CHAPTER XV. THE WICKENBURG MASSACRE.


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Stagecoach Attacked by Party of Mounted Men, Five Passengers Killed, Two Wounded—Difference of Opinion as to Whether Outrage Committed by Indians or Mexicans—Verdict of Coroner's Jury—Description of Killed and Wounded—C. B. Genung's Belief and Statement—Mike Burn's Ignorance of Occurrence.

What is known as the Loring Massacre occurred on the 5th of November, 1871. On account of the prominence of some of the victims, it was commented upon very extensively, not only in Arizona and California, but throughout the East.

The Wickenburg correspondent of the “Journal-Miner” gives the following account of the massacre, the communication being printed in that paper on November 11th, 1871:

‘‘

“At a point about nine miles from Wickenburg a party of mounted men, either Indians or Mexicans disguised after the fashion of Apache warriors, rushed down upon the stage as it was passing through a canyon, and fired a volley into the passengers, killing all but two persons, and slightly wounding these. The wounded, Mr. Kruger and Miss Sheppard, not being disabled, immediately sprang from the stage and started together towards Culling's Station, while one detachment


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of the bloodthirsty demons surrounded the stage, and the other went in pursuit of the fugitives, and kept up a desultory fire, which, being all mounted, was unsteady, so that only a slight wound was received by Miss Sheppard, and neither sustained further injury than the wounds inflicted by the first fire. The pursuit was kept up for a distance of nearly half a mile, the pursuers being kept at bay by Kruger, who still retained his revolver and fired upon them whenever they came too near, causing them to scatter and retreat, but only to rally again to the pursuit until finally they withdrew and joined their fellows. The fugitives continued on their way toward Culling's Well Station until they hailed the eastern bound mail a few miles from that station. Here they were picked up by the driver, who retraced his steps to the station, from which point information of the calamity was sent to Wickenburg via the Vulture Mine, the bearer fearing to proceed by the direct route. The dispatch reached Wickenburg about midnight, when two parties of citizens started for the scene; one of them to bring in the dead bodies, and the other, under command of George Munroe, to take the trail of the murderers. Upon reaching the stage a most horrible picture was presented to their sight. Five men, Messrs. Loring, Shoholm, Lanz, Hamel, and Salmon, who, eighteen hours previous left Wickenburg full of life and hope in the happy anticipation of soon again greeting their friends after a prolonged absence, lay side by side rigid in death and drenched in blood; the unavenged acts of a murder as dark and damnable as ever stained the


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hands of an assassin. The mystery which surrounds the identity of the murder exists in the disposition of the mail and baggage. One mail sack was cut open and its contents scattered over the ground, the other was left untouched. The baggage of the passengers was broken open, and while articles of little value were carried away, large sums of money and other valuables remained. All this would suggest the work of ignorant savages, but as neither the ammunition nor animals had been removed, some are of the opinion that the outrage was perpetrated by a band of Mexican bandits from Sonora. Mr. Kruger, who has really had the best opportunity of deciding this question, states positively that they were Indians, but at all events the next mail may bring reports which will place the guilt of this terrible crime where it properly belongs, when we hope it will not be left to the local authorities to redress the wrong or avenge an outrage against the Government and their people at large.”

’’

The passengers on this coach when leaving Wickenburg, were in high spirits, anticipating no danger whatever along the route. Their arms were stored beneath the cushions of the seats for convenience and safety. All were in high glee, anticipating soon a reunion with their friends and families. Miss Sheppard and Mr. Kruger, and three others sat on the inside of the coach. Young Loring rode on the outside in company with the driver. The first notification of danger was at a point about nine miles from Wickenburg when they were startled by the voice of the driver, calling out: “Apaches! Apaches!!”


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Scarcely was the alarm given when a volley was discharged from the rifles of the savages into the stage coach, succeeded almost instantly by a second volley. The driver and two passengers were killed outright at the first fire, and the remaining four passengers, with one exception, were wounded. ‘‘“At that time,”’’ says J. M. Barney, ‘‘“the survivors were Miss Sheppard and Messrs. Hamel, Kruger and Loring. The last named had thus far escaped uninjured. As the Indians were rushing upon the stage, after firing the first volley, Miss Sheppard and Mr. Kruger sprang to the ground at the side opposite to that from which their assailants were approaching, and escaped with their lives. Unfortunately for Messrs. Loring and Hamel, in the excitement of the moment, they lost all presence of mind and jumped from the stage at the side occupied by the Indians.’’

