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Greater Arizona « Ted's Polish-Mexican Page

Fort Buchanan

Categories: Greater Arizona
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Published on: August 4, 2014

Fort BuchananA while back I took an impromptu drive down South to Fort Buchanan. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s because it hasn’t been active for well over a century and a half. It was founded in the 1850’s as the United States cemented their claim to the Mesilla Strip, the chunk of land South of the Gila River acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.

The post was one of many in the area that was abandoned when the Civil War broke out in 1861 and Federal troops were called back East. It was re-occupied in 1865 by nine members of the California Cavalry under the command of a corporal named Michael Buckley.

On February 17, a party of surveyors were attacked by a party of Apache warriors. The surveyors tried to ride to the fort, which despite it not having walls would put a bit of adobe and wood between them and the bow and rifle fire that was raining in their direction.

They didn’t make it and all three surveyors were killed. The party of Apaches, which numbered about 75, turned their attention to the lightly defended post. The troops there were not ready, three had been sent on errands. In the ensuing battle, Corporal Buckley was wounded and one of his men was killed. Two Apaches were reportedly killed, and the fort was looted and burned. The troops retreated into the Santa Rita Mountains, and were relocated to Tubac and eventually Fort Crittenden a bit to the East.

The site of the fort is on private land, which I found out when I drove out there.

Fort Buchanan 2

I realized how close it was to the main highway, so I went about a quarter mile down and snapped this picture. The descriptions I had read of the fort said that is was in a clearing and, unfortunately for those who were trying to defend the place, under a hill that it could easily be attacked from.

Fort Buchanan 3

What can’t be seen in the photo is the rocky hill to the east. It is easy to imagine a small group, either Apaches or Confederates, able to fire down on the place.

I ran across this photo of the site from 1914, taken from an angle that I couldn’t get to.


By the way, that party of surveyors was two Anglos and a Hispanic. The Anglos were named William Wrightston and Gilbert Hopkins. They both were honored by having the highest peaks in the Santa Ritas named for them. The name of their Hispanic companion is lost to history.

Do zobaczenia. Hasta la proxima.

Memoriam and Frustration

Categories: Greater Arizona
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Published on: July 1, 2013

It’s times like this that I remember attending a meeting of the Pearce Fire District years ago. Around that time, there were some big brush fires in New Mexico and departments all over the Southwest were sending personnel. That included the small volunteer fire department in Pearce.

They were figuring out who would go, and got some volunteers. As the discussion wore on, they talked about how some of the equipment they had needed repair and replacement. I realized something: the guys they were sending were getting paid a small amount by whatever agency was managing the fire, and they were expected to put at least some of that money back into their local fire district.

These guys were putting their ass on the line so that their fire truck could get new breaks, maybe some safety or first aid equipment. They were willing to travel hundreds of miles to risk their lives just to make things in their town a little better.

The hotshot crew that died in Yarnell were pros, better trained and better paid than the guys I met in Pearce that night. Still, the same sacrifice.

Because I am always a cynic that finds fault, I am more than a bit perturbed to read the Twitter accounts of a few Arizona Republic reporters who are going on about how the Yarnell fire affects Phoenix politicos. The area is full of people who live and work there. Let’s tell their stories instead of seeing Northern Arizona as a playground for our capital’s ruling class.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Tweets of Old, Again

Categories: Greater Arizona
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Published on: January 16, 2013

My favorite Twitter feed is Tweets of Old, where comedienne Julia Stiles reprints “brevities” from old newspapers.

This weekend featured four tweets from turn of the century newspapers:

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Monster Story

Categories: Greater Arizona
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Published on: October 30, 2012

I figure it’s Halloween week, so here is a story that I think I related to a couple of friends in the last week or so. Is it true? I have no idea, but it was close enough to true to be published in the Tombstone Epitaph back on April 4th of 1890 (scan of story here).

