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  • Competing perspectives on Camp Grant

    Camp Grant Massacre
    William S. Oury - leader and instigator from Tucson. Story in Arizona Daily Star, July 1, 1879

    The notorious Lt. Royal Whitman of the 3rd Cavalry was in charge of feeding the Apache under army protection at Camp Grant. "He, being a shrewd fellow with an eye to the main chance, discovered that there was money in the business and lost no time in putting into practice 'those ways which are dark and tricks that are vain,' by which the average Indian agent with a salary of $1500 becomes rich in two or three years."

    Beginning in January 1871, the Apache began raiding ranches in the Tucson area. James Pennington was killed trying to recover stolen oxen within only 3 miles of the city. The mail rider was murdered just 2 miles out. Simms and Sam Brown murdered while hauling a load of timber. All these in January. February was worse. The people of Tucson repeatedly reported the murders to Lt. Whitman who responded with denials that Indians from Camp Grant were guilty. "The people of Tucson were thus compelled in their desperation to take matters in their own hands, finding that remonstrance was of no avail. However, before resorting to measures of violence our people, with the extremity of forbearance, determined in council to send a deputation to General Stoneman, the commander of the departmenet."

    Appealing to Stoneman was a "complete failure, and we were to given to understand that Tucson contained a population large enough to take care of itself." In March the "scenes of blood and plunder were continued with greater frequency." No less than 7 or 8 ranches were attacked. Most with success as no less than a dozen people were killed. Tucson "had grown to a red heat." A group of citizens met with some influential local Mexicans and resolved to hire the Papago Indians for an assault upon the Apaches at Camp Grant. The Papago and Apache were long-standing enemies and a deal was soon struck.

    On April 27, six whites from Tucson, 42 Mexicans and 92 Papago Indians made their way to the Apache rancheria near Camp Grant. Before daylight on the 28th, they formed a skirmish line and "struck the rancheria, nor quicker or more effective work after it was struck, for in less than a half an hour not a living Apache was to be seen, save the children taken prisoners and some seven Indians who escaped by being up and ahead of our skirmish line, so they could not be overtaken without breaking it. Thus ended the so-called Camp Grant massacre, denounced as a dastardly outrage by General Stoneman in the killing of about 144 of the most blood-thirsty devils that ever disgraced mother earth."

    An extremely ambitious US district Attorney managed to get the men indicted for murder an put them "on trial for an infamous crime." However, the trial evidence all revolved around the attacks in the Tucson area prior to the massacre and all 108 men indicted were declared 'not guilty'.

  • #2
    Account of Andrew H. Cargill, US district Attorney
    Arizona Historical Review 7, no 3 (July 1936)

    The story should begin in November 1870 with Chief Eskiminzin of the Pinal and Aravaipa Apache tribes coming to terms with Colonel Whitman. "I and my people are tired of war, and we want to come in and make peace. And we want to raise cattle and corn and live like your people do. Our women and children are worn out, roaming from one place to another. This is what we came to talk about." Whitman replied he was without authority to make terms but the groups could surrender and live under army protection on the military reservation for the time being where they could wait for word from Washington. They came in and surrendered to include giving up their weapons.

    From that time, the Indians were provided daily rations and they were counted "so that we knew every day just how many were present." Whitman received an appointment as special Indian Agent with instructions to continue the rationing until a commissioner could come and "arrange a peace and a reservation for them." Cargill never mentions any complaints from Tucson or raiding of local ranches.

    "Matters went on very smoothly until the first day of May 1871." One Merejildo Grijalva arrived at camp with news "he had not seen an Indian nor any smoke from their camp. We mounted at once and rode down to find eighty-six (86) women and children and one very old man killed. No live Indians were about, so we buried the bodies before leaving the scene. We knew at once that it had been done by parties from Tucson." Late that afternoon, Eskiminzin and the other chiefs met with Whitman. "Last fall we came in and surrendered to you, giving up all our arms, as you said we must, and made a peace with you, giving you a stone to show we would keep it. Last night, white men, Mexicans, and Papago Indians came and attacked us; we had no arms. the men ran to the hills, taking such women and children that they could. I have lost two wives and two children. The others have also lost their people. You said you would protect us. I know you had nothing to do with this for we saw you bury our dead. We have come in now to ask you what we shall do."

