Of the several
books Edgar Rice Burroughs consulted in his research on Apaches, one bore
the rather cumbersome and dry sounding title:
Ninth Annual Report of
the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
1887-'88. This five-pound plus tome (first published in 1892)
was part of an ongoing set of matched volumes bound in dark brown cloth,
with gilt spine lettering, bearing the imprint of the Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C.
The 1892 first edition contained two papers. The first, and longest
was a 442 page treatise on the Point Barrow Eskimo by John Murdock. The
second contribution (original pages 443-603) was a fascinating study entitled
Medicine Men of the Apache by John G. Bourke, Captain, Third
Cavalry, U.S. Army. Bourke (pronounced "Burrk") was the author of the earlier
ethnological works: The Snake Dance of the Moguis (Hopi) of Arizona
Scatalogic Rites of All Nations (1891). He also penned the classic
military histories: An Apache CAmpaign in the Sierra Madre (1886),
and On the Border with Crook (1891).
Bourke's 160 page monograph on Apache medicine men, as it appeared in
the Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, provided a cornucopia
of ethnographic information to novelist, and former Seventh Cavalry trooper,
Edgar Rice Burroughs. Within its pages ERB found vivid descriptions of
Apache medicine men performing various sacred ceremonies as observed by
Bourke during his many years of duty as an army officer in Apacheria. These
included healing ceremonies for all mode of ills, and the cha-ja-la
or "Spirit" dance in which the dancers personify the Kan or Mountain
spirits. Bourke witnessed this most sacred of Apache ceremonies on several
Therein also, ERB found descriptions and illustrations of the rhombus
or tzi-ditindi; the sacred amulet tzi-daltai; the izzekloth
or medicine cord; the scratch stick and drinking reed; and bags containing
the sacred pollen of the Apache. Bourke introduced his readers to three
Western Apache medicine men: Na-a-cha, Nakay-do-klunni and Nan-to-do-tash
-- two of whom make fictional appearances in The War Chief/Apache Devil.
All of the above elements and more, the Wizard of Tarzana transported in
his own artful way from the pages of the ninth Annual Report to
the pages of his Apache epic. Nearly half of the terms ERB listed in his
thirty-five word Apache glossary at the back of The War Chief were
discovered in Bourke's monograph.
John G. Bourke was one of the last of the nineteenth century "soldier
scientists" whose ranks provided the government with detailed information
about the native inhabitants, geography, and flora and fauna of an expanding
frontier. Named for Saint John and for Gregory, the patron saint of learning,
Bourke was born in Philadelphia in 1846 to Irish Catholic immigrant parents.
At age eight Bourke was studying Greek, Latin and Gaelic under a Jesuit
At sixteen Bourke embarked on a military career that would have fulfilled
the fondest daydreams of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Caught up in the furor of
the Civil War, he joined the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry in
1862. Bourke won the Medal of Honor for "GAllantry in action" at the Battle
of Stones River, Tennessee. He was with the first Union troops to arrive
in Atlanta under William Tecumseh Sherman.
After the Civil War Bourke received an appointment to West Point. In
1869 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Third Cavalry and
ordered to the Southwest where he soon became embroiled in the Apache Wars.
In 1871 he was named aide-de-camp to Major General George Crook, commander
of the MIlitary Department of Arizona. Bourke was with Crook during the
Sioux Indian Campaign of 1876, and throughout the Apache conflicts of the
early 1870s and 1880s.
Since his first arrival in the West Bourke kept a steady diary. Curious
and observant, he was constantly making field notes on the customs, behaviour,
beliefs, language and material culture of indigenous peoples. Bourke
studied many tribes but it was the Western Apache of Arizona that he came
to know the est. His dual projects became the compilation of an Apache
dictionary and grammar and a study of Apache medicine men. Because of his
seemingly endless writing, one Apache chief inquired whether Bourke wa
or "paper medicine man." IN The Medicine Men of the Apache (pg.
500) Bourke explained: "I made it a touchstone of friendship that every
scout or other Apache who wished for a favor at my hands should relate
something concerning his religious belief. I did not care much what topic
he selected; it might be myths, war customs, clan laws, medicine -- anything
he pleased, but it had to be something and it had to be accurate."
