The History & Heritage Timeline Of Apache County (An Arizona County)
Where Do We Start?
For the first time visitors interested in Apache County.We might as well start off by telling you where we are located,where the county got its name,and then we'll dwell a little deeper into the history & heritage of this significant part of Arizona.
Apache County is located in Arizona.We're in the very north-eastern corner of the state bordering Utah,Colordo,and New Mexico.
Apache County Was Created Febuary 24th 1879.
The county was name after the Apache Indians,and this county has more pages in the history books than most counties in the western,and south-western United States.
To start off in some of the history,we have to look at the county name again,and realize alot of the heritage in these parts come from,or has something to do with the Apache Indians.
Before the county was created the Apache & Navajo lived here of course,and they migrated down from Canada in about 1300 A.D..and arrived in Arizona in the early 1450's.The Navajo moved into the canyons,and the Apache took to the highland areas.These two tribes are related in many ways,such as many shared cultures,and language.
The Spanish Arrive
The Spanish started making their presence known starting in 1539 in present New Mexico for starters,but many expeditionary forces traveled through out the Arizona - New Mexico area,and making perfectly clear they answered to no one.
The Spanish were a population in the 1700's,and with the Navajo Indians & Apache also in the territory,it was a trialsome time for all when they crossed lines with another.Over time with invaders taking over their lands,the Apache became more aggressive with settlers,or any foreign presence on their lands who might of been tresspassing.
After fighting for several generations the invading forces,the Apache were feared,and known to be a dangerous force to reckon with by the time the first American settlers encountered them
Mexican Spanish War September 16th 1810
The Mexican - Spanish war lasted a decade.One day a Creole parish priest from a small town named Miguel Hidalgo declared Independence and got a following going,and marched on Mexico City.Ten years later the Spanish Crown signed a treaty and granted Mexico independence.
We were all Mexican citizens at that time,but the northern part of Arizona was firmly under Indian control,and still wilderness at that time unsettled by the European pilgrims.
Mexican American War 1835
The Mexican - American war started in Texas,after it declared its independence from Mexico.I think many of you have heard of the fall of the Alamo.That happened a year later in 1836 when Santa Anna sent its army to crush the rebellion.
Shortly after the fall of the Alamo,a gentleman by the name of Army Captain Philip St. George Cooke,along with help from the Mormon Battalion raised the U.S. American Flag for the first time in Tucson Arizona.
Arizona Now Officially U.S. Territory
Then in 1848 the U.S. occupied Mexico City,and swayed the Mexican Government to give up its claim on Texas,and the far northern territories that are now currently the United States.Arizona remained in limbo for a bit,but once the land disputes were settled,and the Gadsden Purchase took place,also called the Treaty of La Mesilla,that Arizona was not officially U.S. Territory until 1854.
Life After The Gadsden Purchase
Soon afterwards more gold & silver strikes in Arizona influenced others wishing to try their luck striking it rich.It was to bad that copper at that time at the beginning was not as highly sought after,but that soon changed real quick,when more products were being made that needed copper.However the majority that migrated here,copper was not on their mind when it came to prospecting,but those who recognized its potential struck it rich with mining copper.When the turn of the century came around,and with World War I on the horizon,these copper mines saved the U.S,and those who kept their eye on the potential of copper became very wealthy.
Now Arizona was becoming rich in culture with populations of Spanish,Mexican,Indian,and white settlers/prospectors.
The territory was kept in order by U.S. soldiers for the next 25 years battling the Apache, who were led by Cochise.Then later on having to face Geronimo.In 1886 Geronimo finally surrendered to federal troops due to some recent success by General George Cook,but it was far from over with the Apache.The Army late on established Fort Yuma in 1853 to protect the masses of prospectors,and those adventuring into the territory hoping to start a new life in a booming area of the country.
The Civil War
Territorial secession conventions took place at Mesilla and Tucson in 1861,and adopted an Ordinance of Secession from the Union,and declared itself independent of the United States and established the Confederate Territory of Arizona afterwards.
The territory was retaken by the Union,by Colonel James H. Carleton.Both sides met at Picacho Pass on the 15th of April 1862.A confrontation occured,and soon followed the exit of the Confederate Troops,and Captain Sherod Hunter's 200 Texans.The Union Colonel had 1,500 men under his command.So 1862 was the only year this territory was involved in the Civil War,and the only battle that took place was at Picacho Pass.
