Thomas Jefferson Jeffords
|February 19, 1914 82) (aged
|Evergreen Cemetery, Tucson, Arizona
|US Army Scout, Indian agent, prospector
|Pinkerton Detective Agency
|Brokering peace with Apache Chief Cochise
Thomas Jefferson Jeffords (January 1, 1832 – February 19, 1914)was a United States Army scout, Indian agent, prospector, and superintendent of overland mail in the Arizona Territory. His friendship with Apache leader Cochise was instrumental in ending the Indian wars in that region. He first met Cochise when he rode alone into Cochise's camp in 1871 to request that the chief come to Canada Alamosa for peace talks. Cochise declined at least in part because he was afraid to travel with his family after the recent Camp Grant Massacre. Three months later he made the trip and stayed for over six months during which time their friendship grew while the negotiations failed. Cochise was unwilling to accept the Tularosa Valley as his reservation and home. In October 1872, Jeffords led General Oliver O. Howard to Cochise's Stronghold, believed to be China Meadow, in the Dragoon Mountains. Cochise demanded and got the Dragoon and Chiricahua Mountains as his reservation and Tom Jeffords as his agent. From 1872 to 1876, there was peace in southern Arizona. Then renegade Apaches killed Nicholas Rogers who had sold them whiskey and the cry went out to abolish the reservation and remove Jeffords as agent. Tom Jeffords embarked on a series of ventures as sutler and postmaster at Fort Huachuca, head of the first Tucson water company trying to bring artesian water to that city, and as prospector and mine owner and developer. He died at Owl Head Buttes in the Tortolita Mountains 35 miles north of Tucson.
Tom Jeffords was born in Chautauqua County, New York, where his father was trying to earn enough money to purchase a farm. When Tom was seven, the family moved to Ashtabula, Ohio, in the Western Reserve. Jeffords and his brothers sailed the Great Lakes, Tom becoming a captain while still in his early twenties. Bored and in search of wealth, Tom followed the gold rush to Pike's Peak in 1859, working on the road from Leavenworth to Denver. From there. he pursued the San Juan Gold Rush of 1860 to Taos County, New Mexico, and that same year followed the Colorado Gold Rush to Gila City in Arizona. He soon moved on to the mines in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. The Civil War found Tom near Fort Craig and he participated in the Battle of Valverde as a civilian courier. Jeffords accepted an assignment from Colonel Edward Canby to ride over 500 miles alone across Apache country to Fort Yuma, California, where Colonel James Carleton was arriving with the California Column. Since Confederate forces had invaded southern New Mexico and occupied the countryside as far as Tucson, Colonel Canby needed a brave courier who knew the route through the wilds along the Gila River. Tom Jeffords returned east to Arizona Territory in 1862 as a scout with the lead companies of the California Column. He remained with the Army as a civilian scout throughout the war as the Army engaged Navajo, Apache and Comanche Indians and kept the Texans out of New Mexico.
Open war with the Chiricahua Apaches had begun in 1861, when Cochise, one of their chiefs, was accused by the Army of kidnapping an 11-year-old Mexican boy, Felix Ward, stepson of Johnny Ward, later known as Mickey Free. Although the abduction was probably the work of Pinal Indians, a clear trail led to Cochise's doorstep. Reassignment of two companies of dragoon cavalry to Fort Breckinridge on the lower San Pedro River had forced the Pinal, Coyotero and other Western Apaches to alter their raiding routes so that they swung east toward the Chiricahua Mountains and Apache Pass.
Lieutenant George Nicholas Bascom was sent with 66 men of Company C, 7th Infantry, which he commanded, to get the boy back. Johnny Ward went along as interpreter. The lieutenant invited Cochise to his camp for parley and they retired to the lieutenant's tent for lunch and talk along with his brother, Coyuntura, and Ward. Bascom told Cochise that he wanted the boy and Ward's stolen livestock.
This was not the first time that Cochise had been forced to return stolen stock. Captain Richard S. Ewell had been out to Apache Pass twice before to recover stock and had sworn he would, "proceed to force them to terms the next time".
Cochise said he did not have them but thought he knew who did. Bascom told the chief he would be a hostage against the boy's safe return. Cochise's father and brothers had been slain by Mexicans during parley and his people had been poisoned. Hearing that he would be a hostage, Cochise pulled his knife, slashed the ties of the tent, and escaped up Overlook Ridge. His brother, his son and nephew, two warriors and his wife remained as hostages.
Meeting the next day, Cochise violated the flag of truce and took his own hostage. In following days, he took three more. Surrounded by what he believed were 500 Apaches, Bascom sent for aid. The first to arrived was Surgeon Bernard Irwin, who took three more hostages on his way to rescue Bascom while leading only eleven men. He was awarded the Medal of Honor 32 years later for this action.