    Whitman indicated the acts were murder and he would pursue legal justice. Eskiminzin went on, "I do not expect ever to see any of them punished, for they will never punish a white man for killing an Indian, but I do ask you to get back fourteen of our children that they have taken captive."

    Washington ordered a district attorney to Tucson for the proceedings. In the meantime, the people of Tucson "trumped up a charge against Colonel Whitman of having been under the influence of liquor three years before, at the time he entered the territory. He was relieved and brought before a court martial; inside of two months the new agent had driven the Indians out on the warpath again. Whitman was acquitted and ordered back to the post, for he could and did get the Indians in again."

    Only with difficulty did the US District Attorney finally obtain an indictment against the perpetrators of the massacre. He threatened the army would declare martial law and hold a trial if the citizens failed to indict the men. The grand jury named five white men, 20 Mexicans, and 75 Papagos by fictitious names. However, "The district attorney and myself were burned in effigy that night, and I was compelled to resign my position with Lord and Williams, as they said the feeling was so strong they would lose business by keeping me. So then I became clerk for the district attorney." They were also threatened and ordered to leave town.

    Cargill doesn't really finish the story of the trial and quick 'not guilty' verdict. He indicates the town never forgave him and he left to live in California. General O O Howard arrived from Washington with authority as a commissioner and made peace with all the tribes involved including Papagos, Maricopas, Pima,and Apache. The reservations granted remain so today.

    Shamefully, "It afterwards came out that the governor and his adjutant general were parties to the massacre, as the adjutant general furnished a wagonload of arms and ammunition for the Papago Indians."

    On the surface, these two accounts seem to tell entirely different stories. However, are the bare facts different, or merely perspective?

    I put this thread up in another forum and pretty much got nowhere. Any followers of the Indian Wars of the Southwest?


    The complete accounts can be found in:

    http://www.amazon.com/Struggle-Apach...g=upsideout-20
    Last edited by Elijah; 22 Sep 12, 22:36.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Elijah View Post
      Camp Grant Massacre
      William S. Oury - leader and instigator from Tucson. Story in Arizona Daily Star, July 1, 1879

      The notorious Lt. Royal Whitman of the 3rd Cavalry was in charge of feeding the Apache under army protection at Camp Grant. "He, being a shrewd fellow with an eye to the main chance, discovered that there was money in the business and lost no time in putting into practice 'those ways which are dark and tricks that are vain,' by which the average Indian agent with a salary of $1500 becomes rich in two or three years."

      Beginning in January 1871, the Apache began raiding ranches in the Tucson area. James Pennington was killed trying to recover stolen oxen within only 3 miles of the city. The mail rider was murdered just 2 miles out. Simms and Sam Brown murdered while hauling a load of timber. All these in January. February was worse. The people of Tucson repeatedly reported the murders to Lt. Whitman who responded with denials that Indians from Camp Grant were guilty. "The people of Tucson were thus compelled in their desperation to take matters in their own hands, finding that remonstrance was of no avail. However, before resorting to measures of violence our people, with the extremity of forbearance, determined in council to send a deputation to General Stoneman, the commander of the departmenet."

      Appealing to Stoneman was a "complete failure, and we were to given to understand that Tucson contained a population large enough to take care of itself." In March the "scenes of blood and plunder were continued with greater frequency." No less than 7 or 8 ranches were attacked. Most with success as no less than a dozen people were killed. Tucson "had grown to a red heat." A group of citizens met with some influential local Mexicans and resolved to hire the Papago Indians for an assault upon the Apaches at Camp Grant. The Papago and Apache were long-standing enemies and a deal was soon struck.

