The Severed Head Campaign

Mickey Free April 1874

During Arizona’s Tonto Basin Campaign of 1872-1873, General George Crook offered $100 bounties to his scouts for the heads of a few specific renegade leaders including the notorious Delshay and Chunz. In the spring of 1873 two different bands brought in a head claiming it was Delshay. Tonto scouts from Fort Verde brought in a scalp and an ear taken at Turret Mountain insisting it was Delshay and Desalin, from San Carlos brought in a head swearing it was Delshay. Crook visited both reservations and believing both parties were “earnest in their beliefs,” decided to pay a bounty to both.

The scouts made life difficult for the renegades. There was no way to escape them. Harried, discouraged and hungry, they began surrendering in in greater numbers.

There was an artist’s rendering of John Clum, on the first day he arrived as agent at San Carlos when he was greeted by a row of severed heads. Among them was Chunz, the most elusive renegade of them all. Desalin, either a Tonto or White Mountain, played a key role in taking both Delshay and Chunz. The row of six heads must have been quite a shock to the youngster from the Dutch Reform Church.

BBB rendering of Mickey Free presenting the head of Pedro to Captain George Randall 1874

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