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Ft. Bowie, Arizona


azyeoman
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Hiked to Ft. Bowie, AZ in the snow this weekend and was surpised to see the following graves not 30 paces from each other.

Orisoba O. Spence was a thirty-three year old native of Tionesta, Pennsylvania. Spence joined the army in 1868 and was assigned to Company G, 8th Cavalry which was eventually stationed at Fort Bowie. Spence received the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action in a fight against Cochise's band of Apaches on October 20, 1869. He was discharged at Fort Selden, New Mexico, as a sergeant in 1873. After his discharge he stayed in southern New Mexico and married in 1874. Spence's wife resided in Grant County, New Mexico, even after he began working for Nicholas Rogers as a cook. On April 1, 1876, a horse and mule were stolen from the station. Spence went after the thieves, recovering the animals after a shoot-out, then hurried on to the station.

While Spence was gone, Rogers had once again sold whiskey to some Apaches. On April 7, the Apaches came back for more shortly after Spence's return. Both Rogers and Spence were killed after Rogers refused to sell them more. Although initially buried at the station by an investigating patrol, the bodies were later brought into Fort Bowie for burial in the post cemetery.

Little Robe was part of a group of Apache prisoners captured near Nacori, Mexico, on August 7, 1885. They were brought to Fort Bowie on September 1. In this group of seven women and eight children were two of Geronimo's wives, Zi-yeh and She-gha and two of his sons, Little Robe and Fenton. During this time, soldiers around the guardhouse became attached to Little Robe and so when he died on September 10, 1885, probably of dysentery, they buried him in the post cemetery.

Traditionally, Apaches buried their dead by sealing them in small caves or crevices or by placing them in natural depressions. The bodies were placed with the head toward sundown. Burials were concealed by covering them to blend with the environment. Their locations were usually not revealed.

For more information on other graves visit:

http://www.nps.gov/fobo/historyculture/cemetery-graves.htm

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There's a small museum and gift shop with an interesting selection of books on the Indian Wars in Arizona. This is well worth the time and effort to go there the back way. I wouldn't suggest going that way during the summer months though unless you wear a lot of sunscreen and take along a lot of water.

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Aren't Roarke's Drift and Isandlewhana something like this? I would hope so, but then the prevailing winds might not see those as worth saving. There used to be a 19th century post on a reservation near hear that was in better condition than Ft. Bowie and it was razed to the ground and covered with baseball fields. I understand the angst, but the reservation could have made a lot of money off of Anglo tourists. They are anyway now as there is a casino less than three miles away and it's raking in the money.

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High profile battlefields such as Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana are preserved and there is a small 'battlefield tourism' industry in South Africa, mainly for visitors from Britain. The situation is very different for less famous battlefield sites and memorials, and neglect and vandalism are common. The future of anything to do with the Colonial era is bleak.

Regards

Brett

Edited by Brett Hendey
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High profile battlefields such as Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana are preserved and there is a small 'battlefield tourism' industry in South Africa, mainly for visitors from Britain. The situation is very different for less famous battlefield sites and memorials, and neglect and vandalism are common. The future of anything to do with the Colonial era is bleak.

Regards

Brett

I'm sorry to hear that. I will try to post photos of other lesser known sites in AZ over the coming months. There are quite a few sites to see: e.g., Ft. Whipple in Prescott, Ft. Lowell in Tucson, Ft. Apache and Camp Verde. They all have original buildings and there are decent museums at Lowell and Verde. Whipple is still a VA Hospital!!! I also forgot Ft. Huachuca which has a couple of great museums and officer housing and barracks surrounding the parade ground is till used. It's a great place to visit and the cemetery there as the one in Prescott are most interesting. Of course there are graves from troopers to RAF pilots scattered around AZ. If you ever make it to Huachuca, the Officer's Club is a great place to eat and is open to the public too. I'll see about getting photos. :beer:

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