LIFE of TOM HORN
GOVERNMENT SCOUT AND
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF
Together with His Letters and Statements
by His Friends
THIRTEEN FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
^Published (for John C. Coble] by
The Louth&n *:Book Company
Copyright, 1904, by John C. Coble.
All Rights Reserved.
THE SMITH-BROOKS PRINTING COMPANY
Cover design by John Ohnimus.
In preparing this autobiography for publication, there
has been no attempt to make it literature. No sentence
has been added ; and no alterations have been made, save
to avoid ambiguity, and to promote clearness and
strength. All changes have been kept strictly in harmony
with the style of the author. For the convenience of
the reader the manuscript has been broken into chapters ;
and of course the chapter headings were not original with
For obvious reasons, the Westernisms, and even the
slang, have been retained. Horn was thoroughly West
ern. Born and reared in the West if, indeed, it can be
correctly said that he was "reared" he passed his entire
life here, with the exception of the period of his service
to his country during the war with Spain; and, being
Western, his conversation was replete with local expres
sions, not always elegant, yet rarely profane and never
I wish to repeat this: Tom Horn icas seldom profane.
And this assertion will be sustained by those who really
knew him a fact which alone serves to disprove that so-
called famous "confession," the language of which
smacks very much more of the talk of those who edited
the "notes taken on the spot."
But, as I have suggested, there have been no additions
made to this autobiography, and such alterations as have
been made do not alter the text in any material manner.
Rather, it has been the object, in editing the manu-
script, to present the writer s life-story in his own pleas
ing style, with his own strong personality gleaming
through the whole. Note his unerring memory, even to
minute details; the objects of his hero worship and the
sort of men they were; his unconsciously expressed for
giveness for injuries; his untiring faithfulness to duty
under the most trying circumstances; his strong sense
of justice; and note particularly that although his manu
script was written to hurry lagging time, and for the
private perusal of his friends only, it contains not the
slightest strain of vulgarity. No expurgation has been
This autobiography is now given in book form for gen
eral circulation, in response to an insistent public de
mand. The fact that such a "Life" had been written had
no sooner become known than I was besieged by his per
sonal friends and acquaintances, and by interested read
ers of the published reports of the trial, for the publica
tion of the autobiography prepared by Tom Horn. Let
ters reached me by every mail from almost every state
and territory of the Union; and I may be permitted here
to state that there was scarcely a letter among them all
which did not declare a belief in the innocence of Horn,
"after carefully considering the details of the case."
Telegrams and letters reached me, also, from daily
newspapers, monthly magazines and publishing houses,
making propositions for "exclusive publishing rights."
And so I have yielded. In your hands is the book.
For it, is asked a reading without prejudice. For its
writer, is asked that which, during his closing years, was
denied him fair play.
JOHN C. COBLE.
Iron Mountain Ranch, Bosler, Wyoming,
March 1, 1004.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HORN S BOYHOOD HIS DOG "SHED." BBNNIE, THE
MODEL BOY HORN LEAVES HOME FOR THE WEST.. 17-24
HORN BECOMES MAIL AND STAGE DRIVER NIGHT-RIDER,
BOSS OF QUARTERMASTER S HERD, GOVERNMENT
INTERPRETER SIEBER KILLS CHUGADESLONA
SIEBER AND HORN VISIT PEDRO, CHIEF OF
FRIENDLY APACHES 25-31
MICKY FREE, SCOUT AND GUIDE HORN BEGINS LIFE
AMONG THE APACHES "THE TALKING BOY" A FULL-
FLEDGED INDIAN A LODGE AND HOUSEKEEPER.... 32-37
MAJOR CHAFFEE AND FIRST MILITARY INDIAN AGENCY-
PEDRO S "MEDICINE" FOR BAD INDIANS HORN OUT
OF A JOB GOES PROSPECTING TOMBSTONE, AND
WHY SO CALLED-INDIAN TROUBLES INTERPRETS
ONCE MORE FIRST APPOINTMENT WITH GERONIMO 38-48
ARRIVAL AT THE HOSTILE CAMP THE COUNCIL GER
ONIMO IN THE HEIGHT OF HIS POWER, THE "BIG
GEST CHIEF, THE BEST TALKER AND THE BIGGEST
LIAR" HORN INTERPRETS AT THE BIG TALK "NOT
SCARED, BUT A LITTLE SHAKY" THE APACHE
GRIEVANCES SIEBER S REPLY TO GERONIMO... . 49-55
8 TABLE OF CONTENTS.
CHAPTER VI. Pages
GOOD-BYE TO GERONIMO "HAPPY TO MEET YOU IN
BATTLE AS WELL AS IN COUNCIL!" ESCORTING
INDIANS BACK TO RESERVATION UNDER DIFFICUL
TIESEVADING THE CUSTOMS HORN AGAIN OUT OF
EMPLOYMENT HIRES TO A BEEF CONTRACTOR-
INDIAN TROUBLES BREWING MAJOR CHAFFEE SU
PERSEDED BY CIVILIAN TIFFANY "SOMETHING
ROTTEN IN DENMARK" 57-62
AN INDIAN OUTBREAK DEATH OF STIRLING HORN CAR
RIES NEWS OF OUTBREAK TO CAMP THOMAS PUR
SUING THE RENEGADES "SIX MEN KILLED IN ONE
MINUTE" HORN S KNOWLEDGE OF APACHE LAN
GUAGE SAVES THE COMMAND 63-72
WANTED: MORE SOLDIERS SIEBER S "GROWL" AP
PARENT MISMANAGEMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS A
SCOUT S DUTY MAJOR TUPPER WANTS "TO GET A
LICK AT THE INDIANS" FORTY SOLDIERS AND
TWENTY-FIVE SCOUTS AGAINST THREE HUNDRED
CHIRICAHUA BRAVES OVER THE LINE INTO MEXICO
SIEBER LOCATES HOSTILE CAMP 73-82
A DAYLIGHT SURPRISE "AND THE FIGHT WAS ON!"
HORN SAVES SERGEANT MURRAY UNDER A HOT
FIRE CASUALTIES AND BOOTY COLONEL FORSYTHE
AND REINFORCEMENTS INDIANS CLASH WITH
FIFTH MEXICAN REGIMENT, CHIHUAHUA CAVALRY
ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN KILLED, FIFTY-
THREE CAPTURED FORSYTHE VERSUS GARCIA
HORN INTERPRETS ARMED FORCE OF AMERICANS
ON MEXICAN TERRITORY UNDER ARREST; THE
SURPRISING BEHAVIOR OF THE ARRESTED-SIE-
BER S "GENERAL BIG KICK" TO DEPARTMENT COM
SIEBER, HORN AND MICKY FREE VISIT THE WHITE
MOUNTAIN INDIANS OLD PEDRO S ADVICE AND
TABLE OF CONTENTS. 9
PROPHECY THE THREE SCOUTS REPORT FOR OR
DERS AT CAMP APACHE "THIS IS A TRAP; MEN
WILL LEAVE THIS POST WHO WILL NEVER RE
TURN ALIVE! BUT WE MUST MAKE THE BLUFF" A
PERILOUS JOURNEY BETRAYED BY DEAD SHOT
AND DANDY JIM AMBUSH AT CIBICU CANON LOSS
OF LEADER ELEVEN WOUNDED; DESERTED BY IN
DIAN SCOUTS HORN SAVES THE COMMAND.. 94-102
THE FORT FIRED UPON, "THIS MEANT WAR" HORN
SENT TO WHITE MOUNTAINS AND RETURNS WITH
SIXTY OF PEDRO S PICKED BRAVES "TOM HORN
AND HIS WAR DOGS" ON THE RENEGADES TRAIL-
INDIAN ATROCITIES CHAFFEE, SIEBER AND KEHOE
JOIN THE CHASE, "TIRED, BUT FULL OF FIGHT"
AT BAY IN CHEVLON S CANON BLOCKING THE
ONLY EXIT A DEADLY TRAP HEAVY STORM STOPS
FIGHT "MAJOR CHAFFEE TOO WET AND COLD TO
SWEAR!" A BEAR STORY 103-113
HORN "GETS" FOUR BAD INDIANS WANTED AT CAMP
APACHE HORN IS "THREATENED" WITH A GOVERN
MENT MEDAL FOR BRAVERY "I DID NOTHING
VERY GREAT" THE MEDAL STILi^ WANTING SIEBER
AND HORN BEFORE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE-
BORDER JUSTICE TO HORSE-THIEVES DEALT UNDER
HORN S DIRECTIONS UNEXPECTED INTERRUPTION
BY DEPARTMENT COMMANDER AND DEPARTMENT
INSPECTOR A ROW AND RECONCILIATION A
CLEVER INDIAN TRICK 114-124
ORDERS TO REPORT AT CAMP APACHE, CAMP VERDE
AND FORT WHIPPLE SIEBER AND "SIEBER S BOY"
ENJOY A FINE TRIP GENERAL GEORGE A. CROOK
SUPERSEDES GENERAL WILCOX AS DEPARTMENT
COMMANDER MORE DEPREDATIONS SIEBER AND
HORN, "AN ARMED FORCE," INVADE MEXICO
RED-TAPED, LONG-DRAWN ELABORATE INVESTI
GATION GOVERNMENTAL "CENSURE" GENERAL
CROOK ARRIVES BIG INDIAN COUNCIL UNITED
STATES-MEXICAN TREATY SIEBER AND HORN RE
VISIT TOMBSTONE A TOO WARM WELCOME 125-133
10 TABLE OF CONTENTS.
INDIAN TROUBLES BEGIN IN EARNEST "PEACHES" AND
HORN AS "TALK CARRIERS" GERONIMO WOULD
HAVE A "PEACE TALK" GENERAL CROOK GOES TO
MEET GERONIMO SMUGGLERS VERSUS CUSTOM
GUARDS "NOT HONEST, BUT HONORABLE" GER-
ONIMO S HOSTAGES AND CAMP HORN MUST INTER
PRETAN INDIAN S TRIBUTE TO HORN S TUTOR
(SIEBER); "THE OLD MAD WHITE MAN, A MAN OF
WAR AND A MAN OF TRUTH" 134-145
SYNOPSIS OF GENERAL CROOK S SPEECH IN GERONIMO S
COUNCIL "IT MUST BE WAR OR PEACE!" DEEP
IMPRESSION MADE BY GENERAL CROOK WHAT
WILL GERONIMO DO? SIEBER AND HORN SUM
MONED AS ADVISERS TO THE TRIBE COUNCIL; THE
ONLY WHITE MEN ADMITTED "TAKE YOUR KNIFE,
TOM; STAND W T HILE YOU INTERPRET, FORGET THAT
YOU MAY NOT LIVE ONE MINUTE, AND THINK ONLY
OF THE TALK" THE WAR CHIEF SPEAKS ETI
QUETTE OF AN INDIAN COUNCIL THE ELOQUENT
SILENCE OF THE RED MAN SIEBER S ADVICE,
"WORDS OF WISDOM AND TRUTH" 146-158
GERONIMO ANSWERS GENERAL CROOK THE RED COM
MANDER OUTWITS THE WHITE COMMANDER, AND
THE GOVERNMENT IS MADE ACCESSORY TO THEFT
HORN BECOMES CHIEF OF SCOUTS TO SUCCEED
SIEBER TRIBUTE TO SIEBKR TWENTY - FIVE
APACHE SCOUTS ENLISTED; MICKY FREE AS FIRST
SERGEANT THEIR "MILITARY" APPEARANCE AN
APACHE "OUTFIT" XMAS DINNER AT CAMP
APACHE GATE WOOD S TROUBLES WITH GERON
IMO S PEOPLE HORN ORDERS CHIR1CAHUAS
COUNTED AT SUNRISE AND SUNSET JOINS HIS
SCOUTS AT CAMP THOMAS 159-171
AFTER THE RAIDERS APACHE SMOKE SIGNALS APACHE
HUMOR HORN GATHERS HIS SCATTERED SCOUTS
AND IS JOINED BY TWENTY TROOPERS (LIEUTENANT
WILDER) AND A DOZEN COWBOYS IN AMBUSH FOR
TABLE OF CONTENTS. 11
THE RAIDERS "YOU MUST OBEY ME; I WILL CUT
THE THROAT OF THE MAN WHO DOES NOT DO AS
I SAY!" THE FIVE-MINUTES FIGHT. NOT A FOE TO
TELL THE STORY ! 172-183
HORN WINS THE APPROVAL OF BOTH BURKE AND
SIEBER A BREATHING SPELL VITIS ING THE BIG
RANCHES BACK TO CAMP APACHE THE CHIRICA-
HUAS BECOMING RESTLESS THE VERGE OF AN
OTHER OUTBREAK INTERCEPTING MORE APACHE
RAIDERS A SURPRISE AND A SCATTERMENT A
"BIG, HEALTHY, GREASY SQUAW TREED" BRANDY
AS A PERSUADER TO TELLING TALES GERONIMO
AND THE ENTIRE TRIBE BREAK OUT AGAIN THE
MEXICAN RENDEZVOUS PLANNING TO THWART
THE RENEGADES 184-liH
NO MORE BLUFF, BUT REAL OLD BUSINESS CIVILIZING
GERONIMO A HOPELESS TASK GENERAL CROOK
ARRIVES PREPARATIONS FOR WAR A SIDE-TRIP
SCRIMMAGE DANGER AND IRISH WIT, GUNS AND
TONGUES SERGEANT NOLAN AND THE INDIAN
"LADIES" PLAN OF CAMPAIGN CHIRICAHUA BAND,
BENT ON VENGEANCE, RAID UP TO WHITE MOUN
TAIN CAMP HALZAY "LOSES HIS HEAD" HORN
AND TEN SCOUTS "HIT THE TRAIL" THE LAN
GUAGE OF A COLD TRAIL: TRACKS, SIDE TRAILS,
SMELL OF ROASTING MUSCAL, SHADOWS OF CAMP-
FIRES TEN MILES AHEAD "WE HAD LOCATED THE
MAIN CAMP AT LAST!" SENDING FOR CAPTAIN
CRAWFORD AND THE TROOPS 195-207
FORCES DIVIDED INTO FOUR GROUPS UNDER CRAW
FORD, MAUS, SHIPP AND HORN ATTACK UPON GER-
ONIMO 3 CAMP COMPLETE ROUT A "SIEBER
BLUFF" HORN CAPTURES NANA THE OLD CHIEF S
"GROWL" GERONIMO SENDS MESSENGER; HE
WOULD TALK CHIRICAHUA SQUAWS AS MOURNERS
1TUCH NEEDED REST... ...208-217
12 TABLE OF CONTENTS.
UNWARRANTED ATTACK BY MEXICANS UNDER CORRE-
DOR "FOR GOD S SAKE, CHIEF, CAN T YOU STOP
THEM?" THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN EMMET CRAW
FORDLIEUTENANT MAUS IN COMMAND THIRTY-
SEVEN KILLED, FIFTEEN WOUNDED HORN AS
TRUCE-BEARER "IF I AM HARMED, MY APACHE
SCOUTS WILL KILL EVERY MOTHER S SON OF YOU!"
A MEXICAN TRICK COMING TO TERMS CHIHUA
HUA WOULD TALK DISSATISFACTION AMONG GER-
ONIMO S FOLLOWERS BURIAL OF CRAWFORD-
HORN S REPUTATION INCREASED LIEUTENANT
MAUS LAUDS HIS CHIEF OF SCOUTS... ...218-231
MAUS AND HORN REPORT TO GENERAL CROOK AT
BOWIE SURRENDER OF CHIHUAHUA GERONIMO
RETURNS TO WARPATH CROOK SUPERSEDED BY
MILES AS DEPARTMENT COMMANDER HORN RE
DUCED FROM CHIEF OF SCOUTS TO INTERPRETER-
HE RESIGNS AND GOES TO MINING HORN RE
CALLED BY PERSONAL LETTER FROM MILES AN
EXCITING INDIAN CHASE HORN BRINGS IN GER
ONIMO AND DISPATCHES FOR MILES MILES WILL
NOT DO BUSINESS THROUGH A CIVILIAN GERONIMO
WILL NOT DO BUSINESS THROUGH A SOLDIER-
HORN LEAVES CAMP DISPATCH FROM MILES TO
HORN: "MAKE YOUR OWN ARRANGEMENTS FOR
ME TO MEET GERONIMO" HORN PERSUADES THE
RENEGADE CHIEF TO A SECOND INTERVIEW GER
ONIMO SURRENDERS REMARKABLE FEAT OF
WASSE THE SCOUTS DISBANDED HORN RETURNS
TO MINING 232-248
THE RUSTLERS WAR HORN CALLED AS MEDIATOR-
BECOMES DEPUTY SHERIFF OF YAVAPAI COUNTY-
OUTBREAK OF "APACHE KID" TOGA S HEART SPLIT
IN TWO SIEBER, ONE AGAINST ELEVEN "APACHE
KID S" SURRENDER HE KILLS GUARDS AND ES
CAPESROPING CONTEST AMONG COWBOYS HORN
BREAKS RECORD HORN GOES TO DENVER TO
WORK FOR PINKERTON NATIONAL DETECTIVE
TABLE OF CONTENTS. 13
AGENCY A TRAIN ROBBERY CASE HORN CAP
TURES "PEG LEG" WATSON HORN AND STEWART
RUN DOWN JOE M COY HORN QUITS THE PINKER-
TONS AND GOES TO WORK FOR THE SWAN LAND
AND CATTLE COMPANY OF WYOMING LIFE STORY
CONTINUED IN YELLOW JOURNALS 249-263
NO. 1 OWNBEY TO HORN 267
NO. 2 HORN TO COBLE 269
NO. 3 HORN TO CHAS. IRWIN 271
NO. 4 HORN TO OHNHAUS 272
NO. 5 HORN TO COBLE 275
NO. 6 HORN TO COBLE 277
NO. 7 HORN TO COBLE 279
NO. 8 HORN TO COBLE 283
NO. 9 HORN TO COBLE 283
NO 10 CHAS. HORN TO J. C. COBLE 285
MISS KIMMELL S STATEMENT 287-309
"LIFE S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN" 310
STATEMENT BY AL SIEBER 311-314
CLOSING WORDS BY J. C. COBLE... ...315-317
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1 TOM HORN Title Page
2 HORN S BIRTHPLACE 20
3-TOM HORN S FATHER 40
4 TOM HORN S MOTHER 60
5 FORT BOWIE 80
6 GEN. GEORGE CROOK 126
7 GEN. LAWTON 192
9 E. W. ONE OF HORN S FAVORITE HORSES 260
10 GLENDOLENE MYRTLE KIMMELL 287
11 LETTER FROM GOV. CHATTERTON 303
12 CHAS. AND FRANK IRWIN 310
13 JOHN C. COBLE... ...316
Horn s Boyhood His Dog "Shed." Bennie, the Model
Bov Horn Leaves Home for the West.
I was born near Memphis, Scotland County, Mis
souri, November 21, 1860 a troublesome time, to be
sure; and anyone born in Missouri is bound to see trouble
so says Bill Nye.
Up to the time I left home I suppose I had more
trouble than any man or boy in Missouri. We had Sun
day schools and church, and as my mother was a good
old-fashioned Campbellite, I was supposed to go to
church and Sunday school, as did most of the boys and
girls in the neighborhood. I had three brothers and four
sisters, and there was not one of them but acted as
though he really liked to go to those places. I had
nothing particular against going, if it had not been for
the coon, turkey, quail, rabbits, prairie chickens, pos
sums, skunks and other game of that kind, with once in
a season a fat, corn-fed deer; and they were all neglected
to such an extent by the rest of the family, that it kept
me busy most every Sunday, and many nights through
the week, to do what I considered right in trying to keep
on proper terms with the game.
I would steal out the gun and take the dog and hunt
all day Sunday and many a night through the week,
knowing full well that whenever I did show up at home
18 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
I would get. a whipping or a scolding from my mother
or a regular thumping from father.
My mother was a tall, powerful woman, and she
would whip me and cry, and tell me how much good she
was trying to do me by breaking me of my Indian ways,
so she called them (though I had never seen an Indian,
and did not know what their ways were). Then if a
skunk or coon or fox came along and carried off one of
her chickens during the night, at daylight she would
wake me and give me the gun and tell me to take old
"Shedrick," the dog, and go and follow up the varmint
and kill it.
For a kid, I must have been a very successful hunter,
for when our neighbors would complain of losing a
chicken (and that was a serious loss to them), mother
would tell them that whenever any varmint bothered
her hen-roosts, she just sent out Tom and "Shed.," and
when they came back they always brought the pelt of
the varmint with them.
To this day, I believe mother thought the dog was of
more importance against varmints than I was. But
"Shedrick" and I both understood that I was the better,
for I could climb any tree in Missouri, and dig frozen
ground with a pick, and follow cold tracks in the mud or
snow, and knew more than the dog in a good many ways.
Still, I think, even yet, that there never was a better dog.
I always thought "Shed." could whip any dog in Missouri
(and at that time I did not know there was any other
place than Missouri, except, perhaps, Iowa. I knew of
Iowa, because one of our neighbors came from there).
But I had many a hard fight myself to keep up the rep
utation of old "Shed.," for as he began to get old and
A VINDICATION. 19
wise, I do believe he thought I would always help him.
Once in a while Dad would go to an election or public sale
or horse race or something, and "Shed." would go with
him and sometimes the dog would get whipped. When he
did get whipped he always came home looking pretty
badly used up, and after an occurrence of that kind,
"Shed." would not leave me for days.
I recollect a family of boys named Griggs who had
what they always claimed was the best coon dog and the
best fighter in the world; (Missouri or our neighborhood
was the world to them), and now I think he must have
been a good dog and no mistake; but at that time I did
certainly hate him. Whenever the Griggs boys and I
ran together, we had a dog fight, and the termination
of the meeting was always a fight between Sana Griggs
and myself. I also distinctly recollect that on nearly
every occasion "Shed." and I both went home pretty
badly used up. Sam Griggs always said I helped "Shed.
and he would try to keep me from doing so; then Sam and
I would mix. I guess we fought a hundred times and he
always quit when he "had his satisfy" for I never did
nor could lick him.
The Griggs dog was named "Sandy" (because he was
yellow 7 , I suppose), and my argument always was that
my dog "Shed." knew more than "Sandy." To illustrate,
once Sam Griggs was up in a tree to shake off a coon for
"Sandy" to kill. A limb of the tree broke and down
came Sam, and "Sandy" jumped on him and bit his ear
and bit him in the arm and shoulder and used Sam up
pretty badly before he could get "Sandy" to understand
that he was not a coon or a wild cat. I alwavs claimed
20 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
that "Shed." would have had more sense than to jump
on me if I had been fool enough to fall out of a tree.
My mother was always anxious to have all the chil
dren go to school during the winter months, and I always
had to go, or to start anyway; but all the natural in
fluences of the country were against my acquiring much
of an education. During the summer we had to work
on the farm, and work hard and long hours putting
in crops and tending to them. Thus I had little legiti
mate time to fish and hunt bee trees. So when
winter came and the work was all done and the crops
all in, I wanted to go and look after the game, but as I
was ordered to go to school, I had to go.
The first natural influence of any importance was that
the school house was a mile from the house we lived in,
and there was always more or less snow on the ground
in winter, and on the trail to school I would always be
finding fresh rabbit or coon or cat tracks crossing the
trail to school. I never could cross a fresh track, for I
would see one and the rest of the children would pay
no attention to it, so I would follow it a little ways just
to see which way it went, and then I would go on a little
farther, and then I would say to myself, "I will be late
for school and get licked." Then an overpowering de
sire to get that rabbit or coon or wild cat, as it happened
to be, would overcome me, and I would go back in the
orchard behind the house, call the dog and as he would
come running to me, the stuff for school was all off, and
"Shed." and I would go hunting. So you see, had the
school house been nearer, I could have gotten there a
great deal oftener than I did.
A VINDICATION. 21
I could never keep my mind on my books when I was
at school, for if it happened to commence to snow I could
not help thinking about how fine it would be to trail coon
on the morrow, and I would speculate a good deal more
on the skins of the varmints I could catch, and could see
far more advantage in having a good string of pelts than
in learning to read, write and cipher.
Things were beginning to get rather binding on me
about this time any way, as a cousin named Ben Markley
came to live with us. He was a son of my mother s
sister, and I guess he was the best boy in the world.
Oh, how many hundred times I w r as whipped or scolded
and asked by father, or mother or school teacher, why
I did not do as Bennie did.
Ben never forgot to wash or comb his hair. He never
swore. He could walk to school and not get his boots
muddy. One pair of boots would last him as long as
four pairs would me. He never whispered in school;
never used tobacco. He never went hunting nor fishing
on Sunday, and never w r anted to. He never had any
fights and he would talk of an evening about what the
lesson would be in Sunday school next Sunday. Those
were some of his good points, but not all for he was held
up as a model of perfection by everybody. Of course
my opinion of him was different.
I knew he could not shoot. He could not climb a
tree. He did not know a coon track from a cow track.
He was afraid of bees when a bee tree was to be robbed.
He said coon skins were nasty, and skunks he could not
go at all. He did not know how to bait a hook to fish.
He could not swim, was afraid of horses, and once he
struck old "Shedrick" with a piece of hoop pole. I had
22 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
known a long time before this that he was a failure, so
far as I estimated boys, so when he struck the sharer of
my joys and sorrows, I jumped onto him. I was about
13 and he was about 17, but I had him whipped before
my mother and the rest of the family could get me off
him. Dad was there but he did not try to help the
women pull me off, for I do think Ben was a little too
good for him.
Well, after that, "Shed." and I left him alone and he
put in a good deal of his spare time leaving us alone.
That row with Bennie made me no favorite with the
women folks; something that was of little importance
The climax to my home life came the next spring.
Some emigrants were going along the road, and behind
the wagons were two boys on one horse, bareheaded, and
one of them had an old, single-barreled shot gun. They
met "Shed." and me on the road and stopped to talk to
us. I remarked that a man who shot game with a shot
gun was no good. The oldest one of the boys asked me
if I called myself a man, and the answer that I made him
caused them both to get off their old mare, and tie her
to the fence. The younger and smaller of the two held
the gun and the big one and I started to scrap. Things
were looking so unfavorable to the boy I was fighting
with that the smaller boy laid his gun down on the
ground and was going to help his brother. He gave me
a kick in the jaw as a preliminary; but he never smiled
again. Old "Shed." sprang and caught him and threw
him down and bit him in the arm and shoulder in doing
it. That stopped the fight between the other boy and
A VINDICATION. 23
me, as I had to let the big one go to take care that
"Shed." did not hurt the small one too much.
Well, I took the dog off and told them they had better
get on their old mare and go and get the rest of the
family if they wanted to win a fight, and then the big one
picked up the gun and helped the small boy on the mare,
and he raised the gun and shot poor, old "Shed." "Shed.
whined and I could scarcely believe such a thing had
been done. The big boy then got on the mare with the
other one and they went off at a gallop. I carried "Shed."
home, which was about a quarter of a mile away, and he
died that night.
I believe that was the first and only real sorrow of
Dad got on his horse and went and overtook the emi
grant train that night, and I guess there was "something
doin," for he came home that night before "Shed." died
and he was pretty badly done up himself. Dad was
called the hardest man to whip in Northwest Missouri,
but when he came home that night he looked to me like
a man who had had at least what I would have called
I was about fourteen years old by this time and I
wanted to go somewhere. I had heard of California and
thought that would be a good place to go. Dad and I
had a disagreement one day and he had the trace of a
single buggy harness in his hand, and he struck at me
with it. I grabbed it and then the fight was on.
Well, I tried to do something, but the old man was
too much for me. When I saw I was in for a daisy, I
told him to just help himself, as it was his last time, for
I was going to leave home.
24 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
He helped himself, and when he got through, he said:
"Now, if you are going to leave home, go! and just re
member that the last time the old man whipped you, he
gave you a good one. Go," he said, "but ask your
mother for a lunch to take with you. You will be back
by night if you start in the morning, and if you take a
lunch with you, you won t miss your dinner."
This happened at the barn. I lay down on the hay
and lay there all night. Next morning, mother and the
girls carried me to the house and put me in bed where 1
lay for a week. Dad had done his work well.
As soon as i could get around, I sold my rifle for
$11.00, kissed my mother for the last time in my life,
went out and took a look at old "Shedrick s" grave, got
a lunch and started West.
A VINDICATION. 25
Horn Becomes Overland Mail and Stage Driver Night
Rider, Boss of Quartermaster s Herd, Government
Interpreter Siber Kills Chugadeslona Siber and
Horn Visit Pedro, Chief of Friendly Apaches.
I had, of course, heard of the West, California, Texas
and Kansas also, but from all the geography I had picked
up at school I could not form any idea as to the location
or character of these places. I had not the faintest idea,
except that I supposed they were West.
There was no railroad there, and as I had no horse
nor team, I started on foot. I headed West, and walked
and walked day after day, stopping at farm houses to get
my grub; and many a good woman would give me a
hmch to take with me. I never went hungry, and as it
was in July and August, I could sleep anywhere. One
woman, named Mrs. Peters, made me stay all day at her
house, and wear some of her son s clothes while she
washed mine and started me out into the world again as
clean as a new dollar.
When I got to Kansas City I spent the first cent since
I left home.
I stayed in Kansas City two days and then hired to
an employment agency to go to Newton, Kansas, to work
on the Santa Fe railroad.
26 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
I worked on the railroad at Newton about twenty-six
days and got |21.00 for it, and then went with a man
named Blades with his two teams on toward Santa Fe.
Traveling in this way, and with freighters, I finally
reached Santa Fe in the latter part of 1874, just about
Christmas time, in fact. Up to the time I left home I
had never been five miles away but once, and that was
when I went to the County Seat of our County Memphis
a town of perhaps 7,000.
By the time I got to Santa Fe I was a different boy
from what I was when I left home. I was getting wis
dom and gray-backs. In January, 1875, I hired out to
Mr. Murray, Superintendent of the Overland Mail Route,
that ran from Santa Fe to Prescott, Arizona.
I drove from Santa Fe to Los Pinos for a couple of
months for $50.00 a month, and was furnished a rifle to
guard the mail and protect the passengers and keep up
appearances, I guess. Then I was sent on to drive from
Los Pinos to Bacon Springs or Crane s Ranch. I drove
a couple of months there, and in May I was called in to
Santa Fe by Mr. Murray, and sent with another man to
the Beaver Head Station, close to the Verde River, in
Arizona, to take mules to replace some stolen by the
So within a year from the time I left home I was on
the Beaver Head Creek, in the heart of the Indian coun
try, and could speak Mexican fairly well.
My feelings were so different and my life was so differ
ent from what it was at home that it seemed to me then
as though I had been all my life on a stage line.
I left Beaver Head and went down the river to Camp
Verde, a government post, but I was not traveling on foot
A VINDICATION. 27
any more, for I had a good horse, saddle, bridle, and a
Winchester rifle. That Fall I went to work for George
Hansen, herding oxen at night for the men hauling wood
into Camp Verde. I got $75.00 a month for three months,
and five years ago, George Hansen told me I was the
best night herder he ever saw. Nearly all the teamsters
and choppers were Mexicans, and at Christmas when I
left there and went to Prescott, I could speak Mexican
as well as a native could. It had taken me just about
a year to get from Santa Fe to Prescott, but I had learned
more in that year than in all my previous life.
The cavalry horses for the Department of Arizona all
came overland from California at that time, and they
came in big bunches of about 400 each, so I hired out to
the Quartermaster to herd these horses till the different
posts sent and got their allowance, Ft. Whipple, right
at Prescott, being the Department Headquarters. There
were three of us to do the work, and as the other two
were Mexicans and I was an American, although only
sixteen years old, I was made boss of the Quartermaster s
When all the cavalry horses were issued to the differ
ent troops of the Fifth Cavalry, I was out of a job, and
Al. Sieber, Chief of Scouts, came into Whipple from Tonto
Basin and stayed a couple of weeks, and when he was
getting ready to go back south he asked me how I would
like to go with him as Mexican interpreter at $75.00 a
month. He told me I would be with him all the time,
and I was tickled to get a chance to go, so in July of 76
we set out for San Carlos Agency, where we arrived in
about ten davs.
28 LIFE OP TOM HORN:
My work, as I found out, was nothing at all. Sieber
just wanted me because I was young and active and
could travel with him all day and herd the horses at
night, and do the cooking and tend to the packs and
clean his gun every night; and all of this was fun for me.
The San Carlos, or Apache Reservation, was sixty
miles wide and one hundred and twenty miles long, and
Sieber and I, with a few Indian scouts and police, were
on the go all the balance of the year around on the reser
vation. Sieber was keeping an eye on the peace and con
duct of the Indians. Sieber spoke Apache and Mexican
both, and as there were always Indians with us, I began
to learn the language very rapidly.
That was a glorious time for me, as I could hunt deer
and turkey to my heart s content, and if I would leave
camp and be gone all night to some Indian camp, Sieber
never said a word against it; in fact, he encouraged it,
as he saw I was getting onto the Indians ways and lan
guage very fast.
Sieber was one of the grandest men in the world in
my eyes, and although old and white-headed and a
cripple for life now, he is still a nobleman. Up to some
time after this I had never seen Sieber s "mad" on in an
Indian fight and he was always, during our many years
of association, as kind as a school ma am to me, but oh.
what a terror he was when he arose in his wrath! You
bet there were things doin then.
The first time I ever saw him right mad was when we
went to where an Indian was making Tis-win (Indian
whiskey). The Indian was an old offender, and Sieber
began to talk to him in Mexican, which Sieber said the
Indian understood perfectly. The Indian, whose name
A VINDICATION. 29
was Chu-ga-de-slon-a (which means "centipede" in Mis
souri), spoke to Sieber in Apache, and told him that he
was always watching around like an old meddlesome
squaw. Sieber said: "Yes, I am always watching such
men as> you, that make devil s drink." Chu-ga-de-slon-a
said: "1 have a notion to kill you, Jon-a-chay," and that
was what made Sieber mad. Jon-a-chay in Apache means
Well, the Indian had picked up his gun as he said this,
and Sieber sprang towards him, and I guess must have
pulled his knife as he did so, for he caught that Indian
by the hair and made one swipe at him with his knife and
nearly cut his head off.
The Indian had been fermenting his stuff in a big
earthen-ware pot. Sieber slung this Indian to the ground,
looked at him a minute, then picked him up and threw
him partly into this big pot. The pot would not hold
the Indian, or he certainly would have put him entirely
in. I am pretty sure that I was scared, anyhow I had
a very queer feeling.
Sieber turned to some squaws who were helping make
this Tis-win and told them to get their horses, get away
from there and go back where the rest of the Indians
were on White River and tell the rest of the Indians that
they had better leave off making that stuff, as he, Sieber,
calculated to stop the biggest part of the making of it
some how. And when he caught a man at it the first
time he would put him in the calaboose; but when he
caught a man at it like the one he had just killed, who
was always making Tis-win, that he would just slay him,
so he could make no more trouble among the other In
dians by making and selling them Tis-win.
30 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
We then went into camp close by and stayed a couple
of days, and I don t think Sieber slept a wink for those
two days and nights, also he had very little to say and
he looked awfully stern and determined. I was very
uneasy, myself, as were the Indians with us, but I asked
no questions of Sieber and he said nothing to me more
than to keep the mules and horses close to camp and
never to lay my gun down for one minute.
At the end of two days we broke camp and went over
on White River, and camped right in the forks of White
and Black Kivers. Our Indians stayed in camp, and
Sieber and I went up the river about a mile to the camp
of a chief named Pedro, and we had a long talk with the
old chief, who spoke Spanish perfectly.
Pedro had always been tolerably friendly towards
Sieber, and Sieber told the old chief what he was trying
to do. Pedro said he did not want his men either to
make or to drink whiskey, and that he would help Sieber
at all times. He also told Sieber that all Indians were
not bad, but that some of them were as good as any man
the Great Spirit put on earth, but that he had six hundred
warriors, and some of them were as bad as a bad Apache
could be, and that he could not do anything with them.
He said that the bad ones never got killed, and they
never got good nor old and disabled, but just remained
and were always in any and all trouble that came up.
"You see, they are part Devil/ 7 said Pedro, "or they
would get old or get killed some time."
Pedro ordered his women to feed us, which they did,
giving us roast venison straight, but it was well % roasted,
and we ate heartily. Pedro asked Sieber where he got
me, and if I was not a Mexican half-breed, but Sieber said
A VINDICATION. 31
I was a pure American. Pedro said: "Well, I hear him
speaking Mexican to my men and boys and that is the
reason I thought he was a half-breed/ Sieber said: "He
is learning Apache very fast, too."
Pedro then commenced to talk to me in Apache. 1
was very much embarrassed at first, for Pedro, the great
Chief, Warrior, Friend of the Whites, Counsellor and
Orator, was to me a great personage; but when once I
got to talking Apache to him he made me feel at home.
Pedro asked me to stay and visit with him a few days
and go hunting with his young men, and I told him I
would like to do so but that I had to go away when Sieber
went. Sieber was away at some distance talking to some
old women and Pedro and I walked over, and Pedro asked
Sieber to let me stay and visit with him for a while. He
asked Sieber also to stay but Sieber said it was not con
venient for him to do so.
While we were talking of this visit some soldiers
came into the forks, and Indian runners came running
and told us of it. It caused some little excitement, which
Pedro immediately proceeded to quiet.
32 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Micky Free, Scout and Guide Horn Begins Life Among
the Apaches "The Talking Boy" a Full-Fledged In
dian A Lodge and Housekeeper.
It proved to be Lieutenant Wheeler, of the Fifth Cav
alry, with about twenty men. A rumor had gone into
San Carlos to the effect that we were held by the Indi
ans, and Wheeler had come out to see.
Wheeler was led by the famous Micky Free. I will
here give a little sketch of the pedigree and disposition
of this still noted character. Micky Free was born in
1855, on the Sonoita River, close to the Mexican and Ari
zona line. His father was an Irishman named Hughes,
and his mother was a Mexican woman. His father and
mother were killed in 1862 by the Indians, and he and
his sister were carried off into captivity. Micky
was then about seven and his sister about nine years old.
He now spoke both Mexican and Apache like a profes
sor, and was the wildest dare-devil in the world at this
time. He had long, fiery red hair and one blue eye, the
other having been hooked out by a wounded deer when
he was twelve years old. He had a small, red mustache,
and a "mug" that looked like the original map of Ire
He was about twenty-one or twenty-two years old at
the time of which I am writing, and had been working
A VINDICATION. 33
for the Government for several years. Always consid
ered an invaluable man by the Government, he was
thoroughly qualified for a typical scout and guide in
every sense, except the fact that he never had any re
gard for his own life, and would, with a smile on his face,
have led Wheeler and his handful of men against old
Pedro and his 600 warriors, knowing that Pedro could
be reinforced by 1,000 more men in four hours, and by
2,500 in ten hours. Such was Micky Free. He is now
living on the White Mountain part of the Keservation,
and has a large Indian family, and is wealthy in "horses,
cattle, squaws and dogs," as he himself puts it.
W^ell, to resume: Sieber and I went back down to
the forks and met Wheeler, and Sieber and he had a long
talk. They then sent a squad of soldiers back to San
Carlos to report everything O. K., and Sieber and his
party safe and sound.
Micky Free had a sweetheart in Pedro s band, and
as soon as Wheeler made camp and Sieber and I showed
up all right, Micky went off with his girl, and we did
not see anything more of him until midnight, when I
heard him challenged by the soldier guard, and shortly
after I heard a hum of voices in the dark and I knew
Micky and Sieber and Lieutenant Wheeler were holding
a council of some kind. I could hear Wheeler and Sieber
talk to Micky in Spanish, and then I could hear them
talk to one another in English, and I knew there was
something in the wind. I knew, also, when W^heeler
and Sieber talked English they did so because they did
not want Micky to understand them. I could not hear
what they were talking about, and neither could I go
34 LIFE OF TOM HOEN 1
Presently a voice said to me, in Apache: "Are you
the Talking Boy? " I was scared for an instant, for I
was fully awake, though I had heard no one move. There
sat Micky by the head of my bed.
Micky saw me start when he spoke to me, and he
gave a low laugh as though he were tickled.
I told him I was the "Talking Boy" (as the Apaches
called me), and he said that the Soldier Captain and
Sieber would speak with me, and that they awaited me.
I got up and took my gun and went over to where Sieber
and Wheeler were. They asked me how I would like
to live there with Chief Pedro for a while by myself that
is, with no other soldiers or scouts. When it came to
the question of living there a while, I felt a little timid;
and then old Sieber gave me a long, fatherly talk. He
said, in substance: "Tom, do you like this kind of life,
and do you calculate to follow it? That is what I want
to know first." I told him I did like it, and calculated
to follow it if I was made of the right kind of stuff.
"Now," said he, "I want you to do what I am going
to tell you. In the morning take your horses (I had
three head) and go up and live with Pedro. Pedro is
a good man, and he has taken a fancy to you, and you
are picking up the Apache language very fast; in six
months you will speak the language like a native. You
are naturally born for a life of this kind, and are just
the right age to begin. You are an excellent shot, a
good hunter, and after a few years of this kind of life
you will become a good and valuable man in the Indian
wars which will continue for many years to come. Now,
I will take you up to Pedro s camp in the morning and
leave you there, for Pedro sent Micky down here to ask
A VINDICATION. 35
for you, as he likes you personally, and wants very much
to have a Government representative in his camp."
I told Sieber I would try it, and we then made ar
rangements about my pay and grub, and the next morn
ing Sieber, Wheeler, Micky and I went up to Pedro s
camp, and I turned my extra horses loose with the old
chief s band that were herded and looked after by the In
dian boys and girls, and I saw Sieber, Wheeler and Micky
ride down the river without me.
I was watching them, and wondering where I would
get off at, when old Pedro said: "Well, my son, you are an
Apache, now." Pedro then gave me a lot of good advice,
and called his son (or one of them, for he had about forty
children); but he called one named Ramon, and told me
there was a brother for me, and for me always to call
him Chi-kis-in (brother). He told Ramon to treat me as
"And now," ended Pedro, "my camp is your camp,
and my lodge will be your lodge till you set up one for
yourself. There are many fine girls here, and I know
several that are waiting now to get a chance to throw
a stick at you." (The custom of Apache girls is to throw
a stick to you if she likes you. You can then court her
after their fashion.)
So, here I was, in the latter part of 76, a full-fledged
Indian, living in Pedro s camp as a Government agent,
though receiving $75.00 a month as interpreter. I got
along well, considering everything; hunted to my heart s
content, and game was plentiful.
I made frequent trips to San Carlos and Fort Apache.
On one of my trips to San Carlos we met a herd of horses
that had just come up from Sonora to be sold to the In-
3(> LIFE OF TOM HORN :
dians; stolen in Mexico, so Sieber said. They were selling
at from fl2.00 to $20.00 a head, and I bought eight head
of them; also bought two fine Mexican saddles and
bridles for $80.00. I gave four of the horses and a sad
dle and bridle to my new Indian brother, and we went
back to Pedro s camp rich and respectable. I also gave
one of the Mexicans $5.00 for a fine Mexican blanket,
which I gave to Chief Pedro, and I do believe he thought
more of that blanket than he did of any squaw he had;
and he was sure rich in squaws.
This was only a short time before Christmas of 76.
The following morning, after my new brother and I
got back to Pedro s camp, we were summoned before the
chief, and he made us a long, fatherly talk, and told us
how well fixed we were, and said it was time we had
a lodge of our own, as it would look as though we could
not make our own way, living so long as we were in one
of his lodges. We were advised to buy each of us a
wife and set up a house of our own. This was given
to us in the privacy of his council lodge. We were then
That day my brother and I took a long ride; in fact,
we went to Fort Apache to show off our new saddles and
bridles. At Fort Apache my brother (whom I will call
Chi-kis-in from now on) met one of his sisters, or rather
a half sister, and she had just lost her buck; another
Indian had killed him, and she was going to Pedro s camp
to live. She had four horses and three kids, the oldest
about nine years and the youngest about six years old,
and she had also five dogs. It was ration day in Fort
Apache, and hundreds of Indians were there drawing
their rations, which every Indian drew once a week
A VINDICATION. 37
(every Friday). Well, Chi-kis-in and I concluded this was
the chance to get a housekeeper, for it was a sure thing
Pedro wanted us to have a lodge of our own. A word of
advice, I may add, was the same as a command from
This woman, who was called Sawn, said she would be
our housekeeper if we would keep grub in camp. Keep
ing house in an Indian camp meant to do our washing,
cooking, to tan our buckskins, make our moccasins, herd
our horses, and, in fact, do everything there was to be
done. In those days an Apache buck did nothing but
In a week s time we had a fine lodge and were the
proudest "Injins" in camp.
38 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
Major Chaff ee and First Military Indian Agency Pedro s
"Medicine" for Bad Indians Horn Out of a Job-
Goes Prospecting Tombstone, and Why so Called
Indian Troubles Interprets Once More First Ap
pointment With Geronimo.
Shortly after this, which was early in 77, I was called
to San Carlos by Major Chaffee, (who is now General
Chaffee of world-wide fame).
Major Chaffee had come to Arizona in the fall of 76,
and early in 77 was selected by the Government as
Indian Agent. The first Military Indian Agency was
thus established at San Carlos, all previous agents had
been Civilian Agents. Indians, newspapers and merchants
all over the country said the Civilian Agents could, would
and did sell grub, such as flour, sugar, coffee, soap, baking
powder and beans, a great deal cheaper than the mer
chants could afford to. I, myself, have seen grub by the
twelve-mule-team-load hauled away. Rations were sup
posed to be issued to 12,000 Indians every week, and for
years not more than 5,000 of them would come in for
their rations, and it was claimed that the Civilian Agents
sold the extra grub; issued the rations on paper for all
the 12,000 Indians, and did a big business in competition
with the local merchants.
A VINDICATION. 39
Major Chaffee called Chief Pedro and myself down to
explain to Pedro the change in affairs, and to get Pedro
to use his influence to have all the Indians do as he,
Pedro, was doing, that is, come in and draw their rations
once a week and be counted, and to stop, if it could be
done, all the raiding, stealing and killing around in the
The council and big talk lasted for several days and
nothing much came of it. Pedro said he could and did
control his band of close to 600 warriors and their
families, but that there were hundreds of Indians no one
could control. He advised Major Chaffee to take his
soldiers and go and kill off all the bad, turbulent Indians,
and he offered Major Chaffee 200 good warriors to help
him do it. Major Chaffee then asked Pedro how it would
do to send me out to talk to the bad Indians and to live
with them; maybe they could be controlled in that way.
Pedro was a grand and very impressive orator for an
Indian, and he always stood up while talking, and when
Major Chaffee proposed to send me to the Cibicu country,
where the bad Indians lived (and of which I will write
later) to try to pacify them, the old Chief said, "No, he
must not and shall not go unless you allow me to send
at least 100 warriors with him. Soldier Captain, you
know soldiers. I am an Indian Chief, as was my father
and my father s father, and I have more influence with
the Indians than any man on earth, and I know the
Apaches as you know your soldiers. But the day you
send this boy to the Cibicu country alone, will be the day
he dies, for to you, I, Chief Pedro, do say no white man
can go among them and return. They will burn him
at the stake and send an old Indian woman in and tell
10 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
you to keep your flour and sugar and send on some more
warriors for them to burn."
Of course, when Major Chaffee saw the old Chief talk
so long and earnestly and passionately, and after I had
told him what the old Chief said, then, and for the first
time, did Major Chaffee understand what kind of people
he had to deal with, and I was not sent to the Cibicu
Pedro told Major Chaffee that the Aqua Caliente and
Chiricahuas were even worse than the Cibicus, as they
lived in Mexico and raided up into Arizona and then went
back across the Mexico line, and the American troops
could not follow them; that so long as there was Aqua
Caliente and Chiricahua Indians, just so long would
there be Indian wars. The old man knew what he was
talking about, for the war with those Indians continued
for exactly ten years longer.
There were many different branches of the Apache
tribe, named as follows: Tonto Apaches, San Carlos
Apaches, White Mountain Apaches, Cibicus, Aqua Cal
iente (or warm spring), and last and worst of all, the
Chiricahuas. These Indians all spoke "the same language,
but were divided acording to their dispositions. Thus
a bad Tonto would leave the Tontos and go to the Cibicus
or to the Chiricahuas, and a timid Chiricahua would go
to the Tontos, so at the time of which I am writing you
could find a good Indian or a bad one by knowing to
what tribe he belonged. They all wore their hair differ
ent, and to one accustomed to them, they could be told
apart as far as you could see them.
Well, at the end of this talk which lasted several
days, we all went back to the W T hite Mountains and I
HORN S FATHER
A VINDICATION. 41
stayed there till the middle of May and was then sent
for to go to San Carlos and there I was told by the
Quartermaster that there was no more money in the De
partment to pay me so I would have to be discharged
until another appropriation was made. All the rest of
the scouts and packers were in the same fix.