The Medicine Men of the Apache contains three chapters. Chapter
I, titled "The Medicine-men, Their Modes of Treating Disease, Their Superstitions,
Paraphernalia, etc." includes descriptions and explanations of the rhomus
or tzi-ditindi (sounding wood) used to imitate the sound of a gust
of rain-laden wind; the cross, which symbolizes the cardinal points and
four winds; and the scratch stick and drinking reed used by novice warriors
on their first four raids. ERB made much use of the ethnographic information
in this chapter as exemplified by his skillful description of the latter
two objects in The War Chief (pg. 148, 149). "Having eaten, Shoz-Dijiji
quenched his thirst from his water bottle, drawing the liquid into his
mouth through his drinking reed, a bit of cane, attached to his scanty
apparel by a length of buckskin, for no water might touch his lips during
his four novitiate excursions upon the war trail. "Treasured therefore
was his sacred drinking reed without which he must choose between death
by thirst and the loss of credit for all that he had performed upon the
war trail, together with the attendant ridicule of the tribe.
"Only slightly less esteemed was another treasure dangling from a second
buckskin thong - a bit of cedar three inches in length and less than half
an inch in width. This was his scratch stick, an article that he found
constant use for, since he might not scratch himself with his fingers during
this holy period of initiation into the rites and mysteries of the sacred
war trail. These two necessary adjuncts to the successful consummation
of his ambition he had fashioned in the high places under the yes of Usen;
he had sanctified them with prayer and the sacrificial offering of hoddentin
and he had brought them to Nakay-do-klunni, the great izze-nantan, to be
blessed, and so he set great store by them. . . ."
Chapter I of The Medicine Men of the Apache contains an interesting
discussion of the use of "gibberish" words and incantations by Apache healers.
Bourke reported that "When a man is taken sick the medicine-men are
in the zenith of their glory . . . and all bodily disorders and ailments
are attributed to the maleficence of spirits who must be expelled or placated."
Describing a typical Apache healing ceremony Bourke wrote: "The medicine-men
lead off in the singing, to which the assistants reply with a refrain which
at time has appeared to me to be antiphonal. Then the chorus is swelled
by the voices of the women and larger children and rises and falls with
monotonous cadence. Prayers are recited . . . but very frequently the words
are ejaculatory and confined to such expressions as 'ugashe' (go away),
and again there is to be noted the same mumbling of incoherent phrases
which has been the stock in trade of medicinemen in all ages and places.
This use of gibberish was admitted by the medicine-men, who claimed that
the words employed and known only to themselves (each individual seemed
to have his own vocabulary) were mysteriously effective in dispelling sickness
of any kind."
Burroughs describes the Apache medicine men Nan-to-do-tash and Nakay-do-klunni
often mumbling or chanting "weird gibberish." That is nothing new for ERB
who, throughout his writings, tends to portray witch doctors, medicine
men and various priestly types as gibberish-spouting hypocrites or fanatics
whose overall influence on their flock is detrimental. Bourke too believed
that all medicine men (and medicine women) were essentially charlatans.
But of the Apache he observed: "It must be conceded that the monotonous
intonation of the medicine-men is not without good results, especially
in such ailments as can be benefited by the sleep which such singing induces."
If ERB did not read The Medicine Men of the Apache until 1926,
he found in its pages a powerful reinforcement of his own long-held notions
regarding the methods and motives of tribal healers and religious leaders.
