Last American Holdout Geronimo Surrendered 133 Years Ago
One day many years ago in the old west eight-year-old Gerry and his dad were riding their horses early one morning along their land when they spotted something unusual.
What made the discovery oddly out of place especially, was that people for hundreds of miles around knew whose land this belonged to and here was a group of people chopping down trees and building a house, plowing the fields and tending to some cattle like they owned the place.
In the old west news traveled slowly and by the time they'd ridden home, told the news and went back to talk to the strangers, three more groups had arrived. To make matters worse when Gerry's family approached the strangers they dropped their tools and chores and hid behind rocks and trees and fired upon the landowners with amazing superior firepower, wounding and even killing some of the party.
Young Geronimo spent the better part of his life fighting the settler incursion from just prior to the Civil War through September 4, 1886 when he formally surrendered to US Government Cavalry Troops. Geronimo was the final Native American warrior to formally give in, surrendering to General Nelson Miles.
The event signaled the official end of the "Indian Wars" in the west.
By 1886 the Chiricahua Apaches of present-day Arizona and Northern Mexico were worn to a frazzle. Exhausted, their dwindling numbers from warring making them more and more hopelessly outnumbered, Geronimo called it a day on a once great nation.
A nation of laws, of well-established cultural ceremony, a monarchical political hierarchy and leadership, religious doctrine, iconology and societal norms. A nation and society of strong familial bonds that had developed over thousands of years mostly undisturbed by outsiders in the North American Southwest.
In 1858 Geronimo's family was murdered by Mexicans. Geronimo was often fighting what we now call a two-front war, the US Cavalry from the east and Mexico from the south. This single incident is often pointed to as the catalyst for Geronimo's rage and determination not to be boxed in by others.
After the surrender, Geronimo and the rest of what was left of the Apache band were first sent to Florida, where legend suggests he quibbled with the resident Seminoles. He was then moved to Alabama and then Oklahoma.
In the post photo Geronimo is shown in Oklahoma in the car, driving of course, with a top hat on. There he became a successful farmer and converted to Christianity.
Seen by his contemporaries as a bold warrior and brilliant strategist and tactician, and respected for his military accomplishments, he was often feted and chosen for honorary positions and roles that had some influence.
His last major public appearance was in President Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural ceremonies in 1905.
Geronimo passed away peacefully in his sleep of old age at Fort Sill, February 17, 1909.
In early WWII after watching a cowboy movie featuring Geronimo plot, the next day during training a young private in the Airborne named Aubrey Eberhardt screamed 'Geronimo" as he left the door of the plane on his first-ever parachute jump.
If you've ever jumped off something and screamed 'Geronimo' that's why. I love it when a legend lives on in our daily lives.