‘‘

“The former, being unarmed, could offer no resistance, and so endeavored to escape by flight. This effort, however, was hopeless. He soon found himself in the center of a group of savages, and there fell, pierced by two bullets and dispatched by a lance thrust in the breast. Mr. Hamel was killed at about the same instant, and those who were best acquainted with the Indian customs believed that he must have fought bravely for his life, as he was the only member of the party who was scalped—it having been customary among the savages to disfigure in such a manner only the bodies of those who fell while fighting courageously to defend their lives.

“The trailing party (under George Munroe) then returned to Wickenburg, where Captain


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Meinholdt and some soldiers were met. Some of the citizens then joined Captain Meinholdt's party, and, returning to the scene of the attack, again picked up the trail of the murderers and followed it until both citizens and soldiers became thoroughly satisfied that the authors of the deed had gone on to the Camp Date Creek Reservation.

“It was apparent to the relief party that while awaiting the approach of the stage coach, the savages had been secreted near the roadside, behind piles of grass and shrubbery, which they had collected and arranged in a manner not to attract attention, placing the bundles in an upright position to give them the appearance of clumps of shrubbery produced by the natural process of growth. These hiding places extended parallel to the road for some distance and, it was evident that, when the stage had reached a point about the middle of the ambush line, it was raked by the fire of the assassins in three directions—in front, in rear, and directly opposite the side.

“At a late hour on Monday night, the bodies of the victims were brought into Wickenburg, and, on the following day, the inquest was held, the following being a copy of the verdict rendered:

“‘We, the undersigned, summoned as a jury to hold an inquest on the bodies of the following named persons, found murdered in the stage coach, about six miles from the town of Wickenburg, on the La Pas road, on the morning of the 5th of November, 1871, from all the evidence obtained from the two surviving passengers, do find that C. S. Adams John Lanz, Fred W. Loring,


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Fred W. Shoholm, W. G. Salmon and P. M. Hamel, (found scalped), came to their death by gunshot wounds, received at the hands of Indians trailed towards the Date Creek Reservation.

“‘F. Purcella,
Julius A. Goldwater,
David Morgan,
W.W. Weber,
Aaron Barnett,
Dennis May,
Charles H. Richardson
Charles Barbour,
Mack Morris, Foreman.’

“The survivors, Kruger and Miss Sheppard, were confident that the murderers were Apache-Mohaves from the Camp Date Creek Reservation. They had on the blue pants worn by the Reservation Indians and had the gait, appearance and bearing of Apaches during the whole time they were under observation. In addition to this, Captain Meinholdt, of the 3d Cavalry, who had been detailed to find out, if possible, who they were, followed the tracks in the direction of Camp Date Creek. The footprints were round toed, after the manner of the Apaches. On the trail a reservation hunting bag was picked up, and a pack of cards, with the corners cut off, Such as were used by the Apache-Mohaves. He declared in his report to his superior that it was his firm conviction that the murderers were Camp Date Creek Apaches. Furthermore, subsequent to the committal of the murder, two of the Reservation Indians died of gunshot wounds, but whites were not permitted to see them.

“The suspicion that had at first been expressed by a few—that the crime might have been committed by Mexican bandits—furnished sufficient grounds for the starting of such a rumor. Thereupon, interested, so-called friends of the


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Indians, here and elsewhere, seized upon this flaw in some people's judgment for the purpose of making capital out of it, but a number of well-known Wickenburg citizens, who had examined and buried the bodies, as well as followed the trail of the murderers, published over their signatures a letter containing the best of proofs and reasons for asserting that Indians had committed the deed. The letter was as follows:

‘‘

“‘Wickenburg, November 12th, 1871.

“‘Editor of the ‘Miner’: In looking over the last issue of your paper, Nov. 11th, and a report giving details concerning the late tragedy which occurred near our place, we wish to correct one error—the murderers were not mounted on horses, but were all on foot, and wearing the Apache mocassins, leaving on their trail many Indian articles, (among others, bone dust used by the Indians as a medicine), which were brought in by George Munroe. As the affair is a serious one and unprecedentedly bold, our citizens, wishing to have the blame attached to none but the guilty ones, have spared no trouble or expense in thoroughly satisfying themselves as to the identity of the murderers.