If he consulted the Ninth Annual Report at a much earlier
date, then Bourke's paper could have contributed to the formation of Burroughs'
Chapter II of The Medicine Men of the Apache is entitled: "Hoddentin,
the Pollen of the Tule, the Sacrificial Powder of the Apache; With
Remarks Upon Sacred Powders and Bread Offerings in General." This chapter
opens with a detailed look at the many Apache uses for hoddentin,
its origin, and significance to Apache religion. Wrote Bourke: "One of
the first things to be noticed among the Apache . . . was the very general
appearance of little bags of buckskin , sometimes ornamented, sometimes
plain, which were ordinarily attached to the belts of the warriors, and
of which they seemed to be especially careful. . . The bags spoken
of revealed when opened a quantity of yellow colored flour or powder, resembling
cornmeal, to which the Apache gave the name of 'hoddentin' or 'hadntin,'
the meaning of which word is 'the powder or pollen of the tule,' a variety
of the cat-tail rush, growing in all the little ponds and cienegas of the
Bourke reported that Apaches offered pinches of hoddentin to
the four directions and four winds; to the sun and moon; to dawn and darkness;
to fire; and often to the morning star; and to na-u-kuzze, the Great
Bear. Hoddentin was employed in healing ceremonies, puberty rites
and funerals. IN Apache mythology, Bourke noted, Assanut-li-je (Changing
Woman) spilled hoddentin across the night sky and thus created the
Burroughs sprinkled many images of hoddentin usage throughout
his Apache epic. When Cochise lay dying in Chapter III of The War Chief
ERB described the healing ceremony (pg. 51). "They sat in a circle about
a large fire beside which lay Cochise, Nakay-do-klunni and Nan-to-do-task,
wearing the sacred izze-kloth and elaborate medicine headdress, danced
in a circle about the sick man and the fires. . . . Now Nan-to-do-task
advanced toward Cochise and sprinkled hoddentin upon his arms and legs
in the form of a cross and as he backed away to resume the dancing Nakay-doklunni
took his place beside the dying chieftain and made similarly the mystic
symbol upon his head and breast." In Chapter II of The Medicine Men
of the Apache (pg. 502) Bourke wrote: "When a person is very sick the
Apache make a great fire, place the patient near it, and dance in a circle
around him and the fire, at the same time singing and sprinkling him with
hoddentin in the form of a cross on head, breast, arms and legs."
In The War Chief (pg. 70, 71) ERB describes Shoz-Dijiji making
preparations for his first adventure on the war path. "From a buckskin
bag upon which Morning Star had sewn pretty heads the boy took a still
smaller bag containing hoddentin, a pinch of which he sprinkled on each
side of the tzi-daltai, and then he tossed a pinch out over the cliff in
front of him and one over his left shoulder and one over his right and
fourth behind him. 'Be good, O, winds!' he prayed. Another pinch of hoddentin
he tossed high in air above him. 'Be good, O, ittindi! Make strong the
medicine of Shoz-Dijiji that it may protect him from the weapons
of his enemies."
In Chapter VI of The War Chief (pg. 110) ERB describes Ish-kay-nay's
womanhood ceremony. "The drums boomed, the dancers bent double, whirled
about first upon one foot and then upon the other. The men advanced, the
girls retreated to the outer edge of the dance ground. Among them, grotesque,
painted, decked out in the finery of their most gorgeous medicine headdress,
their finest izze-kloths, whirling their tzi-ditindes, the izz-nantans
whirled and leaped and danced, sprinkling the sacred hoddentin upon the
youths and maidens."
And in Chapter Three of Apache Devil (pg. 54) ERB writes: "At
a little distance a warrior cast hoddentin into the air and prayed: "Guin-ju-le,
chil-jilt, si-chi-zi, gun-ju-le, inzayu, ijanale,' -- 'Be good O Night;
Twilight, be good; do not let me die.'" These Apache words and phrases
ERB found in Chapter II of The Medicine Men of the Apache.
In the same chapter, Bourke included a single brief paragraph concerning
the Cibeque Apache holy man Nakay-do-klunni, which proved to be of great
use to Burroughs. On page 505 Bourke wrote: "The Apache medicine-man, Nakay-do-klunni,
called by the whites 'Bobbydoklinny,' exercised great influence over his
people at Camp Apache, in 1881. He boasted of his power to raise the dead,
and predicted that the whites should soon be driven from t eh land. He
also drilled the savages in a peculiar dance, the like of which had never
been seen among them. The participants, men and women, arranged themselves
in files, facing a common center, like the spokes of a wheel, and while
thus dancing hoddentin was thrown upon them in profusion. This prophet
or 'doctor' was killed in the engagement in Cibicu canyon, August 30, 1881."
Burroughs used the Cibeque (pronounced "Sibeque") incident as a key
turning point in the plot of The War Chief. His characterization
of Nakay-do-klunni as evil, self-serving, and destructive to his own people
was doubtless a combination of his own thinking, together with Bourke's
conclusions regarding medicine men in general. ERB later added more details
to his description of the Cibeque affair, gleaned from Anton Mazzanovich's
Geronimo (1926). Both Bourke and Mazzanovich presented Nakay-do-klunni
and the circumstances which led to the Cibeque confrontation from the white-military
perspective. From the Apaches' point of view, all they were doing was dancing.
