This review is from: The First Hundred Years of Nino Cochise (Hardcover)
I first met Nino Cochise in 1971 when I was with
the Arizona Department of Public Safety. At that time Nino lived in Wilcox, AZ
and was a mutual friend of movie star Rex Allen. Nino and I became good friends
and I spent many hours visiting with him over the years. I knew him quite well
and never had reason to doubt who he was or what he claimed to be. On the
contrary, I was, and I remain, certain of his legitamacy. History continues to
varify his experiences and credentials. There is far more historical support
for Nino and the history he relates than evidence to the contrary. There were
others who knew him when he was a much younger man who never found significant
descrepancies in his history. I could go on, but I believe much of the
criticism results from cynicism, mis-information and mis-understandings, tribal
rivalries and personal jealouscies. Nino was not a fraud. He was a good and
honest man who lived life fully and was an inspiration to many. It is time to
leave the debate to historians and allow a very unique man to rest in peace.
This is a fun, informative, and easy read. You
will be glad you read it. As a child Nino Cochise is with a small band who
avoid being lead to the reservation. He spends decades with a fragment of the
tribe, mostly in Mexico. Don't want to give away the highlights, but the
self-reliance and determination to survive hardship are amazing. As the world
changes with times, so does the community, until times change too much. A
warrior, leader, and respected chief who cares for his tribe. It's just a great
story and an amazing man.
This book will take you on a journey so
real,youll feel transported back in time.If your a non-fiction buff,this is the
mother load.so rich in history and drama,im surprized no one has made a movie
about it.You will find a different take on the american Indian and will view
them in a completely new light.Youll personally meet Geronimo,Ninos
uncle,Taglito(Tom Jeffords)friend and blood brother of Cochise,the funny shaman
Dee-O-Det,and even an up coming president,Teddy Roosevelt,even before he
decended San Juan Hill.This is a book youll read over and over and wished you
could take a journey to Pa-Gotzin-Kay,the hide-out you will see so vividly in
your mind,a place of peace and freedom,a resting place if you will for your
On Oct. 14, 1872, Chief Cochise of the
Chiricahua Apaches and General Oliver O. Howard of the United States Army
signed a peace treaty. This was to end the fighting between the Chiricahua and
the white man.
Chiricahua Reservation was established on Dec. 14, 1872. By executive order,
3,100 square miles in the Dragoon Mountains were given to the Chiricahua.
"Nino" Cochise was the grandson of the great
Indian leader. He lived to be more than 100 years old and saw man walk on the
moon. He counted Teddy Roosevelt among his friends.
died on the reservation June 7, 1874 and his oldest son, Tahza, became the
hereditary chief over this vast domain with its population of 2,500 Chiricahua
summer of 1876, John Philip Clum, over the strong objections of the Dragoon
Indian agent, Tom Jeffords, invaded the Dragoon Reservation with scouts and
cavalry to force the Chiricahui (the plural form of Chiricahua) to leave their
reservation and homeland and to move to his adjacent San Carlos Reservation.
His effort was less than half successful.
than a thousand Chiricahua Apaches eluded his efforts. Clum was eventually able
to round up a little over a thousand of Tahza's followers and march them to San
Carlos. The above is recorded history available from a number of sources.
is not generally known is that Tahza and Tom Jeffords skillfully arranged for
Tahza's family clan, of 38, to disappear under the leadership of his young
wife, Nod-Ah-Sti, and an old medicine man, De-O-Det.
clan's names were lost when Tom Jeffords resigned as Indian agent of the
Chiricahua Reservation in protest of the United States government's breaking of
the treaty. The names of the clan were not entered onto military records, or if
they were, they were lost, presumably because the military did not want to
admit that any Indians had escaped during the forced march to San Carlos.
and 20 Apaches accompanied Clum to Washington to be interviewed by President
Grant two months after the relocation. Tahza caught pneumonia, died, and was
buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Clum returned to San Carlos and tried to
explain the death of their chief to the Chiricahua Apaches. Naiche, the younger
brother of Tahza, became totally enraged, and with a number of embittered
warriors, bolted the reservation. This outbreak began the Geronimo Wars which
lasted for 10 years, until 1886.
of the Geronimo Wars and those who fought them have been written and rewritten
by many different authors, each of whom felt they had something new to add or a
different angle from which to view the altercations. Singularly missing from
these writings is the story of what happened to those 38 nameless ones who fled
the white man's rule on that forgotten day in 1876.
