen,
a Nedni Apache. They were serving as scouts for Captain Lawton’s
troops. They told me that General Miles had come and had sent them to
ask me to meet him. So I went to the camp of the United States troops
to meet General Miles. When I arrived at their camp I went directly
to General Miles and told him how I had been wronged, and that I wanted
to return to the United States with my people, as we wished to see
our families, who had been captured and taken away from us. General Miles said to me: “The President of
the United States has sent me to speak to you. He has heard of your trouble
with the white men, and says that if you will agree to a few words
of treaty we need have no more trouble. Geronimo, if you will agree
to a few words of treaty all will be satisfactorily arranged.” So General Miles told me how we could be brothers
to each other. We raised our hands to heaven and said that the
treaty was not to be broken. We took an oath not to do any wrong
to each other or to scheme against each other. Then he talked with me for a long time and
told me what he would do for me in the future if I would agree to the treaty.
I did not greatly believe General Miles, but because the President
of the United States had sent me word I agreed to make the treaty,
and to keep it. Then I asked General Miles what the treaty would
be. General Miles said to me: “I will take you under Government protection;
I will build you a house; I will fence you much land; I will
give you cattle, horses, mules, and farming implements. You will be
furnished with men to work the farm, for you yourself will not have to
work. In the fall I will send you blankets and clothing so that you
will not suffer from cold in the winter time. “There is plenty of timber, water, and grass
in the land to which I will send you. You will live with your tribe and
with your family. If you agree to this treaty you shall see your family
within five days.” I said to General Miles: “All the officers
that have been in charge of the Indians have talked that way, and it sounds
like a story to me; I hardly believe you.” He said: “This time it is the truth.” I said: “General Miles, I do not know the
laws of the white man, nor of this new country where you are to send me,
and I might break their laws.” He said: “While I live you will not be arrested.” Then I agreed to make the treaty. (Since I
have been a prisoner of war I have been arrested and placed in the guardhouse
twice for drinking whisky.) We stood between his troopers and my warriors.
We placed a large stone on the blanket before us. Our treaty was made
by this stone, and it was to last until the stone should crumble to
dust; so we made the treaty, and bound each other with an oath. I do not believe that I have ever violated
that treaty; but General Miles[41] never fulfilled his promises. When we had made the treaty General Miles
said to me: “My brother, you have in your mind how you are going to kill
men, and other thoughts of war; I want you to put that out of your mind,
and change your thoughts to peace.” Then I agreed and gave up my arms. I said:
“I will quit the warpath and live at peace hereafter.” Then General Miles swept a spot of ground
clear with his hand, and said: “Your past deeds shall be wiped out like this
and you will start a new life.” CHAPTER XVIII. SURRENDER OF GERONIMO On February 11, 1887, the Senate passed the
following resolution: “RESOLVED, That the Secretary of War be directed
to communicate to the Senate all dispatches of General Miles referring
to the surrender of Geronimo, and all instructions given to and
correspondence with General Miles in reference to the same.” These papers
are published in the Senate Executive Documents, Second Session,
49th Congress, 1886-7, Volume II, Nos. 111 to 125. For an exhaustive
account of the conditions of Geronimo’s surrender the reader is referred
to that document, but this chapter is given to show briefly the
terms of surrender, and corroborate, at least in part, the statements
made by Geronimo. Upon assuming command of the Department of
Arizona, General Nelson A. Miles was directed by the War Department to
use most vigorous operations for the destruction or capture of the hostile
Apaches. The following extracts are from instructions
issued April 20th, 1886, for the information and guidance of troops
serving in the southern portion of Arizona and New Mexico. “The chief object of the troops will be to
capture or destroy any band of hostile Apache Indians found in this
section of country, and to this end the most vigorous and persistent
efforts will be required of all officers and soldiers until
the object is accomplished.” “A sufficient number of reliable Indians will
be used as auxiliaries to discover any signs of hostile
Indians, and as trailers.”
“To avoid any advantage the Indians may have by a relay of horses,
where a troop or squadron commander is near the hostile Indians he
will be justified in dismounting one-half of his command and
selecting the lightest and best riders to make pursuit by the most
vigorous forced marches until the strength of all the animals of
his command shall have been exhausted.” The following telegrams show the efforts of
the United States troops and the coöperation of Mexican troops under Governor
Torres: “HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF THE PACIFIC, PRESIDIO
OF SAN FRANCISCO, CAL. July 22, 1886. “ADJUTANT GENERAL, Washington, D. C.: “The following telegram just received from
General Miles: “‘Captain Lawton reports, through Colonel
Royall, commanding at Fort Huachuca, that his camp surprised Geronimo’s
camp on Yongi River, about 130 miles south and east of Campas,
Sonora, or nearly 300 miles south of Mexican boundary, capturing
all the Indian property, including hundreds of pounds of
dried meat and nineteen riding animals. This is the fifth time within
three months in which the Indians have been surprised by the troops.
