Here, There Be Dragoonsby John Scott on Jul. 26, 2012, under Uncategorized
In the late 1850’s, Arizona was kind of a confused territory. The US had just received a bunch of land from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase, there was a Civil War brewing, and Apache tribes were all riled up because no one was including them in the big picture.
“Hey, waddya think yer doin’ giving our land away? “–Maybe not an exact quote from Cochise.
In other words, if you were traveling through Arizona, most likely everyone you met would give you a different story about who owned the territory. Remember, there was no Internet, no texting, no 6 o’clock news. All information was word of mouth or an occasional newspaper from a larger town.
Dragoon Springs, not far from Benson, had a stagecoach station run by the Butterfield Overland Express Company. This humble little building would be the site of much violence over the next decade. During the building of it, three laborers attacked and killed some of the company employees. Maybe nobody could agree on the Gadsden Purchase. Ironically, a couple of years later the stage company ceased its operations in the area, and the building was abandoned. Today, ruins of the station still stand and have been preserved for our education and enjoyment.
The Dragoon Mountains were home to the famous Apache Chieftain, Cochise. You may know the area better as Cochise Stronghold. In 1862, a contingent of Confederate soldiers was gathering cattle near the abandoned stagecoach stop. They were besieged by a band of 100 Apache warriors who slaughtered four soldiers and chased the rest out. Cochise and his force confiscated the cattle. A few days later, the cow-loving Confederates attacked the Indians and took back their livestock. The remains of the four dead soldiers were buried near the station and are visible today.
The Second Annual Garlic Festival is being held this weekend at the Triangle T Ranch, located in Dragoon. There will be crafts, entertainment, horseback rides, games, and a farmer’s market. More importantly, they will host a garlic cooking competition (the winner will not be running the kissing booth later on). Proceeds from the festival go to support the Wounded Warrior Project.
Incidentally, the Triangle T actually has Old West roots. The land it’s on was the winter camp for the earlier mentioned Cochise and his Apache band. The owners of the ranch are dedicated to the history of the area, which I’m sure will be evident at the festival.
If you are looking for somewhere close to home to venture to this weekend, head down to the Garlic Festival and enjoy some local flavor (pun intended). Gander at the magnificent Dragoon Mountains and enjoy the fascinating rock formations. While you’re in the area, make a side trip to visit the ruins of the Dragoon Springs Station and pay tribute to the four soldiers buried there.