News Column

Tucson in 100 Objects -- Geronimo's rifle

May 30, 2014

By Tom Beal, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

May 30--We're defining Tucson in 100 objects. The daily series began April 20. Follow along at:

Geronimo's ultimate surrender in 1886 ended the fear of Apache raids that had kept Tucsonans close to their fortified homes for more than a century.

Geronimo actually turned himself in several times. This rifle is the one he gave Indian agent John Clum on one such occasion on April 21, 1877.

It was donated by Clum's family to the Arizona Historical Society and is part of the Geronimo exhibit at the society's Tucson museum, 949 E. Second St.

Geronimo's return to the San Carlos Indian Reservation with Clum was short-lived.

He and a small band of Chiricahua Apaches managed to escape and elude capture again and again.

You can measure the importance of his final surrender by the forces allayed against him.

Gen. Nelson Miles commanded 5,000 troops -- 25 percent of the U.S. Army -- in the final campaign to capture Geronimo, Chief Naiche and 40 other Chiricahua Apaches.

Their surrender to Miles' troops in a canyon near the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 4, 1886, marked the end of Apache raids.

It ended two centuries of conflict between the raiding Apaches and the Indian tribes, Spaniards, Mexicans and Americans who lived in the region.

It was the cause of great celebration in Tucson, which held a parade and hosted a banquet saluting Miles and his troops.

Contact reporter Tom Beal at or 573-4158.


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Source: Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)

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