While the results have not been decisive, yet it has given encouragement
to the troops, and has reduced the numbers and strength
of the Indians, and given them a feeling of insecurity even
in the remote and almost inaccessible mountains of Old Mexico.’ “In absence of division commander. C. MCKEEVER,
Assistant Adjutant General.” “HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF THE PACIFIC, PRESIDIO
OF SAN FRANCISCO, CAL. August 19, 1886. “ADJUTANT GENERAL, Washington, D. C.: “Following received from General Miles, dated
18th: “‘Dispatches to-day from Governor Torres,
dated Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, from Colonels Forsyth and Beaumont,
commanding Huachuca and Bowie districts, confirms the following: Geronimo
with forty Indians is endeavoring to make terms of peace
with Mexican authorities of Fronteraz district. One of
our scouts, in returning to Fort Huachuca from Lawton’s command, met
him, Naiche, and thirteen other Indians on their way to Fronteraz;
had a long conversation with them; they said they wanted
to make peace, and looked worn and hungry. Geronimo carried his
right arm in a sling, bandaged. The splendid work of the troops
is evidently having good effect. Should hostiles not surrender to the
Mexican authorities, Lawton’s command is south of them, and Wilder,
with G and M troops, Fourth Cavalry, moved south to Fronteraz,
and will be there by 20th. Lieutenant Lockett, with an effective
command, will be in good position to-morrow, near Guadalupe Cañon,
in Cajon Bonito Mountains. On the 11th I had a very satisfactory
interview with Governor Torres. The Mexican officials are
acting in concert with ours.’ “O. O. HOWARD, Major General.” General O. O. Howard telegraphed from Presidio,
San Francisco, California, September 24, 1886, as follows: ” … The 6th of September General Miles reports
the hostile Apaches made overtures of surrender, through
Lieutenant Gatewood, to Captain Lawton. They desired certain terms
and sent two messengers to me (Miles). They were informed
that they must surrender as prisoners of war to troops in
the field. They promised to surrender to me in person, and for eleven
days Captain Lawton’s command moved north, Geronimo and Naiche moving
parallel and frequently camping near it…. At Skeleton
Cañon they halted, saying that they desired to see me (Miles)
before surrendering.” After Miles’s arrival he reports as follows: “Geronimo came from his mountain camp amid
the rocks and said he was willing to surrender. He was told that
they could surrender as prisoners of war; that it was not the way
of officers of the Army to kill their enemies who laid down their
arms.” ” … Naiche was wild and suspicious and evidently
feared treachery. He knew that the once noted leader,
Mangus-Colorado, had, years ago, been foully murdered after
he had surrendered, and the last hereditary chief of the hostile Apaches
hesitated to place himself in the hands of the palefaces….” Continuing his report, General Howard says: ” … I believed at first from official reports
that the surrender was unconditional, except that the troops
themselves would not kill the hostiles. Now, from General Miles’s dispatches
and from his annual report, forwarded on the 21st instant
by mail, the conditions are plain: First, that the lives
of all the Indians should be spared. Second, that they should
be sent to Fort Marion, Florida, where their tribe, including their
families, had already been ordered….” D. S. Stanley, Brigadier General, telegraphs
from San Antonio, Texas, October 22, 1886, as follows: ” … Geronimo and Naiche requested an interview
with me when they first ascertained that they were to leave
here, and in talking to them, I told them the exact disposition that
was to be made of them. They regarded the separation of themselves
from their families as a violation of the terms of their
treaty of surrender, by which they had been guaranteed, in the
most positive manner conceivable to their minds, that they should
be united with their families at Fort Marion. “There were present at the talk they had with
me Major J. P. Wright, surgeon, United States Army; Captain
J. G. Ballance, acting Judge-advocate, United States Army; George
Wratton,[42] the interpreter; Naiche, and Geronimo. “The Indians were separated from their families
at this place; the women, children, and the two scouts were placed
in a separate car before they left. “In an interview with me they stated the following
incident, which they regard as an essential part of their
treaty of surrender, and which took place at Skeleton Cañon before
they had, as a band, made up their minds to surrender, and before any
of them, except perhaps Geronimo, had given up their arms, and when
they were still fully able to escape and defend themselves. “General Miles said to them: ‘You go with
me to Fort Bowie and at a certain time you will go to see your relatives
in Florida.’ After they went to Fort Bowie he reassured them
that they would see their relatives in Florida in four and a half or
five days. “While at Skeleton Cañon General Miles said
to them: ‘I have come to have a talk with you.’ The conversation
was interpreted from English into Spanish and from Spanish into
Apache and _vice versa_. The interpreting from English into Spanish
was done by a man by the name of Nelson. The interpreting from
Spanish into Apache was done by José Maria Yaskes. José Maria Montoya
was also present, but he did not do any of the interpreting. “Dr. Wood, United States Army, and Lieutenant
Clay, Tenth Infantry, were present. “General Miles drew a line on the ground and
said, ‘This represents the ocean,’ and, putting a small rock beside
the line, he said, ‘This represents the place where Chihuahua
is with his band.’ He then picked up another stone and placed it
a short distance from the first, and said, ‘This represents you,
Geronimo.’ He then picked up a third stone and placed it a little
distance from the others, and said, ‘This represents the Indians
at Camp Apache. The President wants to take you and put you with
Chihuahua.’ He then picked up the stone which represented Geronimo
and his band and put it beside the one which represented Chihuahua
at Fort Marion. After doing this he picked up the stone which
represented the Indians at Camp Apache and placed it beside
the other two stones which represented Geronimo and Chihuahua at
Fort Marion, and said, ‘That is what the President wants to do, get
all of you together.’ “After their arrival at Fort Bowie General
Miles said to them, ‘From now on we want to begin a new life,’
and holding up one of his hands with the palm open and horizontal
he marked lines across it with the finger of the other hand and said,
pointing to his open palm, ‘This represents the past; it is all
covered with hollows and ridges,’ then, rubbing his other palm over
it, he said, ‘That represents the wiping out of the past, which
will be considered smooth and forgotten.’ “The interpreter, Wratton, says that he was
present and heard this conversation. The Indians say that Captain
Thompson, Fourth Cavalry, was also present. “Naiche said that Captain Thompson, who was
the acting assistant adjutant general, Department of Arizona, told
him at his house in Fort Bowie, ‘Don’t be afraid; no harm shall
come to you. You will go to your friends all right.’ He also told
them ‘that Fort Marion is not a very large place, and is not probably
large enough for all, and that probably in six months or so
you will be put in a larger place, where you can do better.’ He
told them the same thing when they took their departure in the cars
from Fort Bowie. “The idea that they had of the treaty of surrender
given in this letter is forwarded at their desire, and,
while not desiring to comment on the matter, I feel compelled to
say that my knowledge of the Indian character, and the experience I
have had with Indians of all kinds, and the corroborating circumstances
and facts that have been brought to my notice in this particular
case, convince me that the foregoing statement of Naiche and Geronimo
is substantially correct.” Extract from the annual report (1886) of the
Division of the Pacific, commanded by Major General O. O. Howard, U.
