Many of Tucson’s first streets were named for early pioneers, folks who came to the Old Pueblo in the 1860’s or early ’70’s. I was struck by how many of our street names honor pioneers who were killed by Apaches.
Then I got to wondering, how many Tucson street names honor people who killed Apaches? Keep reading. I think you’ll find it interesting. And you can use these otherwise useless facts to impress your friends with your knowledge of local history.
Tucson streets named for guys who were killed by Apaches.
1. Cushing Street: Named in 1872 for First Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing (1838-1871). Cushing was a Civil War veteran, having fought in many battles, including Shiloh, Fredericksburg, & Gettysburg. He was killed by Apaches while in pursuit of the Apache band he thought was led by Cochise. Actually, it was another great Chiricahua chief who targeted Cushing for assassination. He managed to survive the Civil War. He did not survive the Apache Wars. Click HERE to read the compelling story of how Cushing street got its name.
2. Jackson Street: John A. Jackson (1835-1870) was a rancher and farmer who lived near Tucson. On 16 April 1870, he was ambushed and killed by Apaches on his return to his ranch. Today, no one knows which tribe or band of Apaches committed this depredation.
3. Kennedy Street: Named for Tucson merchant Hugh Kennedy (1840-1870) who was fatally wounded by Apaches while driving provisions to Camp Grant at the confluence of the San Pedro River and Aravaipa Creek 50 miles north of Tucson. (Oracle Road, now a main Tucson north-south artery, was originally Camp Grant Road because from Tucson, that is where it led.
4. Pennington Street: Three Pennington family members were killed by Apaches. But perhaps most horrific is the story of Larcena Pennington, who amazingly survived being kidnapped by Apaches. We call it: A Fate Worse Than Death. How Pennington Street Got Its Name.
5. Simpson Street: In 1871, William Simpson, a Tucson prospector, was killed by Apaches. He was with Lt. Cushing when they were attacked by Apaches led by Chief Juh. A civilian at the time, he strongly suggested to Cushing that he not take his command forward into an apparent ambush. During the ambush, he was shot through the head but did no die immediately. Later in the same battle, he was shot through the body and killed.
6. Stone Avenue: Named for Colonel John Stone. Once a musician in the Union Army, the Colonel owned the first house on Stone Avenue at McCormick Street. On October 5, 1868, Stone was a passenger on a stagecoach heading east from Tucson. At Apache Pass the stage was attacked by Chiricahua Apaches led by Cochise. Stone, the driver and the four soldier escort were all killed in the attack. A year after the attack, Stone’s remains may have been moved to the Ft Bowie Post Cemetery for re-burial. Between 1926 and 1990, Stone Avenue was part of U.S. Highways 80 and 89.
Tucson streets named for guys who killed Apaches.
Elias Avenue: Named for prominent Mexican pioneer and Tucson civic leader, Jesus Maria Elias (1829-1896), a man who was widely recognized as one of the most skilled Indian fighters in Arizona Territory. In April 1871, he played a leadership role in the infamous Camp Grant Massacre, the slaughter of at least 120 defenseless Aravaipa Apaches, mostly women and children.
Oury Street & Oury Park: Named for two brothers who were prominent civic leaders: William S. (Bill) Oury (1817-1887) and Granville (Grant) Oury (1825-1891). Both were stanch Democrats, meaning Southern sympathizers, as were many early settlers in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California.
At Tubac in 1859, Bill Oury acquired Arizona’s first newspaper, the Arizonian, with Sylvester Mowry and Col. Edaward Cross. In 1864, Territorial Gov. Goodwin declared Tucson an incorporated city and appointed Bill Oury Tucson’s first mayor.
In 1871, along with Jesus Maria Elias and Sidney DeLong, Bill Oury lead the mob that perpetrated the Camp Grant Massacre.
Thomas Hughes Sr. named Oury Street in honor of William and Granville Oury in 1903 when he recorded his subdivision, McKinley Park – now called Barrio Anita. Between the I-10 and Barrio Anita is David G. Herrera and Ramon Quiroz Park, which was originally named Oury Park in 1931. It changed names in 2001.
DeLong Street: named for Sidney DeLong (1828-1914). He was Tucson’s first elected mayor and served as Tucson’s representative to the Territorial Legislature. He was popular with the citizens of Arizona Territory in large measure because he was one of the leaders of the Camp Grant Massacre. Interestingly, of the participants, Mr. DeLong was the only one to publicly declare his regrets about what they had done.
For more information on the Apaches and the history surrounding the Apache Wars, see our page on the Local History of the Apaches.