The Apache Kid - Outlaw Legend of the
Said to have been the fiercest
Geronimo, as well as a notorious
outlaw of the late 19th century, was the Apache Kid.
Born in the 1860’s on the
San Carlos Reservation in
was most likely of the White Mountain Apache.
Named Haskay-bay-nay-natyl, "the tall man destined to come to a mysterious
end," the pronunciation was too much for the citizens of Globe, who simply
called him "Kid." Learning English at an early age, he worked at odd jobs in Globe and was
soon befriended by the famous scout, Al Sieber.
At that time, early settlers of the Southwest
faced numerous raiding bands of Apache and
General George Crook had come up with the idea to use Apache to
fight other Apache. Enlisting Apache
from San Carlos and other reservations, the enlisted scouts could locate
the trails that the hunted Apache
In 1881, the Kid
enlisted in the Indian Scouts and was so good at the job that he was promoted to
sergeant in July, 1882. The following year he accompanied
General George Crook on the expedition of the Sierra Madre.
The Geronimo Campaign of
1885-1886 found the Kid in
Mexico early in 1885 with Sieber, and when the Chief of Scouts was
recalled in the fall, Kid
rode with him back to San Carlos. He re-enlisted with Lieutenant
Crawford's call for one hundred scouts for Mexican duty, and again
went south in late 1885. In the Mexican town of Huasabas, on the
Bavispe River, the Kid
nearly lost his life in a drunken riot in which he had been a
participant. Rather than see the Apache Kid
shot by a Mexican firing squad, the judge fined him twenty dollars,
and the Army sent him back to San Carlos.
Apache Kid. This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
In May, 1887 the Apache Kid
was left in charge of the Indian Scouts and guardhouse at San Carlos when Captain Pierce and
Al Sieber, an anglo scout, were both gone on business. Though the
brewing of tiswin, a beverage made of fermented fruit or corn,
was illegal on the reservation, with the white officers gone, the
Indian Scouts decided to have a party. As the liquor flowed freely, a man named Gon-Zizzie killed the Apache Kid's father, Togo-de-Chuz. Kid's
friends, in turn, killed Gon-Zizzie. However, the killing of Gon-Zizzie was not enough for the Apache Kid,
who then went to the home of Gon-Zizzie’s brother, Rip, and killed
When the Apache Kid
and the four other scouts returned to San Carlos on June 1, 1857, both
Captain Pierce and Al Sieber were there ahead of him. Captain Pierce
ordered the scouts to disarm themselves and the Kid was
the first to comply. As Pierce ordered them to the guardhouse to be locked
up, a shot was fired from the crowd who had gathered to watch the display
of events. In no time, the shots became widespread and Al Seiber was
hit in the ankle, which ended up crippling him for life. During the
melee that followed, the Apache Kid
and several other Apache fled. Though it was never determined who fired that shot that
struck Sieber, it was for sure not the
the other four scouts ordered to the guardhouse as they had all been
The Army, reacting
swiftly, soon sent two troops of the Fourth Cavalry to find the Apache Kid
and the others who had escaped. For two weeks the cavalry followed
the fugitives along the banks of the San Carlos River, when finally, with
the aid of more Indian
Scouts, they located the Kid and
his band in the Rincon Mountains.
The soldiers seized upon
horses and equipment while the Indians
fled by foot into the rocky canyons. In negotiations with the
relayed a message to General Miles stating that if the Army would recall
the cavalry he and his band would surrender. When Miles complied, the Apache Kid
and seven members of his band surrendered on June 25th.
The Kid and four others
were court-martialed and found guilty of mutiny and desertion and
sentenced to death by firing squad. However, General Miles was upset over
the verdict and ordered the court to reconsider the sentence. When the
court reconvened on August 3, they were re-sentenced to life in prison. Miles was still not satisfied
and reduced the sentence to ten years. Beginning their sentence in the San
Carlos guardhouse, they were later sent to
However, their conviction
was soon overturned on October 13, 1888, due to prejudice among the
officers of the court-martial trial, and the Indians
were returned to San Carlos as free men. Causing an outrage among
the citizens of the area, a new warrant was issued in October, 1889 in
Gila County for the re-arrest of the freed Apache for
assault to commit murder in the wounding of Al Sieber.
At the trial on October
25, 1889, four Apache including the Apache Kid
were found guilty and sentenced to seven years in the Territorial Prison
at Yuma. While being transported to the prison the Apache Kid,
along with several others escaped. During the fighting that took place
during the escape, the three guards, Glenn Reynolds, Eugene
Middleton and W. A. Holmes, were overpowered. Glen Reynolds was
killed, Middleton was wounded and Holmes apparently died of a heart
attack. Middleton later recovered, saying the Kid had
prevented another of the
"finishing" him by bashing his head with a rock.
The Kid and
the others fled, their tracks obliterated by a snowstorm. It would be the
last "official" sighting of Apache Kid,
though unconfirmed reports of his whereabouts would continue to filter in
the next few years the Apache Kid
was accused of various crimes and said to have led a small band of
followers, raiding ranches and freight lines throughout
Northern Mexico as he hid out in the Mexican Sierra Madre Mountains.
Others insist that he became a lone wolf who was despised by his own
people and was terribly feared by the Anglo settlers. Some accounts have
the Apache Kid
kidnapping an Apache woman until he tired of her, then killing her, before
kidnapping yet another. Reportedly, the Kid
preyed on lone ranchers,
cowboys, and prospectors, killing them for their food, guns, and horses.
Before long, a price of $5,000
was placed on his head by the Arizona
Territorial Legislature, dead or alive, but no one ever claimed the
It is impossible to
determine how many of the crimes he is blamed for that he actually
During an 1890 shootout
between Sonoran Rurales (a branch of the army) and Apache, a
slain warrior was found to have Reynolds' pistol and watch, but he was too
old to have been the Kid.
After 1894, reports of his crimes came to an end. Some sources claimed he
died at this time while others argue that he crossed into Mexico and
retired to his mountain hideout.
In 1899, Colonel Emilio Kosterlitzky, head
of the Rurales, reported him alive and living with other Apache in
the Sierra Madre. In the interim, there were several unconfirmed reports
of his death - by gunshot or by tuberculosis. However, southern Arizona
ranchers continued to report Apache stock
raids into the 1920s.
There are so many
different variations of the crimes committed by the
all with the purpose of exacting revenge for the treacherous way in which
scouts had been treated by the army, that even historians cannot agree on
exactly what he was responsible for, nor when he died.
Seemingly, his namesake "the tall man destined
to come to a mysterious end" was a prophecy.
questions are many regarding the death of the Apache Kid, a gravesite memorial
can be found high in the San Mateo Mountains of the Cibola National Forest
in New Mexico. Here is yet another place that the Apache Kid was said to have been
killed, after having been hunted down by local ranchers angered by his
relentless raids. Reportedly, to mark the site of the
undoing, the vengeful posse blazed a tree, the hacked remains of which you
can see to this day. The grave is one mile northwest of
Peak at Cyclone Saddle.
Kathy Weiser/Legends of
America, updated April, 2017.
The Apache Kid
as a prisoner in Globe, Arizona in
1889, courtesy Arizona Historical Society.
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