S. Army. “HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF THE PACIFIC, PRESIDIO
OF SAN FRANCISCO, CAL. September 17, 1886. “ADJUTANT GENERAL, U. S. Army, Washington,
D. C.: “GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following
report upon military operations and the condition of the
Division of the Pacific for the information of the Lieutenant
General, and to make some suggestions for his consideration: “On the 17th of May, 1885, a party of about
fifty of the Chiricahua prisoners, headed by Geronimo, Naiche, and
other chiefs, escaped from the White Mountain Reserve, in Arizona,
and entered upon a career of murder and robbery unparalleled
in the history of Indian raids. “Since then, and up to the time of my assuming
command of this division, they had been pursued by troops
with varying success. “After the assassination of Captain Crawford,
on January 11, by the Mexicans, the hostiles asked for a ‘talk,’
and finally had a conference on March 25, 26, and 27, with General
Crook, in the Cañon of Los Embudos, 25 miles south of San
Bernardino, Mexico, on which latter date it was arranged that they
should be conducted by Lieutenant Manus, with his battalion of scouts,
to Fort Bowie, Ariz. “The march commenced on the morning of March
28 and proceeded until the night of the 29th, when, becoming excited
with fears of possible punishment, Geronimo and Naiche,
with twenty men, fourteen women, and two boys, stampeded to
the hills. Lieutenant Manus immediately pursued, but without success.
“Simultaneously with my taking command of the division Brigadier
General Crook was relieved by Brigadier General Miles, who at once
set out to complete the task commenced by his predecessor. “Geronimo and his band were committing depredations,
now in the United States and now in Mexico, and, being
separated into small parties, easily eluded the troops, and carried
on their work of murder and outrage. “Early in May General Miles organized the
hostile field of operations into districts, each with its command
of troops, with specific instructions to guard the water holes,
to cover the entire ground by scouting parties, and give the hostiles
no rest. “An effective command, under Captain Lawton,
Fourth Cavalry, was organized for a long pursuit. “On May 3 Captain Lebo, Tenth Cavalry, had
a fight with Geronimo’s band 12 miles southwest of Santa Cruz, in
Mexico, with a loss of one soldier killed and one wounded. After
this fight the Indians retreated southward followed by three troops
of cavalry. “On May 12 a serious fight of Mexican troops
with the hostiles near Planchos, Mexico, resulted in a partial defeat
of the Mexicans. “On May 15 Captain Hatfield’s command engaged
Geronimo’s band in the Corrona Mountains, suffering a loss of
two killed and three wounded, and the loss of several horses and
mules, the Indians losing several killed. “On May 16 Lieutenant Brown, Fourth Cavalry,
struck the hostiles near Buena Vista, Mexico, capturing several
horses, rifles, and a quantity of ammunition. “The usual series of outrages, with fatiguing
chase by troops, continued until June 21, when the Mexicans
engaged the hostiles about 40 miles southeast of Magdalena, Mexico,
and after a stubborn fight repulsed them…. “About the middle of August Geronimo and his
band were so reduced and harassed by the tireless pursuit of the
soldiers that they made offer of surrender to the Mexicans, but without
coming to terms. “Their locality thus being definitely known,
disposition of the troops was rapidly made to act in conjunction
with the Mexicans to intercept Geronimo and force his surrender. “On August 25 Geronimo, when near Fronteraz,
Mexico, recognizing that he was pretty well surrounded, and being
out of ammunition and food, made overtures of capitulation, through
Lieutenant Gatewood, Sixth Cavalry, to Captain Lawton. He desired
certain terms, but was informed that a surrender as prisoner
of war was all that would be accepted. “The Indians then proceeded to the vicinity
of Captain Lawton’s command, near Skeleton Cañon, and sent word
that they wished to see General Miles. “On September 3 General Miles arrived at Lawton’s
camp, and on September 4 Naiche, the son of Cochise, and
the hereditary chief of the Apaches, with Geronimo surrendered all
the hostiles, with the understanding, it seems, that they should
be sent out of Arizona. “I am not informed of the exact nature of
this surrender, at first deemed unconditional….
