Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pavement Ends - Cochise Stronghold

The best part about traveling with a jeep behind you?  All the places you can go.

We explored both the east and the west sides of Cochise Stronghold AKA The Dragoon Mountains.  The east side has easier access and includes a small primitive campground with a nature trail.  Access is off of Hwy 191, exit 331 from I-10.  Turn west on Ironwood Drive and follow the signs.

Text of sign:

"This rugged area served as a natural fortress and hideout for Apache Indians of the Chiricahua Clan led by Cochise.  He was born in these Dragoon Mountains about 1815.  From 1860 to 1872 the Cochise Band battled the U.S. Cavalry because of the handling of an incident at Apache Pass about 30 miles east of here. 

"It is believed that Cochise was buried somewhere in the stronghold."

The east side of the stronghold is more wooded and sheltered.  I can see where a band could hold out here for a long period of time.

By contrast the west side of the range is rugged with steep cliffs.  It is now a favored rock-climbing area, reminiscent of Joshua Tree National Park.  But with a whole lot less people than at Joshua Tree.

To access, take Hwy 80 south from Benson.   Middlemarch Road (unpaved) turns off to the east just before the town of Tombstone.   Take Middlemarch road for about 10 miles, then turn left on forest road 687.   This road runs along the base of the mountains, with several spur roads (4000 number series) into different areas.

Dispersed camping is available in the area, but it would be hard to get RV's in.  You have to ford several creeks and the road is quite rough in places.

Watch for range cattle.

The pictures speak louder than words.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Boothill Stories

Novel in a tourist town: admission to the famous (or infamous) graveyard is free. But for only a $3.00 donation you receive a pamphlet listing each grave and the story behind the occupant.  Well worth it as the tales give you the feel for what it must have been like in the area in the late 1800's.  

Notes below the markers are from the pamphlet.  This is only a sample of the markers and stories. In addition there are still many, many graves which are marked "Unknown".

3-Fingered Jack Dunlap.  Shot by Jeff Milton
Dunlap, one of a band of train robbers, attempted to rob an express car which Milton guarded.  He was critically wonded and his friends left him to die.  He was found and brought to Tombstone, where he lived long enough to inform on his friends.

Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury.
Murdered on the streets of Tombstone, 1991.  Tragic results of the O.K. Corral battle, which took place between the Earp Brothers with "Doc" Holliday and the cowboys.  Three men were killed and three were wounded.

Halderman Bros.
Hanged Nov. 16, 1900

John Heath
Taken from county jail and lynched by Bisbee mob, Feb. 22, 1884.  He was called the leader of the five men who were legally hanged and was said to have planned the robbery.  He was hanged from a telegraph pole a short distance west of the Court House.

Mrs. Stump, 1884
She died in childbirth, from an overdose of chloroform, given to her by the doctor. (This information given by her family.)

Rook.  Shot by a Chinaman.
This occurred in front of the Yaple's store on Fremont street, now Wagon Wheel Inn.

John Martin, Killed.  1882.
He was killed while working on the Huachuca water line.  A tested pipe was unplugged and a blast of water hurled a jack against his chest.  He was a native of England.

Frank Bowles, 1880
His horse became frightened and threw him off.  This caused a rifle to discharge and badly injure his knee.  He lay in camp for several weeks without medical attention and when friends took him to a doctor for amputation it was too late. (This information was given by his daughter.)

As you pass by
remember that as
you are so once was I 
and as I am you 
soon will be 
Remember me

Judge C. Lindley, 1882
Chas. Lindley, in his younger years, was one of the ablest members of the bar in California.  His health was impaired by overwork, and he died in Tombstone in September, 1882.

J.D. McDermott.  Killed, 1882
His spinal column was fractured when his horse fell with him while crossing the San Pedro River.

Two Cowboys, Drowned.

Seymour Dye, Killed by Indians, 1882
Dye, aged 35, and Harry Curry were wood cutters.  This day they were bringing in a load of hay, when they were shot by Indians, who after their victims had fallen from the wagon, dragged them for 150 feet.

Geo. Johnson.  Hanged by Mistake.
Johnson innocently bought a stolen horse and suffered the consequences.

He was right
we was wrong
but we strung
him up
and now he's

M.R. Peel, 1882
A young mining engineer, who was shot one night in his office as he worked late.  Suspicion fell on Zwing Hunt and Billy Grounds.

Ben Scott, Al Bennett 1883
Teamsters.  Ambushed by Indians.

WM Grounds, Died of wounds, 1882
He was shot in the face with a shotgun, by one of the officers sent to question him in connection with the murder of M.R. Peel.

Lester Moore
Moore was a wells Fargo agent at Naco and had a dispute with a man over a package.  Both died.  (Information from an old resident.)

Here lies 
Lester Moore
Four slugs 
from a .44
No Les
no more

Daniel Ower, Drowned 1881

Kansas Kid
A cowboy killed in a stampede.

Douglas Lilly.  Killed, 1881
Lilly, a driver for the Sycamore Water Co., was thrown from the wagon, trampled by the horses and died instantly when the wagon ran over his head.

Killeen, Shot by Frank Leslie.  1880
Results of a disagreement of Killeen's wife.  Leslie married the widow.

Marshal White. Shot by Curly Bill, 1880
He was accidentally shot as he started to take Curly Bill's gun.  This took place on the lot where the Bird Cage Theatre now stands.

Mike Noonan.  Killed by Indians.
A lone rancher who was shot when he went out to chop wood.  (Information from relatives.)

Brady Bros., 1883
These boys were drowned while swimming in the San Pedro River.  One died in a vain attempt to save his brother.  Ages 11 and 12 years.


The Chinese members of the community are laid to rest on one area at the top of the hill.

Mrs. Ah Lum
Born in China and buried in Bootill in 1906.  She had great influence among the Chinese residents here.  Some believed she had Tong affiliation in China.

Quong Kee
Quong, who ran the Can Can Restaurant in the 1880s, was first burried in a pauper's grave.  His friends had his body moved and laid to rest in Boothill beside the friends he knew in life.

Chink Smiley, Shot. 1884

Died of Leprosy.