Message #206

Date:	Mon, 29 Jun 1998 18:00:00
Subject: Book Review: Massacre on the Lordsburg Road

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

From:	Lynda Sanchez P.O. Box 67,
	Lincoln, NM 88338 (505) 653-4821. 

SPECIAL:	News Release/Book Review
TOPIC:	Apache and/or Southwestern History
BY:		Lynda A. Sanchez, author-historian,
		Lincoln, New Mexico

 Buy the Book Today!
Marc Simmons, one of the Southwest's premier authors and finest historians, has done it again. His newest publication, MASSACRE ON THE LORDSBURG ROAD, A Tragedy of the Apache Wars, Texas A & M University, Drawer C, College Station, Texas 77843, 256 pages, 24 pictures, map, $27.95 cloth.) could very well be a classic in Southwestern History. Marc enjoys doing the unusual and his incredible research skills have located never before published photographs and papers on one of New Mexico's greatest mysteries, what happened to little Charlie McComas, the six year old son of Judge Hamilton C. McComas? In the spring of 1883, Judge McComas and his wife, Juniata were slain by Apaches, and Charlie was kidnapped. It wasn't only the senseless murder, but the aftermath that affected New Mexicans from all walks of life. They were attacked by Chato's band on a lonely, isolated stretch of road between Silver City and Lordsburg. The McComas' were a prominent family on the frontier so their murders shocked everyone. Often times, most killings were of poor pioneer emigrants, cowboys, miners, soldiers and the like. The fact that their son was never found also compounds the dilemma and adds to the mystery. Apaches often took young children to raise as their own. So, what was the young child's fate? Simmons does an excellent job of presenting the evidence, the history and back ground of the family, and the various theories as to what happened to Charlie. Did he grow to manhood and live with the Apache as a leader? Did he die an untimely death at the hands of Mexican or American troops when raiding Apache war camps or rancherias? Simmons sheds the first light on the McComas family's final hours and presents the first complete picture of circumstances surrounding one of the last massacres of the Indian wars. For those who are unaware of the antagonism between Apache and settler, Simmons gives a good history of the reasons behind raids and counter raiding and terror along the borderlands. America's reaction to the attack was intense. The search for young Charlie was as publicized as the famous Lindbergh kidnapping of later years. And the innumerable questions... Why did the family come to wild New Mexico from Kansas? What were their lives like, before and after? Were there living relatives today who could help clear up some of these and other nagging questions? There is also a second theme of the book. Marc Simmons and his unraveling of the family history; locating relatives and family papers and photographs, is, in itself a fascinating story. It presents the reader with one of the main reasons why research can be exciting and rewarding. It was in this case because, we now have the unique history of a time and place we know about, may have read about, but the intimate portrayal of the family history and events leading up to that tragic time on the Lordsburg road is better than fiction! While academic and thorough in his exploration and research, Marc Simmons is also a wonderful writer so the reader does not sense he is reading "history" in the usual sense! Excellent photographs accompany the written material. The book will grip general and professional readers of western and Indian history and leave them with a greater sympathy and understanding of New Mexico's incredible heritage and legacy to its current residents. Buy the Book Today!