February 27, 1843|
Mingolsheim, Baden, Germany
|Died||February 19, 1907
San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation
|Place of burial||Globe, Arizona|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch|| United States Army
|Years of service||1862-1864, 1871-1886|
|Rank||Chief of Scouts|
|Unit||1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
Johnson County War
Sieber was born in Mingolsheim, Baden as the 13th of 14 children. He was baptized on March 1, 1843 in St. Lambertus Church, Mingolsheim. His father Johannes died on September 16, 1845. Between 1848 and 1849, shortly after the "Badian Revolution", his mother Eva Katharina née Fischer, emigrated with her still living eight children (six had already died) to the United States.
Sieber grew up in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. He enlisted on March 4, 1862, in the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War. Sieber was severely wounded on July 2, 1863 in the Battle of Gettysburg, specifically the Cemetery Ridge engagement. After the war, he was a prospector in California, Nevada, and then ended up in Arizona Territory, where he managed a ranch from 1868 to 1871.
General George Crook hired him to be Chief of Scouts in 1871 for much of the Apache Wars. He participated in Crook's Tonto (Apache) campaign (1871–1873). When the Camp Verde reservation was closed, Sieber was told to move Yavapais and Tonto Apaches to the San Carlos Reservation in the middle of winter. He remained employed there and participated in several engagements with Apache groups that had left the reservation.
In 1883 Crook went into the Sierra Madre of Mexico following Geronimo. Sieber was Crook's lead civilian scout and mentor to Tom Horn, whom he taught to speak German. Sieber was in the field but not present when Geronimo surrendered to Lt Charles B. Gatewood and General Nelson Miles in 1886. In 1887, Sieber was shot and wounded when Apache Kid and his companions escaped from the reservation to prevent being jailed again. However, he was dissatisfied with the treatment of the Apaches at San Carlos and resumed prospecting in 1891.
Sieber was killed during a construction accident on February 19, 1907 at the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, then under the supervision of another famous frontier scout, "Yellowstone" Luther Kelly at Apache Trail, Gila County, Arizona. Sieber was leading an Apache work crew that was building the Tonto road to the new Roosevelt Dam site when a boulder rolled on top of him. A local legend states that the Apache workers intentionally rolled the rock onto Sieber.
Sieber has been portrayed in a handful of films:
- 1953: The character "Ed Bannon" portrayed by Charlton Heston in the film Arrowhead was based on Sieber-
- 1954: John McIntire in the film Apache
- 1955: Kenneth MacDonald in the episode "Apache Kid" from the television series Stories of the Century
- 1979: Richard Widmark in the film Mr. Horn
- 1993: Robert Duvall in the film Geronimo: An American Legend
- Heard, Joseph Norman (1987). Handbook of the American Frontier: The far west 4 (1). Scarecrow Press. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-8108-3283-1.
- Thrapp, Dan L. (1995). Al Sieber: chief of scouts. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-8061-2770-5.
- Herring, Hal (2008). Famous Firearms of the Old West: From Wild Bill Hickok's Colt Revolvers to Geronimo's Winchester, Twelve Guns That Shaped Our History. Globe Pequot. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-0-7627-4508-1.
- Tuska, Jon (1985). The American West in Film: Critical Approaches to the Western. Greenwood Press. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-313-24603-6.
- Robert Aldrich (July 9, 1954). Apache (film). United States: United Artists.
- "Apache Kid". Stories of the Century. Season 1. Episode 28. January 9, 1955.
- Jack Starrett (February 1, 1979). Mr. Horn (television). United States: Lorimar Productions.
- Dixon, Wheeler W. (2000). Film genre 2000: new critical essays: The SUNY series, cultural studies in cinema/video. SUNY Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7914-4514-3.
- Bourke, John G. On the Border with Crook. University of Nebraska Press. Lincoln. 1891. ISBN 0-8094-3583-7.
- (reprint): Bison Books. 1971. ISBN 0-8032-5741-4.
- Crook, George. General George Crook: His Autobiography. University of Oklahoma Press. 1986. ISBN 0-8061-1982-9.
- Cruse, Thomas. Apache Days and After. University of Oklahoma Press. 1987. ISBN 0-8032-6327-9.
- Cozzens, Peter. Eyewitnesses to the Indian Wars, 1865–1890 (The Struggle for Apacheria). Stackpole Books. 2001. ISBN 0-8117-0572-2.
- Davis, Britton. The Truth About Geronimo. Bison Books. 1976. ISBN 0-8032-5840-2.
- Debo, Angie. Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place. University of Oklahoma Press. 1982. ISBN 0-8061-1828-8.
- Field, Ron. US Army Frontier Scouts 1840–1921. Osprey Publishing. 2003. ISBN 1-84176-582-1.
- Gatewood, Charles B. Lt. Charles Gatewood & His Apache Wars Memoir. Bison Books. 2009. ISBN 0-8032-1884-2.
- Goff, John S. Arizona Biographical Dictionary. Black Mountain Press. Cave Creek. 1983.
- Lockwood, Frank C. More Arizona Characters. University of Arizona. 1943.
- Roberts, David. Once They Moved Like The Wind; (Cochise, Geronimo, And The Apache Wars). Touchstone. 2005. ISBN 0-671-88556-1.
- Robinson, Charles M. General Crook and the Western Frontier. University of Oklahoma Press. 2001. ISBN 0-8061-3358-9.
- Sabin, Edwin L. General Crook and the Fighting Apaches (1871–1886). Lulu Press. 2008. ISBN 1-4097-1970-7.
- Thrapp, Dan L. Al Sieber: Chief of Scouts. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 1964. ISBN 0-8061-2770-8.
- Thrapp, Dan L. The Conquest of Apacheria. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 1967. ISBN 0-8061-1286-7.
- Thrapp, Dan L. Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography. Volume III, P-Z. University of Oklahoma Press. (Reprint 1991). ISBN 0-8032-9420-4.
- Traywick, Ben T. Legendary Characters of Southeast Arizona. Red Marie’s. Tombstone. 1992.
- "Albert Sieber". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
- Machula, Paul R. (December 12, 2010). "Al Sieber". Arizona History. East Central Arizona History. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011.