Feb. 20, 1914
Indian Scout Passes Away Alone.
Thomas Jonathan Jeffords, "Blood Brother", of Cochise, Noted Apache Warrior,
Dies at Owls Head; Funeral to be held here.
Mile's Scout in search for Geronimo. Given prize of $2000 by Gen. Cook
for persuading Cochise to surrender; was fearless, never broke word.
inviolate the sacred secret of the location of the grave of the great Apache
Chief, Cochise, his "blood brother" Captain Thomas Jonathan Jeffords, the
famous pioneer Indian trader, and United States Military Coroner, passed
away at his ranch at Owl's head, 35 miles north of Tucson, late Wednesday
evening at the advanced age of 83 years, according to a dispatch received
here last evening by Victor Morajeska, his friend of late years and executor.
dispatch did not state the cause of his death, but is supposed to have
been some sudden sickness, as three weeks ago when the grizzled old Indian
fighter was in the city to meet state historian, Thomas Farish he looked
well and hearty. Some of his friends thought last evening,he might have
been suddenly stricken with pneumonia.
receipt of the dispatch at the Orndorff Hotel Mr. Morajeska, accompanied
by Arturo Carillo, undertaker of the Tucson Undertaking Co., left for the
ranch to prepare the body for burial. The remains will be brought back
to the city, and the funeral will be held later under the auspices of the
Arizona Pioneer Society of which Capt. Jeffords was a member.
news of the death of the veteran Arizonian caused universal regret among
his many friends and comrades of earlier days, when it became known last
evening that he had died at the ranch. Although of late years he had been
much of a recluse, still his friends had never forgotten him and many had
seen him on his last two or three visits during the past few months.
else Captain Jeffords will be remembered by perhaps the most interesting
feature of his western life was his long and steadfast friendship for the
great Apache Chief, Cochise. The two were "blood brothers", made so by
the mystic ceremony of the intermingling and supping of blood from each
Died with Him
sacred friendship, Captain Jeffords never violated and he remained in the
confidence of the famous Apache warrior until the day of Cochise's death.
Captain Jeffords was the only white man entrusted with the mysterious secret
of the exact location of the great chief's grave, and to his dying day
he never revealed it, and when his life ebbed the secret died with him.
a pledge of his friendship and affection the great chief presented Captain
Jeffords with a double barrel shot gun which he prized and valued just
as he would an arm or a leg as he said and in his will he bequested the
historic weapon to Morajeska, his friend and neighbor of late years and
his executor. He has one brother, John Jeffords, now in the Soldier's Home
at Sawtelle, near Los Angeles. The entire property left by Captain Jeffords,
consisting of the Owl Head Ranch, and personal property, valued at less
than $2000 is left to his brother. No other near relatives are known.
Who Knew Him.
Jeffords was known intimately to such pioneers now living as Sidney DeLong,
John Magee, Samuel Hughes, Bob Leatherwood, Al Bernard, Governor L. C.
Hughes and H. Harrison. Much information about his history and experience
was given last evening by the two latter men.
Jeffords was born in New York State in 1831, and left home when but a lad
for the West. He became a river man on the Mississippi steamboat, running
from New Orleans to the Upper Mississippi. He obtained his title of Captain
in that position.
next became a military messenger of the United States Army and was sent
to New Mexico for duty in 1859. Hs saw service in the Civil War in the
fight made by the Union Troops under General Canby against the invading
Texas rangers, and was at the battle of Apache Pass near Santa Fe, when
the invaders were finally routed. Following the civil war, Captain Joffords
became a trader with the Apache Indians in western New Mexico and Arizona.
In the year 1871 he succeeded in earning the reward of $2000 offerred by
General Crook by bringing the great chief of Cochise, into camp to treat
1871 when General Howard came to Arizona to make a permanent treaty with
Cochise and the Apaches, Captain Jeffords was the confident of the Howard
and Cochise, and was instrumental in bringing the two together.
treaty was finally broken it is claimed, by the United States government
in 1876 after the death of Cochise. Up to this time Captain Jeffords had
been appointed Indian Agent for the Apaches through the influence of General
Howard and remained until the breach between the Indians and the government
in 1876 when he resigned his position.
