Unlike the many images we have of Geronimo today, no photograph of Cochise exists. We only know what he looked like from contemporary written accounts; mostly American and Mexican. These we owe to the very few people of European descent who lived to tell about their close encounter with the great Chiricahua Apache chief.
He was born about 1810 in the Chiricahua Mountains of present-day Arizona when the United States was a small, weak republic on the East Coast of North America; 2,000 miles and, given the transportation of the day, a galaxy away.
His life spanned the era of American expansion across a huge continent that was then populated by hundreds of Native American tribes. For decades, Cochise fought the invaders of his homeland with everything he had. In 1876, he died in the Dragoon Mountains, located about an hour and a half east of Tucson at a place now called Cochise Stronghold. Ironically, in the end he was at peace with the United States.
Many said that his youngest known son, Naiche, most closely resembled Cochise physically. But we also have written descriptions that tell us not only about his appearance but, more importantly, about his personality, his attitudes, and his extraordinary fighting and leadership skills.
Most record his height between 5’10” and 6’0”. According to Lt. Joseph Sladen who, as aid to General Oliver Howard, spent 10 days in Cochise’s camp in 1872, he “looked more than his height on account of his somewhat slender build, and his straight physique.” Read More...