October 7, 2014

“The Cibicu Affair.”

“Lawless Character of the Blood Thirsty Cibicus.”

“Globe Silver Belt:  The actual casualties and losses arising from Indian depredations and conflicts between citizens and Indians are less harmful to the good name and interests of Arizona than are the many exaggerated, and ofttimes [sic] false, reports which emanate from press correspondents and, not infrequently from official sources.  The propensity of the irresponsible correspondent to draw the long bow is so well understood that his alarming statements are usually discounted. The case is different, however, with dispatches bearing the stamp of official authority, for the public has a right to expect reliable information, whereas dispatches from military sources often convey a wrong impression without any intention of being unfair, perhaps.

“Press dispatches of December 12 announce the receipt at the war department, Washington, D. C., and by Adjutant General Ward, at Denver, of telegrams sent by the command officer at Fort Apache, in reference to the killing of the Indian on Cibicu creek, December 5, which, to say the least, contained many inaccuracies and, b asserting that the man who killed the Indian, and two others of the posse, gave themselves up for trial on the charge of killing the Indian, leaves the impression that the officers had committed a criminal act, which is wholly at variance with the facts.

“Deputy Sheriff Benbrook and his three companions were sworn officers, bearing a warrant for the arrest of two Indians regularly indicted by the grand jury of Gila county, on the charge of burglary, and their right to enter the reservation and make the arrest can not be questioned.  They went to Cibicu peaceably, and explained the object of their visit through an interpreter, and, even after the Indians opposed the arrest of the guilty parties the officers attempted to withdraw quietly, without their prisoners, but were prevented by the overt acts of the Indians.  Deputy Voris shot the Indian in self defense, when the latter was in the act of wresting his guy from him, and not until one of the band fired upon the posse.  It was then only a question of self-preservation with the officers, and their escape from a band of forty or fifty murderous Apaches was miraculous.

“The evidence again[s]t the two Indians for whom the officers held the warrants is positive, and the burglary is not denied.  They were caught in the act, with their arms full of plunder.  They had left their guns with their horses, and were surprised by Frank Ketcherside in his cabin, who, with six-shooter in hand, compelled them to disgorge.  Had he killed them then and then [sic] he would have been justified and any jury would have exonerated him.

“The residents of Pleasant [V]alley and vicinity have been wonderfully forbearing with the Cibicu Indians, who have preyed upon the settlers for years, robbing ranches, in the absence of the occupants, and killing citizens’ cattle whenever they wanted meat.  So flagrant have these depredations grown that the business of stockraising in northern Gila county has been practically ruined.  To illustrate how extensive the stealing of cattle by the Cibicu Indians has become:  When Deputy Benbrook and posse were on their way to Cibicu they struck the fresh trail of fifteen or twenty head of cattle which they followed into the Indians’ camp, and the packer with Lieutenant Fenton’s command informed Frank Ketcherside that when they arrived at the Indian’s camp he saw cattle there of the ‘flying V’ brand, going to show the cattle from the vicinity of the Vosburg ranch.

“The recent trouble on Cibicu will not be amiss if it serves to bring to an issue the arrant lawlessness of the White Mountain Apaches. 

The last of the newspaper transcriptions for this incident.  See http://tinyurl.com/oepozyg and http://tw.gs/XYT4CV for context.

Next:  John William Voris and Family

Source: Arizona Republican. (Phoenix, Ariz.), 25 Dec. 1895, Page 8, Col. 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020558/1895-12-25/ed-1/seq-8/>

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