The Apache Kid

Written by on November 6, 2013 in Southwest Characters - Comments Off on The Apache Kid

The Apache Kid was said to be a notorious outlaw throughout the Old West. His legend makes him out to be the fiercest Apache next to Geronimo.

Born in the 1860s on the San Carlos Indian Reservation, Haskay-bay-nay-ntayl (“the tall man destined to come to a mysterious end,”) was most likely a White Mountain Apache. His name was too long for the citizens of Globe, Arizona, who simply called him Kid. He worked odd jobs on the streets of Globe for a few years.

At that time, the U.S. Military and the settlers were in nearly constant battles with the Apache. General George Crook came up with the idea of using Apache to fight Apache and recruited members of the San Carlos Reservation into the program. The Kid turned out to be an exceptional scout and he was promoted to a sergeant in the U.S. Calvary in 1882. He then accompanied General Crook on an expedition into the Sierra Madre Occidental, and worked assignments in Arizona and Mexico for several years.

Then trouble struck. While the officers were away from the post, the Kid and other Native American scouts decided to brew some homemade hooch. During the drinking, several scouts became intoxicated and the Kid’s father was killed. The kid’s friends killed his murderer, but that wasn’t enough for the Kid, who also killed the murderer’s brother.

When the officers returned, they confronted the scouts and ordered them to disarm and submit to an investigation of the incident. The Kid was the first to comply, but then a shot was fired from the crowd and all hell broke loose. The watching crowd panicked, more gunshots were fired, and during the confusion, the Apache Kid and several others fled.

The Army pursued them immediately. The Kid evaded capture for a long time with the help of sympathetic Apaches. However, he sent word to the Army that is the soldiers were recalled, he would surrender. The Army complied and he and four others surrendered and were found guilty of mutiny and desertion and sentenced to death by firing squad — a sentence that was remanded to life in prison and then further reduced to 10 years in prison.

The five were sent to Alcatraz, where they remained until their convictions were overturned a year later. However, the Apaches were enraged and new warrants were issued for his arrest. The Kid and his cohorts were once again captured, sentenced to seven years in prison and transported to Yuma Territorial Prison. In short order, the Kid and his gang escaped, overpowering three guards and killing two of them. They disappeared into a blinding snowstorm.

Over the next few years, the Apache Kid was said to have led a small band of renegade Apache followers — a band that raped, murdered, raided ranches and freight lines and generally caused havoc throughout New Mexico, Arizona and Northern Mexico. His hideout was said to be in the Mexican Sierra Madre Mountains. Still other reports say that he became a lone wolf who despised the tribe that had turned on him. And other legends state that he kidnapped Apache women, and then killed them when he tired of them.

In fact, it is most likely the Apache Kid simply disappeared and lived a quiet life because there was no proof linked him to any of these crimes. But he was an easy scapegoat and over the passing years, his legend grew to huge proportions.

Eventually, a price of $5,000 was placed on his head by the Arizona Territorial Legislature. No one ever claimed the reward and no one knows what truly happened to the Apache Kid once he escaped from Yuma.

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