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First Posted: May 5, 2010
Oct 11, 2010

Apache Kid, Has-kay-bay-nay-ntayl or White Mountain Apache

Apache Kid

The Apache Kid (Has-kay-bay-nay-ntayl) (1860s - Unknown) was a White Mountain Apache scout and outlaw, active in the U.S. states of Arizona and New Mexico and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua in the late 19th century.

He was probably born in the 1860s, might have been killed in 1894, but may have lived into the 1930s. The Apache Kid Wilderness in New Mexico was named after him. The Apache Kid character in Marvel Comics was named after him but otherwise has no connection.

Early History

Has-kay-bay-nay-ntayl was captured by Yuma Indians as a boy, and after being freed by the U.S. Army, he became a street orphan in army camps. As a teenager, in the mid-1870s, the Kid met and essentially became adopted by Al Sieber, the Chief of the Army Scouts. A few years later, in 1881, the Kid enlisted with the US Cavalry as a scout, in a program designed by General George Crook to help quell Apache raids. By July of 1882, due to his remarkable abilities at the job, he was promoted to sergeant. Shortly thereafter he accompanied General Crook on an expedition into the Sierra Madre Occidental. He worked on assignment both in Arizona and Mexico over the next couple of years, but in 1885 he was involved in a riot while intoxicated, and to prevent his being hanged by Mexican authorities, Al Sieber sent him back north.

Arrests and Trials

In May 1887, Sieber and several army officers left the San Carlos post on business, and the Kid was left in charge of the scouts in their absence. The scouts decided to have a party, and brewed up what was called "tizwin," a type of liquor. During the drinking, several became intoxicated, and an altercation between a scout named Gon-Zizzie and the Kid's father, Togo-de-Chuz resulted in the Kid's father being killed. In turn, friends to the Kid killed Gon-Zizzie. The Kid also killed Gon-Zizzie's brother, Rip. On June 1, 1887, Lt. John Pierce and Al Sieber confronted the scouts involved in the altercations, and ordered them to disarm and comply to arrest, until the incidents could be handled properly through investigation. The Kid and the others complied, but a shot rang out from a crowd that had gathered to watch the events. Several other shots were fired from the crowd, including one that hit Sieber in the ankle. During the confusion, the Apache Kid and several others fled.

The army reacted swiftly, sending two troops of the 4th Cavalry in pursuit of the escapees. The Kid and his followers evaded the soldiers, while relying on assistance from other Apaches who were sympathetic to them. The Kid contacted the army, and stated that if the soldiers were recalled, he'd surrender. They were, and he did, on June 25, 1887. He and four others were court martialed, and found guilty of mutiny and desertion, and sentenced to death by firing squad. In August, this was remanded to life in prison. General Miles intervened, and further reduced the sentence to ten years in prison.

The five were sent to Alcatraz, where they remained until their convictions were overturned in October, 1888. They were freed, but in October, 1889, enraged Apaches in the area were able to force new warrants to be issued, and again the Kid was on the run. Again they were arrested, and again they were convicted, this time sentenced to seven years in prison, and transported to Yuma Territorial Prison. Shortly afterward, the five escaped by overpowering three guards, Glen Reynolds, Eugene Middleton, and W. A. Holmes. Reynolds was killed, with his pistol and watch stolen in the process, and Middleton was badly hurt, but stated later that he would have been killed had the Kid not intervened and prevented his death.

Last Years

A fierce snowstorm prevented any pursuit of the escapees. For years there were unconfirmed reports of sightings, but nothing ever came of any of them. Over the next several years, the Apache Kid was accused or linked to various crimes, including rape and murder, but there were never any solid links to him being involved in any crimes at all. For all practical purposes, he vanished.

During an 1890 shootout between Apache renegades and Mexican soldiers, a warrior was killed, and found to be in the possession of Reynolds' watch and pistol. However, the warrior was said to have been much too old to have been the Apache Kid. The last reported crimes allegedly committed by the Kid were in 1894. It was in that year in the San Mateo Mountains west of Socorro, New Mexico that Charles Anderson, a rancher, and his cowboys, killed an Apache who had been rustling cattle and who was identified at the time as the Apache Kid. That identification is also contested. After that, he became more of a legend than anything else. In 1899, Colonel Emilio Kosterlitzky, of the Mexican Rurales, reported that the Kid was alive and well, and living among the Apache in the Sierra Madre Occidental. This was never confirmed. Edgar Rice Burroughs, future creator of the Tarzan tales, was a member of the 7th U.S.Cavalry while they were "chasing" the Apache Kid in 1896 Arizona.

Cattle ranchers continued to report rustling well into the 1920s, often claiming it was the Apache Kid in the lead, but those also were never confirmed, and authorities eventually simply ignored any involvement by the Kid, long thought dead by either gunshot or sickness, as those rumors had filtered down also.

Today, one mile from "Apache Kid Peak" high in the San Mateo Mountains of the Cibola National Forest, a marker stands as a grave, where the Anderson posse claimed to have killed the Kid in the 1894. According to local residents the body wasn't buried and the bones and shreds of his clothing lay scattered about the site for some years, with people taking some as souvenirs.

For More Information:

Massai and The Apache Kid
"The Apache Kid Killed; Noted Indian Outlaw Caught in Recent Raid Into Mexico"