We were consequently discharged, and Major Chaffee
told us that he had understood there had been a good
many irregularities around the Agency and that one of
the strictest requirements of the Interior Department
was that no white man not in the employ of the Govern
ment would be allowed to live on the Reservation, and
we were given to understand that we must "git up and
I went back to the Indian camp and told the old Chief
all about the whole business, and that I must go. We
had a big feast and dance that night and my friends each
gave me a present of some kind, consisting principally
of hair ropes, raw-ride ropes, hackamores, moccasins,
buckskin bags and all kinds of stuff such as Indians make.
The Apache women and some of the bucks were very
skilful in making raw-hide and hair work of all kinds,
and I had, during my residence with them, picked up a
good deal of the work, but it is something that takes
years of practice to become perfect in. Before I left the
Apache and Mexican country I, myself, had become an
expert in all work of that kind, as I learned all that the
Indians and Mexicans both knew. And many an hour
and day and week have I passed here in jail making raw
hide ropes, hair ropes, hackamores, bridles and quirts.
42 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
Well, the work was over for most of us and we had
to drift; and as Tucson was the Mecca of every border-
man in that country, to Tucson we went.
I had seven or eight good horses and a fine outfit, as
did others of the scouts. Sieber was our leader, of course,
then there were Archie Mclntosh, Sam Bowman, Frank
Monic, Charley Mitchell, Long Jim Cook, (six feet eight
inches in height), Frank Leslie, Frank Bennett, Sage.
Merijilda Grijola, Jose Maria Yescus, and Big Ed Clark,
scout. All of these were scouts or interpreters, and then
there were a good many packers. I think there were
twenty-one of us in the bunch.
We stayed around Tucson for a while that summer
till Ed Scheflin came in from California and was getting
an outfit at Tucson to go to where he had found some
rich mineral a few years before that time. Scheflin and
Sieber were well acquainted, and they had a talk. So we
all concluded we would go to this place as we had nothing
else to do. Most all of the packers had gone to work
skinning" mules for some of the freighters, so that when
we did finally pull out with Scheflin there were only
about five or six of our original crowd. Scheflin de
scribed the country to Sieber, and Sieber told me it was
the "Cochise" country, as Sieber and I called it, for Co-
chise, a Chiricahua Chief of great fame, had been born
there, and two of his grandsons, Chihuahua and Natchez
still lived there a good deal of the time. Scheflin s party
were all well armed, but they were like all pioneer
miners, seemed to care not in the least when Sieber told
them, when we were ready to start, that we were going
into the very heart of the country where the worst In
dians in the world lived; that we would have to fight
A VINDICATION. 43
and fight hard if the Indians happened to be in there,
and that there never was a time when there were not
Indians there; that we would not be there long till every
hostile Indian in the South would know of it.
"Scheflin assures us that there is mineral there, and
lots of it," said one big prospector, "and if there are any
bad Indians there they will have to look out for them
selves." Sieber said, "Come on boys!" and we pulled out.
There were about sixty men in the party, and as I
was talking to Sieber that night at Pantano, he told me
about those prospectors of whom I knew very little.
Scheflin had found silver there, and was run out by the
Indians and one of his partners had been killed and he
had gone to California and got these men, and every one
of them was a frontiersman, a miner, and a warrior, and
no Indians could keep them out of that country now that
they were sure there was mineral there, for nothing has
ever yet stopped people of that kind. If they found the
mineral there as Scheflin assured them, it would be as
that big fellow had said in Tucson, The Indians would
have to look out for themselves.
Six days after we left Tucson we camped on the
ground where Tombstone now stands, and after we made
camp, Ed Scheflin said, "Boys, we have arrived; for right
here is where I was camped when Lenox was killed, and
now come on and I will show you where I was digging."
We all followed him up in the hills about a mile, and
sure enough there was a hole twenty-three feet deep,
just as Scheflin had said there would be. The entire ex
posure was all ore and good ore at that, and those miners
went as crazy as bats over it. Scheflin had this claim
all staked out and all the men had made some kind of a
44 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
contract with Scheflin before he brought them there.
Scheflin told all of them to go back to camp and that he
would hold a council that night.
That night all these prospectors got together and
Scheflin made them a talk, and reminded them of some
agreement entered into before they left California and
Nevada, which, as I afterwards understood, was for
Scheflin to get a quarter interest in all claims staked
by the party; but Scheflin did not say in this talk what
their agreement was. He told them there were millions
of dollars there to be had for the digging, and he made
a motion to call the camp Tombstone, as the initial mon
ument of his claim was right at the grave of Lenox, who
had been killed by the Indians on the first trip to that
"Tombstone shall be the name of the new camp," said
every one, and then the meeting broke up.
Next morning by daylight every man was ready to
go to look for mines. Sieber and I went way up toward
the divide and staked out a claim that day. And I will
say here, that though the claim was not worth a dollar,
we sold out that fall for $2,800.00.
Scheflin s claim, that he had previously worked,
turned out to be a bonanza, and was known as the
"Grand Central." Scheflin left the camp in three years,
a very rich man. Many others of the party also made
fortunes there, as Tombstone turned out to be one of
the big silver camps of the Southwest.
I made plenty of money by hunting, as I could get
$2.50 apiece for deer, and I kept the camp pretty well
supplied. The news went broadcast that a new mining
A VINDICATION. 45
canip was struck, and by October there were 1,500 men
there and plenty of stores and saloons.
Such was the starting of Tombstone, that in one year
had a population of 7,000 souls.
In October of that year a detachment of soldiers,
with Micky Free as guide, came to the new camp, or
Tombstone, as we will now call it, and made inquiry for
Sieber and myself. Sieber and I were up in the middle
pass after deer when the soldiers came in. Lieutenant
Von Shroder was with them, and had a letter from Gen
eral Wilcox, Department Commander, wanting Sieber
and me to go to Fort Whipple at once, and to consider
ourselves under pay and orders from the time we received
When we got back to Tombstone, Von Shroder was
waiting for us. So, as we both had enough of mines and
mining, we hunted up a man named Charley Leach, and
he gave us $2,800.00 for our claim, and on the 16th of
October we pulled out for Fort Whipple.
General Wilcox told us, when we got to Whipple,
that everything was in bad shape, and that the Indians
were "raising Cain/ and he wanted Sieber to take up his
work where he had left off early in the summer, and see
if something could not be done to quiet the Indians.
Some of the Indians were making whiskey; all of them
were drinking it, and they were robbing and raiding and
killing, and the soldiers could never come up with them.
The Sixth Cavalry had come into Arizona the year
before and relieved the Fifth Cavalry. The Sixth had
never been in the mountains, and while General Wilcox
said the Sixth was one of the best regiments in the army,
they could never get at the Indians.
40 LIFE OF TOM HORN!
Under Sieber s directions, a scouting force was again
organized, Sieber as Chief of Scouts and I as interpreter.
I was now to get f 100.00 per month; but it did not take
an old hand to see that we were going to have trouble,
and a lot of it.
San Carlos, of course, was to be our headquarters,
and it was very little of the time that we were to put in
there. Sieber himself was a tireless worker, and any
one to hold a job under him, when there was work to
do, had to go day and night; for in a case of emergency
Sieber would entirely forget to sleep, and he could live
on what a hungry wolf would leave.
I was sent to old Pedro s camp to get some Indians
Sieber wanted as scouts and police, and as it took a week
to get the ones I was sent after, I had a good visit with
my old friends. Many of the young bucks of about
twenty years of age wanted to go and fight their own
people, but Sieber and Pedro were of one mind about
them, for it was the work of able and experienced war
riors to get the Indians back where they were eight
months before. The tamest and best of the Indians
needed a strong hand to control them, like Pedro, for
instance, and the wild and bad ones were as Pedro
had previously said to Major Chaffee uncontrollable.
"You will have years of hard work, and many and
many of them will have to be killed," said the old coun
selor, proud that he did, indeed, know the Apaches.
Nana at this time (Spring of 78) sent in word by an
old squaw that he and Geronimo, who were living in
Mexico, wanted to come and live on the Reservation,
and that he wanted to see Sieber and have a talk with
him. He sent word that he did not know any of the
A VINDICATION. 47
officers in the Department, and he said they didn t know
anything about what an Indian wanted, anyhow, and
for Sieber to come to the Terras Mountains and make cer
tain signs, and some of Geronimo s men would come to
him. We were to be at a certain place at the full of
the May moon. That was just what Sieber wanted; so
he sent the old squaw back to tell these two chiefs that
Sieber, Merijilda and I would be there. (Merijilda Gri-
jola was a Mexican captive raised by the Nana and Ge-
roniino bands of Chiricahuas.)
We started from San Carlos so as to reach the desig
nated place by the full of the moon. We followed the
San Bernardino Creek from its head down to where it
runs into the Bavispe Eiver, in Mexico. Just as we
were crossing the Bavispe Kiver we saw an Indian com
ing down a ridge on foot from towards the Terras Moun
tains. While our horses and mules were drinking in
the river, the Indian came and stood on the bank and
leaned on his gun and looked at us, but did not speak
a word till our animals were through drinking, and we
rode out on the side he was on. Sieber and Merijilda
spoke to him, and I did the same. He said to me: "Who
are you? I know these two men, but I never saw you
Merijilda then told him who I was, and told me, also,
who the Indian was. In talking to an Apache you may
never ask his name, for no Apache buck ever pronounces
his own name, and when once you know the custom you
will never ask his name. You may ask who he is, and
he will tell you what band he belongs to, but his own
name he never speaks.
48 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
Well, this man turned out to be the one sent by Nana
and Geronimo to meet us, and his name was Hal-zay.
He was the first hostile Indian I had ever seen, and he
sure looked the brave that he was. Tall, slender and
smiling, he stood there looking as unconcerned as you
please. He was dressed in a low-cut breech clout and
a handsome pair of moccasins. For ornaments he wore
a belt full of cartridges, with a long Mexican knife.
Sieber said he was a half brother to Natchez, and that
he w r as one of the worst Indians there was in the entire
tribe. As he appeared then, now smiling good-naturedly
and now laughing, he did not seem to be the bad man
Sieber said he was. I will write later on of his death
at the hands of an old man in Pedro s band.
Hal-zay said Nana and Geronimo were waiting for
us up on the top of the Terras Mountains, and he told
Merijilda to go to a place in the Terras Mountains called
by the Indians Tu-Slaw. We asked him if he were not
going back with us, and he said no. We then started
on to where he had directed us to go. Sieber and Meri
jilda said that this fellow would watch to see that no
soldiers were following us to trap the rest of 1he hos-
A VINDICATION. 41)
Arrival at the Hostile Camp The Council Geronimo
in the Height of His Power, the Biggest Chief, the
Best Talker, and the Biggest Liar Horn Interprets
at. the Big Talk "Not Scared, but a Little Shaky"
The Apaches Grievances Sieber s Reply to Geron
It was about 10 a. in. when we saw the first
Indian, and it was night when we got up on top of the
mountain to the main Indian camp. There must have
been 1,000 or 1.200 Indians in camp. Camp fires were
burning everywhere. Just when we got to the edge of
the camp an Indian boy about ten or twelve years old
spoke to us, and told us to follow him and he would take
us to a camping place. We followed him to the place
he indicated, then made camp and turned our animals
loose, and the boy said he would take care of them. We
got to w r ork and straightened things around a little, and
four or five women came with wood and built a fire for
MS. bringing cooked meat. We had some bread, and as
wo were very hungry we enjoyed a good meal.
When we were through eating, an Indian buck came
up and began to talk to us, and asked us did we want
anything more to eat, and we told him we had had
enough. He said we would be looked for at the council
at sunup next morning, and we told him we would be
50 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
there. The old squaw came up then, the one that had
come to San Carlos with the message that took us to
the place we then were. Quite a lot of squaws had gath
ered around by this time, and were laughing and talk
ing to us as if we belonged to them.
Merijilda had been raised with these Indians, and he
asked Sieber if he might go and visit around a while,
and Sieber said yes, that he might, and that I might go,
also, if I wanted to. Sieber spoke to Merijilda in Span
ish, and many of the Indian women understood what he
said, and we were invited by the women to go with
any and all of them. I went one way and Merijilda an
other, for the camp was very large. Merijilda didn t get
back to camp that night, and it was nearly morning when
I got back. I did not see half a dozen men that night,
but there were women and children by the hundreds.
The old woman who had brought the message to us
at San Carlos wanted me to stay at her lodge all the
time I was in the Indian camp, but I excused myself by
saying I had to stay where my chief could find me any
time. This old woman gave me a good send-off among
the Indians by telling them how well I had treated her,
and had given her all she could eat, fed her mule, and
given her a lot of flour and sugar and meat when she
left. Of course, she did not know that I did this because
Sieber and Major Chaffee ordered me to do so, and I
would not spoil a good thing by telling her!
At daylight the women were at camp to give us some
more meat, I made some coffee and we had breakfast.
Just as it was ready, Merijilda came in, and after we
got through, he led the way to the council. The sun was
just coming up. Now all the women and kids were out
A VINDICATION. 51
of sight, and only warriors were around the place se
lected for the council. Then Geronimo got up out of a
crowd of Indians and came over and shook hands with
Sieber, and for the first time in my life I saw this man
of whom I had heard so much from both Indians and
Certainly a grand looking war chief he was that
morning as he stood there talking to Sieber; six feet high
and magnificently proportioned, and his motions as easy
and graceful as a panther s. He had an intelligent look
ing face, but when he turned and looked at a person, his
eyes were so sharp and piercing that they seemed fairly
to stick into him. Anyhow, that was how they looked
to me; but I was a little shaky, anyhow.
"How are you, young man?" said he to me in Apache.
I told him I was all right. I might as well have told
him I was a little shaky, for he knew it anyhow. He
asked us to come over into the center of the circle, where
we had the talk, and then he said to Sieber: "Who will
interpret for you?" Sieber told him I would do it.
While Sieber could talk Apache very well and under
stand it very well, still he could not talk anyways near
well enough to take in all that a man like Geronimo
said. Geronimo then said to me: "I speak very fast,
sometimes. Can you undertake to interpret as fast as
I told him he had but one mouth and tongue, that I
could see, and for him to let loose. "Well spoken !" said
he; and then he asked Sieber what he had come down
there for, and Sieber said to hear what he (Geronimo) had
to say. "I want to hear you talk," said Sieber.
52 LIFK OF TOM HOttX !
Well, the big talk was ou; and how that old renegade
did talk! Of the wrongs done him by the agent, and by
the soldiers, and by the White Mountain Apaches, and
by the Mexicans and settlers, and he had more griev
ances than a railroad switchman, and he wanted to go
back to live on the Reservation. He wanted to be al
lowed to have a couple of Mexicans to make muscal for
him, and he wanted the Government to give him new
guns and all the ammunition he could use. He wanted
calico for the women, and shoes for the children when
there was snow on the ground, and any and everything
he ever saw or heard of he wanted. Geronimo was the
biggest chief, the best talker and the biggest liar in the
world, I guess, and no one knew this better than Sieber.
Geronimo must have talked an hour or two, and Sie
ber never said a word in reply. At last Geronimo
stopped talking, for he had asked for everything he could
think of, and he was a natural born genius at thinking
Sieber sat perfectly still for some time, and then arose
and looked around him, and it was sure a beautiful spot
we were camped, and Sieber looked around as though he
was admiring the view and the camp.
"Torn, tell Geronimo just what I say, no more and
no less," said he. "You have asked for everything that
I know anything about," continued Sieber, "except to
have these mountains moved up into the American
country for you to live in, and I will give you till sun
down to talk to your people and see if you don t want
these mountains moved up there to live in. If you are
entitled, by your former conduct, to what you have asked
A VINDICATION. 53
for, then you should have these mountains too." That
was all. Sieber turned and walked out of the council.
Not an Indian stirred nor spoke for a long time, and
then Geronimo arose and said: "Anybody s business
that is in that man s hands will be handled as he says,
or it won t be handled at all. We will meet here again
Everybody then went his own way. I went back to
our camp and Sieber was lying down on his back on his
blankets looking up at the sky, and he did not move for
a long time. At last he got up and said to me: "Tom,
did you ever know of another such man as Geronimo?"
Of course I never did, and I told him so.
"Well, go on away now, for I want to think to-day of
all the mean things I can say to that old wolf to-night.
Come about noon and make me some coffee, and tell
those women that feed us to bring me some meat then,
and tell them to keep away from me to-day."
I went away and visited and got acquainted during
the day, and was welcomed in every camp. Sieber had
bought some calico and a few presents for the women
that he knew from former experience would have to
wait on us, and he told me to give them to the women
who seemed to have the business in charge. I did so,
and they were received by the women with great appar
ent joy. And then I learned that it was considered
quite a privilege to be allowed to cook for us, as those
who did so were sure to get nice presents in the shape
of calico, beads, needles, thread and pearl buttons.
W r hen sundown came, Sieber and I again went to the
place where the council was held, and saw a good big
fire had been built, and there was a lot of dry wood piled
54 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
up, and two women were there to keep the fire in proper
shape. I guess there must have been three or four hun
dred warriors there, and most of them had on a blanket
of some kind or other.
Sieber stood and looked all over the crowd, and then
said to Geronimo:
"This morning you asked for many things, and you
knew I could not give you many of the things you asked
for, and I do think that you asked for the most of them
because you love to talk, and not because I could or
would do as you asked me. Anything I do promise, you
know full well you will get; for you have ever found me
as I said 1 would be. I am not the fluent orator that
you are, neither do I put in my time asking for or trying
to get that which I know I can never obtain.
"Now, this I do say to you: Go to the Keservation,
and do as you will be advised to do by the Government,
and you will get all that the Government can give you.
You know what the Government can give you, for you
have lived there and drawn your rations, as many In
dians are doing now. You will also be given a blanket
for each of you, and other things just as you have before
received; but I can promise you no more, for it is spoken
by my Government that you shall get no more.
"Geronimo, I have no idea you will do as I say, for
you do not love peace. You are a man of war and battle,
else you would not be war chief of the Chiricahua tribe.
You could go to the Reservation and stay maybe one
season, and maybe only one moon. But within this camp
may be some who do really want to come up and settle
down to a peaceful life. Any and all such I will take
back safely, and most of your people know what you will
A VINDICATION. 55
get. Twice already have I taken you there, and twice
have you become uneasy and left. Never did a com
plaint come to the Government that you were not fed.
Never did you complain of not having clothing and
blankets enough. But there would be a row between
this tribe and some of the other tribes, or some one would
sell you a lot of whiskey and you would all, or a great
many of you, get drunk and away you would go; and un
til now you have not complained of not getting what the
Government promised you.
"This thing can not last. The white men are as the
leaves upon the trees. There are hundreds and hundreds
of white men to every Apache. It is true many and
many of the white men can not protect themselves from
such warriors as there are here, for it is my opinion in
the world there are none better. Still, all the Chiricahua
and Aqua Caliente in existence, or nearly all, are within
hearing of the words I am saying now, and they can not
stay on the w r ar path and not be exterminated. Slowly,
of course; but one by one you will be killed or captured,
and how will you ever replace them?
"True, you can say the Americans can not and will
not be allowed to come armed and in force into this, a
Mexican country, to fight you.
"Such have been the conditions so far, and I know
that you have no fear of the Mexican soldiers, and many
a time have I heard your women say they could whip
the Mexican army, and that the Mexicans were poorer
than the Apaches. And to that I will say that within
a short time, a year or two, or maybe three, that a peace
talk will be held by the Mexican and American Govern
ments, and arrangements will be made to allow Amer-
5G LIFE OF TOM HORN :
lean soldiers and scouts to enter these mountains in
force and in pursuit of you, and then you will be doomed
to capture, or will be all exterminated; for, as I said be
fore, the American troops are without number. I have
ever spoken words of advice to you in council. Never
have I told you one lie, and not a warrior here now will
say he thinks I talk two ways.
"Consider well what I have said to you. I leave in
four days for San Carlos." Sieber then turned and went
back to our camp.
His talk had, as I could see, made a deep impression
on the Indians. Merijilda was left there with me.
Presently Geronimo spoke to one of the sub-chiefs, and
he came over to where we were standing, and said that
the Apaches would be alone; or, in other words, for us
to leave the council. We left, of course, and went back
to camp. All night long did the council fire burn, and
at daylight, when I got up and looked around, I could
see bucks returning to their camps. They had talked
among themselves all night!
A VINDICATION. > <
Goodbye to Geronimo "Happy to Meet You in Battle
as Well as in Council!" Escorting Indians Back to
Reservation Under Difficulties Evading the Cus
toms Horn Again Out of Employment Hires to a
Beef Contractor Indian Troubles Brewing Major
Chaffee Superseded by Civilian Tiffany "Something
Rotten in Denmark."
During the rest of our stay a good many Indians came
and told us they were going back with us.
There was a camp or troop of soldiers at old Fort
Tony Rucky, and as that was not far from where we
would cross the Mexican line going back, we knew we
could get rations there for the Indians that returned to
the Reservation with us.
I traded two fine Mexican blankets for two good
horses and two mules. They were all splendid animals.
The blankets cost me f 12.00 in Tucson; so I made a good
trade. The Indian I traded with did well, also, for he
of course stole the stock from the Mexicans!
There was no more council, for Sieber had said his say.
When we were ready to start to San Carlos, at the time
set by Sieber, sixty-two Indians were ready to go with
us, among them being the chiefs Nana and old Loco, a
once famous chief, but at this time he must have been
eighty years old, or maybe more.
58 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Geronimo came to us when all was ready to start,
and said he was glad that these Indians were going
back, as they were mostly widows (whose men had been
killed) and children, and a few very old bucks. Geron
imo told me to come to his camp at any time that I had
any word to bring him from the Government officials,
and not to be afraid, as I would always be well treated
and perfectly safe. "You are a young man," he said,
"and will always be at war with me and mine; but war
is one thing, and talking business is another; and I will
be just as pleased to meet you in battle as in council."
We then pulled out for San Carlos Agency.
At night, after we had camped on the Bavispe River,
Merijilda left us to go on ahead with dispatches to Gen
eral Wilcox and Major Chaffee. We had to have troops
to escort us as soon as we crossed the Mexican line into
the United States. When we got up close to the line
we swung off toward the Bonito Canon to w r ait for this
escort, which arrived in a few days, and we then pro
ceeded toward San Carlos.
We finally got to the Agency all right with our In
dians and made them camp in the forks of the San Carlos
and Gila Elvers.
We had not been back a great while till another
squaw came in and told us more of the same Indians
we had the talk with in Mexico were ready to come to
the Reservation. Sieber was then laid up with the
rheumatism, so I was ordered to go with some troops
and escort them in. I then saw what their game was
that is, to raid and kill in Mexico and bring the stock
to San Carlos.
A VINDICATION. 59
There were about fifty, or, to be accurate, forty-nine
in this second bunch, and they had about 500 head of
horses and mules. Trouble was sure just beginning for
us! There was a duty on horses and mules coming from
Mexico into the United States, and at San Bernardino,
on the line, was a bunch of custom house men from El
Paso, Texas, to collect duty on this stock. Not a soul
of us knew what to do. We could not pay this duty,
and these officers would not let us bring in this stock
without it, and the Indians told us that the Mexican
troops were following them and would perhaps overtake
them in a day or two.
The renegades, of course, could not and would not
understand the condition of affairs. There were about
fifty warriors with this last bunch of Indians, but they
had not shown up to us. They w r ere in the rear to head
off the Mexicans.
Luckily, the Mexicans turned back after getting
within about twenty miles of the line. The custom house
men counted the horses and mules and finally let us go
on; the officer in charge of our escort promising to do
what was required by the custom department later on.
All that year I was going back and forth between the
Mexican line and San Carlos bringing in bunches of In
dians and big bunches of stock.
The Mexican Government was just "raising Cain"
because we were doing as w*e did. There was no mistake
but that it was wrong, and very wrong; but we were
powerless, and it did look to the Mexicans as though
our troops were upholding the Apaches and protecting
them in their raiding.
60 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
We had about 2,000 head of horses and mules taken
from the Mexicans and several delegations of Mexican
rancheros came to San Carlos and proved their property,
but they all went back empty handed. The Indians
would not give up the stock voluntarily, and our agent
would not take them by force; so Mr. Mexican had to go
back as poor as he came. Mad? Well, you should have
There was a Mexican newspaper at Tucson called
"El Fronterizo," and it did sure write some warm articles
on the subject. Don Carlos Valasquez, the editor of this
paper, came to San Carlos personally to see what could
be done. But nothing was ever done. The Indians made
their play stick, and we had to protect them in it.
Along in the spring of 79 a good many warriors came
in and all of them made a big talk and said they were
going to remain on the Reservation and draw their
rations, and be good and go out on the war path no more.
There were still a lot of renegades in Mexico under Ge-
ronimo and Ju (called "Who"), but they were hopeless as
far as getting them to come in was concerned.
In June of 79, we scouts and interpreters were again
all discharged and fired off the .Reservation. Appro
priation had run out and the Quartermaster had no
money to pay us. Of course we all went to Tucson.
Tuly Ochoa & Co. had the contract to furnish the
beef to the Indians at San Carlos from July, 79 for one
year, and they employed me to handle the San Carlos end
of it, and gave me $150.00 a month. It took, on an aver
age, of 225 beeves a week, all issued on foot.
Loco was still camped in the San Carlos and his band
by this time numbered about 650 Indians. They must
HORN S MOTHER
A VINDICATION. 61
have had close to 5,000 head of horses and mules. The
grass was fine, and their horses were all fat, and the
bucks were running the whole country. In August, 79.
I turned loose 2,000 head of steers about six miles above
the Agency and the Chiricahua bucks did have a good
time with them. Every day, when they wanted meat,
they would just round up and kill what they wanted.
Of course, I complained to the agent, and the best he
could do was to have me keep count of the ones killed by
them, and that suited me all right, for I did well with my
counting. I could not get any cow-boys to stay at the
camp to look after the cattle, so they were soon all killed
off by the Indians. The Chiricahuas were not the only
ones doing the killing. The San Carlos, and White
Mountain Indians all helped themselves.
It did not take a very wise man to see that the In
dians were running the mill to suit themselves. Major
Chaffee had been relieved and sent to Fort McDowell
and a man named Tiffany, a civilian, was agent. There
were no troops at the Agency and things looked a good
deal more like a hostile Indian camp than did the camp
of Geronimo when we had gone to have the talk with
him the year before in Mexico.
A man named Stirling was Chief of Police at the
Agency and lie had eleven police to keep the peace of
the Agency. They w r orked for the Interior Department
and not for the War Department.
Stirling was absolutely without fear and an able and
intelligent scout, but what could he do toward handling
5,000 or 6,000 wild or half wild Indians with but eleven
police? These police were Indians, and would have
62 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
been splendid men had they had any show ; but as things
were, they were disgusted.
Tiffany, the agent, was so busy selling the Indians
rations to freighters, prospectors and to merchants in
Globe and McMilenville, that Indian troubles did not
bother him in the least. Major Chaffee had accumulated
a large amount of rations during his time as agent, and
all the store houses were full of rations when Tiffany
took charge. Tiffany was a very industrious and busi
ness-like politician, and immediately commenced to dis
burse that grub at the rate of f 5.00 for a hundred pounds
of flour, and flO.OO a hundred for sugar. That was dirt
cheap in that country at that time, but Mr. Tiffany soon
found himself arrested and taken before the United
States Court at Tucson, and I think was charged with
not being able to account for $54,000.00 worth of rations.
This all happened in six or eight months. Nothing was
ever done to him that I remember of, though he was in
the courts for several years with this business.
A VINDICATION. 63
An Indian Outbreak Death of Stirling Horn Carries
News of Outbreak to Camp Thomas Pursuing the
Renegades. "Six Men Killed in One Minute."-
Horn s Knowledge of Apache Language Saves the
Such was the condition of affairs at the Agency it
self, so it was small wonder that in the spring of 80, Ju
came up from the renegades in Mexico and brought one
hundred men with him to take Loco and his band back
to Mexico. I was living five miles above the Agency and
the Chiricahua camp was half-way between me and the
Agency. I think it was May 5th, 1880, that this out
There were supposed to be about 700 Indians belong
ing to Loco s camp, but no one knew the exact number.
The settlers in the country said there was a continuous
string of Indians going and coming from Mexico to San
Carlos, and I think such was the case. Personally I do
not know, for I was at San Carlos all the time.
At daylight, or a very little after, I heard a lot of
firing at the Chiricahua camp. There were Indians
camped all around me, and they began to arm themselves,
and in about ten minutes word came in that the Chiri-
cahuas were leaving for the war path. There were
"things doin " then for sure. In a very few minutes all
the Indians around my camp were ready. Of course we
t)4 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
did not want to tight, as the Bronks, (as we called the
Chiricahua) far out-numbered us. Across the Gila Val
ley rose a big spire of iron ore, or rather a good many of
them, making an ideal fortification, and there we all
went. It was a fine fort, its prominence giving us an
excellent view of the country, and as the Bronks had to
pass along directly under us, it gave us such a view as
even few Indian scouts have a chance to see.
Just as the sun came up, here they came. Great
droves of horses and mules were strung out for about
a mile and a half. There must have been 5,000 head of
them. Squaws and Indian children everywhere, driving
the stock. Of course they had their camp outfits. The
squaws were all yelling at the children, and the children
all yelling at the loose stock. A small bunch of per
haps twenty warriors was in front, and behind was the
main band of warriors.
Stirling had heard the outbreak just at daylight, as 1
had. He was at the Agency. He jumped on his horse,
and with one Indian policeman, a captive called Navajo
Bill, he rode right into the Chiricahua camp. He "never
smiled again," as he was killed just as he came up the
bank of the San Carlos River. A squaw cut his head off.
He was shot about seventy-five or one hundred times.
Navajo Bill escaped, but how, one can scarcely tell, for he
was right with Stirling.
Navajo Bill swung back toward the Agency and the
rest of the police came to him, and again they rode at the
Chiricahuas, and one more policeman was killed. There
were at least two hundred Chiricahua warriors, and
these police, (there were only seven of them when they
came up to where I was) kept right up with the Broncos,
A VINDICATION. 65
and killed one of them just below and in plain sight of
myself and the party with me.
After this Chiricahua was killed, the rest of them
seemed to think that something must be done, so they
threw out several little bunches of men, about five or
six in a bunch, and they dropped into gulches and in the
grass and willows. The police saw this and went to
high ground and stopped.
The Chiricahua w r ere about half an hour passing the
point where I was located. Some of the warriors in the
rear guard stopped and looked at us for a minute or two,
but I could not hear what they were saying. They were
not more than three hundred yards from us. We
on our part made no attempt to fire on them, and for my
part I was glad to see them leave us alone. They could
not have hurt us much where we were, as we had a fine
place, and there were fourteen men with me, all of whom
said there w r as no danger of the Indians firing on us.
As soon as the Bronks had all passed and gone, I
went to the Agency and found a very confused state of
affairs. There were no troops. Stirling, the Chief of
Police and main-stay of the Agency, was killed. The
Indians had cut the telegraph wire running into the
Agency, and the chief clerk in charge of the Agency was
only a tenderfoot, and he thought all the Indians on the
Reservation had gone on the war path. There were lots
of guns and ammunition at the Agency, and the chief
clerk was giving a rifle and ammunition to every Indian
buck who w T anted one. The Indians at the Agency and be
low the Agency knew that it was only an outbreak of the
Chiricahuas, but they were taking all the guns and
ammunition they could get. The chief clerk kept no ac-
66 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
count of the guns, and did not know to whom he had
giv r en them, and very few of them did he ever get back.
We could get no news from anywhere, and it was
necessary to inform the troops as soon as possible, so I
started up to Camp Thomas, thirty-two miles up the
river and in the direction in which the Bronco Indians
had gone. I got up there by 10:00 o clock, for I rode fast.
The commanding officer at Camp Thomas had gotten the
news that there was something wrong, but he could get
no news from San Carlos, and when I got into Camp
Thomas there was a squad of soldiers all ready to start
toward San Carlos to see if they could learn what the
trouble was. These men were at the Adjutant s office
all ready to go when I rode into the Post.
Sieber was there talking to some Indians, and all
those Indians knew was that the Indians down the river
had signalled that there was trouble from the Chirica-
huas. Apaches can signal for a long ways when there is
trouble, but they can not give details by their signals.
There were only two troops of cavalry at Camp
Thomas, but their telegraph was all right, and troops all
over the Department were soon notified. The Gila River
was swollen, and I had to swim it to get to Camp Thomas,
but I swam it at San Carlos, (San Carlos and Fort
Thomas now abandoned are both on the Gila river).
It was a sure thing the renegades would have to keep
east toward the upper Gila, as the river was so high they
would not attempt to cross it unless forced to by the
Sieber made arrangements for the troops to come
toward Ash Creek, and he and I again swam the river,
and struck out toward that part of the country he
A VINDICATION. 67
thought they would come through. We thought that T
was before them, and so I proved to be.
On Ash Flats, about twelve miles from Camp Thomas
and about twenty-five miles from San Carlos, w r e could
see the dust they raised. There were so many of them
they could not travel fast. They were handicapped by
the hundreds of extra horses they had. We got on top
of what was called Green s Hill, and watched the big dust
which was, maybe, two and a half miles away. Sieber
said they would all scatter that night and go in small
bunches toward Mexico and all come together again close
to the line.
While we were looking at the dust, (they were in a
swale, so we could not see the Indians themselves) to our
left, we saw six Indians coming straight toward us, about
five hundred yards away. They were coming to get on
Green s Hill themselves, apparantly, but they saw us
just as we saw them.
They turned around and rode into a gulch that led
off toward the main band of Indians. They were vidett es,
for a large body of renegades when they are traveling,
keep out guards on all sides and before and behind.
All that Sieber and I could do was to watch them.
Sieber had told the troops at Thomas how to come on
the Eagle Creek trail, and that we would find them that
night. The way the troops were directed to go, they
would be about twenty miles from where we were then
some time during the night; so Sieber said we w r ould go
and join the troops, but that we would have to wait
till the Indians split up, for all the troops in Camp
Thomas could not stop that bunch of Indians and that
68 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
it would be several days before any more troops could
We pulled out for where our troops were to come.
They were guided by Micky Free, and he was so reckless
and loved to fight so well that he would have led those
two troops right into any kind of a trap. Micky knew he
could get the troops into any kind of a trap and come out
all right himself, for the fellow seemed to bear a charmed
We struck the troops as we expected, that night, and
Sieber told the officer in command how things w r ere.
Gatewood, (that was his name) said that if we could
strike them the next day he would "try them a lick." He
said, "We may not be able to lick them, but we will try
it if we can find them."
So we did. We struck them and got six men killed in
a minute. Sieber told Gatewood that the warriors we
were trying to whip w r ere better men than his soldiers
in any place that we could strike them. We buried our
dead men and made arrangements to send the wounded
back to. Camp Thomas, and we had only thirty-six
soldiers left. Gatewood was shot in the shoulder, but he
would not go back.
By the time we started again it was getting late in
the day, so, as the Indians w r ere some distance ahead by
this time, Sieber, Micky Free and I started on and left the
troops to come more leisurely. We three got over on the
head of Eagle Creek late that night, and the next morn
ing we found that the Indians had broken up into small
bands and they left about a thousand head of stock on
the head of Eagle Creek. They did not abandon them be
cause they had to do so, but because they did not care
A VINDICATION. 69
for them. I forgot to say that we got about two hundred
head of horses where we struck them the day before.
From that time on they left a string of horses behind
them. Most of the animals were played out.
Gatewood took these horses and turned back. It
took all his men to handle the stock. Sieber, Micky and
I went on after the Indians, knowing that more troops
would come in to try to join us from Fort Baird and the
New Mexico country.
By the middle of the afternoon we were again in
sight of the Indians as they crossed the divide onto Blue
River. So we kept along and passed the Indians that
night, at least, the bunch of them that we were following.
We went over toward Clifton that night and next day
rode into the town and found that they knew the Indians
were out and that everybody in the country had come
into the little towns around. We decided we would go
on over to the Stein s Peak Mountains, as we knew the
Indians were sure to come that way. We heard that
some soldiers had gone toward Ash Springs, so Sieber
told me to go and get them and camp them at Cotton-
wood and Indian Springs, and at a place called Horse
I started and found the troops at Ash Springs, but
they were pretty well worn out and they wanted to rest
their horses a while. I had gotten a couple of good horses
at the Rail N. Ranch and was pretty well fixed for a
mount. We did not leave Ash Springs till night, and it
was morning as we pulled into Whitlock s. As we were
watering our horses, I noticed that the cattle were
running up above us, and there were the Indians.
TO LIFE OF TOM HORN :
They were just coming around a point, and as I saw
them they saw the soldiers. The soldiers started to
deploy skirmishers on foot, and the Indians turned and
ran up on a rocky point and gave us a good big stand-off.
I had told this officer (I do not recollect his name) of
how we got whipped over on the other side of the Gila,
and he said all he wanted me to do was to show him
This lieutenant had run behind the ruins of an old
adobe house, and was directing his men to get the horses
out of range of the Indians. I saw the Indians separat
ing into bunches, and I heard one of them directing the
other how to go and get a position on high ground, and
drive us away, so their outfit could get into water. I
told the officer what the Indians were saying, and what
they were going to do, and he said: "Damn em! If
they want this water they can have it, for it is strong
alkali and warm to boot." So we all mounted and rode
down into the flat and let the Indians come in to water.
Had we not left, the Indians would have gotten the
whole works of us.
(This is just the commencing of the regular Indian
The Indians, after about an hour, came down towards
us for a ways with their entire outfit, and then swung
up the San Simon Valley, and the bucks dropped behind
so as to keep between us and the squaws. They were
headed towards Doubtful Canon, and so I told the officer
in charge of the troops.
That poor fellow did not know what to do. The In
dians outnumbered us and could whip us, and I told him
so; and I had previously told him of the way Gatewood
A VINDICATION. 71
made his fight with no show to win, and got six men
killed and eleven wounded. So, as we could not do
anything to the Indians after they had gone, we struck
out in the same direction, keeping them or their dust
in sight. I knew that there were plenty of soldiers out
after the Indians, and that there w r ould be one or more
troops of cavalry after each band of Indians, and I
thought all the rest of them would be in the same fix
as ourselves. This I told the lieutenant; so we then
wanted to find more soldiers.
Things proved to be exactly as I had an idea they
would be. When w r e got up to Indian Springs, in the
Stem s Mountains, the Indians turned from the open val
ley directly into the Stein s Mountains tow r ards the head
of Doubtful Canon.
Hostile Indians from the upper Gila country would
nearly always come through that section of the country,
as it was decidedly an Indian rendezvous, and from
Stein s Mountains to the Mexico line there were neither
settlements nor forts.
As the Indians turned into the mountains we saw
there was quite a commotion among them, and shortly
after we heard firing over on the east side of the moun
Our Indians had heard it first, as they were a couple
of miles closer than we were to the firing. It proved to
be Sieber and Micky Free, with three small bunches of
soldiers they had picked up and got together, and they
were on trail of, and had come up with, two more
bunches of these Indians that had separated upon the
head of Eagle Creek.
72 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
The firing continued for about an hour. The Indians
we were following went directly towards the firing and
we did the same. We were not more than a mile from
our band, and some of the guard for the Indians were
not over half a mile from us. When we got to the top
of the divide we could see there was a fight on between
the troops and the Indians on the other side, so we
went as fast as we could to join them.
It was getting late, and was just about sundown when
we got to the part of the troop where there were two
dead soldiers and five wounded ones. The main com
mand was just drawing off, and as it was night, and all
of the cavalry horses were about played out, or at least
well jaded, camp was made there in what was called
We were all tired and hungry, and the first thing we
did was to get something to eat. Micky Free and I lay
down and went to sleep as soon as we got something to
A VINDICATION. 73
Wanted: More Soldiers. Sieber s "Growl" Apparent Mis
management of Indian Affairs A Scout s Duty Ma
jor Tupper Wants "to Get a Lick at the Indians"
Forty Soldiers and Twenty-five Scouts Against Three
Hundred Chiricahua Braves Over the Line Into
Mexico Sieber Locates Hostile Camp.
About 11 or 12 o clock Sieber came and woke us
up, and told us to get our horses and be ready to go
with him on after the Indians. I asked Sieber what was
the use to go monkeying along after those Indians by
ourselves when all the soldiers could not handle them.
Sieber spoke to me in a language that was more liable to
be called forcible than elegant, and told me that the ac
tion or scarcity of soldiers was no concern of mine; that
if they could not whip the Indians, that did not concern
me or him; that I was a Government scout and he was
my chief, and that he could not command the Depart
ment and get sufficient troops on hand to whip the In
dians. "But," said he, "I can and will keep up with the
Indians, and you and Micky must come." Sieber was
mad, and anyone that knew him and worked under him
would soon come to do as he said and ask no questions.
I was tired and sleepy, but here was this old, gray-
headed, iron-hearted man who had been at work while
I was asleep; for, during the time that we drew away
74 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
and made camp and got something to eat, he had gone
on foot and noted which way the Indians went. Then
he had come back and gotten something to eat, and woke
Micky and me to go on. Sieber at this time was fifty-five
years old; but, as I said once before, in a case of this
kind he never seemed to want to sleep, and he did not
get a chance to eat afterward.
We rode all night across and up the San Simon Val
ley, and Sieber said the Indians would strike the Chiri-
cahua Mountains at Turkey Creek, or maybe go on up
as far as Cane Creek.
At sun-up we were not more than ten miles behind the
Indians, for they had gone just as Sieber said they would.
Where the Turkey Creek comes out of the Chiricahua
Mountains the ground is higher than it is out in the val
ley where we were, and we could see the Indians going
in on Turkey Creek. They made a terrific dust, and it
was seen plainly by the soldiers we had left in the night,
a distance of thirty-five or forty miles.
The Indians went into camp on Turkey Creek and
stayed there all day. They had out guards on all sides.
We (Sieber, Micky Free and I) camped on a little gulch
that ran into Turkey Creek. There was a spring at the
head of this gulch on a mesa, and we could see for
quite a good distance around us. The Indian camp was
about two miles above us. Some of the Indian pickets
were in sight of us most of the time. Sieber said they
would not molest us if we did not go right up to their
camp, and this we had no idea of doing.
By 10 o clock that morning we could distinctly see
the dust of our troops coming across the San Simon Val
ley. The dust sprang into sight all at once, and the
A VINDICATION. 75
Broncos saw it at the same time that our party did.
We heard a great yell up at the hostile camp when this
big dust was first sighted. It was still about twenty-
five miles off. After we" saw this dust, Sieber told Micky
and me to keep awake and on the lookout, for he was
going to take a little sleep.
We did keep a good eye open, but we were not mo
lested. Our horses were very tired, but each of us had
two horses, and that gave us a great advantage over the
Somewhere about four o clock in the evening the
troops pulled in and went into camp about three miles
below the Indians, on Turkey Creek. The cavalry horses
were very tired and warm, and it took some time to get
them watered. A consultation was held by all the offi
cers and scouts. Pat Kehoe had come up with the sol
diers, having overtaken them during the day. Pat said
there were only bucks in the party, with the exception
of a few squaws to tend camp. Sieber, Micky and I had
not seen any of the camps made by them since they split
up on Eagle Creek, and I saw only bucks at Whitlock s,
and as the bunch that had come together did not have
the least fear of us, we thought that we were following
the warriors, and that they were making a play to keep
all the troops after them; that the most of the women
and children and a few of the best warriors had kept
a little behind, and calculated to drop in behind the
troops, and so get into Mexico unmolested.
The Indians were swarming on the hills above us,
but did not act as though they were going to attack.
Sieber said they were breaking camp and pulling out
again to travel all night, and that the Indians in sight
76 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
just wanted to take a look at us before they left. By
6 o clock they had all gone, and Sieber told Micky and
me to get ready to follow them.
After dark we pulled out for a place called Clover-
dale, as Sieber said that would be the next stopping place
of the Indians. Sieber was mad, and would not talk for
a long time. We were crossing the head of the San
Simon Valley and swinging well east again.
Along about midnight we stopped to change horses.
Sieber then commenced to talk to me, and Micky asked
him to talk Spanish so he, too, could understand. Sieber
had his roasting talk on.
"What is the use," he said, "for us to be monkeying
along here after these Indians. There never will be sol
diers enough to catch up with us to whip them, for there
are at least two hundred of them; this division of the
party are no doubt led by Natchez and Chihuahua, and
man for man in the rough country they can easily whip
any troop in the world, for they will never come into an
engagement unless they have far the best of the ground;
and if it comes to a pinch they can abandon everything
and go on foot, and then no one could do anything with
them. I have reported to the Department Commander
a half dozen times during the winter that these Indians
would break out as soon as spring came, and I have
pointed out to him that he had no transportation for
his troops, and that there was no preparation made to
pursue them when they did go. Now, you see how it is.
There are those soldiers we just left. They have no
grain for their horses, and very little or no rations for
themselves. And here we are piking along after these
fellows just as though we were doing some good.
A VINDICATION. 77
"Boys," went on Sieber, "this outbreak means a long
war, and there will come a time when there w T ill be some
kind of organization for the soldiers in the field. They
must have transportation in the shape of wagons and
pack trains, and camps must be established at Turkey
Creek and Cane Creek and Cloverdale, where we are
headed now, and at every other prominent place some
where near here, or near the line of Mexico. Our present
Department Commander doesn t understand these things,
and he doesn t understand anything about Indians. Now,
you boys can plainly see what I am explaining to you.
We are perfectly harmless to the Indians, and they know
it as well as w r e do.
"There is always one thing a man can do under cir
cumstances of this kind, and that is, just go on and keep
in touch with both the soldiers and Broncos. We are
merely scouts, and can only show r the soldiers how and
where to go. After we get them up to the Indians, we
can do no more, for it is the commissioned officer who
commands the troops and not the scouts. You boys do
as I tell you, and while the soldiers may be censured by
the President and the people, if we do our part everyone
will know it, and we w r ill never be blamed."
Sieber felt better after he had had a good growl ; said
he was a fool to expect anything else, and that was an
end to his growl.
Daylight found us on a hill overlooking Cloverdale,
and the whole place seemed alive with Indians. Sieber
said they had been joined by another big band, or had
run into them there at Cloverdale.
The Mexico line was about a mile south of Cloverdale.
Sieber said we would stay and watch the Indians all day,
78 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
and that in the evening the hostiles would cross over
into Mexico. "And in a day or two after they are gone,"
he added, "there will be troops enough here to whip
them, but they will be in Mexico and perfectly safe, as
no army officer would think of crossing the line, as he
would lose his commission if he did."
We stayed close to the Indians to see all that there
was to be seen, for that was all we could do. Sieber es
timated that there were five hundred of them. We could
see dozens of women and children who had joined our
bunch during the night, or had been at Cloverdale when
our band got there.
Along about three o clock in the evening we saw they
were getting ready to go, and as some of the advance
guard started off in an easterly direction, we got ready
and struck out that way, knowing the main band of In
dians would cross still further east. We figured that
there was still a big band that had not arrived yet; they
were evidently waiting for the entire bunch before cross
ing into Mexico. This advance guard showed us that
they were all going towards a place on the line, or close
to the line, called Aqua Blanco. We pulled out in the
same direction, leaving the main bunch of Indians to
come later, as we knew they would.
They could all have crossed the line right where
they were camped, at Cloverdale, but a short distance
south in Mexico the country grew very rough, and was
hard for a big band of Indians to get through and all of
them keep together, and if -they went over by Aqua
Blanco, they could cross over into Mexico and have good
open country to travel in. Also, from Cloverdale, the
San Luis Pass opened through the San Luis Mountains
A VINDICATION. 79
into a large open country or plain in Mexico called Llano
de Janos, or Janos Plains. Any Indians that had kept
farther up the Gila would naturally come in from the
east and turn down this plain by the Aqua Blanco.
Well, what they did do was this: The main bunch
went through the San Luis Pass, and the picket or ad
vance guard went over by Aqua Blanco, striking the trail
of Indians who had come from farther east and gone
into Mexico ahead of them. The pickets may have
struck some of the Indians belonging to the eastern band,
for at night everything in sight was in Mexico and all
headed, so we calculated, towards the Sierra Media, in
Mexico. From a spur of the San Luis Mountains we
could distinctly see four bands crossing into Mexico at
Sieber swore softly, and seemed, in a gratified, know
ing way, not to care much. When it was dark we turned
back and went towards Cloverdale again.
At Cloverdale we struck some new soldiers, and they
had a pack train and some grub and grain with them.