      On April 27, six whites from Tucson, 42 Mexicans and 92 Papago Indians made their way to the Apache rancheria near Camp Grant. Before daylight on the 28th, they formed a skirmish line and "struck the rancheria, nor quicker or more effective work after it was struck, for in less than a half an hour not a living Apache was to be seen, save the children taken prisoners and some seven Indians who escaped by being up and ahead of our skirmish line, so they could not be overtaken without breaking it. Thus ended the so-called Camp Grant massacre, denounced as a dastardly outrage by General Stoneman in the killing of about 144 of the most blood-thirsty devils that ever disgraced mother earth."

      An extremely ambitious US district Attorney managed to get the men indicted for murder an put them "on trial for an infamous crime." However, the trial evidence all revolved around the attacks in the Tucson area prior to the massacre and all 108 men indicted were declared 'not guilty'.
      Thanks for this one. I'm already starting to look up stuff.
      No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends John 15:13

      Comment


      • #4
        Looking forward to your thoughts on the matter. The stuff I saw on a couple of quick websites clearly favored the Indian perspective.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Grant_massacre

        http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/april...ampgrant1.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Elijah View Post
          Camp Grant Massacre
          William S. Oury - leader and instigator from Tucson. Story in Arizona Daily Star, July 1, 1879

          The notorious Lt. Royal Whitman of the 3rd Cavalry was in charge of feeding the Apache under army protection at Camp Grant. "He, being a shrewd fellow with an eye to the main chance, discovered that there was money in the business and lost no time in putting into practice 'those ways which are dark and tricks that are vain,' by which the average Indian agent with a salary of $1500 becomes rich in two or three years."

          Beginning in January 1871, the Apache began raiding ranches in the Tucson area. James Pennington was killed trying to recover stolen oxen within only 3 miles of the city. The mail rider was murdered just 2 miles out. Simms and Sam Brown murdered while hauling a load of timber. All these in January. February was worse. The people of Tucson repeatedly reported the murders to Lt. Whitman who responded with denials that Indians from Camp Grant were guilty. "The people of Tucson were thus compelled in their desperation to take matters in their own hands, finding that remonstrance was of no avail. However, before resorting to measures of violence our people, with the extremity of forbearance, determined in council to send a deputation to General Stoneman, the commander of the departmenet."

          Appealing to Stoneman was a "complete failure, and we were to given to understand that Tucson contained a population large enough to take care of itself." In March the "scenes of blood and plunder were continued with greater frequency." No less than 7 or 8 ranches were attacked. Most with success as no less than a dozen people were killed. Tucson "had grown to a red heat." A group of citizens met with some influential local Mexicans and resolved to hire the Papago Indians for an assault upon the Apaches at Camp Grant. The Papago and Apache were long-standing enemies and a deal was soon struck.

          On April 27, six whites from Tucson, 42 Mexicans and 92 Papago Indians made their way to the Apache rancheria near Camp Grant. Before daylight on the 28th, they formed a skirmish line and "struck the rancheria, nor quicker or more effective work after it was struck, for in less than a half an hour not a living Apache was to be seen, save the children taken prisoners and some seven Indians who escaped by being up and ahead of our skirmish line, so they could not be overtaken without breaking it. Thus ended the so-called Camp Grant massacre, denounced as a dastardly outrage by General Stoneman in the killing of about 144 of the most blood-thirsty devils that ever disgraced mother earth."

          An extremely ambitious US district Attorney managed to get the men indicted for murder an put them "on trial for an infamous crime." However, the trial evidence all revolved around the attacks in the Tucson area prior to the massacre and all 108 men indicted were declared 'not guilty'.
          Is this the incident depicted in the movie, "Geronimo?"
          No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends John 15:13

          Comment


          • #6
            Sorry, I don't know the movie well enough.

            Comment

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