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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogsold : verde heritage September 26, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Verde Heritage

"On this reservation are about fifteen hundred Tontos and Apaches. These Indians have been turbulent and unsettled for two years or thereabouts. They are now more quiet. We have thought it would be best to remove them to the White Mountain resevation. A settlement has sprung up near the agency and the settlers who make their living from business with the reserve object to the removal of the Indians; but out duty is to care for the Indians. ... Respectfully submitted by Board of Foreign Missions, Reformed Church of America; January 13, 1875; Alex K. Thompson, Delegate." ("Annual Report of the Board of Indian Commissioners, Volume 6;" by United States Board of Indian Commissioners; 'Rio Verde Reservation --- Oliver Chapman, Agent;' page 107.) Also, "In conclusion, the board feel called on to cast the attention of the commission to the disturbing element of military force on the reservations," however, no problems of this type were mentioned in the report about the Rio Verde.

Dr. Corbusier brought his wife, 2 young sons and others to the Verde Valley from the nearest train station at Las Animas, Colorado. Coming down the mountain into the valley, they crossed the Verde River, turned upstream, traveling about 8 miles along the river, then turned to the left and went up about 2 miles to the foot of the Black Mountain. They arrived at the Indian Agency, which was situated near a spring on the south side of a stream, on October 10, 1874."

"The doctor wrote, "At the Agency we lived in two tents, the largest of which was stretched over a frame and had a floor." His wife, Fanny Dunham Corbusier, wrote, "Our quarters at the Agency consisted of a hospital tent in front, framed and floored and provided with a board door and a large fireplace and chimney, a smaller tent in back, and connecting was surrounded by a bulletproof adobe wall to protect the children and me. ... We were very comfortable." As winter came, they enjoyed the bright fire in the adobe fireplace. Nearby was a large tent which was used as a dining room. "The man we brought with us from Las Animas cooked for us. ... The meals were good, as we had fine fresh beef and procured canned goods from the commissary at Camp Verde." "General Crook was very fond of hunting and frequently came to the Agency to hunt ducks on Peck's Lake. ... We had wild ducks and other game when he stayed with us."

"The Indian Department sent special commissioner L. E. Dudley to move the Indians to the San Carlos Reservation. Dr. Corbusier and others recommended that the Indians should be taken on the wagon road, but they were ignored. Mr. Dudley tried to convince the Indians that the change would be for their own good. "When the day came for them to start, they gathered what belongings they could carry. The very young children, old people, and sick were put into their cone-shaped baskets to be carried on the backs of the strong ones. One old man carried his old sick wife on his back in one of these baskets. They moved along slowly in a long, silent, sad procession. When they reached Camp Verde, 16 miles down the Verde River," Dr. Corbusier "had not yet come up and they refused to go on unless he went with them. After he had joined them, they went on, but sullenly."

Mrs. Corbusier had also been busy getting everything packed for the move. "The children and I stayed at Camp Verde, where quarters were assigned." After Dr. Corbusier returned from San Carlos, the family lived there until May 2, 1875, when the troops of the 5th Cavalry moved eastward.

(See: "FANNY DUNBAR CORBUSIER, Recollections of Her Army Life, 1867-1908;" Edited by Patricia Y. Stallard; and "SOLDIER, SURGEON, SCHOLLAR: The Memoirs of William Henry Corbusier, 1844-1930;" Edited by Robert Wooster; both: Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 2003; also, "VERDE TO SAN CARLOS" by William T. Corbusier; published by Dale Stuart King, 1969.)

L. E. Dudley, special commissioner, wrote, "After seeing the Indians fairly en route, under the care of Agent Chapman, under the escort of 15 cavalry, I proceeded to carry out the remainder of my orders and took a saddle-horse and one man, and overtook them the second afternoon." (Annual Report of the Commission of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior; Apaches; United States Bureau of Indian Affairs; 1875; pages 41-43.)

"Col. Dudley, the Special Commissioner, called upon us yesterday and assured us that he was succeeding finely and there is but little dissatisfaction among them except the squaws, some of whom consider themselves overloaded. They have conferred the title of 'Come along' on the Col. in consequence of his urging them by his expression to travel faster." (Arizona Weekly Miner; Prescott; March 5, 1875; page 2, column 1.)

"P. B. Brennan, trader at the Verde reservation, has gone to San Carlos." (Arizona Weekly Miner; Prescott; March 5, 1875; page 3, column 2.)

Dr. William Corbusier, who shared the difficulties of the journey with his Indian friends, and who tried to ease their suffering, wrote, "One old man placed his aged and decrepit wife in a burden basket, with her feet hanging out, and carried her on his back, almost all the way. He refused help, except at stream crossings, where he allowed a trooper to take her across on his horse. Over the roughest country, through thick brush and rocks, day after day, he struggled along with his precious burden ... uncomplaining." A bronze sculpture depicting this elderly couple has been designed by Doug Hyde of Prescott.

"A bronze monument to commemorate the courage, persistence, and survival of the Yavapai and Apache people" is planned by the Yavapai-Apache Nation. It is important to "remember the courage and resiliance of the people who returned to their homelands and built new lives for themselves and their children." For more information or to become a sponsor, telephone (928) 649-6961 or 649-6963 or e-mail jpiner@yan-tribe.org

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