young wife of Tahza, Nod-Ah-Sti, carried their 2-year-old child with her when
the family clan rode south into the Sierra Madres of Mexico. Their destination
was Pa-Gotzin-Kay (Stronghold Mountain of Paradise) a small hanging bench of
land situated deep in the Mother Mountains of Old Mexico. It was bounded on the
west by a sheer drop-off into the Nacozari Canyon. On the eastern side was an
amber escarpment that tilted upward until it reached the forested, snow-capped
ridge that is the spine of that great mountain range. This spine divides the
incredible depth of the Bavispe Barranca and the headwaters of the raging Yaqui
River. Both ends of the bench were pinched off by boulder slides that prevented
entrance by any animal without wings. The trail into Pa-Gotzin-Kay was a
winding tangle of ledges wide enough only for sure-footed mountain horses and
even they were at perpetual risk as a misstep could result in a disastrous
was a natural fortress. The bench was fertile land with abundant water and
trees. Here on this shelf of fertile red land, the clan arrived. They had eaten
little other than cactus fruit, having nothing in the way of weapons other than
belt knives. Once at Pa-Gotzin-Kay they made bows and arrows, rabbit sticks,
lances and clubs. They were able to kill game. Small game until the bows cured,
then deer and mountain sheep fell to their arrows and they ate well.
passed, and the young son of Tahza became chief of this forgotten band of
Apache people. He was called Ciye "Nino" Cochise.
the band discovered a rich vein of gold. One of the braves found a white
prospector by the name of Jim Ticer and brought him to the hidden sanctuary. He
lived with the band for a time and supervised the mining operation, then took
some of the raw gold, went into Magdalena, Mexico and returned with a smelting
pot. After this, the gold mine produced bars of gold.
the first several years at Pa-Gotzin-Kay, the band lived in virtual solitude.
Finally, under the wise leadership of Nino Cochise, they started making trips
to Tucson and some of the Mexican towns where they traded gold for coffee, tea,
flour, guns, ammunition, bolts of cloth, vegetable seeds, and other goods.
on these buying trips, they dressed and spoke Mexican, because an Apache off
the reservation was considered a renegade and was arrested and sent to a
reservation or shot on sight.
gold made it possible for the band to attain a far more stable and comfortable
life. The Chiricahua Apache band of Nino Cochise did not make war on the
whites. Nino, as well as his mother, Nod-Ah-Sti, and the old medicine man,
De-O-Det, knew that to do so would bring the United States Cavalry to the
sanctuary, and those at Pa-Gotzin-Kay wished only to be left alone to live
their lives in peace. They hunted, farmed, mined their gold, and lived in
harmony with the American ranchers, including John Slaughter and Buck Green,
who also had holdings in Mexico.
Apache scouts of General Crook knew of Pa-Gotzin-Kay and the people who lived
there. Mickey Free, the famous half-breed scout, was a frequent visitor, as
were Geronimo and many bronco Apaches.
Apache scouts promised never to reveal the whereabouts or even the existence of
Pa-Gotzin-Kay to the general or his command.
Crook ever knew of the Apache stronghold, he wisely elected to let sleeping
Apaches lie. The trail into the sanctuary was always guarded and for cavalry to
mount an attack up that narrow, twisting ribbon of death, would have meant
nothing less than suicide.
of Nino's warriors were hired as cowboys by John Slaughter. The Mexican State
of Sonora levied unfair and excessive taxes on the American ranchers who had no
recourse other than to fight the Mexican Army. Slaughter enlisted the help of
Nino Cochise whose warriors kept him posted as to the whereabouts of Mexican
Slaughter, Buck Green, and the other ranchers had many hard-fighting cowboys,
and with the help of Nino, they were able to keep their cattle and holdings in
Mexico. Because of this alliance, the knowledge of the Apache band at
Pa-Gotzin-Kay became more generally known to the outside world. Still, they
were left alone by both the Mexican and United States authorities. The cowboys
and Indians, at least in this case, became strong allies.
same Sonoran tax collectors that had harassed John Slaughter drove a band of
more than 300 Tarahumari Indians into the Sierra Madre because they had no gold
to pay their taxes.
Tarahumari sought refuge with Nino and received his help. Soon they were living
gold mine again made it possible for Nino to feed hungry mouths. The Apache
band shared what they had with the new arrivals and Nino sent a party to Tucson
to barter for more food and goods.
many years, the Tarahumari and Apache band lived at Pa-Gotzin-Kay.
married the Golden Bird, the daughter of the Tarahumari chief. They had no
children, as Nino's wife was killed by Mexican cavalry during a battle with
years passed, many members of the band left Pa-Gotzin-Kay to live in the
outside world. Finally, Nino himself accepted employment first as a bodyguard
for a wealthy mine owner from Magdalena, Mexico. He soon found himself in
California where he worked in the movie industry, but finding the film industry
not to his liking, he learned to fly a plane and even did some crop dusting.
lived to be over 100 years old and counted among his friends many of the greats
of Hollywood, as well as President Teddy Roosevelt. He made the transition from
bronco Apache to a respected member of white society, learned to fly a plane,
and even saw astronauts walk on the moon.
Kenny Griffith who wrote his biography called Nino Cochise "The most
outstanding male Indian I have ever met." No doubt! The genes of
leadership run strong in the Chiricahui.
#Town of Payson historians Jinx
Pyle and Jayne Peace Pyle have written seven books, five of them being local
history books: "Rodeo 101 -- History of the Payson Rodeo,"
"Looking Through the Smoke," "History of Gisela, Arizona,"
"Calf Fries and Cow Pies," "Blue Fox," "Muanami --
Sister of the Moon," and "Mountain Cowboys."