Major Tupper was in command, and as scouts he had
Sage and some twenty Apaches. His troop consisted
of more than forty men, and Major Tupper was glad to
see us. His Apache scouts had informed him that we
were in the country, but that we were most likely on the
flank of the Broncos.
These scouts had seen our trail and followed it a short
distance, and they could see by the route we took that
we were on the lookout; that we were watching to the
south towards where the hostiles would naturally be.
All the elevations that we rode onto commanded a view
south, and had our trail been made by the Bronco pick-
80 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
ets, the elevations that we rode over would have been
places that commanded a view to the north, whence
troops were likely to come. On one high point, where
these scouts of Tupper s turned back, they found a quid
of chewing tobacco; they were then satisfied it was Sie-
ber, and they knew Micky and I would be with him.
Major Tupper was an old Civil War veteran and he
wanted to "get a lick at the Indians." He had rations
for twenty-five days more, and was not trying to get
back to the Post by the easiest route. While the men
got us up a really good meal, he made a good many in
quiries about the country to the south, Mexico. Sieber
thought at first the old man was just talking, but after
we got through eating Tupper kept on talking. Sage
said to Micky in Apache, that the old Captain, meaning
Tupper, was not afraid to cross the Mexico line in pur
suit of the Broncos.
Sieber understood what Sage said and he turned to
Major Tupper and inquired, "Is that so, Major?"
Tupper asked him what was so. Then Sieber, seeing
that Tupper could not have understood Sage and the
Indians, asked him if he cared to cross the line after the
Tupper did not want to talk before the soldiers and
scouts, so he and Sieber went off out of camp and had a
talk. In about half an hour they came back; Tupper
gave command to "Get-a-going," and in about an hour
we pulled out for Mexico. It was about three o clock in
Sieber and Major Tupper seemed to have settled the
thing between themselves. I finally ventured a word at
Sieber, and asked him if that old man thought he could
A VINDICATION. 81
whip three hundred Chiricahua braves with forty soldiers
and twenty-five scouts.
"Why, the old man is crazy to get a chance," said
Sieber, "We must be very careful and not let him get too
many of his men killed."
Before sunup we went into camp in the rough hills,
but Sieber, and not Tupper, was running things then.
Every horse was kept in the low places and not allowed
to go on top of any ridge or hill. Soldiers were all made
to keep under cover. Sieber put some of the Apache
scouts to watch the soldiers and keep them out of sight,
for if we were to strike the Broncos it must be a sur
prise to them, for, as Sieber said: "If we try to surprise
them and they surprise us, we are gone fawn skins."
Sieber took Micky and me about 9 o clock in the
morning and we went on to try to locate the Indians.
W r e felt sure they were camped at the Sierra Media.
This Sierra Media means "Middle Mountain," and is
a very rough, small mountain in the middle of the Janos
On the west side of this mountain was a fine, big
spring. At that time of year there was bound to be lots
of water there and it took lots of water for that bunch of
Indians when they w r ere all together. There we felt sure
the Indians would camp to rest up, for they were tired,
and their stock was all tired, and the place was inside
of the Mexican line, about twenty miles. The Indians
knew we dared not cross the line, so they would feel
perfectly safe, but it was necessary to use a great deal
of caution in attacking them, for if we made a mistake
they would kill all of us.
82 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
When we got within six or seven miles of the place
where we thought they would be, we went up on a big
hill and, Sieber took out a telescope he had borrowed from
Tupper, and as it was a long concern, two or three feet
long, we built up a pile of rocks and threw some limbs
on them to disguise the rocks. Then we strung out that
old telescope and focused it on the point of the Sierra
Media where the water was. We had to build this rest
for the telescope so we could steady it to see well. Sieber
lay down and looked a long time; then told me to take a
look. I did so, and there were the Indians and horses as
natural as could be.
"Now," said Sieber, "all we ve got to do is to ketch
A VINDICATION. 83
A Daylight Surprise "And the Fight Was On" Horn
Saves Sergeant Murray Under a Hot Fire Casualties
and Booty Colonel Forsythe and Re-enforcements
Indians Clash With Fifth Mexican Regiment, Chi
huahua Cavalry, 167 Killed, 52 Captured Forsythe
Versus Garcia Horn Interprets Armed Force of
Americans on Mexican Territory Under Arrest.
The Surprising Behavior of the Arrested Sieher s
"General Big Kick" to Department Commander.
This was about noon, and Sieber told me to go back
to the command and move them up to the place where we
were; that we would likely get there by sundown or be
fore, and to wait there till he came, as he said he and
Micky would go into the camp before he came back. He
gave me more details, and cautions, not to shoot or make
a fire, but to camp as soon as I got the soldiers up to this
I went back and reported to Tupper, gave him Sieber s
instructions, and we pulled out for the place where we
were to meet Sieber. Major Tupper was "tickled" to get
a chance to get at them, as he said, he wanted anyhow to
have a scrap of some kind and to capture a pony for his
We got to the appointed place quite a while before
sundown, and camped, fed the stock, and prepared to
84 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
make battle. The only question was, would the hostiles
move camp again that night? Sieber felt sure they would
not, as they were tired and as they thought, free from
It was close to midnight when Sieber got back to
where we were. He said he left the hostile camp about
10 o clock and that they were singing and dancing, and
Micky told me he heard the wedding drums beating and
could plainly hear the chants they sing at weddings.
Sieber said Micky wanted to get a few ponies and bring
back to Tupper, as he seemed to want ponies worse than
anything else. While Sieber and Micky got something
to eat, I got their change of horses. We left six soldiers
with the pack train, which remained there, and we
started out for the hostile camp.
We went up a swale that ran close to the camp and had
to wait a good while for daylight to come. We were with
in less than a thousand yards of the camp, but they had
so many horses running around that they had not heard
Sieber, Micky, Sage and I all knew every foot of the
land, and we were each put to pilot some soldiers for a
charge when we should be discovered at daylight. There
were nine soldiers in the bunch I had to guide. Micky
Free was assigned to go with Major Tupper. Tupper was
spoiling for a fight, and any one that went where Micky
would go in a scrimmage, was bound to see the biggest
part of it.
Just at daylight five Broncos came close up to
where Sage and his squad were waiting. They saw the
soldiers as soon as the soldiers saw them, and the fight
A VINDICATION. 85
The soldiers with Sage made a run at those five In
dians, and got every one of them, and they were the only
Indians killed, that is, that we were sure of.
The sergeant with Sage told me Sage killed three
out of the five with his six shooter, as they ran. Sage
rode his big, white war horse, and he could run right
over the Indians. These five Indians were on horseback
and were just starting out, evidently to round in their
As for my part of the fight, I did not get to see much
of it. Murray, a sergeant, was in charge of the bunch of
soldiers I was guiding, and as w r e charged toward the
camp w r e saw about a dozen Indians in a little bunch of
rocks, and we took a run at them. When we got up
close to the rocks, we w r ere not forty yards from them
when we saw them. Old Murray got a shot in the side,
gave a big grunt and fell off his horse. I looked around
and saw him get partly up so I stopped (for we were go
ing at a run), went back and got off. I could see that he
looked awfully white. He said he was shot in the side.
His horse had gone on with the rest of the men in our
squad, and I tried to get him on my horse, and I finally
succeeded, but when I tried to start, I saw the horse had
a hind leg broke.
The Indians were firing terribly fast at us, so I pulled
old Murray off the horse, took him on my back and car
ried him about forty yards, then I gave out and had to put
him down. Both of us had dropped our rifles, and he
told me to go "back and get them. My horse was still
standing there, both rifles lying on the ground; but the
Indians that were in that little bunch of rocks had un
doubtedly gone, as they did not shoot at me any more.
86 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
I went back to Murray. He was sitting up swearing,
and he said he felt better. "But listen," said he, "to that
Well, there were "things doin " all right just then.
Indians were yelling and squaws were yelling. There
must have been a thousand dogs barking, and horses
were running every which way. There were probably
three thousand horses there, and it was not very light
yet. The soldiers had been ordered previously to get all
the horses they could, but the horses would not leave
the Indian camp, and the soldiers could not drive them
away. At sunup we heard the bugler with Tupper
sounding "Assembly," and as Murray could walk pretty
well by this time, I headed off towards where I heard
There we found all the command except one soldier
who had been killed. Micky and several of the soldiers
had a big bunch of horses and mules. Tupper sent sev
eral soldiers to get the dead man, and we pulled still
farther away from where the hostiles had taken shelter
in the rocks. After a little we stopped on a slight rise
and waited for the men to come up with the dead soldier.
When they came we laid him in a gulch, put a Govern
ment blanket over him and piled rocks on the blanket.
We put Murray on behind another soldier, Micky roped
a horse for me out of the bunch they were holding, and
we started back to our camp. The hostiles afterwards
told me they thought there was a big bunch of soldiers
concealed somewhere close, and that we were just trying
to draw them out. It was lucky for us that they did
think so, for they could have come out and cleaned us
up in a minute.
A VINDICATION. 87
We had a big lot of horses, and I think there were
eight different ones had saddles on them. We caught
a big pinto mule with a saddle on, and I took that saddle
and the horse Micky had roped for me as my share of
the booty. Tupper took all the ponies himself; I think
we counted 260 at that time. When we got back to
the pack train and had something to eat, Major Tupper
was the happiest man I ever saw.
About an hour before sundown Murray and I saw a
dust up towards the line and we thought it might be
more Indians coming, but we soon saw they were fol
lowing the trail of our cavalry, and we decided they
must be soldiers, which they proved to be. It was a
colonel named Forsythe, and his scouts had assured him
that there were troops ahead of him, so he came on and
went into camp where we were located. There were
five troops in this command, and there were now men
enough to make a good fight. It was the first time since
the outbreak, ten days before, that we had seen soldiers
enough at one time to make a good fight. Of course, our
outfit was pretty well worn out, having been up all the
previous night. Forsythe was not in very good shape
himself, but the sight of the captured ponies made him
want some ponies of his own.
Forsythe sent for Sieber, and asked him if we could
get him up to where he could get a lick at the Indians
and get a few ponies. Sieber said he could, if we would
go promptly. Then Sieber told him we would have to
pull out at once. Sieber thereupon told Micky, two of
the Apache scouts and myself to go back to the hostile
camp, and if they had gone, or were getting ready to go,
to send back the two Apache scouts to a place named by
88 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
him, and that he would meet them with the soldiers.
Micky and I were to keep on after the hostiles and join
him and the command at a place called Panuela. Sieber
said if he got there first he would wait for us, and if
we got there first to wait for him.
When Micky and I got back to the Sierra Media,
where we had left the hostiles by the hundred in the
morning, we found it as still as a graveyard. We looked
around and found a trail, and it headed direct for the
Panuela, and we sent the two Apaches back to Sieber.
It was 10 o clock at night, but there were so many of
the Indians they made a trail that even at night could
be followed as easily as can Capitol Avenue in Cheyenne.
At the Panuela were two or three horses dropped by
the hostiles. Micky and I had just reached this water
and got a drink when we heard the troops coming, and
in a few minutes they arrived. We told Sieber we were
on the trail. Forsythe was keen to keep on, and as it
was about 1 o clock at night we had to travel pretty
lively to get across the plains before sunup.
We traveled on till just about daylight, and then
left the Indian trail and turned into the hills at a place
called Sousita. The soldiers and their mounts were
all completely worn out, and Forsythe ordered camp.
- While the soldiers were going into camp we scouts
went up to the top of a peak near there, so we could look
ahead. At sunup we could plainly see the dust of the
hostiles, not more than eight or ten miles ahead of us,
and instead of going towards the Ojitas, as we had sup
posed they would, they were pulling into the Carretas
A VINDICATION. 89
While we were watching this dust, the sound of
rifles was heard by all of us, and by the troops going into
camp, also, and a great cloud of dust came up where
the Indians were. We could not for a while understand
what it meant. Finally we concluded the Indians had
run into the Mexican troops and were fighting. We
could not see anything but dust and smoke.
After we had eaten breakfast, Forsythe was so anx
ious to know what the row was where we could hear the
firing, we again pulled out for Carretas to learn the exact
cause of the trouble. About two hours march brought
us to the place, and, sure enough, it was the Fifth Regi
ment of . Chihuahua Cavalry, under Colonel Garcia.
They were just returning from Sonora, where they had
been fighting all winter with the Yaquis, and had been
camped on Carretas Creek that night, and on this morn
ing the guards reported a big dust coming across the
plains headed for the point where the regiment was
Colonel Garcia was an old Indian fighter, and knew
in a minute that it was Indians. They were still a couple
of miles away, and coming up parallel with where the
Carretas Creek runs out and sinks into the plain. Gar
cia threw his men out down this creek, and concealed in
the brush on the creek and under the creek banks. He
let all the bucks, who were mostly in the lead, pass on,
then he struck the rear of the Indian column. The rear
of the Indians consisted principally of squaws and chil
dren, and any loose horses there might have been. Gar
cia slew them all women and children. One hundred
and sixty-seven were killed and all dragged close to
gether by the time w r e got there. They were killed all
90 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
around over the country for a distance of about a mile
square, but Garcia had dragged all of them together.
There were also fifty-two women and children captives.
Garcia s command saw us coming when we were
within half a mile of them. They did not know what to
make of us at first, and then they recognized us as Ameri
can troops. Colonel Garcia and about a dozen of his
officers came to meet us, and his orderly was blowing his
bugle for all he was worth.
Forsythe halted his command, and several of his of
ficers and all the scouts went forward to meet the Mexi
cans. When we got within one hundred yards of them,
they halted; we rode up to them and civilties were ex
changed. Colonel Garcia did not have any one who could
speak English and I was put in to do the interpreting.
Colonel Garcia immediately told Colonel Forsythe
that we were an armed force of Americans on Mexican
t territory and that we must consider ourselves under ar
rest. He said he was Justo Garcia, Colonel of the Fifth
Chihuahua Cavalry, and asked Colonel Forsythe who he
was. Forsythe told him who we were and that we were
following the Indians whom he, Garcia, had just engaged.
We saw the pile of dead Indians and Garcia told us of
Colonel Forsythe was then informed that his com
mand would be allowed to retain their arms for the
present, and he and several of his officers were invited
to go further up the creek where there was good water,
and have breakfast with Colonel Garcia. Forsythe ac
cepted the invitation. We all went further up the creek
and made camp. Garcia and his command had not had
breakfast, as the Indians came onto them too early in
A VINDICATION. 91
the morning to allow them time to get breakfast. That
regiment of Garcia s, which he said was one of the best
in the Mexican Army, had twelve burros for their trans
portation. They had no grub and no clothes, and many
of them did not have a cartridge after their fight with the
Colonel Forsythe had five troops of cavalry and there
were about thirty of us scouts, Indian and white to
gether, and he had about fifty pack mules loaded with
grub and ammunition. Forsythe soon saw that break
fast with Garcia was nothing at all, so he asked Garcia
to have breakfast with him, which he did. After break
fast, which w r as about 10:00 o clock in the morning, Gar
cia told Colonel Forsythe that he would have to go to
El Valle, the head of the district and would have to re
main a prisoner till such an invasion could be settled by
their respective governments.
Garcia asked Forsythe to be his guest during the time
he would be detained, and said he hoped there would be
no hard feeling between them. Garcia said he would
have to dismount Forsythe s troops and confiscate the
rations, and was going on at that rate when Forsythe
interrupted him and said:
"I know I am violating an international agreement
and I knew what I was doing when I came in here, and
I know what I am going to do now. I am going to mount
my command and go back as I came down here, and that
was without order or command. I will not submit to go
anywhere with you and your command. I will now bid
you good day."
Forsythe ordered the troops to get ready for a row if
it was necessary to have a row; he ordered the packers to
92 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
pack up, which they did in a very few minutes, and we
mounted and pulled back toward the United States line.
Garcia did not attempt to stop us or to interfere at all.
He had given the Indians a very severe blow. While he
had killed only women and children, he had captured
more than four hundred horses, and the Indians would
not learn for a long time that it was an accident or a
scratch that we ran them into the arms of the Mexicans.
This was the thirteenth day since the outbreak at San
Carlos. Sieber, Micky and I returned to San Carlos and
the remainder of the troops went to their respective
Sieber, as chief of scouts, had to make a written report
of the whole trip to the Department Commander, and in
that report he said that from the time the Indians broke
out at San Carlos and killed Chief of Police Stirling, till
w r e quit them on Carretas Creek in the State of Chihua
hua, Mexico, that the scouts had been constantly on the
flank of the hostiles, assisting and ready to give correct
information to any one of the different troop command
ers w r e came in contact with. He then gave the details
very much as I have discribed them. He made a "general
big kick" against the idea of sending detachments of
from twenty men to forty men to chastise a bunch of from
260 to 320 Chiricahua braves. He also got in a roar
about the transportation and poor condition of the field
organization and the lack of available troops for a pur
suit such as we had just been on. He said, also, he had
again employed me on his own responsibility and wanted
me kept on regular; ajso predicted a big, general row all
over the Reservation and on the Mexico line. He said
that on our recent raid we had engaged the Indians three
A VINDICATION. 93
different times and all the Indians killed were five killed
by a bunch of nine soldiers and one scout. Spoke also
of the number of captured horses.
The Department Commander sent this report on to
the Secretary of War. He notified Sieber in a personal
letter what he had done, and said he could do no more,
as there was not sufficient money appropriated with
which to do anything.
94 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
Sieber, Horn and Micky Free Visit the White Mountain
Indians Old Pedro s Advice and Prophecy The
Three Scouts Report for Orders at Camp Apache
"This Is a Trap, Men Will Leave This Post Who Will
Never Return Alive. But We Must Make the Bluff."
A Perilous Journey Betrayed By Dead Shot and
Dandy Jim Ambush at Cibicu Canon Loss of
Leader; Eleven Wounded; Deserted by Indian Scouts
Horn Saves the Command.
We stayed at San Carlos a while till I could get my
affairs straightened out with the beef contractors, then
we all went up into the White Mountain country. By
"all," I mean Sieber, Micky Free and myself.
Old Pedro, my friend, was very glad to see all of us,
and the first night I got to his camp he kept me up all
night long, telling him of the Chiricahua outbreak and
raid. He made me go over the story again about how the
Chiricahuas ran into the Mexican troops. He asked all the
details of the raid and the exact route taken by each band
of Indians after they parted and broke up into smaller
bands. Of course he knew all the hostiles well, and as I
would describe certain parts of the raid, the old chief
would say: "Yes, that was Natchez," or "That was Chi-
hauhau," or "That was old Loco, himself,"
A VINDICATION. 95
After I had told him the whole story it was daylight
and Sieber had got up and come to the fire where we were
sitting, and then the old chief showed his wisdom.
"Sibi," said Chief Pedro, "this Talking Boy and I
have been up here all night talking of this raid of the
Chiricahuas. This boy has told me the whole and I am
sadly disappointed in one thing. I can t see the work
of that chief of all devils, called Geronimo. He was not
in the raid. Where was he? Things are bad now, but
they would have been far worse had he been there."
Afterwards we learned sure enough that during this
raid Geronimo had been laid up with a shot through the
shoulder. Chief Pedro could tell them all by their
actions as described by me. He said he was very tired,
as he was not used to being up all night, and for us to
make ourselves at home and not to leave, as he wanted to
talk to Sieber and me, both, on the following night. We
did not calculate to go away anyhow, so we did as he
That night Pedro sent for Sieber and me about 10
o clock, and we again talked nearly all night about
troubles we were going to have on Cibicu territory, or
with the Cibicu Indians. Pedro told us they were all bad
and that they were making lots of trouble for Indians
who were actually trying to be good and peaceful. Sieber
asked the old warrior what could be done.
"I will give you 150 warriors, all good, picked men,"
said Pedro, "and you can go over there and kill a good
many of them, and then come back and rest up a while,
then go back and kill some more, and keep that up the
rest of the summer. By winter time there will still
9G LIFE OF TOM HORN:
be trouble, but there will not be so many mean Indians
to help out with it."
Sieber explained to the old man that we could not
do that. Sieber asked me in English, so Pedro could
not understand, if I thought it would do to tell Pedro
how things stood in the Department, and how poorly
equipped w r e were for a big Indian war, such as we
thought there was going to be.
"I know what you think, and maybe it was what you
were saying," said Pedro, "and that is, that your soldiers
are not prepared for so much war as you both know
there is going to be. Both of you are well acquainted
with both soldiers and renegade Indians, and you know
that while your white soldiers are without fear, they
can never meet the Apaches in battle where the white
soldier will have a chance. Brave though your soldiers
may be, you must remember that while the Indians are
renegades and outlaws, they also are brave as any, and
perfectly well acquainted with all the country, and can
live like the wolf and evade the white soldier, who has
never had such training as the Indians. A mad man,
though his will be ever so good, can not overtake, in the
mountains, a bad man who is trying to get away. I am
an old man, now; I am very old, and am a chief. I have
fought the white soldiers many a time, and I know just
how they act in battle and on the trail, and I am better
able to give you truth than any other man you can find,
be he white or red. I can not read in books, and I can
not write on paper, but I can look at the forest, and the
mountains, and on the ground, and I can read every
sign there. I can look at the action of a bad Indian, and
can tell how he feels and what he will do. Sibi, you
A VINDICATION. 97
are a great hunter. You know what kind of a place to
go to for deer and turkey. When you see a band of
deer or turkey you know what they will do and how
they will act. I am an old, broken down warrior, and
many years of my life have been spent at war with
Americans and Mexicans, and I know them as you know
them, and as you know the deer and turkey; and now I
am going to tell you what you know well, and you may
think" I am a fool to tell you, but there is going to be a
great lot of war, of which this last outbreak is the starter,
and it will continue for many years. Apache soldiers you
will have to use, for, as brave as your white soldiers are,
they can not endure the hardships necessary to over
come the bad Apaches.
"Those Cibicu Indians will break out soon and they
will have to go north to the Mogollons, as they are not
Mexico Indians. So it will be war on the south from the
Chiricahuas, and war in the north from the Cibicus, and
many and many a white settler and traveler will be
killed. Take my advice and my warriors and go at it
at once. Now, good night, and think this over, and re
member it is I, Pedro, a wise chief, who tells you this;
remember, also, that I never talk two ways."
After Pedro had gone to bed Sieber said to me:
"Tom, that is exactly what you and I have said all
the time, and it would be a great thing for the settlers
of this territory if we could take the old man s advice
and his warriors and go at these bad Indians; but the
Government would never tolerate such a thing, and all
we can do is to do as we are told."
In a few days we went on to Camp Apache, and Sie
ber reported to the commanding officer there, as was his
98 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
custom when he went into a Government post. The com
manding officer told him to come to the adjutant s office
the next morning, as he wanted to have a talk with him.
The next morning Sieber and I went to the adjutant s
office at 9 o clock, and I was ordered out, as the adjutant
said he had no business with me. Seiber told him I was
the interpreter, and it would be necessary for me to
know of anything that was going to be done.
"My business," said the adjutant, "is not with an in
terpreter; it is with you, who are the chief of scouts."
I was turned out, and went and sat down and waited
for Sieber to get through. When Sieber came out he
looked so grave and solemn that I did not speak to him
till he spoke to me. At last, when we got to our camp
and sat down, he sent an Indian woman to find Micky,
so we could talk. Then Sieber, Micky and I held a war
council. Sieber had to talk in Spanish so that Micky
could understand, and then he told us what we had to do.
"I am ordered," said Sieber, "to take you two boys
and go with a detachment of soldiers to Canon Creek,
and from there to Cibicu, and see these Indians and
arrest five of them who are making all of this trouble,
as the adjutant says, and we are to take a lot of those
same Indians with us to show us who these Indians are.
We are to arrest them and confine them here in the guard
Sieber then named several Apache scouts who were
attached to the fort, and said we would go with them.
"Dead Shot and Dandy Jim are both sergeants of the
scouts," he continued, "and they will show us the men
we are to arrest. There will be a detachment of about
A VINDICATION. 99
twenty men to go with us. Now, those are my instruc
We were all paralyzed by such an order, for this rea
son: Dead Shot and Dandy Jim were two of the worst
of all the bad men, and they were capable of doing any
thing bad and nothing good. They were both Cibicu In
dians, and entirely in sympathy with anything the bad
Indians on Cibicu wanted to do. Sieber, as Chief of
Scouts, had made a strong protest against enlisting these
two at the time they were enlisted, as he knew them well,
and knew their reputation with the other Indians. They
both, also, had considerable influence with all bad and
turbulent Indians, and were sworn enemies of Sieber and
Micky; but as for myself, I knew them by reputation
"There will be men leave this post in the morning
who will either be brought back dead, or else will be left
dead in the mountains," said Micky, "for this is a trap
that we are going into, and they will try hardest to kill
us three, for they think we have no business to come up
here and interfere with them. A rabbit trap will catch
a wolf, but it won t hold him," added Micky; "so we will
just act as though we suspected nothing. We won t be
able to find the Indians that we are going after, but we
must make the bluff."
Micky suggested that after we got started he would
look after Dead Shot, and for me to look after Dandy
Jim; "and," said Micky, "we will civilize them." Sieber
said that was his idea exactly, as he himself would have
to be with the soldiers all the time.
Such was the trip we started on the next morning.
Luckily for the soldiers, there were about thirty men of
100 LIFE OF TOM HOHN :
them, but Dead Shot had told the adjutant a dozen
would be enough. "Those Indians are not bad, and are
not renegades," said Dead Shot; "they will all help the
soldiers to arrest these bad men, and it is a good thing
to send the white scouts, for they tell lies on all of us;
and when they see how things are out there, they will
have nothing to say."
At Canon Creek we camped and found there a lot of
Indians. Among them was a captive (Mexican). His
name was Suneriano. Suneriano had been captured by
these Indians when a small boy, and had never left them.
At this time he was married ; had a couple of women and
half a dozen children.
Way long in the middle of the night one of his kids,
a girl about nine or ten years old, came and woke me.
She crawled down beside me, or rather was crouching
there when she woke me. She told me she was sent by
her father, who was Suneriano, to tell me that we would
all be killed on Cibicu Creek; that there was a trap laid
for us, and that Dead Shot was going to lead us into it.
She said all the women and children were then up in the
mountains, and we would find only warriors. "There are
about sixty of the men," she said. She then went crawl
ing away on her stomach and disappeared. I did not
sleep any more that night, and so quietly did this little
girl come and go that Micky, who slept within six feet
of me, did not hear her.
At daylight I told Sieber what this child had told me,
and he in turn told Captain Hentig, the officer in com
mand of the escort. Sieber did not tell Hentig how he
got the information, but just told him the condition of
things out there. Hentig told Sieber that if he was
A VINDICATION. 101
afraid he could take his two men, meaning Micky and
me, and go back to Camp Apache. Sieber replied no;
that we would go along to pilot the scattered soldiers
back to Camp Apache!
About noon we got to Cibicu Creek, and Sieber spoke
to me and told me to w r atch my man, and to tell Micky
to watch his. We could not see any Indians where there
should have been lots of them camped, and Dead Shot
said they had probably moved down the creek; and there
it was that he came to understand that we understood
what he was trying to do, for Micky said to him: "Dead
Shot, w r e are onto your game, and I am going to stay
close to you all the time, and if any thing goes wrong
you will be stealing moccasins in the camp of the Great
Spirit just as soon as the fight comes off."
(Dead Shot was accused by the squaws of having once
stolen a pair of moccasins from a woman of Pedro s band.
This is the lowest crime an Apache brave can commit.)
Dead Shot saw that Dandy Jim was in about the same
fix that he himself was. He appealed to Captain Hentig,
but had to do so through Sieber, as he and Hentig could
not understand each other. Hentig ordered us to leave
them, and we told him we were not doing as Dead Shot
accused us of doing. Hentig then ordered Micky and me
to get behind, which we did.
Dead Shot wanted to go down the canon, but Sieber
swung up the side of the canon, and then it was that the
Indians in ambush opened up on us, for they saw that
Sieber would not go into their trap. They were not pre
pared for such a move as we made, and consequently did
not do a great deal of damage. Dead Shot and Dandy
Jim being in front of the soldiers while Micky and I were
102 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
behind, they both made a run and got away as soon as
the firing started. About ten minutes after the fight
started, Captain Hentig was killed. There were eleven
men wounded in the fight, but none badly. Our Indian
scouts all left us. There were five of them.
We saw the renegades running to get on a high point
directly over us, and Sieber yelled to Micky and me to
get up there first, which we did. We beat the renegades
to the top by about forty yards and this saved the whole
party. Had the renegades reached this point we never
could have gotten out of Cibicu Canon. This point was
the commanding place, and five soldiers came up and
helped Micky and me to hold it. Sieber got Hentig s
body on a pack mule, and when we were all ready they
came up out of the canon.
We turned off the trail and buried Hentig in the hills,
and then started to make our way back to Camp Apache.
W T e had to leave all trails and stick to the mountains,
but were not bothered any more, for it got dark about the
time we started, and we traveled all night, daylight find
ing us at Camp Apache minus Captain Hentig and our
A VINDICATION. 103
The Fort Fired Upon, "This Means War." Horn Sent
to White Mountains and Returns With Sixty of
Pedro s Picked Braves "Tom Horn and His War
Dogs" on the Renegades Trail Indian Atrocities
Chaffee, Sieber and Kehoe Join the Chase, "Tired, But
Full of Fight." At Bay in Chevlon s Canon Block
ing the Only Exit A Deadly Trap Heavy Storm
Stops Fight "Major Chaffee Too Wet and Cold to
Swear." A Bear Story.
Sieber wanted to report to the commanding officer,
but before he could find him and report, the Indians com
menced to fire on the Fort. They commenced about sun
up, and kept up their firing for about an hour. There
were not more than one hundred of them, and the nearest
of them were three hundred yards away. They did not
hit anything except a pony belonging to one of the chil
dren in the Fort. The pony was in a small shed, and the
bullet passed through the shed. In about an hour the
soldiers were ordered to go up on the hills and drive the
Indians away, which they did.
This meant war. Until this time the Indians were al
lowed to do as they pleased. Now telegrams were sent
to Camp Thomas, Camp Grant, Camp McDowell and
Camp Verde, in response to which troops began to come
in after a couple of days.
104 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Two hours after the renegades had been driven off the
hills I was sent to Pedro s camp, about twenty miles
away, and by 10:00 o clock that night I was back at
Camp Apache with sixty volunters from Pedro, and they
did sure look "fighty." All of them had rifles of their
own, but that night I made all of them put their own
guns in the Government storehouse, and gave each of
them a Springfield carbine and belt and all the ammu
nition they wanted. My object in this was to have them
all armed with guns that used Government ammunition.
Their own guns were good, but shot all kinds of ammu
The second day, Colonel Eugene A. Carr came in from
Camp Thomas with two troops of cavalry. He was the
first to arrive, and he, as ranking officer, took command.
Lots of the Indians from both Cibicu and Canon Creek
were coming in. They camped close to the Post and said
they did not want to be classed with the ones who had
killed Hentig and fired on the Post. Many of them said
that while they lived on Cibicu, they were under the in
fluence of the renegades, who lived there, and that they
had to do as the bad ones said.
Well, we started out to find the bad Indians, and we
knew from the information we got from the other In
dians who had come in that there was a band of about
sixty of the turbulent ones. We could not learn any
thing from the rest of the Indians except where these
sixty Indians were.
"Horn, you take your war dogs and find them," said
Colonel Carr to me.
A VINDICATION. 105
I had previously told him I could find them within
a few days sure, for my volunteers knew the country so
well that the renegades could not get away.
"Find them," said Carr, "and go at them; then send
me word and I will come, and come a-runnin ? , too."
I started out and went right straight to the renegades.
When I struck their trail I saw they were headed in the
direction of Green Valley. I sent word back to Camp
Apache to Carr, and kept on after them. In Green Val
ley I found they had taken a lot of horses from old man
Tweeksbury and a lot from Al Rose. About ten miles
farther on I found they had killed Louie Huron and
Charley Sigsbee. All of the settlers thereabout had
joined me. I left them to bury the dead men and look
after one of the Sigsbee boys who had ben wounded, and
who had killed one of the renegades after he was shot.
I was all alone with my "w r ar dogs" as Colonel Carr
called them, and they were very anxious to strike the
renegades, who were not more than six hours ahead of
us. It was night, though, and we had to camp and get
ready for a big ride on the next day. Our horses were
a little tired and my main man of these Indian volunteers,
whose name was Tul-pi, said we could start as late as
daybreak and yet strike the renegades before night. We
camped and Sigsbee let us turn our horses in his pasture
where the feed was fine. Sigsbee gave us a sack of flour
and we killed a yearling heifer belonging to Stimpson,
and proceeded to "fill up." Tul-pi had put out guards
around on the hills, and pretty soon they yelled that
there w r as American cavalry coming. It was perfectly
dark, but they could tell from the sound of the horses
feet. I got on one of the guard s ponies and went to
10G LIFE OF TOM HORN:
meet the cavalry; for my men were all Indians and I was
afraid we might be taken for hostiles.
It proved to be Major Chaffee, Al Sieber and Pat
Kehoe. Chaffee had started from McDowell and had
come through the Green Valley at a guess, and he had
struck it right. Sieber and Pat Kehoe had been close to
Camp Apache, and had met the courier I was sending
back to let Colonel Carr know I was on the trail, so on
they came after me. They had run into Major Chaffee
in Green Valley.
Well, we all camped, and as they had been traveling
all day and it was now past 9 o clock at night, they were
a tired lot, but they were all full of fight.
After everybody got filled up we had a war talk, and
I told Major Chaffee what my war chief had to say, and
that was that we could strike the Indians next day.
Sieber and Kehoe thought the same thing, but all of us
knew we would have to make a long, hard drive to
At daylight, Major Chaffee cut loose from his pack
trains, and away we went. About ten miles from where
we camped, the Indians had camped and then we knew
we would get them that day. How we did go. All my
men were mounted on their very best war ponies, and all
had had a good night s feed and rest, so everything was
in shape for a big day s ride. The cavalry troop were in
like condition and all extra traps had been left with the
About 10 o clock we came to the Meadows Ranch, on
the east fork of the Verde, and found old man Meadows
killed, Hank shot all to pieces, and John also badly shot
up. We left the doctor, a couple of soldiers and a
A VINDICATION. 107
couple of citizens who were following us to help them,
and learned from the ranchers that the renegades had
most likely seen us coming when they left the Meadows
Ranch. Mrs. Meadows swore the Indians were not half
a mile ahead of us.
As soon as we left the Meadows Ranch we could see
that there was a change in things, for the renegades be
gan to go faster and to drop horses. About noon we
struck them as we went up out of the basin on to the
rim. We struck only a few, and that formed the rear
guard they had thrown out. My men killed one and shot
another so we caught him in about a mile. He soon died.
He proved to be one of the men who had mutinied when
Hentig was killed. We overtook him at a place called
Crook s Springs. I was trying to hold some of my men
out so as to keep us from running into a trap, but Major
Chaffee said the renegades were traveling so fast they
could not lay an ambush for us. Anyhow, we were trav
eling so fast I could not keep my men out. Tul-pi said
we would get the renegades w r hen they were crossing
Chevlon s Fork, a very deep canon a short distance
ahead. Sieber and Pat thought the same thing. Chev-
lon s Canon was a canon that could be crossed in but a
few places on account of its depth and the precipitous
nature of its walls. We all knew this crossing we were
coming to, and Sieber told Chaffee to send five men with
Pat Kehoe to go below, and the Indians could never get
up on the other side.
As we came to the banks of the canon the renegades
were just starting up on the opposite side. We opened
fire on them, of course. About half way up the side of
the canon, on the opposite side, the trail would have
108 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
to run around on a wide bench for a ways to find an
opening in the bench to allow them to pass through.
Then there would be a place in the trail leading straight
away from us. The distance was just about six hundred
yards, and when they came to a place that led straight
away from us it made fine shooting. Going up over the
last rim was a place about sixty feet long, and no one
could get out of the canon without going through this
place. Sieber and the first sergeant of I Troop (Chaffee s),
whose name was Woodall, and who was a famous shot,
took up a position with me to command this last slide,
to stop as many Indians and horses as possible.
It was a deadly place for the renegades. We had
been at them an hour, at least, before they got up to
this place, and they were pretty badly demoralized. Pat
Kehoe had gotten his five men down in the canon be
low them, and they could not go that way. Up the canon
it was impossible for them to go, so up the slide they had
to go. Not a horse ever did jret up that place. There
were three started up at first, and the one in the lead
was a gray. I suppose we all thought the same thing,
and that was if we could hit the lead horse he would
fall back on the others and knock them down like ten
pins. We all fired at the gray horse and down he came,
struggling, and back he knocked the two behind him.
We all felt good, for if Sieber and Woodall felt as I did,
each of them thought his shot had done the work.
"Good work, men!" cried Major Chaff ee; "keep that
hole stopped and we have got em." He did not use just
those words, for Chaffee, in a fight, can beat any man
swearing I ever heard. He swears by ear, and by note in
a common way, and by everything else in a general way.
A VINDICATION. 109
He would swear when his men would miss a good shot,
and he would swear when they made a good shot. He
swore at himself for not bringing more ammunition, and
he would swear at his men for wasting their ammuni
tion or shooting too often. Then an Indian would expose
himself and he would swear and yell: "Shoot, you damned
idiots! What do you suppose I give you ammunition for
The gray horse stuck in the trail and no other horse
could get up till he was gotten out of the way. Several
renegades tried to get him out of the way, but it was
an awful place to work to much advantage, for we were
all good shots, and while the distance was close to six
hundred yards, we had the range down so fine, and we
were perhaps fifty feet above them, so that for that dis
tance the spot for us was ideal. After they saw they
could not get the gray horse away from the place where
he had fallen, another tried to lead his horse over the
gray one, and down that horse went; not ontop of the
gray, but nearly so, and that blocked the trail completely.
No more horses tried to go through, but several Indians
ran up on foot.
About 4 o clock there came up the heaviest hail and
rain storm that I ever saw in my life. There was heavy
pine timber all over the country. The storm came up
suddenly, and it got so very dark that we could not see
across the canon. Then the hail and rain commenced.
Wah! I feel cold and wet from it yet! That hail and
rain punished us pretty well, I tell you. It was over in
tw r enty minutes, and the fight was over, also. All of us
were so cold and wet we could neither see nor shoot, and
110 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
there was a regular torrent running in the bottom of the
After the storm was over we went back a short dis
tance and waited and wished for Chaffee s pack train.
About 6 o clock we were all surprised to see the pack
train come in, but in the meanwhile we had some fires
started and were feeling better. We soon got something
to eat, for there were many willing cooks that night.
The pack train had seen no hail nor rain and was per
fectly dry. Our horses were all doing well, for the grass
was as fine and fresh as I ever saw anywhere.
After dark Colonel Carr and a couple of troops of cav
alry came in. He had made a very long march, having
come from Canon Creek that day. He also went into
camp, and considering how wet and cold we all had
been at 4 o clock, we thought now we were in luck.
A lieutenant in Chaffee s troop, who was afterwards
killed on San Juan Hill (his name was West), in telling
some of the officers of Carr s command how wet and
cold we got, explained everything about it to his own
satisfaction by saying: "Why, Major Chaff ee got so cold
and wet he had to stop swearing." (Carr and his com
mand had not seen any rain or hail, either.)
On the following morning we were all thrown out to
cross the canon and see what damage we had done the
day before. We found a sad looking outfit up on the
side of the canon. Out of more than a hundred horses,
the renegades had only about twenty that were not killed
or wounded. We found twenty-one dead Indians, and
one wounded squaw. Some of the soldiers afterwards
said that there were a couple of wounded bucks, but that
Micky had stuck his knife into them. Micky had come
A VINDICATION. Ill
up with Carr the night before. I don t know if Micky did
this deed or not; but I am afraid he did.
A squaw had been shot on the shin bone by a Spring
field rifle ball, and the bone was of course shattered in
a thousand pieces. The soldiers, some of them, ran
onto her, and were getting ready to carry her back to
camp, under the direction of the army surgeon; when
they were all ready to start with her she began to scream
and motion, and kept pointing to a pile of rocks and
brush, and one of the soldiers looked to see what there
was there that she was making so much fuss about, as
they could not understand what she was saying. The
soldier found a little old papoose, about ten months or
a year old, concealed under that rubbish. One of the
men carried it along over to camp. There the surgeons
cut her leg off, and she was sent into Camp Verde along
with a few wounded soldiers we had.
All the rest of the troops, except Major Chaffee s, re
turned to their respective posts, while Chaffee and his
troop, my volunteers and I, started out to see if we could
find which way the escaped Indians had gone.
The wounded squaw told Tul-pi that there had been
about forty-five warriors in the party, and she thought
most of them were killed. She said they all knew that
a lot of Pedro s warriors were with the soldiers, and they
were all very mad because Pedro would send his men
out after them. The woman said the Cibicus learned
the morning of the day of the fight that these men of
Pedro s were after them.
We could not learn anything of the ones who had es
caped, for most of them had gotten away before the hail
of the day before. Nearly every evening a hail storm
112 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
or a rain storm would come up, and as all the men we
were after were on foot, the signs of them were soon ob
We stayed around there on top of the mountain for
about ten days. We even went as far down as Chane s
Pass, where there was a sheep camp. We camped within
about a mile of the Pass, and several of us went down to
see if they had seen any sign of the scattered renegades,
but found they had not.
The foreman of the shearing pens, (they were shear
ing), told us a big, long-winded story of a bear that was
packing a sheep off every night, and how they had lain
out by the shearing pens all night watching for him to
come back so they could kill him.
We w r ent back to camp, and about 1 o clock that night
a sheep herder came to our camp to see if he could get
our doctor to come down to the shearing pens. He told
us that the bear they had been laying for for several
nights had made his appearance. The bear, from what
we could learn from the herder, had come along about
midnight and the two men who were lying there fired
at him. The bear grabbed one of the men and nearly
ate him up before all of the men belonging to the camp
could get the bear to let up on his victim. The com
panion of the w T ounded man had gone for help as soon
as the bear grabbed his partner, and in a couple of
minutes nearly all the men in camp were there. The
bear had been very busy in the meanwhile, and when all
the camp got around him he had dropped his man and
skipped out. Our doctor, or rather surgeon, went down
with the herder, and I followed a few minutes later with
Sieber. The man the bear had been doing business with
A VINDICATION. 113
was still alive, but he was the worst used up man I ever
saw. He was crushed and bitten and broken in every
bone and muscle, so our doctor said. He died before
morning. Some of the men in the sheep camp said the
bear had been eating sheep meat till he was tired of it,
and when he met a hog he thought he would have a mess
Finally we got word to leave the top of the mountain
and go back home. Chaffee went back by way of Camp
Verde and I went back to Camp Apache and disbanded
my volunteers. The scattered renegades had all returned
to Cibicu and Canon Creek and were hiding among the
114 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
Horn "Gets" the Four Bad Indians Wanted at Camp
Apache Horn Is "Threatened" With a Government
Medal for Bravery "I Did Nothing Very Great."
The Medal Still Waiting Sieber and Horn Before
Investigating Committee Border Justice to Horse-
Thieves Dealt Under Horn s Directions Unexpected
Interruption by Department Commander and Depart
ment Inspector A Row and Reconciliation A Clever
I had been working since early in the spring and had
not received any pay and Sieber had had a good deal of
correspondence about it. When we got back to Camp
Apache I was informed by the Quartermaster that my
pay was all straightened out and was at San Carlos, for
me to go there without delay and get it.
The commanding officer at Camp Apache wanted to
get the rest of the Indians who had mutinied when Hentig
was killed, and asked me to go and see if I could do any
thing toward catching them. I sent a man to Jon Dazen,
a bad man and a big chief on Canon Creek, to say that
if he did not bring in these four Indians right away I
would go to Pedro and get a lot of his warriors and go
down there and look for them.
Jon Dazen did not want me down there with Pedro s
braves, so in four days after I sent him this word, he
came into Camp Apache with the four men the com-
A VINDICATION. 115
manding officer wanted. They were Dead Shot, Dandy
Jim, Loco and another man whose name I do not remem
ber. (These bad Indians were later, in 1882, hanged at
I was not in Camp Apache when these Indians were
brought in, as I had gone to Pedro s camp to see and
council with him as to how to get these Indians.
"Go back to Camp Apache," said the old warrior,
"and in a few days they will be brought in. Those bad
men down there have had enough of you and of my men,
and to keep you from coming down there with my men
they will surrender the men you want."
And, sure enough, when I got back to Camp Apache,
the men were all in the guard house, heavily ironed.
I then proceeded to San Carlos to get my pay, now so
Everything was quite there, the only excitement they
had had right at the Agency during the summer was the
killing of Charley Culvig, who had been made Chief of
the Agency Police after Stirling was killed. Colvig, or
"Cibicu Charley," as he was called, had gone up the San
Carlos River one day on some business or other, and at
the place called the Ten Mile Pole, he was shot and killed.
His killing had not created much trouble, as the In
dian police with him had killed the man who shot him,
and that was all there was to it.
Sieber went to San Carlos and located for the winter,
and I was left to look after things all over the Reserva
tion. Sieber, after he located at San Carlos, sent and
got Sage and made him Chief of Police.
I received a long complimentary letter from the De
partment Commander, General Wilcox, along in the fall
116 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
or early winter, telling me that I was an excellent man,
and that he had taken proper steps to have a medal pre
sented to me for bringing old Sergeant Murray out of the
fight after he was wounded on what was called in the
letter, Tupper s Battle Ground at the Sierra Media in
Mexico, and also for saving the balance of the command
after Captain Hentig had been killed on Cibicu; describ
ing how I, under heavy fire, took one man and gained a
high commanding point over the troops and kept them
from getting demoralized and annihilated, by yelling to
the soldiers to keep cool and to send up another man or
two; that with the assistance of tw r o more men I could
whip all the Cibicus in the hills; also, for my excellent
service with my volunteer force from Pedro s camp.
That was the first time I learned I had done anything
On the famous Tupper s Battle Ground, (I had always
considered that was no fight), I thought at that time, and
I think so now, that we were bent not so much on fight
ing as we were on getting a lot of ponies. I know there
was no thought of whipping the Indians, for we knew
we could not do that, and the only thing we could do was
capture a lot of horses for Major Tupper to "show off."
Of course I brought old Sergeant Murray out of the fight,
but I had taken him in also, and I could not very well
leave the old man alone; for he was an old Civil War
veteran, had been soldiering for about twenty-five years,
and after he was knocked off his horse he could not walk,
and if I got him away from under the Indians fire I had
to pack him. So, actually, that is all there was to that;
but the way it was described on paper, it did look great.
A VINDICATION. 117
There at Cibicu I was afraid Sieber would get killed,
for I could have run away myself easily enough, but
Sieber kept with the soldiers and he and some of the men
were carrying Hentig, who was dead. I could not run
away and leave Sieber. He would not leave the soldiers,
and when I saw that, I knew I would have to fight the
Indians away till they all got out. I know I was not
thinking at all of keeping the soldiers from getting killed
nor demoralized, as this great letter said, but I knew
Hentig was dead, and I was wondering all the time what
they wanted to monkey with a dead man for. The reason
I yelled to Sieber to send me a couple more men was be
cause when Sieber started in to get them out I knew it
would not be worth while to tell him to cut loose from
the soldiers and run up to where I was, for I knew when
he started to do anything he would do it. So I had to
hold off the hostiles to let Sieber get out. I never
thought of saving the rest of the command.
As for my now famous volunteers, Pedro s warriors,
had I not taken them with me Pedro would have thought
I had no confidence in him nor his braves. So the whole
letter, while highly complimentary, was simply based on
some account of these affairs as reported to him by some
army officer, and in reality there was nothing extra
ordinary about any of it.
By the way, that was the last I ever heard of that
Along before Christmas there came to San Carlos a
delegation of army officers to see Sieber and me about
our raid into Mexican territory. "In violation of the in
ternational agreement between the United States of
America and the Republic of Mexico," I think this sum-
118 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
mons read. There were eight officers in this investigating
committee, and two of them were Mexicans, though they
spoke English fluently.
Sieber was sworn in and told his tale, and then I was
sworn in and told mine. I don t remember now the
names of these officers. I did not know their names at
the time, except of one of the Mexican officers, which
was E. Milo Kosterlitzki. He was a Polander by birth,
a very gallant and courteous officer, whom I afterw r ards
got to know intimately.
All we had to do was to tell them what we knew, and
I was asked who I got my orders from, and I told them
I got them from Sieber, the chief of scouts. I was asked
if Major Tupper gave me any commands, and I told them
no; I was asked if Colonel Forsythe gave me any orders,
and I told them no. I never heard of anything being
done about the affair afterwards. Everything was done
very quietly, and Sieber told me to keep my own council
in this matter.