“‘As soon in the morning as it became light enough to see a footprint, a party of our citizens was on the spot, and took the trail. Judging from the indications, after killing the passengers, something scared the Indians, causing them to leave in hot haste, scattering in different directions. After following up their different trails a distance of four or five miles, they all united, forming one large trail and leading toward the Date Creek Reservation. The trail


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showed them to be a large party of Indians, some forty or fifty in number. It was useless for the few citizens then on the trail to follow them farther, the Indians having some twenty hours the start.

“‘They returned to Wickenburg, where they met Captain Meinholdt, with a detachment of troops from Camp Date Creek, and orders to use all efforts to find out who the murderers were. Thereupon Mr. Munroe and Mr. Frink immediately returned with Captain Meinholdt and his command, again took up the trail, and followed it until citizens and soldiers were all thoroughly satisfied that the perpetrators of the horrible deed were Indians.

“‘We, being of the scouting party, subscribe to the above as being a true report, having been the first upon the ground after the massacre and of the last to leave the trail.

“‘W. J. Barclay,
George Munroe,
Edward Prentiss,
George Bryan,
Jose Maria Salallo.’

“The public mind, however, continued to be divided, certain interests harping upon the matter until they succeeded in schooling a portion of the Eastern public into the belief that white Arizonans had committed the crime for the sake of plundering the passengers and to make sure of the continuance of the war with the Apaches. These were, of course, base slanders and through the untiring efforts of General Crook were later disproved and the guilt fastened—beyond any reasonable doubt—upon Apache-Mohave Indians.


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“The best known and most prominent victim of this deplorable tragedy was Fred W. Loring, who was twenty-two years of age and a native of Boston, Massachusetts. He had graduated from Harvard in 1870, and immediately engaged in the business of journalism in his native city. Early in 1871 he had joined the ‘Wheeler Expedition,’ which he accompanied throughout all its rambles, finally reaching Prescott on his way home. Although a boy in years, Mr. Loring was a mature man in mind, whose name had already become familiar throughout the nation as an author and ‘contributor’ of rare merit. His untimely death created a great sensation in the East and at once the press of New York and New England wheeled into line, and concluded that ‘the Apache must be treated with less Bible, and more sword.’

“Messrs. Hamel and Salmon were likewise members of the ‘Wheeler Expedition.’ Both gentlemen were residents of San Francisco, where the latter left a wife and two small children who were dependent upon his efforts for support.

“Mr. Shoholm was on his way to his home in Philadelphia after an absence of many years, part of which time he had been a member of the firm of Jewell & Co., of Prescott.

“C. S. Adams had a wife and three small children in San Francisco and was on his way to join them when overtaken by death. For ten months preceding his departure from Prescott, he had been in charge of the flour depot of W. Bichard & Co., at that place.


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“John Lanz, the driver, who was better known as ‘Dutch John,’ came from San Bernardino, California, about four weeks before his death, and had obtained a situation as driver on the Ehrenberg-Wickenburg stage, the fatal trip being his second one over the route, and the first one from the Wickenburg end of the line.

“Miss Sheppard, who had been quite seriously wounded in the attack, was later taken to Camp Date Creek for medical attention, going from there to Southern California in company with Mr. Kruger. Not many years later Kruger reported her death in that State from the effects of the wounds she had received, which left him as the last survivor of the most atrocious killing of whites by savages in Arizona.”

’’ ’’

Miss Sheppard was a member of the demimonde, a beautiful woman who dressed in the height of extreme fashion; adventurous, as is fully demonstrated by her being in Arizona at this time, and said to be quite fascinating, whose charms found a ready market. She was kind and generous, dividing with the unfortunate, nursing the sick with motherly care; she had a warm place in the hearts of her male acquaintances.

