Crime of ’73

Prior to 1873, in addition to silver and gold coins, those two metals backed paper money printed by the government. A person could actually exchange a dollar bill for a dollar’s worth of silver or gold. But in 1873, following the lead of many European countries, Congress passed a law for the United States to stop producing silver coins, or using silver to back paper money. When this happened a financial panic took place. Obviously the bottom fell out of the silver market. A man who was a wealthy owner of a silver mine one day, found himself the owner of a worthless hole in the ground the next day. In addition… farmers or anyone who carried a heavy debt load felt this bill made for a tighter supply of money, and therefore harder to pay off their debt. Congress’ bill became known as the “Crime of ’73.” 
               
With the United States going through widespread financial difficulties, it was mystically thought that going back to both silver and gold would solve all problems. The leader of the fight to go back to silver again was Congressman Richard Bland, an ex-miner and farmer. He was so tireless in his efforts that he received the nickname “Silver Dick.”
 
Finally, five years after the Crime of ’73, on February 16, 1878, the Bland-Allison Act was passed. Although it didn’t return the usage of silver to the level prior to 1873, it did require the government to resume purchasing and minting silver money.
 
Unfortunately, those who found it difficult to pay off their debt prior to the Bland-Allison Act found it just as difficult afterward. 
Crime of '73

Chief Geronimo and His Braves

Chief GeronimoSeptember 2, 1894, Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona – A dispatch sent out from Chicago is that old Geronimo and his band of Apache savages, who have been prisoners at Mount Vernon barracks, Alabama for a long time, are to be removed to Fort Sill, O. T.  Secretary Fairmont has ordered their return to the west, and Captain Marion T. Maus, one of the officers on duty at General Miles’ headquarters in Chicago, has gone, it is said, to Alabama to personally direct the transfer.  The Indians, to the number of nearly 300, will be taken to Fort Sill, and after a period of surveillance there, will be returned to their old reservation in the mountains of eastern Arizona.

The Indians, after their capture in March, 1886, by regular troops under General George Crook, escaped and were subsequently retaken by General miles, who had relieved Crook.  The cut throats, after their capture, were taken as prisoners of war to Florida.

They were confined there for sometime, but owing to the injurious effects of the climate upon the Indians they were removed to Mount Vernon barracks, about twenty-five miles from Mobile.  Here the climate was no better, and many of the Indians died from consumption and other pulmonary diseases.  They had been used to the dry air of the plains and the humidity and warmth brought on illness.  From 500 or 690 the band has been reduced to less than 300, and their removal is now made in the interests of humanity.

General Crook before his death made strenuous efforts to bring about the removal of these Indians to their new home, and he argues that long imprisonment and suffering had broken them in spirit and taken out of them all desire to renew their former savagery Four years ago a movement looking to their transfer was inaugurated, but the moment it became known the people of Arizona and New Mexico sent a delegation of citizens here to protest.  The attempt was then abandoned, and it was not renewed until lately.

The matter was called up in congress a few months ago and a provision was inserted in the Indian appropriation bill setting apart a sufficient sum for removal of these Indians to “one of the territories.”  No place was specified and the provision was passed, in spit of Delegates Smith of Arizona, Joseph of New Mexico and Flynn of Oklahoma.

It is in accordance with the provision of the recently approved Indian appropriation bill that Captain Maus, order direction of the war department, will now conduct the Indians from the scene of their long imprisonment.  They will be taken to Fort Sill, which is near the center of the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache reservation in the southern part of Oklahoma Territory.  It is probable that the citizens of Oklahoma will protest, but as Fort Sill is pretty well garrisoned their need be no fear of an Indian outbreak, even with Geronimo’s band quartered there.  Some time this fall it is expected that the band will be returned to Arizona.

So far no action whatever has been taken by the people of Arizona with reference to the removal of Geronimo and his band to Fort Sill.  It is not likely that any protest will be made, that being the opinion of the oldest citizens interviewed on the subject that little is to be feared from the return of the band after so long an absence in the south.  None of theses oldtimers hesitated in saying that they do not apprehend that these Indians would make any attempt to reach their old haunts from Fort Sill.  Geronimo is an old man now and the time is not far distant when he will go to join on the happy hunting grounds the braves gone before him.  His hair is turning gray, his shoulders are stooped and his step far from being as firm as in the days he and his followers roamed over Arizona striking terror to the hearts of the settlers.  Then, again, it is said he has undergone a change of heart, the old renegade of late years having acted as superintendent of a Sunday school at the old historical Alabama fort.  But an Apache is an Apache; he’s not a good Indian till he’s dead.