“I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, “O. O. HOWARD, “Major General, United States
Army.” _Statement of W. T. Melton, Anadarko, Oklahoma._ From 1882 to 1887 I lived in southern Arizona,
and was employed by the Sansimone Cattle Company. In 1886 I was stationed in Skeleton Cañon,
about 10 miles north of the boundary line between Arizona and Old Mexico,
with J. D. Prewitt. It was our duty to ride the lines south of our range
and keep the cattle of the Company from straying into Old Mexico. One afternoon, when returning from our ride,
we discovered an Indian trail leading toward our camp. We rode hurriedly
out of the hills into a broad valley so that we could better discover
any attacking parties of Apaches and if assailed have at least a fighting
chance for our lives. We knew the Apaches under Geronimo were on
the warpath, but they were far down in Old Mexico. However, our knowledge
of the Indians led us to expect anything at any time–to always be
ready for the worst. When we reached the valley we struck a cavalry
trail also headed for our camp. This was perplexing, for neither the
Indians nor the soldiers seemed to have been riding fast, and both
trails led toward our camp in Skeleton Cañon. This cañon was a natural
route from Old Mexico to Arizona, and almost all bands of Indians,
as well as detachments of United States troops, passed and repassed
through this valley when going to Old Mexico or returning therefrom, but
never before had two hostile bands passed through here at the same time
and traveling in the same direction, except when one fled and the other
pursued. What this could mean was a mystery to us. Could it be that
the troops had not seen the Indians? Were the redskins trying to head
the troops off and attack them in their camp? Were the troops hunting for
those Indians? Could this be Lawton’s command? Could that be Geronimo’s
band? No, it was impossible. Then who were these troops and what Indians
were those? Cautiously we rode to our camp, and nailed
on the door of our cabin was this notice: “BE CAREFUL, GERONIMO IS NEAR BY AND HAS NOT
YET SURRENDERED. “CAPT. LAWTON.” Then we understood. A short distance above our cabin we found
the camp of the troops and we had just finished talking with Captain Lawton,
who advised us to remain in his camp rather than risk staying alone
in our cabin, when up rode the chief, Geronimo. He was mounted on a blaze-faced,
white-stockinged dun horse. He came directly to Captain Lawton and through
an interpreter asked who we were and what we wanted. As soon as the explanation was given he nodded
his approval and rode away. Prewitt and I rode away with him. We were
well armed and well mounted and Geronimo was well mounted, but so far
as we could see unarmed. I tried to talk with the chief (in English),
but could not make him understand. Prewitt wanted to shoot[43] him
and said he could easily kill him the first shot, but I objected and
succeeded in restraining him. While we were arguing the chief rode
silently between us, evidently feeling perfectly secure. All this time we
had been riding in the direction of our horses that were grazing
in the valley about a mile distant from our corral. When we came to a
place about a half mile from Lawton’s camp, where a spur of the mountain
ran far out into the valley, Geronimo turned aside, saluted, said in fairly
good Spanish, “_Adios, Señors_,” and began to ascend a mountain
path. Later we learned that he was going directly toward his camp far up
among the rocks. We rode on, drove our horses back to the corral and remained
in our cabin all night, but were not molested by the Indians. The next day we killed three beeves for the
Indians, and they were paid for by Captain Lawton. On the second day two
mounted Mexican scouts came to Lawton’s camp. As soon as these Mexicans
came in sight the Indians seized their arms and vanished, as it were,
among the rocks. Captain Lawton wrote an account of conditions
and delivered it to the Mexicans, who withdrew. After they had gone
and their mission had been explained to Geronimo the Indians again returned
to their camp and laid down their arms. On the next day word reached camp that General
Miles was approaching and the Indians again armed and disappeared among
the rocks. (Many of the Apache squaws had field glasses[44] and were
stationed every day on prominent mountain peaks to keep a lookout.
No one could approach their camp or Lawton’s camp without being discovered
by these spies.) Soon after General Miles joined Lawton’s command
Geronimo rode into camp unarmed, and dismounting approached General
Miles, shook hands with him, and then stood proudly before the officers
waiting for General Miles to begin conversation with him. The interpreter said to Geronimo, “General
Miles is your friend.” Geronimo said, “I never saw him, but I have
been in need of friends. Why has he not been with me?” When this answer
was interpreted everybody laughed. After this there was no more formality
and without delay the discussion of the treaty was begun. All I
remember distinctly of the treaty is that Geronimo and his band were
not to be killed, but they were to be taken to their families. I remember this more distinctly, because the
Indians were so much pleased with this particular one of the terms
of the treaty. Geronimo, Naiche, and a few others went on
ahead with General Miles, but the main band of Indians left under the escort
of Lawton’s troops. The night before they left, a young squaw,
daughter-in-law of Geronimo, gave birth to a child. The next morning the
husband, Geronimo’s son, carried the child, but the mother mounted
her pony unaided and rode away unassisted–a prisoner of war under military
escort. On the afternoon of the day of the treaty
Captain Lawton built a monument (about ten feet across and six feet
high) of rough stones at the spot where the treaty was made. The next
year some cowboys on a round-up camped at the place, and tore down
the monument to see what was in it. All they found was a bottle containing
a piece of paper upon which was written the names of the officers
who were with Lawton. After the Indians left we found one hundred
and fifty dollars and twenty-five cents ($150.25) in Mexican money
hidden in a rat’s nest[45] near where the Indians had camped. About ten o’clock on the morning after the
Apaches and soldiers had gone away twenty Pimos Indians, accompanied by
one white man, surrounded our camp and demanded to know of Geronimo’s whereabouts.
We told them of the treaty and they followed the trail on toward
Fort Bowie. That afternoon, thinking all danger from Apaches
past, my partner, Prewitt, went to ride the lines and I was
left in camp alone. I was pumping water (by horse-power) at the well,
when I saw three Indians rounding up our horses about half a mile away.
They saw me but did not disturb me, nor did I interfere with them,
but as soon as they had driven that bunch of horses northward over
the hill out of sight I rode quickly off in another direction and drove
another bunch of horses into the corral. The rest of the afternoon I stayed
in camp, but saw no more Indians. The next day we rode over the hill in the
direction these Indians had gone and found that they had camped not three
miles away. There were evidently several in the party and they had
kept scouts concealed near the top of the hill to watch me, and to shoot
me from ambush had I followed them. This we knew because we saw
behind some rocks at the crest of the hill in the loose soil the imprints
left by the bodies of three warriors where they had been lying down
in concealment. At their camp we found the head and hoofs
of my favorite horse, “Digger,” a fine little sorrel pony, and knew
that he had served them for dinner. We followed their trail far into
Old Mexico, but did not overtake them. We had been accustomed to say
“it was Geronimo’s band,” whenever any depredation was committed, but
this time we were not so positive. We do not wish to express our own opinion,
but to ask the reader whether, after having had the testimony of
Apaches, soldiers, and civilians, who knew the conditions of surrender,
and, after having examined carefully the testimony offered,
it would be possible to conclude that Geronimo made an unconditional
surrender? Before passing from this subject it would
be well also to consider whether our Government has treated these prisoners
in strict accordance with the terms of the treaty made in Skeleton
Cañon. CHAPTER XIX. A PRISONER OF WAR When I had given up to the Government they
put me on the Southern Pacific Railroad and took me to San Antonio,
Texas, and held me to be tried by their laws. In forty days they took me from there to Fort
Pickens (Pensacola), Florida. Here they put me to sawing up large
logs. There were several other Apache warriors with me, and all of
us had to work every day. For nearly two years we were kept at hard labor
in this place and we did not see our families until May, 1887. This treatment
was in direct violation of our treaty made at Skeleton Cañon. After this we were sent with our families
to Vermont, Alabama, where we stayed five years and worked for the Government.
