Another Great Read of the Old West

February 26, 2009
by Betty Barr

by Betty Barr

 After reading Arizona in the ‘50s by Capt. James H. Tevis, I wanted to take a month off, put my hiking gear in the Explorer and find as many places mentioned in the book as I could. Apache Pass, Fort Bowie, the Butterfield stage stop and much more are all within a few hundred miles of here.

Tevis was a young adventurer who made his way to Arizona Territory in 1857, traveled with Kit Carson’s brother, Mose, fought the Indians with the soldiers from Ft. Buchanan and survived capture and torture by the mighty warrior, Cochise.

Tevis’ travels took him across Southern Arizona from the missions at Tubac to the Butterfield stage stop in Apache Pass and on to Pinos Altos and Mesilla in New Mexico Territory. He was appointed as the first Arizona Ranger (known as Arizona Scouts) by the Provisional Governor of Arizona, and charged with the duty of raising a company of Rangers to protect the settlers from Apache raids.

All of this took place some 150 years ago when there were no more than 400 people living in Tucson and only 4,187 residents in the territory, according to the Arizona Territory census of 1864.

Arizona in the ‘50s was first published in 1953, but has been out of print for more than 50 years. It was written in 1880 by Capt. Tevis but not published then because the Pennington daughter who was captured by the Apaches married a Tucson judge and was so traumatized by the ordeal that the judge extracted a promise from Tevis that he wouldn’t publish the story during her lifetime. She outlived him. Tevis’ daughters finally got it ready for publication in ’52, many years after his death.

The revised edition co-edited by Betty Barr and Dr. William J. Kelly is now available. Maps, period photos, endnotes, and an index, as well as new information, were added to the original.

It took Sonoita resident and author Barr and Dr. Kelly 10 years off and on to finish the revised edition, working from original hand-written notes.

If you love the history of southeast Arizona this is a must have book.

Review written by Robert E. Kimball


Betty has also authored
two other fine books, Hidden Treasures Of Santa Cruze County
and More Hidden Treasures Of Santa Cruze County.
Both books are fine reading of an era gone by that without authors like
Betty Barr, would be completely lost from our history.

**Snakey Joe Post, Guardian Of The Treasure Learn More at my blog

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An Excerpt From Arizona In The ’50s

March 6, 2009

    It was a rule at Apache Pass
station that no Indians were allowed
inside of the corral at any time. In the kitchen was a big fireplace
and I
would let them come there to get warm, but never when the coaches came
in. One
day as the coach horn blew, I heard Abbot the cook say,
or “Go out,” and a warrior answered,
or “I don’t want to.”

    I went
in and took him by the hair and breechcloth and hustled
him out the doorway.  I
was shutting the
door when he hurled his lance at me. The door was made of split ash
logs and
pretty well seasoned. The lance buried itself in the wood and missed me.

    We had
given this warrior the name of “Dirty Shirt” as
he wore a hickory shirt given him by Dr. Steck, and it was dirty and
never having been changed since he first put it on. After he threw the
lance I
was angry enough to have killed him. I caught him by the hair and
butted his
head against the stone wall. Dirty Shirt was one of Cochise’s warriors
and when
Cochise heard what I had done, he planned revenge.

the coach came in from the east loaded with passengers,
among them being Sylvester Mowry, Cochise was handy. Louis O’Shea, the
conductor, and Brad Daily, driver, had a great terror of the Apaches.
When all
were seated to eat, I came in from the corral. At a glance, I knew that
was there on purpose, for he had always gone from the station at other
when the coach came in.

    I knew
that something had to be settled right there. I walked up
to him and told him kindly in the Apache tongue that he knew I never
Indians in the house when the coach was in and that he must go out. He
told me
very frankly that he would not go, and I immediately performed the same
operation on him as I had upon Dirty Shirt.

Daily was sitting at the table and could see Cochise and me.
When he heard me speak to Cochise, he was all attention, and when I
Cochise out the door, Brad just went over backwards. Three-legged
stools were
used along the table and they were none too steady when one sat
quietly. Brad
scrambled to his feet saying, “My God, Tevis! What have you done? For
God’s sake call him back and tell him he can stay.”

the passengers had scurried from their places at the table,
having only begun their meal. I told them to sit down and eat, that I
take care of Cochise, and did not want their advice. Brad said, “Hitch
my team and let me out of here. We will all be murdered.”

I could not detain them, I said, “Gentlemen, the
dinner was cooked for you; if you don’t eat it it’s your own fault; so
just pay
for your dinners and you can go.” No time was wasted in exchanging
and away they went out of the pass. Lieutenant Mowry told me afterwards
that he
never had ridden faster than on that trip on the Overland Stage, the
time being
only four hours to Dragoon Station, a distance of 40 miles.

Upon reaching there, Brad insisted on making the through trip to
Tucson, pleading as an excuse that he had business to attend to, and
when he
reached Tucson, he asked for a layoff for one trip. He told the people
Tucson that he was sure Cochise had killed everyone at Apache Pass by
time. . .

 Click here to Find out more about
this exciting book!