Message #64:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: General George Crook in Arizona
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 02:59:58 EST
Encoding: 


From: Kenneth N Owens 

[In response to your question]....Unfortunately, I'm not the person to
provide you a writeup on Crook in Arizona.  I did some work on his career
in northern California, especially in the Pit River country, as a
by-product of my consulting role in a CRM study some years back.  In
addition to the material in the published memoirs, I have some
correspondence from the National Archives that demonstrate his commanding
officer's concern that young Crook had started an unnecessary war of
extermination against all native peoples, and that Crook in turn was
really out of control.  He argued for a few more weeks to make examples
of these people and end Indian troubles forever, etc.  Sometime, I've
told myself for a few years, I'll get that material all together and
write a brief article.  But right now my plate is full of other stuff. 
And, unfortunately, I can't think right off of anyone to suggest to you. 
Let's see whether my posting brings in other comments on General George
and his speckled career.  (Bob Utley has given him low marks for his role
in the 1876 campaign, sitting tight at the mouth of the Rosebud, and
making no attempt to contact Pope's command.)

Kenneth Owens, Director
Capital Campus Public History Program
CSU, Sacramento
owensk@saclink.csus.edu


Thanks for your reply.  Of course, Bourke wrote kindly about Crook, and
the book "Paper Medicine Man" has some interesting material on Crook, but
much of what you discuss seems hidden by historians.

In Arizona,  Crook has a legacy.  He built or enhanced a chain of forts
and constructed a military road across Arizona.  This road can still be
driven in parts and hiked in other parts,  and guide books exist for
afficionados of the road.  Apache and Yavapai helped construct the road
from Camp Verde, up onto the Mogollon escarpment, and down into Ft
Apache.  Camp Verde Yavapai worked from west to east, while White
Mountain Apache worked westward from Fort Apache. Neither of these groups
would cross out of their 'territory' at Leonard Canyon.  Perhaps Leonard
canyon marks a social and political boundary, and I have always wondered
how long this cultural boundary has existed in time and space.....  ??

People are generally impressed that military supplies pouring into
Arizona came from San Francisco, or from around Tierra del Fuego, then up
the Gulf of California to Yuma.  These provisions were trans-shipped up
the Colorado on steam boat (powered by wood cut from along the river by
Quechan and Mohave Indians and sold to the boat).  The supplies then were
unloaded from the steam boat and shipped via wagon from the Colorado
River, thru Camp Date Creek, Prescott, and Camp Verde, and on to Fort
Apache, using the road built by Crook's order. (One can imagine the
staggering loss of provisions due to breakage, spoilage and pilfering at
each post along the way).

A telegraph line also ran along this road, connecting Fort Apache with
the outside world. (The cowboy movies don't mention it, but Fort Apache
also had telephone service very early on).

One would think that tons of supplies needed by the Army could more
easily be brought from the east to Santa Fe, and then to Fort Apache. 
But, the route described above was more reliable for a period of time. 
The railroad in Arizona was still only a dream and a plan.

The Arizona SHPO holds a copy of the national register nomination for
Camp Date Creek.  I surveyed the ruin and determined the boundaries of
the metal trash scatter around the Camp.  Another fellow, a
non-archaeologist, put together the nomination.  Since he was a military
history buff, the glory of military accomplishment seems paramount in the
nomination paperwork.

Interestingly, troops from Date Creek depopulated the region of Yavapai
and Mohave, moved them to the Camp, and later, to a reservation at
Prescott and Camp Verde.  The role of the Camp in supporting Crook's
actions and orders for genocide has never been fully explored by
historians or archaeologists.  However, local newspapers of the time
clearly indicate that removal and eradication would make life safe for
the miners of the region.

After Camp Date Creek was abandoned, all dead soldiers were exhumed and
their remains moved elsewhere.  Headstones also were removed.  (I am
certain many skeletal parts must have been left behind, but no
archaeological work has been conducted there).  Many Indians housed at
the Camp as prisoners died.  They never received headstones and their
bodies were left in their graves upon site abandonment.  Such
differential treatment of human remains speaks eloquently about the true
nature of American expansion in the West.

Of course, forensic study of skeletal remains from this period would shed
great light on the hardships faced by both Indian prisoners and enlisted
troops.  Such work would clarify conditions and dispense much of the
romantic nonsense conjured after the fact.  If we have courage to
dispense with the imaginary Crook, and study the lives of the common men
and women via archaeology, we might be startled by the picture that
emerges.

Brian Kenny