February 2019 Readers’ Letters | HistoryNet MENU

February 2019 Readers’ Letters

By HistoryNet Staff
11/24/2018 • Wild West Magazine

MAGIC VALLEY
Although I am 90 and retired from writing many years ago, I have maintained interest in your excellent coverage of America’s Wild West. Your August 2018 issue aroused my interest as no other issue has, because my father’s family lived through those rough days so adequately described in Mike Coppock’s article “Bloodshed in ‘Magic Valley.’” In 1914 my grandfather Edwards purchased from a land company two 20-acre farm plots near McAllen, Texas. The violence in the area was active at the time, and my grandfather went armed but used his weapon only once. I was surprised to learn that our federal government and others wanted the Texas Rangers disciplined for using excessive force against the bandits. Many people regarded the Rangers as angels sent by the state of Texas to save their lives and property when other sources did only a halfway job of it.

Another reason for my interest was the mention of [Army scout] John Randall Peavey in the same article. In 1949 I took my wife to Texas to meet my relatives. While there my uncle, a U.S. Border Patrol officer, took me to his station in McAllen to meet his fellow officers. At that time Peavey was assistant chief of the operation, but he was a well-known border officer of several agencies over the years. His welcome to me was a loud “Howdy!” with a friendly, big smile and firm handshake. Later in his life he wrote a book titled Echoes From the Rio Grande. I have the book and will never forget Peavey.

And last was a mention of Nancy Samuelson and Leon Metz. I know Nancy and Leon well, because years ago we were active members together in the old National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History. One can see why this issue of Wild West means so much to me.

Harold L. Edwards
Bakersfield, Calif.

I enjoyed the August 2018 Wild West, especially Mike Coppock’s interesting write-up “Bloodshed in ‘Magic Valley.’” The article mentions insurgent (bandit) leader Aniceto Pizaña. I have one of his guns, a Model 1866 Winchester carbine, Serial No. 167843, with his name carved on the buttstock (see photo above). Winchester stopped production of the Model 1866 in 1884, but the last one left the factory in 1889 and was Serial No. 170100. The Pizaña Winchester Model 1866 is one of the very last of these famous guns and is one of the most historical Winchesters with a Texas and Mexican Revolution association. Pizaña’s Winchester was in other historically important collections in south Texas for many years before I acquired it in 2013. The gun shows heavy weathering and wear, including the wood on the buttstock and on the inscription. The crudely carved inscription may have already been on the gun when Texas soldiers and others invaded Pizaña’s ranch in 1915, or else it was carved by someone as a souvenir of the raid.

Donald M. Yena
San Antonio, Texas

HOSTAGE SITUATION
I enjoyed Jerry Thompson’s excellent article “Gunfight at Old Fort Stanton” in the August 2018 Wild West. There are, however, errors regarding the Bascom affair. The two Indian boys were probably Naiche, Cochise’s son, and Chie, son of his brother Coyuntura. Neither was hanged. They were released at Fort Buchanan. George Bascom held three adult male hostages, including Coyuntura, while Dr. Bernard Irwin, who arrived with Paddy Graydon, held three more. Cochise held four Americans. Bascom attempted to trade his hostages for the four Cochise had, but Cochise only offered to trade one of his, declining to release the other three. Bascom refused without all four. Cochise killed his hostages, and subsequently the adult male Apaches held by the Army were hanged at the command of Lt. Isaiah Moore. Misrepresentations by people who claimed to have been there confused this story for generations. Today many primary sources are available that agree on the actual events. My book on the subject, The Black Legend: George Bascom, Cochise and the Start of the Apache Wars, will be released in October 2018.

Doug Hocking
Sierra Vista, Ariz.

Jerry Thompson responds: I related what a number of leading scholars of the Bascom affair and Cochise have written through the years, though I am certainly no authority on either. I look forward to reading Hocking’s book.

PROUD SERVICE
In the February 2018 issue a review of Robert M. Brown’s Captain Charles Rawn and the Frontier Infantry in Montana closed with the sentence, “Brown admits we will probably never know why ‘a man off such pedigree and education chose to continue to serve in the Army.’” What may be a mystery to the author and the reviewer is none to those of us who have been honored to wear our country’s uniform. The callings of service and fulfillment require no explanation.

Richard Derham
Seattle

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