Apache Life at Fort Sill

In later years at Fort Sill, the POWs built houses, farmed, and raised cattle.

“About one year ago the Apache Prisoners were all transferred to Fort Sill, and in every respect their condition is greatly improved. The climate is dry and salubrious. They have, or will, as soon as a few more are erected, comfortable houses, one for each of the 70 odd families in groups of 4 to 6, on the Military Reservation, scattered over many miles’ extent of the beautiful hill and valley country, west of the post. The soil is fertile, promising good crops of corn, especially of the South African variety, which has recently been introduced with marked success in the semi-arid regions of the West…. A herd of 500 cattle (has) been purchased for their use, and they are daily herded by the Indians on excellent ranges near the post….

“They have now a promising future, but must be guarded and controlled by the military for a year or two more, or until all danger of their outbreak is passed, and the adjacent population is convinced of this immunity from danger….”  (Captain Marion Maus, report to the War Department, December 23, 1895. Quoted in Stockel 2004:111.)

Prominent Chiricahua men joined Fort Sill’s Indian Troop L of the 7th Calvary. Twelve of them were made leaders of the scattered Apache villages.

Chiricahua Apache people still grieved over missing children.

“With earnest entreaties, and every prayer that an Indian can utter, they beg of you to do all in your power to have their children returned to them.”  George Wratten, Interpreter, to General Hugh Lennox Scott, July 25, 1895. Quoted in Stockel 1993:206.)

“Of course we do not want our children to go away from us, but we have been here (as POWs) long enough to know that when you say the children are going to school in four days, they are going to go, and there is no use to talk about it.”  (Chihuahua, Chiricahua Apache POW, to General Hugh Lennox Scott. In Wratten File, p. 645. Quoted in Skinner 1987:398.)

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