Along early in 1881, while I was camped about twelve
miles above San Carlos, Indians kept complaining to me
about Mexicans stealing their horses, and several of them
wanted me to do something about it. I rode down to
the Agency and saw Sieber, and asked him what I
"Organize your Injins, and the next time any horses
are stolen, go after them," said Sieber.
I went back up to camp and called up all the sub-
chiefs, and from them learned that Mexicans had come
in on the Reservation on two different occasions, stolen
horses (always taking the best war ponies), and headed,
on both occasions, towards the source of Turkey Creek,
A VINDICATION. 119
keeping on to the Mexican settlements on the Little Colo
I then made arrangements for six different Indians
to keep up a good horse apiece each night, so they could
be gotten early in the morning, and for them to keep
that up until more horses were stolen, and to let me
know as soon as possible after the horses were taken.
Along in February word came in, about dawn one
morning, that the Mexicans had stolen a bunch of horses
and gone. In ten minutes after the word came in I was
started with two men, the way the Mexicans had been seen
going, about an hour before daylight, by some squaws
that were camped up in the hills gathering muscal. By
sunup there were six of us on the trail of the horses. We
soon saw they were not more than a couple or three
miles ahead of us, and then we concluded they would
come up out of the canon close to Turkey Springs. One
of my men said there was a trail we could get over that
we could make a cut-off and either overtake them or get
ahead of them. These Turkey Springs were on top of
the mountains, and the Mexicans would have a down-hill
swing from there, if they could make it. The Govern
ment road also ran by the springs.
We took the cut-off on the Mexicans and got in ahead
of them all right, just at the Turkey Springs. The first
the Mexicans knew, we were ahead of them. I yelled
to one of them to surrender. He started to run, ran
right up to one of my men and was killed. The other
two Mexicans were killed also, but one of them ran about
half a mile before the Indians got him. Finally, my men
came back and said they had killed the last one over in
the head of the gulch, and had his horse, saddle and gun.
120 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
The horse, by the way, was a war horse belonging to one
of the Indians.
About this time, Indians who had started later than
we did began to come in, and some of them had been
close enough to hear the shooting. Half an hour after
we got to Turkey Springs we had all the horses, and the
three Mexicans w r ere dead. Everybody felt good, and
as two of the dead Mexicans were close to the springs,
and one of them was off some distance, one of the bucks
said he did not get there in time to help kill them, but
that he and his partner would go and drag the one up
that was over in the head of the next gulch. So away
I wanted to bury the Mexicans, but the Indians said,
"No, let them lie by the side of the road here at the
springs, and any other Mexicans coming along will see
them, and, as all Mexicans are horse-thieves, when they
see these dead Mexicans they will decide that it is not
good to steal Apache horses!"
Just then we heard the tramp of cavalry horses, and,
as they were on the Government road, I got on my horse
and went to meet them, for by this time there was a
large bunch of Indians at the springs.
It proved to be the ambulance of General Wilcox and
his escort. He was making a round of the Government
posts with the department inspector. They were right
on us, and came on up to the springs, as they were going
to stop there for feed and lunch. Of course, the first
things they saw were the two dead Mexicans, and, as
I had never met General Wilcox personally, so that he
knew me, I told him who I was, and he said, "Yes, yes."
A VINDICATION. 121
Then he saw the dead Mexicans and asked me what
it meant, and asked me where the troops were, and I
told or was telling him how it all came up, but I could
see that he was mad. To make bad matters worse, just
then up came the two Indians who had gone after the
Mexican in the next gulch, and now they came, dragging
him, with each of them a rope tied to the dead Mexican s
feet. General Wilcox did not know at first what they
were dragging, but as Indians and soldiers gathered
around the newly arrived, the General saw what it was.
I was trying to explain it all to him, but he did not want
any explanation, and oh, what a raking he did give me!
I can t remember all the things he said of me, but
none of them were very complimentary, and perhaps
that is the reason I can t remember them.
Among other things, he said it was no wonder there
was so much turbulence on the Reservation, when a
white man of my position and influence with the Indians
tolerated such things as this. "And not only do you tol
erate it," he said, "but I believe you encourage it. I
have a notion to have you arrested by my escort and
take you to Camp Thomas and put you in irons."
I wanted to explain it all to him, but he would not
let me talk, and would keep telling me not to talk back
to him, but he would not quit upbraiding me. I was
getting pretty tired of it, so I thought as Sieber always
swore and raised Cain when he got in trouble that I
would try the same game on Wilcox. I tore loose at
him, and I did my best to equal Sieber or Major Chaffee,
but I was a novice in the art compared with such ac
complished veterans. Still, I could see I was making
an impression, so I kept on and "gave him the other
122 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
barrel/ and really I guess I did pretty well. My Indians
all came around, and, while they did not understand one
word that was being spoken, they knew I was mad, or
they thought I was, and they knew it must be the horse-
thieves that had caused the trouble; at any rate, they
were with me heart and soul.
General Wilcox was a fine-looking soldier. An old
man he was at this time; his hair was perfectly white.
He was dressed in civilian s clothes, and the Indians
knew he must be a man of importance, but it did not
make any difference to them who he was, for they were
with me, body and soul.
I guess I swore and tore along at a pretty fair rate,
for the old man seemed paralyzed for a while. Then he
ordered the officer of the escort to drive me and the
Indians out of camp. We started in a minute after we
got the order, and then General Wilcox called me back
and said: "What are you going to do with those dead
Mexicans?" I told him I guessed we would leave them,
as we had no use for them at camp. He ordered his
escort to bury them, and then told me to skip, and said
he would take my case up with Sieber, my Chief of
Every time I would start off, he would call me back
and have some more words with me, but he kept getting
in a better humor all the time, and finally wound up by
asking me to stay to lunch with them! This I could not
do, as I had all my braves, who would have had to go
hungry; and, though it was now noon, I explained to
the General that we had all had to start before break
fast, and were as hungry as wolves; that, though it was
A VINDICATION. 123
forty miles to camp, we did not think much of the
General Wilcox then called the officer in charge of
the escort and made some inquiries about the rations,
and we were given a sack of flour and some bacon. This
I told the Indians to cook and eat, and in a short time
we were all eating.
General Wilcox had his youngest son with him, and
the boy was looking at a fancy buckskin bag one of the
Indians had; was admiring it and wanted to buy it. I
spoke to the Indian, telling him to give the bag to the
boy, but to take nothing for it. The Indian then gave
the boy the bag. Young Wilcox insisted on giving the
donor a dollar, but the Indian spoke to the other
Indians to get in a bunch. This they did, for they well
understood the game proposed. The Indian who had
given the bag then crowded into the bunch of Indians.
The Indians immediately scattered out again, and young
Wilcox did not know which of the Indians had given
him the trinket. This caused a big laugh among the
soldiers and Indians, and, as the whole outfit was now
ready for the road again, after bidding us good-bye, and
after being told by General Wilcox that may be I under
stood the Indian question better than he did, and cau
tioned me "not to do so any more," they pulled out,
cheered to the echo by my outfit.
Charley Wilcox, the boy who was with his father,
General Wilcox, on that trip, is now the business man
ager for William Cook Daniels, of the old firm of Daniels
& Fisher, Denver, Colorado. He was for several years
reporter on a Denver newspaper.
124 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
We all got on our horses and struck out for camp
as soon as the soldiers left, and it was late when we got
back, as we rode slowly, having ridden very hard in the
morning. Our ponies had gotten a couple of hours rest
while we were at Turkey Springs, but we were forty
miles from camp.
The next day I went down to the Agency and told
Sieber the whole thing just as it happened of the row
and reconciliation with General Wilcox. Sieber said I
was doing well for a boy! to get such a complimentary
letter from the Department Commander one month, and
to fall out with him the next was a good way to keep
the Government in mind that there was, in their employ,
such a man as Tom Horn!
Nothing more was ever done or said about any of
that affair so far as I ever heard, but we lost no more
ponies by Mexican horse thieves.
A VINDICATION. 125
Orders to _ Report at Camp Apache, Camp Verde and
Fort Whipple Sieber and "Sieber s Boy" Enjoy a
Fine Trip General George A. Crook Supercedes
General Wilcox as Department Commander More
Depredations Sieber and Horn, "An Armed Force,"
Invade Mexico Red-taped, Long-drawn Elaborate
Investigation Governmental "Censure" - General
Crook Arrives Big Indian Council United States-
Mexican Treaty Sieber and Horn Revisit Tombstone
A Too Warm Welcome.
There was nothing more doing until April, when
Sieber was ordered to bring me, come around by Camp
Apache, report to the commanding officer; to go from
there to Camp Verde, report there, and then to come
on to Fort Whipple and report to the commanding
officer there. We were instructed to take all the time
we wanted, and to look well over the Reservation, so
as to be able to report the condition of affairs to the
commanding officer at Fort Whipple on our arrival there.
We took three horses apiece and struck out. It was
a delightful trip, and we enjoyed it to the limit.
When we got out of the White Mountains and out
among the settlers in Pleasant Valley and Green Valley
and Strawberry Valley, and on the Verde River, we were
treated by the settlers to everything they had to give
12G LIFE OF TOM HORN:
us, and we lived fat and enjoyed the trip as I never
enjoyed a visit before nor since. Sieber was a great
favorite with all the settlers, and I was called "Sieber s
boy," so, for ourselves, on that trip all was lovely.
At Camp Apache, when we reported there, we were
just told to go on, but at Camp Verde we were told by
the adjutant to wait there for further orders. We stayed
at Camp Verde about six weeks, and were then ordered
back to San Carlos, and to go in a leisurely manner and
to keep a good lookout among the settlers of the Tonto
Basin to see if any of them had been molested by the
Indians during the spring and summer.
Before we left Camp Verde we had heard that Gen
eral George Crook was coming to take command of the
Department of Arizona. Sieber was glad of it, as he
said Crook was a good Indian man.
We had been waiting for a long time to hear some
news of the Chiricahuas, in Mexico, but, beyond a few
reports that they had been raiding in Mexico, we did not
know anything of them. We got back to San Carlos in
July, and, for the first time since the Chiricahuas broke
out, we heard of them. A bunch of raiders had come
back up from Mexico, killed a man close to Stein Peak,
crossed over within ten miles of Fort Bowie, killed a
man and his son, and stolen a lot of horses at Theo
White s Ranch, then had gone down through Rucker
Mountains and into Mexico again. It was said there
were about twenty or twenty-five bucks in the party.
From San Carlos we were ordered to Fort Bowie as
fast as possible. We got there two days afterward, and
went over to Pinery Canon, struck the trail and followed
it back to the Mexico line. The Indians crossed the line
MAJOR-GENERAL GEORGE CROOK
A VINDICATION. 127
at the Guadaloupe Canon; Sieber and I were alone, but,
as the Indian trail was three days old, we had no cause
The Sixth Cavalry were going to New Mexico, and
the Third Cavalry were coming to Arizona, so rumor
said; sure enough, that fall saw a great change in the
Department. General Crook did not show up in person
till the summer following, but he was running things, so
it was said.
Sieber and I were now kept at Fort Bowie, and were
given to understand that Bowie would be our headquar
ters from that time on. We got all our ponies together.
We had about twenty-five between us, and we hired an
old Mexican to herd and look after them for us when
we would be away.
There was no more raiding during the fall and winter
of 1881, but we frequently saw where little bunches of
Indians would come up into Arizona from Mexico, camp
a few days, and, as there were no settlers down there,
in these cases we were not bothered.
Early in the spring of 1882 there was a bunch of rene
gades from Mexico crossed the line at Dog Springs, and
raided up within two miles of Deming, New Mexico;
from there up on the Membres River and over within
six miles of Silver City, then down toward the Gila
settlements. The first man they killed was at the old
Yorke Ranch, across from the Stein Mountains, and
there they were run into by a bunch of cowboys and
white men who were after them.
These boys struck the Indians just at sundown. The
Indians were led, some of them, by a white man named
Jones, and the cowboys were led by a cowboy named
128 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Buck Tyson. They were trying to run up behind the In
dians, as they <*ould not get ahead of them. They did
finally overtake some of the rear Indians, and had a lit
tle running scrap. One of the squaws had to drop her
kid, which was eight or ten months old, and the white
man, leader of one of the outfits, picked it up "captured
it," the cowboys said. All of the other Indians escaped
in the fast gathering darkness; and as the pursuers
horses were completely worn out with the long chase
they all turned back home.
Sieber and I struck the trail of the renegades as they
went back across the line. We ran upon them at the
Hot Springs, just across the line. Sieber killed a buck,
and I ran up and captured his squaw. We were alone,
in Mexico, and as we decided we must hold our prisoner,
we turned back, traveled all night and reached Camp
Rucker, where we found a bunch of soldiers, and turned
our catch over to them to take to the guard house at Fort
Sieber and I both told the officers that we captured
the squaw on the head of the Guadaloupe Canon, in Ari
zona; but some of the Mexican guards found the body of
the dead buck at Hot Springs, and found our trail lead
ing back into the United States. Thereupon the Mexican
Government again sent a protest to the American Gov
ernment about "armed bodies of men" from the United
States entering Mexico. We swore up and down when
we were "jacked up" about it that it was in the United
States where we got the squaw and killed the buck.
By the time this thing came to a head, the squaw
had been sent to San Carlos from Fort Bowie, and the
agent there asked her where she was captured, and she
A VINDICATION. 129
said: "Eight at the Hot Spring/ Now, there is only
one Hot Spring in that part of the country, and that is
Sieber and I were certainly "in the soup!"
Captain Smith was in command at Fort Bowie, and
we were summoned from the southern part of the terri
tory to report at Bowie immediately. The detachment
of men who brought us the summons had been looking
for us eight days, and had started back to Bowie, when
we ran upon them, and they gave Sieber the dispatches
from the commanding officer at Bowie. We questioned
the officers who had the dispatch, as to what was wanted
with us, and he said his orders were to scour the Mexican
line till he found us and delivered those letters, and that
was all he knew. We knew it was some more of that
Hot Springs business, so we went on in with the sol
When we got in and reported to. the commanding of
ficer, he told us to go over and report to the adjutant.
We went to the adjutant s office and sent an orderly to
tell the adjutant to come to the office, which he did im
mediately. We were called into his office, and he dis
missed the clerk who was there. He then informed us
that he had a very disagreeable duty to perform. I could
tell Sieber was mad, for he knew it was some more of the
Mexico business, and we were both tired of it.
The adjutant got out a great elaborate report of a mil
itary investigation that had been made by certain com
missioned officers of the United States of America, or
something about like that; that this investigation was
instigated because of certain reports made by certain
officers of the Mexican Government; that the Mexican
130 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
Government claimed that an armed body of men from
the United States of America had crossed the interna
tional line between the United States of America and
Mexico without authority; that this was done in viola
tion of some treaty or other, and the Mexican Govern
ment asked that such steps be taken by the proper au
thorities of the United States to prevent such things in
"Now," said the adjutant, "the officers who are mak
ing this investigation have found that you, Al. Sieber,
chief of scouts, and you, Tom Horn, scout and inter
preter for the Department of War of these United States,
did, as an armed body of men, cross this so-called inter
national line between the United States of America and
the Republic of Mexico, and that you did this without the
order or sanction of the military commander of this dis
trict, of which Fort Bowie is headquarters. The order of
the commission that made this investigation is, that you
be censured for the violation. Gentlemen," continued
the adjutant, "that is all. Now, let s go down to the
sutler s and get a drink, and you will please do me the
honor to dine with me this evening at 7 "o clock."
We gladly accepted the invitation to dinner; went
down to the sutler store and fixed up about the drink;
then went and hunted up our greaser herder and turned
our tired horses out. So ended the second invasion of
Mexican territory by "armed bodies of men from the
"What a h 1 of a row those greasers keep kicking
up!" was Sieber s comment. "We are in big luck,
though, to get out of it so easily, because I told General
Crook that we did not go into Mexico at all, and I guess
A VINDICATION. 131
he thought it was funny if I did not know where the line
was, for I was at the head of the party that made the
preliminary government survey through there."
From Bowie, after our "reprimand," as we called it,
we were ordered to report at San Carlos as soon as con
venient. So, in a few days we went up there. General
Crook was coming to San Carlos, and was going to reor
ganize everything in the entire Department.
We stayed at San Carlos a couple of weeks before
General Crook came down. He came by way of Camp
Apache, and there were about a couple of thousand In
dians following him. We are going to have a big In
dian talk. And we did have a big Indian talk, and it
lasted for a week.
Old Coaly and Suneriano did the interpreting. Sie-
ber and General Crook would talk together all night, or
a big part of it, and then General Crook would talk to
the Indians all day. General Crook wanted to enlist
Indian scouts to go after the Chiricahuas, and he wanted
the support of the Indian chiefs to do so. The Indians,
on their part, wanted to be started in the cattle business,
and they knew that if they could get General Crook in
terested he would do it for them, or take the proper steps
to have it done. A whole week it lasted, and then Gen
eral Crook went back to Whipple, and Sieber and I went
back to Bowie.
General Crook was at this time working to get a
treaty fixed up between Mexico and the United States,
so that we might cross the Mexican line in pursuit of
the Indians. It seemed as though the matter had been
referred by the Mexican Government to officers of the
Mexican army in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, in
132 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Mexico, and that Colonel Garcia had made a strong pro
test to the Mexican Government against the treaty, say
ing that, as military commander of the District of Galla-
jano, in the State of Chihuahua, which was the only part
of the state infested with renegade Indians, was entirely
under his control, and cited as a fact that he had killed
two hundred, as he said, and captured one hundred in
one fight; that he had understood the American troops
had made some slighting remarks about his engagements
with the Indians on that occasion, to the effect that he
had let the men all get away, killing only women and
children. He said, so Sieber understood from General
Crook, that fully one-half, or more than one-half, of the
Indians killed by him were grown men with arms of
warfare in their hands, and, therefore, he did not con
sider there was any need for the Americans to come into
Mexico. That report of Colonel Garcia had to be gotten
over some way, and that way was being worked as fast
as the red tape at Washington, D. C., would permit.
Before we left San Carlos we took the squaw we had
captured at the Hot Springs, in Mexico, out of the cala
boose and gave her a pony, and took her to Fort Bowie,
and told her to go and find the Indians in Mexico, and
tell them to send up some one to talk to General Crook.
We lay around on the border for several months wait
ing for a messenger from the hostiles in Mexico, or from
our treaty with Mexico. There was nothing doing, and
those were dull days, indeed.
Sieber and I went over to Tombstone and stayed a
week to break the monotony, and we did sure break it
to a finish! We knew a great many men in camp, and
everybody knew of us as members of the pioneer party
A VINDICATION. 133
that located the camp. Well, that trip to Tombstone was
worse than any campaign we had been on yet. Every
one of the pioneer party that we met had done well.
Some of them who were in the party did not do well,
but we did not see any of them. Every one of them in
sisted on buying us a new suit of clothes and hats and
six shooters and champagne. Wow! but it was, as old
Ed Clarke told us, "a brave struggle we made," but the
combination was too strong and too swift for us. We
left one morning about 3 o clock, so as to avoid the rush.
We got the city marshal to bring our horses out behind
a place they called the "Bird Cage;" he came in the cage
and called us out "for a minute," and we got on our
horses and "hit the pike."
Well, I think I am safe in saying that we were drunk,
and as we were not allowed to drink anything but cham
pagne, for my part, I did not get steady for ten days.
134 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Indian Troubles Begin in Earnest "Peaches" and Horn
As "Talk-Carriers" Geronimo Would Have a "Peace
Talk" General Crook Goes to Meet Geronimo
Smugglers Versus Custom Guards "Not Honest,
But Honorable" Geronimo s Hostages and Camp
Horn Must Interpret An Indian s Tribute to Horn s
Tutor (Sieber), "The Old Mad White Man, a Man of
War and a Man of Truth."
The early part of 1883 began to start trouble. Pee-
chee, a Chiricahua warrior, came in from the hostiles
in Mexico, went to an Indian camp up on the San Carlos
River, and told the Indians in camp that he wanted to
be taken by them to the Agency, as he had a big talk to
These Indians took him to the Agency as he requested,
and there he said he wanted to see General Crook, to
have a big long medicine talk with him. The agent put
the Indian in the guardhouse and put a close watch over
him, and wired General Crook that this man said he
was from Geronimo s camp in the Sierra Madre in Mex
ico and had come to see and have a talk with him (Gen
The General wired from Fort Whipple, where he
was, that he would start for San Carlos as soon as he
could make arrangements to do so. He also wired to
A VINDICATION. 135
Fort Bowie for Sieber to meet him in San Carlos. Of
course, Sieber and I had heard of this man s coming in,
and we knew that the squaw had gotten to the hostiles
camp in Mexico. I mean the squaw Sieber and I cap
tured at the Hot Spring and over whom we got our, by
this time, famous reprimand. The officers at Fort Bowie
were forever joking us about our "invasion of Mexico
with an armed body of men" and our consequent repri
mand by the investigating commitee.
We knew that this man who, in all Government dis
patches, was called "Peaches" was a messenger of
more "peace." Geronimo was one of the greatest and
most eloquent talkers in the entire Indian tribe, and
when he sent in word that he wanted to talk, he always
said he wanted to talk "peace." When there was war to
be made he never had anything to say, but just went
to war; but he could stay on the war path only so long,
and then he would get all filled up with talk, and he
would send to the Government to get some one to talk
to. This is what the rest of the Indians always said of
We went to San Carlos, and in about a week General
Crook reached there also. We got this Indian, Peaches,
and took him to General Crook s camp, and the prelimi
nary part of the big talk was on!
Peaches said that his talk was all from Geronimo
and no one else; meaning that such chiefs as Ju, Loco,
Chihuahua and Natchez were not in the talk. He said
Geronimo wanted to talk and wanted to surrender, and
come back again to the Reservation and not go on the
war-path any more. He wanted General Crook to come
to Mexico with a good big body of troops and escort
13() LIFE OF TOM HORN:
all the hostile Indians who wanted to come up to the
San Carlos Reservation, in case terms could be agreed
upon between Geronimo and General Crook. Geronimo
said he knew that American soldiers could now come
Into Mexico, for he told of the fight at Sierra Media and
on Carretas Creek, where they ran upon Garcia, and he
knew we followed that far, at that time. He also knew
how Sieber and I alone struck the little bunch of Indians
at the Hot Spring and knew that the Hot Spring was
So he said we would not have as an excuse that we
could not cross the line any more, as we had crossed it
whenever we liked. He said that in the talk Sieber and
I had with him in the Terras Mountains, three years
before, that Sieber had told him it was only a question
of time when arrangements would be made between the
American and Mexican Governments so that we could
cross, and he knew those arrangements had been made
or we would never have crossed the line. Geronimo said
he was tired of the war path, and, in fact, made the
same old talk as in former times.
We then turned the Indian loose, made arrangements
for him to get his meals with the escort of General Crook
and told him to be on hand again in the morning.
Sieber and General Crook then held a long talk by
themselves and they did not know what to do under the
circumstances. Negotiations were on foot to bring about
the treaty to allow us to enter Mexico, but General
Crook had not heard anything concerning them and did
not know what progress had been made in the matter.
The General said he would wire Washington and see
what he could learn. This he did, and the next day got
A VINDICATION. 137
a reply and an order to come to Washington imme
We concluded to turn the Indian loose for good, give
him a horse and some grub, and we made arrangements
for me to meet him in two moons at a place in the San
Luis Mountains, Mexico. General Crook said he would
give Geronimo his answer at that time.
The Indian was given a horse, and Sieber and I took
him to the Mexico line and turned him loose; at least,
there we left him, as he had been loose all the time.
General Crook went to Washington, and when he re
turned Sieber and I were again summoned to meet him,
but this time he came to Fort Bowie.
The General sent me to meet the Indian at the ap
pointed time, and I found him with a squaw at the place
where he said he would meet me. I told him General
Crook wanted him to come with me to Fort Bowie to
get his message from the General in person.
Peaches then took his woman off to one side, and I
guess he told her what to say to Geronimo. Anyhow,
he soon came back to me; the squaw got on her pony
and pulled out south. Peaches and I got on our horses
and struck out for Fort Bowie.
General Crook was waiting for us anxiously, and was
greatly relieved when we came riding into the fort. We
had a talk with him that same night. General Crook
told him that he must go and tell Geronimo that he,
the General, would get together an outfit big enough to
furnish an escort for all the Indians who wanted to come
to the Reservation, and for Peaches to go and tell Geron
imo this, and that our command would go directly to
a place in the Sierra Madre called Rio Viejo, and for
138 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
a guide to meet us on the Rio Viejo to take us to Geron-
imo, wherever he happened to be. Also sent word he
wanted to take all the Chiricahuas.
The Indian was again turned over to me to take back
to the Mexican line, which I did. When this Indian,
Peaches, and I were together he would tell me anything
I asked him and we got to be great friends. We under
stood that as far as we were personally concerned, that
we did not amount to much, and at the same time we
knew that we did amount to something as Talk car
riers," as he called it.
I left the Indian at the head of the Guadaloupe Canon
and returned to Fort Bowie. There I found great prep
arations being made for our expedition into Mexico, but
no one knew where we were going to. Many soldiers and
officers had seen the Indian and me going and coming,
but they did not know who nor what he was. I think the
general supposition was that the Indian and I were spy
ing on the Chiricahuas, and that we were going to
Mexico to surprise the Chiricahuas. I told all of them
that I did not know where we were going and I did not
know if I would go along or not, and gave them answers
of all kinds except the truth.
Some report had come out in the newspapers that
there had been some kind of an agreement entered into
between certain ministers of the United States and
Mexico. The article said that negotiations were insti
tuted to get a regular treaty, but that the treaty could
not be brought about and that in place of a treaty this
was simply an agreement. Putting together what they
knew and what they could guess at, they knew we were
going to Mexico, but that is all they did know, and they
A VINDICATION. 139
were not sure we were going there. All cavalry, of
which I think there were three troops, were ordered to
take rations for sixty days. All the mules in the Quar
termaster s Department were turned into pack mules,
and a couple of pack trains also came in from New
All the scouts were brought from New Mexico and a
good many Apache scouts were enlisted. After all the
transportation had been put in shape, the packers weir
laughing to think that they would not have scarcely any
The evening before we were to pull out, the Quarter
master sent down extra flour and sugar enough to load
all the pack mules down to the guards. The extra flour
and sugar were for the hostiles we were going to meet.
At last we got under way and we headed direct for
Mexico. It was amusing to hear the different surmises
as to what we were going to do and as to where we were
going. The troops we had were of the Third Cavalry.
Lieutenant Gatewood of the Sixth Cavalry, was with us,
and in command of the Apache scouts. Captain Emmet
Crawford of the Third Cavalry, was in command of the
cavalry escort. We had five pack trains and about fifty
We went down past what we now called Tupper s
Battle Ground, at the Sierra Media, and on to where
Colonel Garcia had his famous fight, and then we crossed
the Sierra Madre to get on the Yaqui River slope and
over through Bavispe, a good big town, kept up by the
guards of the custom department. (This town, I will say
now, was shaken down to its very foundation by earth
quakes in 1887).
140 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
On we went, past the town of Baserac, only two
leagues from Bavispe, and the earthquake that razed Ba-
vispe to the ground only cracked one adobe wall in Ba
serac. All residents of this part of Mexico at that time
who were not smugglers, belonged to the custom house
guards in some capacity or other, and there was the
hardest of feeling between the two classes. There was
always more or less war between the guards and the
civilians, (or smugglers, to use the correct term.) Smug
gling was a great business in those times. All the smug
gling to amount to anything was in the shape of over
alls, women s shoes, buttons, needles, thread and little
trinkets. The difference in the price of the things in the
United States and Mexico was about as follows: Over
alls costing 47 cents to 50 cents a pair in Deming. or
Silver City, New Mexico, sold in Old Mexico for $2.50.
Ladies shoes that cost f 1.50 a pair, sold for f 5.00. But
tons costing 20 cents a gross sold for 25 cents per dozen.
From this it will be seen that there was big money in
All smugglers were of necessity, brave, daring fellows,
who had to bring their cargoes of smuggled goods right
in under the very nose of the custom guard, and th^re
was many a fierce fight between them; for a smuggler
would as soon die as lose his cargo, and would sooner
die than loose a mule. (All smuggling was done on pack
Thus, the residents of Bavispe were all guards or else
belonged to the custom service in some other capacity,
and all of the residents of Beserac all said, when the
earthquake shook down Bavispe that it was the wrath of
God being inflicted upon the guards. And as only one
A VINDICATION. 141
house in Baserac was cracked, and that man was a
brother-in-law to one of the guards, and supposed to be
in sympathy with the guards, it made them all the surer
that smuggling was far more legitimate than belonging
to the guard service.
These fellows were a good lot of citizens, so far r.s
honorable conduct went. In fact, a common saying
among them was: "We are not supposed to be honest,
but we are honorable."
From there we kept on down to Bacadebichi and over
by Nacori, (where we buried Captain Crawford three
years later, as I will relate later on.) There we left the
Mexican settlements and turned into the Sierra Madre
proper and crossed over to the Rio Viejo. There the
command was camped for a couple of days till I could
go up to the head of the river and see if I could find our
man to guide us to the hostile camp.
I looked two days for my man before I could run on
him, and then I met him coming down the Rio Viejo.
We returned to our camp and I found General Crook
very uneasy for fear I had been taken in by the Indians.
Next morning we started for the hostile camp, guided
by Peaches, who said it would take us five days more
to get there. We kept out a very careful line of guards
for the pack trains and soldiers. General Crook said
he had no fear of treachery, but it was well to be careful.
It was a lovely country we were passing through.
Limes grew wild most everywhere. On the second day
from the camp on Rio Viejo we camped on a stream that
our guide said was called "the stream with the old
houses on it," and for miles up and down the creek were
peach trees by the thousand, all of them loaded down
142 LIFE OF TOM HORN!
with fruit. Some of the peaches were as ripe as could
be without rotting, but more of them were very green.
The guide said there were ripe peaches there five months
in the year. General Crook said we would name this
place "The Peach Orchard. " There were many more
streams in that part of the country with peaches on
them, but none where there were so many as here. There
were lots of signs of Indians, and our guide said the
whole outfit of hostiles had just left that part of the
The night before we got to the camp of Geronimo we
were joined by about twenty Indians; young men and
young women. One of them, who was in command of
them, apparently, said that they were sent by Geronimo
as a hostage, and that they should remain with us till
after our big talk. They requested to be put under
guard, but they were told by General Crook just to stay
where Captain Crawford ordered them to stay.
We found Geronimo camped in one of the most lovely
places one could imagine. He sent several men to show
us where to camp, but we picked a camp to suit our
Geronimo, Ju, and old Loco came during the evening
and paid their respects to General Crook and arranged
for a big talk on the following morning.
A big talk it was, sure enough. General Crook had
for his interpreters two Mexicans named Antonio Bias
and Montoyo. Geronimo started the war talk by saying
that these interpreters were of Mexican blood and that
no Mexican was a man of word, meaning they could not
speak true. He said that he wanted only peace and har
mony in the big talk that was coming off, and that there
A VINDICATION. 143
would be many days of it, and that some of it would
be of such a nature that only Geronimo and General
Crook should know, and it would necessarily have to go
through the mouth of an interpreter, and he much pre
ferred that I should be the one to do the interpreting.
He then went on and told of all the preliminary work
that led up to this meeting, the part I had taken in all
of it, and of the confidence the Government must have
in me to have me attempt such an undertaking; that
the "old mad white man" (meaning Sieber) had raised
and trained me; that he knew Sieber to be a man of
war and a man of truth, a man who could always be
found in a peace council or leading a war party, and
that I, as a pupil of such a man, must be a good man
and a truthful one, and that I had come to his camp
with Sieber on a former occasion to see and talk to him ;
and he said Antonio Bias was of the Apaches who were
not truthful, and he finally wound up his harangue by
saying that I was the only one who could do the inter
This was not what we had figured on, for General
Crook had instructed me this way: When the talk got
started, I was to circulate around among the women
and warriors who were not in the council and use my
influence to get all of them to go to the ^Reservation. We
knew that old Geronimo would talk to General Crook all
day and to his own people all night, and we knew also
that Geronimo was popular as a chief, because, while
he would make a big bluff of a talk, that he would wind
up by doing as the majority of the most influential In
dians should decide.
144 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
In other words, some of the Indians did as they
pleased, regardless of Geronimo or any one else, and on
our side there were certain things that General Crook
wanted the Indians to know, and he did not want to
talk it to them or to promise it to them in council, and
my duty was to let the Indians know these things. We
talked these things over and our councillor, Sieber, said
that old Geronimo was onto our job, and that he did
not want me going around among the younger men and
women to do any talking so as to influence them to go
back with us; but as Geronimo had requested that I do
the interpreting, the only thing that General Crook
could then do was to say that Antonio was an old man
in council and had been engaged in interpreting for
twenty-five years; that I was a young man and not as
experienced in such things as w r as Antonio and for that
reason he had brought Antonio to do the interpreting.
General Crook also told Geronimo that I was being
raised by Sieber as a warrior and that a warrior was
not supposed to be an interpreter.
Geronimo replied that Sieber was the one white man
he knew who always represented the Government. He
said: "Sibi is always with a Government council or
Government war party. White soldiers come and go,
and I have seen many of them for many years come and
go, but Sibi, the mad white man, is always here." He
added that "Sibi" was not a good man to be with, as
he was a man of iron and nothing would turn him, and
that he did not care to talk, but that his words were all
from his heart; that there was no room in his heart for
anything that he did not think was right, that his words
were as wise as those of any chief, white or red; that
A VINDICATION. 145
he was respected by the Indians, though as iron he was,
and that being raised by him was of itself a guarantee
of faithfulness in war or in council.
I was all puffed up by the time Geronimo and General
Crook got through discussing me. Antonio was then
set aside and I took the interpreter s place.
146 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
Synopsis of General Crook s Speech in Geronimo s Coun
cil "It must be War or Peace!" Deep Impression
Made by General Crook What Will Geronimo Do?
Sieber and Horn Summoned as Advisers to the Tribe
Council; the Only White Men Admitted "Take Your
Knife, Tom; Stand While You Interpret; Forget That
You May Not Live One Minute, and Think Only of
the Talk" The War Chief Speaks Etiquette of an
Indian Council The Eloquent Silence of the Red
Man Sieber s Advice, "Words of Wisdom and
General Crook was the first man to do any talking,
as he had taken the first steps to bring about this talk.
He told Geronimo that eleven years before, when he
was in command of the Department, he had left all the
Indians on the Reservation at peace, drawing their ra
tions and seemingly content; that when he left he had
no idea that any of the Indians would ever go on the war
path again. Then he had been called away by his Gov
ernment to go to another part of the country, and that
from time to time he had heard of the Apache outbreaks
as they occurred. He said he did not know what made
men with as much sense and judgment as Geronimo do
such things, and leave a place where everything was
given them that was given to the white soldiers. He
knew that they had a grievance of some kind, and that
A VINDICATION. 147
he wanted to hear what it was, and he wanted to adjust
the grievance in any way that he could that would not
hurt Geronimo or the people with him, and that before
he left the Sierra Madres he wanted to get Geronimo and
every Indian in the mountains to go back with him, and
he wanted the influence of Geronimo to help him do this;
that the time for war was past, and it was now time to
leave the war path and its hardships and go and settle
down on the Reservation. He told Geronimo that the
Chiricahuas had committed many depredations which
laid them liable to arrest and prosecution by the Govern
ment, but that if they all went back that he would see
that none of them were taken away and tried by the
civil courts, and that if they would go back to the Reser
vation and be counted regularly and draw their rations
he would locate them on any part of the Reservation
(that was not occupied by any other Indians) that Geron
imo might choose.
"There is always more or less trouble in a big Indian
camp," continued General Crook, "and I will make sol
diers of your men to keep peace in the camp. I will keep
a company of twenty-five men all the time, that may be
selected by the long-nosed, ugly soldier." (Lieutenant
Gatewood was so called. Gatewood was, perhaps, the
homliest man in the service). "This officer will have no
other duty than to look after you and your interests, and
to adjust your troubles. He will see that you get your
rations and clothing, and everything that you are en
titled to by the Government. Now, you know what it
is that the Government has done, and will do, and all
that it can do I promise to do for you.
148 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
"I have just came back from the place called Wash
ington, which, you know, is the head of our Government,
and there I met officers high in rank belonging to the
Mexican Government, and I made arrangements with
them to permit of my crossing the line in pursuit of Indi
ans committing depredations in the United States. I
have come to you as a brother and as a personal friend,
to tell you all this and to conduct any and all who want
to go back in safety. When I leave here, I must be in
formed by you if you want war or if you want peace.
"Formerly conditions were such that we could only
pursue renegade Indians as far as the Mexico line. Now
I can follow them to the end of the earth. If you do not
go back now, and if I can not persuade you to go back,
then must I say War! I am an old man, and would be
at peace with all the world, but my people living in New
Mexico and Arizona must have protection, and I am
there to protect them. I could not do so while our laws
would not allow me to cross the Mexico line with my
soldiers. Your young men could live here in the Sierra
Madres and raid up into our country, and it was seldom
we could run onto them while up there.
"The Chiricahuas are very clever, and can easily
dodge the cavalry when they have only to dodge them
long enough to get back across the line of Mexico; but
from now on, Mexico will not protect you. I am telling
you all this so that you will know how we are fixed, and
so you will know what a refusal to go with me means.
It means war, and if you do not go with me now peace
ably, I will return as I came to this country, but I will
go with a heavy heart. I will then organize a war
party and send it to this country and will make several
A VINDICATION. 149
divisions of it, so as to be able to operate all over the
mountains at once. Then will the Chiricahuas be
doomed, and I, an old man, will go with a heavy heart
to my grave, for the war will be long and bitter, and my
days will be passed in restlessness, and my nights with
out sleep. I can not go out myself, for the hardships
will be too great for me, so I will have to remain at
home; but, as I said, without rest or sleep. Geronimo,
you will go from this council to a council of your own
people, and you may think that I have spoken too se
verely to you. I can talk to you only as I have, for
about this talk there must be no misunderstanding. This
is a council of great importance to me, as I could not be
gin a war on you without giving you a chance for peace.
I will listen to what you have to say, to-morrow."
That ended the big talk for this day. Of course there
was a great deal more talk than I have written down
here, but this was all there was said of much importance.
There must have been two hundred warriors in the
council, and every one of them got up and went back to
their camp as silent as shadows. General Crook s talk
had made a deep impression on them. General Crook
himself was very grave, and went to his tent and stayed
out of sight of every one. All the officers that heard
the talk went back to their camps and began to make
preparations for a fight. They thought that Geronimo
would resent such talk as the general made to them.
Sieber also went off to one side of a hill and sat by him
self. Anyone who knew Sieber knew that he wanted
to be alone.
We had started the talk very early in the morning,
and it was now close to noon. The whole camp looked
1 50 LIFE OF TOM HOKN :
more like a funeral party than it did like a war party or
Micky Free came up to me and said: "Tom, what do
you think Geronimo will do?" Of course, I could only
guess, and I guessed that we would take a big lot of ren
egades to the Reservation, but I knew there were war
riors with Geronimo that Geronimo himself could not
control, and 1 did not think they would return with us
to live in peace on the Reservation, for they were not
men of peace. I asked Micky how some of the bad ones,
whom each of us knew personally, could go and live iu
peace. "There," said I, "is Mas-say. How can you ex
pect a man like him to give a serious thought to peace?
Mas-say loves the war path, and many of the more rest
less ones will follow him. They are, every one of them
who follows such a devil as Mas-say, men who want the
excitement of the war path, and for peace they care not."
Micky asked me if I had known beforehand that
General Crook w r as going to make such a talk to the ren
egades as he had just made. I told him I certainly did
not know what General Crook intended to say until he
said it. "Then why did you go and put on your big
white-handled six-shooter before you went into the coun
cil?" asked Micky. I told him I did so because Sieber
had told me to.
"I saw r Sieber had his pistol, too," continued Micky,
"I could see it where it pushed up his hunting shirt. And
when it came around to the part of the talk where Gen
eral Crook said: War or peace, I will have/ I saw Sieber
slip his hand up under his shirt and put it on his pistol.
It would have been a sad day for Geronimo if he had
made any kick at that point, for it would have meant a
A VINDICATION. 151
general row right there. I could see Sieber was watching
Geronimo like a hawk. Look up there. Do you see him
now?" asked Micky, "When Sieber goes off by himself
like that he knows that there may be serious trouble, and
Sieber can tell when trouble is liable to come. He can
smell it as easy as I can smell smoke. Well, we will just
watch him, and do as he does. He is never wrong and he
won t be wrong this time."
Micky could not keep still, and I did not feel very
All the soldiers were close to camp and close to their
guns. All the renegades were as silent as mutes. Not
a dog nor a child in the entire camp was making any
noise. We could not visit any one for every one seemed
to want to tend to his own business.
Presently Sieber called to us to come up to where he
was and we got our rifles and went up there. Sieber be
gan to langh at us, and said we were standing around
like a couple of lost squaws. He said we need not look
so solemn as the talk the General made was all right, and
he felt sure that the worst of the campaign was over;
that when the renegades did nothing in the first twenty
minutes after the council was over there would be no
danger from them afterward.
W r e could see many Indians gathering around Ge
ronimo and he stood talking to them. We could see his
gestures, and could hear the hum of his voice, but could
not distinguish a word he said. None of our party were
allowed in Geronimo s council. We watched them for a
long time and finally saw him turn and point at us.
Sieber said to me that he and I would be sent for by Ge
ronimo before night. "And if you are not with me when
152 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
he sends, you must come and leave your pistol and take
only your knife," said Sieber.
Along in the middle of the afternoon, after I had had
something to eat, a small girl came to me and said Sieber
would talk with me. I went up to his camp, and he said :
"Well, Tom, the summons has come. We are to go to Ge-
ronimo. Now you watch me all the time, and that will
keep your nerves steady. You tell Geronimo for me,
exactly as I tell you to tell him, when I am asked to talk.
Stand while you are talking, forget that you may not live
one more minute and think only of the talk. No one but
Geronimo knows what he will say to us for this is a very
critical period, and anything of the least importance may
start the war or may prevent it. So don t you say any
thing at all except as I tell you to say it."
We then went over to Geronimo s council. I had felt
a little nervous ever since General Crook s council broke
up, but now that we were stepping right into the lion s
jaws, I did not feel near so shaky. As we were getting
up close to the council Sieber looked at me and smiled,
asked me how I felt. I told him I was not much scared.
The first time Sieber and I had gone into Geronimo s
ramp, entirely alone in the Terras Mountains, I was not
scared or shaky at all, and the Indians all seemed not to
pay much attention to us, but it was the actions of the
Indians here that made one feel the gravity of the situa
tion. Not a smile on the face of any one, and, in place
of not being noticed as in the Terras Mountains, here
every Indian of the two hundred was looking at us and
watching our eyes and faces as though they would read
our very thoughts.
A VINDICATION. 153
A place was made for Sieber on a blanket and he was
motioned to sit down. Then everybody sat but me. I was
left standing as was my place to be, for there is etiquette
in a hostile Indian camp just as there is in a ball room
of the "Four Hundred" in New York.
Who was it that said the silence of an Indian chief
is eloquent? It might have been on this occasion, but if
it was I did not appreciate the eloquence of it. I am
sure as I stood there amid that silent eloquence I was the
most uncomfortable man in Mexico. Oh, how I did want
some one to say something. At last, Sieber said to Ge-
"You would talk with me?"
"Yes," said Geroniino, "I would talk with you and I
have asked you into my council to give me advice and to
talk with you, not as a warrior of one nation talks to a
warrior of another nation, but as two warriors talk as
friends and brothers when a question of gravest im
portance confronts them in their respective positions.
You heard the words of General Crook. You may have
known what he would say before he came here. They
were words that make a man feel sad to hear and I know
that it made General Crook feel bad to say them. I had
no idea he would speak so straight, and I can not now
realize that such words have been spoken. General
Crook said that I must say if it is to be peace or if it is
to be war.
"When a man like General Crook says that to a man
like me, it does not leave anything for me to do but say
"war" or "peace."
"General Crook knows what war is, and he is a man
of peace. I, Geroniino, the war chief of the Chiricahua
154 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Apaches, for the first time in my life feel that I am get
ting cornered. True, only the men belonging to my tribe
know these mountains well, but with a man like you, a
man of iron, as war chief of the white scouts, you will
soon know these mountains as does the wolf. Yours is
an Indian s knowledge, with the brains of the white man.
You are without fear, and, although an old man you have
never felt yourself tired. Sieber, man of war, man of
peace, man of council, tell me what you think of my po
Sieber rose and said :
"Geronimo, I can not answer the questions you have
asked me in one minute. I will go to my camp and think
well over them and will come again to-night and you and
I will talk this over. It will not be well for these men
to be present when I talk to you and when I do talk it
will not be General Crook nor the Government that talks,
it will be myself and my advice will be from no mouth
but my own. Send some one for me to-night when you
get ready and I will come."
Sieber did not wait for an answer, but went back to
his camp alone.
After Sieber had gone, Geronimo said to me, "What
do you say, boy? Do you like peace or do you like
"I can say only," replied I, "that I can merely act as
interpreter for men who have grown old in war. I am
a young man yet and have not had experience enough to
act as councilor."
"Ah," said Geronimo, "you are cautious. You are
being well fitted. Your teacher, the iron man, is raising
you to suit himself. He has an apt pupil, and you a chief
A VINDICATION. 155
for a teacher. You are in good hands, but you were
nervous when you came with Sieber a while ago. Were
you afraid of Geronimo?"
Yes, I told him I had felt nervous. That I was em
barrassed also to have to translate the words of such
great men as himself and General Crook and Sieber in a
case of this kind.
"Well, talk and visit with my men here. You will
always be safe in my camp," said he, "though if we meet
in battle, then every one must look out for himself."
I did not feel much like visiting and soon returned
to camp. I was going to Sieber s tent, but he told me
not to stop, but to go on to my own tent. "Geronimo s
people are watching us, and we will not talk together
until after we talk to him to-night."
An Indian council, I will say here, is not a regular
discussion of any question, but only by one side at a
time. If General Crook talked no one else was permitted
to talk at that meeting. So it was when Geronimo sent
for Sieber; only Geronimo could talk then; and, accord
ing to the custom of the Indians, one must deliberate
before speaking. Consequently Sieber, instead of an
swering Geronimo at the time he was in the camp to
listen to what he had to say, could not make an answer
only by appointing a meeting with Geronimo so he could
It was close to 10 o clock at night when an Indian kid
came and told me to get Sieber and to go to Geronimo,
which I did.
Geronimo was alone, with the exception of one
woman who w r as there to build the council fire and keep
it going. (Such work as building up a council fire was
156 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
beneath the dignity of such men as Geronimo and
All three of us sat down in a circle on some skins and
Sieber said to Geronimo: "Now we will not be in coun
cil, but will just talk to each other as brothers and war
riors, as you said in council this evening."
Sieber then began : "Geronimo, you asked me for my
advice. You must have known what it was when you
asked me to give it. I am for peace all the time when
peace can be made to answer. I am in favor of war only
when I know there can be no peace. You, Geronimo, do
not like peace, else you would never have left the Reser
vation years ago when you were there. The last time
I talked to you in the Terras Mountains I told you that
the time was not far off when the Americans could come
into Mexico in pursuit of you and your men. You see
that I knew how things w r ere bound to come out, for we
are here. Now I say to you in all faith and honor that
the Chiricahuas can not resist the white man success
fully since we can come to this country. If you continue
to war with the white man now and under these cir
cumstances, you and all your people will be extermi
nated. It takes you ten years to make a warrior out of
a 10-year-old boy. General Crook can make many hun
dreds of soldiers in a single day. The white man can not
be exterminated. You and I have se^n this country
when it was an Indian country. We have seen it when
there was no business here except getting in rations for
the soldier and his horse. We have seen it from that day
to this when there are towns everywhere, and ranches
and settlements where once there were only Indians.
Now we see the railroad and the telegraph and with this
A VINDICATION. 157
command is a corps of men who can signal words with a
sun glass as the Indian can send a signal. Here I see you
Geronimo, the proud and able war chief of the Chirica-
huas, surrounded by the last of your tribe and they num
ber about six hundred souls. You are driven to these
mountains as the last place of refuge. Here now are two
hundred men or more in the very heart of the country you
have come to as a place of refuge and these two hundred
men are Americans and can find their way here again. I
ask of you now what can you do?
"You must go to the Reservation now or else make
up your mind to die on the war path and see the last
remnant of your tribe die with you. Your men are brave
and fearless, and your influence with them is as you want
to make it. Not one of them is afraid to die, but all men
who are used to facing death every day of their lives like
to get the best of any fight that they are compelled to
make. I have fought and know what the feeling is when
I know that I can not win the fight. My heart gets heavy
when I know that I have to lie close in the rocks all day
and creep away when the darkness comes and can only
take my rifle with me and can not tell when I may get
something to eat and at times something to bind up
my wounds. I can not tell you how I feel then, but this
I can say: that it is not well for any man to be so, be he
white or red.
