Al Sieber

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Al Sieber
Born (1843-02-27)February 27, 1843
Mingolsheim, Baden, Germany
Died February 19, 1907(1907-02-19) (aged 63)
San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation
Place of burial Globe, Arizona
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1862-1864, 1871-1886
Rank Chief of Scouts
Unit 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
Sixth Cavalry
Battles/wars Apache Wars
Johnson County War

Al Sieber (February 27, 1843 – February 19, 1907) was a German-American military figure, prospector, and Chief of Scouts during the Apache Wars.

Early life[edit]

Albert "Al" 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, immigrated with her still living eight children (six had already died) to the United States. Sieber grew up in Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

Enlists, becomes scout[edit]

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.[1]

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.[2]

On October 24, 1874, the Arizona Miner reported, “Al Zieber, Sergeant Stauffer and a mixed command of white and red soldiers are in the hills of Verde looking for some erring Apaches, whom they will be apt to find.” Three days later, Sieber and Sgt. Rudolph Stauffer found the Apaches that had escaped the reservation at Cave Creek and fought them.[3][4][5] Josephine Earp wrote that when she arrived in Arizona, she learned that “some renegade Yuma-Apaches had escaped from the reservation to which they had been consigned and had returned to their old haunts on the war-path” and that Sieber was tracking the escaped Apache.[3] She said Sieber and his scouts led her stagecoach and its passengers to a nearby adobe ranch house where they remained until the Indians were captured.[6][7][8]:46

In February, April, and May 1877, Sieber acted as a guide for Pima County Marshal Wiley Standefer, who was pursuing outlaws in the region.[9]

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.[10] 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.[1]


On February 19, 1907, Sieber was leading an Apache work crew that was building the Tonto road to the new Roosevelt Dam site on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. The project was under the supervision of another famous frontier scout, "Yellowstone" Luther Kelly at Apache Trail, Gila County, Arizona. Sieber was killed when a boulder rolled on him during construction. He was buried with military honors at the cemetery in Globe, Arizona.[1]


Sieber has been portrayed in a handful of films:


  1. ^ a b c Heard, Joseph Norman (1987). Handbook of the American Frontier: The far west 4 (1). Scarecrow Press. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-8108-3283-1. 
  2. ^ Thrapp, Dan L. (1995). Al Sieber: chief of scouts. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-8061-2770-5. 
  3. ^ a b Michno, Gregory F. (2003). Encyclopedia of Indian Wars: Western Battles and Skirmishes, 1850-1890. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0-87842-468-9. 
  4. ^ Machula, Paul R. (December 12, 2010). "Al Sieber". Arizona History. East Central Arizona History. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Al Sieber". Arizona History Page. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Mitchell, Carol (February–March 2001). "Lady Sadie". True West Magazine. 
  7. ^ Mitchell, Carol. "Lady Sadie". True West Magazine. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Monahan, Sherry (2013). Mrs. Earp (First ed.). TwoDot. ASIN B00I1LVKYA. 
  9. ^ Ball, Larry D. (1999). The United States marshals of New Mexico and Arizona territories, 1846-1912. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0826306173. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Tuska, Jon (1985). The American West in Film: Critical Approaches to the Western. Greenwood Press. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-313-24603-6. 
  12. ^ Robert Aldrich (July 9, 1954). Apache (film). United States: United Artists. 
  13. ^ "Apache Kid". Stories of the Century. Season 1. Episode 28. January 9, 1955.
  14. ^ Jack Starrett (February 1, 1979). Mr. Horn (television). United States: Lorimar Productions. 
  15. ^ 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.

External links[edit]