At first, as before stated, this was supposed to have been the work of Mexicans, disguised as Indians. C. B. Genung, to the day of his death, believed that Mexicans committed this atrocity, and makes the following statement in regard to it:

‘‘

“In the fall of 1871 a man named J. M. Bryan, commonly called ‘Crete’ by his acquaintances, had the contract to haul government freight


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from Ehrenberg, on the Colorado River, to Ft. Whipple, Camps Wood, Verde, Apache, and Ft. McDowell. His business called him to different posts and he generally travelled by stage from one post to another. When there was no stage route he generally used a saddle horse or mule, of which he had several good ones. Bryan had an acquaintance with whom he generally took his meals when in Wickenburg, which was a central point for his teams. One day Donna Tomase, as the woman was called, (she was a California Spaniard. Her right name was Mrs. Bouns), called Bryan into her house, and told him not to ride in the Wickenburg and Ehrenberg stage any more. When questioned she told him that there was a plan laid to rob the stage; that she had overheard some Mexicans talking in a brush shack behind a saloon nearby where she lived, and cautioned him again about going by stage. He took the advice and did his travelling in the saddle from that on. It was not long before the woman's story was confirmed. The stage left Prescott at night on account of Indians, arriving at Wickenburg before daylight on the following morning. * * * At a point about nine miles from Wickenburg toward Ehrenberg, the road crossed a small sandwash which had scrub oak brush growing on either side. In this wash, hidden by the banks and brush, lay the Mexicans. When the stage was well into the wash, the horses were stopped and the stage riddled with bullets. * * *

“Of course this was supposed by most people to be the work of the Indians, quite a number of whom were at that time at Camp Date Creek


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about twenty-five miles northwest of Wickenburg. The Mexicans had worn moccasins and scalped Adams in order to mislead the public. At the time I was working from twenty-five to thirty of the Date Creek Indians, gathering my crop of corn, beans and potatoes on my ranch in Peeples Valley, twenty-seven miles north of Wickenburg, and I had some men among them that I knew I could trust. As soon as I heard the news I sent two Indians across to Date Creek to learn if these Indians knew anything about the matter. They returned the same day and assured me their people knew nothing about the massacre, but that it must be Tonto Apaches from the eastern country.

“In a very few days Bryan came by my place, on his way from Wickenburg to Prescott, and told me the story. Among this band of fifteen Mexicans was one who Mrs. Bouns was slightly acquainted with, and whom she called Parenta; his name being the same as her family name. She got him into her house, filled him up with wine and he told her the whole story; how these men had all stayed at a house out on the road a little west of the town the night before the massacre, and went out to the place before daybreak. The place had been picked out some days before. This young Mexican claimed that he was sick that night and did not accompany the crowd that did the work, but told of Adams shooting one of the party; that they had taken the wounded man to the Agua Caliente springs on the Gila River to get well. The officers went from Phoenix and got the fellow with the hole in his shoulder, brought him to Phoenix, and he was killed in


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the jail by a man who still lives in Phoenix. John Burger killed one of them in a corral at the lower station on the Agua Fria near where the S. F. P. & P. R. crosses that stream. The ringleader, a redheaded native of Gibraltar, named Joaquin Barbe, with another of the band, got on the warpath and run amuck in Phoenix, and Joe Fye and Milt Ward, deputy sheriffs, chased them out of town and killed both of them, and they all got what was coming to them, but one. He got wise and left the country. Bryan was very careful who he told the story to, and it was passed among the right men to attend to such matters. The scalping of Adams was all right to fool a tenderfoot, but we oldtimers knew that Apaches never scalped, although they frequently mutilated otherwise.”

’’

If this massacre had been committed by Indians, it is strange that Mike Burns knows nothing of it, because he has been collecting Indian history and Indian stories, and recording them carefully, no matter whether to the credit of his race or not, and if the Indians had been the culprits, some of the Indians, the Yavapais or Apache-Mohaves, with whom he has been associated since his early youth and manhood, would certainly have given him an account of it. On the contrary he professes to know nothing of this massacre, and never heard of any attempt to assassinate General Crook, although he says this might have happened and he never know of it; so I give all the evidence tending to show that it was committed by the Indians, and also the evidence of Mr. Genung going to show that it was committed by Mexicans. It will always remain


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a mystery as to who were really the murderers. General Crook, as we shall see, at first believed that it was committed by the Indians, and, according to Captain Bourke, spent a long time in ferreting out the perpetrators, but from the fact that a month later, or thereabouts, he employed these same Indians, whom he tried to capture or kill at Date Creek, as scouts to run down the renegade Apaches, it would seem that he might have changed his mind, although there is no record of that extant.

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