Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Apache Chief Cochise For Western Wednesday...!

Nearly everyone I know recognizes the name Cochise. It's rather a hard name to forget.

Interesting back story about the Chief and I figured I'd share it with you.

Apache Chief Cochise dies

Chief Cochise, one of the great leaders of the Apache Indians in their battles with the Anglo-Americans, dies on the Chiricahua reservation in southeastern Arizona.

Little is known of Cochise’s early life. By the mid-19th century, he had become a prominent leader of the Chiricahua band of Apache Indians living in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. Like many other Chiricahua Apache, Cochise resented the encroachment of Mexican and American settlers on their traditional lands. Cochise led numerous raids on the settlers living on both sides of the border, and Mexicans and Americans alike began to call for military protection and retribution.

War between the U.S. and Cochise, however, resulted from a misunderstanding. In October 1860, a band of Apache attacked the ranch of an Irish-American named John Ward and kidnapped his adopted son, Felix Tellez. Although Ward had been away at the time of the raid, he believed that Cochise had been the leader of the raiding Apache. Ward demanded that the U.S. Army rescue the kidnapped boy and bring Cochise to justice. The military obliged by dispatching a force under the command of Lieutenant George Bascom. Unaware that they were in any danger, Cochise and many of his top men responded to Bascom’s invitation to join him for a night of entertainment at a nearby stage station. When the Apache arrived, Bascom’s soldiers arrested them.

Cochise told Bascom that he had not been responsible for the kidnapping of Felix Tellez, but the lieutenant refused to believe him. He ordered Cochise be kept as a hostage until the boy was returned. Cochise would not tolerate being imprisoned unjustly. He used his knife to cut a hole in the tent he was held in and escaped.

During the next decade, Cochise and his warriors increased their raids on American settlements and fought occasional skirmishes with soldiers. Panicked settlers abandoned their homes, and the Apache raids took hundreds of lives and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damages. By 1872, the U.S. was anxious for peace, and the government offered Cochise and his people a huge reservation in the southeastern corner of Arizona Territory if they would cease hostilities. Cochise agreed, saying, “The white man and the Indian are to drink of the same water, eat of the same bread, and be at peace.”

The great chief did not have the privilege of enjoying his hard-won peace for long. In 1874, he became seriously ill, possibly with stomach cancer. He died on this day in 1874. That night his warriors painted his body yellow, black, and vermilion, and took him deep into the Dragoon Mountains. They lowered his body and weapons into a rocky crevice, the exact location of which remains unknown. Today, however, that section of the Dragoon Mountains is known as Cochise’s Stronghold.

About a decade after Cochise died, Felix Tellez–the boy whose kidnapping had started the war–resurfaced as an Apache-speaking scout for the U.S. Army. He reported that a group of Western Apache, not Cochise, had kidnapped him.

Even back in those days folks were quick to put the blame on someone innocent. More than once, this came back to bite them in the butt!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. No rain they say.


Chickenmom said...

Never knew he died that way - always thought he was killed in a battle. Thanks for the true story, Mr. Hermit!

linda m said...

Thank you for the real story of Cochise. He was an interesting person.

JO said...

Thank you for posting this. So many believed he died in battle. He lived to a very old age.
So many times they wanted peace but the white man always betrayed them.

Hope you have seen the last of the rain. We may get a relief from the triple digits the next few days of 99 instead and maybe some rain. See you in a few.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Guess that since he was a warrior, dying in battle was thought to be his demise.
Thanks for stopping by this morning !

Hey Linda...
He was interesting to say the least.
Thanks for coming by today !

Hey Jo...
Had a long life for the times he lived in.
Wouldn't hurt my feelings if the rain stayed gone for a while, believe me !
Thanks for dropping by today !

Dizzy-Dick said...

I bet Cochise got blamed for a lot of stuff that others did, just because he was a famous warrior.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
You're probably right about that. Wouldn't be the first time.
Thanks for coming over today. Hope you are feeling better !

Sixbears said...

It's tough to fight a war on the lands where your family lives. No wonder he took the peace deal.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
Probably seemed like the right thing to do.
Thanks for the visit today !