"I never walk into a trap that I can see and still I
have walked into more than one trap. Among all the
warriors in the Chiricahua tribe not one knows more of
the mountains or of war than I. While you have been
growing weaker in men day by day and week by week,
my position has become stronger and stronger, until now.
158 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
I know that the white man w r ill rule. Can I make you
believe that? Yes, I will answer that question. I can
make you believe it, for you know I speak only the truth.
I am an old man. You know when I was a young man.
Twenty-five years of my life have been spent with the
Government, and during all of that time my one business
has been to hunt down the Indians who were marauders
and enemies to my people. Some men never get killed,
and I must be one of them. You know if my words have
ever been words of wisdom and truth. I always do my
best. Sometimes I have made mistakes, but never have
I told an Indian a deliberate lie. Geronimo, I say to you,
take my advice and tell General Crook to-morrow that you
and your people will go with him to San Carlos. Now
you know that you can not hold out and from here there
is no further place for you to go. How can I say more?"
. Geronimo sat for a long time and did not say a word.
At last, after a long sigh, he said :
"Sibi, your words have touched me. They have
struck deep into my heart. I will consider well what
you have said, for I know it is the truth; but I am and
always have been a proud man, and such words from you
make my heart heavier than even the words of General
Crook. I talk to the General in the morning, you, of
course, will be there. I will not forget what advice you
have given me."
It was past midnight and we all started to our camps.
The woman who was to keep up our fire had gone to
sleep; our fire had nearly gone out. Geronimo gave her
a slight kick and told her to go to her tent. So ended
our first day in the Chiricahua camp.
A VINDICATION. 159
Geronimo Answers General Crook The Red Commander
Outwits the White Commander, and the Government
Is Made Accessory to Theft Horn Becomes Chief of
Scouts to Succeed Sieber Tribute to Sieber Twenty-
five Apache Scouts Enlisted; Micky Free as First Ser
geant Their "Military" Appearance An Apache s
"Outfit" Christmas Dinner at Camp Apache Gate-
wood s Troubles With Geronimo s People Horn Or
ders Chiricahuas Counted at Sunrise and Sunset-
Joins His Scouts at Camp Thomas.
The following morning, bright and early, we went to
the council of General Crook. Only a few of the Chir
icahuas were present. By that, we, who were acquainted
with their ways, knew that Geronimo was going to prom
ise to go back with General Crook to the Reservation.
Geronimo commenced his talk to General Crook, and
if ever an old horse thief did try to make a squaring talk
for himself and his people, that man was Geronimo.
What a great confidence man he would have made!
"I listened to your talk yesterday," said Geronimo,
"and it made me feel that I had done some great wrong.
Perhaps I have done wrong, as a white man looks at my
actions. I know that a white man does not see as an
Apache sees, and I know that what is life to a white
man is death to an Apache. My influence with my peo-
160 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
pie is great, as you have said, but there are warriors here
whom no one can control. Within the last year some
men of my tribe have raided into the American s country.
This I am not going to deny. It would be idle for me
to attempt to deny it, for this young man who does your
translating, and this old man who always leads your war
parties (meaning Sieber and myself), have met my peo
ple raiding up in your country. This old man here, Sie
ber, killed one of my young men, and this interpreter
ran up to one of my women and caught her by the hair
and dragged her from her horse and took her captive,
and took her to San Carlos, and she was the means of
bringing about this talk.
"You complain of my people raiding and killing up
in the American s country. Do you not think I should
complain of your war chief killing my warriors? Well,
I make no complaint of that kind, for so, and in that fash
ion, do many of my young men w r ant to die. I know, and
my men know, that sooner or later all will get killed
who keep up such a life; and now 1 am going to tell you
that a life of this kind no longer pleases me. I have
grown old on the war path, and what have I accom
plished? Only this: to-day I stand before you as a sup
plicant. To-day I am going to ask of you what I, the
proud war chief of the Chiricahua tribe, never thought
to ask of any white man. I ask you to take me to the
Reservation, and there to do with me as you see fit, and
as your judgment says is right for you to do. I will go
with you to-morrow, or when you say.
"There are a good many of my people who are not
here now. They are scattered through these mountains,
and I will summons them as soon as my runners can get
A VINDICATION. 161
the news to them, that they must come. It will take
several days to reach them, for I know not where they
are. I now only wait for you to say: Gerpnimo, sum
mons your people and come with me. I am under your
orders from now on. I will have my family move my
camp up here to your camp, and here I will remain till
we are all ready to start to the United States. Give me
the order to bring my camp here, and to send and gather
my people to go with you. No one could say or do more
"I will do as you say," said General Crook.
Lieutenant Gatewood was then called and told to ar
range to issue rations to all the renegades each day, and
to arrange to count them each day, and to take entire
charge of them.
He told Geronimo that Gatewood would attend to
all of that. He told Geronimo to bring his camp up to
the soldiers camp, and that his family would also draw
their rations, and then he told Geronimo he would talk
to him again in the evening. "For," said General Crook,
"Lieutenant Gatewood will be busy with you most of the
Geronimo and Gatewood then went about the ration
business, for that is the joy of every renegade s heart,
when he wants to make peace. Flour and sugar cut a
big figure in all they do when once they conclude to ac
General Crook asked Sieber to go with him to his
tent, as he wanted to talk to him. Sieber said he might
want me, and for me to come with them.
When we got to General Crook s tent, Crook asked
Sieber what to do next.
1B2 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Sieber said: "That talk was all right, and Geronimo
will do as he said he would; but the old wolf has some
thing up his sleeve, and I think this is what he intends
to do. I think his men have gone now that they left
last night to raid and rob out in the Mexican settlements,
so as to get stock such as mules and horses, to take up
with them, and to save my life I can t think of anything
to do to stop them. We could call Geronimo up and tell
him not to do this, and he would say that he would not
think of doing such a thing; but he was cute enough to
send these men away before he made his talk to you.
Now, when they come in with their stolen stock, he will
say they were not here when we first came here. If he
gets cornered still more closely he will say that he or
no other can control some of his men. I think we will
have to take hundreds of head of stolen horses and mules
to the Reservation with us. There is some consolation
in knowing that they think of staying, or they would
not take that trouble."
Sieber then told General Crook how he and I had
taken them, or a good many of them, up out of the Ter
ras Mountains three years before, when General Wilcox
was Department Commander, and that while many of
them did not go at that itme, the ones who went did this
very same thing; that the Mexicans raised a big row,
and were upheld by the newspapers; that Sieber and 1
were accused by "El Fronterizo" (a Mexican newspaper
published in Tucson, Arizona) of standing in with the
Indians and encouraging them to do this thing, and then
protecting them after they got to San Carlos with their
A VINDICATION. 163
"Now, that same thing is going to occur again," said
Sieber, "and you will be blamed in place of Tom and me.
Xow, I can not think of any way to stop this can you?
We can send and tell Gatewood to make a good count
on the bucks and find how many there are here. When
they came to the council yesterday I counted 193 war
riors. In my opinion there won t be ninety-three for
Lieutenant Gatewood to count to-day."
General Crook called his orderly and sent word to
Gatewood to count the bucks and report to him the num
ber after he had given them rations.
Late that evening Lieutenant Gatewood reported
forty-one bucks and 362 squaws and children. General
Crook sent for Sieber, after Gatewood made his report,
and told him of the count. "We can not do a thing to
help ourselves," was what we all concluded.
At least 150 warriors had gone in the night to steal
horses from the Mexicans, and the American troops,
with General Crook personally in command, were to pro
tect them in it, and give safe transportation to the In
dians and their booty to the United States.
"We must stop it at any sacrifice!" cried General
Crook. "Call Geronimo immediately," said he to me.
"I can not and will not tolerate such a thing as this. I
should be court-martialed for it."
I went and brought Geronimo to the general alone.
Geronimo no longer looked down hearted and broken in
spirit, as at our previous talks. He was smiling, and
looked as happy as a king. W T hen he had taken a seat,
General Crook said to him:
"Where are all your warriors who were here at the
talk yesterday morning?"
164 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
"They are gone into the mountains to find and bring
back the scattered Apaches," replied Geronimo. "I want
to take all of them to the Keservation and some of them
don t know that I am going. I have just sent them word
by the men who have gone from this camp. Last night
I spoke with them, and told them to go, and most of
them, or maybe all of them, left last night."
General Crook said to him: "You have sent them off
to rob and steal stock to take to the Keservation. Why
did you do this? I can not allow you to get stock in such
a manner to take up there."
"I don t think they will rob or steal," said Geronimo,
"they have only gone for the rest of my people and will
soon return. Maybe we had better all go up to the line
and let my young men come and join us there. Many of
my people are between here and the line, and we can
pick them up on our way. No one can tell where they
are and no one can call back the men who have gone after
them. We will have to wait here till they come back, or
better still, we can go slowly north and wait for them
in the San Luis Mountains."
"But I won t allow them to take stolen horses to the
Reservation," said the General.
"Oh," said Geronimo, "you need not pay any atten
tion to a lot of howling Mexicans. They are only good
to raise horses for the Chiricahuas. My men won t steal.
They have a good many horses cached in the mountains
and they will likely pick them up, but they won t raid
and steal now."
"I may send for you again shortly," said the General,
and Geronimo went off smiling.
A VINDICATION. 165
"He has got all the best of us and he knows it," said
Sieber. "We had as well pull out for the line, for so long
as we camp here so long will we see no more Apaches."
Nothing else could be done, so next morning we set
out for the line. General Crook said he felt like a horse
thief himself, and Sieber went along swearing softly to
"I knew that old wolf was cute, but I was going to do
something to prevent this very thing," said Sieber, "and
now he has got the best of us on the one point we were
going to guard against. No wonder to me now that he
came up and offered to go with us without any more
talk. Do you know that Geronimo knew we would try
every way in the world to prevent this very thing, and
that was the way he took to get the best of our talk. He
knew we thought he would want to talk several days
and that he would then consent to go. But instead of
three or four days talk he says, All right, I am ready.
There will not be a Mexican in Mexico, or a newspaper
in the United States that won t swear we allowed them
to do this, and that we just shut the other eye while they
did it. Of course we may be mistaken and the bucks that
have gone may not raid the Mexicans, but one who
knows the Apaches can only think that is what they are
going to do."
The next day, as I said, we pulled out toward the
United States and the renegades with us, but there
seemed to be no one but women and children. Slowly
we kept on and not an Indian joined us.
Gatewood counted them morning and night, but they
were always the same number. We were twelve days
getting back up on the San Bernardino. We did not
166 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
come back the route we took going down, for old Ge-
ronirno had said we might find more of the renegades in
the Terras Mountains. We did not find an Indian. From
the San Bernardino we pulled over onto the Cajon Bo-
nito to catch any that might come in that way.
We had been on the Bonito about three days and cal
culated to start toward Fort Bowie the following morn
ing. After night, twelve Indians came in and reported
to Gatewood for rations. Gatewood gave them rations
and reported to General Crook. He sent for Geronimo
and asked about the men who had just come in. Ge
ronimo told him there were twelve. Crook then asked if
they had brought in any extra horses, and Geronimo
said they brought in fifty head. General Crook told
Geronimo that he w r ould make them turn all of those
fifty loose in the morning. Geronimo told him that
would make all the Indians go back on the war path
General Crook then said he would pull out of Mexico,
so on the following morning we did so. The General
told Geronimo that he would leave soldiers on the line
to escort any Indians that came in, back to Fort Bowie,
and there he would wait for them. Rations were getting
scarce. We no sooner got to Fort Bowie than the rene
gades began to come in in a stream. Every bunch of
them had a great drove of horses, and soon after the
Indians commenced to come in, Mexicans also began to
come. All wanted their stock, and the Indians refused
to give it up.
I guess there were more than a thousand head of the
stolen horses and there were several Mexican lawyers
on the ground, and things began to look interesting.
A VINDICATION. 167
Arrangements were finally made to pay the Mexicans
for their stock as they could prove it. And on that
basis that part of the trouble was finally settled, though
even until now I do not know where the money came
from to pay them.
About this time Sieber was taken down with the
rheumatism, and some of his old wounds broke out, so
he was sent to the hospital. General Crook went to
Fort Whipple, and Captain Crawford, Gatewood and I
were left with the Indian problem on our hands.
We were ordered to take the Indians to San Carlos,
which we did. Geronimo then wanted to move up on
Turkey Creek, close to Camp Apache, and in the fall we
moved them all up there.
Sieber got no better, and he sent for me to come to
Fort Bowie in November. There he told me he had made
all arrangements for me to be Chief of Scouts, for he
said he would never go on another trip. He said he was
old and worn out. That was the last time he ever did
go on a trip. He was still kept at Whipple and San
Carlos by turns and drew 7 $100.00 a month, but the only
thing he ever did after that trip was to sit around and
give advice regarding the Indians.
No white man ever knew Indians as Sieber knew the
Apaches. The Apaches in turn, had the greatest respect
for him. His courage was only matched by his regular
bull-dog hang-on-and-stay-a-long-time qualities. All
quartermaster s men told of how he, one time, lifted a
pack mule up and set it on a ledge from which it had
fallen. This was an example of his strength.
For myself, personally, I always thought he was the
greatest and best man I ever knew. Some said Sieber
168 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
was no fit company for man or beast. That was because
he would go for days at a time and never speak to any
one. No one knew where he came from originally. A
few people in Arizona had known him in California, but
before that he was a blank. I don t think any one ever
did ask him where he was born or raised, for he was not
the kind of a man that one cared to ask such a question.
His face always looked stern, and perhaps savage, to one
who did not know him, but to me he was always good
and kind and never, unless in the heat of battle, did he
speak loud or cross. He was spoken of by the Indians
as the "man of iron," and of iron he must have been. He
was shot in Indian battles twenty-eight times with
bullets and arrows, and the twenty-ninth time he was
crippled for life. That was when the Apache Kid broke
out, as I will describe when I get to it.
Capt. Crawford was now stationed at San Carlos with
his troop of cavalry. I also put in a big portion of my
time there. All the Cibicus were as good and quiet as
mean Indians could be. The hanging of Dead Shot,
Dandy Jim and Loco had a good effect on them.
About Christmas time, Gatewood sent word for me to
come up and see him, as he was having some trouble. He
did not say what it was. I mentioned to Captain Craw
ford that I was going up to the Chiricahua camp and
asked him if he wanted to send any word up to Gate-
Captain Crawford said he would go with me and we
would stay and have Christmas dinner with Gatewood.
I had enlisted twenty-five Apache scouts and Micky
Free was my first sergeant, so I told him to detail a
scout to take some messages from Captain Crawford and
A VINDICATION. 169
myself to Lieutenant Gatewood, also for him to get ready
five of his men as an escort for the Captain and myself
to go up to Gatewood s camp.
We started a couple of days before Christmas and
got there on Christmas eve. Gatewood complimented
us very highly on our military appearance.
Crawford said w r e looked a good deal more like a band
of border outlaws than we did like the military com
mander of San Carlos and the Chief of Scouts. The only
thing military in the whole outfit was our rifles. We all
had Springfield rifles, but our clothes, and horses and
equipments were of every kind from buckskin to calico
shirts, and from corduroy pants to no pants at all. There
was not a soldier s uniform in the whole outfit. Crawford
and I both had Mexican saddles, as did Micky, but the
rest of our escort had no saddles at all.
Usually the Apache just puts a raw-hide or hair-rope
in a horse s mouth and that is a complete outfit for him.
The Apaches said that the Americans were always leav
ing something in camp; but an Apache never. With an
Indian rig (a horse-hair rope), you had all that was
needed. When you went into camp the rope was used
to stake out the horse, and when you wanted to move,
all you had to do was to tie it around his under jaw and
you had a bridle and no traps or parts of your equipment
were left in camp.
We had a big Christmas dinner with Gatewood.
The Chiricahuas were also given ten head of steers for a
Christmas treat. Gatewood waited till after dinner and
then he told Crawford and me his trouble. He said he
could not keep his count of the Indians any ways near
the same. One count day there would be six hundred,
170 LIFE OF TOM HORN!
and the next count day there would be from five to fifteen
short, and he could not get any satisfaction out of
Geronimo about where these people were. Geronimo
said he did not know. Noche was in charge of the
Chiricahua police and he said he did not know where
these people were when they were missing. Gatewood
had counted them the day we got to camp and they were
I concluded that it was now up to me, for as chief of
the scouts, it was my business to see to such things. I
called Micky, who was having a good time in the Chirica
hua camp, and told him that we would count the Chirica-
huas at sunup next morning and for him to tell
Geronimo that I would expect to find every Indian there,
as none had permits to be absent.
Micky said: "Well, I have learned that there are
about fifteen bucks gone back to Mexico to steal horses,
and if my information is right you won t find them here."
A correct count next morning revealed the fact that
there were twenty Indians missing. As Chief of Scouts,
I asked Geronimo, Chief of the Camp, where they were.
He said he did not know. I told him then, that his
people would have to be counted at sunup and sundown
every day. Geronimo did make a strong kick at this,
but he had to come to it. He said his people did not
want to be herded like goats and that they were not
molesting anyone and counting them so often was an
While we were listening to Geronimo, trying to square
himself and his people, the soldier who carried the mail
up to Turkey Creek from Camp Apache, came in. Cap
tain Crawford was looking over the latest San Francisco
A VINDICATION. 171
Examiner and found an article copied from a Mexico
paper, saying that the Apaches were still raiding in
Mexico. Told of the place and the number of Indians
supposed to be in the band. Geronimo was still talking
when Captain Crawford called to Gatew T ood that he had
found his missing Indians. He brought the paper over
and read the article and I translated it to Geronimo. He
swore that the paper lied, but as some of his people were
missing, he could not make a very good showing in a
I sent Micky to San Carlos for the balance of the
company of scouts and made arrangements for them to
go to Camp Thomas, where I would meet them. I made
arrangements to have the Indians in Geronimo s camp
counted twice a day and then I went to Camp Thomas
to meet my scouts.
172 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
After the Raiders Apache Smoke Signals Apache
Humor Horn Gathers His Scattered Scouts and Is
Joined by Twenty Troopers (Lieutenant Wilder) and
a Dozen Cowboys In Ambush for the Raiders "You
Must Obey Me; I Will Cut the Throat of the Man Who
Does Not Do as I Say!" The Five Minutes Fight,
Not a Foe to Tell the Story!
I met my men and they were all in good shape. Each
had two war horses, and an extra one to carry a little grub
and to herd on. I struck out for Fort Bowie and there
made arrangements with the quartermaster to bring me
grub and grain to old Camp Rucker. I then went on
towards the Mexican line to try to intercept the rene
gades as they came in. I scattered out my scouts and
gave each sergeant in charge of his four men a district
to work in, so I could cover well all the country that
these renegades would have to pass through coming back
My scouts were enlisted men and could not again go
into Mexico, but I was a civilian and could go alone any
where. I went into the Terras Mountains in Mexico. I
felt sure the renegades would come through that way.
I was making camp on the very top of the Terras
Mountains and, as it was quite a bit after night, I was
thinking of building a fire, and I knew, also, that it was
A VINDICATION. 173
not the proper thing to do, because if the renegades did
come through there, they could see or smell my fire. I
was on the side of the mountain, where I could plainly
see a place on the Bavispe River called Los Pillares. I
was hobbling one of my horses that I called "Pilgrim."
When I got him hobbled, I saw he was looking intently
at something in the distance, so I glanced down towards
the Pillares and on one of the Pillares (Pillares in Mexi
can is pillars, or buttes), I saw an Indian signal fire. Of
course I knew what the Indian was trying to do. He
was trying to signal some Indians and he did not know
where they were. I knew the signal was not there when
I started to hobble my horse, and was sure I would learn
something before morning. Presently the signals were
repeated, and they plainly said to me: "Answer!" After
an hour they were repeated, "Answer!" Of course I
did not build any fire, but wrapped myself up in my
blankets, for it was cold (it was the first half of January),
and set me down to wait and see if the signal was an
About 10 o clock the man doing the signal act had re
ceived an answer, but I could not see the point his an
swer came from. He signaled, one long flash and four
or five small or short ones, then two flashes and two
again. The signals meant to me that they "were all
right and would wait there two days." I knew that the
rest of the Indians had asked them from some distance
to wait for them two days.
I knew now that it was time for me to be moving to
get my scouts together and try to intercept the renegades
in Arizona. I was not going to bring my men into Mex
ico, for I had had enough of that. I traveled all night,
174 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
and after sunup next morning rode into Slaughter s
Kanch, on the line at the head of the San Bernardino
Creek. I saw John Slaughter and told him I wanted the
best horse he could let me have. I then told him where
I had been and what I had been doing. He gave me a
good breakfast and told one of his Mexicans to saddle
up one of the best horses on the ranch while I ate. I
told Slaughter I wanted to leave my two horses there that
day and night, for I had ridden very hard, and wanted a
Mexican to bring them on to Camp Rucker the next day.
This he promised to do (and did do), and then I got
on my fresh horse and was ready to pull out. Slaughter
came out and said: "Tom, that is the best horse on
this ranch, but I have got three thousand more, so you
can keep that one. I know you never spare your own
horses, and I am going to give you that one, so you will
have no excuse to spare him."
I pulled out for Rucker, about forty miles away, but
I was on a good fresh horse, and I let him go. I was
within about fifteen miles of Rucker and I saw some one
coming down out of the hills to intercept me, and I saw,
also, that it was an Indian, in a very great hurry.
It proved to be one of my scouts on the look out for
anything he could see. He saw me at a distance and
recognized me, but he could not make out my mount, as
I was riding a horse strange to him.
I learned that the squad he was with was only a short
distance away, so we went to where it was. I wanted all
of the scouts, and I wanted them that night. They were
on the head of the Guadaloupe and up at Skeleton Canon,
and on the southern point of the Chiricahua Mountains.
I started a scout for each of the squads of scouts, and
A VINDICATION. 175
told them I wanted every man of them by daylight next
morning. I then went to a place called Tex Spring and
waited for them, for that was the place we were to meet.
1 kept one of the scouts with me, and when he and I got
to the spring I told him to keep an eye open and look
after my horse, as I was going to sleep. It was about
2 o clock when I lay down and pulled my blanket over
me, and, as I had not slept a wink the night before, I
was soon dead to the world.
It was after dark when some one touched me, and I
woke and found Micky standing there. "May we build
a fire?" he asked. I told him, yes, all the fire he wanted.
He said all the scouts were there but six, and these
would be in soon, sure. He said: "We are hungry, and
some of our horses are tired." I told him to send all the
horses to herd and make ready to stay there all night,
and as soon as they could get something to eat I would
talk to them. And I told him to tell the rest of the men
that I saw the signal fire of the Chiricahuas the night
before on one of the Pillares. Micky said: "Now, where
were you when you saw them?" I told him on the top
of the Terras Mountains, and that I left the top of the
mountains about midnight. He went and gave orders
to send out the herd and w r e soon had something to eat.
We had just got through eating when up came the rest
of my scouts.
A strong sense of humor runs all through the Apache
race. When these last Indian scouts reached camp the
sergeant with them came up to me and saluted me, as
he had seen the American soldiers do, in a very business
like way. Micky said to him : "Why do you salute your
chief? He is no soldier. He is a citizen. I am the
176 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
ranking soldier of this outfit, and if you want to salute,
I am the one to be saluted." "I can t salute you," re
torted the scout; "there is too much mixture in you for
me to attempt it. You are part Mexican and part some
thing else, and I don t know what that part is. I know
I never saw anyone else like you. I know only Ameri
cans, Mexicans and Apaches. You are none of these
and you are all of them, and as I am only Apache I will
have to balk." This is the kind of talk and josh that
you could always find in the Apache scouts camp.
Micky made them eat, turn out their horses, and then
we had a talk to see how we could get a lick at the rene
gades. I told them all I had seen, and Micky said the
same as did all the rest that the signals I saw sent from
the Pillares were to the effect that the ones at the Pil-
lares would be joined by the others in two days. I told
them that it was just about the same time the nightie-
fore that I saw the last of the signals. It was seventy-
five miles to that place, so going there was out of the
question for two reasons. We would not have time, and
we could not go into Mexico. Now, the question was,
what would we do and how would we be able to get a
lick at them?
Just then one of the scouts on herd came in and said
there were soldiers coming. I got on the scout s pony
and went to meet them. This was always customary,
as wild Indians and tame scouts all look alike in the
The soldiers proved to be Lieutenant Wilder and
twenty troopers of the Third, and he was glad to find
me. General Crook had learned that I had gone towards
the line with my scouts, and he was afraid I would in-
A VINDICATION. 1 1 i
vade Mexico again. Wilder had dispatches to that effect
for me from General Crook. Wilder, of course, went into
camp there with me. General Crook s dispatches to me
said that Lieutenant Wilder would remain with me in
command of the outfit, as it was necessary to have a
commissioned officer in command of enlisted men, and
that my scouts were all enlisted men.
Wilder came over to my fire after he got his camp
straightened out, and I told him what my dispatches
contained. That I had an order from the adjutant gen
eral for him to take command. I then reported to him
what I knew and what I had seen from the top of the
Terras Mountains, and that I was sure the renegades
would come up in tw r o days, or three at most, and I
wanted to try to get a lick at them.
Wilder was a trump. He called me Chief, and said
he would do anything in the world I told him to. "Now,
you want those Indians," said he, "and nothing was said
to me about Indians; but we will give them a little chase
just for luck."
We all concluded to go to bed and wait till morning.
Wilder was all right, for he had two blankets, and he
offered me one of them, as he said he had a piece of can
vas besides his blankets. I would not take his blanket,
and the next morning I saw his good piece of canvas it
was about four feet square!
Next morning we started to go to the southern end
of the Chiricahua Mountains to pick out a place to take
up a good position, that we might cover all the ground to
the Mexican line. W T e were joined by six San Simon
cowboys. Micky had met one of them the night before
and told him that I was at Tex Spring; that I had just
178 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
coine up from Mexico, and was sure to have some knowl
edge of the renegades, as I had twenty-five scouts there
on the line, and had just sent word for all of them to
join me at Tex Spring, to get there before daylight, sure.
The cowboys were always ready for anything, and so
they came to help us out if they could. They were all
well armed and well mounted. Our force was all right
now, if we could just make the correct guess and inter
cept the Indians. The boss of the cowboys said for me
only to tell him what to do and he would do it.
One of my scouts reported a band of men of some
kind coming across the flat. They proved to be John
Slaughter s men, and I sent one of the cowboys to head
them off and bring them directly to us. When they came
up I found they had my two saddle horses that I had
left at Slaughter s Ranch. The Slaughter men were five
in number, and all were Mexicans except the boss, who
was a Texan. They wanted some of the row if we could
get them into it. They were armed, as Wilder said, like
pirates and well mounted. I knew there were only
twenty or twenty-one Indians in the bunch, and at least
three and maybe five of those were women. So we all
knew that if we could strike them, they were ours.
The San Simon cattle boss wanted to get at them so
bad that he could hardly be controlled. He said he
wanted to get in a place where he could get right up on
the edge of them. I just wanted a man or two like him,
so I put him with Micky. We could not figure that the
renegades could or would come any other way than by
and mouth of the big open canon called Dry Creek. They
would come from the Pillares, where they would all get
together, and Micky and I figured that they would come
A VINDICATION. 179
up in the Wild Bull Hills, as the Indians called them.
We calculated they would then try to make the southern
point of the Chiricahuas Mountains from there in one
night. It would be forty miles, but it was open country,
and they would be bound to cross the Mexican line from
where they were in the night. Then I knew they would
have a good big lot of horses, and by crossing in the
night, and in the neighborhood of the San Bernardino
Ranch, the horses they had would not make so conspicu
ous a trail to be seen and followed by anyone, as there
were hundreds of head of horses on the San Bernardino
Ranch. I knew, also, that the renegades would figure
on this same thing. It would also make the best route
to the Reservation.
Well, we camped there, and I put in the day figuring
out the exact way the Indians would come. If we could
make the right guess on the exact place they would
come through, then we could get them easily. I took
only Micky with me, as he and I were the only ones
among the scouts that knew every foot of the country.
We finally decided that the place the Indians would
come would necessarily be the mouth of Dry Creek.
That settled it, and we went to camp. We kept a good
watch during the day, thinking we might see something,
but nothing showed up.
That evening I placed all the men just where I
wanted them and we waited and watched the best we
could during the night, but not a sign did we see of the
renegades. We put in the day eating and sleeping, and
of course kept a good lookout. In the evening I took
more precautions than on the previous evening, as I fig-
180 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
ured we would strike them about daylight next morn
Next morning, when it got light, there were no In
dians on hand, but we saw a big dust off to the south,
and we knew it was the renegades with their stolen
horses. They were fully ten miles away. At first we
could only see the dust, and it was quite a while after
sunup before we could distinguish the Indians. The herd
of horses kicked up a great cloud of dust, and the In
dians were enveloped in the cloud of dust, so we could
only make out one once in a while.
Instead of coming up into the mouth of the Dry Gulch,
where we thought they would, they kept on around the
foot of the mountains in the open. As soon as I could
determine for sure which way they were going, I ar
ranged my men, and a fine opportunity we had.
The renegades had no idea we were near, and as they
got close to us, I could plainly hear them singing.
I arranged for Lieutenant Wilder and his troops to
strike them in the lead, and the cowboys, led by Micky,
were to take them in the rear. I would keep my Indian
scouts with me, as I had misgivings about the wild sol
diers and about the cowboys, wilder still; and as it was
to be a fight on horseback, I knew everybody would be
more or less excited. The San Simon cowboys were led
by a wild kind of fellow, and he asked me if the man I
was putting with him was anyways timid. "If he is,"
said he, "you keep him and let us cowboys go it alone."
I told him that if Micky acted timid, to come back and
tell me, and I would shoot him. I told him to follow
Micky and he would be in the fight. 1 had told Micky
how to do, and not to start the fight, but to wait and let
A VINDICATION. 181
me start it. I told him that I would expect him to con
trol the cowboys till he heard my yell and shots from my
Now we were ready and the Indians were still half a
mile away. We were waiting for them to get behind a
hill, then my men would get in position. Micky ranged
up his cow boys and addressed them in Mexican, which
they all understood. (Micky could not talk English.)
He said to them:
"Friends, I will take you into this fight, and then each
of you do as you please after the fight gets started. You
w r ant to do as I tell you until the chief says to start, and
then we will go. Till that time, you must obey me and I
will cut the throat of the man who does not do as I say.
That is all. Come on."
A more recklessly brave man than Micky never did
live at any time, and as the cow boys wanted to fight so
bad, I knew that if they followed Micky they would be
I got down as close to where the Indians would come,
as I could get. They were coming slowly and we had
plenty of time. The herd would come within two hun
dred yards of where my party were concealed. Just
when they got to where I wanted to strike them, one of
the renegades gave a yell. "Un-Dah!" he yelled. (That
meant "White men.") I was going to start the fight by
firing and this renegade that gave the yell was looking
towards w r here I knew Wilder was. I w r as on the ground
and was going to shoot at this Indian. He checked up
his horse an instant and I blazed away at him. That was
the signal, and few men ever saw such a sight as I saw
there. Soldiers rode at them from the front, Wilder at
182 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
their head. Cow boys charged them from the rear, and
as I saw them come over the hill I looked to see where
Micky was. He was all right and leading the cow-boy
I wanted to turn the renegades out into the flat coun
try, so I took a run at them myself, enough to make them
think that I had the main body of men with me. Sure
enough they turned for a minute towards the flat. In a
good deal less than a minute after I fired the first shot,
soldiers, and cow boys and renegades were all mixed up
and most of my scouts went away and left me. I had
got soldier blouses from Wilder s men and put them on
my scouts, so that if they did all get mixed up, my scouts
would be easy to distinguish from the renegades.
If any hostiles got away from that fight I never saw
nor heard of them, and I do think that not one escaped.
A squaw turned towards where I was and there was no
one after her and she was coming nearly directly toward
me. I stopped her, and I think she was the only one of
the entire party that was not killed. After the fight
was over she told me there had been fourteen in the
party. Eleven men and three women. We found and
counted ten dead men and two dead women, and I had
one woman alive, which accounted for all the women,
but there was one man shy, and we could not and did
not find him. He never returned to the Reservation, and
I do not know what ever became of that one Indian. My
opinion always was that he escaped in some way, and
was wounded so that he must have died in the mountains.
I don t think the fight lasted five minutes. We, on
our side, had one dead cow boy, a Mexican from San
Bernardino ranch, and two wounded cow boys. Micky
A VINDICATION. 183
Free had a big slash in his left arm and one soldier was
shot in the neck, and one in the stomach. We were in
big luck to get off so easy. The cow boys and Micky did
most of the killing, as they had the best show and all of
them were riding their picked horses, and as the San
Simon boss said, they did go right up to the edge of
There were 118 head of stolen horses and I did not
know what to do with them. I would not touch them,
and Lieutenant Wilder w r ould not have anything to do
with them. The San Simon boss would not have anything
to do with them, so I got the Slaughter boss from San
Bernardino to take them back and turn them loose at the
We buried the San Bernardino Mexican. He had
tried to rope an Indian and did rope him and pulled him
off his horse; then the Indian got up and killed him.
Some of the cow boys wanted to scalp the dead In
dians, but the San Simon boss would not let them. We
stayed around there till close to noon and then we all
went our different ways.
Wilder and I both wrote out our reports of the fight,
and Wilder sent a couple of soldiers on in to Bowie with
them. I tried to get Wilder to take charge of my pris
oner, but he respectfully declined. Wilder was going
back by the Tex Spring and I was going up over the
Chiricahua Mountains and I made arrangements to meet
Wilder at old Camp Rucker, in two days and we would
go from there to Bowie together.
184 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
Horn Wins the Approval of Both Burke and Sieber A
Breathing Spell Visiting the Big Ranches Back to
Camp Apache The Chiricahuas Becoming Restless
The Verge of Another Outbreak Intercepting More
Apache Raiders A Surprise and a Scatterment A
"Big, Healthy, Greasy Squaw Treed." Brandy as a
Persuader to Telling Tales Geronimo and the Entire
Tribe Break Out Again The Mexican Rendezvous
Planning to Thwart the Renegades.
Five days after the fight we got into Bowie. All this
happened in the month of January, 1884, and it was the
last day of January when we got into Bowie. Major
John G. Burke met us there, or at least he came in the
first day of February.
Major Burke and Captain Roberts, both of whom were
on General Crook s staff, had a long talk with my pris
oner. I was not present at the talk. Major Burke spoke
Mexican, or Spanish as he called it, and he used Micky
as interpreter. Burke came, after he got through his
talk, and asked me what I was going to do with the
squaw. I told him it was up to him. He said I might
send her up to Turkey Creek with the rest of the Chiri-
cahuas, so she could tell them that the renegades that
were missing would not come back. I sent Micky and a
half dozen scouts with him to take the woman up to
A VINDICATION. 185
Turkey Creek, and to come back by San Carlos and get
all their traps and horses that they wanted and coine
back to Bowie, as Burke said I must make Bowie my
Major Burke was very much pleased with the way
things were going, so he told me.
When Micky and the rest of the scouts came back, I
had a long letter from Sieber and he told me I was
doing fine, to keep it up and do just as I saw fit all the
time and never to wait for orders from headquarters, but
when^ anything was to be done, to put out and do it and
let the orders follow me up, as they had on this occasion.
He said Major Burke and Captain Roberts were both old
Indian fighters, and whenever it became necessary for
me to do as I had just done, (that was to go on my own
hook, without orders); that Burke or Roberts would
always send out a good young man to find me and take
charge of my command, but that the young man would
always do as I advised, just as Wilder had done, and
any officer who would not do so w r ould never be sent for
me. Sieber said Burke and Roberts did not want to tell
me this, but they wanted me to do so without being told.
After Micky got back from San Carlos we lay around
Bowie till w r e were tired of it, and I took Micky and a
couple more men and went out to look around the coun
try a little and visit. The San Simon cow boss had
pressed me to make him a visit, so we took in the San
Simon Ranch for a starter.
We reached there the next day after we left Bowie,
and at the ranch we stayed for six days, "hunting In
dians." Well, it was certainly amusing to hear those
cow boys tell of the fight we had out at the south end of
186 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
the Chiricahuas. There were ladies, there, also, and one
of them asked me if I did not think it a very dangerous
life to lead, being chief of scouts. She asked me how I
knew the Indians would come the way they did come,
and a great many more questions with about the same
amount of sense in them. She asked me if I was not
afraid my own scouts would revolt and kill me. She
said they could do so any time out in the mountains. She
said : "All the cow boys say that your man Micky is one
of the greatest scouts alive and one of the bravest men,
but I am sure he looks like a villain."
I told her that Micky was a gentleman and a scholar,
and that I also considered him a judge of beauty, as he
had told me that the white lady with blue eyes and
blonde hair was the prettiest woman he had ever seen.
Next day I noticed she had Micky in her house feeding
him sweet cakes and giving him lemonade to drink!
We knocked around the big ranch and visited for
about three weeks, and then went back to the Post.
Along in the summer we went up to Camp Apache
and to the Chiricahua Camp on Turkey Creek. I was
going to discharge my scouts in a short time, as they had
enlisted for only six months at a time, and I wanted to
see Gatewood, so as to know if it would be necessary to
enlist any more.
Gatewood told me he was having an awful time. The
Chiricahuas were unusually mean; were trading off all
their horses for ammunition and whiskey, and that they
were raising Cain with all the other Indians; in fact, that
he could do nothing with them.
A VINDICATION. 187
"They will not stay much longer," said he, adding
that he was going to leave the camp and go and live in
Camp Apache, twelve miles away.
I went over to Geronimo s camp and asked him why
he could not behave himself. He asked me what he had
done, and I told him that his people were not doing right.
He said he could not do anything with them. I asked him
if he was tired of life on the Reservation, and he said all
his people were dissatisfied. I wanted to know why. He
replied: "It will do no good to lie to you; they want to
go back to Mexico." I told him if he ever left again, that
General Crook would keep his word and go down to Mex
ico with a w r ar party and that many Indians would have
to die. He said that they all wanted to go, and that only
his counsel held them. I learned from his talk that Gate-
wood had good cause to feel uneasy, for when Geronimo
said that only his voice for peace was heard in the entire
Chiricahua Camp, that the matter of peace hung by a
very slim thread, for Geronimo never had favored peace.
He would talk peace, and talk it day and night, but he
was in reality the war chief of the Chiricahuas, and was
still looked upon as such by all the tribe, and the balance
of peace, when left to him, was surely a slim hold on
I went down to San Carlos, saw Sieber and told him
of my talk with Geronimo. I told him that the other
chiefs would not talk to me at all. Sieber said: "That
means war, and bitter war it will be now. I have just
learned what Geronimo came up here for. He calculated
to live here on the Reservation and keep sending raiding
parties into Mexico to steal horses and bring them up
here and sell them and start up a regular business, think-
188 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
ing we would be compelled to help him out with it. You
and Wilder and the cow boys knocked it out of the first
gang that he sent down, and now that he sees that he
can not do that kind of business in a successful way he
wants to go back on the war path, so he can keep up
the devilment he loves so well. We will go to Bowie
and see Burke, and we may be able to do something. At
least we can not let this go without putting it to him
Sieber could not ride on horseback, as an old wound
in his hip was giving him a lot of trouble, so he got an
ambulance from the Quartermaster and we struck out for
Bowie, which was now the Department Headquarters.
Sieber had to go around by Thomas with the ambulance,
so I went straight across the country and got to Bowie
one day ahead of him.
When he came in we saw Major Burke and told him
that we thought Geronirno was going to break out again,
and soon at that. We then went over the whole busi
ness with him and told him our reasons for what we
thought. Major Burke told us that General Crook was
in Washington and that he would write him a full ac
count of what we had reported, and see what General
Crook had to say. Burke wanted to know what we had
to suggest to stop the outbreak. We wanted to take up
the cavalry regiment and put all the bucks in irons and
the women and children under guard and send them
away. Burke wanted to know where we could send them
to. I suggested that they be sent to Missouri, and Sieber
said: "Yes, send them to Missouri or to h 1 or some
such place. That is all we can do."
A VINDICATION. 189
I asked Burke if I should enlist another company of
scouts, and he said I could not, as no arrangements had
been made for them. He told me that I could hire nine
Apache scouts for $30.00 a month and them furnish their
own horses, and one man for $50.00 and furnish his own
horses and that the Quartermaster Department would
give me forage for two horses for each man. Told me
to go to San Carlos and get them and report back at
Bowie as soon as convenient, as he thought General
Crook would soon be there. I went back with Sieber in
the ambulance and took my saddle, as I had some horses
at San Carlos I wanted to bring down.
I got my scouts as soon as my old company was dis
charged. I made Micky my head man, of course, and we
were soon back at Fort Bowie.
There Burke told me that General Crook would be
delayed some time in Washington, and hinted that now,
as my men were all civilians, I could cross the Mexico
line, and that we would not be an armed body of
American troops. 1 then told him how Sieber and I once
crossed the line and that our own government rounded
us up for it, and he laughed and said, yes, he knew all
about our having been "reprimanded by the investigating
committee," and said that he guessed it did not do much
good, as the following January I had gone into Mexico
alone, anyhow, as far as the Terras Mountains, when I
located the Indians that we cleaned up so well down on
the south end of the Chiricahua Mountains. I told him
one man was not an armed body of men. He gave me to
understand that if I did violate the orders of our War
Department and invade Mexico with civilian scouts, that
our Government would stand bv us if we were arrested
190 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
down there. And that if we made an invasion and were
not arrested in Mexico, that he did not think the federal
courts would handle us very roughly here in the United
Of course we would not be arrested in Mexico, for
there was no one there to arrest us. Burke told me to
take my men and go make Camp Rucker my head
quarters, and that he would send down rations and for
age for us. He told me always to leave two or three men
in camp so they could go and find me if I were away from
camp when any message came from headquarters.
We pulled out. We had about twenty-five extra
horses and every one of them a picked horse. We were
well fixed to do lots of scouting, but there were no rene
gades out that we knew of. I alw r ays left three men in
camp to feed and look after our extra horses. Now, when
we would go out, we never had to take an extra with us,
for we would make only such trips as took us from four
to six days. I never got any further orders regarding
anything. Every month the Quartermaster s chief clerk
from Fort Bowie, would come down in his ambulance
and pay us off. There was a troop of cavalry stationed
there also, and with the troop and in command of it was
my friend. Lieutenant Wilder. He put in his leisure
time in wishing I could find some more renegades, and
in drinking smuggled muscal. I always left word at
camp with the men there as to about where I would be if
we were needed. I w r as looking for General Crook to
come, but did not hear a word more of him.
Along about the middle of November the long ex
pected happened. At the head of Skeleton Canon we
heard some shots fired and a big bunch of "Diamond
A VINDICATION. 191
A" cattle came running through the hills. There were
300 or 400 head of them, and we were sure it must be
Indians. It was either Indians or outlaws, sure, and so
we guessed Indians. Whichever it was, if we met them
it meant war. There were eight of us, and we were all
right to look out for ourselves.
Micky and I got off our horses and ran up to the top
of a little butte and there we saw about twenty-five In
dians gathered around the carcass of a cow they had shot.
There were squaws, and bucks and children, and they
were all gathered or were gathering around the cow so
we could not get a count on them. They were coming
from the north, toward the Keservation, as we saw sev
eral of the hindmost ones still coming up. There was
water close to them, but if they camped at the water we
could not get at them, as there was too much open
country. They were about 600 yards from us, but we
could get a great deal nearer by going on foot. The only
thing to do was to try and get a lick at them as they
We tode as close as we dared go on horseback and
then left one man with our horses and ran up on a little
hill that had a kind of a rough stony top and also a few
scrub trees on it. We were only a couple of hundred
yards away, so we tore loose at them. Well, I am telling
the truth when I say there was no more butchering done
there. The women and kids commenced to yell and their
horses were some that had been stolen in Mexico, and
they most all of them got scared at the racket and
started to run and we kept on shooting for a minute, and
then I sent four of the scouts to bring the horses. The
man we left with them was coming, but he was slow.
192 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
In a couple of minutes the horses were brought up.
Micky and I remained and were shooting as well as we
could, but we were not doing any good. When our
horses came up, we mounted and went at the Indians.
We did not have very good success, as they were well
scattered now, and running, most of them on foot, and
they were hard to do anything with, so we went back up
the hill the way the rest of the scouts had gone.
We found Micky w r ith tw r o squaws and five children;
we also got six horses and tw r o mules with their equip
ments. We went down to where we had done the first
shooting, at the beef, and there we found two dead bucks.
I was afoot, my horse having been killed, and we had
a bunch of prisoners. We did not notice for a while
that we were one man shy, and then we heard a big
racket up on the top of the hill. Micky rode up there
and one of the scouts had a big, healthy, greasy squaw
treed. The scout did not want to shoot her, and she had
out her knife and swore she would cut his heart out if
he put his hand on her. I did not see it, but Micky said
it was a great battle. The woman said she would not
be a prisoner, so Micky said: "Well, we have got too
many prisoners, any way." He drew up his gun as
though he were going to shoot her in the eye, and she
said: "Well, I will go with you." That made three
women and five kids that we had and the worst of it
was we did not have the women the kids belonged to.
We loaded them all on the horses we had cap
tured, after I picked out the best animal (and a very
good one he proved to be after he got rested up a month
or so), and for Camp Rucker we headed. It was getting
late and we wanted to get out into the San Simon Valley
CAPTAIN LAW TON
A VINDICATION. 193
before night. We were thirty miles from Rucker and we
wanted to get there that night. The San Simon Cattle
Company were boring a well out in the flat and I wanted
to go by there and tell the men the Indians were out, as
one of our captives said all the Chiricahuas had broken
At the well I found one of my men from Rucker com
ing to look for me to tell me of the outbreak. He had
also come by the well to let the boys there know that the
country was full of Indians. This outfit of mine settled
the whole thing with the men at the well. They wanted
to get away from where they were and they wanted to do
it quick. They had a good team of horses and a wagon,
and a double-barreled shot gun. They could not go to
the San Simon ranch, as they would be going towards
the Indians. When I suggested that they hitch up and
go w r ith me, they were very willing. I put all my pris
oners and the traps that were on the captured horses in
the wagon, as the Indian s horses were very tired. I put
Micky in the wagon also, and we again started to Camp
Rucker, where we arrived about sunup.
Lieutenant Wilder had a full report of the outbreak
from Bowie, and he was ordered to co-operate with me
and see if we could intercept any of the renegades that
were coining toward the line. I told him that we were
too late to do any more good, but that I would get some
thing to eat and then have a talk with the captives. The
women had refused to talk much and were as sullen as
mules in a mud hole.
I got a big drink of brandy from the surgeon and gave
to one of the women, and then all of them said they
would talk if I would give them a dram. This I did, and
194 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
a big one, and they then told me all about the outbreak.
How every one was made to leave all extra horses and
camp traps and to make for Mexico in small bunches of
about twenty in a bunch, and not to stop from the time
they started till they got to the San Luis and Terras
Mountains. They were all warned to be very careful on
the Mexican line, as Geronimo knew that Micky and I
were on the line somewhere. There is a mountain in
Sonora, Mexico, called El Durasnillo. The Indians call
it Cu, and there all the Indians were to rendezvous.
This was pretty good to know, so I sent a scout in to
Major Burke and told him what I had learned as to the
place the Indians would all come together, and suggested
to him that he immediately notify Colonel Tores, at Her-
mosillo, Mexico, to that effect, so as to give him a chance
to go gunning for them.
After I started my messenger to Major Burke I tried
to get Wilder to take my prisoners on to Ft. Bowie, but
he would not do it, as he wanted to go on down towards
the line and try and find some more Indians. So I had
to go myself to Bowie. I did not like to leave the line.
I knew, also, that all the renegades were in the moun
tains safe across the line, but I had only ten men and I
could not divide them and do any good.
I dared not send Micky in charge of the prisoners, for
he would have killed all of them; so I sent Micky and
another with Wilder and I loaded my squaws and kids
into a Government wagon and pulled out for Bowie.
A VINDICATION. 195
No More Bluff, but Real Old Business Civilizing Geron-
imo a Hopeless Task General Crook Arrives Prep
arations for War A Side-Trip Scrimmage Danger
and Irish Wit, Guns and Tongues Sergeant Nolan
and the Indian "Ladies" Plan of Campaign Chir-
icahua Band, Bent on Vengeance, Raid up to White
Mountain Camp Hal-Zay "Loses His Head" Horn
and Ten Scouts "Hit the Trail" The Language of a
Cold Trail: Tracks, Side Trails, Smell of Roasting
Muscal, Shadows of Camp-Fires Ten Miles Ahead
"We had Located the Main Camp at Last!" Sending
for Captain Crawford and the Troops.
