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Archives & Special Collections: John Bigelow Jr. and Geronimo


The son of a great American statesman and Union alum of the same name, John Bigelow Jr., tried to live up to his father's standards by becoming an officer in the army.  He matriculated at West Point and upon graduation was assigned to the Western, US.  He served in a detachment headed by General Miles that was ordered to capture Geronimo and the rebel Chiricahua Apaches.  Geronimo and his 34 followers were the last Indians to surrender to the American government.

The letters that John Jr. wrote to his father provide first hand insights into the activities of the US Army at that time. His corresondence also describes the life of a soldier in pursuit of Geronimo during this period of American history.

Primary Sources

The Bigelow Collection: Original letters from John Bigelow Jr. to John Bigelow Sr. (see: Special Collections):

Dec. 9, 1885

April 9, 1886

May 6, 1886

May 19, 1886 

Aug. 9, 1886

Sept. 22, 1886

Miller, Theodore Westwood. Theodore W. Miller, Rough Rider: His Diary as a Soldier Together with the Story of His Life. Akron, OH: Privately Printed, 1899.

Outing: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Recreation. New York, NY, 1886. Google Books.  Vol VII. No. 6. March 1886. pp. 635.

Bigelow, John. On the Bloody Trail of Geronimo. Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1968. Print. 

Kinevan, Marcos E. Frontier Cavalryman: Lieutenant John Bigelow with the Buffalo Soldiers in Texas. El Paso, Tex: Texas Western Press, 1998. Print.  CALL # UT B592fro 1998 (Only available in Special Collections).

Secondary Sources

Debo, Angie. Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976.

Roberts, David.  Once They Moved like the Wind: Cochise, Geronimo and the Apache Wars. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.