“Texas” John Slaughter was the sheriff who cleaned up Cochise County after the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday left Arizona. He was as tough as they come and, among the outlaw class, earned the moniker “that wicked little gringo”.
As despised and feared as he was by the outlaws, he was highly respected and much appreciated by the law-abiding ranchers, merchants, and miners.
In 1896, ten years after Geronimo’s final surrender, some disgruntled Apaches left the San Carlos Reservation and returned to a nomadic life of raiding both American and Mexican ranches.
The Apaches Attack And Kill A Little Girl And Her Father
“While traveling by team and wagon from Pima, Arizona to Clifton, Arizona [Horatio Merril, age 58 and his daughter Eliza, age 4] were ambushed and killed by Indians with rifles December 3, 1895, shortly after sundown.” So reads a roadside marker on State Route 70 east of Safford.
Eliza was wearing a distinctive white dress, or basque, tight at the waist, shaped by darts and many buttons down the front. The Apaches took the dress and other Merril possessions, including a fringed brown wool shawl.
A few years after the Merril murders, rancher Alfred Hand was slaughtered by Apaches who stole whatever they could carry from his cabin near Cave Creek in the San Simon Valley, including a cloth Cochise County election poster made of white muslin with the names of Republican candidates in the election of 1888.