The balance of Chapter II of The Medicine Men of the Apache is
given over to Bourke's numerous analogies to hoddentin and similar
uses of sacred pollen, meal, powder, breads and cakes from cultures of
all historical periods worldwide. Included are references to the
practices of ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Hebrews, Hindus, Africans,
Australians, Aztecs, Peruvians and Zuni. This penchant for comparison is
evident throughout Bourke's paper, so much so that only about one third
of The Medicine Men of the Apache is actually about Apaches or their
religion. Bourke also laced his text with frequent quotes in French, Spanish
and Latin from many sources, some of which he translates, others not. For
these reasons some readers might find parts of Bourke's monograph to be
as dry as some of the sacred powders and bread offerings discussed in Chapter
Chapter III of The Medicine Men of the Apache is titled: "The
Izze-kloth or Medicine Cord of the Apache." Here Bourke describes in detail
several different Apache medicine cords containing two, three or four strands.
He notes of these cords: "There is probably no more mysterious or interesting
portion of the religious or 'medicinal' equipment of the Apache Indian,
whether he be medicine-man or simply member of the laity, than the
'izzekloth' or medicine cord, illustrations of which accompany this text
. . . the Apaches look upon these cords as so sacred that strangers are
not allowed to see them, much less handle them or talk about them." Bourke
further noted: "These cords will protect a man while on the warpath, and
many of the Apache believe firmly that a bullet will have no effect upon
the warrior wearing one of them . . . the wearer can tell who has stolen
ponies or other property from him or from his friends, can help the crops,
and cure the sick."
Burroughs, in Chapter One of Apache Devil (pg. 10), portrays
in rich detail Nan-to-do-tash leading an Apache ceremonial dance. "The
old men beat upon the es-a-da-ded, the primitive drum of buckskin stretched
across a hoop; and to their cadence Nan-to-do-tash led the dancers, his
body painted a greenish brown with a yellow snake upon each arm; upon his
breast, in yellow, a bear; and upon his back the zig-zag lines of lightning.
"His sacred izze-kloth, passing across his right shoulder, fell over
his left hip. Of a potency almost equal to this four strand medicine cord
of twisted antelope skin was the buckskin medicine hat of Nan-to-do-task
by means of which he was able to peer into the future, to foresee the approach
of an enemy, cure the sick, or tell who had stolen ponies from other people.
"The downy feathers and black-tipped plumes of the eagle added to the
efficacy and decoration of this potent head-dress, the value of which was
further enhanced by pieces of abalone shell, by duklij, and a snake's rattle
which surmounted the apex, while in brownish yellow and dirty blue there
were depicted upon the body of the had clouds, a rainbow, hail, the morning
star, the God of Wind, with his lungs, the black Kan, and the great suns."
All of the details concerning body decorations, the izze-kloth and Nan-todo-tash's
sacred medicine had were found by ERB in Chapter III of The Medicine
Men of the Apache.
Bourke also described the Apache amulet tzi-daltai made from
a piece of lightning-riven wood and worn by both men and women. Burroughs
depicts Shoz-Dijiji making his tzi-daltai in preparation for warrior
training in Chapter IV of The War Chief (pg. 70) based on Bourke's
information. "For an hour, he worked unceasingly until the splinter, smoothed
upon its two flat sides, suggested, roughly, the figure of a short legged,
armless man . . . . Upon one flat side he carved zigzag lines -- two of
them running parallel and longitudinally. These represented ittindi, the
lightning. Upon the opposite side he cut two crosses and these he called
intchi-dijin, the black wind . . . Thus did Shoz-Dijiji, the Black Bear,
fashion his tzi-daltai."