We had no property, and I looked in vain for General Miles to
send me to that land of which he had spoken; I longed in vain for the implements,
house, and stock that General Miles had promised me. During this time one of my warriors, Fun,
killed himself and his wife. Another one shot his wife and then shot himself.
He fell dead, but the woman recovered and is still living. We were not healthy in this place, for the
climate disagreed with us. So many of our people died that I consented to
let one of my wives go to the Mescalero Agency in New Mexico to live.
This separation is according to our custom equivalent to what the white
people call divorce, and so she married again soon after she got to Mescalero.
She also kept our two small children, which she had a right to do.
The children, Lenna and Robbie, are still living at Mescalero, New
Mexico. Lenna is married. I kept one wife, but she is dead now and I have
only our daughter Eva with me. Since my separation from Lenna’s
mother I have never had more than one wife at a time. Since the death of
Eva’s mother I married another woman (December, 1905) but we could
not live happily and separated. She went home to her people–that
is an Apache divorce. Then,[46] as now, Mr. George Wratton superintended
the Indians. He has always had trouble with the Indians, because
he has mistreated them. One day an Indian, while drunk, stabbed Mr. Wratton
with a little knife. The officer in charge took the part of Mr. Wratton
and the Indian was sent to prison. When[47] we first came to Fort Sill, Captain
Scott was in charge, and he had houses built for us by the Government.
We were also given, from the Government, cattle, hogs, turkeys and chickens.
The Indians did not do much good with the hogs, because they did
not understand how to care for them, and not many Indians even at the present
time keep hogs. We did better with the turkeys and chickens, but
with these we did not have as good luck as white men do. With the cattle
we have done very well, indeed, and we like to raise them. We have
a few horses also, and have had no bad luck with them. In the matter of selling[48] our stock and
grain there has been much misunderstanding. The Indians understood that
the cattle were to be sold and the money given to them, but instead part
of the money is given to the Indians and part of it is placed in what
the officers call the “Apache Fund.” We have had five different
officers in charge of the Indians here and they have all ruled very
much alike–not consulting the Apaches or even explaining to them. It may
be that the Government ordered the officers in charge to put this
cattle money into an Apache fund, for once I complained and told Lieutenant
Purington[49] that I intended to report to the Government that
he had taken some of my part of the cattle money and put it into the Apache
Fund, he said he did not care if I did tell. Several years ago the issue of clothing ceased.
This, too, may have been by the order of the Government, but the Apaches
do not understand it. If there is an Apache Fund, it should some
day be turned over to the Indians, or at least they should have an account
of it, for it is their earnings. When General Miles last visited Fort Sill
I asked to be relieved from labor on account of my age. I also remembered
what General Miles had promised me in the treaty and told him of
it. He said I need not work any more except when I wished to, and since
that time I have not been detailed to do any work. I have worked a great
deal, however, since then, for, although I am old, I like to work[50]
and help my people as much as I am able. PART IV. THE OLD AND THE NEW CHAPTER XX. UNWRITTEN LAWS OF THE APACHES _Trials_ When an Indian has been wronged by a member
of his tribe he may, if he does not wish to settle the difficulty personally,
make complaint to the Chieftain. If he is unable to meet the offending
parties in a personal encounter, and disdains to make complaint,
anyone may in his stead inform the chief of this conduct, and then
it becomes necessary to have an investigation or trial. Both the accused
and the accuser are entitled to witnesses, and their witnesses are not
interrupted in any way by questions, but simply say what they wish to
say in regard to the matter. The witnesses are not placed under oath, because
it is not believed that they will give false testimony in a matter
relating to their own people. The chief of the tribe presides during these
trials, but if it is a serious offense he asks two or three leaders
to sit with him. These simply determine whether or not the man is
guilty. If he is not guilty the matter is ended, and the complaining party
has forfeited his right to take personal vengeance, for if he wishes
to take vengeance himself, he must object to the trial which would prevent
it. If the accused is found guilty the injured party fixes the penalty,
which is generally confirmed by the chief and his associates. _Adoption of Children_ If any children are left orphans by the usage
of war or otherwise, that is, if both parents are dead, the chief of
the tribe may adopt them or give them away as he desires. In the case
of outlawed Indians, they may, if they wish, take their children with them,
but if they leave the children with the tribe, the chief decides
what will be done with them, but no disgrace attaches to the children. _”Salt Lake”_ We obtained our salt from a little lake in
the Gila Mountains. This is a very small lake of clear, shallow water, and
in the center a small mound arises above the surface of the water. The
water is too salty to drink, and the bottom of the lake is covered with
a brown crust. When this crust is broken cakes of salt adhere to it.
