Doug Hocking is an Arizona Humanities Road Scholar.

That means Doug is available as a speaker on some talks from Arizona Humanities. They will pay an honorarium and travel expenses on those talks to Arizona non-profit organizations. Find out more at Arizona Speaks on





Westerners International recognized Doug as an excellent speaker with the Philip A. Danielson Award for 2017.

Doug Hocking is an award winning author and speaker as well as an independent scholar who has completed advanced studies in American history, ethnology, and historical archaeology. Doug, who served as an NCO in Military Intelligence and retired as an Armored Cavalry officer, grew up among the Jicarilla Apache and paisanos of the Rio Arriba (Northern New Mexico). His novels include Massacre at Point of Rocks (a tale of the Santa Fe Trail), Mystery of Chaco Canyon (the DaVinci Code Meets the Wild West), Wildest West (a collection of short fiction and non-fiction), and Devil on the Loose (a love story in the tradition of Louis L’Amour set in 1860 Arizona). His work has appeared in True West, Wild West, Buckskin Bulletin, Roundup Magazine, Desert Tracks, and the Journal of Arizona History. He is a 2018 Spur Award Finalist (equivalent to the Silver Medal at the Olympics) from Western Writers of America and 2nd Place for the Co-Founders Award for Best Western History 2018 from Westerners International for Tom Jeffords: Friend of Cochise and a recipient of the 2017 Danielson Award for Excellent Presentation from Westerners International. Doug is a member of the board of the Arizona Historical Society. He is currently working on Black Legend,  a history of the beginning of the Chiricahua Wars focusing on the Bascom Affair for TwoDot Press, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield and on Terror on the Santa Fe Trail: Kit Carson and the Jicarilla Apache, a story of the military success of the Jicarilla which led to their destruction.

Topics for Talks

The Black Legend of Lieutenant George Bascom (1 hour, 40 minute talk, 20 minutes Q&A)

The availability of willing ‘old timers’ and the lack of primary documentary resources led early historians to form a view of Bascom that wasn’t grounded in reality. The way we first heard the story is hard to dislodge. Today many primary sources are available and historians are slowly forming new opinions but among the public, the old stories persist. The true story of what happened at Apache Pass is presented along with the origin of many falsehoods. In October 2018, this will be released as Black Legend: George Bascom, Cochise, and the Start of the Apache Wars. It is available for pre-order from

hocking-5-internetThe Life and Times of Tom Jeffords, Friend of Cochise (1 hour, 40 minute talk, 20 minutes Q&A) The book is available on for pre-order. Due out May 2017 from TwoDot. This talk is available through AZHumanities

Tom Jeffords grew up in Ashtabula, OH, without much education and was promoted to lake captain in his early twenties. The lure of making his fortune called Tom west to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, the San Juan Rush and to the Colorado River. He scouted and was dispatch rider for the Army during the Civil War and was present at its bloodiest battle. After the war, he prospected, scouted and helped start Tucson’s mail service. Along the way, he met Cochise, then the most feared Apache chief, and the two became friends so that he was able to guide General O.O. Howard to the chief and negotiate the peace. As Indian Agent he was admired by Apache and white alike. Afterwards, he returned to prospecting an mining owning shares in Tombstone’s mine, the Copper Queen and Brunckow Mine to name a few. He engineered Tucson’s first water company and retired to his mines at Owl Head Buttes where Alice Rollins Crane came into his life. This was release in March 2017 as Tom Jeffords: Friend of Cochise. It is available here and from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and for vendors National Book Network. The book was Spur Finalist for 2018 from Western Writers of America and 2nd Place Co-Founders Award for Best Book of Western History in 2018 from Westerners International.

Massacre at Point of Rocks – Death on the Santa Fe Trail 1849 (1 hr) – The Jicarilla Apache kidnapped a woman and her child after killing her husband and traveling companions. Kidnapping Mexican and Pueblo women was a commonplace, but Mrs. White was an Anglo and a lady, almost the only one in New Mexico. Pursuit came from all directions but it took Kit Carson to find and follow a trail already a month old. This is the historic background to the historical novel, Massacre at Point of Rocks, the real story.

Padre Antonio Jose Martinez and 19th Century Religion in New Mexico (1 hr) – For more than 300 years New Mexico was a Franciscan mission field and her people, other than Indians, an afterthought. With the Mexican Revolution in 1821 that changed and the Franciscans were expelled leaving the land with only one priest. Padre Martinez performed wonders, trained priests and led the Penitentes only to have much of his work undone by a French bishop who didn’t understand the culture.

William H. Emory, The Heroic Opening of the American Southwest (1 hr)

Lieutenant William H. Emory, topographical engineer, rode with General Kearny in the 1846/47 conquest of New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Bold Emory, as he was known at West Point, fought beside the general at the Battle of San Pascual. Throughout his trek from Missouri to California, he recorded the terrain, its people, ruins, flora and fauna. His map opened the Southern Emigrant Road to travel and his published work introduced the Southwest to the American people and established the need for the Gadsden Purchase. After the war, he returned to survey our southern boundary. He was among the first to command a cavalry regiment. This is a personification.

