Starry Gazy Pie

Perhaps only the Cornish love Starry Gazy Pie. It’s delicious, but daunting. It should be made with pilchards head and tail left on. Holes are cut in the upper crust so that the heads stick through and the fish can gaze at the stars. We manage with sardines since all the pilchards I can find are drenched in tomato sauce.  Starry Gazy Pie is proudly served here on St. Piran’s Day, March 5.

St. PiranFear naught, press on with hearts of oak. Make yourself a pie. Some think consuming a few pints of beer first is helpful. Continue reading

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Eggs Poached in Chili

When we’re at shows – we’ll be at Santa Fe Indian Market in the Eldorado Hotel the third week of August – Debbie keeps telling people that I post recipes and travels on my web page. Actually, I’ve been posting these on Facebook Doug Hocking Author Page . But, I’ve figured out a new and better way to do recipes so here goes.

One of my favorite meals is Eggs Poached in Chili. You need a good, thick chili sauce made mostly of chili with meat stock and a little tomato to sweeten it. It’s a wonderful breakfast you’ll only find in the Rio Arriba, New Mexico north of Santa Fe. I guess that’s because only the chilis of the Rio Arriba are good enough.

Danny's Eggs Poached in Chili

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Tom Jeffords’s Secret

With Carol Markstrom’s Jefford’s Secret as background music, I need to explain what Tom’s secret was. Tom knew where Cochise was buried. Many white men wanted to know but Tom would never tell. Alice Rollins Crane spent twenty years trying to pry the secret from him.

Carol’s song tells part of the secret. Jefford’s Secret.

One might think that Jeffords kept the secret out of a bond of brotherhood or because he knew that some white men would put body parts and objects from the grave on display. There is certainly truth in this. There is something more.

The Apache don’t like to touch the dead. They worry about traps for the spirit. A woman’s spirit can become bound up in the design of a basket she makes, so she leaves a flaw in the design to let her spirit escape. There is a message not to become too bound up with things, not to love things too much. After a person dies, the Apache won’t say his or her name. The name might call the spirit back and that would be bad. Funerals are done quickly. The women wash the dead person’s hair and cloth him or her. And then they are buried quickly often by having the side of an arroyo collapsed over them. People do not want anything the dead person loved in life – his favorite horse or dog, his rifle or pistol, his favorite blanket. So, personal possessions join the dead in the grave, not because he needs them on the other side but because they don’t want him to return for them.

We have two differing accounts of Cochise’s funeral, both from white men, neither of whom were there. They heard from Jeffords or from Apaches. They make much of the pomp of the ceremony which is probably unrealistic. They do note the items that went into the grave with him including the blanket that Colonel Henry Hooker gave him. We know from them that Cochise was buried in the Sulphur Springs Valley near the mouth of East Stronghold Canyon the site of his last camp. And that’s all anyone needs to know.

For Jeffords, not telling was a matter of respect for Cochise and for his people. The location of graves were no one’s business except the family.

Posted in 19th Century, American Indians, Broken Arrow, Chiricahua Apaches, Cochise, Indian Culture and Ceremonies, Southeast Arizona, Tom Jeffords | Leave a comment

The Life and Times of Tom Jeffords, Friend of Cochise

The Life and Times of Tom Jeffords, Friend of Cochise is due out from Two Dot in the Spring of 2017. Meanwhile, here’s a video and some music.

Tom Jeffords Video

Here’s a note from Carol Markstrom who wrote the song: Thank you Doug Hocking for using my song, Jefford’s Secret from my Vision Across the Range CD, as the background music in your video about Thomas Jeffords, noted army agent/Indian scout, and his friendship with the Apache leader Cochise. Doug is a good friend and we share a keen interest in Apache history that has resulted in some jointly written articles. Also thanks to Seth Maynard and Mike Hofer who played instrumentals on the song.

Posted in 19th Century, American Indians, Chiricahua Apaches, Cochise, History of the west, Tom Jeffords, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, A Review by Rahm E. Sandoux, Desert Tracks, January 2016

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, A Review by Rahm E. Sandoux, Desert Tracks, January 2016

The story of Doug Hocking’s new historical novel, The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, takes place ten years after them events described in his earlier book, Massacre at Point of Rocks.