Here it is:

A Strange Winged Monster Discovered and Killed on the Huachuca Desert

A winged monster, resembling a huge alligator with an extremely elongated tail and an immense pair of wings, was found on the desert between the Whetstone and Huachuca Mountains last Sunday by two ranchers who were returning home from the Huachucas.

The creature was evidently greatly exhausted by a long flight and when discovered was able to fly but a short distance at a time.

After the shock of wild amazement had passed, the two men, who were on horseback and armed with Winchester rifles, regained sufficient courage to pursue the monster and, after an exciting chase of several miles, succeeded in getting near enough to open fire with the rifles and wounding it.

The creature then turned on the men but, owing to its exhausted condition, they were able to keep out of its way and, after a few well-directed shots, the monster partly rolled over and remained motionless.

The men cautiously approached, their horses snorting with terror, and found that the creature was dead. They then proceeded to make an examination and found that it measured about ninety-two feet in length and the greatest diameter was about fifty inches. The monster had only two feet, these being situated a short distance in front of where the wings were joined to the body.

The head, as near as they could judge, was about eight feet long, the jaws being thickly set with strong, sharp teeth. Its eyes were as large as a dinner plate and they protuded about halfway from the head. They had some difficulty in measuring the wings as they were partly folded under the body, but finally got one straightened out sufficiently to get a measurement of seventy-eight feet, making the total length from tip to tip about 160 feet.

The wings were composed of a thick and nearly transparent membrane and were devoid of feathers or hair, as was the entire body. The skin of the body was comparatively smooth and easily penetrated by a bullet.

The men cut off a small portion of the tip of one wing and took it home with them. Late last night one of them arrived in this city for supplies and to make the necessary preparations to skin the creature, when the hide will be sent east for examination by the eminent scientists of the day.

The finder appeared early this morning, accompanied by several prominent men who will endeavor to bring the strange creature to this city before it is mutilated.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Catching Up and Missing Pima Burgers

Categories: Greater Arizona
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Published on: October 29, 2009

I haven’t posted in a while…then again, how many of you have been checking?

Made several trips up and down I-10 over the past few months. I was disappointed to find that the Indian Center near Tonopah has shut down. I never checked out the museum, but they had a restaurant there where they served “Pima Burgers.” These were regular old hamburgers, but with roasted green chilies. When I worked at the litigation support outfit and had to go back and forth to Phoenix often, I’d time my trips so that lunch or dinner time would coincide with being near that exit.

When I get to pick my last meal, the Pima Burger may eclipse the Sonoran Hot Dog. Heck, if I’m going to die anyway, why not both?

Now that exit just features a Shell station where you can get Noble Roman pizza. There is nothing noble nor Roman about it.

Two news stories: an American sailor took some potshots at a warehouse in Gdynia. And we wonder why folks in other countries have a low opinion of us.

I enjoyed this one too. Money quote: “He then searched the SUV, where he found a Viagra pill and several sex toys, items Corning said he always kept with him, ‘just in case,’ according to the report.” Yeah, don’t we all do that?

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

We Drive 300 Miles, and there is Al Foul

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Published on: August 18, 2009

Me and Caitlin were up in Flagstaff for a Democratic party meeting. We check the local weekly, and there it is: Al Foul was playing that night.

We joked that we drove 300 miles and now we are about to see a guy that we can probably see next week at the Surly Wench.

As we found out later, he will be playing the Wench on Saturday.

Anyhow, we spoke to him before the show and he talked about how much he loves playing in Flagstaff and how much he loves the venue, the Hotel Monte Vista. The Monte Vista, according to Al, was designed by the same architect as Hotel Congress.

He told us how good he feels about the shows he does at Monte Vista. I could see why. These folks in Flagstaff lionized him. During a break in his set, he was mobbed by adoring fans and some even got their pictures with him. It was a funny sight for me and Caitlin; I suppose we have gotten too used to seeing him.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

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