For Zane Grey Under the Tonto Rim" by Jayne Peace will be released Oct. 15
at the Zane Grey Cabin Dedication and Western Heritage Festival.
Nino Cochise Story
The Nameless Ones
Life and times of America's last great Apache Chief open in 1877. Death has
stolen the original Chise (Chise di cochise) who leaves behind two grown sons
to deal with broken U. S. Government treaties. Apache are now being
systematically listed on military rolls then forced from their Dragoon
Mountain homelands to imprisonment at abominable San Carlos Indian
Reservation. There they face lack of shelter, water, along with starvation,
disease resulting from woefully inadequate sanitation, certain death.
Chise's oldest son Taza, father of the only family heir, two-year old Niño,
arranges a dangerous escape for his wife and son, assisted by a few women and
elderly men including Chise’s faithful shaman, Deeodet.
Taza, is known to the Army, as is his brother Naiche and brother-in-law
Geronimo. Therefore they must remain behind. Any Indian already identified
will be missed, and hunted, which would surely further endanger the unnamed 38
who have embarked on a uncharted journey.
After months of struggle the nameless, now homeless escapees settle high
among steep Sierra Madra walls. There they establish the final Apache
Back at hell-hole San Carlos, becoming known as the ‘bowl’, Chief Taza agrees
to allow the U. S. Government to send him to Washington D.C. where Indians
are shuffled around on parade floats as evidence that federal handling of
Indian lives is a, “Good thing”. The chief’s private goal is to reach
President Grant so he can plead a bit of land be returned to restore Apache
Far to the southwest, high among rocky encampment the only grandchild of
Chise, young Niño Cochise’s life becomes a peaceful mélange of happy events,
tutored by his mother Nodahsti and Chise’s old tribal diwi, Deeodet—until
word comes the lad’s father, Taza, is dead. His end arrived in the form of
pneumonia. Apache believe Taza was murdered by white-eyes.
Niño's uncles, Naiche (Taza's brother), and Geronimo (by marriage) break out
of San Carlos, leading 700 angry warriors. All head straight to the new
Sierra Madras Apache fortress where a state of combat is declared. Geronimo
and braves stepped up on a path to launch what will forever be the bloodiest
decade in annals of western American history, the "Ten Year Wars."
Skilled in weapons of battle, youthful Niño’s heros become
"Netdahe"—a term for Geronimo's warriors, Chato, Nanay, Tzoe, and
others who vow death to all Whites and Mexicans. Other tribes soon join.
Known as "The Wild Ones," they are fierce, fearless, and seldom
At age 15 Niño follows his heritage, becomes the youngest chief ever approved
by full council, while ex-Indian Agent Tom Jeffords helps handle discovery of
a thin gold vein known as the “Just laying there,” mine.
Niño’s first leadership act is to kidnap a Mexican doctor to save Geronimo,
dying of battle injuries. The chief then befriends a stronghold prisoner,
U.S. Army deserter Jim Ticer, enlisting the ex-teacher to ply his academic
skills by familiarizing the Indians with English.
At the behest of his mother Niño courts a Mexican girl who betrays the young
swain. Later fate bestows on him, love at first sight, he names her Golden
Shortly after their wedding his beloved is shot off her horse and dies in his
arms. In the most defining act of his life he pursues her murderers, more
than 20 Mexican soldiers all the way to the Pacific Ocean before cleansing
the world of the last one.
Becoming less of a wild savage with passing of his mother, of time, Niño
finds work in Hollywood on the Jesse L. Lansky lot with Charley Stevens, Bill
Russell, Tom Mix, John Wayne.
At the crash site of a Swift GB-model cabin monoplane, Niño loses half of his
right hand, left foot and part of his left leg above the ankle. He is fitted
with an artificial lower limb.
Still going strong Niño is cast in a TV series, "High Chaparral"
being filmed in Old Tucson.
At the funeral of Arizona’s governor he meets Kenny Griffith who scribes
When the TV series folds, Niño with wife Minnie’s support, sells signed
copies of his book "The First 100 Years Of Niño Cochise" for the
local Chamber of Commerce.
Yearning to be ever nearer his cherished Dragoon Mountains, Niño builds a
curio shop with attached living quarters—the "Cochise Trading
Post", aptly set at the entrance to Boot Hill.
It's upkeep eventually surpasses his energy, the couple move to nearby
Wilcox. There, signing books for the city manager provides an easier life.
Again missing his accessorial home, Niño returns to Tombstone where he sells
books and photographs at the Montgomery Wards catalog order desk.
Weary of celebrity status, of answering tourist questions, Niño retires. All
he wants at his stage of life is to be left alone with the wife he adores, to
enjoy warmth of another sunrise over his treasured Dragoons. Two days before
Christmas it is in this setting 110 year-old Niño Cochise, prescient boy
warrior, closes the history of great Apache Chiefs as he becomes part of the
© 2008 Strasbaugh