Fort Bowie – 1862 – 1894
Camp Bowie was actually established in 1862 during the Civil War near the Apache Pass station of the Butterfield Overland Mail route. Both the station and the fort were situated at this location because of the natural springs that provided water for travelers and their animals. Apache Pass is tucked between the Chiricahua Mountains and the Dos Cabezas (two heads) Mountains. This area was also part of Apacheria. Lands of the southern four corners area (SE AZ, SW NM, NW Chihuahua, and NE Sonora) were home to four different Chiricahua Indian bands.
Fort Bowie became the center of Army operations against the different bands of Chiricahua Apaches and their famous leaders, Cochise and others. Fort Bowie troops played a key role in the pursuit of Geronimo, born into the Bedonkohe band of Chiricahua Apaches, who resisted giving up his homelands and being forced onto a reservation.
In fact, the Apache Wars between Americans and Apaches from 1851 – 1886 ended in the vicinity of Fort Bowie with the surrender of Geronimo for the final time.
Fort (Camp) Lowell – 1866 – 1891
In the story, Esperanza Means Hope, Lt. McKinney, suitor of Mariá Elena, was based at Camp Lowell near Tucson. Camp Lowell was first established inside Tucson city limits. At that time, Tucson was a small, dusty town, with some interesting characters as residents – gamblers, rustlers and the like. Two problems for the commanding officer, Captain Brown: the lawlessness that prevailed in town and the poor health conditions. So, General Crook sent a party to find a new and improved location for the camp. The group picked a site 7 miles northeast of Tucson because of its availability of water, grasses for stock and its ample wood supply. Simple adobe buildings were constructed at first, but were improved upon as time passed. The camp was moved to the new location in March 1873 and renamed Fort Lowell. (The fort was named in honor of Brigadier General Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 6th U.S. Cavalry, who was killed in Virginia during the Civil War.) Despite malaria and other afflictions that were still common in the region, the fort became a desirable post for officers with families.
There were all the standard accommodations at the fort, plus a few extras, including a camp garden, a rifle range, a parade ground lined with cottonwood trees, a cemetery, picket fences and sidewalks. Eventually the fort grew to over 30 adobe and wood structures to accommodate the average number of people living there – between 130 to 240 enlisted men and officers as well as their families.
There was even an organized baseball team that played against Tucson teams and old-fashioned picnics. However, the favorite activity for the people of Tucson, was listening to the Fort Lowell Army Band; the band entertained at concerts, parades, and dances, attracting many people from town.
A famous surgeon attached to Fort Lowell from 1876 -1877, Dr. Walter Reed, later discovered the cause of yellow fever and today has a major Army hospital in the Washington D.C. area named in his honor.
The troopers stationed at Fort Lowell escorted wagon trains through the area, protected settlers, patrolled the borders, guarded depot supplies and fought against Apaches.
Fort Lowell Museum
With a visit to the Fort Lowell Museum located in Fort Lowell Park, nineteenth century frontier military life and its history can be explored by enjoying its permanent exhibits and displays. Although the fort was closed in 1891, after the conclusion of the Apache Wars, part of the original Army post remains. For example, the original hospital ruins are protected for viewing purposes. The original Officer’s Quarters and their kitchens have been reconstructed circa 1885. The museum was opened in 1963; a large bronze statue sits on the grounds.
Camp (Fort) Grant – 1860 – 1905
On page 163 of Esperanza Means Hope, Carlos mentions the Camp Grant Massacre of Apaches while under the protection of 1st Lt. Royal Whitman, commander of Camp Grant. While many in Arizona, believed the killing of the 144 mostly sleeping women and children by 92 O’odham Indians, 48 Mexicans and 6 Americans near the Aravaipa Creek was justified, people back East and the President were horrified. President Grant ordered Governor Safford to bring the responsible men to trial. The five-day trial ended in a “not-guilty” judgment by the jurors. Several of Tucson’s leading civic and business leaders were involved in the planning and execution of the massacre. In 1996, a coalition of Tucson clergy and others, apologized to San Carlos Apaches for the massacre.
* On your own, research more information about the massacre.
Camp Grant Massacre Reconciliation Coalition
The following is from Rick Leis, President, Coalition of Prayer Network International.
On October 5, 1996, approximately 80 people traveled from Tucson to the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Their purpose was to apologize to the San Carlos people for the Camp Grant Massacre. It took four years to set up the meeting. We met at the San Carlos Historical Museum. About 130 were present, including Chairman Stanley, Dale Miles (Tribal Historian), and David Miles from the San Carlos tribe. There were many tribal elders from the San Carlos, White River Apache, Navaho, Hopi and Desert Cahuilla (Chawilla) tribes.
People representing the groups, and families that were responsible for the massacre stood before the gathering, took responsibility for the slaughter and begged forgiveness. At the conclusion of the confessions and request for forgiveness, I addressed the gathering with the following Proclamation.
Representative Reconciliation Proclamation To the San Carlos Apache People
October 5, 1996
On April 30, 1871, a group of vigilantes out of Tucson treacherously attacked the peaceful, sleeping, Apache Camp. It is reported that of the 144 killed, most were defenseless women and children. Only eight were adult males. Eastern newspapers named this tragedy the “Camp Grant Massacre.” The nation was outraged, but only for a short time. One year later in Tucson, an unsympathetic court acquitted the perpetrators. The citizens of Arizona stood quiet. The lost and their families still suffer the injustice.
As citizens of Tucson, Arizona, on this day of October 5, 1996, we humbly take “Representative Responsibility” for these unthinkable acts, and beg your forgiveness for them as if they were our own.
We honor the San Carlos Apache people and vow to stand with you as brothers and sisters in times of adversity and peace.
We declare this to be the first day of the year of Jubilee and profess our intent to establish growing relationships with you. We pledge to learn to stand by your side as servants, helpers and friends.
We are determined to help raise a memorial as a remembrance to remind us to stand together as brothers and sisters regardless of what the future may hold.
We sign as representatives of Tucson and Arizona:
- Rick Leis – President, Coalition of Prayer Network International
- Pastor Gabriel Ward – Desert Cahuilla
- Morris Chapman – Song writer, and psalmist
- Pastor Gil Garcia
- Pastor Kenneth Ballenger
- Pastor James Keen
- Pastor Warren Anderson Jr.
- Steven L. Dowdle
- Brad Rollins
- Hal J. Jensen
At the conclusion of the reading of the proclamation and presentation to Chairman Stanley and the Museum, Chairman Stanley responded, “As the elected Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, I grant Tucson forgiveness for the Camp Grant Massacre.” He then said, “I also beg your forgiveness for the many ways in which we violated you.”
David Miles stood before us and said in the midst of tears, “Now, I can look a white man in the eyes. . .” Dale Miles made a few similar comments and received the proclamation on behalf of the museum. We concluded the ceremony by providing a traditional Apache meal.
We have raised $600 for a bronze marker to be presented to the Tribal Chairman on April 30, 1998. It will be a copy of the proclamation. Currently we are negotiating with an artist to produce the marker.
Following that ceremony, many of us then proceeded to the actual site.