When Arizona Officially Becomes A Territory..(Not A State Yet)
In 1864 Tucson Arizona had the greatest population of the territory,but is was also the most busiest,and most productive part of the territory with,prior to the change Arizona was part of the New Mexico Territory.
The first capital here was Fort Whipple,then a year later the capital moved to Prescott.Then after the Civil War,the capital once again moved to Tucson,where it remained the capital about 10 years,until it was moved back to Prescott again...Is your head spinning yet?
In 1889 the capital moved to Phoenix,and fortunately it stayed there.Now a lot of political history takes place untill the Arizona Territory becomes a state,but thankfully this is a heritage & history page so we can avoid some of this,unless you want the political history of the area,and by the way we may add a dash more of the historical prospects later on this summer.In Arizona history is where it takes you,and some of this history is really some interesting political facts.
Arizona Is Now A State
The first time we came close to becoming a state was in the 1900's,and in many ways it was a political ploy for the Republicans to keep control of the Senate,but the deal fell through,and the residents of Arizona voted the plan down.
On Febuary 14th (Valentines Day Of Course) In the year 1912 Arizona entered the Union,and became the 48th State.As stated earlier above,with some detail left out,we almost became the 47th state,and would have been part of New Mexico.With all the twists,and turns along our journey,the territory finally becomes a state.
Now Let Us Talk About The Communities Here In Apache County & Their Heritage
Alpine... Alpine is a small community located in some of the most beautiful wilderness of the county.The town originated from the building of one log house in 1880,that eventually turned into a small fort.This is a town that originated,and got its start from the Mormon Coummunity back in the day.We'll be adding more heritage articles pertaining to Alpine this summer.
Chinle... Chinle is a Navajo word that can be summed up as "At the mouth of Canyon De Chelly".Spanish war and trade extended to this location from New Mexico in the early 1800's.The Navajo Indians at the time robbed New Mexicans of sheep and other goods,that later on brought forth a peace conference between Navajo Indians and Col. Kit Carson in 1864.I think many of us have heard of Kit Carson,and now you realize the history & the heritage here in the county.This peace treaty marked the end of Navajo warfare with the settlers,and prospectors.In 1882 the first trading post opened up in Chinle,then a couple years later was recognized as a small trading camp.It's a small town today,but we do have about 5500 residents,and we get plenty of visitors each year.A town rich in heritage.
Eager... Eager got its name from a gentleman named "John Thomas Eager" along with his brothers,and another family who went by the "Robertsons" decided to homestead the area.The town was first called "Union",and then later on Eagerville.Later on the name changed to Eager.There was a famous event that took place,when an outlaw gang called the Snider Gang rode into Eager.The town folk where ready,and soon a gun battle pursued,and 9 of the gang members were killed.This happened in town,and many speculate that the cemetery is where it's at today,thanks to the members who volunteered their life by being outlaws to make it so.
Greer... This town was originally called "Lee Valley" and was settled by Willard Lee,and his family.But due to the post office opening up,and wanting a shortere town was renamed "Greer" in honor of another resident who relocated there.
Springerville... In 1875 Henry Springer came into the territory,realizing the need for a good merchant store.So he came from Albuquerque with his goods,and set up shop.Soon his store was called "Springer's Store".His business went belly up a year later by bad business decissions.The big one was truting the outlaws in the area,and giving them credit for the goods they'd take.Most of these outlaws were horse thieves,in need of feed.A couple of years after he left,the town was named Springerville.Not so much in honor,but remembrance.
St Johns... St Johns at one time was originally called "El Vadito".In Spanish the word means "little crossing",and was given this name due to the fact the area was an important crossing on the Colorado River.Then in 1884 a trader by the given name Solomon Barth,who brought in salt for the miners,and through luck playing poker won enough to buy land,and cattle.Thus ending up as an influencing force in the region,and thus changed the towns name to San Juan.Later on Solomin,and his brothers who he settled with sold out their stakes in the town to the Mormon Community,who in return settled there.St John is really a cool place to visit,and so rich in diversity with the history behind it,that we strongly recommend you visit.
We encourage you to write us with suggestions.You can contact Karla Glassing below with any questions.suggestions.