Wickenburg Massacre

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Coordinates: 33°57′47″N 112°47′50″W / 33.963072°N 112.797253°W / 33.963072; -112.797253 (Wickenburg Massacre Historical Monument)

Wickenburg Massacre
Frederick Wadsworth Loring in his campaign costume with his mule, named Evil Merodach. Photo was taken about 48 hours before the massacre.
Location Wickenburg, Arizona
Date November 5, 1871
Attack type
Mass murder
Deaths 6
Non-fatal injuries
Victim American citizens
Perpetrator Yavapai warriors

The Wickenburg Massacre was the 5 November 1871 mass murder of six stagecoach passengers en route from Wickenburg, Arizona Territory, westbound for San Bernardino, California, on the La Paz road.


Around mid-morning, about six miles from Wickenburg, the stagecoach was attacked by 15 Yavapai warriors, who were sometimes mistakenly called Apache-Mohaves, from the Date Creek Reservation.[1][2] Six men, including the driver, were shot and killed. Among them was Frederick Wadsworth Loring, a young writer from Boston who had been sent as a correspondent for Appleton's Journal.[3] One male passenger, William Kruger, and the only female passenger, Mollie Sheppard, though wounded, managed to escape.[4] According to Kruger, Sheppard eventually died of the wounds which she received.[5]

Over the next two years, General George Crook conducted an investigation into the attack, eventually resulting in the identification of all of the perpetrators. After trying and failing to personally arrest the ringleaders, Crook sent Captain J. W. Mason to Burro Creek, where he encountered those responsible for the massacre as well as innocent Yavapai natives in three rancherias. Many were killed in the battle that followed.[6]

Seven months prior to the Wickenburg incident, 144 Apaches were killed in the Camp Grant Massacre near Tucson, and Eastern sentiment was with the victims. However, the death in Wickenburg of Loring, one of Boston's most promising young writers, turned the tide against the Yavapai. In February 1875, after being promised reservation land near Prescott "forever and forever", the Yavapai tribe was uprooted and driven 180 miles south to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, where they were forced to live beside their enemies from centuries past, the Chiricahua Apaches.

Memorial plaques were installed near the site several times, including in 1937 by the Arizona Highway Department, and in 1948 and 1988 by the Wickenburg Saddle Club.[7]

Wickenburg Massacre
Vicinity marker where the Wickenburg Massacre took place. 
Old Stage Coach Road where the November 5, 1871, Wickenburg Massacre occurred. 
Grave of one of the victims of the Wickenburg Massacre. 

The Wickenburg Massacre was on a April 12, 1996 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.


  1. ^ "The Indian Attack Upon an Arizona Stage - The Driver and Five Passengers Killed". The New York Times. 1871-11-20. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  2. ^ "THE INDIANS.; Verdict of the Coroner's Jury in the Wickenburg Massacre". The New York Times. 1871-11-22. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  3. ^ "The Late Frederick W. Loring". The New York Times. 1871-11-24. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  4. ^ Own, Our (1872-01-01). "THE WICKENBURG MASSACRE; First Authentic Account from an Eye-Witness". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  5. ^ "What Really Happened to Mollie Sheppard?"; by: Jan MacKell Collins
  6. ^ "TRAIL TALK". Masked Rider Western November 1950. 
  7. ^ Collins, Jan MacKell (2015). Wild Women of Prescott, Arizona. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. p. 92. ISBN 9781626198630. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Dan L. Thrapp: Al Sieber: Chief of Scouts. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman 1964, ISBN 0-8061-2770-8 (Page 87 to 105)
  • Another account of the massacre from University of Arizona
  • Bill W. Smith. : A Collection of Newspaper Articles, Letters, and Reports, Regarding the Wickenburg Massacre and Subsequent Camp Date Creek Incident. Phoenix: Privately Published, 1989. 68pp. (Edition Limited to 20 Signed Copies)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]