Victorio's Last Stand LbNA # 57058
|Placed Date||Feb 24 2011|
The Apache migrated to Texas from Canada, arriving in the Texas panhandle region sometime around 1528. We know this because in 1541 the Pecos Pueblo people told the Spanish explorer Coronado about "the new people" who had moved into the region just to the east of Pecos. At first the Apache farmed on the south plains. They probably were semi-sedentary. This means they would farm and stay in one place part of the year. When the crops were in they would switch to a nomadic lifestyle and hunt and gather for food. They farmed corn, beans and squash like the other Indians around them. In fact, they probably learned to farm and got their first corn from the Pueblo Indians. This was before they got the horse. When the horse arrived with the Spanish all this changed. Now Indian hunters on fast horses could zoom in on the buffalo and chase them. If the buffalo charged them they could ride away and escape. Hunters with horses could also follow herds for several days and travel long distances to find herds. All this means that hunting buffalo became an easier way to get food than farming. So the Apache quit farming and became nomadic hunter gatherers. The Apache kept spreading farther south until they occupied the Texas Hill Country. This is where the second wave of Spanish explorers found them in the 1700s. Around 1700 the Comanche came south along the same route the Apaches had followed years before. The Comanche were fierce warriors and chased everyone but the Kiowa out of the whole panhandle-south plains region. The Apache were pushed south. By around 1740 the Comanche occupied the same regions the Apache had occupied only a few years before. The Apache were forced south and west, and eventually, out of Texas by the westward push of European settlers. But the Apache made one last stand, and it was the army’s last Indian campaign in Texas. In August, 1879, the Warm Springs Apache leader Victorio and some of his followers left the Mescalero reservation at Fort Stanton, New Mexico and, in September, attacked a company of the 9th Cavalry in New Mexico, killing 8 troopers and stealing 46 horses. In the next week, the Apaches killed 9 civilians and spent the next 9 months in deadly raids on both sides of the border before heading into the Davis Mountains of Texas. The U. S. Cavalry sent troops to defend every known water supply. They found Victorio’s band at a water hole called Tinaja de las Palmas. Three companies of reinforcements helped turn back the Apaches after a four-hour battle. Seven days later, four companies of the 10th Cavalry blocked Victorio’s access to the water at Rattlesnake Springs. After retiring to the mountains, the Apaches attacked an army supply train, but were driven back by a company of the 24th Infantry and a detachment of cavalry. Denied passage through Texas and low on food and water, Victorio withdrew across the Rio Grande to find refuge in Mexico. Two months later he was cornered by Mexican soldiers who killed him and most of his band. The army did not mount another major campaign against Indians in Texas.
This letterbox is located at Fort Parker State Park in Limestone County, Texas, about halfway between Groesbeck and Mexia.
To the box:
Stop at the headquarters and pay your fee and get a trail map. Go to the barracks area and find the ball field. Park at the trailhead for Springfield Trail, which is down the right field line. Take the trail until you come to a small wooden footbridge. Turn around and take 15 steps back the way you came. To the right, about 10 steps off trail, is a large bur oak. You'll find the box at the back base under leaves and rocks.