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Thread: The sad story of Alfred Hand and Apache May

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    Sunrise's Avatar
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    Default The sad story of Alfred Hand and Apache May

    This story begins in the Cave Creek area of Arizona's Chiricahua Mountains.
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    While wandering about the area I located the grave of Alfred Hands.
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    Wondering about the grave, I did a bit of research and found the following:

    Alfred was the youngest of three Hands brothers, they each had a cabin along Cave Creek. Alfred kept a silk election poster hung on the wall for decoration in his humble abode. In early april of 1896, Alfred was left alone in his cabin, his brothers having gone to Pearce for whatever reason. Alfred was 21, college educated and "paralytic from youth" according to one newspaper account. He was working on a Calculus equation on his slate when he decided to set the slate aside and tend to the goats they kept there. Alfred had the unfortunate luck to encounter a band of 5-7 Apaches with murder on their minds. According to accounts of them that found him, he was cut into pieces.

    The Apaches surrendered for the last time in nearby Skeleton Canyon, in 1886, ten years before Alfred's killing. This band were probably from the group of hidden Apaches living and raiding from their strongholds in the Sierra Madres Mountains of Northern Mexico. It is likely they killed him in retaliation for the death of one of their own. I can't think of any other reason for killing the harmless young Mr. Hands. Like I say, it's a sad story.

    A week later, on the 29th, Lt. Rice followed the trail where it crossed into Mexico near John Slaughter's ranch. Slaughter was retired from his two terms as Sheriff of Cochise County. Being an excellent tracker, Slaughter went with the soldiers into Mexico in early May. They encountered the hostiles and had a gun battle. The Apaches fled their camp, leaving behind one of their infants and all the supplies they had except for whatever weapons they were carrying.
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    John Slaughter

    Slaughter adopted the infant and named her Apache May. When he found her, she was wearing a dress made from the silk poster in Alfred's cabin and a bodice taken from from one Elizabeth Merrit, killed about a month before Alfred. The dress and bodice are now kept amongst the treasures at the Arizona Historical Society. The slate, with the equation still on it is in private hands.
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    Here is a photo by famous photographer C. S. Fly, of Slaughter's wife, Viola, with Apache May in the carrier.
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    Apache May took to her new home at Slaughter's ranch and by all accounts, was happy and loved by her adopted family. Unfortunatly, Apache May only spent two more years with them. She and another child were playing near a fire used to boil lye in a huge kettle when she fell or was pushed into the fire. Her clothing caught fire and she dies a day or two later.
    Last edited by Sunrise; 10-17-2011 at 04:05 PM.
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    The other two Hands brothers lived and died in the Chiricahua Mountains.
    Edward was buried in Portal next to a small museum built to his memory. He died in 1939.
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    Frank dies in 1936 and was buried along side of his wife in Pinery Canyon.

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    Most of my research was found in the old newspapers on line at the Library of Congress website. It is interesting to read the accounts as the reporters scattered the blame of poor Alfred's death upon whatever entity they most disliked, including, amongst others, the closing of Fort Bowie, the Apache Kid, and the reservation system in general.

    Here is a link to the research material:
    http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/se...archType=basic
    Last edited by Sunrise; 10-17-2011 at 04:04 PM.
    “You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”http://thinkexist.com/i/sq/as4.gif Teilhard de Chardin quote

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    Awesome pictures and a great read. Thanx for sharing.

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    I agree...great post Sunrise...thank you!

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    Many thanks for another interesting historical post........ Or is it an interesting post about history?

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    I think the latter, but than again...

    I searched for any ruins of the Hands cabin, all I found was this two-seater.

    Why two seats???
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    “You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”http://thinkexist.com/i/sq/as4.gif Teilhard de Chardin quote

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    Really nice post, thanks......Speedy

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    This is a very human footnote on a rough Arizona history. The Slaughter ranch is a great visit & a blast into the past. Good God it is a beautiful place!
    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

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    Great story, thanks for doing all the leg work for us
    "I have a .44 and a shovel, I'm sure no one's gonna miss you" - Virginia City, NV

    http://community.webshots.com/user/GBodell

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    No one had it easy back in the day, that's for sure, but Slaughter and his wife sure picked a Jewel of a place to build their ranch. Apache May is buried there but which grave is her's has been lost to time. I just finished a bio on Slaughter and his poker games with whatever visitors were at hand seemed to be his favorite form of social interaction. I'm sure he was as cunning and tenacious at cards as he was tracking outlaws.
    “You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”http://thinkexist.com/i/sq/as4.gif Teilhard de Chardin quote

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