The last items to be dealt with in Chapter III of Bourke's monograph
are Apache medicine shirts, medicine sashes, and phylacteries or medicine
bundles. The latter object is a small piece of buckskin (or other material)
inscribed with religious symbols, often used to wrap other sacred objects,
and worn secreted 'from the view of others.' Bourke described the contents
of the Tonto Apache medicine man Na-a-ch's phylactery on page 592. "It
. . . unwrapped a tiny bag of hoddentin, which in its turn, held a small
but very clear crystal of quartz and four feathers of eagle down. Na-a-cha
took care to explain very earnestly that this phylactery contained not
merely the 'medicine' or power of the crystal, the hoddentin, and the itza-chu,
or eagle, but also of the shoz-dijiji, or black bear, the shoz-lekay, or
white bear, the shoz-litzogue, or yellow bear, and the klij-litzogue, or
yellow snake, though just in what manner he could not explain." Thus, from
the symbols found within the Apache medicine man's sacred phylactery, examined
by Bourke, Edgar Rice Burroughs discovered the term shoz-dijiji,
which he used to name his "Apache Tarzan."
Bourke concluded his monograph with the following statement, which Burroughs
certainly read: "It will only be after we have thoroughly routed the medicine-men
from their entrenchments and made them an object of ridicule that we can
hope to bend and train the mind of our Indian wards in the direction of
civilization. In my own opinion, the reduction of the medicine-men will
effect more for the savages than the giving of land in severalty or instruction
in the schools at Carlisle or Hampton; rather, the latter should be conducted
with this great object mainly in view: to let pupils insensibly absorb
such knowledge as may soonest and mot completely convince them of the impotency
of the charlatans who hold the tribes in bondage.
"Teach the scholars at Carlisle and Hampton some of the wonders of electricity,
magnetism, chemistry, the spectroscope, magic lantern, ventriloquism, music,
and then, when they return to their own people, each will despise the fraud
of the medicinemen and be a focus of growing antagonism to their pretensions
. . . impress upon each one that he is to return as a missionary of civilization.
Let them see that the world is free to the civilized, that law is liberty."
Bourke and his fellow ethnologists believed that all human societies
progressed in stages from a state of "rudeness" or "savagery" to civilization
-- the highest state of civilization being then represented by European
and American society. Burroughs expended much ink deriding the benefits
of civilization in The War Chief and Apache Devil, as he
does in his Tarzan novels, and elsewhere. Ironically, Bourke's own beliefs
regarding the benefits of civilization would, late in his life, come to
dovetail with those expressed by Burroughs.
Although Bourke disparaged their medicine men, he recognized that the
Apaches possessed a rich cultural heritage of their own. He saw in many
of them such finer qualities as truthfulness, honour, chastity, intelligence,
industry and valor; which he often perceived as lacking among the representatives
of his own culture in the Southwest. When the Chiricahua Apaches were imprisoned
in Florida under less than humane conditions, Bourke became deeply involved
in the struggle for their welfare. This struggle brought him into conflict
with powerful forces within the military / political establishment. Bourke
blamed General Nelson A. Miles for the plight of the imprisoned Apaches
and the betrayal of loyal Apache scouts. He faulted the government for
the cruelty and stupidity of its Indian policy.
While visiting the captive Chiricahuas at Fort Marion, St. Augustine,
Florida, in 1887 (an experience that profoundly depressed him) Bourke wrote
in his diary: ". . . the legend 'it is finished' was written at the end
of the unbroken series of plunder and exaction marking the progress Westward
of Caucasion civilization; the last feeble remnant of savagery, fighting
with the courage of despair to defend its barren, mountain birthright had
been ground into powder beneath the heel of a nation whose proud boast
had been 'Liberty to all the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.'"
