VERDE HERITAGE 1874: Rio Verde Indian Reservation Report | The Independent Green


“This is a temporary camp at the Rio Verde agency; located two and a half miles west of the Rio Verde and sixteen miles north of Camp Verde. It is situated on a small stream which comes out of the rocks about a hundred and fifty yards west of the camp, and is the continuation of a stream which descends from the mountains, enters a canyon about two and a half miles west of this place, crosses the limestone and again makes its appearance near the camp. the water has lime in solution, and is warmer at its point of issue than it is below, and received from the Indians the name of Hok-e-roo-ya , (Hot water). [Haskell Spring near the college.] All water for the use of the post is drawn from this creek.”

“From the beginning of the year 1874 fifteen to thirty men of Company K, Fifth Cavalry, and thirty to one hundred and twenty Indian scouts, under Second Lieutenant WS Schuyler, Fifth Cavalry, have been stationed here. At this time (December 31, 1874) there are eighteen soldiers and forty scouts at the post. The soldiers have sometimes been changed, but the detail has always been from Company K.”

“Until June 2 last, the camp was near the Rio Verde, and the men suffered badly from intermittent fever. The Indian agency being there, the troops could not leave, and the agent could not be persuaded to move Lt. Schuyler took charge of the agency and immediately left the bottom of the river for the present location at the foot of the mountains, 300 feet above the river.”

“There are about fifteen hundred Indians on the reservation, consisting of Apache, Yumas, and Apache-Mojaves — two tribes, speaking two different languages. These Indians are under three chief chiefs and are divided into fourteen bands , under petty chiefs. The scouts are chosen from among the Indians, and enlisted for six months. For a time they lived in shelter-tents, and camped two hundred yards behind the soldiers, but they now live with their people in bush shelters of their own.

“Until December the men lived in old A-tents or shelter-tents, but at that time they completed an adobe house, in which they now live together. about one hundred and twenty-five feet north of There are several acres of calcareous deposit of this creek, overlaid with a foot or two of clay soil, and over it, where there is a fall of one foot in fifteen , neighborhoods are built.

“The barrack faces east, measures 39 1/2 by 21 1/2 feet, with walls 6 feet high and 18 inches thick; has a canvas roof and dirt floor, and has a door and two small windows in each of the walls, front and back. The doors and windows are canvas. There is a large fireplace at the south end, which heats the room and makes it quite comfortable. The men sleep on single, coarse wooden beds with grass-filled ticks, and plenty of blankets.The beds are arranged around the bedroom with the headboards towards the walls.

“To the north of this eighteen foot house is a 23 foot by 16 1/2 foot adobe kitchen and dining room, with walls 8 inches thick. It is also covered in canvas and contains a stove and cooking utensils, a table, benches, etc. Outside, at the north end, is an oven in which the bread is baked.

“The officers’ quarters consist of framed and floored hospital tents, and fitted with chimneys and adobe chimneys.”

“The guardhouse is a wall tent. The place of confinement of the Indian prisoners is a hole sixteen feet square, dug into the side of a steep hill. A stone wall ten feet high is built on each side, and it is covered with an earthen roof.Although not to be recommended, it is warm, well-ventilated and secure, and is the best that can be made for temporary use.

“As there is no hospital accommodation here, it is a temporary camp, men sick enough to go to hospital are usually sent to Camp Verde. A wall tent is used as a dispensary.”

“There are no stables for the horses; they are kept a hundred feet deep in the quarters. Farther still is the sink; a new one is dug every two months. The Indian prisoners constantly clean; the Garbage is burned, so the camp is kept very clean.”

“There is heavy cedar growth on the hills all around, and that is the wood supplied by the contractors for fuel.”

“The duties here are light, but in the mountains a great deal of scouting is done on foot; rations for three or four days must be carried, in addition to a blanket, rifle and cartridges, and the duties are very strenuous. You have to climb mountains and cross deep rocky canyons in the hot sun or through the snow, in order to find hostile Indians. The thin air often adds a lot to the fatigue, causing heart palpitations and exhaustion.

According to the “Consolidated Sickness Report, Rio Verde Indian Reservation, 1873-1874”, the “average strength” of soldiers included 1 officer and 21 enlisted men. The number of cases of “intermittent fever [malaria] was 26 years old.

(“A Report on the Hygiene of the United States Army with Description of Military Posts”; Circular No. 8; War Department, Surgeon-General’s Office; Washington, May 1, 1875; Washington, Government Printing Office, 1875.)

Because Native Americans were declared “peaceful”, the War Department no longer had control of the reservation or its inhabitants. The Home Office took control through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

1875: “Annual Report of the Commission of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior”

According to Levi E. Dudley, Special Commissioner of Indian Affairs, “General Crook assured me that neither he nor his officers would stand in the way of the expulsion, and that he would give me all the help in his power EXCEPT TO FORCE THEM TO MOVE BY MILITARY FORCE; and when the transfer was decided upon, General Crook granted me all the facilities of transport at his disposal. … Of course, the Indians were opposed to going there, but when they were told that it was the order of the President, that the move was for the purpose of placing them in a healthier and better country, that the move was to be peaceful, and that they were not to be driven out by troops, their consent was obtained.

“The number of agencies through which the Apaches are supported by the government was reduced during the year from 8 to 6 by the consolidation of the Verde with the White Mountain agencies with the San Carlos, and the withdrawal of the Indians who belong there to the San Carlos reservation… 1,400 from Verde arrived last March.” …

(US Indian Bureau; US Government Printing Office, 1875; pages 41-42; and Verde Independent; February 23, 2013.)

Nohemi M. Moore