These cakes of salt may be washed clear in the water of this lake, but
if washed in other water will dissolve. When visiting this lake our people were not
allowed to even kill game or attack an enemy. All creatures were free to
go and come without molestation. _Preparation of a Warrior_ To be admitted as a warrior a youth must have
gone with the warriors of his tribe four separate times on the warpath. On the first trip he will be given only very
inferior food. With this he must be contented without murmuring. On
none of the four trips is he allowed to select his food as the warriors
do, but must eat such food as he is permitted to have. On each of these expeditions he acts as servant,
cares for the horses, cooks the food, and does whatever duties he
should do without being told. He knows what things are to be done,
and without waiting to be told is to do them. He is not allowed to speak
to any warrior except in answer to questions or when told to speak. During these four wars he is expected to learn
the sacred names of everything used in war, for after the tribe
enters upon the warpath no common names are used in referring to anything
appertaining to war in any way. War is a solemn religious matter. If, after four expeditions, all the warriors
are satisfied that the youth has been industrious, has not spoken
out of order, has been discreet in all things, has shown courage
in battle, has borne all hardships uncomplainingly, and has exhibited
no color of cowardice, or weakness of any kind, he may by vote of the
council be admitted as a warrior; but if any warrior objects to him
upon any account he will be subjected to further tests, and if he meets
these courageously, his name may again be proposed. When he has proven
beyond question that he can bear hardships without complaint, and that
he is a stranger to fear, he is admitted to the council of the warriors
in the lowest rank. After this there is no formal test for promotions,
but by common consent he assumes a station on the battlefield, and
if that position is maintained with honor, he is allowed to keep it, and
may be asked, or may volunteer, to take a higher station, but no
warrior would presume to take a higher station unless he had assurance
from the leaders of the tribe that his conduct in the first position
was worthy of commendation. From this point upward the only election by
the council in formal assembly is the election of the chief. Old men are not allowed to lead in battle,
but their advice is always respected. Old age means loss of physical
power and is fatal to active leadership. _Dances_ All dances are considered religious ceremonies
and are presided over by a chief and medicine men. They are of a social
or military nature, but never without some sacred characteristic. _A Dance of Thanksgiving_ Every summer we would gather the fruit of
the yucca, grind and pulverize it and mold it into cakes; then the tribe
would be assembled to feast, to sing, and to give praises to Usen. Prayers
of Thanksgiving were said by all. When the dance began the leaders bore
these cakes and added words of praise occasionally to the usual
tone sounds of the music. _The War Dance_ After a council of the warriors had deliberated,
and had prepared for the warpath, the dance would be started. In
this dance there is the usual singing led by the warriors and accompanied
with the beating of the “esadadene,” but the dancing is more violent,
and yells and war whoops sometimes almost drown the music. Only
warriors participated in this dance. _Scalp Dance_ After a war party has returned, a modification
of the war dance is held. The warriors who have brought scalps from
the battles exhibit them to the tribe, and when the dance begins these
scalps, elevated on poles or spears, are carried around the camp fires
while the dance is in progress. During this dance there is still
some of the solemnity of the war dance. There are yells and war whoops,
frequently accompanied by discharge of firearms, but there is always
more levity than would be permitted at a war dance. After the scalp
dance is over the scalps are thrown away. No Apache would keep them, for
they are considered defiling. _A Social Dance_ In the early part of September, 1905, I announced
among the Apaches that my daughter, Eva, having attained womanhood,
should now put away childish things and assume her station as
a young lady. At a dance of the tribe she would make her début, and then,
or thereafter, it would be proper for a warrior to seek her hand in marriage.
Accordingly, invitations were issued to all Apaches, and
many Comanches and Kiowas, to assemble for a grand dance on the green
by the south bank of Medicine Creek, near the village of Naiche, former
chief of the Chokonen Apaches, on the first night of full moon in September.
The festivities were to continue for two days and nights. Nothing
was omitted in the preparation that would contribute to the enjoyment of
the guests or the perfection of the observance of the religious rite. To make ready for the dancing the grass on
a large circular space was closely mowed. The singing was led by Chief Naiche, and I,
assisted by our medicine men, directed the dance. First Eva advanced from among the women and
danced once around the camp fire; then, accompanied by another young woman,
she again advanced and both danced twice around the camp fire; then
she and two other young ladies advanced and danced three times around
the camp fire; the next time she and three other young ladies advanced
and danced four times around the camp fire; this ceremony lasted
about one hour. Next the medicine men entered, stripped to the waist,
their bodies painted fantastically, and danced the sacred dances.
They were followed by clown dancers, who amused the audience greatly. Then the members of the tribe joined hands
and danced in a circle around the camp fire for a long time. All the friends
of the tribe were asked to take part in this dance, and when it was
ended many of the old people retired, and the “lovers’ dance” began. The warriors stood in the middle of the circle
and the ladies, two-and-two, danced forward and designated
some warrior to dance with them. The dancing was back and forth on a
line from the center to the outer edge of the circle. The warrior faced
the two ladies, and when they danced forward to the center he danced
backward: then they danced backward to the outer edge and he followed
facing them. This lasted two or three hours and then the music changed.
Immediately the warriors assembled again in the center of the circle,
and this time each lady selected a warrior as a partner. The manner
of dancing was as before, only two instead of three danced together.
During this dance, which continued until daylight, the warrior (if
dancing with a maiden) could propose[51] marriage, and if the maiden agreed,
he would consult her father soon afterward and make a bargain for
her. Upon all such occasions as this, when the
dance is finished, each warrior gives a present to the lady who selected
him for a partner and danced with him. If she is satisfied with
the present he says good-by, if not, the matter is referred to someone
in authority (medicine man or chief), who determines the question of what
is a proper gift. For a married lady the value of the present
should be two or three dollars; for a maiden the present should have
a value of not less than five dollars. Often, however, the maiden receives
a very valuable present. During the “lovers’ dance” the medicine men
mingle with the dancers to keep out evil spirits. Perhaps I shall never again have cause to
assemble our people to dance, but these social dances in the moonlight have
been a large part of our enjoyment in the past, and I think they will
not soon be discontinued, at least I hope not. CHAPTER XXI. AT THE WORLD’S FAIR When I was at first asked to attend the St.
