Anthony Cooley 2.jpeg

When Lt. Col. Green returned to his post at Camp Grant following his expedition into the White Mountain area he filed a report to his superiors in California on Aug. 20, 1869. In that report he included his recommendation that a reservation be created for the Apache Bands living in the area and a military post be established for their protection as well as the suppression of any hostile influences in the area.

Maj. General E.O.C. Ord Commander of the Dept. of California agreed with the recommendations and forwarded them to Washington D.C. As a result, Lt. Col. Green was ordered to return to the White Mountains to meet with the local Apache leaders and to find a suitable location for a Military Post as well as possible routes for a wagon road to supply it.

On Nov. 1, 1869 Green left Camp Grant in the general direction of the mouth of the San Carlos River on the Gila. With him were 24 men of Troop “M’ 1st Calvary 31 men Troop ‘K’ 1st Calvary. 62 men Troop ‘C’ 8th Calvary., 35 men Troop ‘I’ 8th Cavalry with their respective officers, surgeon John C. Handy, Guides, etc and a pack train with 35 day’s rations.

The command arrived on the Gila River on the 7th of Nov. and left the next day towards the Black River scouting for the best location for a wagon road along the way. They arrived at the Black River on the 11th finding “Comparatively” little obstacle in making a road but the Canyon of the Black River would be impossible to cross without an immense amount of labor and expense.

While camped on the Black River for the 12th of Nov. smoke signals were sent in an attempt to make contact with local Apaches but got no response and after two days of sending smoke signals made contact with members of Miquel’s Band who said he was away at Zuni but would be sent for. After moving a few miles up stream smoke signals led to a meeting with several other Apaches who said they were members of Esketaseela’s Band of Eastern White Mountain Apaches. He was also away but would be sent for. Although he was getting older Esketaseela had been the most powerful and influential leader in the area for many years. He also belonged to the Clan called the “Slender Peak Standing Up People” which was one of the largest of the White Mountain Clans.

On the morning of the 15th Esketaseela met with Col. Green who explained has reasons for coming back into his country. The chief was very desirous to make a treaty and was disappointed to learn that the officer did not have the authority to do so on the spot. He agreed to come to a conference with the Sub-District Commander at Camp Grant. Before he left to return to his village he was asked if he knew a practical route for a wagon road into his country. His answer was by way of Zuni was the only way. Accordingly an officer and 25 men plus a Guide provided by the Chief were sent the next morning to explore the route to Zuni.

On the 17th Col. Green took 49 men of the 1st Calvary and two officers to explore the country to the west. He passed thru Cedar Creek, the Valley of Carrizo Creek which was Miguel’s farm land and on over the mountain into the Cibecue Valley exploring that area on the 20th. There he met with a band leader known as Capitan Chiquito who was glad to hear the reason for his visit and wished to have his lands included in the reservation to be created. Col. Green told him that his valley and that of Canyon Creek farther west might be so far away from the Post to be created that they could not be adequately protected. The Chief was disappointed but said he would abide by whatever was done by the Government.

On the 23rd they arrived back at camp on the Whiteriver. The following day the officer and men returned from exploring the route to Zuni to report that a good road could be made in that direction. He had met with Miquel along the way who said that he would send for Chief Pedro and both would meet with him on his return from Zuni.

Having accomplished the object of his expedition Col. Green, etal left to return to the Gila River. On Dec. 6, 1869 he filed his report to headquarters, Dept. of California stating that he had selected a site for a Military Post above the Junction of the North Fork and East Fork of the White Mountain River that was the finest he ever saw. The climate was “delicious.”

There was building material of fine Pine Timber within a few miles and plenty of Limestone near by. There was abundant water for irrigation or to be harnessed for a sawmill.

The area being considered for a reservation had the added advantage of being in a remote part of Arizona with no indication of any gold, silver, or other valuable minerals that would be of interest of white citizens so the outside pressures that were the source of much conflict in other areas of Arizona could be largely avoided.

If the local Apaches were provided with basic necessities, blankets, winter clothing, farm implements and seed they would become self supporting. As long as they could live better lives peacefully in their own country than other more hostile bands did by raiding, they could provide a positive step towards finally settling the constant warfare that had existed in the Southwest and Mexico for generations.

(1) comment


Great history. In the early days this whole area was isolated and hard to reach. Most of the pioneers who eventually came to the White Mountains made their living by freighting or supplying goods to Fort Apache. Towns were established because the Fort was here. Very important to our history.

Thank you Anthony.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.