Cochise killed and possibly tortured his four hostages. Two troops of dragoons arrived under command of Lieutenants Isaiah Moore and Richard Lord, both senior to Bascom. Moore took command. Irwin proposed hanging the six Apache hostages (the woman and boys were released at Fort Buchanan).Bascom demurred but, outranked, allowed the hanging.
Cochise, formerly inclined toward peace with the white settlers, now joined other Apache chiefs in hostility to them. It was not long before the Army retaliated, and the war was on.
Between 1867 and 1869, Jeffords was the superintendent of a mail line from Tucson to Socorro. He apparently gave people to understand that he had met Cochise during this period and negotiated a peace for his mail riders. This is very unlikely as they were attacked as often, seldom, after he took charge as before.
In 1871 President Grant sent General Oliver Howard to the Arizona Territory with orders to end the Apache wars by negotiating treaties with the tribes. Howard was an apt choice, as he had been head of the Freedmen's Bureau, the agency responsible for assisting freed black slaves after the Civil War. General Howard enlisted the help of Jeffords in concluding these treaties. Learning of his work with the Freedmen's Bureau, Jeffords knew that Howard was honorable and would be respected by Cochise, and eventually conducted the general into Cochise's camp. A treaty was signed in 1872, ending the decade-long war with the Chiricahua Apaches.
On December 14, 1872, 18th President of the United States Ulysses Grant issued an Executive Order establishing the Chiricahua Reservation in the southeast Arizona Territory at the Mexico–United States border and New Mexico Territory border.Cochise requested that his people be allowed to remain in the Chiricahua Mountains and that Jeffords be made Indian agent for the region. These requests were granted, and the Indian raids subsided.
Settlers branded Jeffords "Indian lover" and wrote scathing reports to politicians back in Washington.In 1875, he was removed as the federal agent and the Chiricahua Apaches were relocated to the San Carlos Reservation. Cochise was spared this; he had died of natural causes about a year after signing the now broken treaty. The Apache wars began again, but were ended in 1886 with the surrender of Geronimo, the last Apache leader.
Jeffords relocated to Tombstone, AZ, where he was part owner of a number of mines. He staked claims in the Huachuca, Dos Cabezas, and Chiricahua Mountains. With Nicholas Rogers and Sidney De Long, he staked a claim to the famed Brunckow Mine in 1875 and remained in control of it into the 1880s.He was a partner in a mine in the Santa Ritas and head of a company trying to supply water to the city of Tucson. He lived out the last 22 years of his life in the Tortolita Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona, at a homestead near the Owlhead Buttes. He died on February 19, 1914, and was buried in Tucson's Evergreen Cemetery.
A monument was dedicated to Jeffords in Evergreen Cemetery in 1964.
The story of Jeffords, General Howard, Cochise, and the Apache wars was told in historically-based but dramatized form in a novel by Elliott Arnold called Blood Brother. The novel was adapted into the Delmer Daves's film Broken Arrow (1950). James Stewart played Jeffords in the movie.It was later adapted into a 1956 television show that ran for 72 episodes, in which John Lupton played Jeffords.
Chiricahua is a band of Apache Native Americans.
Cochise was the leader of the Chiricahui local group of the Chokonen and principal nantan of the Chokonen band of a Chiricahua Apache. A key war leader during the Apache Wars, he led an uprising that began in 1861 and persisted until a peace treaty was negotiated in 1872. Cochise County is named after him.
Broken Arrow is a Western television series which ran on ABC-TV in prime time from 1956 through 1958 on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Repeat episodes were shown by ABC on Sunday afternoons during the 1959-60 TV season and in an early evening timeslot Sunday evenings from April to September 1960.
Broken Arrow is a 1950 American Western film directed by Delmer Daves and starring James Stewart, Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget. The film is based on historical figures, but fictionalizes their story in dramatized form. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding. Film historians have said that the film was one of the first major Westerns since the Second World War to portray the Indians sympathetically.
The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States Army and various Apache tribal confederations fought in the southwest between 1849 and 1886, though minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924. After the Mexican–American War in 1846, the United States inherited conflicted territory from Mexico which was the home of both settlers and Apache tribes. Conflicts continued as new United States citizens came into traditional Apache lands to raise livestock and crops and to mine minerals.
Apache Pass, also known by its earlier Spanish name Puerto del Dado, is a historic mountain pass in the U.S. state of Arizona between the Dos Cabezas Mountains and Chiricahua Mountains at an elevation of 5,110 feet (1,560 m). It is approximately 20 miles (32 km) east-southeast of Willcox, Arizona, in Cochise County.