Besides the Ninth Annual Report, Burroughs also read and used
small but important parts of Bourke's magnum opus On the Border With
Crook whether or not he ever held a copy in his hands. That is because
historian Norman B. Wood, author of Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs
(1906), transcribed several long passages from On the Border with Crook
in his biographical sketch of Geronimo. Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs
is one of ten books ERB listed in his work sheets as having consulted while
From On the Border with Crook, by way of Lives of Famous Indian
Chiefs, ERB was able to reconstruct the famous conference held between
Geronimo and General George crook in March, 1886, at Canyon de los Embudos
(Canyon of the Funnels), Sonora, Mexico. Bourke was at CRook's side at
that ill-fated summit and recorded, near verbatim, both Geronimo's memorable
creation and Crook's grim ultimatum. Burroughs, in turn, incorporated Crook's
and Geronimo's words into his historically accurate Chapter Eight of Apache
Also in On the Border With Crook (via Lives of Famous Indian
Chiefs), Burroughs found Bourke's lacerating indictment of a whiskey
peddling low-life named Tribollet. It was Tribollet who, with whiskey and
lives, undermined the March 1886, surrender of Geronimo's band of Chiricahua
Apaches to General Crook. Tribollet ws probably associated with the "Tucson
ring," an under-class of crooked Indian agents, government contractors
and contraband runners who sought to prolong the Apache wars. Bourke called
them "wicked men, whose only mode of livelihood was from eh vices, weaknesses,
or perils of the human race." Of Tribollet Bourke wrote: "What did Tribollet
care how many settlers' homes were burned, their stock driven off, and
their families butchered, if he could only sell his vile adulterated whisky
at 'ten dollars a gallon in silver.'"
ERB used the Tribollet incident, as recorded by Bourke, for the basis
of Chapter Nine of Apache Devil titled, appropriately, "Red Fools
and White Scoundrels." In this chapter (pg. 147) ERB wrote: "Many of the
braves already felt the effects of the adulterated, raw spirits that Tribollet
ws selling them at ten dollars a gallon, and most of those that had been
drinking were daubing their faces with war paint and boasting of what they
would do to the soldiers of the pindah-lickoyee." Burroughs echoed Bourke
and gave Tribollet his due at the conclusion of Chapter Nine, writing:
". . . Geronimo rode silently out through the night with these and eighteen
other warriors, fourteen women, and two boys, down into the mountains of
Mexico; and the results of months of the hardest campaign that possibly,
any troops in the history of warfare ever experienced were entirely nullified
by one cheap white man with a barrel of cheap whiskey." It is likely that
Bourke's harsh indictment of Tribollet and his ilk provided at least some
inspiration for ERB's fictional archetype of frontier Anglo evil, "Dirty"
Cheetim. Of course, Burroughs might have observed a "Dirty" Cheetim-type
or two in the flesh during the time he spent in Arizona Territory in the
The question remains, did Burroughs read all of On the Border With
Crook or at least the chapters that dealt with Apache wars? ERB attended
the Michigan Military Academy in the 1890s. The Academy would have had
a library. On the Border With Crook would probably have been in
that library. It is just the sort of book that a young Edgar Rice Burroughs,
filled with visions of military glory, would have perused with relish.
Phil Burger, in his article on John Cremony's Life Among the Apaches
(The Burroughs Bulletin, New Series #31), pointed out several similarities
between elements found in On the Border With Crook and some of ERB's
writings. One of these was Bourke's mention of certain caves with "peculiar
medicine qualities, which would prevent an enemy from gaining possession
of it." Such medicine caves are reminiscent of the strange cave that John
Carter discovered in his flight from hostile Apaches in Chapter One of
Princess of Mars.
There is another parallel that can be noted between On the Border
With Crook and A Princess of Mars. That is the striking resemblance
between the real-life First Lieutenant Howard Bass Cushing and ERB's second
most famous fictional hero, Captain John Carter. Bourke served as Lt. Cushing's
junior officer in Troop F, Third Cavalry in 1870-'71. Cushing was a relentless
Indian fighter and led Troop F, Bourke accompanying, on numerous scouts
after hostile Apaches. Cushing commanded during Bourke's first action against
Apaches in 1870 and he became Bourke's mentor and friend.
The story of Howard Bass Cushing is interwoven into the first several
chapters of On the Border With Crook. Many of the details sound
suspiciously similar to ERB's portrayal of John Carter in Arizona. Like
John Carter, Howard Bass Cushing was an army officer who had fought in
the Civil War (albeit on the side of the North). John Carter went west
after the War of Rebellion, landing in Arizona Territory. Cushing was ordered
to the Southwest by the army, arriving first in New Mexico and later in
Arizona Territory. Cushing and Carter were both professional soldiers.
Carter had a desperate encounter with hostile Apaches. Cushing and his
troop had many bloody encounters with Apaches.
In the foreword to A Princess of Mars Burroughs describes John
Carter's eyes as being ". . . of a steel grey, reflecting a strong and
loyal character, filled with fire and initiative." And in his foreword
to The Gods of Mars Burroughs wrote of Carter: "His keen grey eyes
were undimmed, and the only lines upon his face were the lines of iron
character and determination, coolness, and energy which had made his name
famous all over the southwestern border."
