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In your August 2021 issue I see articles by Bill Cavaliere and Ron J. Jackson Jr. that dispel some of the untruths about Geronimo’s surrender. Author Jackson hit the nail on the head in calling the Southwest “Apacheria.” A large part of west Texas was also the turf of the Lipan Apaches. That’s why the mountains that supply the spring at Balmorhea are called the Apache Mountains. The one thing said that is news to me is the statement that the White Mountain Apaches did not get along with the Chiricahuas. And I’d like to point out that Juh was not an Apache; he was a Yaqui.
Humberto C. Martinez
Bill Cavaliere responds: Juh (pronounced “Hoo”) was indeed an Apache and not a Yaqui. He was a chief of the Nednhi band of the Chiricahua Apaches. The Nednhis ranged in the Sierra Madre of northern Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico and north into extreme southern New Mexico. The confusion regarding Juh as being a Yaqui is understandable, since the ranges of the Nednhis and the Yaquis bordered each other. Juh’s father was Nednhi Chief Laceris, who died in the late 1850s. He had two sons, Galindo and Juh. When Galindo passed away in the early 1860s, Juh was elevated to chief of the Nednhi Apaches. He died in Mexico on Sept. 21, 1883. After Naiche and Geronimo surrendered in September 1886, “Bronco” Apaches continued raiding in the United States until 1924. Since it was assumed all Chiricahuas had been removed to Florida, newspapers assumed these raids were committed by Yaquis. Several posses were sent after these Broncos. Old-timers I spoke with who had fathers or grandfathers in these posses agreed that their relatives were actually after Yaquis. I was unable to find any reference to White Mountain Apaches not getting along with Chiricahua Apaches in my colleague Ron Jackson’s article “The Parting,” nor did I mention it in mine. However, to address the issue: White Mountain Apaches generally had good relations with the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apaches, sometimes even aligning themselves with them in battle. It is true that White Mountain Apaches often had conflicts with other Chiricahua bands, especially when forced to share the same reservations.
Geronimo identified his place of birth as No-doyohn Canyon, Arizona, to Stephen Melvil Barrett, who was permitted to dictate the old warrior’s memories for what became Geronimo’s Story of His Life (1906)
Geronimo on the Gila
In your August 2021 issue Ron J. Jackson Jr.’s “The Parting” contains a geographical error. Twice Arizona is erroneously referred to as the location of the headwaters of the Gila River. This is incorrect. The source of the Gila is in the mountains of southwest New Mexico. Geronimo was born in this area, and this is where he wished to return before his death. The Gila’s headwaters are west of Ojo Caliente, site of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Ron Jackson responds: In reference to Geronimo’s place of birth and the headwaters of the Gila River, the article should have been more specific. Geronimo identified his place of birth as No-doyohn Canyon, Arizona, to Stephen Melvil Barrett, who was permitted to dictate the old warrior’s memories for what became Geronimo’s Story of His Life (1906). Geronimo also stated: “In that country which lies around the headwaters of the Gila River I was raised. This range was our fatherland.” Legendary Oklahoma historian Angie Debo and author of Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place, echoed Geronimo’s claim of No-doyohn Canyon as his birthplace in her book, identifying it as “near the headwaters of the Gila River in what is now southeastern Arizona, then part of Mexico.” Debo further explains: “At other times he [Geronimo] stated simply that he was born in Arizona. But by modern nomenclature the Gila does not head in Arizona, for of the branches that unite near the present-day town of Clifton [Arizona] to form the main stream, one now carries the name into New Mexico.” As for Geronimo’s desire to be buried in New Mexico, the record clearly states he desperately sought to spend his final days in Arizona. Or, as he stated to President Theodore Roosevelt in March 1905, “Let me die in my own country” (meaning Arizona). Roosevelt told Geronimo that was not an option. Regardless, Geronimo never wanted to die a prisoner of war at Fort Sill.
One and Only
I have really enjoyed the August issue of Wild West, which features articles about Chiricahua Apache leaders Geronimo and Naiche. I also enjoyed the Top 10 list of Chiricahua leaders by Bill Cavaliere. I majored in history at Baylor University back in the mid-1960s and have been a collector/presenter of Native American weaponry, clothing and crafts since the 1970s. Your magazine is the only one to which I subscribe, and your column is the first one I read every time the magazine arrives. Thank you for such a good magazine with interesting and factual articles.
Matchless BB Gun
While reading the feature “Innocents Lost,” by Jeff Broome, in your February 2021 issue, I noted the picture at the bottom of P. 60 featuring Artell Genthner with his “rifle.” The gun is a first model Matchless BB gun, introduced in 1890 and produced until about 1895, when it was replaced by an improved version. I guess Artell would be at least 17 in this picture, and that looks about right. Here is a picture of the gun (above).
I really like Wild West, particularly articles featuring relics. Keep up the good work.
In “Trouble in Chinatown,” in the December 2020 issue, Matthew Bernstein describes how, after killing Buckskin Bill, James Franklin Burns and his group cut off Bill’s deformed foot and, “preserving the grizzly trophy,” used it as evidence of the death. I really hope Bernstein checked his facts more carefully than his spelling. (And why didn’t an editor at the magazine catch that mistake?)
The editor responds: No excuses, except I’ve had the grizzly bears of Glacier National Park and elsewhere in Montana on my mind quite a bit lately. But that’s another grisly story.
Send letters by email. Please include your name and hometown. These letters were published in the February 2022 issue of Wild West.