wives and burial place of Geronimo
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wives and burial place of Geronimo
Geronimo is often credited as being the last Apache war chief. However, Geronimo was a medicine man and not a chief of the Apache. His visions made him indispensable to the Apache chiefs and gave him a position of prominence with the Apache. Many say Geronimo had magical powers. It's said he was a clarivoyant, could see into the future, walk without creating footprints, and he could prevent dawn from rising to protect his people. He was just one of several leaders on that last Apache bid for freedom. He is best known because his name was attached to many newspaper stories about the pursuit of the Apaches at that time, so his became a household name. Geronimo and his band evaded the US Army for more than 25 years.
Born in No-doyohn Canon, Arizona on June 16, 1829, Geronimo was the son of Tablishim and Juana of the Bedonkohe band of the Apache and was raised along the Gila River. Geronimo's childhood Apache name was Goyathlay, which means "One Who Yawns." It was later in life that he became known as Geronimo.
How he came to be called Geronimo
In 1850 while he was away, Mexican soldiers raided his village, killing fifty people and selling 100 survivors into slavery. Among the dead were Alope, his wife, his three children, and his mother. This became known as the massacre of Kaskiyeh. Geronimo's father had died when he was a small boy, so now his entire family was dead.
Geronimo then spent several years seeking revenge on the Mexican army for his family. He participated in numerous raids into northern Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona. During this time, he had a dream that he could not be killed by a bullet. He was so fearless that at one point, he charged an entire army, armed with only a knife. But no matter how many bullets were shot at him, he was not hit. He was so fierce in battle that the mexican soldiers cried to St. Jerome for mercy. So that's how Goyathlay became known as "Geronimo."
The War Years
In 1883 Geronimo's band surrendered to the US Army and were taken to the reservation at San Carlos, Arizona. The land was very hot and there was little water to drink on this land the Apache's referred to as "Hell's Forty Acres." On May 17, 1885, Geronimo and his starving followers fled towards Mexico. The group included thirty-five men, eight boys, and 101 women and children.
For nearly sixteen months, over five thousand Army soldiers, 500 indian scouts, and numerous civilians chased them in an area roughly the size of Illinois and comprising some of the roughest desert and mountain terrain in North America. In that time they killed seventy-five citizens of the United States, twelve White Mountain Apaches, two commissioned officers and eight soldiers of the regular Army, an unknown number of Mexicans, and stole 200 horses. Geronimo's Apaches lost six men, two boys, two women and one child.
On March 27,1886 Geronimo agreed to surrender on the condition that he and his followers would be returned to the San Carlos reservation after two years' exile. General Crook agreed, but President Cleveland and General Sheridan were infuriated, and informed Crook that the only conditions were unconditional surrender. So while the generals argued the point, on March 29, Geronimo, Nachite, and thirty-nine others bolted the encampment and fled for Mexico. On April 1, General Crook resigned his command and Brigadier General Nelson A. Miles took his place.
On September 3, 1886, Geronimo finally surrendered for the last time to Lt. Gatewood at Skeleton Canyon on what is now the Arizona - New Mexico border. On September 8, they were shipped in open cattle cars by train to St. Augustine, Florida. It would be years before they were returned to their last home at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Geronimo in the Captive Years
All of Geronimo's band was to be sent to Fort Marion in St. Augustine. However, a few business leaders in Pensacola, Florida petitioned the government to have Geronimo himself sent to Fort Pickens, which is part of the 'Gulf Islands National Seashore'. They claimed that Geronimo and his men would be better guarded at Fort Pickens than at the overcrowded Fort Marion. They were not allowed to take their families with them.
However, an editorial in a local newspaper congratulated a congressman for bringing such a great tourist attraction to the city. Ft. Pickens became a famous tourist attraction when Geronimo and his band of Apachees were held there from 1886-1888. In one day he had over 459 visitors with an average of 20 a day during the duration of his captivity at Fort Pickens.
Eventually the families of Geronimo's band were returned to them at Fort Pickens, but they weren't reunited until May 1887, shortly before they were transferred to Mount Vernon Barracks in Alabama for five years. One of Geronimo's wives died while they were imprisoned at Fort Pickens, and she is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery.
Fort Pickens was restored and opened as a tourist attraction in the 1970's. There have been numerous reports of paranormal activity in and around the fort, including sightings of ghostly shapes, the sound of screams, shovels digging, and footsteps, orbs on photographs, and the draining of electrical power from devices like camera batteries and recording equipment.
After a further period in prison in Alabama, in October 1894, Geronimo and 341 Apache prisoners of war were sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma and reunited with what remained of their families. Geronimo was placed under military confinement at Fort Sill, where he settled down, adopted Christianity, and became a prosperous farmer.