History Of The Santa Fe Trail – Pt 1

History of the Santa Fe TrailA party of young men, Hugh Stephenson, Lewis Dutton, Lucas Doane, Joshua Sledd, James Kirker, Robert McNight, Henry Corlew and Esteven Chushie, who in 1830, “made the Santa Fe trail and marked the route followed by thousands in after years.”  That they marked the route is contradicted by Gregg’s Commerce of the Plains, as also by Niles Register.  Fifteen thousand dollars worth of merchandise from St. Louis, Missouri, was delivered in Santa Fe in 1822, and the traffic had increased to $120,000 in 1830, the year in which the Las Cruces Republican claims Hugh Stephenson and others made the trail. All of this marks the history of the Santa Fe Trail.

Freight was carried by pack animals until 1824, when wagons were introduced as an experiment, and making the trip without difficulty, were used exclusively after 1825.  In January of that year, through the influence of Col. Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri, a bill was passed by congress authorizing the marking out a road.  Thirty thousand dollars was appropriated for that purpose and that of obtaining the Indians’ consent to the road and its unmolested use.  The U. S. Commissioners appointed to conduct the survey were Benjamin Reeves, George C. Sibley and Thomas Maher; and Joseph C. Brown as surveyor.

In 1825 a party left Santa Fe in June and in Franklin, Missouri, in August, with 500 mules and horses, and “the Santa Fe trade” continued to grow without intermission until the present time.  But not without interruption from the Indians, which caused the committee on military affairs to report to congress, in 1828, in favor of a movable escort rather than a fixed garrison.  The recommendation was given effect in 1829, and Major Riley, with four companies of the 6th infantry, from Fort Leavenworth, were detailed as the escort.  Protection was not continued the following year; never­theless, there was an increase in traffic of just 100 per cent over the preceding year.

In 1821 the Santa Fe trade may be said to have become a business proposition.  Captain Glenn, Mr. Bicknell and Stephen Cooper were the pioneers of that commercial enterprise, although small parties of trappers and traders had previously visited Santa Fe.  In 1815 Auguste P. Choteau and Julius de Mun formed a partnership and went with a large party Upper Arkansas to hunt, trap and trade with the Indians. The following year they visited Taos and Santa Fe, and were well received by Governor Mainez.  But there was a change of policy the following year on the part of Mexican government, perhaps for the reason that the “gringos” were becoming too numerous, monopolizing the fur trade, killing the buffaloes for their skins, and making merchandise of buffalo tongues, a luxury in the states, even then in the frontier village of St. Louis they commanded a dollar each.

Old West TV – The Great Camel Experiment

The Great Camel ExperimentDakota Livesay talks about the Great Camel Experiment, when Secretary of War Jefferson Davis asked Congress to fund an experimental herd of camels in the 1855! “My admiration for the camels increases daily with my experience of them. The harder the test they are put to the more fully they seem to justify all that can be said of them,” Edward Fitzgerald Beale wrote in his journal on September 21, 1857. But all did not turn out exactly like Lt. Beale hoped.

Sierra Mountains Telegraph Line

 For development to take place there has to be men of vision.  Men of vision developed the pony express to deliver mail to the western frontier faster than stagecoach.  Unfortunately for the pony express, at the same time other men of vision were developing a faster way to connect the east with the west.
One such man was Fred A. Bee. Fred lived in Virginia City, Nevada. On July 4, 1858 he and four partners started the Placerville, Humboldt and Salt Lake Telegraph Company. Carson Valley residents had passed a bond referendum for $1,200 toward the project, and so they started immediately. By fall of that year the telegraph had connected Placerville, California with Nevada. Six months later it arrived in Carson City, and finally it stretched all the way across Nevada.
 
In the process of doing this, they had to cross over the rugged Sierra Mountains. Less than ten years later the Central Pacific Railroad would spend about 20 million dollars crossing those same mountains. The ground was granite. The winds were strong, and the snow deep.
With limited funds and manpower Fred Bee decided that rather than blast holes in the granite for telegraph poles, they would string the wire on the pine trees that had been able attach themselves to the granite and withstand the winds and snow. So, the telegraph wire was strung from treetop to treetop with some spans of wire being quite long. This led people to nickname the Placerville, Humboldt and Salt Lake Telegraph Company, “Bee’s Grapevine Line.” But when it was completed, even the skeptics used it with pride.
 
Two years later Congress authorized constructing the Overland Telegraph Company, and Fred A. Bee’s Grapevine Line became a major link in the completion of the transcontinental telegraph.
 
 
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