The History of Arizona

After great suffering and much loss, both of life and property, and many fruitless endeavors to enlist the general government in their behalf, the citizens were driven to desperation and in 1871 an event took place that compelled the general government to take notice of these outrages and to take these Indians under her immediate control, viz., what has since been known as the Camp Grant Massacre, April 30, 1871.

The circumstances that immediately led up to the onslaught upon these Indians may be worthy of a place in these records and they will be related as succinctly as possible. About the month of February, 1871, the band of Apache Indians known as Aravaipa or Pinal Apaches being short of rations came into what it now know as old Camp Grant, situated upon the lower San Pedro upon the eastern bank about fifteen miles above its point of junction with the Gila River, then occupied as a military station, and made a sort of verbal treaty whereby they were to be supplied with rations and were to live in the vicinity of the camp. It was expected by the people, generally, that Indian depredations around Tucson and San Pedro would now cease, but on the contrary, the Indians were more active than ever and the trail of the depredators led to the Indian camp in the vicinity of old Camp Grant whenever


followed. When these facts became known a number of public meetings were held in Tucson, resolutions were passed; petitions were sent to military headquarters, then at Los Angeles, California, setting forth facts in the case, but all resulted in no action being taken by those in authority to stop the outrages. Parties were attacked, robbed and killed upon the traveled roads, and ranchmen were driven from their ranches into the towns in all directions; stock was driven off from near Tres Alamos, upon the San Pedro River, and four men killed; a man named Wooster and his wife, from the upper Santa Cruz, near Tubac, were killed and the trails led direct to the Indian rancheria near old Camp Grant in the cañon of the Aravaipa. To settle the matter past all dispute a party of three Papago Indians were hired to follow each trail of depredators and find where they led, without its having been explained to them why this was wished to be ascertained. Three different trails of depredators were followed and three reports made and all agreed that the trails led to the Aravaipa Cañon, where this Indian encampment was, drawing rations from the United States and using it as a base of supplies to depredate upon the peaceful citizens of the surrounding country. It was claimed and the question was ably argued to be the duty of the United States to protect the citizens pursuing their lawful avocations to make a living, but the Government though repeatedly solicited, seemed to turn a deaf ear and some of her arrogant and selfish officers even went so far as to say if the citizens could not protect themselves here they best go where they could do so.

So this expedition to exterminate, as nearly as possible, this nest of vipers whom the United States Government was unwittingly nourishing was in silence organized, the thinking ones well understanding that if it was made at all, it really should be upon those who had them in charge and guarded


them so loosely. The expedition consisted of some fifty Papago Indians under their head war chief, forty-five Mexicans and five Americans; and was entirely successful coming upon their camp just at break of day, Sunday, April 30, 1871, an entire surprise, slight, if any resistance, was made. Some eighty-seven Indians were killed and not a man of the expedition even wounded.

If any doubts had existed in the minds of any person as to the fact of these Indians having been committing the recent depredations, as charged, upon the inhabitants while living under the protection of the United States military authorities at Camp Grant, it was now set at rest as among the plunder of their was found the dress of murdered Mrs. Wooster and a pair of long legged moccasins with Mr. Wooster's initials upon them, and identified by sworn testimony, also, seven horses recently taken from the vicinity of Tucson and among the rest, one that was identified as belonging to Don Leopoldo Carillo, so recently taken that he had not missed it. This killing of Indians made a great commotion in Eastern States and General W. T. Sherman, then commanding the army, recommended that all the parties engaged in the affair be taken from the Territory and tried for their lives. Of course General Sherman knew nothing of the depredations these Indians had been continually making upon the settlers, all this had been sedulously kept from him, and he had nothing to guide him but the one-sided lying reports of Lieutenant Whitman, who had these Indians directly in charge. All the participants in the Camp Grant affair were finally arrested and tried in our Territorial Court, Judge Titus, presiding, and acquitted as no jury at that time in Arizona would convict parties for killing Indians known to be hostile. This killing of Indians at Camp Grant, whether strictly in accordance with law or not, led to the sending of General George Crook here to command and he arrived in the Territory in the month of June, 1871.


One Vincent Collier, an agent of the ultraphilanthropists of the East was sent out soon after to try the soothing method upon the hostile Indians, but all the visible effects his negotiations seemed to have was to delay the movements of General Crook, who finally, with troops and scouts, had to settle the question by punishing the Indians until they humbly begged to be allowed to come in upon reservations.