Fort Grant - Apaches to
Fort Grant (1872-1905) -
Prior to the closure of old Fort Grant
a site was chosen for the new fort by
General George Crook. The "new" site was at a higher
and was a more strategic
situated at the foot of the
southwestern slope of Mount Graham in what is now Graham
County in southeast
Arizona. Founded along a route that was often
fleeing to Mexico from the San Carlos Reservation, the fort’s
purpose was stop the marauding bands of Apache Indians
in western New Mexico and southeast Arizona.
January, 1873, eleven companies of cavalry and infantry were
transferred to Fort Grant, under the command of Major Brown. The troops immediately began to establish additional buildings
including officers’ quarters and a commissary building, as
well as constructing a wagon road up the side of Mount Graham.
From the beginning, the
were tasked with intercepting
escaping from the San Carlos Reservation and
pursuing raiding parties along the international boundary.
troops played a prominent role in the Apache
Wars of the 1880s.
Cibecue on August 30, 1881, three White Mountain scouts by
the names of Dead Shot, Dandy Jim and Skitashe, were court-martialed for their part in the mutiny. The three scouts were
hanged on a specially constructed gallows on the parade ground
on March 3, 1882 as scores of civilians from the surrounding
countryside looked on. The Cibecue affair touched off a general outbreak that saw
Chiricahua and Warm Springs
Apache such as Naiche, Juh, and Geronimo bolt the reservation and plunge
Arizona , New Mexico, and northern Mexico into years of turmoil.
The campaign against the Apaches would continue until it
surrender in August
Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry were stationed at Fort Grant who
often participated in civil duties, such as chasing train
robbers and other outlaws. One high profile case was the
Paymaster Robbery which occurred on May 11,
1889. After US Army Paymaster Major Joseph W. Wham, had paid
the salaries of the
soldiers at Fort Grant, he along with an
escort of eleven
Buffalo Soldiers, were making their way to Fort
Thomas, when they were ambushed 18 miles from their
destination. The soldiers soon found themselves in a lengthy
gun battle with the robbers, which resulted in eight of them
being wounded. The bandits, in the meantime, made off with
$28,000 in gold and silver coins.
10th Cavalry, at Fort Grant, Arizona, 1885.
The troops were withdrawn from
Fort Grant in 1898, and the site was empty, but for a
caretaker by the name of Colonel William F. Stewart in the
Artillery Corps. However, two years later, in 1900, the post
became a staging point for numerous soldiers on their way to
the Philippines to fight in the Spanish-American War.
In October, 1905, Captain Jenkins
marched Troop D across the parade grounds of Fort Grant for
the last time. The soldiers were then transferred to Fort
Huachuca and the post was once again abandoned except for a
Arizona became a
state on February 14, 1912, the government turned over the site to the
Arizona for use the
Arizona State Industrial School for wayward boys and girls. The school
quickly began to modernize the buildings for new purposes.
In 1968, the school officially became part
Arizona State Department of Corrections and in 1973, became an
adult male prison. In 1997 the prison became a unit of an Arizona State
Prison complex headquartered in Safford,
Over the years, extensive construction
programs have destroyed many of the historic buildings, but several of the
original adobe officers’ quarters are still utilized today. The prison is
located on Arizona State Road 266 about 36 miles southwest of Safford,
of America, updated May, 2017.
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