Part III – The Tucson Ring
If you have not read Part I or Part II of this series, start here; How Tucson Pioneers Perpetuated The Apache Wars: Part I.
There were no successful Tucson pioneer businessmen who were not a party to the fleecing of the federal government to the extreme detriment of the Apaches. With the exception of a rare lucky gold or silver strike, from 1861 to 1886, this was the only means to wealth, directly or indirectly, in this God forsaken place. The Army and the Office of Indian Affairs were the only customers that had money to spend. Besides, because of Apaches, prospecting in the Territory was extremely risky.
Moreover, none of our Tucson pioneers could honestly claim they didn’t know the suffering they caused the Indians. They simply did not care.
Grant tried to protect his “wards of the nation” in the American Southwest once they were settled peacefully on their appointed reservation. He largely failed because of local “entrepreneurs” who discovered that the Treasury of the United States, via the War and Interior Departments, was the potentially unlimited source of extraordinary profits … so long as the Apaches continued to be a threat.
The Grant Administration was riddled with corruption, and none were more corrupt than the Office of Indian Affairs (re-named “Bureau” of Indian Affairs in 1947). In Arizona, on the receiving end of that corruption were many prominent Tucsonans who belonged to a loosely organized association of corrupt businessmen doing business with the Army including railroad, timber, and mining companies, real estate speculators, homesteaders, farmers, ranchers, and purveyors of general merchandise. They became known as the Tucson Ring.Read More