When I got there I found Burke had wired Colonel
Tores, the Mexican commandante of Sonora, Mexico, and
I learned also, that to the best of Burke s knowledge all
the rest of the Indians had gotten to Mexico in safety.
Now, it was no more bluff and no more talk for there
would have to be a great deal of campaigning to get rid
of the Indians. Major Burke actually told me he did not
think Geronimo could be made to stay on the Reserva
tion. Every advice that the Government had ever had
was that Geronimo would not stay on the Reservation,
and nowhere else but on the war path. Every Depart
ment Commander wanted to have the reputation of civi
lizing Geronimo. I had helped, and in fact been mainly
106 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
instrumental in bringing him to the Keservation twice,
and he had been brought up and put there a couple of
times before, and now Major Burke said he did not think
it was worth while to try to keep him there.
Sieber knew that a dozen years before, and had al
ways maintained that the wily chief would have to be
sent away if the Government wanted to stop his raiding,
and now Major Burke, Chief of Staff for General Crook,
admitted as much.
I got ready to start toward the line again, but I knew
it was too late to do any good, so Burke told me to wait
for reports to come in from the pursuing parties, as he
said there w r ere several out, and all of them specially in
structed not to cross the line. One of my captive kids
died in a day or two. It did not belong to any of the
women we had and the women would not look after it.
It was only about three years old and did not take kindly
to Government rations and the guard house, so it went
to the Happy Hunting Ground. The rest were put in the
Keports commenced to come in that the troops pursu
ing the renegades had followed to the Mexican line and
there abandoned the trail as per instructions from the
Department Commander. That was the report of every
one of the commands that were in the pursuit of the rene
General Crook wired that he was coming from Wash
ington, and for Sieber and me to meet him there at Fort
Bowie. It was two months before he did come, and that
threw us out into 1885. But General Crook was fixed
for war when he did come. He had had a regular treaty
A VINDICATION. 197
made with the Mexican Government, so we could cam
paign in Mexico the same as in the United States.
He ordered Sieber and me to San Carlos to enlist
Apache scouts to go to Mexico, for we had long before
decided that only Apache scouts could ever be effective
on a campaign in the Sierra Madres. We enlisted one
hundred scouts of the San Carlos and White Mountain
tribes for a six months campaign in Mexico, and all to
go on foot. Under the new treaty we were to have any
and all stock that we captured from the renegades.
General Crook went to work to establish heliograph
stations and started a school in Bowie to teach men the
art of heliography. He ordered cavalry stationed at all
the principal watering places anywhere near the line,
and started out just as though he intended to make good
his word with Geronimo in the Sierra Madres. Three
pack trains and a good many team mules were sent to
Bowie from Camp Carlin, Wyoming. Ed Delaney was
boss of one pack train, and John Patrick was in charge
of another, and Ben Groves had the third. Harvey Car-
lyle was master of transportation.
Things did sure look like war, and in June we pulled
Sieber had to stay at home, as he was crippled up,
and too old for such hard work as we had before us.
We calculated to have a field headquarters and supply
depot at Nacori, and we went there. I was busy all sum
mer getting stations located for the heliograph. We
made several little side trips while getting everything
On one of these we ran onto a bunch of Indians in
camp. There was a detachment of troops with us, or
198 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
rather I was with them. I was looking for a place to
put in a connecting station for the heliograph we were lo
cating. The men who were going to do the work at
the station (there were about twenty of them) met a
bunch of Chiricahuas in a canon. There was no com
missioned officer with them, but they made a run at the
Indians and caught thirty women and children. There
were only about seven or eight bucks with the gang, and
the bucks all got away. One of the Squaws was run over
by a soldier and hurt so that she died before a doctor
could get his medicine to work on her. Excepting this
squaw (and a crippled pack mule) there were none
I got my mountain located where I wanted to put
a station, but could not find my men to put up the glass.
I started out the way I had told the soldiers to come
and meet me, and I was coming to the conclusion they
had made a mistake and got lost, and was thinking to
myself that they had overruled my scout and gone to
suit themselves, when I began to see all kinds of tracks
on the ground.
There were Indian tracks on foot large and small
cavalry horse tracks, pack mule tracks, and lower down
a dead pack mule. The tracks showed me plainly
enough that there had been a fight, and soon I saw where
the soldiers had turned back, and could see they were
guarding prisoners. Then I knew I would find them at
Nacori, so I pulled out for there.
It was past midnight when I got to Nacori, and Nolan
had not come in yet. I told Major Davis, who was in
command, what had become of his "shadow men," and
that they had no doubt camped, and that I had missed
A VINDICATION. 199
them in the night, but that they would be along in the
At daylight I was on my way back to meet them. I
had a whole lot of soldiers and Apache scouts with me.
About 9 o clock we saw them coming. There were a
good many more prisoners than there were guards. Ser
geant Nolan had seen my Apache scouts, and thinking
we might be renegades, he was trying to get the pris
oners in position so he could hold them and make a fight,
I had with him two Apache scouts, and they were
trying to make Nolan understand that we were of his
own party. Nolan thought the scouts were frightened,
but, as he was not very proficient in the Apache tongue
(for he said there were no Apaches in Ireland!), and as
the scouts did not know any English, they could not
get him to understand. Finally one of the prisoners
said to Nolan: "You fool! He white man soldier!" No
lan then saw that we were all right, and he slacked up
and put up his pistol.
One of the men in his detachment used to tell after
ward what Nolan said to the prisoners when he was try
ing to get them behind a reef of rocks, so he could guard
them and make a fight at the same time. Martin re
ported that Nolan said :
"Ladies, there are people approaching that are your
friends and are enemies of mine and the United States
Government. Now, I, Sergeant Nolan, do order you to
get behind that reef of rocks, and I want you to be
d d quick about it, and not stand there gaping like a
lot of low-down shanty Irish! Here, you little black-haired
imp of the devil, let that pack horse go and come along
200 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
here! To h 1 wid yer d n talk, and do ye moind! You
think that you will be rescued, do ye? Not while Nolan
is at the wheel; you won t lose your course. I will order
a court-martial and hang every mother s son of ye to the
By this time Martin said Nolan was getting so ex
cited he did not know what to do. He yelled to Martin
to shoot those two d n d Apache scouts. "They have
led us into this ambush!" Martin then got Nolan to
understand that we were from Nacori. When Nolan
did finally see that we were all right, he said: "God be
praised! I was afraid I would have to take a life, and
I was using my best judgment to act and conduct myself
as a gentleman before ladies."
This soldier, Martin, never did get through telling
what Nolan did and said there in two minutes. Nolan
was very much worried as to what he should do with the
ladies when they camped for the night, and he finally
went over and told them in the choicest Conemara Irish
that he had never read anything in any article of war
that would seem to fit this peculiar case, and they would
have to excuse him, but he could not offer them any bed
steads to sleep upon. "In fact, we don t have any with
us, because we did not expect the honor or pleasure of
Nolan never did hear the last of what he did and said
on that trip; but he "got the grapes," just the same.
Nolan was all right!
We were very busy all the summer of 1885, getting
transportation into proper condition, getting camps of
soldiers established at all the principal water holes and
getting the heliograph in working order.
A VINDICATION. 201
When we got the heliograph to working properly, we
could send a message to Fort Bowie from Nacori in about
an hour. It had to pass through seven stations; had to
be received and sent again from one to the other, but
such was the excellence of the management that seldom
was a mistake made.
I was hastily called to Fort Bowie after we had all
the stations established and working, and there met Gen
eral Crook, who was having a battalion of Apache scouts
enlisted to go to Mexico under Captain Emmet Crawford.
With Crawford was Lieutenant Marion P. Maus, now on
General Miles s staff, and Second Lieutenant Shipp, who
was killed at San Juan Hill, in Cuba, in 1898, July 2d.
The scouts were on the road to Bowie from San
Carlos when I got to Bowie. General Crook said he
would send for me as soon as Crawford arrived.
When Crawford did get t,o Bowie, we were all sum
moned to meet and talk to General Crook. He invited us
to dinner and after dinner he told us his idea, which was
to have us go to Mexico and stay there six months, and
when we got on an Indian trail never to leave it so long
as we could find one track to follow; to strike the rene
gades as hard as we could on every occasion; to kill all
bucks and take all women and children prisoners; but
that we must keep after them all the time. He then told
us all the details of arrangements in Arizona, and he gave
Captain Crawford a map of all the country where troops
were stationed and where there were heliograph stations.
It was about December 1st when we finally left
Bowie.. We had heard, by heliograph, that a band of
renegades had crossed the line close to Aqua Azul, and
that they were coming up the country. We thought they
202 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
would come through the Dragoon Mountains, as that
would be their best route up from where they crossed
the line. I was now the one who, as chief of scouts, had
to decide about such things, and how I did miss Sieber,
for he knew everything!
I put out men in the Dragoons and men as far west
as the Whetstone Mountains, to try to get them as they
came up, and in that way to keep them from raiding in
the settlements. Always before we had been compelled
to wait until they had done their raiding, and then follow
their trail back.
Our helio was doing its work well. All the settlers
were requested to notify the helio stations as soon as any
Indian sign was seen. This was the first bunch of In
dians we had ever heard of as they came up from Mexico ;
and this information came, thanks to the helio.
Well, they were a war party bent on revenge, and not
on robbing. They were not seen again until they got to
the Reservation and there they ran into old Nad-is-ki s
band in the White Mountains. The men were nearly all
away, so they struck a camp mostly of women and chil
dren and killed twenty-one of them. One of the raiders
was also killed, and they cut his head off and took it into
Camp Apache. It proved to be Hal-zay, the Indian
Sieber and I met on the Bavispe River, when I first went
with Sieber to the Chiricahua camp. A party of men had
gotten after them there the next day, and they had come
back south and crossed the line way up by Alamo Hueco.
We headed then for the Car-Cai, in Mexico, knowing
they would cross in there. Now, one thing we knew, and
that was that they were going to try to do so much dam
age to the Indians on the Reservation that the Indian
A VINDICATION. 203
men on the Reservation would not go to Mexico to hunt
them. They made remarkable rides while up in Arizona,
and the troops were within sight of them several times;
but as there were only eleven came up in the first place
and one of them was killed, only ten of them got back.
They did not steal any horses except what they had to
have to make good time, nor kill any one except one
Mormon at Ash- Canon.
Well, I struck their trail in the Sierra Madres, and as
it was ten days old when I struck it I knew we would
have to be very careful or we would not get up to them.
I left the command and took ten men and pulled out on
the trail on foot. I made arrangements for Crawford
to wait two days where we were camped and then follow
on down by Nacori; then on to the crossing of the Rio
I kept on trail of the ten knowing they would go to
the main band to tell of their raid on the Reservation.
I soon saw that they did not know exactly where the
main band was, and there had been rain enough in the
mountains to wash out any very old trail.
After we got across the Arras I struck more Indian
signs, and saw where quite a bunch of Indians had come
in from Saguaripo in that part of the country; then I
sent a man back to tell Crawford that we w r ere coming
upon more Indians, and wrote him what I knew. I also
told the man I sent back to bring the command to the
mouth of a big canon we could see in the mountains
ahead of us.
In a few days I found more tracks coming in, and
knew then that the reason the Indians we were following
did not know exactlv where to find the main band was
204 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
because the main band, or anyhow, all the bucks, had
been raiding in Sonora. All that were coming in had
lots of horses.
Pretty well up the Arras we found where a bunch of
cattle had been brought in on the trail and also found
where a big lot of Indians had been camped but had
Amoved on south into the mountains.
Here also all the trails leading away had been made
at the same time, and then I knew that we had struck
the main bunch. (There were many beef carcasses, show
ing they had killed all the cattle and jerked the meat.)
There were about four hundred of the Indians, but many
of them, as I knew, were w r omen and children. Here I
sent two men back to Crawford, and told him all I had
learned and asked him to come with the outfit and camp
till he heard from me again.
I left the trail and took up a course parallel with that
of the renegades, for I well knew their custom of leav
ing a few men behind the main party to give warning
if any one was in the track of them. I traveled all day,
and then at evening began to cut across to see if I could
strike their trail. I sent a couple of men to two different
mountain tops to see if they could see any sign or shadows
of camp fires. Two of the scouts who went up on one of
the hills came back about midnight and said they had
seen the shadow of camp fires reflected on the clouds in
the sky and that the Indians must be camped a long way
up the river.
I sent two more men back now to bring the outfit on
up to the point where we were and to wait there for
further orders. We went on the next day, and about
noon we could smell the smoke from pits where the rone-
A VINDICATION. 205
gades were roasting muscal. Then we knew that we were
getting very close to the main Indian camp, as they have
to take a week generally to roast muscal and they would
not be doing it unless they felt very safe.
We lay off and slept the rest of the day after we be
gan to smell Indians, and we calculated to do the most
of our work from that on, after night. When night came
we were all on the highest point around there, and as it
began to get dark w r e began to see shadows of fires and
they were not ten miles from us. W r e had located the
camp at last.
NOW T the main thing to do was to get at them in good
shape. I had only four scouts with me now, but I sent
two more back to bring the command up to where we
first smelled the muscal smoke.
I did not know anything about where the command
was, as I had been sending w T ord back to Captain Craw
ford all the time, but had had no w r ord from him. I was
afraid now that he was several days travel behind me.
I did not know Crawford, but he had a great reputa
tion as a "go-to- em" kind of a fellow, and no man would
look at him and call him afraid or negligent. He looked
good to me; he had a regular wolf snap to his jaw.
Really the only thing I was afriad of was that the coun
try would be too rough. W^hen I was leaving him fifteen
days before, he said: "Now, Chief, you show me the
way, and I will be there on Hank Monk time."
Well, I was showing him the way, but I had not had
a chance to hear from him and now that I wanted him
I began to be afraid he w r ould be slow.
I took my last two men and struck out to get close to
the Indians camp and see what we could learn about it,
206 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
by the time daylight came. We were all night getting
to a place that suited me, and so when we did get where
we thought we would be all right we all sat down and
went to sleep.
I woke as day was breaking and was plenty cold, as
we had no blankets and we had not had anything to
eat except meat, for ten days. As it began to get
light, we could see some fifty camp fires, and some of
them were not a mile away from us. We saw the In
dians going around in their own way, driving in horses,
and they did have lots of them. At first I thought they
were going to move camp, but I soon saw that they were
merely getting in their horses to accustom them to the
camp, as many of the animals had just been stolen and
were not yet used to an Indian camp.
About 9 o clock I had learned all I could learn about
them and the lay of the land, so we started back to get
our own command. If Crawford was keeping up with
me, he would not be more than twelve miles away, and if
he was not, it was not my fault. About noon, or a little
after, we were called by one of my scouts and he said
the outfit was very close there, and so it was. My two
men and I were very hungry; Crawford had a dozen pack
mules with him, and we soon had something to eat.
Everybody was pleased at the news we brought, for the
command had had a hard time keeping up with my
I told Crawford all I knew, and he told me to go on
and finish the job. "You have made a fine hunt of it so
far, and you must take command now, and do your best,
is all I can say."
I had everybody get ready for a whole night s work,
and then I lay down and went to sleep and was wakened
at sundown; one of the packers gave me some grub, and
we pulled out.
208 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Forces Divided Into Four Groups Under Crawford, Maus,
Shipp and Horn Attack Upon Geronimo s Camp
Complete Rout A "Sieber Bluff" Horn Captures
Nana The Old Chief s "Growl!" Geronimo Sends
Messenger; He Would Talk Chiricahua Squaws as
Mourners Much Needed Rest.
We got to the camp all right, and I broke the com
mand up into four bunches. I took the east side, and
sent Shipp to the west side. The east side was next to
the mountains and the west side was about a mile from
the Arras River. I placed Maus to go to the south side,
and left Captain Crawford on the north side. We were
approaching the camp from the north. I wanted Lieu
tenant Shipp to start the fight on his side, next the river,
and make the Indians come towards me, if he could make
it work that way; but at the same time I knew that any
one of our parties might run into the Indians, and then
the row would be on. Naturally I knew that the way
the Indians would break would be towards the rough
country, and the rough country was on my side.
We were all in position before daylight, and all we
had to do was to wait; the longer we could wait the more
light we would have and the better would be the shoot
A VINDICATION. 209
One thing that was against me was the eagerness of
my scouts. I talked to them, and warned them to try
to keep from starting the fight as long as possible, to
give us better light, but they were all mad because of
the raid that the renegades had made on the Reservation,
and the killing of the women and children. They all
knew that we would capture some women and children,
and I had instructed them that they must not kill any
women or children, but to go at the bucks and kill all
the bucks they could.
There were dozens of horses scattered around every
where, and just as it was getting light we could begin
to see the women and children working around among
the horses, and others beginning to build fires. Minutes
were worlds to me just then, as it was still too dark to
do any good shooting.
It was just getting light enough so we could begin to
see everything quite clearly, when two big bucks came
directly towards where I lay. There were four or five
scouts right with me, but I knew that every one of my
twenty-five scouts had a bead on those two renegades.
They got up within twenty yards of where I was, and
had not yet seen one of my men. No one spoke, but
everybody seemed to fire at once, and those two bucks
never smiled again.
Well, there were big doin s in that camp for the next
half hour! Geronimo jumped up on a rock and yelled:
"Look out for the horses!" And a minute afterwards he
yelled: "Let the horses go and break towards the river
on foot! There are soldiers and Apache scouts on both
sides and above us. Let the women and children break
for the river and the men stay behind!"
210 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Towards the river they all ran, and I was thinking
that Lieutenant Shipp had not got into the place I had
assigned him, but had got in the wrong place. I could
hear old Geronimo giving his orders as plainly as though
he had been by my side.
I kneW that my scouts could hear and understand,
also. Geronimo kept on yelling to his people: "Towards
the river! towards the river!" I began to think I had
been a fool to put Shipp on the river side, and that I
should have put Captain Crawford there. The time was
very short, but it seemed ages to me. I knew that a
scared Indian could outrun a mad one; that my long,
hard work was about at a close, and I was thinking it
was too bad; I was just saying to myself: "If Sieber
were here what a scientific lot of swearing there would
be!" Then my thoughts came to a close, for I found
Shipp, and he was the "rightest" man in the world.
Shipp had a boy with him that could speak English.
I don t know how much he could speak, but I don t think
it was much. I think it was the opposite of much that
he could speak. Anyhow, this boy, Charley, could, of
course, understand the renegades, and when the fight
started, and Geronimo commenced to yell to his people
to go towards the river, Charley made Shipp understand
it some way or other, and Shipp and his men lay still
till the renegades got up within ten feet of them before
they opened fire. Then they did good work and lots of it.
Instructions to the scouts did not amount to anything.
They shot everything in sight. Women and children and
everything else! When I saw the renegades were all
going directly away from me, I told my men to go round-
A VINDICATION. 211
ing in the horses, and to yell to all the scouts to look
out for the horses.
I ran down the way the renegades had gone. With
me was the boy, Chi-kis-in, the son of old Pedro, and my
first friend among the Apaches. He was a man now, and
was called a good warrior.
Shipp and his men coming up in front of the rene
gades, as they did, stopped them short, for the renegades
did not know how many scouts there were in front of
them. They checked up a few minutes, but Maus and
Crawford were still giving them a good, heavy fire from
both sides. Then Chi-kis-in and I ran right into them
all, and that did settle it! They scattered like quails.
"Scatter and go as you can!" yelled Geronimo.
I lost some good shooting by running over a little
ridge to where I heard him, to try to get a shot at him.
I could not tell one Indian from another they were so
thick, and all running, and it was sure enough run, too!
So I could not distinguish Geronimo. Captain Crawford
had told me to try to kill him if I possibly could, and I
knew him so well that I thought I could recognize him
at any distance; but there I was, convinced that all naked
Indians looked alike to a man at some distance, and be
fore sunup at that.
When I saw that I could not pick out Geronimo, I
followed along, shooting wherever I could see a buck to
shoot at, but I was getting down to where the women
and children were, and things were pretty badly mixed
up. Shipp was right in front of a big lot of women and
children, and could have gotten all of them, but they
could not surrender, as the scouts kept killing them so
212 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
fast, and when that was stopped they were beginning to
Then I tried old Sieber s way. 1 ran down to my
scouts and yelled and cursed and swore, and said some
awful things, so Shipp said; but I was not on exhibition.
I don t know what I did say. Shipp said I would yell
in Apache and then swear in English, then more Apache
and then more swear! I guess I was the central figure
for a while, for Shipp said he quit looking at the rene
gades and began to watch me.
Well, whatever I did do, it had the desired effect. I
got the scouts to stop shooting the women and children,
and I got a lot of the women and children to surrender.
I think we got only sixteen to surrender; the rest of them
wanted to but were stampeded by my scouts.
Just as we were getting them rounded up I saw a
renegade trying to cross a little open swale about one
hundred yards away, and he was going a little lame. He
was in sight for a distance of about ten. feet only. 1
ran and gained on him, but he was on one side of
a little ridge and I was on the other, yet the gulch he
was in was open and ran right into the gulch I was in a
couple of hundred yards below. I beat him to the forks,
or met him there. We were both running and not more
than twenty-five yards apart. When I came in sight of
him I threw up my gun; he stopped dead still and turned
towards me. He was old Nana, a formerly noted chief
in war and council, but at this time about ninety
years old. He said to me as calmly as though he were
going to draw his rations: "I surrender." Then he com
menced to talk Spanish, which he spoke with as much
fluonrv as the ordinarv Mexican.
A VINDICATION. 213
"I am old," he said, "and no more fit for war as it is
waged now. At this time of my life all is changed.
Now the best warriors are the ones who start to run first,
and their ability as warriors depends on the length of
time they can run after they do get started. You have
no men; I know you, you are Sibi s boy, son of the man
of iron, and he has taught you to fight anyhow, no
matter which is the superior body of men, the ones you
are with or the ones you are fighting. Once the Apaches
were so, but now they sit around the fires and tell what
they will do and what they can do, and they won t do,
and can t do anything. We had men enough to make
you a good fight, and we could get away in the dark after
we did fight you, but no, these braves must run, run,
The old chief then commenced to laugh. I had been
grinning at him, for when I had headed him off he was
certainly making a gallant play at a run himself, but he
just could not keep it up, as he had been lame for twenty
years from a wound in the hip.
"Yes," he said, "now you think I was running, too,
and so I was, but I will run no more and I will fight no
I had not made him drop his gun, so he still had it
in his hands. He swung it over his head and struck it
on a rock and broke off the stock, then kept on and bent
the barrel, threw it down and said: "Para sirvir usted"
("At your service"). I told him to come on to camp, and
as several of the scouts had come around, we started
back toward where the camp was when we jumped it.
Shipp and his prisoners were ready and we all went
back. Nana kept up his roast on his own people, telling
214 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
the squaws how brave were the warriors under Ge-
roniino. "Look," said he, "here are about twenty or
twenty-five scouts who have taken you prisoners. Where
are your braves?"
"They are all gone," said one of the women.
"Yes," said the old chief, "they have gone, and they
now have not got the best of anything. They are only
even with the world. Not one of them has even a blanket.
They have neither camp nor comfort; yet, up at Turkey
Creek on the Reservation, when it was left to you women
to go on the war path or stay on the Reservation, you all
said: Mexico, Mexico, Mexico. I now say, San Carlos,
San Carlos, San Carlos! and there I will stay and die,
and not be trying to keep up with your strong young
braves in this great Mexican and American foot race.
Did you hear your great chief, Geronimo? He said, To
the river, to the river! run to the river! Why did he
not say: Fight, make the scouts go to the river! "
Well, this was only a small part of the cranky, roast
ing talk of the old chief. He said to me: "You think the
Chiricahuas always run, but I will tell you there was
once a Chiricahua chief who said, Fight! and his name
Nana asked who was the Captain, and I told him.
When we got up to where Crawford and Maus and the
scouts had all the horses rounded up, I left Maus and
Crawford to talk to Nana. Maus could talk some
Spanish, and I told Crawford who the distinguished
prisoner was; as I was leaving, I heard Nana say to
Maus: "My people have just had a big foot race here,
and the fact of my being old and crippled and unschooled
in the art of winning a cause by racing for it, the for-
A VINDICATION. 215
tunes of a war of this kind have made me your prisoner.
I am at your service, sir, and only ask as a favor that
you will allow me to growl as much as I want to. I ask
also, that you will not ask me anything regarding the
people that I have passed nearly ninety years of my life
with, for, while I don t admire their peculiar tactics in
battle, they are still my people."
I loved to hear Naiia growl, for he was quite an in
genious kicker, but I had to look after my men and the
captured property, and try to get something to eat.
We had a great many captured horses, but I never
counted them, as my orders were to kill most of them so
that the renegades could not get them to live on. We,
of course, got all the camp equipage of the renegades
and there was a big lot of plunder of one kind and
another. Of course, there was a good deal of quarreling
about the division of the spoils, and to get everything
straightened out I had to make another Sieber s bluff;
so I arose in my wrath and made the scouts pile up all
the stuff and then I set it on fire. I rounded up the
horses and put a herd guard to look after them, and that
about squared everything. I then went to look for
something to eat. I found the packers had come in, and
I got a good meal, and as it had began to rain by this
time, I got under a piece of canvas stretched up by the
packers, and went to sleep.
I told Crawford to take some men and count the dead
Indians, but he said he did not want them counted, and as
I did not care for it myself, they were never counted by
It was a damp, cloudy, dismal day, and was drizzling
along in a small way all day. The stuff we found in the
216 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Indians camp was burning and sent up a terrible smoke,
that went straight up, and I thought at the time that it
could be seen many miles. There were old blankets,
quilts, clothes, and raw-hide sacks, such as the Apaches
used for packing, and everything else that one could
think of, stolen on different raids.
Along in the middle of the afternoon, Crawford woke
me, and told me there was a woman in camp from the
renegades who had crossed the Arras Eiver and were
only a few miles away. She said the Chiricahuas wanted
to talk to Captain Crawford and me. I told her we
would start away from there on the next day very early,
and if Chihuahua wanted to talk, he had better come in
and do so. We were out of rations and would have to
go to the camp at Nacori to get more, and it would be
five or six days travel the nearest way we could go to
get to Nacori, but I did not want to tell them we were
about out of rations.
I sent her back, and told her I would talk to any or
all of them next day. Nana said to the woman to tell the
rest of the renegades that he was a captive and was go
ing to San Carlos. I told him, not to San Carlos, but to
the guard house in Fort Bowie. Any place, he replied,
where he would not have to run foot races.
We had, I think, sixteen prisoners, and some of them
were cutting up a good deal on account of having seen
their people killed, and an old squaw can always make
her share of noise when she is doing the weeping act.
They don t cry, they just pitch out one long screeching
yell after another, all the time lying flat on their stom
achs. A dozen of them in camp is no treat.
A VINDICATION. 217
We were all tired and worn out, more especially the
scouts who had been with me, and I, myself, was worn
completely out. I always tried to carry a hundred
rounds of cartridges on a trip where we were working as
we had to w r ork there, for we always calculated that if
we got cornered in the day time, we could make a stand
off fight till night and then get away. I never did make
any calculations on getting killed. Well, a hundred
rounds of 45-70 cartridges weighs eleven pounds when
you first put them on, and at the end of twenty days, they
weigh about as much as a small sized locomotive.
It kept raining all night, and was still raining at
218 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Unwarranted Attack by Mexicans Under Corredor "For
God s Sake, Chief, Can t You Stop Them?" The
Death of Captain Emmet Crawford Lieutenant
Maus in Command Thirty-seven Killed, Fifteen
Wounded Horn as Truce-Bearer "If I am Harmed,
My Apache Scouts Will Kill Every Mother s Son of
You!" A Mexican Trick Coming to Terms Chi
huahua Would Talk Dissatisfaction Among Ge-
ronimo s Followers Burial of Crawford Horn s
Reputation Increased Lieutenant Maus Lauds His
Chief of Scouts.
All of us began to stir at daylight, and very shortly
after we saw Mexican soldiers coming toward us. I saw
they were getting ready to make a fight, and I could
hear their orders as plainly as I could hear Captain
Crawford s, who stood beside me. I told the scouts to
get ready for a scrap, and to listen to me and do as I
said, and not fire one shot if they could keep from it.
I heard the Mexican commander say to his men to
throw out flankers on each side of us, and for some of
them to get ready to charge. I got Shipp out on one
side to stop their flankers, and Maus on the other side
to do the same, and told each of them to start the game
when they were compelled to for their own protection. I
yelled to the Mexicans many times, that we were Ameri-
A VINDICATION. 219
can troops from the line, but that did not stop them.
They must have heard me, for Captain Crawford and I
could hear them plainly. They had formed for a fight
about three hundred yards from us. We had ample time
to get into position, and we were in a strong natural
fortification. I knew a thousand Mexicans could not
Finally, I heard the commander ask if the men were
all in position for the flank move, and the answer came
back that they were all waiting.
"Follow me, valientes!" cried the Mexican Captain,
and at us they came on a run across a little basin,
directly toward us.
Crawford said, "My God, Chief, can t you stop them?
These scouts will kill them all !"
I ran out towards them, and Crawford jumped up
higher still, on a big prominent rock, and had a white
handkerchief in his hands. He could not speak Spanish,
but he could swear in a moderately clever way, not like
Sieber or Chaffee, but still he was doing very well. I
kept on talking to the Mexicans all the time, and was
also talking to the scouts and telling them not to fire.
When they reached the middle of the basin the Mexi
cans began to shoot. Some would stop and shoot, and
then come on towards us on a trot, and others would
do the same, so that some were coming on a trot and
some were firing all the time.
One of my scouts yelled to me to come back, that
Crawford was killed. I was half-way down meeting the
Mexicans, and was out in the opening. I was w r ondering
why it was that they did not hit me, and then all at
220 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
once I wondered no more, for I was struck in the arm.
My scouts saw I was hit, and they yelled, "Come back!"
I did not start right away, although the Mexicans
were within fifty feet of me, but I yelled to my scouts
to give it to them! All my scouts seemed to shoot at
once, and how it did paralyze those Greasers! They went
down in groups and bunches! Their advance was
stopped as though they had come to the end. Some of
my scouts wanted to be down where I was; and, Chi-kis-in
and about a dozen came down and kept on shooting at
some of the wounded Mexicans who were trying to crawl
I believe the Mexicans afterwards said there were
thirty-six killed and thirteen badly wounded. There were
one hundred and fifty-four Mexicans, so they said later.
After all the Mexicans had gotten out of sight, one of
them yelled over to us:
"O, you white man that talks Mexican, I want to talk
I said, "What do you want? I spoke to you many
times and you would not answer."
They replied, "Now we want to talk."
I had gone over to where I had left Captain Craw
ford standing on a rock. Some of the Indians had said
that he had been killed, and I wanted to see if it were
The scouts told me he was lying out in front of a
big pile of boulders. I ran around there, and sure
enough, there he lay. Shot in the center of the forehead,
a glancing shot, but it had torn out a whole lot of his
brains I should say as much as a handful.
A VINDICATION. 221
When I stepped around to where he lay I guess I
was in plain view of the Mexicans, as they commenced
to shoot at me again, and I tried to get Crawford back,
but I had only one arm that I could use, and I could not
lift him. I could not get the scouts to help me, as they
do not like to do anything with a wounded man. So 1
had to drag him with one hand. It was about fifty feet
from there to the sheltering rocks, but I finally got him
around there. He was unconscious. I poured a little
water down his throat, but he did not revive any.
The fight was going on again quite briskly, and it was
not worth my while to try to stop it! Chi-kis-in came to
me and wanted to scatter out our men and go after the
Mexicans and kill all of them, but I talked to them and
told them not to do so until I ordered them.
Old Nana came crippling up to me and said:
"Captain, though I am a prisoner and an old man, 1
would like to take the rifle and ammunition of the dead
Captain and help to entertain the Mexicans."
I gave him the gun and belt and told him to do as I
told him, or rather as I told the rest of the scouts. He
said, "I will do so. If this is a fight to the death, here I
will die, for I will never be shamed by running, as I did
I went around among my scouts and told them not
to waste their ammunition too freely, as we were in the
Mexicans country, and two weeks travel from the line,
and may be the Mexicans had taken in all our command.
I did not know, and could not guess, why we had been
attacked. I thought Mexico and the United States were
at war, and that we were in it. I was sure the Mexicans
did not want to do anything but fight, and I knew, also,
222 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
that my men were wanting to advance awfully bad, and
I knew, also, that if I did let my scouts go they would
kill all of the Mexicans, or nearly all, as an Apache has
no fear of Mexicans.
I went and saw Lieutenant Maus, and had a talk with
him, and told him how things were.
We could not make out why we were attacked by the
Mexicans, unless Mexico had declared war against our
country, and, as we had left Bowie on December 1, 1885,
and it was now January 11, 1886, we had not had any
word for a long time from the line.
Maus was now in command, as Crawford was dying,
and I asked him if I should turn the Indians loose and
make a ramp on the Mexicans. Maus said to speak to
them again, and if they did not answer, to do as I wanted
to, which, I tell you, meant go to em!
Just then I caught sight of Lieutenant Shipp and his
bunch of scouts, right around over where the Mexicans
were, and in a splendid commanding position. I could
see that the Mexicans were getting excited, also, and so
I spoke to them and asked them how they liked the
entertainment. One of the Mexicans asked me who we
were, and I told him we were a bunch of sports down
from the United States, looking for some game, and
thanked him for the nice little time we were having, and
invited him to get his "valientes" together again, and try
He asked me what those Apaches were doing, get
ting up over them, and I told him that if they did not
charge or run soon, my men were going to try it, and see
how charging went; but as we were now on three sides
A VINDICATION. 223
of them, and a steep ledge in front of them, that they had
better act as though they had some sense.
"What do you want?" asked the Mexicans.
"Everything you have," replied I.
They talked awhile among themselves, and then they
asked what the soldier they saw (meaning Crawford) and
I were doing with the Apaches. I told them that our
business originally had been to hunt down renegade
Chiricahuas, but that we were attacked by their outfit
and that we had to defend ourselves, which we were per
fectly able and willing to do.
Just here a loud yell broke out on the side of the Mex
icans that we did not have guarded, and old Geronimo
bobbed up and began to call to me. He shouted to me
to give the word, and we would all strike the Mexicans
at once and kill them all and get their pinole. Mexi
cans, when they go upon a campaign or trip, take only
pinole, a kind of parched meal, and the Indians all like
it would do anything to get it. Some of Geronimo s
men began to talk to the Mexicans in Spanish. I could
easily distinguish old Jose Maria among them.
The Mexicans were getting pretty badly worked up by
this time and they asked me to come over there to their
camp. I went and saw Maus and told him I was going
over, and then I told the scouts that I was going and to
be sure to kill all the Mexicans if they killed me. I told
Geronimo, also, that I was going into the Mexican camp,
and I heard Jose Maria tell the Mexicans that if they
harmed me that the scouts and renegades would combine
and kill every mother s son of them!
Then I walked over. I went in among them and asked
where their commander was, and they said that he lay
224 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
dead on the field of battle. I told them we had not had
a battle yet, only a skirmish; that if their commander
had been killed they had better go back home and get a
new one; that we were the same as Mexican troops, as
we were; and were allowed all the rights and privileges
of Mexican troops within certain limits and that we were
within those limits, and that on this occasion, by our
treaty, our rights and privileges were equal to their own.
I told them that they had come and attacked us, and that
we had merely defended ourselves.
One of them then asked me who I was, and I told him.
"Well," he said, "we don t know anything of this treaty
you are talking about, but we think it is all right, and we
will let it go, though we have had many men killed and
among them is Don Maurice Corredor, the bravest man
that ever lived. We will have to take you with us to
the city of Chihuahua to settle this thing."
I told them that I would have to decline the order or
invitation, whichever it was, and they said they would
take me anyhow, and that I was their prisoner!
Geronimo was closer to me than my own men and I
spoke to him and told him what these Mexicans were
talking of doing, and he yelled to my scouts what I had
told him, and in a minute every scout and renegade com
menced to yell and get ready for an advance. The Mex
icans asked me what the Indians were doing, and I told
them that I was chief of the Indians, and they did not
propose to see me taken away.
"What did you say to the Indians?" asked the Mexi
cans. I informed them that I had told the Indians I
was a prisoner. The Mexicans could see that they were
A VINDICATION. 225
surrounded and that they would be exterminated in a
few minutes more
"We will kill you," said one of them, "if the Apaches
fire upon us."
"I know you will," replied I, "and I know, also, that
you will never smile again after you do kill me, for no
one but myself can handle or control those Indians, and
when they know I am killed you will all be killed. Not
one of you will escape."
All the Indians were closing in now, and one Mexican
said to me: "Go quick and stop them, and then come
back and see if we can not fix this thing up."
I called to Geronimo not to fire till I told them, or
till they saw me fall. I was in plain sight of the Chiri-
cahuas and of most of the scouts, and I stepped up where
I could be more plainly seen by all of them. I then asked
the Mexicans if they did not think it unnecessary to take
me to the city of Chihuahua, as my presence was very
necessary there with my scouts.
"Have you not got a commissioned officer with your
outfit?" asked one, and I told him that there were two
of them with the scouts.
"You go over and take care of the scouts, and send
one of the officers over and let us talk to him."
"Neither of them can talk Mexican," said I.
"Well, if you can control the Indians, go on back to
them," said one of the Mexicans.
I went back and told Maus all about the whole busi
ness; also that the Mexicans, such as were there, were
a very uncertain lot and would not do to trust. Maus
asked me to go and get one of the prominent Mexicans
to come over and talk to him. I went back to the Mex-
226 LIFE OF TOM HORN!
lean camp and asked them to send over a man or two,
or a dozen if they liked, to talk to our officer.
Two of them concluded to go. Jose Maria, of the
Chiricahuas, asked me what we were going to do, and I
told him. "May I come over, too, and hear what they
have to say?" And I told him yes, to come on. Jose
Maria came down and the four of us went over to our
camp. I introduced them to Maus and told them who
Maus was. The Mexicans then told Maus that they had
made a mistake and did not know we were from the
United States, that they were sorry for what they had
done, and that they had suffered a much more serious
loss than we had, as Maurice Corredor was a great man
and would be a great loss to Mexico. I did not tell them
of Crawford being shot. They wanted to know if we had
any men killed and I called a scout that had gotten a
shot in the wrist, and told him there were our wounded.
The Mexicans did not know what to do and I could
not see that we were doing any good, so I told them to
go on back to their camp. We had not had any break
fast and it was 10 o clock by this time, so we went to
work to get something for all hands.
Along about noon a Mexican came over and asked if
I could let our doctor go over and attend to their
wounded. I told Dr. Davis he could do as he liked, and
he went over and dressed a whole lot of wounds for them.
Dr. Davis said one of them was shot eight times. While
Dr. Davis was over there, one of them came over and
asked for Maus to go over, as they wanted to talk to
him. I told Maus not to go, as he could not do any talk
ing to amount to anything, but he said he would go, and
go he did.
A VINDICATION. 227
About the time Mans went over, Dr. Davis came back
and said he did not like the looks of things. That the
Mexicans did not treat him right. Presently Maus sent
over a note, saying he was held prisoner; that the Mexi
cans wanted us to divide our rations with them; they
wanted our mules to carry their wounded and they
wanted everything we had.
They talked of taking him to Chihuahua. I told the
Mexican who came over with the note, to go over and
get men to take the mules and grub back; told him to
bring four or five men. This he did, and the man who
came back to receive the mules and rations said he was
the man now in charge of the Mexicans.
He had four men with him, making five altogether.
I told them that I was surprised that they should hold
Lieutenant Maus as they were doing, and he told me that
they were bound to have their own way, and we had
better not make any trouble. I told him if that was
their game, they should see how it was going to work.
I told them to get upon a rock that was close by.
"What are you going to do?" asked their spokesman.
"You are playing a Mexican trick of bluff on us," said
I, "and I am going to show you what joy means."
I made them get up on the rock, and then I called old
Nana and Jose Maria, and about a dozen of my scouts,
and told them to get ready to do as I told them.
I told them that as soon as I gave the word, I wanted
them all to shoot into the Mexicans. By this time the
Mexicans could see that they were going to be executed.
I told them to call over to their comrades and tell them
just the kind of a fix they were in, and after they told
228 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
them that Lieutenant Maus must be sent back in one
minute, or I would allow the Apaches to shoot them.
The man then commenced to tell his companions how
things were, and that they would surely be killed in a
minute if Maus did not appear.
For many a day we laughed at the way that Mexican
did talk! Nana and Jose Maria were also telling them
that they were all the same as dead men already, and
how much pleasure they were going to have. I did not
wait long till I told them that it was no use; that their
friends had quit them, and they would have to die.
Their friends wanted to talk, but I told them "No savvy,"
and it was getting time for my lieutenant to be coming.
The talk of this man sounded so sincere that the lieu
tenant came over and said that the Mexicans were doing
a lot of bluffing on him, but they would not do any more.
Maus said the Mexicans demanded everything when he
got over there, and he could not talk much Spanish, and
the Mexicans could not understand a word of American,
and I guess there had been big doin s.
Well, that ended the row. I told the Mexicans to
come over and get a lot of extra horses I had, and I took
about forty head of the best and turned the rest of the
captured horses (and there must have been three hun
dred of them) over to the Mexicans.
The Mexicans came from the Chihuahua side of the
Sierra Madre, and the horses belonged to the Sonora side,
but I was not going to take any more horses to the line
or to Bowie, as I already had enough of that.
Late that evening the Mexicans pulled out, and I sent
half a dozen scouts to follow and watch them. They
were in very bad shape, as they had a good many
A VINDICATION. 229
wounded. I let old Jose Maria go back to the renegades,
and told him to tell Chihuahua, and any others who
wanted to talk to me, to come on the next day to where
we would camp.
Crawford was unconscious, and remained so till he
finally died, three days later. He had a great hole in
his head, and it looked as though a handful of brains had
been shot out; but with all that, he lived until the third
day, and died while on the way out of the mountains.
We were carrying him in a travels, carried by pack
mules. We were rather a sorrowful lot ourselves, as we
pulled towards home. We did not want to bury Craw
ford there in the mountains, so we were taking him out
to the nearest settlement, which was Nacori.
I had sent five scouts on ahead with dispatches from
Maus to our camp at Nacori, and two others we sent to
General Crook. From Nacori we could send in helio
dispatches, and by the time we arrived at Nacori with
the body of Captain Craw r ford, all the world knew of his
death, and how it came about.
We buried Crawford at Nacori. The packers and sol
diers had the grave prepared when we arrived there with
the body. His body was taken up the next summer and
sent to either Lincoln or Beatrice, Nebraska, where his
mother and sister lived, and I have always understood
that it was buried at Lincoln.
To go back to the Chiricahuas. As we went into
camp, the first day after we left the battle ground, a
woman came and told me Chihuahua was close there,
and for me to come out, as he wanted to see me. I told
Maus I was going out to see him, and he told me to
230 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
do as I liked, and to come back and see him, and tell him
what Chihuahua wanted.
I went with the squaw, and joined the chief, and he
said he would follow Geronimo no more, as Geronimo
was "all on the run and drink muscal." He said Geron
imo was the war chief, and it was the custom of all other
chiefs to obey the order of the war chief. He said Geron
imo was too much on the talk; and gave me to under
stand that he was going to follow him no more.
He w r anted me to make arrangements for him to meet
General Crook and talk to him, and said he would be a
renegade no more. Chihuahua was one of the most de
termined, and of the best hereditary standing of any
chief in the Chiricahua tribe, but he never aspired to rank
high as chief. Natchez and Chihuahua were half broth
ers, and both of them grandsons of old Cochise, the most
noted of all old-time Chiricahua chiefs.
Natchez was the greatest warrior, and the best man
physically, in the bunch of renegades; he was also a
man of great personal pride and courage. So, knowing
his pride, I asked Chihuahua to try to see if he could not
get Natchez to come with him. He said he would see,
but that he thought Natchez would consider himself
bound to stay with Geronimo. I did all I could in a talk,
and made arrangements to bring General Crook to meet
him in the full of the March moon, at the San Bernar
dino Peak. I told him I could not be sure General
Crook could come, but that I would take his message
That evening several more women and children came
in and said they were going back with us. We had now
about twenty-five prisoners to take back. I never put
A VINDICATION. 231
them under guard at all, as they were all willing to go,
and they were perfectly contented when not within the
sound of Geronimo s voice. Geronimo certainly had an
influence over them that controlled them when he was
with them, but once away from him, they would do as
they pleased. Now, for the first time, I could begin to
see dissatisfaction in the renegade camp, and that was
what I wanted to see.
At that camp on the Arras, where we jumped Geron
imo, he could easily have given us a licking, or else a
stand-off, had he made a fight, and all the Indians in the
renegade camp thought that I had planned the fight to
come off just as it did, and ran them down the draw
among my best scouts.
It was true, I did send some of my best men with
Shipp, but I did it because Shipp was young and inex
perienced, and I thought he would need good men to
take care of him, as I was sure we would have a hard
fight. Of course, I never let on but that everything came
out as I wanted it to.
Maus and Shipp knew different, but as they could not
talk to either the scouts or the renegades, they could
not give me away, and I took advantage of the wisdom
I was supposed to have displayed. Then, too, the rene
gades all began to think more of me because I had headed
off the scouts and would not let them kill any more
women and children; and, taking it altogether, I was
getting to be a great man in my own estimation!
["Personal Recollections of General Miles:" On page 471,
Captain Maus, in his account, says: "I can not commend too
highly Mr. Horn, my chief of scouts. His gallant services de
serve a reward which he has never received."]
232 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Maus and Horn Report to General Crook at Bowie-
Surrender of Chihuahua Geronimo Returns to War
path Crook Superceded by Miles as Department
Commander Horn Reduced From Chief of Scouts to
Interpreter He Resigns and Goes to Mining Horn
Recalled by Personal Letter From Miles An Excit
ing Indian Chase Horn Brings Geronimo and Dis
patches for Miles Miles Will Not Do Business
Through a Civilian Geronimo Will Not Do Business
Through a Soldier Horn Leaves Camp Dispatch
From Miles to Horn: "Make Your Own Arrange
ments for Me to Meet Geronimo." Horn Persuades
the Renegade Chief to a Second Interview Geronimo
Surrenders Remarkable Feat of Wasse The Scouts
Disbanded Horn Returns to Mining.
Well, after getting to Nacori and burying Crawford,
we hired a large room in the town, our camp being sev
eral miles from there. We put all the supplies in the big
room, left a guard of soldiers there, and w r e all pulled
out for the line. I guess General Crook ordered the
storing of the rations in Nacori for future use. I did
not know anything about that.
We were stopped at the Batipita Ranch as we were
on our way up, to wait there with the command till Maus
and I could go to Bowie and report in person to General
A VINDICATION. 233
Crook. Maus and I left the command and went on in
and had a long talk with the General, and I told him of
the dissatisfaction among the Chiricahuas, and he made
arrangements to come down as soon as he was notified
by helio that the renegades were on hand.
Maus and I then went back and established camp on
the San Bernardino Creek, about twelve miles below the
line, to wait for the March moon. We would have to
wait about six or seven w r eeks. A long and tedious wait
it was, with a message coming in from General Crook
every day to see if we had heard anything. We had a
helio station in camp.
At last the welcome signal came. It was on the San
Bernardino Peak. And, though it came at 9 o clock at
night, I started out right away to go and find the mes
I found him to be a young buck, who said he was a
nephew to Chihuahua. He said that Chihuahua would
be there whenever I said the w 7 ord. I sent him word to
be there in four days, and then went back to report to
General Crook by helio.
General Crook sent word back he would be there at
the appointed time, and I went on back, leaving the Gen
eral to follow. General Crook was very anxious, for, as
I learned later, the Department was hurrying him up as
much as they could, and he was depending upon me. But
I could not hurry the renegades; and so it stood.
When the appointed day came along, all parties w r ere
on hand and Chihuahua said that he did not have any
more talk to make, but that he was willing to go to the
guard house and stay there till Geronimo came in, for
he said Geronimo would not stay out long now, as many
234 LIFE OP TOM HORN:
of the men with him were much dissatisfied. There were
about twenty-five men and a good many more women and
children with Chihuahua.
All at once there was some commotion up on the
Peak and a big bunch of renegades came into sight com
ing to our talk. Geronimo was at their head. The desire
to make a peace talk was too strong in him to miss the
I asked Geronimo if he had come in to surrender and
he replied by telling me to take him to General Crook.
