CHAPTER XV. THE WICKENBURG MASSACRE.
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.
“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
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!!”
“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.
“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.
“‘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,
“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
“‘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
“‘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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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 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
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