General Miles took command of the forces for his campaign against Geronimo
in 1886, he enlisted the services of Jeffords, and he served for some time
in that campaign as a messenger and courier. For three years in the early
90's he was post trader at Fort Huachuca. Later he retired to the seclusion
of his ranch, at Owl's head, about 35 miles north of Tucson, and has not
been seen much of by his friends.
historic winning of the $2000 reward prize, offered by General Crook for
the bringing in of Cochise in 1871 by Capt. Jeffords was related last evening
by H. Harrison the well known mining man, who opened the first mines at
Magdalena. Mr. Harrison was at that time trader at Fort MeRea near Canonada
Alamosa, about 100 wiles west of Socorro, N. M. He knew Capt, Jeffords
well, having first met him in 1868.
Indians had been ordered to come in to Canonada Alamosa, and many had obeyed
but Coehise had stayed out. Crook offered a prize of $2000 to any one who
could bring Cochise in.
night while sleeping Harrison was wakened by Jeffords and the two in company
with several others made the trip to the camp of Cochise. Here Jeffords
persuaded Cochise to come in, promising that there were no soldiers in
Canonada Alamosa. Cochise agreed, but when they neared the place saw soldiers,
which had come in later. Cochise expected treachery and placed Harrison
and Jeffords as hostages under guard, but after a peace parley at Canonada
Alamosa, the matter was settled and peace made. It illustrated the great
power of the Indians that Capt. Jeffords possessed, Mr. Harrison stated
last evening. Mr. Harrison also had an experience a year later when Apache
Indians with passes from Jeffords, then agent at Apache Pass in Arizona,
raided his ranch near Fort Baird, and killed his partner and several others.
These experiences he often talked over with Capt. Jeffords in later years
Jeffords was six feet two inches and straight as an arrow. His hair was
brown and his eyes blue. He generally was smooth shaven. He was very quiet
and dressed usually in civilian dress, except then he wore Indian costume.
He was absolutely without fear," Governor Hughes stated last evening, "and
his word was never broken. He was like an Indian in this respect and when
he once gave his word it was law."
was a bachelor, never marrying. So gambled much in the early days, and
often lost large sums of money, made by trading with the Indains. He was
of a very jovial disposition and kept up his good nature to his old age.
In his death Arizona has lost one of its most unique characters, and one
who is in a modest way contributed materially to the events of the early
history of the state.
Funeral Will be held Today. Arizona Pioneer Association Will have Charge
of Obsequies.The funeral of Captain Thomas Jefferson Jeffords will be held
from the rooms of the Arizona Pioneer Historical Society 200 West Congress
Street, at 2 o'clock this afternoon. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery.
to a late hour last evening, efforts to get in communication with his brother
John Jeffords, at Sswtelle, Calif., at the Soldier's Home at that place
were unavailing. The remains of the aged pioneer were brought to Tucson
yesterday noon by Arturo Carillo and Victor Marajeska, his friend and executor.
Captain Jeffords had been sick for four or five days before his death and
his death was said to be due to old age. One man was with him. Arrangements
for the funeral have been made by John Magee, Secretary of the Pioneer
Society. He selected as pall bearers the following: W. P. B. Field, Mose
Kelley, E. O. Stratton, Edward Vail, Gabriels Angulo and Charles Bent.
honorary pallbearers are Sam Hughes, E. N. Fish, Sidney R. DeLong, George
W. Oaks, Frank H. Hereford and A. B. Sampson.
evening secretary Magee issued the following official statement:
funeral of Capt. T. J. Jeffords will be held at the rooms of the Arizona
Pioneer Historical Society 200 West Congress Street at 2 o'clock p.m. Saturday,
the 21st of February. All members are requested to be present, to pay their
last tribute to our worthy vice president and brother."