This I did, and he wanted to make a great long talk about
the way he was treated up on Turkey Creek, and General
Crook asked him what he wanted to do, and Geronimo
said he wanted to have an understanding. General
Crook told him if he wanted to go along as a prisoner to
come on, and if he did not, to go on back to the moun
tains and he would send more scouts there to find him.
He said: "Geronimo, you are so much of a liar that
I do not want to trust you any more, and if you go with
me you will have to go to the guard house till the author
ities at Washington decide what to do with you."
He told Geronimo he would camp for the night up at
the scout s camp on the San Bernardino Creek, and if he
wanted to talk to come up there. General Crook then
pulled out, and as Crook had brought Micky Free down
to me, I asked Micky if he wanted to stay back with me
and talk to Geronimo and he said he would, so I told the
outfit to go on to camp and that I would stay and talk
to Geronimo a while.
Crook and his escort went on and Micky and I sat
down to have a talk with Geronimo. The chief had about
twenty men, well armed and very well mounted. I
A VINDICATION. 235
asked him where he got his horses, and he said that the
Mexicans were raising horses for him in Sonora, and he
w r ent and got them when he wanted or needed them. I
told him that General Crook was very mad at him for
leaving the Reservation, and he said he knew Crook was
mad, but if he could talk to him he could explain a good
many things. I told him to come on and go to camp with
me and I would try and get the General to talk to him.
He asked me how many scouts and soldiers there w r ere
in camp and I said I would not tell him. He asked me
if I would try to trap him and I told him he could come
and make his talk and if he and the General could not
agree, that he could again go to the mountains. He said
he would go with me.
Geronimo and I rode ahead of the rest of his men, and
he made a great complaint to me about a man like Chi
huahua doing as he was doing, and said that Chihuahua
was jealous because he could not be war chief. I then
told Geronimo that Chihuahua would not talk that way
of him, and he said, "Yes, he would," and added, that
Chihuahua told him that it was no more good to be on
the war path and he only said so because some Mexican
killed his favorite boy on their last raid before I struck
them on the Arras.
Geronimo seemed to feel very bad about Chihuahua s
giving up, and well he might, for it showed to me an
open break in their camp.
That night Geronimo wanted to talk to General
Crook, but Crook told him if he w r anted to go to Bowie to
the guard house to come on, and if he did not, that his
talk was no good and for him to go on back to the
mountains and he would soon be after him with the
236 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
scouts. Geronimo wanted to talk to the scouts, but I
would not let any of the scouts see him except Micky,
and I knew he was immune from the influence of Ge
While I was giving the scouts orders to keep away
from the camp at Geronimo, Chihuahua came up and
said, in a low tone, to me, to put him and all the people
w r ith him under a close guard.
This I did, and, while Chihuahua would not tell me
anything, I could plainly see that Geronimo was only
with us to try and get some of the men belonging to Chi
huahua s band to desert and go with him on the war
Geronimo saw me putting a guard over the prisoners
who had before been entirely free, and he asked me why
I was doing it. I told him I would take all of them to
the guard house at Bowie, and that no more "good talk"
was going to go; that if ever the Chiricahuas did go back
to the Reservation they would only go to the guard house,
as they would never be turned loose again.
Geronimo said that was very hard, and no more of
them would surrender under those conditions. I told him
I could do no good talking to him, and that if he was
there at sunup next morning that he would be taken
prisoner by force.
When morning came there was no Geronimo. He
and his band had gone, and, as long as I was not allowed
to make a prisoner of him, I was glad to know he was
gone, for he had a wonderful influence with all Indians.
He was such a great talker that he could make right
A VINDICATION. 237
We took all the prisoners we had up to Bowie and
put them in a new guard house we had made especially
for our Chiricahua prisoners. We had a couple of hun
dred by this time, and we were also informed (anyhow,
I was), that General Crook had been relieved, and that
General Nelson A. Miles was to take command of the
Things in an Indian way were at a standstill for a
couple of months, and then I was informed by the
Quartermaster that there would be no more Chief of
Scouts, and that I was to be sent to Camp Apache as
This was quite a blow to my pride, but one of my
best friends was a Captain Thompson, of the Fourth
Cavalry; he was made Adjutant General under Miles,
and he told me to go to Apache and stay there till Gen
eral Miles looked around and saw the lay of the land.
He told me that Miles was going to try the renegades a
lick with cavalry. The proposition was to enlist five
Apaches in each troop of cavalry to do the trailing and
scouting for the troops.
So things were arranged and started under the new
Huachuca was now made headquarters of the Depart
ment. All the newspapers said that Miles was a brilliant
officer, and was a great Indian fighter, and that the career
of Geronimo and of Horn was about at an end. A San
Francisco newspaper had come out with an article, say
ing that Horn was as much Apache as he was Mexican ;
that I had more influence with the hostiles than Ge
ronimo himself; that I went to his camp whenever I
wanted to without the least fear of being hurt, and that
238 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
I was always the interpreter, and could say anything I
wanted and no one could dispute what I said, as no other
white man could talk their language, or was trusted
When this article came out I went to the Quarter
master, at Apache, where I was stationed, and told him
that I would quit the Government, as I was evidently
very much in disgrace. I left at once and went over to
a ranch in the Aravaipa Canon, which I had always
called home, and where I had always kept some extra
saddle horses. I had some mines there that I had wanted
to work for a long time, and I did not want to work for
the Government any more while things were going as
they were. Again, the newspapers said that, as I had
now left the Government employ, General Miles would
not have any traitors in his own command, and would
soon put down the renegades or kill them all!
I knew the cavalry would never be able to do any
thing but get whipped, but had I told anyone so, I
should have been laughed at for my pains; soldiers
could easily whip the renegades if they could get at them,
but the renegades could avoid them till they got the
soldiers into a trap, and then give them both barrels.
Had I told General Miles this, he would doubtless have
called me a fool.
Well, two companies of the Tenth Cavalry, under
Captain Leebo, ran onto a camp of renegades down
towards Calabasas, and got whipped, and never saw one
Indian. Two days later the same thing happened to a
troop of the Fourth Cavalry. About a month later a big
bunch of renegades came up by Fort Bowie and across
by the Dragoons. They killed a man in the Dragoons,
A VINDICATION. 239
and turned back on their route and killed two men and
a boy in Pinery Canon, in the Chiricahua Mountains.
They then went into Mexico and killed four Mexicans,
just on the line, at a vinataria, or muscal still. These
stills are scattered all over northern Mexico, and, previ
ous to this, not a man connected with any of them had
ever been killed.
Four or five squaws got lost from this bunch that
came through last, or else they deserted and came into
Fort Bowie, and they said that Ju, a Warm Spring chief,
and a half-brother to Nana, had been killed by the
Mexicans over in Janos, in Chihuahua. The way we
afterwards got the story was that twenty-six bucks went
into this town of Janos and got drunk; the Mexicans gave
them all the muscal they could drink, and killed nearly
all of them. Ju, in trying to get away, was running his
pony at the top of its speed, and it fell down a bank and
killed him. This was why Geronimo was killing the
Things were looking bad for the Chiricahuas, and for
the troops, also; and the newspapers that had expected
so much from Miles now said that he was a failure!
The Apache scouts, with each troop of cavalry, would
not work well, and they could not understand the troop
commanders, and the troop commanders could not under
In August, a detachment of troops came to the ranch
where I was, and brought me a letter from the Quarter
master at Fort Huachuca. He wanted me to come over
and go to work. I sent back word that I was all ready
to go to mining, and did not care to go to work for the
Government again. Again came a detachment with a
240 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
second letter, this time from General Miles himself, ask
ing me to come to Huachuca and see him, and have a
talk with him about the Indians.
I made arrangements with the boys who were in with
me on the mine to do my share while I was gone, then I
got on my horse and went to Huachuca to meet General
The General told me there that he wanted me to go
to Mexico and find Captain Lawton (the General Lawton
killed in the Philippines), and act as Chief of Scouts with
him and see what we could do.
I went down and struck Lawton s camp at a place in
Sonora, called Sierra Gordo. I crossed a trail of Indians
in the Heiralitas Mountains as I went down, and, after I
reported to Lawton, I told him what I had seen, and he
asked me what to do. He had twenty-five Apache scouts
and two troops of cavalry and four or five white scouts.
I told him to leave all the outfit except the scouts and
to go and take up the trail I had just left. This we did,
and as we were all in light traveling order, we went at
a good lively gait, and, as Dr. Wood (General Leonard
Wood, of Cuban fame) said, "We will run them off the
For once the state troops of Sonora were out and try
ing to co-operate with us; but all that was necessary for
anyone to do was to keep in the mountains and give us
supplies and all the information they could, and we
would make the last of them run till they got tired of
running. We had already captured a great many
women. (The renegades told it that we killed seventy-
five women and children on the Arras, where Captain
Crawford was killed by the Mexicans.)
A VINDICATION. 241
Geronimo was from ten hours to four days ahead of
us for five weeks, and his rear guard saw us many times,
so they afterwards said. It was a great race, and I knew
the-renegades could not stand it much longer. They had
no time to raid and get fresh horses, except as they could
pick them up, and when they would gain a few days on
us we would hear of them by the helio, and we could
drop the trail where we were and cut in ahead.
As we were coming up by Fronteras, as usual, we
found a couple of women that had given out, and we put
them on pack mules and took them on to Fronteras.
There Captain Lawton had a helio dispatch to drop the
chase, and for me to come to Huachuca. The dispatch
had been there for two days.
Before I got ready to start, there came another to
wait there, as Lieutenant Gatewood and a couple of Chir-
icahua bucks were coming to try to open up communi
cations with Geronimo. These were two men who had
come in with the chief Chihuahua.
The Chiricahuas had been leaving signs for a couple
of weeks that they wanted to talk, and these signs had
all been reported by me to Captain Lawton, and by Law-
ton to General Miles.
We stopped close to Fronteras for four days to let
Gatewood and his two men get ahead, so they could com
municate with Geronimo, but at the end of that time
Gatewood came back and reported to Captain Lawton
that he could not get his two friendly Indians to ap
proach the Chiricahuas.
Gatewood told Captain Lawton that he could not
open communications in that way. Lawton asked me
if I could do anything, and I told him frankly that I was
242 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
the only one who could do anything! Gatewood said
that General Miles did not want me to go into the camp
alone, as he did not know if he could trust me. I had pre
viously told Lawton that I could and would go alone, but
would not go if anyone went with me, as I did not care
for myself, but anyone else might get killed.
That was the way the thing stood. I would go alone
or not at all; and Gatewood was ordered by Miles not
to let me go alone. There we all stopped and waited till
Lawton could send a heliograph to General Miles, ex
plaining the situation to him.
While we were waiting for his answer the soldiers
brought in a squaw. Lawton told me to ask her where
she came from, and she said she had come from the ren
egade camp of Geronimo, and that Geronimo wanted to
see me and talk to me. I was very much put out at the
way I was being treated, and would not tell Lawton, but
told him to call George Wratton, a boy w 7 ho was with
Gatewood, and let him do the interpreting. This he did.
The squaw said that Geronimo was in the mountains,
forty or fifty miles from there, and wanted me to come
to him, and wanted all the soldiers to stop chasing him
till he saw me. Lawton still had not heard from Miles,
and so he sent this word, also to him.
Next day Miles sent word to send Gatewood and my
self to see what we could do. Then I could not go, be
cause I did not know what I could tell Geronimo, and
Lawton said: "Tell him anything you want to, but get
him to come and talk to Miles." I said that was what I
wanted to do, but could not unless Miles said he wanted
to talk to him. I told Lawton that I could never tell
Geronimo but one lie, for he would find it out, and the
A VINDICATION. 243
next time I went into his camp he would tell me I had
lied to him, and then he would kill me. I refused to go
unless General Miles promised me he would meet old
Geronimo at a date Geronimo and I should fix.
This word was sent to Miles, and he said for me to
fix a date and he would keep it. Ten minutes after I got
this dispatch I mounted my horse to start, and Gatewood
said he would take his chances if I would let him go. I
told him he would not be taking any chances, and to
We struck the camp up on the Terras, as the squaw
told me we would, but she would not tell me where it
was until I was on my horse ready to go.
We did not have to go up to the mountain, as Geron
imo met us down on the Bavispe River, and we had a
long talk. I made arrangements to go with him to the
Skeleton Canon, in the United States, and meet Miles
there in twelve days. That would give Miles time and
to spare, and I was afraid he would not come, as he was
the kind that w r anted to make a renegade Indian think
he was a big man, and Geronimo was just about as vain
as Miles was, and thought that he, too, was a big man.
The only courier I had was Gatewood, and I sent him
back to tell Captain Lawton the arrangements I had
made with Geronimo, and for all the troops with him at
Fronteras to come to the mouth of the Caballon Creek,
and I would meet him there with the renegades. Geron
imo had told me to have the American soldiers around
close, as he did not want to get mixed up with the Mex
icans. His idea and mine were one on that; and, any
how, I calculated to stay with the renegades, as they had
no grub, and I did not want them to kill cattle, of which
244 LIFE OF TOM HORN :
there were plenty around there. I wanted to get rations
from our command, which I did when I met them.
Captain Lawton was very much gratified to see how
well I had done, and he said for me to stay with the
renegades and he would do as I said. He told me he
had sent a dispatch to Miles to meet us at the Skeleton
Canon, as I had directed.
I went over and told Geronimo, and he asked me if
this dispatch had come to me direct, and I told him that
it had come to Captain Lawton.
"You go," said he to me, "and send a dispatch your
self, and get an answer from him direct, saying he will
I went back to Lawton s camp and told him I must
have a dispatch from Miles himself, saying he would
meet Geronimo and me. Captain Lawton said he did not
think Miles would send me a dispatch of that kind. Any
how, I sent Miles the dispatch, and told him I wanted
word from him direct, to say if he would meet Geronimo
at Skeleton. The dispatch I received in reply was : "See
Captain Lawton. He is in command in the field. I can t
do any business with a civilian."
I told Lawton, after showing him the dispatch, that
the stuff was all off, and that Geronimo would be on top
of the Terras Mountains by morning. Captain Lawton
did not know what to do. It was night by this time, and
we could not send any more messages. I was thinking
Miles was a monkey, as I rode back to Geronimo s camp.
It was dark when I reached there, as he was camped
about four miles from our troops camp. I told Geronimo
how I had come out, and I translated the dispatch to
him, and he, without answering, called to his people to
A VINDICATION. 245
get ready to pull out, and in less than five minutes all be
gan to say: "We are ready."
Geronimo then said he could not do business with
General Miles through an officer, and said time might
change the big soldier, and rode off in the darkness, fol
lowed by his people. (There were only 136 of them left
at this time.)
I rode back to Lawton s camp and told him that I
was going home, and if General Miles ever needed me
again, if ever he could condescend to do business with
an Indian through me when I had all the responsibility
to shoulder, that I should be at his service. I told him
Geronimo was gone, and before Lawton could understand
the situation I rode away and went up to John Slaugh
ter s ranch.
It was daylight when I reached the ranch. I turned
out my horse, and, as breakfast was soon ready, I ate,
then lay down on Slaughter s bed and went to sleep.
There was a troop of cavalry camped at Slaughter s,
and about noon a Lieutenant came up and asked Slaugh
ter if I ever stopped there as I came through the country.
Slaughter said: "He never passes here without stop
"Well, then," the Lieutenant said, "he may come by
here to-day." He had heard by helio that I was coming
Slaughter said, "He is here now, asleep. He got here
The Lieutenant said, "Wake him up, for God s sake! I
have a dispatch for him from General Miles."
John came in, gave me a kick, and told me that I was
wanted. I went out and the officer handed me the dis-
246 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
patch. It read: "Make any arrangements you want to
for me to meet Geronimo. I will go where and when you
say to meet him."
That was a stunner! Here Geronimo had been riding
south all night, and I had ridden forty miles north, and
both had started from the same point! There were
easily seventy-five or eighty miles between us now.
I went to the helio station and sent a dispatch, saying
Geronimo had gone back south, but to order the troops
to lie still and I would try to see if I could find him.
In just one week I had Geronimo back in the same
neighborhood and had communicated with Lawton.
Everybody was afraid I could not get the renegade chief
back the second time. I sent word to Miles to meet me
in four days at Skeleton Canon, and he was there on time.
Miles came up into the canon, and I took Geronimo
and Natchez and came down to meet him. Miles had
three interpreters with him, and, after I brought him and
Geronimo together, he said to one of his interpreters to
tell Geronimo that he wanted to have a good, long talk
with him, and that they had better get where they could
sit down. Geronimo did not answer Miles, but said to
the interpreter, "You are a Tonto, and I will have noth
ing to do with you. I will only talk through the chief.
I will have nothing to do with any one but him."
General Miles said: "Oh, all right, but the chief is
not a sworn Government interpreter, and these other
"I don t ask for him to be sworn," retorted Geronimo,
"when he comes to my camp do you suppose I ask him
if he is telling me the truth? No! That I never do. I
am a liar," went on Geronimo, "when it suits my way
A VINDICATION. 247
of doing, but this boy and I speak only the truth to
each other. You do not like him; I do not know why,
and still when you do not like or trust him to do your
business you must have a cause for it. What is the
reason? Tell me what he has done, for there was a time
when he was trusted, and he is a son of the old chief,
Sibi; and Sibi, the man of iron, and my people have
been fighting each other for thirty years and Sibi never
lies. Nothing a man does is wrong if he tells the truth.
Tell me what this boy has done that was wrong? You
sent him word that you would have nothing to do with
him, and I sent you word I would not have anything to
do with anyone else."
Miles said: "Do not let us talk about that; let us
talk of what you want to do."
Geronimo said, "I want to surrender with all my peo
ple. I will do as you say, and go where you tell me
to go or send me. I am tired of the war path, and my
people are all worn out."
General Miles then told him to come on in to Bowie
and he would see what would be done with them. So,
after all, the great talk was very small.
When we got to Fort Bowie, all the soldiers formed
on the parade ground, and Geronimo and his outfit rode
in and laid down their arms.
Then General Miles did do a fine act without any
authority or orders from the War Department. He
wired down to Bowie station, on the Southern Pacific
railroad, got a special train, took all the Chiricahuas, the
ones we had brought in and the ones in the guard house,
marched them down, loaded them on the train, locked
them in the cars and put guards all over the train. Then
248 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
they pulled out and the dreaded Chiricahuas, the terror
of Mexico and all the Southwest, were gone, never more
to return, and Arizona was left in a more peaceful condi
tion than it had ever enjoyed before.
The old Mexican Captain, Jose Maria, did not come in,
and I learned that he was still in Mexico with five other
Indians. A Chiricahua named Wasse jumped off the
train down in Texas while the train was running at full
speed. He turned up in the Sierra Madres later, having
made all the distance on foot, through the settlements of
Texas, and the Texas marshals were after him all the
time. He spoke Mexican like a native, and could pass
for one anywhere in Texas. He was an outlaw for many
years, living around in the mountains, and coming in to
the Reservation once in a while to get a fresh squaw.
Any kind was good enough for him. He would take a
Yuma squaw as soon as any other kind, and he could not
speak a word of the Yuma language.
I took all my scouts to the Reservation, discharged
them and was then discharged myself. I went back to
the Aravaipo to go to work on the mine. I stayed and
worked at the mine all winter.
A VINDICATION. 249
The Rustlers War Horn Called as Mediator Becomes
Deputy Sheriff of Yavapai County Outbreak of
"Apache Kid" Toga s Heart Split in Two Sieber,
One Against Eleven "Apache Kid s" Surrender
He Kills Guards and Escapes Roping Contests
Among Cow Boys Horn Breaks Record Horn Goes
to Denver to Work for Pinkerton National Detective
Agency A Train Robbery Case Horn Captures
"Peg Leg" Watson Horn and Stewart Run Down
Joe McCoy Horn Quits the Pinkertons and Goes to
Work for the Swan Land & Cattle Company of Wy
oming Life Story Continued in Yellow Journals.
Early in April of 1887, some of the boys came dow r n
from the Pleasant Valley, where there w r as a big rustler
war going on and the rustlers w r ere getting the best of
the game. I was tired of the mine and willing to go, and
so away we went. Things were in a pretty bad condition.
It was war to the knife between cow boys and rustlers,
and there was a battle every time the two outfits ran
together. A great many men were killed in the war.
Old man Blevins and his three sons, three of the Gra
hams, a Bill Jacobs, Jim Payne, Al Rose, John Tewkes-
bury, Stolt, Scott, and a man named "Big Jeff" were
hung on the Apache and Gila County line. Others were
killed, but I do not remember their names now. I was
250 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
the mediator, and was deputy sheriff under Bucky O Neil,
of Yavapai County, under Commodore Owens, of Apache
County, and Glenn Reynolds, of Gila County. I was
still a deputy for Reynolds a year later when he was
killed by the Apache Kid, in 1888.
After this war in the Pleasant Valley I again went
back to my mine and went to work, but it was too slow,
and I could not stay at it. I was just getting ready to
go to Mexico and was going down to clean out the spring
at the mine one evening. I turned my saddle horse loose
and let him graze up the canon. After I got the spring
cleaned out I went up the canon to find my horse and I
saw a moccasin track covering the trail made by the rope
my horse was dragging. That meant to go back, but I
did not go back. I cut up the side of the mountain and
found the trail where my horse had gone out. It ran
into the trail of several more horses and they were all
headed south. I went down to the ranch, got another
horse and rode over to the Agency, about thirty miles, to
get an Indian or two to go with me to see what I could
learn about this bunch of Indians.
I got to the Agency about 2 o clock in the morning
and found that there had been an outbreak and mutiny
among Sieber s police. It was like this: Sieber had
raised a young Indian he always called "the Kid," and
now known as the "Apache Kid." This kid was the son
of old Chief Toga-de-chuz, a San Carlos Apache. At a
big dance on the Gila at old Toga-de-chuz s camp every
body got drunk and when morning came old Toga was
found dead from a knife thrust. An old hunter belong
ing to another tribe of Indians and called "Rip," was ac
cused of doing the job, but from what Sieber could learn,
A VINDICATION. 251
as he afterwards told me, everybody was too drunk to
know how the thing did happen. The wound was given
in a very skilful manner and as it split open old Toga s
heart it was supposed to be given by one who knew
where the heart lay.
Toga and old Kip had had a row over a girl about
forty years before, (they were both about sixty at this
time), and Toga had gotten the best of the row and the
girl to boot. Some say that an Indian will forget and
forgive the same as a white man. I say no. Here had
elapsed forty years between the row and the time old
Toga was killed.
Rip had not turned his horse loose in the evening
before the killing, so it was supposed he had come there
with the express intention of killing old Toga.
Any way the Kid w r as the oldest son of Toga-de-chuz
and he must revenge the death of his father. He must,
according to all Indian laws and customs, kill old Rip.
Sieber knew this and cautioned the Kid about doing
anything to old Rip. The Kid never said a word to
Sieber as to what he would do. The Kid was First Ser
geant of the agency scouts. The Interior Department
had given the agency over to the military and there were
no more police, but scouts instead.
Shortly after this killing, Sieber and Captain Pierce,
the agent, went up to Camp Apache to see about the dis
tribution of some annuities to the Indians there, and the
Kid, as First Sergeant of the scouts, was left in charge
of the peace of the agency.
No sooner did Sieber and Captain Pierce get started
than the Kid took five of his men and went over on the
Aravaipo, where old Rip lived, and shot him. That
252 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
evened up their account and the Kid went back to where
his band was living up above the agency. Sieber heard
of this and he and Pierce immediately started to San
When they got there they found no one in command
of the scouts. Sieber sent word up to the camp where
the Kid s people lived to tell the Kid to come down. This
he did escorted by the whole band of bucks.
Sieber, when they drew up in front of his tent, went
out and spoke to the Kid and told him to get off his
horse, and this the Kid did. Sieber then told him to take
the arms of the other four or five men who had Govern
ment rifles. This also the Kid did. He took their guns
and belts and then Sieber told him to take off his own
belt and put down his gun and take the other deserters
and go to the guard house.
Some of the bucks with the Kid, (those who were not
soldiers), said to the Kid to fight, and in a second they
were at it eleven bucks against Sieber alone. It did
not make any particular difference to Sieber about being
outnumbered. His rifle was in his tent. He jumped back
and got it, and at the first shot he killed one Indian. All
the other Indians fired at him as he came to the door of
his tent, but only one bullet struck him; that hit him on
the shin and shattered his leg all to pieces. He fell and
the Indian ran away.
This was what Sieber told me when I got to the
Agency. And then I knew it was the Kid who had my
horse and outfit. Soldiers were already on his trail.
From where he had stolen my horse, he and his band
crossed over the mountain to the Table Mountain dis
trict, and there stole a lot of Bill Atchley- s saddle horses.
A VINDICATION. 253
A few miles further on they killed Bill Dihl, then headed
on up through the San Pedro country, turned down the
Sonoita River, and there they killed Mike Grace; then
they were turned back north again by some of the cav
alry that was after them.
They struck back north, and Lieutenant Johnson got
after them about Pontaw, overtook them in the Rincon
Mountains, and had a fight, killing a couple of them, and
put all the rest of them afoot. My horse was captured
unwounded, and as the soldiers knew him, he was taken
to the San Pedro and left there; they sent word to me,
and eventually I got him, though he was pretty badly
That was the way the Kid came to break out. He
went back to the Reservation, and later on he surren
dered. He was tried for desertion, and given a long
time by the Federal Courts, but was pardoned by Presi
dent Cleveland, after having served a short term.
During the time the Kid and his associates were hid
ing around on the Reservation, previous to his first ar
rest, he and his men had killed a freighter, or he may
have been only a whiskey peddler. Anyway, he was
killed twelve miles above San Carlos, on the San Carlos
River, by the Kid s outfit, and when the Kid returned
to the Agency after he had done his short term, and had
been pardoned by the President, he was re-arrested by
the civil authorities of Gila County, Arizona, to be tried
for the killing of this man at the Twelve Mile Pole.
This was in the fall of 1888. I was deputy sheriff of
Gila County at that time, and as it was a new county,
Reynolds was the first sheriff. I was to be the inter
preter at the Kid s trial, but on July 4th, of 1888, I had
251 LIFE OF TOM HOEN :
won the prize at Globe for tying down a steer, and there
was a county rivalry among the cow boys all over the
Territory as to who was the quickest man at that busi
ness. One Charley Meadows (whose father and brother
were before mentioned as being killed by the Cibicus on
their raid), was making a big talk that he could beat
me tying at the Territorial Fair, at Phoenix. Our boys
concluded 1 must go to the fair and make a trial for the
Territorial prize, and take it out of Meadows. I had
known Meadows for years, and I thought I could beat
him, and so did my friends.
The fair came off at the same time as did court in
our new county, and since I could not very well be at
both places, and, as they said, could not miss the fair,
I was not at the trial.
While I was at Phoenix the trial came off and several
of the Indians told him about the killing. (There were
six on trial), and they were all sentenced to the peni
tentiary at Yuma, Arizona, for life. Reynolds and
"Hunky Dory" Holmes started to take them to Yuma.
There were the six Indians and a Mexican sent up for
one year, for horse stealing. The Indians had their
hands coupled together, so that there were three in each
of the two bunches.
Where the stage road from Globe to Casa Grande (the
railroad station on the Southern Pacific railroad) crosses
the Gila River there is a very steep sand wash, up which
the stage road winds. Going up this Reynolds took his
prisoners out and they were all walking behind the stage.
The Mexican was handcuffed and inside the stage.
Holmes got ahead of Reynolds some little distance.
Holmes had three Indians and Reynolds had three.
A VINDICATION. 255
Just as Holmes turned a short bend in the road and
got behind a point of rocks and out of sight of Reynolds,
at a given signal, each bunch of prisoners turned on their
guard and grappled with them. Holmes was soon down
and they killed him. The three that had tackled Rey
nolds were not doing so w r ell, but the ones that had killed
Holmes got his rifle and pistol and went to the aid of
the ones grappling Reynolds. These three were holding
his arms so he could not get his gun. The ones that came
up killed him, took his keys, unlocked the cuffs and they
Gene Livingston was driving the stage, and he looked
around the side of the stage to see what the shooting
was about. One of the desperadoes took a shot at him,
striking him over the eye, and down he came. The Kid
and his men then took the stage horses and tried to ride
them, but there was only one of the four that they could
The Kid remained an outlaw after that, till he died a
couple of years ago of consumption. The Mexican, after
the Kid and his men left the stage (they had taken off
his handcuffs), struck out for Florence and notified the
authorities. The driver was only stunned by the shot
over the eye and is to-day a resident and business man
Had I not been urged to go to the fair at Phoenix, this
would never have happened, as the Kid and his comrades
just walked along and put up the job in their ow r n lan
guage, which no one there could understand but them
selves. Had I not gone to the fair I would have been
with Reynolds, and could have understood what they
256 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
said and it would never have happened. I won the prize
roping at the fair, but it was at a very heavy cost.
[At this point in Horn s story, I wish to insert a clipping
which I have been fortunate enough to secure. It is from the
Philadelphia Times, of 27th, 1895, and is timely just
"In Arizona and New Mexico, roping contests used
to be held as a kind of annual tournament, in Au
gust, to the fair, or else as a special entertainment,
often comprising, among other features, horse racing, a
bull fight, baile and fiesta. Roping contests are generally
held in a large field or enclosure such as the interior of
a race course. Inside this compound is built a small cor
ral, in which are confined wild beef cattle, usually three-
year-old steers, just rounded up off the range.
"The contest is a time race, to see who can overtake,
lasso, throw and tie hard and fast the feet of a steer in
the shortest period. The record was made at Phoenix,
Arizona, in 1891. The contestants were, Charlie Mead
ows, Bill McCann, George lago, Ramon Barca and Tom
Horn, all well-known vaqueros of the Mexican-Arizona
border. Tom Horn won the contest. Time, 49J seconds,
which I do not think has since been lowered.
"Two parallel lines, about as far apart as the ends of
a polo court, were marked by banderoles or guidons. A
steer was let out of the corral and driven at a run in a
direction at right angles to the lines marked. As the
steer crossed the second line, a banderole was dropped,
which was the signal for a vaquero to start from the first
line, thus giving the beef a running start of 250 yards.
The horses used were all large, fleet animals, wonderfully
well trained, and swooped for their prey at full speed
A VINDICATION. 257
and by the shortest route, turning without a touch of the
rein to follow the steer, often anticipating his turns by
a shorter cut. When the vaquero got within fifty yards
of his beef the loop of his riata was swinging in a sharp,
crisp circle about his right arm, raised high to his right
and rear, and when twenty yards closer, it shot forward,
hovered for an instant, and then descended above the
horns of its victim, which a moment later would land a
somersault. Before the beef could recover his surprise
or wind he would have a half hitch about his fore legs,
a second about his hind legs, and a third found all four
a snug little bunch, hard and fast.
"The rope, of course, is not taken from the head; it
is all one rope, the slack being successively used. Some
times the vaqueros used foot-roping instead of head. It
requires more skill and is practiced more by the Mexi
cans, who think it a good method with large-horned cat
tle while in herd, where heads are so little separated that
a lasso would fall on horns not wanted. In foot-roping
the noose is thrown lower and a bit in front of the beef,
so that at his next step he will put his foot into the noose
before it strikes the ground. If the noose falls too
quickly for this, it is jerked sharply upward just as the
foot is raised above it.
"I have seen men so skilful at this that they would
bet even money on roping an animal on a single throw,
naming the foot that they w r ould secure, as right hind,
left fore, and so forth. As regards the lash end of the
riata, two methods in this contest were also used. In
the Texas style, the lash of the riata is made hard and
fast to the horn of the saddle. The instant the rope
holds, a pony who understands his work plants his fore
258 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
feet forward and checks suddenly, giving the steer a
header. His rider dismounts quickly, runs to the beef,
which the pony keeps down by holding the rope taut.
"As soon as the vaquero faces the pony and grasps
the rope near the beef, the pony moves forward, and with
the slack of the rope the beef is secured. While the beef
is plunging or wheeling on the rope the pony is careful
to keep his head toward the beef, or, as the sailor would
say, he goes bow on/
"The Texas method is best adapted to loose ground,
where it is much easier on the vaquero, but it is utterly
unsuited for mountain work or steep hillsides, as the
pony would lose his footing and land up in the bottom of
"For such country, the California style is used. Here
the lash is not made fast; a few f rapping turns are made
about the horn, and the rider uses his weight and a
checking of the pony to throw the beef. When he dis
mounts, he carries the lash end forward, keeping it taut,
toward the beef, taking up the slack and coils it as he
goes, and with it secures the beef. The pony is free after
the steer is thrown. It is the more rapid method. Tom
Horn used it in the contest won, when he made his rec
ord. With it the vaquero has free use of his riata for
securing the beef. But it is a hard method, and plains
men prefer letting Mr. Bronco take the brunt of it.
"Tom Horn is well known all along the border. He
served as government guide, packer, scout and as chief
of Indian scouts, which latter position he held with Cap
tain Crawford at the time the Mexicans killed him in the
Sierra Madre Mountains. He is the hero referred to in
the story of The Killing of the Captain, by John Heard,
A VINDICATION. 259
Sr., published some months ago in the Cosmopolitan
(Horn s narrative is now resumed.)
In the winter I again went home and in the following
spring I went to work on my mine. Worked along pretty
steady on it for a year, and in 1890 we sold it to a party
of New Yorkers. We got f 8,000 for it.
We were negotiating for this sale, and at the same
time the Pinkerton National Detective Agency at Den
ver, Colorado, was writing to me to get me to come to
Denver and go to work for them. I thought it would be
a good thing to do, and as soon as all the arrangements
for the sale of the mine were made I came to Denver and
was initiated into the mysteries of the Pinkerton insti
My work for them was not the kind that exactly
suited my disposition; too tame for me. There were a
good many instructions and a good deal of talk given to
the operative regarding the things to do and the things
that had been done.
James McParland, the superintendent, asked me what
t would do if I were put on a train robbery case. I told
him if I had a good man with me I could catch up to
Well, on the last night of August, that year, at about
midnight, a train was robbed on the Denver & Rio
Grande Railway, between Cotopaxi and Texas Creek. I
was sent out there, and was told that C. W. Shores would
be along in a day or so. He came on time and asked me
how I was getting on. I told him I had struck the trail,
260 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
but there were so many men scouring the country that
I, myself, was being held up all the time; that I had been
arrested twice in two days and taken in to Salida to be
Eventually all the sheriffs posses quit and then Mr.
W. A. Pinkerton and Mr. McParland told Shores and me
to go at em. We took up the trail where I had left it
several days before and we never left it till we got the
They had crossed the Sangre de Cristo range, come
down by the Villa Grove iron mines, and crossed back
to the east side of the Sangre de Cristos at Mosca pass,
then on down through the Huerfano Canon, out by Cu-
charas, thence down east of Trinidad. They had dropped
into Clayton, N. M., and got into a shooting scrape there
in a gin mill. They then turned east again toward the
"Neutral Strip" and close to Beaver City, then across
into the "Pan Handle" by a place in Texas called Ochil-
tree, the county seat of Ochiltree county. They then
headed toward the Indian Territory, and crossed into it
below Canadian City. They then swung in on the head
of the Washita River in the Territory, and kept down
this river for a long distance.
We finally saw that we were getting close to them,
as we got in the neighborhood of Paul s Valley. At
Washita station we located one of them in the house of
a man by the name of Wolfe. The robber s name was
Burt Curtis. Shores took this one and came on back to
Denver, leaving me to get the other one if ever he came
back to Wolfe s.
After several days of waiting on my part, he did
come back, and as he came riding up to the house I
A VINDICATION. 261
stepped out and told him some one had come! He was
"Peg Leg" Watson, and considered by every one in Colo
rado as a very desperate character. I had no trouble
We had an idea that Joe McCoy, also, was in the
robbery, but "Peg" said he was not, and gave me in
formation enough so that I located him. He was wanted
very badly by the sheriff of Fremont county, Colorado,
for a murder scrape. He and his father had been tried
previous to this for murder, had been found guilty and
were remanded to jail to wait sentence, but before Joe
was sentenced he had escaped. The old man McCoy got a
new trial, and at the new trial was sentenced to eighteen
years in the Canon City, Colorado, penitentiary.
When I captured my man, got to a telegraph station
and wired Mr. McParland that I had the notorious "Peg,"
the superintendent wired back: "Good! Old man Mc
Coy got eighteen years to-day!" This train had been
robbed in order to get money to carry McCoy s case up
to the Supreme Court, or rather to pay the attorneys
(Macons & Son), who had carried the case up.
Later on I told Mr. McParland that I could locate Joe
McCoy and he communicated with Stewart, the sheriff,
who came to Denver and made arrangements for me to
go with him and try to get McCoy.
We left Denver on Christmas eve and went direct to
Rifle, from there to Meeker and on down White River.
When we got to where McCoy had been we learned that
he had gone to Ashley, in Utah, for the Christmas festivi
ties. We pushed on over there, reaching the town late
at night, and could not locate our man. Next morning
I learned where he got his meals and as he went in to
262 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
get his breakfast I followed him in and arrested him. He
had a big Colt s pistol, but did not shoot me. We took
him out by Fort Duchesne, Utah, and caught the D. &
R. G. train at Price station.
The judge under whom he had been tried had left the
bench when McCoy finally was landed back in jail, and it
would have required a new trial before he could be sen
tenced by another judge; he consented to plead guilty
to involuntary manslaughter, and took six years in the
Canon City pen. He was pardoned out in three years,
Peg Leg Watson and Burt Curtis were tried in the
United States court for robbing the United States mails
on the highway, and were sentenced for life in the Detroit
federal prison. In robbing the train they had first made
the fireman break into the mail compartment of the
compartment car. They then saw their mistake, and did
not even take the amount of a one-cent postage stamp,
but went and made the fireman break into the rear com
partment, where they found the express matter and took
it. But the authorities proved that it was mail robbery
and their sentence was life.
While Pinkerton s is one of the greatest institutions
of the kind in existence, I never did like the work, so I
left them in 1894.
I then came to Wyoming and went to work for the
Swan Land and Cattle Company, since which time every
body else has been more familiar with my life and busi
ness than I have been myself.
A VINDICATION. 263
And I think that since my coming here the yellow
journal reporters are better equipped to write my his
tory than am I, myself!
A few letters from Horn, and to him, throwing
additional light upon the character of the
man; and furnishing some of
the reasons for belief in
Also a summary of the "Horn Case" and estimates
of the man by those who knew him best
XO. 1 OWNBEY TO HORN.
Denver, Colo., January 24, 1902.
Mr. Tom Horn,
I see by the papers that you are in serious trouble.
After reading an account of the charge preferred against
you, I can not for the life of me believe it is true. Know
ing you so long and knowing you so intimately I can not
comprehend how a man of your sense and ability could
be guilty of so great a charge as is preferred against you.
Now, Tom, you will remember the Cotopaxi robbery,
which was committed several years ago by "Peg-leg" and
Curtis, and the long, hard chase we had after them, en
deavoring to catch them. You will also remember Ed
Kelly, of Walsenburg, who first put me on the trail of
Curtis and "Peg-leg," and you will again remember me
wiring you and Doc Shores to meet me at Walsenburg
that I was on the trail of the robbers. Doc Shores, as
you know, is with the Rio Grande Western as their spe
cial agent; he formerly was sheriff of Gunnison county,
and his reputation is beyond reproach. We w r ent down
on the prairie between Trinidad and Walsenburg, and
Kellv went back on all his first statements and endeav-
268 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
ored to throw us off the trail. You will remember he
would have been killed down there on the prairie and
left for the coyotes to devour had it not been for your
Now, Tom, I am at a loss to believe, after your pro
tecting such a character as Kelly from being shot out on
the plains, where mortal man would have never known
anything about it, that you would be guilty of murder
ing a fourteen-year-old boy in cold blood. You know
that scoundrel Kelly would have been shot for lying to
the officers had it not been for your interference.
Tom, I do not believe you are guilty of the crime. I
am writing this in all justice to you and the community
at large; knowing you as I do, and knowing your ability
and sense, I can not believe you would stoop so low as
to murder a fourteen-year-old boy for the small sum of
five hundred dollars, when you could in all probability
have made that amount in a week, legitimately.
I live in Loveland, Colorado, and if there is anything
I can do for you, or aid you in any manner as far as it
is right, I am at your service. You can write me at Love-
land, Colorado, box 271, and tell me what you think
about it. I will give a copy of this letter to the press
this afternoon, to be published in your behalf, as I do
not believe you guilty of the crime. Write me and tell
me if there is anything I can do to aid you.
As ever, your friend, F M QWNBEY.
P. S.: I will write Doc Shores this afternoon (al
though I presume he has seen an account of your trou
ble), and see if there is anything he can do for you. My
sympathies are with you, Tom, because I believe youin-
A VINDICATION. 269
NO. 2 HORN TO COBLE.
Cheyenne, Wyo., March 1, 1902.
John C. Coble, Esq.,
1 have just made an elaborate investment in writing
material, so will drop you a line and will continue to do
so every week from now on. I am still doing business
at the same old number, but times are very dull just at
present. I look for an increase in business in a few
If I had the machine here I would play a few lines
something like "Go away back and sit up."
My girls have all left off writing to me and my heart
is lonely now. If I had some place to work I would be
as happy as a clam. Well, I guess I am happy anyhow.
If any of the boys are looking for a good place to go,
tell them to go to Cheyenne to jail. About all the talk
I hear is which are the best jails and how to get out
of jails, and doing the hobo act, and good places to go
to make a good stake, and where to get the biggest glass
of beer for 5c, and who gives the best free lunch for
nothing, and general information that is of a great deal
of benefit for any one to remember.
Do you do any fishing nowadays, and if so, send me
in one that weighs five or six pounds, for I am hungry for
fish. Send it to me by express, care sheriff.
Where is Charley Irwin going to keep his family?
How is the Michigan coming on? What made Jim
Meade leave Montana?
270 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
I don t see how I am going to get out of the case with
any money, but from what I can hear from the outside,
I will have notoriety enough to run a divorce mill. Well,
money is but dross anyhow.
I have fully made up my mind that I will go way
back to Missouri and sit down on a farm. This sporting
life isn t what it is cracked up to be. I will be in jail
anyhow four months, and I am too slow to ever catch
up with myself again. Just think, four months that I
don t even get to see a newspaper! Is that what you
call life in the Far West?
You and Charley are the only ones who have been in
to see me. I am going to write to a friend of mine here
in town to send me some reading matter, as I have read
everything here that I can find. By the way, that was a
nice lot of literature you sent me before you left town.
Let me know if you hear anything from my saddle,
bed and valise. Let me know, also, if you hear from the
agents and they don t know anything of the stuff.
Tell Stone and Irwin to dry the beef hides good and
straight, as I started to do, and not to put them one on
top of the other when they are green.
I want to get out of here by the time greens get ripe,
so I can walk back to Missouri and live on greens.
Well, Johnnie, I feel the same as I did when we were
in that train wreck: You can t hurt a Christian.
Have you got the plumbago fence moved and let the
contract for ploughing yet? I wanted to do that plough
ing myself, but can t get around to it this spring.
Regards to Irwin, Stone and all the boys. Tell Stone
to write. With regrets, in jail,
A VINDICATION. 271
NO. 3 HORN TO IRW1N.
Cheyenne, Wyo., March 5, 1903.
C. B. Irwin, Esq.
Dear Charley :
I received the |5.00 all O. K. Yes, send down your
rieta and I will splice it and glad of the chance. I am
just getting the new hair work so I begin to understand
it. I will keep on practicing for a few days yet before
I start to do any work.
This winter does look to me like a corker. The back
bone of it may soon break.
How did those ropes last? Was the big one any
good? Shall I send it back when I get it done or will I
leave it here till one of you come in? Send it to K. A.
Proctor, for he is the only man here to tend to such
I have had a bad cold, but am getting over it.
Don t forget the hair, if you have any on hand when
you send in the rope. I wrote to Sam Moore to send me
in some white hair and Proctor saw him on the street
here the same day I wrote, and he said he would send in
some right away. Send in that hair bridle of Johnnie s,
so I can take pattern from it. Send it with the rope. I
will only want it a day or so; I can splice the rope in
272 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
NO. 4 HORN TO OHNHAUS.
Cheyenne, Wyo., October 3, 1903.
Chas. J. Ohnhaus, Esq.,
I was informed by the sheriffs and my lawyers that
the Supreme Court has refused to grant me a new trial,
and that I am to be hanged November 20th.
Now, sir, I am going to make an appeal to you to
act in my behalf, and it certainly is not much I ask
only that you make an affidavit to the facts in this sup
posed confession of mine.
You and I and Snow and La Fors and Stoll all know
that you changed your stenographic notes, at the insti
gation of some one, from what was actually said, to what
you wanted me to say. In speaking of this money that
was paid to me on the train between Denver and Chey
enne, La Fors said it was paid to me by George Prentice
and that Hi Kelley had given two one hundred dollar
bills and a fifty dollar bill.
Why was that cut out of your notes?
On first entering the marshal s office La Fors showed
me his rifle, and we had some conversation about the
sights on the rifle, which he said were aperture sights,
and he explained to me how they were used.
Why was that cut out of your notes?
You said in your notes that I said that I ran across
there bare-footed, when, as a matter of fact, I told La
Fors that if ever he wanted to cover his trail to go bare
footed. In speaking of the rock under the boy s head,
A VINDICATION. 273
he asked me if it was a sign, and I said I supposed it was.
I never said I put it there, nor did I intimate that I put
it there. I did not say "That is the sign I put out to
collect my money."
You put that in at the instigation of some one.
You put in your report that I said: "That was the
best shot ever I made, and the dirtiest trick I ever did."
You and I, and the others I have mentioned, know
that was made up by Stoll or La Fors, and put in the
notes by you.
You said in your notes that I was paid a certain sum
for killing three men and shooting another one, and
every word of that also was manufactured.
There were other things of more or less importance
put in your notes at the suggestion of some one.
Now, the people that know you say that you are a
nice, model young man, and a Christian. Now, surely
you would be doing a Christian act to come out and make
an affidavit to the facts in this case of mine.
You are a young man not yet in the prime of life, and
do you want to go through life knowing, as you do, that
your perjured testimony took away my life? You may
live to be an old man, and every day of your life you can
not help but think of the terrible wrong you have done
me by being made a tool of by men who would, if it
would add to their notoriety, do the same by you that
they have done by me. I suppose you got, or was prom
ised, a certain sum of money for doing as you did. Did
you enjoy spending it? No! every cent of it is red with
the blood of a man who never harmed you in any way,
shape or form.
You may live to be an old man, and every day of your
274 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
life will, if I am hung, be a day that you can say to your
self: "If I had only told the truth in Tom Horn s case, I
could have saved his life.
I am appealing to you for the truth only, and that
should be the first Christian principle of any one with a
claim on Christian principles.
I ask only that you will go to my attorneys and tell
them the whole truth as to where these notes were
changed, at whose instigation they were changed, and
what was done with the original notes. If they are not
destroyed you can still produce them; and if they are
destroyed, you can tell them at least the facts in the
case, and forever clear your mind and conscience of a
burden that you will certainly find hard to bear through
life, no matter how stout-hearted you may feel.
Have I ever harmed you, that you should seek my life
in this manner? If so, when and where?
There are too many men mixed up in this business
that know the truth, and it will sooner or later come out,
even if every one implicated does all in his power to con
ceal it; and then what will the public think of the one
or more when they do know what must eventually leak
out, hide it as you may?
You were made a tool of by some one, and now, for
the last time, I ask you to tell only the truth.
Surely I am not asking much from any one when 1
ask you to tell only the truth.
This is the strongest appeal I can write to you, and
now I am going to ask you, if you ignore this appeal, to
come and see me in a few days, so I can talk to you per
sonally. Yours truly,
A VINDICATION. 275
NO. 5 HORN TO COBLE.
Cheyenne, Wyo., October 9, 1903.
John C. Coble, Esq.,
Proctor came to me last night and showed me your
letter. How is everybody? Who is boss on the ranch?
How is Dunk getting on since he got married? Where
is Stone, the Savage?
Write me and tell me all the news of the country.
What kind of prices are you going to get for beef? How
is the feed on the range and did you have a good hay
crop? Who put it up and all the news you have.
I think you will have no trouble to get to see me next
I have been informed that it might do me some good
to tell all I .know, but I can t figure out who would be
lieve anything I said, and what I know is next to noth
ing. Of course, I know of that man coming to see you
to join some gang of men in the hills to do something to
the sheep, and I know you refused to have anything to
do with any of the outfit. That man never spoke to me
at all about the sheep.
I know, also, that the man that I went after and made
come to the ranch and burn his brand off of the E year
ling, offered me five hundred dollars to kill off the whole
bunch of sheep, so he could buy the ranch cheap.
