Chief Cochise of the central Chiricahua Apache was one of the most famous APACHE leaders to resist intrusions by whites into the southwestern United States during the 19th century. Cochise was, at first, not hostile to the American settles in the Area. Instead, he was at war against the MEXICAN army and settlers who were trying to take the apaches tribal lands. At the time, Cochise was considered a help. He protected stagecoaches from attack, gave food and water to them, and taught the AMERICANS to live on the dry, arid, land. He kept peace with the Anglo-Americans until 1861, when he became their mortal FOE because of the blunder of a young U.S. Army officer, LT. GEORGE BASCOM.
Bascom accused Cochise of abducting a 11-year-old boy from a local ranch. Later During the parley Cochise and his fellows were ordered held as hostages by Bascom, but Cochise managed to escape almost immediately by cutting a hole in a tent. Cochise, wanting to assure to safety of the men he had left behind, captured some three Americans and sent Bascom this message: "Treat my people well, and I will do the same for yours, of whom I have three." Bascom, as a show of his POWER, hung the Apache hostages and started to mobilize for war against Cochise. In retaliation for their deaths, Cochise killed the three Americans he had taken hostage. Embittered, Cochise joined forces with MANGAS COLORADAS, the leader of another Chiricahua band.
When GERONIMO'S plight started, he too was included in the new stronger band of Apache, and for a time they fought as one group against the calvary. Bascom went back to Cochise's village, hunted down his younger brother and killed him. For ten years Cochise and his warriors harassed the whites by raiding lonely ranches and attacking stagecoaches and miners. They did not surrender to the troops until 1871. During this turbulent time, Cochise met a man by the name of Thomas Jeffords, the Indian agent for that area. Through Jefford's efforts, Cochise decided to parlay with GENERAL OLIVER HOWARD. Cochise agreed to peace as long as his band were allowed to stay on the current reservation with Jeffords as their agent. General Howard agreed. Cochise made Thomas Jeffords his blood brother and a full member of the tribe.
Even during the years of peace, however, many of Cochise's younger warriors did not agree with him. They broke away and joined with Geronimo to continue the fight.
Following Geronimo's surrender in 1886, the remnants of the Chiricahuas were shipped off to reservations in the east where most of them died. Today there are only a few descendants of the Chiricahua Apaches living in Oklahoma and New Mexico, and there are none at all in this, their own land.
Cochise died on the new Chiricahua reservation in May of 1874, predicting the exact hour one day before. Cochise requested that his braves bury him in an unmarked grave so that the white man would not find his body. According to one account, he and his favorite horse and dog was dropped into a deep crevice in the rocks somewhere in the STRONGHOLD CANYON; another version says that they were buried several miles east of the Stronghold, and that the braves then galloped their horses over the grave so it could not be identified. In any case, to this day no one knows where Cochise lies buried.
Chief Cochise was succeeded as chief by his son, Naiche also known as Natchez.
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