He lived until 1909, becoming a public figure and national celebrity in his old age. He appeared at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 where, according to his own accounts, he made a great deal of money signing autographs and pictures. He speaks of soldiers inviting him into a "little house" and being scared to find himself suddenly up in the air (a Ferris wheel ride) and of "little brown people" the U.S. government had captured from some Island who were forced to put on a show (Philippines). He did not think they could play music or dance. In 1905 Geronimo rode in Theodore Roosevelt's inagural parade.
The captivity of the Chiricahuas ended in 1913.
Geronimo's father was Taklishim - "The Gray One", the son of Chief Mahko of the Be-don-ko-he Apache tribe. His Mother, although a full-blood Apache, had the Spanish name, Juana. Geronimo said he had three brothers and four sisters, but as far as is known only one of these was an actual sister, all the others being cousins. There is no word in the Apache language to distinguish cousins from siblings. All seven of these "brothers" and "sisters" of Geronimo can be traced, and among his "nephews", who in their turn were sometimes called his "brothers", were his most trusted warriors.
Wives and children of Geronimo
Geronimo had many wives, but not all at the same time. Most of his wives and children were killed young in various raids or died young from illnesses, and he divorced at least one. According to his own story, he always had at least two at one time, except for right after his divorce. At one point he had three wives at the same time.
Because his wives were known by both their Apache names and English names, and the Apache names are often misspelled, it's difficult to determine the exact order and overlapping of his marriages. There wasn't a lot of detail recorded about many of his wives. It's generally agreed that he had at least six wives, and possibly as many as nine.
Alope, his first wife, who was Chiricahuas Apache of the Nednai band, was said to have been the great love of his life, whom he mourned until the day he died. She and their three children were killed at the massacre of Kaskiyeh, as well as his mother.
After she was killed, he married Chee-hash-kish and had two children, Chappo (son) and Dohn-say (daughter), then he took a second wife,Nana-tha-thtith with whom he had one child. Dohn-say had a daughter named Nina Dahkeyah.
He later had a wife named Zi-yeh who had a daughter named Eva and a son named Fenton. At the same time he had another wife, named Taz-ays-slath who had one son, and a wife named Shtsha-she.
Geronimo had a wife named Marionetta (Early Morning) who had a child named Little Robe,who died and was buried at Fort Bowie.
Later he had two more wives, one named She-gha or Sha-gha who had a daughter, and one named Ih-tedda, whom he had captured in a raid. When he and his band were captured, he kept his wife Zi-yeh but not the younger wife, Ih-tedda because white society said he could only have one wife. However, Geronimo and Zi-yeh continued to share separate rooms in the same house with Ih-tedda.
Ih-tedda, also known as Kate Cross-Eyes, had one daughter Lenna (also known as Marion), and a son named Robert. Ih-tedda died in her nineties in Mescalero, New Mexico, and was the last of his wives to die.
Geronimo had a wife named Francisco or Francesca, who some say was the same as one of the women named by their Apache name above. She had a battle with a mountain lion who ripped off her scalp and part of her face, but she fought it off and killed it with a knife. Two other women with her at the time of the attack replaced her scalp and she survived, but was scarred for life. It's said she thought no one would marry her because of the way she looked, but Geronimo believed she should have a good husband because she was "the bravest of all Apache women," so he married her. I could find no other mention of her, except that she died in 1892 and her grave is at Fort Sill, but it is set off away from other family members and bears the simple inscription, "Francisco, an Apache woman," with no reference to Geronimo as her husband.
Geronimo’s last wife was Azul, who he married in 1906, just three years before his death.
The last of Geronimo's children, a daughter, was born the year he surrendered to General Crook. She was taken from him and never knew her parents. Named Ruth, she was raised by a wealthy white family named Hill from El Paso, Texas and later married Clarence Wadsworth. She died in December 1973. There's more to her story at the link below.
Living decendants of Geronimo
He has a great-grandson, Harlyn Geronimo living in Mescalero, New Mexico. His great-grandmother Kate was one of Geronimo's wives and died in 1954 when he was seven. Harlyn is an actor and sculptor.
Actress Carolyn Jones, who portrayed Morticia in the TV series, The Adams Family, was widely reported as 1/8th Apache, and a decendent of Geronimo. I asked the late actress’s sister, Bette Jones Moriarty, about that claim, which she dismisses as a Hollywood "publicity stunt."
Harlyn Geronimo, great-grandson of Geronimo, also finds the claim doubtful. "As far as I am concerned, my immediate family and I are his only descendants," he said.
Where is Geronimo buried?
On February 17, 1909, Geronimo grew ill and after 23 years in captivity, died of pneumonia. He was 83 years old. He was never able to return home to Arizona. Geronimo was buried in the Fort Sill Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery. Eight exhibit buildings including Geronimo's guardhouse and the graves of Geronimo and other Indian Chiefs can be found at the Fort Sill Museum today.