1 know the husband of the woman who said: "I just
know that was our yearling that that man had in his
276 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
wagon," and how, when she was told the sheriff was
looking for the owner, she said, "No, it was not ours."
Well, that man said he would give me a hundred dollars,
and his neighbor below him said (with a big oath), "Tom,
you have got this to do, and I will put up $250 to-day for
Those are the only ones that ever said anything to
me about the row and, as I said before, no one w r ould take
my word or oath either, so I could not do myself any
good by telling that.
Let me hear all the news. When will you be through
A VINDICATION. 277
NO. 6 HORN TO COBLE.
Cheyenne, Wyo., October 12, 1903.
John C. Coble, Esq.,
I have written you a couple of letters, and also sev
eral to Judge Burke, but so far have not heard a word
from any one.
I think that if you would go to Denver and see Billy
Loomis that he could get an affidavit from Frank W.
Mulock and those other two men with him, showing that
he came here hired to swear to anything that was put
into his mouth, and that Stoll and La Fors hired him to
do so. It is certainly worth while to make the attempt.
Try and find out from Burke and Lacey if such an
affidavit would do any good. I have written Burke sev
eral times in the last week, asking him if such an affi
davit would do any good, but so far have been unable
to get a reply of any kind from him. He does not an
swer my letters, or even acknowledge the receipt of them.
Of course, it is not worth while to get them if they will
do no good, but where there is absolute perjury shown,
and it is also shown that these men were paid to swear
falsely, it would certainly cut some figure with the gov
I wrote Ohnhaus a letter and asked him to come up
and tell the truth and save my life; this I did on the 4th
of this month, and I have not heard from him yet. Last
night Proctor brought me word that Burke said it would
278 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
be a good idea to write a letter to Mulock and see if he
would come out and tell the truth, but no word can I
get saying what good it would do.
Of course, with Ohnhaus it is different; for he took
down the conversation in shorthand and then changed
it at the instigation of some one. He can tell the whole
job, and that would get me a pardon, but he will prob
ably refuse to do so.
Anyhow, everything should be tried. You know that
there is no time to spare if this thing is to be brought
Burke has got too much to do to attend to this, and
if you will give it your personal attention, I feel sure
you can accomplish something.
I have to-day written to Billy Loomis at Denver, to
see Mulock and see if anything can be done in the matter,
and told him to communicate with you in regard to the
matter; also told him to write Burke.
Johnnie, drop me a line as soon as you get this, so I
can tell if you are getting my letters. How are every
body and everything? I hear beef prices are way down.
If you go to Denver and can get this affidavit from
this man, get him to tell, also, who told him what to
Let me hear from you soon.
A VINDICATION. 279
NO. 7 HORN TO COBLE.
Cheyenne, Wyo., October 31, 1903.
John C. Coble,
Dear Johnnie :
I had a long talk to-day with Judge Burke, and he
spoke as though it would help my case a good deal if it
was proven that I was not present when Nickell was
shot so many times.
The night before Nickell was shot I was at Alex
Seller s ranch, and w r ent away in the morning (the morn
ing Nickell was shot), and came back to his ranch in the
evening. When I got back in the evening to Seller s
ranch, Jack Linscott was there and stayed all night and
left the next morning, going somewhere up on the North
La ramie River. I left the ranch also, the same day, and
came back to Seller s ranch again in the evening, and
Jack Linscott also came back to Seller s ranch, and as
Linscott and I both got in about the same time, Sellers
was telling both of us about Nickell being shot the day
before, and Jack said he did not hear of it at R. R. be
fore he left.
I then told both of them all about the sheep business,
and the Nickell and Miller war, and about the Nickell
boy being killed a short time before, which they had
heard. There was a good deal of talk about it, so they
will remember it well.
-There were also several men there working at putting
up hay. I don t know their names, but think one of
them was a Newell.
280 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
Linscott was driving a buggy. I still stayed on at
Seller s for a couple of nights more after Linscott left.
I was at Seller s ranch for two nights before Nickell was
shot, and two or three nights after. Now, Sellers has
sold out and I don t know where he is. You might look
him up and show him this letter, and he can not help
but recall the whole circumstance.
I will write Linscott at Rock River and see if he will
come in and see Judge Burke and make an affidavit to
P. S. I am writing Linscott to write to Burke.
A VINDICATION. 281
. 8 HORN TO COBLE.
Cheyenne, Wyo., November 17, 1903.
John C. Coble,
Proctor told me that it was all over with me except
the applause part of the game.
You know they can t hurt a Christian, and as I am
prepared, it is all right.
I thoroughly appreciate all you have done for me.
No one could have done more. Kindly accept my thanks,
for if ever a man had a true friend, you have proven your
self one to me.
Remember me kindly to all my friends, if I have any
Burke and Lacey have not shown up yet.
I want you to always understand that the steno
graphic notes taken in the United States marshal s office
were all changed to suit the occasion. The notes read
at the trial were not the original notes at all. Every
thing of an incriminating nature read in those notes was
manufactured and put it. It won t do any good to kick
at that now, so let er go.
If any one profits by my being hung, I would be sorry
to see them disappointed.
It w r ould, perhaps, be somewhat of a trying meeting
for you to come to see me now. Do as you like. It
might cause you a good deal of pain.
I am just the same as ever, and will remain so.
282 . LIFE OF TOM HORN!
The governor s decision was no surprise to me, for I
was tried, convicted and hung before I left the ranch.
My famous confession was also made days before I came
I told Burke to give you some writing I did; be sure
and get it. You will not need anything to remember me
by, but you will have that anyway. Anything else I may
have around the ranch is yours.
I won t need anything where I am going. I have an
appointment with some Christian ladies to-morrow, and
will write you of their visit to-morrow night.
I will drop you a line every day now, till the Reaper
Kindest to all.
A VINDICATION. 283
NO. 9 HORN TO COBLE.
Cheyenne, Wyo., November 20, 1903.
John C. Coble, Esq.,
As you have just requested, I will tell all my knowl
edge of everything I know in regard to the killing of
the Nickell boy.
The day I laid over at Miller s ranch, he asked me to
do so, so that I could meet Billy McDonald.
Billy McDonald came up and Miller and I met him
up the creek, above Miller s house. Billy opened the con-
vers:<tion by saying that he and Miller were going to kill
off the Nickell outfit and wanted me to go in on it. They
said that Underwood and Jordon would pay me.
Miller and McDonald said they would do the w r ork. I
refused to have anything to do with them, as I was not
interested in any way. McDonald said that the sheep
were then on Coble s land and I got on my horse and
went up to see, and they were not on Coble s land.
I promised to stay all night again at Miller s, as Mc
Donald said he would come up again next morning.
He came back next morning and asked me if I still
felt the same as I did the day before, and I told him
"Well," he said, "we have made up our minds to wipe
up the whole Nickell outfit."
I got on my horse and left, and went on about my
business. I went on as John Brae and Otto Plaga said
I did, and on to the ranch, where I got in on Saturday.
284 LIFE OF TOM HOEN :
I heard there of the boy being killed. I felt I was well
out of the mix up.
I was over in that part of the country six weeks or
two months later and saw both McDonald and Miller,
and they were laughing and blowing to me about run
ning and shooting the sheep of Nickell. I told them I
did not want to hear of it at all, for I could see that Mc
Donald wanted to tell me the whole scheme. They both
gave me the laugh and said I was suspicioned of the
I knew there was some suspicion against me, but
did not pay the attention to it that I should.
That is all there is to it so far as I know 7 .
Irwin, who swore I came into Laramie on the run on
that Thursday, just simply lied.
All that supposed confession in the United States
marshal s office was prearranged, and everything that
was sworn to by those fellows was a lie, made up before
I came to Cheyenne. Of course, there was talk of the
killing of the boy, but La Fors did all of it. I did not
even make an admission, but allowed La Fors to make
Ohnhaus, La Fors and Snow, and also Irwin, of Lar
amie, all swore to lies to fit the case.
Your name was not mentioned in the marshal s office.
This is the truth, as I am going to die in ten minutes.
Thanking you for your kindness and continued good
ness to me, I am,
A VINDICATION. 285
. 10 CHAS. HORN TO COBLE.
Boulder, Colo., November 27, 1903.
Mr. John C. Coble,
We buried Tom with all due respect that relatives
and friends could show. We had the largest funeral that
was ever in this town. Everybody showed due courtesy
to the hearse as it went seven blocks. They stood on the
street with their hats off as we passed along. When we
arrived at the cemetery there was hardly standing
room. There must have been anyhow 2,500 people at
Tom told our sheriff that he had written me a letter.
I have never received it. I expected this letter all of the
time, and this is the reason that I never wrote.
I would like to know if he had any personal effects;
if so, please let me know what and where they are. I
received his hat, shoes and grip from Sheriff Smalley.
We appreciate, from the bottom of our hearts, all that
you have done for him; that is, myself and family.
We have no picture of him, nor anything but what I
have related in this letter.
I received a letter from Attorney Burke, of Cheyenne,
requesting me to place a guard over the grave, which I
had already made arrangements for, and did, and this
guard still remains and will until I call him off. He is
an old friend of ours and Tom s, and never falls down on
286 LIFE OF TOM HORN: A VINDICATION.
I see by the papers that you are seriously ill, which
I am exceedingly sorry to hear.
Hoping to hear from you soon, and that you will be
in better health when this reaches you, I remain,
P. S. Give the Irwin boys my regards.
GL.ENDOI-ENE MYRTLE KIMMET^L,
MISS KIMMELL S STATEMENT
Born and reared midst the comforts and refinements
of civilization, I have, nevertheless, been most strongly
attracted by the frontier type; so when, in July of 1901,
I went to take the Miller-Nickell school in the Iron Moun
tain country, I was happy in the belief that I would meet
with the embodiment of that type in its natural environ
ment. I was doomed to disappointment, for all the cat
tle men and cow boys I saw were like the hired hands
I was beginning to regret that I had not been born
some twenty years earlier, when, on the night of July
15th, there stopped at the Miller ranch a man who em
bodied the characteristics, the experiences and the code
of the old frontiersman. It was Tom Horn.
Horn went to Wyoming in 1892 and for the follow
ing five years worked as cow boy for several cattle com
At the beginning of the Spanish-American War Gen
eral Maus received instructions to look up Tom Horn
and secure his services in the organization of the pack
train for the army going to Cuba. In the fall of 1898,
Horn was ordered by Miles to Tampa, Florida, as chief
pack master for Shafter s army, with the rank and pay
of colonel. Shortly after this, he was made master of
288 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
At St. Louis, where the pack train of 520 mules and
133 packers was organized, a delay occurred which neces
sitated the shipping of the train from Tampa just one
day behind Colonel Wood and Lieutenant Colonel Roose
velt and their Rough Riders.
When the train arrived at harbor, Horn found that
the transports could not approach the landing near
enough to disembark the mules. Nervous and anxious,
he consulted the officers in charge of the transports, and
together they decided to visit the flag ship and get orders
from headquarters. Being personally acquainted with
General Shafter, Horn approached him with the earnest
request that permission be given to attempt the landing
of the pack train, so that supplies and ammunition
might be hurried after the Rough Riders, already twenty-
four hours in advance. Shafter remonstrated: "But
Colonel, you can not get your transports to the wharf."
"Only give me an order to land my mules and they will
be landed," was the reply. "You have the order," came
the brief but welcome answer. Disembarking the train
began without delay, the manner being original with
Horn. A mule would be taken to the gangway, where
four men were stationed with ropes. There was a "push
all together," and the mule was in the water.
The 520 were thus unloaded and headed for shore,
perhaps a mile distant. Only two of the animals were
lost. One was trampled underneath and drowned, while
another, a big Missouri mule, swam in the wrong direc
tion. Two seamen were sent after him to head him
back, but the faster the sailors rowed, the swifter swam
the mule; and the last seen of him he was far out in the
A VINDICATION. 289
ocean headed for old "Mizzoury." By daylight those
518 mules were packed and on the trail.
Too great emphasis can not be given to the fact that
but for the energy and ingenuity of Tom Horn, there
would have been no supplies nor ammuniation at the
front when that notable engagement at San Juan Hill
took place. Let any thoughtful, fair-minded person re
flect upon the possible consequences if the chief of the
train had not insisted upon immediate landing, and then
with tireless zeal, kept his hundred and more packers at
work through the long, tropical night.
A few hours before the battle of San Juan Hill, Leon
ard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt met with Horn while
they were journeying afoot toward the front. Their
horses were worn out, so they asked Horn for fresh ones.
Now, Horn had received orders to supply no one mules;
but, having served with Wood in Arizona and esteeming
him highly, he made this case an exception, and gave
mounts to both of them.
Incidentally, Horn s description of the San Juan
fight is the best in detail ever given. According to this
eye witness, a degree of injustice has been done the
Seventy-first New York in branding the entire regiment
as cowards, whereas, there was only a deplorable lack of
discipline and training. Horn saw one officer use every
means to stop the retreat stampede rather of his men,
pleading, commanding, threatening, even striking at
them with his sword; and finally, seeing that his efforts
were unavailing, he broke his sword and stamped upon
the pieces. But his men streamed past him and his few
staunch followers, dodged among and under the feet of
the pack mules whence the disgusted packers, with oaths
290 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
and lashes, strove to dislodge them. The officer he of
the broken sword seeing that the packers efforts were
also vain, joined a colored regiment just then charging
up the Hill.
Having contracted the Cuban fever, Horn was com
pelled to return home before the close of the war. After
a trying hospital experience, he went to the ranch of
John C. Coble, which he thenceforth made his head
By this time the rustlers in the Iron Mountain coun
try had grown so bold that the leading cattlemen in
those regions combined and hired Horn as a stock detec
tive. His duty was to ride the range in the open season
to discover offenders and prevent stealing. The Iron
Mountain country is settled principally by small ranch
men, but is bordered by many large ranges. It is only
about fifty miles square, but it probably contains more
rustlers to the square inch than any other place twice its
size. These rustlers, like most of their kind, are ignor
ant, shiftless and vicious. True, there are a few respect
able families, but they are decidedly in the minority.
The most talked-of families in the district were the
Millers and the Nickells, whose quarrels had long been
public property. They had taken homesteads about
twenty years before, and for the past ten years a feud
had existed between them. The quarrel had extended
even down to the younger children, and fights between
them were not uncommon. The feeling grew so bitter
that in February, 1901, Jim Miller, the father, stabbed
Kels P., the head of the Nickell family, seriously, but not
fatally. The latter had long been at the outs, not only
with the Millers, but with nearly all of his other neigh
A VINDICATION. 291
bors. The climax came in the early summer of the same
year, when Nickell brought sheep into the district an
unpardonable sin in a cattle country.
This was the situation with which Tom Horn had to
deal. So well did he succeed that the stealing almost
ceased. Horn s big, muscular body and keenness in
understanding a situation had much to do with his suc
cess; but his main weapon was his reputation as a killer.
He himself carefully fostered this reputation, for as he
would say to his friends: "That is my stock-in-trade."
Nothing but powerful fear could restrain the rustlers; so
Horn, when he "just happened" to drop in upon a cattle-
thief, would entertain the family by accounts of his ex
periences as a government scout, deputy sheriff and as a
Pinkerton detective. These bloody tales would leave
his auditors open-mouthed, and for days after his depart
ure not a calf would be stolen in the neighborhood.
Of course, there were killings. There always are
when cattlemen and rustlers are neighbors. Naturally,
the rustlers blamed Horn for these deaths, for they hated
him in proportion as they feared. Then, Horn himself
boasted of the killing of certain cattle thieves that was
additional stock-in-trade. So it came to pass that many
people believed Horn responsible for all the killings.
They forgot that other stock detectives were riding, that
cattlemen as well as their detectives can handle guns,
and that the rustlers quarrel among themselves! The
authorities could never fathom the mysterious killings,
and the trouble went on.
On the morning of July 19, 1901, William Nickell, the
fourteen-year-old son of Kels Nickell, was found dead
about three-quarters of a mile from his home, shot
292 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
through the heart. There was no clue, but the Millers
were immediately suspected. One theory was that Jim
Miller, lying in wait for "Ole Nick," as he called his
arch-enemy, had shot the boy by mistake; but at the first
session of the coroner s inquest, July 22d, strong evi
dence tended to show that Victor Miller was the guilty
one, he having had many personal quarrels and fights
with William Nickell. But the evidence was not strong
enough to warrant an arrest, and it looked as though
this tragedy would also remain unsolved.
August 3d the excitement, barely subsiding, was
given an impetus by the tresspassing of NickelFs sheep
upon Miller s deeded land. Several hundred sheep taken
from their owner s homestead, driven across the public
range and down into a meadow of a neighbor s deeded
land, was certainly provocation from a cattleman s
standpoint. Bloodshed was narrowly averted by the
withdrawal of the sheep; but no one was surprised when
the next day Kels Nickell was shot. He at once declared
he recognized his assailants as Jim Miller and one of his
This declaration is intensified by the statements of
Nickell and his wife to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Reid, neighbors:
"They will try to lay this on Tom Horn, but he never
done it! It was the Millers."
At the second session of the coroner s inquest, August
9th, some of the younger Nickell children testified that
they had seen the men ride away in the direction of
the Millers, one on a bay and the other on a gray horse.
This was serious evidence against the Millers, for of Mil
ler s three riding horses, one was a bay and one a gray.
A VINDICATION. 293
Thirteen shots had been fired at Nickell, two taking
effect, but his wounds were not serious.
Soon after the shooting, and while he still lay in the
hospital at Cheyenne, four masked men descended upon
Nickell s sheep, sent off the herder and clubbed a large
number of the flock. Accustomed to strife though he
was, this was too much for Nickell ; he sent for his family
to come to Cheyenne, and his ranch was put up for sale.
The remainder of the flock were withdrawn from the
country by their owners, Nickell having simply pastured
the sheep on shares.
All these stirring events had not taken place without
some suspicion being directed toward Horn. The Mil
lers strove adroitly to throw suspicion upon him; in fact,
both Gus and Victor Miller repeatedly said to me: "It s
all right to let suspicion fall on Tom Horn! He doesn t
care, and it might help us." Then there were many
rustlers interested in having Horn out of the way,
whether he was innocent or guilty.
There were only two points which could possibly be
construed against Horn his cherished reputation as a
killer, and the fact that two days prior to the killing he
had stopped at Miller s. Horn s friends claimed this lat
ter fact was evidence in his favor, as it was well known
he could enter a neighborhood, gather his information
and depart, with no one the wiser; so, had he been on a
murderous errand, he would not have shown himself.
Horn himself always explained his presence there by
claiming that he had heard Nickell s sheep were out on
Coble s land; but finding that such was not the case, was
homeward bound when he stopped at Miller s.
294 LIFE OF TOM HORN I
Horn s movements are best shown by a quotation
from a letter he wrote to his attorney. He says :
"The morning K. P. Nickell was shot, I left Seller s
ranch, which is more than one hundred miles from the
Nickell neighborhood, and went down into Dave Coch-
ran s pasture and ran across Dave and talked the news
of the country over with him. We talked of the killing
of the Nickell boy. I told Dave all I knew, of my leaving
there the day before the boy was killed, sheep trouble,
and so on. I went on back to Seller s ranch that night.
I met Cochran on the round-up, some six weeks later,
and he told me that the day after he talked to me in his
pasture he got the news of K. P. Nickell being shot on
the day before which was the day I was talking to him
in his pasture."
On the other hand, is it improbable that the Millers
took advantage of the stock detective s presence in the
neighborhood to score against their old enemies, the
Nickells? Certain it is Nickell s sheep had never both
ered any of the cattle outfits for which Horn was work
ing; equally certain it is that the Millers had the provo
The second night of his stay at Miller s, Horn made a
remark which can not be harmonized with the theory
that he was mixed up in the Nickell affairs. Jim Miller
had been telling about Nickell s threats to drive the sheep
upon Miller s property, and he ended with a hard
chuckle: "If Old Nick turns his sheep in on my land, I ll
turn my cattle in on him." Horn quickly and seriously
replied: "Oh, don t do anything wrong!"
The summer waned, and with its passing, Horn was
thrown out of employment. The sheep were out of the
A VINDICATION. 295
country and the rustlers had been intimidated, so Horn s
employers decided to dispense with his services.
Among the officers who had been working on the
Nickell case was one Joe La Fors, a deputy U. S. mar
shal. This man had always posed as a friend of Horn s;
so when, in the latter part of December, he told Mr.
Coble that he knew of an opening in Montana for a stock
detective, and that he would help Horn get the position,
neither Horn nor Coble were surprised.
The position was secured and Horn went as far as
Omaha, where he got drunk and lost his outfit. Having
returned to Coble s ranch for a new outfit, he received a
letter from La Fors, saying that a representative of the
Montana people was in Cheyenne and wished to meet
him. La Fors also had a letter from Montana, which he
wished to show him.
On his way to Cheyenne Horn stopped at Laramie
and again got drunk, and the morning he reached Chey
enne continued drinking, so that he was too drunk to
talk to La Fors, who made another appointment for the
afternoon. Horn missed this appointment also, and La
Fors went out to look for him. He found him asleep on
a chair in the back room of a saloon. Waking him, he
led him to the marshal s office, and there occurred that
famous "confession." As to what was really said in the
marshal s office, there are two accounts one is Horn s;
the other is Joe La Fors and his confederates .
The next day, January 13, 1902, Tom Horn was ar
rested, charged with the murder of William Nickell.
What evidence the authorities held was not made
public until the preliminary hearing, on May 10th, when
it was disclosed that at this interview with La Fors, the
296 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
district court stenographer, one Charles Ohnhaus, and a
deputy sheriff, one Leslie Snow, had been secreted by La
Fors behind the door, between the marshal s two offices.
These three testified that during the interview Horn was
perfectly sober; that he had confessed to the murder of
William Nickell, and of two rustlers, Lewis and Powell,
who several years before had lived in the Iron Mountain
country; that he had confessed to shooting at Kels Nick-
ell with intent to kill; that he had said killing was a
business proposition with him.
Horn s trial came up on October 13th. In addition
to these statements, there was a great showing of testi
mony against him; but when sifted, it left the "confes
sion" the main dependence of the prosecution. The at
torneys for the defense considered Horn s chances better
than even, as the only thing against him of importance
was the so-called "confession" and he was drunk when
this talk occurred. The so-called confession was not in
the language of Horn, filled as it was with profanity and
vulgarity, and it is a well known fact that Horn, drunk
or sober, was never vulgar and seldom profane. The lan
guage sounds more like Leslie Snow than Tom Horn.
Even the unfriendly newspapers predicted either an ac
quittal or a hung jury.
Great was the surprise, then, when, at 5 p. m. on Oc
tober 26th, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty. This
jury was composed principally of small ranchmen, most
of whom were from the districts adjacent to the Iron
Mountain regions. After the trial it was discovered that
Horn and his friends, Duncan Clark and Sam Moore, had
recovered stolen stock from some of the jurymen. So the
stock detective had been tried by a jury, the majority of
A VINDICATION. 297
whom were cattle rustlers! It is no mystery to a cow
man why the case was lost. During the trial a prominent
ranchman publicly said. "Show me a cattleman who s
against Tom Horn, and I ll show you a rustler!"
An appeal was taken, first to the district judge and
then to the Supreme Court. As was anticipated, the dis
trict judge refused a new trial. The rulings during the
trial were such that the defense could not hope for much
from this judge. They did, however, have some faith in
the Supreme Court, for the attorneys for defense cited
\Yhile the matter was in the hands of this court
things were quiet, except that certain newspapers kept
loading the public with sensational stories that plots
had been laid for the escape of the prisoner. August 9,
1903, Horn did break jail, and was at large for about fif
teen minutes. The alarm had been quickly given, so he
was captured but a little distance from the jail.
While effecting his escape he secured an automatic
Browning pistol, and his enemies have always claimed
that he would have killed the jailer if it had not been
that he did not understand the mechanism of the gun.
It is hard for his friends to believe that he could not
operate so simple an arrangement, when they consider
that he had handled firearms all his life.
Murder was evidently not in his heart, for he could
easily have killed the jailer by striking him with the
stock of the gun after he was tied.
After Horn had surrendered, and, surrounded by offi
cers and others, was returning to jail, Deputy Sheriff
Leslie Snow rode up, and with the butt of his gun aimed
a murderous blow at the prisoner s head. It was only
298 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
due to the quickness of a policeman in throwing up his
arm that the stroke missed the temple, for which it was
intended, and its power may be judged from the fact
that the policeman s wrist was broken. Certain of the
Wyoming and Denver newspapers had much to say about
Horn s "murderous attack" upon the jailer, but they said
nothing about Snow s murderous attack upon Horn.
September 5th came, the Supreme Court s adverse de
cision. Then, on the 31st of October, the last appeal was
taken to the governor.
Boarding, as I did, with the Miller s, I not only passed
through the occurrences which were made public, but I
obtained a thorough view behind the scenes. After the
second session of the coroner s inquest, 1 overheard three
conversations between Jim and Victor Miller, in each of
which conversation statements were made by both, in
criminating Victor Miller as the murderer of William
Nickell. Twice afterwards Jim Miller acknowledged to
me that Victor had confessed to him the killing of the
Nickell boy; and on the 10th of October, 1901, Victor
Miller himself confessed to me that he was the murderer.
I agreed to say nothing about Victor s criminality, pro
vided they would make no attempt to sidetrack the crime
on Horn, or any other innocent person. I felt it would
be unfair to punish Victor and leave untouched his
father and Kels Nickell, the original cause of all the
trouble. Moreover, I took into consideration the youth
of the self-confessed murderer (Victor was but eighteen),
and that he had grown up in the midst of quarreling and
strife. So I held my peace.
When Horn had been brought to trial, I seriously con
templated laying my knowledge of Victor s guilt before
A VINDICATION. 299
the authorities; but as the attorneys for the defense re
peatedly wrote me that they were confident of winning
their case, I thought that by my continued silence I could
save Victor Miller, and yet not jeopardize Horn. After
the jury brought in their verdict I was ready to reveal
my knowledge of Victor s guilt, for I had no intention of
shielding a guilty man at -the expense of an innocent
one. However, owing to legal technicality, the lawyers
could not use this evidence until the case was placed
in the governor s hands. When that time arrived I made
an affidavit, setting forth in detail my knowledge of Vic
tor Miller s criminality, and then I went to Cheyenne
from a distant place in order to appear in person before
The newspapers had much to say about the frequent
interviews the governor held with the "school-ma am,"
and how he painstakingly questioned her concerning the
situation in the Iron Mountain country, etc. In this they
drew entirely upon their imaginations. I held but one
interview, worthy the name, with the governor, and in
this his questions were very evidently prompted more by
a curiosity concerning my personal, private affairs than
by any anxiety to inform himself upon the true situation.
I did, however, hold a long, comprehensive interview
with Judge Corn, chief justice of the Wyoming Supreme
Court, in which he made the following statement: "You
understand the Supreme Court did not determine Tom
Horn s guilt or innocence; they simply passed upon
whether or not there had been evidence enough before
the jury upon which a verdict could be based. As for
myself, I have not yet made up my mind whether he is
300 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
innocent or guilty. In fact, I would be perfectly eligible
as a juror to try the case."
I also held a short interview with Judge Jesse Knight,
of the Supreme Court, in which he said he did not read
all of the testimony placed before the Supreme Court,
and made this further statement: "I have taken no part
in this case since it left the hands of the Supreme Court.
I might have if they hadn t attacked Joe La Fors." It
is a question how Horn s friends could assert his inno
cence without attacking Joe La Fors.
In addition to my testimony, a great deal of other evi
dence strongly in support of the defendant was pre
sented to the governor.
Among the things submitted were two letters from
Frank W. Mulock, of Denver. It will be remembered by
those who followed the case, that this man and Robert
G. Cousley testified at the trial that they had heard Horn
in a Denver saloon boast of the killing of the Nickell
boy. Mulock s letter to Lacey came as a complete sur
prise; and a careful reading of these letters leads us to
but one inference his conscience was hurting him!
"Denver, Oct. 5, 1903.
"Hon. J. W. Lacey, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
"Dear Sir: I was sorry to hear that the Supreme
Court had refused Tom Horn a new trial, after the very
able defense you rendered him. I am one of the Denver
witnesses that testified against him.
"Last April, in Pueblo, and twice here in Denver last
week I have seen a man who is a double for Horn. One
Geo. S. Roberts, was to have been a witness against
Horn, but failed to show up at the last minute. This
A VINDICATION. 301
Roberts was bartender at saloon here where the fellow
claiming to be Horn made the alleged confession. From
what Roberts has told me since Horn s conviction, I am
inclined to think Horn was the subject of a base con
spiracy. I met Roberts in Kansas City last October, and
he told me he could procure evidence to acquit Horn, be
sides what he himself knew. I think Roberts is in New
Orleans, La., at present and I am satisfied I could induce
him to procure anything favorable to Horn that he
knows. I think if the showing is made to Governor
Chatterton, that without a doubt, the governor would
grant a pardon or commutation of sentence.
"I am willing to do all I can towards the reparation
of the wrong done Horn, if any wrong has been com
mitted. I will go to New Orleans and see Roberts, and
I am fully satisfied I can induce him to go before the
governor or make proper affidavits. I do not ask any
compensation for my services, even if it is developed that
Horn is pardoned or commuted.
"If you will furnish transportation to New Orleans
and return to Denver, with accompanying legitimate ex
penses, I am ready to go at once. If I do not hear from
you in two or three days, I am going to Idaho for the
winter. If I could see you personally, or one of your rep
resentatives here in Denver, I could go more into details
in reference to Roberts position in the case. You can
address me by wire, 1134 Fifteenth street, care Jno.
D. Ross, Denver. I will expect an answer from you
Tuesday or Wednesday.
"Yours in confidence,
"Frank W. Mulock."
302 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
"Denver, Colo., October 13, 1903.
"R. G. Couseley, Esq.,
"1412 Olive St.,
"St. Louis, Mo.
"I sent you a copy of an affidavit last week about the
Horn case. You remember when we were in Kansas City
last fall what Roberts told us about that fellow we met
in the Scandinavian saloon not being Tom Horn. I have
since found out things that lead me to believe that Rob
erts was telling the truth. I don t think we ought to let
this matter drop now and let Horn be hung without our
doing the square thing. As I told you in the letter be
fore, I wrote to Mr. Burke, one of Horn s lawyers, and
yesterday I met him again, and he urges me to do every
thing we can.
"Please attend to this at once, and write me or T. F.
Burke, of Cheyenne, Wyo., and tell him the circum
stances and what Roberts told us in Kansas City.
"Hoping to hear from you at once, I am,
"Frank W. Mulock."
It seemed as though this evidence must at least save
Horn s life.
On the 14th of November, at half past three, the gov
ernor made known his decision he would not interfere.
On the afternoon of this day a singular incident came
under my notice. At exactly 4 o clock a man called at
my room in the hotel and presented a note from the gov
ernor. The note read as follows:
THE STATE OF WYOMING.
A VINDICATION. 303
"Miss Kimmell: Will you please let me take those
letters again? I read them so hurriedly yesterday I
would like to see them again at my leisure. The bearer
is my deputy secretary of state. Yours truly, F. Chat-
The governor had reference to the correspondence be
tween Attorney Burke and myself in relation to the Horn
case. The strange thing is that the governor s written
decision had then been lying on Judge Lacey s desk for
half an hour!
I have been accused of presenting theories as evi
dence. Would it be too far-fetched a theory to advance
that the governor had now found time to consider the
evidence, although his decision had already been made;
or did he have the deputy take those letters across the
street to the prosecuting attorney, so that the latter
might make copies of them? It is a fact that after Horn
was dead the prosecuting attorney had copies made of
his farewell letters to his mother and his sisters. I
learn upon unimpeachable authority that while Stoll s
stenographer was typewriting these farewell letters, her
eyes filled with tears, so that she could hardly write.
Stoll, coming into the room, took in the situation and
jeered at her. The state s case was ended, so it is evident
that his sole purpose was to acquire souvenirs of what?
Of work well done! The hanging of an innocent man!
So it was that on November 20, 1903, at about 11
a. m., Tom Horn was hanged. There are those who can
tell the grewsome details. It is enough for his friends
to know that he smiled to the last.
After all has been said and done, why was he hung?
The answer is: "Because of a drunken talk." It was
304 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
clearly demonstrated that upon the Sunday morning of
his interview with La Fors Horn had forty drinks within
him; yet his maudlin words were called a "confession."
If his confession was bona fide, it is strange he should
so soon afterwards have vigorously denied it and con
tinued to deny it even to his death; and if he had a
guilty soul, it is singular he should choose to unburden
himself to a mere acquaintance and give no sign to his
It was characteristic of Horn that when he was sober
he was quiet in manner and modest, but that when he
was drunk he was loquacious and boastful. His own
account of his interview with La Fors was that they
were trying to out-lie each other, and, as La Fors had
turned the subject upon killings, each boasted of killings
he had done. The role was an easy one for Horn it was
his stock in trade in the Iron Mountain country. Cow
boys on the lone prairie and scouts, far from civilization,
when sitting around the campfire, habitually spin yarns;
and Horn had been both cow boy and scout. It needed
not this training, however, to make him a romancer. He
was born one. He had an active imagination, a keen
perception and a genius for language. He was truthful
in the ordinary affairs of life, but if the spinning of a
yarn would give pleasure, he was not one to let facts
stand in the way. He always maintained that his state
ments to La Fors were changed to suit the requirements.
The alleged confession is undoubtedly characterized by
Aside from the fact that the language used was not
that of Horn, it has never been explained why, out of
the multitude of his friends, he should have selected John
A VINDICATION. 305
C. Coble and me to speak disparagingly about. Could
it be that the authors of the "confession" calculated that
nothing but a strong resentment would turn us against
Many things conspired to send him to his death, chief
among which was the attitude of a number of the news
papers of Wyoming and Denver. These were controlled
by parties who would stop at nothing, and stoop to any
thing to ruin the defense. Accordingly they printed
great masses of damaging lies, and would not admit the
smallest favorable point.
It is said that one of the newspaper reporters of
the case being remonstrated with for inaccuracy of
statement in the report given gave this excuse: that
the best authority upon this class of news laid down the
rule for the guidance of reporters as follows: u ln case
a crime has been committed which incenses the public
mind, if the accused is able to divide the public senti
ment, then take the sympathetic side of the case; but
if the accused has few or no friends, then jump onto
him with both feet and stamp him out of existence, for
by so doing you will satisfy the mind of the public and
close the incident."
They habitually pictured the prisoner viler than the
vilest, and as much a degenerate physically and men
tally as spiritually. In addition to this calumny, there
was much perjured evidence, and the truth was twisted
until it became a lie. Then there were political ambi
tions in the way.
This was evidenced by a conversation between the
governor and the prosecuting attorney of Douglas
county, Wyoming. A few hours after the governor had
306 LIFE OP TOM HORN:
made known his decision, the prosecuting attorney tele
phoned to him in reference to the Indian outbreak that
had recently occurred. While he was making his report
the governor interrupted him by asking: "How do the
people up there take my decision in the Horn case?" It
seems that the governor had taken steps to learn at first
hand how the people of Natrona county felt, for during
the proceedings before him, he absented himself to at
tend a dance at Casper.
As a prominent lady aptly put it: "The governor of
Wyoming does not believe in capital punishment per
sonally, but he does politically!"
Why Tom Horn should have been convicted will al
ways be an open question, with an ever-increasing num
ber believing in his innocence.
That such a result should have been reached upon
the evidence produced, and especially that executive
clemency should have been refused in face of the show
ing made in support of the application therefor, is in
deed difficult of explanation.
Tom Horn has been called a murderer of children, but
read the following incidences, a few of his many kind
nesses to the young and to the suffering:
In the Arizona days the little son of an army officer
conceived a great liking for him, and used to follow him
around. One day when he, the boy, and other scouts
were out riding they were surprised by Indians. A sharp
encounter ensued, in which the scouts, being outnum
bered, were forced to retreat. As they were dashing off,
Horn noticed the boy had slipped from his horse. At
the risk of his own life he went back, lifted the child into
the saddle in front of him, and succeeded in escaping.
A VINDICATION. 307
Sam Moore, former foreman for the Swan Land and
Cattle Company, writes:
"Sheriff Cook, of Albany County, Wyoming, told me
in the waiting room of the Cheyenne depot at the time
of Horn s trial, that Tom and himself (Cook) were in
Greeley, Colorado, together, and while standing around
the depot, a passenger train came in.
"Among the passengers who got off the train were
two or three little, ragged, hungry-looking children, who
singled Tom from among the crowd and came up to him,
asking for help. Tom instantly acted, and took them to
a restaurant and filled them up with a hearty meal.
After which he took them to a clothing store, and dressed
them up with new clothes and bought each a pair of
shoes as they were bare-footed. Cook said: Don t tell
me a man like him is around killing children.
"Tom once saved my life by a good throw with his
lariat at the right time. I shall never forget it."
A family in the Laramie Peak country tell of an alter
cation between two of their cow boys, in which one was
fatally wounded; and how Horn sat for hours by the dy
ing man, nursing him as tenderly as a woman could have
Horn hated a thief, and most of all a cow thief; but
it was his habit to give a rustler every possible chance
for reform before reporting him. It has frequently been
said that in his duties as a stock detective he learned
dark secrets of his employers, Ora Haley, Whittaker
Brothers and Al Bowie; and it was predicted that if he
had to die, he would reveal his knowledge, for these men
did not lift a little finger to help him in his trouble: but
308 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
if he knew of any shady transactions of these men, he
kept them to himself.
When his last hour had come and ministers talked to
him about his soul s salvation, he listened carefully, but
made no hypocritical pretension to a feeling he did not
possess. He said he had never thought much about such
things, but realized that one ought to prepare for the
future life. Notwithstanding statements to the con
trary, he always believed in the life to come, and in re
dress for human wrongs.
He was the representative of a type not common. He
was a man of action, and in times of strenuousness could
out-do and out-endure all others; but in his hours of
leisure he could be as indolent as a Mexican grandee, and
would tell his romances with the ease of a litemteur.
It would be hard to find Tom Horn s match physic
ally. Standing six feet two, he was built in perfect pro
portion to his height broad-shouldered, deep-chested,
full-hipped. Without an ounce of superfluous flesh upon
him and with muscles of steel, he could perform feats of
strength which were the admiration and despair of other
men. He was as straight as an Indian; but had the
swinging carriage of the old-time frontiersman, with just
the suggestion of a swagger in it. With strong jaws,
and chin, and nose, he would have been hard-featured
but for the full lips which could so easily curve into a
The unflinching stare of his keen eyes which one
sometimes encountered, was the signal-light of a sublime
nerve a nerve which enabled him to look a horrible
death in the face and smile. This was one reason why
his enemies so hated him. They could imprison him,
A VINDICATION. 309
they could kill him they might even torture him but
they could never make his soul cringe, his nerve falter.
Strong in feeling as he was, he was unfailingly good-
uatured and polite; and with his German blood, he had
inherited the Teutonic sense of humor. Enjoying a good
time himself, he liked to see everyone else have one, and
many tales can be told illustrative of his big-heartedness.
His enemies call him a desperado, but his whole life
was spent in keeping the desperate in check. His ex
periences were broad and deep, and he rendered much
gallant service to his country. Riding hard, drinking
hard, fighting hard so passed his days, until he was
crushed between the grindstones of two civilizations.
The mortal part of him lies in the cemetery at Boul
der, Colorado, beneath the western breezes and the west
ern sunshine which he loved so well ; but in the hearts of
his friends, Tom Horn will live forever as the nerviest
and the biggest-hearted man they have ever known!
GLENDOLENE MYRTLE KIMMELL.
Denver, Colo., April 12, 1904.
"LIFE S RAILWAY TO HEAVEN"
[Tom Horn counted among his most valued friends the
Irwin brothers, Charles and Frank, and rightly so; for when
his last moments had come (moments from which the most de
voted shrank), theirs were the last friendly faces he beheld
these two, who were there to sustain him, singing, at the
scaffold s foot, with brave, tear-choked voices, a song to cheer
their former comrade in his extremity.]
Life is like a mountain railroad, with an engineer that s. brave;
We must make the run successful, from the cradle to the grave;
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels; never falter, never quail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle, and your eye upon the rail.
Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us till we reach that blissful
Where the angels wait to join us, in Thy praise forever more.
You will roll up grades of trial; you will cross the bridge of
See that Christ is your conductor, on this lightning train of life;
Always mindful of obstructions, do your duty, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle, and your eye upon the rail.
You will often find obstructions; look for storms of wind and
On a fill, or curve, or trestle, they will almost ditch your train;
Put your trust alone in Jesus; never falter, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle, and your eye upon the rail.
As you roll across the trestle, spanning Jordan s swelling tide,
You behold the Union Depot, into which your train will glide;
There you ll meet the Superintendent, God the Father, God the
With the hearty, joyous plaudit, "Weary pilgrim, welcome
STATEMENT FROM AL. SIEBER
Tom went to work for me in the government pack
train in 1882; he was with me and worked steady with
me for three years. A more faithful or better worker or
a more honorable man I never met in my life.
During the period of three years, I made numbers of
scouting expeditions, and oftentimes needed the help of
a man I could rely on, and I always placed Horn in
charge; for it required a man of bravery, judgment and
skill, and I ever found Tom true to the last letter of the
law to any and every trust confided to his care.
In 83 Horn was with me when I went into Mexico
with General Crook, and we brought back the Chiricahua
Apaches to the White Mountain Reservation here in Ari
zona. During that trip Horn proved himself a very val
uable man to me on many occasions.
In making my side-scouts alone, I would always place
Horn in charge of all Indian scouts left behind in camp.
This required a man who was cool and had judgment to
control and handle these scouts. Also, on other side-
trips, when I took a few pack animals, I ever made it a
point to take Tom with me, as it very often required me
to have a man that I could rely on in every way, as I
oftentimes had to split my crowd after being out. At
these times I would always put Horn in charge of one
set of scouts, tell him where and the time to meet me,
and what to do; and I never had him fail to obey my or-
312 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
ders to perfection. No matter what came up rain or
snow, clouds or sunshine Tom was there to meet me,
and true to the trust.
This gave me such confidence in him that in 1885,
when the Chiricahuas broke away from their White
Mountain Reservation here (which caused the Indian
War of 1885), and I followed them into Mexico with Cap
tain Crawford, I took Tom Horn along with me. While
I was out on the campaign, the balance of the Apaches
on the Reservation became very unruly, which caused
General Crook to call me from Mexico back to the In
dian Reservation here in Arizona Territory. When I
left to obey the orders, I placed Horn in charge of my
scouts with Captain Crawford, and he stayed in Mexico.
Captain Crawford finally overtook the Indians and
had a fight with them. This is the time Captain Craw
ford lost his life by the Mexican troops who ran onto
Crawford s outfit, mistook the camp for hostiles, and
opened fire on them. Crawford and Horn yelled to the
Mexicans that they were friendly; but before the firing
ceased, Crawford lost his life, and Tom Horn was shot
through the arm.
Notwithstanding all this, Lieutenant Maus and Tom
Horn brought the hostiles, or at least the biggest part
of them, back across the line, and would have brought
them safe to the Reservation had it not been for some
white men camped near the old San Bernardino ranch,
who sold the Indians whiskey and mescal. This caused
the Indians to become drunk and unruly, and about one-
half of them broke away from the Maus command and
went back into Mexico. The rest were brought to Camp
Bowie, and shipped from there to Florida. This break
A VINDICATION. 313
was the cause of prolonging the Indian War at least one
Horn s part in the war deserves the greatest praise
for his services and the handling of his Indian scouts.
Shortly after this, General Crook was relieved of the
command of the department of the southwest, by Gen
eral Miles, and Horn quit the government service, al
though I saw him frequently afterwards, fie went to
work in Pleasant Valley as a ranch hand. After this,
there was a fierce war in this section known as the Pleas
ant Valley war, between the cow men and the sheep men.
There were between twenty and thirty men killed during
the fight. Tom took no part with either side, although
every inducement was offered him to take sides.
Tom remained in that vicinity until he went to Den
ver, as he told me, to go to work for the Pinkerton out
fit. Since that I know nothing of him, only what I read
Now, I wish to state that during the time of three or
four years he was around me, and with me, I never once
saw him under the influence of liquor. The most he ever
drank was a glass of beer when out with a gang of the
boys. And knowing him, as I do, and taking all into
consideration, I can not, and will not, ever believe that
Tom Horn was the man the papers tried to make the
world believe he was. These words and sentiments can
not be put too strong, for I can never believe that the
jolly, jovial, honorable and whole-souled Tom Horn I
knew was a low-down miserable murderer.
In regard to my picture, I have none here, and have
no show at present to have one taken, and as for my
scouting costume, it was ever the same as that of any
314 LIFE OF TOM HORN: A VINDICATION.
roving man; for, during my twenty-one years of fighting
and hunting hostile Indians, I never wore long hair or
Now, sir, if this will be of any benefit, use it to suit
yourself. It is all facts to a letter.
Roosevelt, A. T., April 7, 1904.
JOHN C. COBLE
I have never made a statement for publication. All
alleged statements and interviews published, whenever
and wherever they may have appeared, were without
authority and without any foundation in fact.
Throughout the recent trial, despite argument of
friend and abuse of foe, I have invariably refused to be
interviewed, realizing the misrepresentation which might
await me. Condemned if I spoke, condemned if I did
not speak, I found myself driven to the position of a
private citizen protecting his individual interests and the
interests of others entrusted to his charge from the
rapacity of maudlin and not over-scrupulous newsmon
gers. The marked unfairness of the Colorado- Wyoming
press in handling the trial has been unaccountable to the
uninformed, but to those who know, this prejudiced at
titude may be clear.
Given: a "bunch" of reporters, inferior, unscrupulous
space-fillers, of whichever sex, whose instructions have
"Get copy, copy still.
And then let Justice follow if she will,"
and then the prisoner at the bar becomes, so far as the
news reports are concerned, a "black-hearted, bloody-
handed, inhuman monster;" and spite, retaliation and
baffled scheme for gain combine to hatch brood after
316 LIFE OF TOM HORN:
brood of lies, harmless or harmful as they may be, and
with or without consequences, but lies just the same, de
liberately manufactured and circulated. For example,
weigh such press statements as these: that Horn at any
time lost his nerve; that the defense paid for evidence;
that Horn was unruly as a boy; that Duncan Clark re
signed his foremanship of the Iron Mountain ranch be
cause of trouble over his testimony; that Horn tried to
kill his jailer the day he attempted to gain his liberty;
that Horn was informed of the governor s decision before
the 17th day of November, 1903 ; that Horn s last letter
to me was handed over by Proctor, deputy sheriff, to
Charles Irwin, unopened and in the presence of witnesses
at the scaffold; and that I declined to pay any part of
the funeral expenses of Horn after his execution.
On the contrary, Horn was never known to lose his
nerve; not one cent was paid or offered for evidence;
Horn was not incorrigible in his youth; there was not
the slightest connection between Duncan Clark s resig
nation and his testimony at the Horn trial ; had Horn de
sired to shed blood in his attempt to regain his liberty,
he could easily have done so, as the jailer w r as wholly at
his mercy; the prisoner was informed of his approaching
execution exactly three days before his death, as his let
ter given on preceding pages of this book shows ; his last
letter to me (certainly a sacred trust), was desecrated by
unfriendly newspaper reporters, passed from hand to
hand, and was given Charlie Irwin in the sheriff s office
after the execution; and I certainly paid, and wished to
pay, every item of the funeral expenses a fact quite
A VINDICATION. 317
Yet it is through these equivocations, and other prod
ucts of reportorial imagination, that the great and all-
fair press, alive (?) to its grave responsibility where a
human life is at stake, proves its trustworthiness! It
is thus that the all-powerful moulders of public opinion
proceed to mould!
And it has not been the press alone, but there have
been men in positions of trust, puffed up with their
little brief authority," who have besmirched their trust
and stooped to odious means for their selfish ends. If
it be true that "kings play at chess with nations for
pawns," then it is as true that Wyoming politicians play
the game of justice with human souls for pawns, and, I
may add, with Cowardice as referee.
The story is done. Close the pages that tell of fight
ing our country s foes, of secret service, of Cuban cam
paigning, of zeal, of faithfulness, of fearlessness. Un
written always must remain the record of Tom Horn s
bravery, loyalty, generosity and the countless kindly
acts which marked his pathway through life. I am
proud to say that he was my friend, always faithful and
just. When can I hope to see such another! And no
man ever walked more bravely to his death.
I am convinced, and I re-assert it to be true, that Tom
Horn was guiltless of the crime for which he died. Nor
am I alone in this belief. He suffered the death, but
there is a Great and Final Referee in all matters of
Justice. To Him the last and final decision.
JOHN C. COBLE.
Iron Mountain Ranch, Bosler, Wyoming,
March 1, 1904.
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