At the bequest of a dying Masonic brother, Dan and his friends Roque, Doña Loca, and Peregrino Rojo, embark on a search for the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone, a boulder with an inscription believed to be an abridged version of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) in Paleo-Hebrew. The clues lead them all over the Southwest, including the Estancia Valley, Acoma, Zuni, El Morro, the Hopi mesas, the Grand Canyon, Chaco, Chimayo, Chihuahua, and Casas Grandes. They finally locate Rough Hurech’s grave in a mountain cave in southwest Arizona and then return to Chaco Canyon. Continue reading

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Pirates of the San Pedro, Dams and Paddlewheel Boats on the River

We’ve all heard about the paddlewheel steamboats that used to ply the San Pedro. Some of us have even seen old photographs. The only problem is that it never happened. Arizona was for many years supplied by steamboats on the Colorado that took on supplies in the Sea of Cortez and brought them up to Fort Yuma or Ehrenberg from whence they went across the desert to Tucson or Prescott. In the 1860s, the only towns in Arizona were the Colorado River communities, Prescott, Tucson and Tubac. The steamboats ran as far as Searchlight which is now under a lake traveling through water as shallow as 18 inches. When my grandmother told us that around 1905 she’d taken a steamboat up the river to Arizona and ridden a donkey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, we doubted her memory, but it was so.Antique Photos 002c Continue reading

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Jeffords Arrested by Billy the Kid Near the Brunckow Mine Arizona Murder House

This is one of my favorite stories from the Old Wild West and this is the best version of it that I’ve found. It comes from the Tucson Citizen September 11, 1881, and that paper attributes it to the Tombstone Nugget. The story ties everything and everyone together, from Billy the Kid to Tom Jeffords, the Brunckow Mine and Justice Burnett of Charleston. Continue reading

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The Life and Times of Tom Jeffords

Tom Jeffords was portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in the 1950 classic film Broken Arrow. Although he did ride alone into Cochise’s Stronghold to make the peace, events were not quite as portrayed in film, legend and popular history. The real Tom Jeffords was equally brave and although often motivated by profit, he was still able to swiftly gain and maintain the respect and trust of a leader, Cochise, from a warrior nation. Tom left only a handful of letters, and these written by partners, clerks and attorneys, and a few hints as to his past from which we might gage the man and what elements of character made him the key to building peace with Cochise, then 11 years at war. Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, Broken Arrow, Chiricahua Apaches, Cochise County, Sailing ships, Tom Jeffords | 2 Comments

Californio Lancers a book review

Californio Lancers: The 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry in the Far West, 1863-1866. By Tom Prezelski, Norman: The Arthur H. Clark Company/University of Oklahoma Press, 2015. Maps, illus., appendixes, table, notes, biblio., index, 248 pages. ISBN 978-0-87062-436-0. $32.95.

This is a detailed, well-researched and readable account of a forgotten unit. Californio Lancers delves into an important but often overlooked part of the Civil War. Lucid and well-written the book provides a complete account of the unit, its men and challenges. Our sense of that war tends to focus on the divisions between North and South, slave and free and miss the many other divisions that tore at the nation. Union leaders struggled to keep northern slave states in the Union and to keep Illinois and Indiana Butternuts from going south. In the West, the Union had gained huge territories populated by Mormons who had fought an 1857 war against the country and former Mexican citizens who hadn’t completely assimilated. To the south in January 1862, the French, taking advantage of U.S. distraction landed an expeditionary force in Mexico. They posed a threat not only to Mexico but to the newly acquired lands of the southwest. California was difficult to tie into the Union because of its distance from the east coast. It also faced threats from outlaws, Confederate sympathizers, and native population not yet assimilated. Continue reading

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Fall Roundup at Empire Ranch

On November 7, the Cochise County Corral of the Westerners took a trail ride to our mother county, Pima, to be there for Fall Roundup at the Empire Ranch. Empire Ranch under Walter Vail was the largest in Arizona and included the Empire Mountains and the town and mine at Total Wreck, now a ghost town. The house that was built as a fortress against Apaches in 1867 still stands. It was extended and enlarged in the 19th century to house a growing family and the ranch hands.Fall Roundup 005 Fall Roundup 009 Fall Roundup 016 Fall Roundup 018 Fall Roundup 048 Fall Roundup 052 Fall Roundup 028 Fall Roundup 033 Continue reading

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