Geronimo’s band of renegades numbered less than 30 and it took 1000 soldiers and six months to capture Geronimo and his band, whose final surrender took place in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona. Geronimo and his followers were promised they would not be tried and would not face execution but before they could go back to Arizona, they would have to spend time in Florida.
Eight years later, Geronimo was moved from Florida to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Over the next few years, Geronimo was quite the attraction at fairs where he sold souvenirs and pictures of himself. Geronimo was never to see his Arizona homeland and he died in 1909 of Pneumonia at 89 years of age. He is buried at the Apache cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
In February of 2009, the descendents of Geronimo filed a lawsuit in Federal Court seeking “to free Geronimo, his remains, funerary objects and spirit from 100 years of imprisonment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the Yale University campus at New Haven, Connecticut and wherever else they may be found.” His spirit is wandering until a proper Apache burial is performed,” Harlyn Geronimo said. “The only way to put this into closure is to release the remains, his spirit, so that he can be taken back to his homeland in the Gila Mountains, at the head of the Gila River,” Geronimo said.
So now that you know the rest of the story, it is my pleasure to lead you on a trip through time with Jeep Expeditions on “The Trails of Geronimo.”
In 2008, Mike Bethel let a group of 25 Jeeps on what we called “The Trails of Cochise.” Filled with adventure and history of the Apache warrior of the same name, Jeep Expedition members wanted more. Being a native of southern Arizona and a history buff himself, Mike was more than willing to plan a similar trip, this time following the trails of Geronimo.
Our journey started on a Friday morning in October. This year’s group of 28 Jeepers met in Phoenix and began their travel through time. The road took us through Tucson, Benson, and many historic towns in-between. After a few stops, we arrived in the famous mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. Bisbee is a quiet town with a nostalgic look and lots of charm. If it weren’t for all the cars, one could easily believe that they were standing in the same Bisbee of the late 1800s. Little seems to have changed other than paved streets and modern conveniences. With some time to spare before we hit our Friday night base camp, we did a Jeep caravan from one end of town to the other. With steering wheel in one hand and my camera in the other, I quickly filled up a memory card. There are certainly lots to do and see in Bisbee but that was for another trip in November and the group heads to the Double Adobe Campground to set up camp and relax for the rest of the day.