Louis World’s Fair I did not wish to go. Later, when I was told that I
would receive good attention and protection, and that the President of
the United States said that it would be all right, I consented. I was kept
by parties in charge of the Indian Department, who had obtained permission
from the President. I stayed in this place for six months. I sold
my photographs for twenty-five cents, and was allowed to keep
ten cents of this for myself. I also wrote my name for ten, fifteen, or
twenty-five cents, as the case might be, and kept all of that money. I often
made as much as two dollars a day, and when I returned I had plenty
of money–more than I had ever owned before. Many people in St. Louis invited me to come
to their homes, but my keeper always refused. Every Sunday the President of the Fair sent
for me to go to a wild west show. I took part in the roping contests before
the audience. There were many other Indian tribes there, and strange
people of whom I had never heard. When people first came to the World’s Fair
they did nothing but parade up and down the streets. When they got tired
of this they would visit the shows. There were many strange things
in these shows. The Government sent guards with me when I went, and I was
not allowed to go anywhere without them. In one of the shows some strange men[52] with
red caps had some peculiar swords, and they seemed to want to fight.
Finally their manager told them they might fight each other. They tried
to hit each other over the head with these swords, and I expected both
to be wounded or perhaps killed, but neither one was harmed. They would
be hard people to kill in a hand-to-hand fight. In another show there was a strange-looking
negro. The manager tied his hands fast, then tied him to a chair. He was
securely tied, for I looked myself, and I did not think it was possible
for him to get away. Then the manager told him to get loose. He twisted in his chair for a moment, and
then stood up; the ropes were still tied, but he was free. I do not understand
how this was done. It was certainly a miraculous power, because
no man could have released himself by his own efforts. In another place a man was on a platform speaking
to the audience; they set a basket by the side of the platform and
covered it with red calico; then a woman came and got into the basket,
and a man covered the basket again with the calico; then the man who was
speaking to the audience took a long sword and ran it through the basket,
each way, and then down through the cloth cover. I heard the sword
cut through the woman’s body, and the manager himself said she was dead;
but when the cloth was lifted from the basket she stepped out, smiled, and
walked off the stage. I would like to know how she was so quickly
healed, and why the wounds did not kill her. I have never considered bears very intelligent,
except in their wild habits, but I had never before seen a white
bear. In one of the shows a man had a white bear that was as intelligent
as a man. He would do whatever he was told–carry a log on his shoulder,
just as a man would; then, when he was told, would put it down
again. He did many other things, and seemed to know exactly what his
keeper said to him. I am sure that no grizzly bear could be trained
to do these things. One time the guards took me into a little
house[53] that had four windows. When we were seated the little house
started to move along the ground. Then the guards called my attention
to some curious things they had in their pockets. Finally they told me
to look out, and when I did so I was scared, for our little house had
gone high up in the air, and the people down in the Fair Grounds looked
no larger than ants. The men laughed at me for being scared; then they
gave me a glass to look through (I often had such glasses which I
took from dead officers after battles in Mexico and elsewhere), and I could
see rivers, lakes and mountains. But I had never been so high in
the air, and I tried to look into the sky. There were no stars, and I could
not look at the sun through this glass because the brightness
hurt my eyes. Finally I put the glass down, and as they were all laughing
at me, I too, began to laugh. Then they said, “Get out!” and when
I looked we were on the street again. After we were safe on the land
I watched many of these little houses going up and coming down, but
I cannot understand how they travel. They are very curious little houses. One day we went into another show, and as
soon as we were in, it changed into night. It was real night, for I could
feel the damp air; soon it began to thunder, and the lightnings flashed;
it was real lightning, too, for it struck just above our heads. I
dodged and wanted to run away, but I could not tell which way to go
in order to get out. The guards motioned me to keep still, and so I
stayed. In front of us were some strange little people who came out on
the platform; then I looked up again and the clouds were all gone, and
I could see the stars shining. The little people on the platform
did not seem in earnest about anything they did; so I only laughed at them.
All the people around where we sat seemed to be laughing at me. We went into another place and the manager
took us into a little room that was made like a cage; then everything
around us seemed to be moving; soon the air looked blue, then there
were black clouds moving with the wind. Pretty soon it was clear outside;
then we saw a few thin white clouds; then the clouds grew thicker,
and it rained and hailed with thunder and lightning. Then the thunder
retreated and a rainbow appeared in the distance; then it became dark,
the moon rose and thousands of stars came out. Soon the sun
came up, and we got out of the little room. This was a good show, but it
was so strange and unnatural that I was glad to be on the streets again. We went into one place where they made glassware.
I had always thought that these things were made by hand, but they
are not. The man had a curious little instrument, and whenever he
would blow through this into a little blaze the glass would take any shape
he wanted it to. I am not sure, but I think that if I had this kind
of an instrument I could make whatever I wished. There seems to be a charm
about it. But I suppose it is very difficult to get these little instruments,
or other people would have them. The people in this show were so
anxious to buy the things the man made that they kept him so busy he could
not sit down all day long. I bought many curious things in there and
brought them home with me. At the end of one of the streets some people
were getting into a clumsy canoe, upon a kind of shelf, and sliding down
into the water.[54] They seemed to enjoy it, but it looked too fierce
for me. If one of these canoes had gone out of its path the people
would have been sure to get hurt or killed. There were some little brown people[55] at
the Fair that United States troops captured recently on some islands far
away from here. They did not wear much clothing, and I think
that they should not have been allowed to come to the Fair. But they
themselves did not seem to know any better. They had some little brass
plates, and they tried to play music with these, but I did not think
it was music–it was only a rattle. However, they danced to this noise
and seemed to think they were giving a fine show. I do not know how true the report was, but
I heard that the President sent them to the Fair so that they could learn
some manners, and when they went home teach their people how to dress
and how to behave. I am glad I went to the Fair. I saw many interesting
things and learned much of the white people. They are a very
kind and peaceful people. During all the time I was at the Fair no one
tried to harm me in any way. Had this been among the Mexicans I am
sure I should have been compelled to defend myself often. I wish all my people could have attended the
Fair.[56] CHAPTER XXII. RELIGION In our primitive worship only our relations
to Usen and the members of our tribe were considered as appertaining
to our religious responsibilities. As to the future state,
the teachings of our tribe were not specific, that is, we had no definite
idea of our relations and surroundings in after life. We believed that
there is a life after this one, but no one ever told me as to what part
of man lived after death. I have seen many men die; I have seen many human
bodies decayed, but I have never seen that part which is called
the spirit; I do not know what it is; nor have I yet been able to understand
that part of the Christian religion. We held that the discharge of one’s duty would
make his future life more pleasant, but whether that future life was
worse than this life or better, we did not know, and no one was able
to tell us. We hoped that in the future life family and tribal relations
would be resumed. In a way we believed this, but we did not know
it. Once when living in San Carlos Reservation
an Indian told me that while lying unconscious on the battlefield he had
actually been dead, and had passed into the spirit land. First he came to a mulberry tree growing out
from a cave in the ground. Before this cave a guard was stationed, but
when he approached without fear the guard let him pass. He descended
into the cave, and a little way back the path widened and terminated in
a perpendicular rock many hundreds of feet wide and equal in height.
