An Excerpt From Arizona In The ’50s

    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. . .

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2 Responses to “An Excerpt From Arizona In The ’50s”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    James Tevis is an ancestor of mine and I would love to have a copy of this book. If you know of one that is for sale, please email me.

    • The Tinker Says:

      Hi, and thanks for your interest in the book.

      Your comment has been passed on to Betty Barr, the author of the book. She will be in email contact with you soon. If you don’t hear from her, please email me at

      Thanks again and enjoy your new book.

      Ric Fish

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