Life among the Apaches

Written by John Carey Cremony

The Apaches have gone down in history as one of the most legendary of all the Native American peoples.

But who were they?

They lived and roamed in the mountains and canyons in the Southwest of the United States and Northern Mexico.

In 1847 John Cremony worked for the US government, translating for military personnel across treacherous parts of the country. It was then that he first came in contact with the Apache people, and went on to learn about their ways first hand for nine years.

As a result of their time in Mexico, the tribesmen could speak Spanish with Cremony and he became the first white man to master the Apache language. Though not all their encounters were peaceful, death and uncertainty surrounded his relationship with them.

Many Americans were terrified of the Apaches, especially following the massacre at the Copper Mines of Santa Rita. Though not unprovoked, Cremony tells the story of the Apaches clever and brutal reaction to settler’s violence.

Whilst Cremony learns from the Apaches, they are equally amazed by the things he shows them, from guns and medicine to photographs and the written language.

In this insightful memoir, John Cremony talks about his time dealing with these incredible tribes. He delves in to their secret lives, revealing their highly intelligent and traditional ways.

“Like most frontiersmen of the mid-nineteenth century, John C. Cremony looked on Indians as unredeemable savages. But he knew Apaches first hand and was a keen and highly literate observer. For all its ethnocentrism, his narrative remains unsurpassed for accuracy and vivid detail among contemporary views of the Apaches. In the literature of the American West Life among the Apaches endures as a classic.” Robert M. Utley

John Cremony (1815 – 1879) was an American journalist who joined the Massachusetts Volunteers in 1846, serving as a Spanish interpreter for the U.S Boundary Commission. After leaving the Volunteers, he went on to become the first editor for the San Francisco Sunday Times newspaper.

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