atm-logoWho was White Apache?

Joe Gallagher
Ontario, California

Dan Thrapp was preparing a book on “White Apache” Zebina Streeter when he died in 1994, and my response is informed by his unpublished manuscript.

Streeter was born in Genoa, New York, on October 8, 1838. He served in the military until the end of the Civil War. Fluent in Spanish and conversant in Apache, he moved in 1866 to Mexico, where he served as a colonel under Benito Juárez.

Back in the States, he became an interpreter at Fort Craig in New Mexico, where he made the acquaintance of Indian Agent Tom Jeffords and a number of Apache leaders, including Victorio, Juh, Geronimo and perhaps Cochise.

In the early 1880s, Streeter joined Juh’s band and went on raids with them. According to Mexican newspapers, he was leading a band of Apaches when he was wounded in a battle, captured and taken to Hermosillo. By 1886, he was riding with Capt. Leonard Wood during his pursuit of Geronimo in northern Mexico.

Streeter was shot and killed in Nacozari, Sonora, on June 26, 1889, by the brother of a woman he was “sparking”—having a romantic relationship with outside of her marriage. Streeter’s body was buried in an informal ceremony in Nacozari.


Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.  If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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