Some legends say his people dug up his body that night and reburied him in a hidden gravesite in the Chiricahuas Mountains. This story circulated for many years.
However, there is another, more sinister story.
The Skull and Bones Society
In the mid 1980s some shocking documents surfaced that were reported to be from a secret society at Yale University called the Skull and Bones. Skull and Bones was founded by William H. Russell in 1832, more than a decade before Texas joined the union.
Members of this elite Yale University society are said to include some of the most powerful men of the 20th century, including presidents, presidential cabinet officers, spies, Supreme Court justices, captains of industry, a social and political network like no other.
This elite club/society of bone-collectors includes both Presidents Bush, President Taft, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, numerous members of Congress, media leaders, Wall Street financiers, the scions of wealthy families and officers in the CIA. Members have served as senators, secretaries of state, national security advisors, attorneys general, CIA directors and Supreme Court justices. They have also become presidents of universities, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, foundation presidents and founders of investment banks, and media mogels.
Skull and Bones has been dominated by about two dozen of the country’s most prominent families: Bush, Bundy, Harriman, Lord, Phelps, Rockefeller, Taft, and Whitney to name a few.
Society members dominate financial institutions such as J. P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and Brown Brothers Harriman, where at one time more than a third of the partners were Bonesmen. Through these companies, Skull and Bones provided financial backing to Adolf Hitler because the society then followed a Nazi-and now follows a neo-Nazi—doctrine. At least a dozen Bonesmen have been linked to the Federal Reserve, including the first chairman of the New York Federal Reserve. Skull and Bones members control the wealth of the Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford families.
The Skull and Bones logbook pertaining to Geronimo
A page from the society's logbook, which was reported to have been smuggled out of this society (which has since mysteriously disappeared) was reported to have detailed how Prescott Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, and a band of six other Bonesmen, robbed the grave of Geronimo in 1918, taking his skull, femur bones and a silver bridle off his horse. There was a grizzly tale in great detail documenting how they used acid to melt the flesh off the skull, which is purported to be displayed in a glass case along with the femur bones, alongside a picture of Geronimo and the bridle inside their secred meeting place at Yale University called The Tombs.
American Indians are petitioning Congress to investigate the elite Skull and Bones society at Yale University and return the remains of Chiricahua Apache warrior Geronimo to the Apaches for reburial. There is an online petition you can sign (see link below).
"Using acid and amid laughter, they stripped Geronimo's head of hair and flesh. They then took their 'trophies' back to Yale University and put them on display in the clubhouse of the secret fraternity "Skull and Bones," states the petition.
Outraged American Indian tribal members from across the nation and indigenous people from around the world are signing the petition with plans to pressure Congress to act.
Apache leaders want Geronimo to be buried, as he requested, in tribal lands in the mountains of San Carlos.
Raleigh Thompson, who served as San Carlos Apache tribal councilman for 16 years, told Indian Country Today that he was among the Apache tribal leaders with whom Skull and Bones officials met in New York in a series of meetings beginning in 1986. He said the society, of which President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are members, admitted that it held Geronimo's remains.
"Geronimo left his rifle and peace pipe here when they took him away," Thompson said. "When Geronimo was taken from this land, he wanted to come back and be buried on San Carlos in the Triplet Mountains."
Skull and Bones representatives admitted to San Carlos Apache leaders almost 20 years ago that it was in possession of a skull it called Geronimo's in its secret "museum" in New Haven, Connecticut.
San Carlos Apache Chairman Ned Anderson and tribal attorney Joe Sparks were also members of the Apache delegation that met with the society in New York. Anderson and Thompson said the delegation met with Skull and Bones officials including Jonathan Bush, brother of George H.W. Bush.
Thompson said Prescott Bush was among a group of six Army soldiers who dug up Geronimo's remains at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1918. The San Carlos Apache Tribe received a copy of a logbook describing the grave robbing and a photograph of a skull on display before meeting with the board in New York.
Thompson said the society attempted to return a skull - that of a child - which the Apache delegation rejected. Skull and Bones members subsequently threatened legal action if the photograph were not returned.
Attorney Endicott Davison, representing Skull and Bones, denied that the society had Geronimo's skull. He claimed the logbook was a hoax.
Alexandra Robbins, a former staff member of The New Yorker magazine and author of "Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League and the Hidden Paths of Power," told Indian Country Today that her research supports the Apache leaders' statements. Robbins believes that Geronimo's skull is in the society's tomb.
In a letter discovered by the Yale historian Marc Wortman and published in the Yale Alumni Magazine in 2006, society member Winter Mead wrote to F. Trubee Davison:
"The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club... is now safe inside the tomb, together with his well worn femurs, bit and saddle horn."
This prompted Geronimo's great-grandson, Harlyn Geronimo of Mescalero, New Mexico, to write to President Bush requesting his help in returning the remains. He did not get a response.
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