There was not much light, but by peering directly beneath him he discovered
a pile of sand reaching from the depths below to within twenty feet
of the top of the rock where he stood. Holding to a bush, he swung off
from the edge of the rock and dropped onto the sand, sliding rapidly down
its steep side into the darkness. He landed in a narrow passage running
due westward through a cañon which gradually grew lighter and lighter
until he could see as well as if it had been daylight; but there
was no sun. Finally he came to a section of this passage that was wider
for a short distance, and then closing abruptly continued in a narrow
path; just where this section narrowed two huge serpents were coiled,
and rearing their heads, hissed at him as he approached, but he showed
no fear, and as soon as he came close to them they withdrew quietly and
let him pass. At the next place, where the passage opened into a wider
section, were two grizzly bears prepared to attack him, but when he
approached and spoke to them they stood aside and he passed unharmed. He
continued to follow the narrow passage, and the third time it widened
and two mountain lions crouched in the way, but when he had approached
them without fear and had spoken to them they also withdrew. He
again entered the narrow passage. For some time he followed this, emerging
into a fourth section beyond which he could see nothing: the further
walls of this section were clashing together at regular intervals
with tremendous sounds, but when he approached them they stood apart until
he had passed. After this he seemed to be in a forest, and following
the natural draws, which led westward, soon came into a green valley where
there were many Indians camped and plenty of game. He said that he
saw and recognized many whom he had known in this life, and that he was
sorry when he was brought back to consciousness. I told him if I knew this to be true I would
not want to live another day, but by some means, if by my own hands,
I would die in order to enjoy these pleasures. I myself have lain
unconscious on the battlefield, and while in that condition have
had some strange thoughts or experiences; but they are very dim and
I cannot recall them well enough to relate them. Many Indians believed
this warrior, and I cannot say that he did not tell the truth. I wish
I knew that what he said is beyond question true. But perhaps it is as
well that we are not certain. Since my life as a prisoner has begun I have
heard the teachings of the white man’s religion, and in many respects
believe it to be better than the religion of my fathers. However, I have
always prayed, and I believe that the Almighty has always protected me. Believing that in a wise way it is good to
go to church, and that associating with Christians would improve
my character, I have adopted the Christian religion.[57] I believe that
the church has helped me much during the short time I have been a member.
I am not ashamed to be a Christian, and I am glad to know that the
President of the United States is a Christian, for without the help
of the Almighty I do not think he could rightly judge in ruling so
many people. I have advised all of my people who are not Christians, to
study that religion, because it seems to me the best religion in enabling
one to live right. CHAPTER XXIII. HOPES FOR THE FUTURE I am thankful that the President of the United
States has given me permission to tell my story. I hope that he
and those in authority under him will read my story and judge whether my
people have been rightly treated. There is a great question between the Apaches
and the Government. For twenty years we have been held prisoners of
war under a treaty which was made with General Miles, on the part of the
United States Government, and myself as the representative of the Apaches.
That treaty has not at all times been properly observed by the Government,
although at the present time it is being more nearly fulfilled
on their part than heretofore. In the treaty with General Miles
we agreed to go to a place outside of Arizona and learn to live as the
white people do. I think that my people are now capable of living in
accordance with the laws of the United States, and we would, of course,
like to have the liberty to return to that land which is ours by divine
right. We are reduced in numbers, and having learned how to cultivate
the soil would not require so much ground as was formerly necessary.
We do not ask all of the land which the Almighty gave us in the beginning,
but that we may have sufficient lands there to cultivate. What
we do not need we are glad for the white men to cultivate. We are now held on Comanche and Kiowa lands,
which are not suited to our needs–these lands and this climate are suited
to the Indians who originally inhabited this country, of course,
but our people are decreasing in numbers here, and will continue
to decrease unless they are allowed to return to their native land.
Such a result is inevitable. There is no climate or soil which, to my mind,
is equal to that of Arizona. We could have plenty of good cultivating
land, plenty of grass, plenty of timber and plenty of minerals in
that land which the Almighty created for the Apaches. It is my land, my
home, my fathers’ land, to which I now ask to be allowed to return. I
want to spend my last days there, and be buried among those mountains.
If this could be I might die in peace, feeling that my people, placed in
their native homes, would increase in numbers, rather than diminish
as at present, and that our name would not become extinct. I know that if my people were placed in that
mountainous region lying around the headwaters of the Gila River they
would live in peace and act according to the will of the President. They
would be prosperous and happy in tilling the soil and learning the
civilization of the white men, whom they now respect. Could I but see
this accomplished, I think I could forget all the wrongs that I have ever
received, and die a contented and happy old man. But we can do
nothing in this matter ourselves–we must wait until those in authority
choose to act. If this cannot be done during my lifetime–if I must
die in bondage–I hope that the remnant of the Apache tribe may, when
I am gone, be granted the one privilege which they request–to return to
Arizona.

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