The Graves at Dragoon Springs (1 hr)

There are four burial mounds at Dragoon Springs Overland Mail Station. There are seven candidates for who may lie buried there. Three men died in 1858 killed by Mexicans in an exciting story of death and survival. In 1862, Cochise attacked and Union prisoners and Confederate soldiers joined forces to repel them. Four Rebels died. In 1869, a stagecoach was attacked nearby and six men were killed. The aftermath was the Battle of Turtle Mountain where 32 Medal of Honor were awarded to participant soldiers. In 1872, peace with Cochise was finalized here.

Black Legend: George Bascom, Cochise and the Start of the Apache Wars (1 hr).

In 1861, Lieutenant George Bascom confronted Cochise concerning the return of a stolen boy, Felix Ward, and his step-father’s livestock. In 1869, a self-promoting officer, Reuben Bernard, started the story that Bascom had done something wrong and that he, Bernard, was a hero who had tried to prevent it. Since then “popular historians” have blamed Bascom for eleven years of warfare with the Apache. The real story is much more interesting and kinder to Bascom. It includes the story of a flying stagecoach, the first Medal of Honor, and of Felix Ward who returned to notice in 1872 as an Apache Scout, Mickey Free. The book of this title due to appear October 2018.


Arizona in the 1850s (1 hour, 40 minute talk, 20 minutes Q&A)

Arizona was a very interesting place in the 1850s. It was violent and lawless but the First Nations weren’t yet as violent as they later became. Boundary Commissions passed through twice and the Oatmans made their way toward the Promised Land. Paddle boats came up the Colorado and gold was discovered. The First Dragoons took possession of the land and founded forts to protect the new mines. The Butterfield Overland Mail tied the country together, and Arizona’s the first newspaper was founded. Tubac and Tucson were violent, lawless and isolated. This was an exciting era when every man was a hero just for surviving. In 1861, the situation was so bad that almost everyone left and the Apaches ambushed the last wagon train east.

Fandango at Fort Massachusetts, Fourth of July 1856 (30 min) – General Garland, future Confederate General Richard Ewell, Kit Carson, Lucien Maxwell and a future Archbishop all made it to a Fourth of July fandango at the remotest post of the United States Army. Honest.  

Two Roads to New Mexico: the High Road from Taos to Santa Fe and the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail (1 hr) – The high road from Taos explores the spread of Spanish culture into the Rio Arriba and what it became there. The Santa Fe Trail brought American culture to New Mexico. Informed travelogue.

Bloody Doubtful Canyon in Cochise County (1hr) – The canyon has been a crucial watering and grazing spot on many trails since ancient times. The Butterfield Overland Mail had a station here. But the canyon was dangerous, a great place for an ambush.


Mysteries of the Southwest (1hr) – Beyond the Lost Dutchman and Adams Diggings to Chaco Canyon, Treasure Falls, ancient Israelis and tiny Welshmen, the Southwest is full of mysteries and amazing stories, many of them true.

Black Powder Weapons and Tactics, Demo and talk (1hr) – How black powder weapons were loaded and fired and the tactics that went with them from the Revolutionary War thru the Mexican War and Wagon Trains to the Civil War.

The Mexican American War (2hr)

Causes and Lead In to War (1hr) – Tracing the history of ownership of the lands taken from Mexico back to the first explorers and then goes on to the attempts to negotiate an southern border for the U.S. while showing the pressures on the country from Great Britain, France, Spain and Russia to settle that boundary with or without Mexican help showing how the troubled condition of Mexico’s border states raised large security issues for the U.S.

The War for California and New Mexico (1hr) – The Santa Fe Trail, General Kearney’s expedition to New Mexico and granting of citizenship to New Mexicans, Doniphan’s Expedition to Mexico, the self-applied laurels of the Mormon Battalion, the Taos Revolt and murder of Governor Bent, the multiple quests for California.

The War in Mexico: The Great Battles and Victories (1hr) – Nothing but victories: Resca de Palma, Monterey, Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, Mexico City and the Army that fought.

Jicarilla Apache Ceremonialism: Go Jii Ya, Adolescence Ceremony, the Bear Dance Holiness Ritual (1hr) – Three ceremonies comprise Jicarilla religion: one balances the forces of nature, one assists entry into adulthood and the third is for healing and balancing one’s relation to nature. All are about community, clan and family.

Civil War in New Mexico: Valverde, Glorieta Pass and Picacho Butte (1 hr) – In 1861 the South had a shot at winning the Civil War by taking New Mexico. Her collapse might have given the Confederacy access to specie and to Pacific ports that the Union could not have blockaded. Status as a ‘continental power’ might have led to European recognition. All this changed at Glorieta Pass where the Union almost lost.

The Battle of Cieneguilla and its Aftermath (1hr) – Jicarilla Apache were victorious over the U.S. Dragoons, in the last stand of the 1850s. A force of less than 100 Apache fought 60 dragoons losing only two of their own. How a big lie became history and what really happened. The fight was followed by the Battle of Ojo Caliente and two years of war in pursuit of the Jicarilla.

Fort Massachusetts, 1852-1858, most isolated Army post: archaeology, history and campaigns against the Jicarilla and the Ute (1hr) – Fort Massachusetts was a tough place to be assigned but played an important part in operations against the Ute and Jicarilla. Its recent excavation has implications for historical archaeology and how the two fields interact and why that interaction is problematic and more difficult for historians than archaeologists.

Fee Arrangements:

 $200 plus travel expenses. Negotiable. Unless otherwise requested, I bring books to sign and sell.

Doug is also available for TV, Radio and Documentaries

Leave a Reply