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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogs : verde heritage July 10, 2014

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

1875: THE EXODUS; February 27 to April 3.

Verde Heritage

Over 1,500 people began leaving the Rio Verde Reservation on their way to San Carlos on February 27, 1875.

Levi Edwin Dudley's original report to Commissioner Edward P. Smith is dated from Tucson, April 3, 1875. It contains many sections which are lightly scratched out, which contain interesting material, which is left out of his official report printed as part of the "Annual Report of the Commission of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior." L. Edwin Dudley, special commissioner, officially reported; "We reached the Salt River. We fortunately found the stream could be forded, but running as swiftly as it does in the month of March, it was a sad duty to compel men, women, and children, to wade through the cold water, even though they were Indians. The water was about waist deep to a tall man, and the crossing was a pitiful sight." In the original, he continues, "one which I could not witness without a feeling of pity, which brought tears to my eyes. The crossing of the river reminded me of another exodus, and I wished that the waves might be rolled back."

After crossing the Salt River, Dr. William H. Corbusier wrote, "one morning on scanning the Indians, as I always did, I saw that the Apache-Mojave and some of the Apache-Yuma men had their faces painted, their noses red and the rest of the face black with galena as when they prepared for war. ... I was telling the commissioner that the Indians were ready to fight, when a bullet came whistling from there as a warning. I told him to get busy or the next bullet might be for him and then he told the interpreters to call out that he would go ahead and send back food which would soon reach them." ("Soldier, Surgeon, Scholar: The Memoirs of William Henry Corbusier, 1844-1930;" Edited by Robert Wooster; Norman, University of Oklahoma Press; 2003.)

According to L. E. Dudley's report, "We found at the crossing 25 head of cattle and 1,000 pounds of flour sent out to us by agent Clum, which relieved the fear which had fearfully troubled me about being able to keep the Indians supplied."

San Carlos Agent, John Clum met the caravan 35 miles from San Carlos in Pinal Canyon. He recalled, "It was a dark, blustering March night, with flurries of snow. ... Campfires flickered up and down the canyon; occasional echoes sounded very much like Apache war talk. But the night passed uneventfully, and the following day we hiked to San Carlos."

When L. E. Dudley reached San Carlos, he reported, "The next thing was to select a location for those who were coming. I found the bottom-land of the Gila and the best adapted for agricultural purposes, the best of any I had seen in the Territory, and it was easy to find just the right place." ...

"The move was a difficult one to make and was successfully made; no one in Prescott thought it could be made without many of them going to the mountains."

("United States Bureau of Indian Affairs;" U. S. Government Printing Office, 1875; pages 41-43; original copy, Indian Bureau Record Group 75, National Archives.)

"INDIANS ALL ARRIVED AT SAN CARLOS --- We received the following dispatch from Col. Dudley, special Indian Commissioner, on Saturday last; TUCSON, March 27th: T. J. Butler, MINER: --- Indians all came along, --- none lost. Made a complete success. L. EDWIN DUDLEY." (Arizona Weekly Miner; Prescott, April 2, 1875; page 2, column 6.)

"THE APACHES ON THEIR RESERVATION. The Indian bureau is in receipt of information from Col. Dudley, Indian agent, to the effect that he has successfully removed the Verde Apaches, 1,500 in number, from Verde, Arizona, to the new reservation at San Carlos, in the southern part of the Territory, a distance of two hundred miles, thus consolidating the Verde and San Carlos Apaches." (National Republican; Washington, D. C.; April 8, 1875; page 4, column 6.)

Special commissioner Dudley got less than his due from his sacrifice. He was gypped out of even his expense money. In a letter he wrote to commissioner Edward P. Smith, L. E. Dudley complained, "you have refused ... to send me funds necessary to pay for the move." He stated, "I have made the move for as little money or maybe less than any similar move was made for." In a request for payment he wrote, "Myself, the Indians, employees who were with me, the military escort, the pack train all took their lives in their hands and all knew that at any time during the journey they might be in danger of losing their lives. You can sit in a nicely carpeted office and forget more in one day about this miserable place than those of us who came over it ever knew. ... I feel aggrieved that you should fail to give me the small amount on money that was necessary." ... ("Al Sieber: Chief of Scouts" by Dan L. Thrapp; 1964; Norman, University of Oklahoma Press; pages 166-169.)

"MILITARY AND INDIAN AFFAIRS: It is officially reported at the Department Headquarters, that the result of the counts made of the Verde Indians, previous and subsequent to their removal, was as follows: on leaving the Verde Reserve, 1,476; at San Carlos, April 3d, 1875, 1,361; Absent at count on San Carlos, 115. Of 115 reported absent, 25 are with the wagon train en route, a few old people died on the march, and the remainder absent and not accounted for are supposed to have gone to the Colorado reservation."

"Scouts have been ordered to traverse the trail from San Carlos to Verde and search for signs, with a view of having any stragglers who may be found, captured and sent to San Carlos."

"The Indians at San Carlos are quiet and orderly; those who had arms in their possession have turned them in, and affairs generally are working satisfactory. No Indians have left since their arrival at that place."

(Arizona Weekly Miner; Prescott; April 16, 1875; page 3, column 3.)

"Col. L. E. Dudley, special Indian Commissioner leaves ... for Chiricahua reservation. He feels pretty confident of removing the Apaches from there as easily as from the Verde. ... No advices yet of how Special Commissioner Dudley is progressing with his mission to remove the Cachise Apaches to New Mexico." (Arizona Weekly Miner; Prescott; April 16, 1875; page 2, column 4.) Col. Dudley returned to Washington, D. C. at the beginning of 1876.

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