Jeffords, Thomas

Jeffords, Thomas,

1832–1914, American pioneer, b. Chautauqua co., N.Y. He went to Arizona in 1862 as a U.S. army scout and messenger and later became a stage driver. In 1866–67, he controlled mail service between Fort Bowie and Tucson. A number of his men were killed by Apaches, and he decided to meet with their chief, CochiseCochise
, c.1815–1874, chief of the Chiricahua group of Apache in Arizona. He was friendly with the whites until 1861, when some of his relatives were hanged by U.S. soldiers for a crime they did not commit. Afterward he waged relentless war against the U.S.
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. He won the Apaches' respect by riding into their camp alone. A strong friendship developed between Jeffords and the chief, and it halted for a short period the Chiricahua Apaches' warfare against the whites. As Jeffords was the only white man whom Cochise trusted, Gen. O. O. Howard, the Indian Commissioner, used him as an agent in a treaty (1872). Cochise agreed to live on a reservation only if Jeffords were the Indian agent. Jeffords consented, and during the four years that he was the Indian agent, trouble with the warlike Chiricahua Apache virtually subsided.
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