[Photo from TrueWestMagazine.com]
If somethin’ happens to ya’
don’t let the situation fool ya’
an’ make sure ya’ get the facts straight from the start.
Too many times we’ve seen it happen,
when the tongue begins its flappin’,
that the truth an’ what is said turn out ta’ be quite far apart.
There’s an Arizona case
which became a big disgrace,
cuz’ two men went about it both half-cocked.
Johnny Ward’s adopted son
an’ some cattle were on the run,
they were took right off his land an’ left him shocked.
So he mixed up some facts
on which Apaches left the tracks,
an’ he told this tale of falsehood to a Second Lieu:
George Bascom was the name
of the Second Looey who would gain “fame”
cuz’ he didn’t wait ta’ find out what was true.
Ward said it was Cochise
that shattered his family’s peace,
by absconding with his boy, an’ his beef.
So Bascom had a message sent,
come sit an’ talk within a tent,
yet it was only a trap ta’ catch the chief.
But Cochise could not be grabbed,
yet six braves of his were nabbed,
so the chief set his tribe on the warpath.
First, Cochise tried an exchange,
Bascom refused… mighty strange,
since it sparked a twelve-year war: a real bloodbath.
In just one week fer’ sayin’ “no”
sixteen whites to death did go,
an’ Bascom hung the six braves in reply.
From eighteen-sixty till seventy-two
this war would not be through,
an’ a heap of lives were lost over a lie.
Major General Howard,
quite the opposite of coward,
came out ta’ see if he can bring some peace.
So he met with the chief,
it was time ta’ end this grief,
an’ he bound the promise with the great Cochise.
The poor abducted boy
faced a life without joy,
he’d been taken by a different Apache band.
He resurfaced ten years late,
with a life he learned ta’ hate,
he was the symbol of the tension in the land.
Felix Tellez had been his name,
it was changed ta’ hide the shame,
the moniker he chose was “Mickey Free.”
Though years beyond his return
the anger still did burn,
cuz’ no one gave Cochise an apology.