John Philip Clum was an Indian agent for the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in the Arizona Territory. He implemented a limited form of self-government on the reservation that was so successful that other reservations were closed and their residents moved to San Carlos. Clum later became the first mayor of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, after its incorporation in 1881. He also founded the still-operating The Tombstone Epitaph on May 1, 1880. He later served in various postal service positions across the United States.
The Bascom Massacre was a confrontation between Apache Indians and the United States Army under Lt. George Nicholas Bascom in the Arizona Territory in early 1861. It has been considered to have directly precipitated the decades-long Apache Wars between the United States and several tribes in the southwestern United States. War was coming with the Chiricahua Apache. The affair led to an open break and open hostilities, but Cochise had previously been peaceful, he had been prudent and avoided raiding Americans. He had, however, stolen livestock from the Overland Mail, from Fort Buchanan and had twice been forced to return stolen stock by Capt. Richard S. Ewell, who swore that if he had to deal with Cochise again, he would strike a blow.
Bernard John Dowling Irwin was an assistant army surgeon during the Apache Wars and the first Medal of Honor recipient. His actions on February 13, 1861, are the earliest for which the Medal of Honor was awarded.
The Battle at Apache Pass is a 1952 American Western film directed by George Sherman. The stars are John Lund as United States Army Maj. Colton and Jeff Chandler repeating the role of Apache chief Cochise, whom he had played two years earlier in 20th Century Fox's Broken Arrow. Jay Silverheels also reprised his role of Geronimo from the same film.
The First Battle of Dragoon Springs was a minor skirmish between a small troop of Confederate dragoons of Governor John R. Baylor's Arizona Rangers, and a band of Apache warriors during the American Civil War. It was fought on May 5, 1862, near the present-day town of Benson, Arizona, in Confederate Arizona.
The Second Battle of Dragoon Springs was one of two skirmishes involving Apache warriors and Confederate soldiers in Arizona. It was fought during the American Civil War on May 9, 1862, and was a response to the First Battle of Dragoon Springs in which Confederate forces were defeated. Four men were killed in the first skirmish and several heads of livestock were captured. The rebel commander Captain Sherod Hunter, ordered his foraging squad to take back the livestock from Cochise's warriors, during which five Apaches were killed. There were no Confederate casualties.
Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón was a presidio located within Tucson, Arizona, United States. The original fortress was built by Spanish soldiers during the 18th century and was the founding structure of what became the city of Tucson. After the American arrival in 1846, the original walls were dismantled, with the last section torn down in 1918. A reconstruction of the northeast corner of the fort was completed in 2007 following an archaeological excavation that located the fort's northeast tower.
Geronimo Campaign, between May 1885 and September 1886, was the last large-scale military operation of the Apache wars. It took more than 5,000 US soldiers, led by the two experienced US Army generals, in order to subdue no more than 70 Chiricahua Apache who fled the San Carlos Reservation and raided parts of Arizona and Sonora in Mexico for more than a year.
Chato was a Chiricahua Apache subchief who carried out several raids on settlers in Arizona in the 1870s. His Apache name was Bidayajislnl or Pedes-klinje. He was a protege of Cochise, and he surrendered with Cochise in 1872 going to live on the San Carlos Reservation in southern Arizona, where he became an Apache Scout. Following his service as a scout he was taken prisoner after being coerced to travel to Washington, D.C. Chato was imprisoned in St. Augustine, Florida along with almost 500 other Apache at Fort Marion.
Mickey Free, birth name Felix Telles, was an Apache Indian scout and bounty hunter on the American frontier. Following his kidnapping by Apaches as a child, he was raised as one and became a warrior. Later he joined the US Army's Apache scouts, serving at Fort Verde between December 1874 and May 1878 and was given the nickname Mickey Free.
Dragoon Springs is an historic site in what is now Cochise County, Arizona, at an elevation of 4,925 feet (1,501 m). The name comes from a nearby natural spring, Dragoon Spring, to the south in the Dragoon Mountains at 5,148 feet (1,569 m). The name originates from the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Dragoons who battled the Chiricahua, including Cochise, during the Apache Wars. The Dragoons established posts around 1856 after the Gadsden Purchase made the area a U.S. territory.
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Dr. Herman Bendell was an American physician active during and after the American Civil War, serving with both the 6th New York Heavy Artillery and the 86th New York Infantry. Dr. Bendell served with the Army of the Potomac, the Sheridan Campaign, and in the Shenandoah Valley. Following George L. Andrews, he served as the last Superintendent of Indian Affairs of the Arizona Territory.