In the foreword to A Princess of Mars ERB reveals that John Carter
"had been prospecting and mining in Arizona part of the time since the
war . . ." Captain Carter related in his manuscript that he and his partner
Powell had located a "remarkable gold bearing quartz vein" from which they
extracted "over a million dollars worth of ore." Bourke describes in On
the Border With Crook (pg. 98) how he, Cushing, and Troop F (with stories
of lost Spanish mines "ringing in our ears") searched out an opened a long
abandoned silver mine at the urging of one of their Mexican guides. Ore
was removed and sent to San Francisco to be assayed but with disappointing
results. Bourke further related of his experiences with Cushing and Troop
F. "We were among the very first to come upon the rich ledges of copper
which have since furnished the mainstay to the prosperity of the town of
Clifton, on the border of New Mexico, and we knocked off pieces of pure
metal, and brought them back to Tucson to show the people there.
For John Carter, cowardice was not an option. In times of danger CArter
acted "more upon impulse than after mature deliberation." Cushing too was
renowned for his absolute courage. Bourke, who was no coward, considered
Cushing to be the bravest man he ever knew. But, as Bourke illustrated
in On the Border With Crook, Cushing could be less than prudent
in that he had a tendency to want to rush into every fray, ignoring the
advice of his scouts. In fact, Cushing was impulsive (a la John Carter)
at times to the point of recklessness. This combination of personality
traits probably contributed to his early demise. Howard Bass Cushing was
32 years old when he was killed in an Apache ambush in Arizona Territory
There is one more important way that Bourke may have indirectly influenced
Burroughs. ERB based his negative characterization of the Ned-ni Apache
chief Juh in The War Chief upon a few remarks he found in Charles
F. Lummis' Southwest classic The Land of Poco Tiempo (1893). Lummis
met Bourke at Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory in 1886 when he was reporting
on the Geronimo campaign for the Los Angeles Times. Bourke befriended
Lummis and supplied the newspaperman with a wealth of details about the
GEronimo campaign, various individuals involved, and Apaches in general.
Lummis later used much of this same information in his book. Bourke (who
never met Juh) was probably Lummis' source for the image of Juh as a "butcher"
-- a label that reflected the white-military point of view toward an elusive
Apache chief who the army never understood nor ever conquered.
Bourke and Burroughs both worked at the World's Columbian Exposition
in Chicago in 1893. Bourke was on detail as curator of a Department of
State exhibit called La Rabida which displayed important historical
documents and artifacts related to the European discovery and exploration
of the New World. A teen-aged Burroughs drove a battery powered electric
automobile around the fairgrounds to advertise his father's American Battery
Company. Perhaps Bourke, in his comings and goings, would have noticed
so strange a sight as an "electrical horseless carriage" maneuvering around
the fairgrounds. Perhaps, also, ERB found time to visit La Rabida
to view such treasures as Queen Isabella's crown, an autograph signature
of Hernando Cortez, and Walter Raleigh's 1585 map of Virginia. Bourke conducted
frequent informational tours through the popular historical exhibit. That
would have been as close as Tarzan's creator might have come to meeting
the distinguished soldier-scientist whose writings so enriched Burroughs'
two Apache novels.
Bell, William Gardner. John Gregory Bourke: A Soldier-Scientist
on the Frontier. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Corral of the Westerners,
Bourke, John G. The Medicine Men of the Apache. (1892). Glorietta,
NM: The Rio Grande Press , Inc. 1983.
--- On the Border With Crook. (1891). Lincoln, NE: University
of Nebraska Press, 1971.
Burger, Phillip R. The Burroughs Library: John Cremony's Life Among
the Apaches. Louisville, KY: The Burroughs Bulletin, New
Series #31, Summer 1997.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice. Apache Devil. (1933). New York: Grosset
and Dunlap, 1934.
--- The Gods of Mars. (1919). New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1920.
--- A Princess of Mars. (1917). New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1918.
--- The War Chief. (1927). New York: Grosset and Dunlap,
Lummis, Charles F. The Land of Poco Tiempo. (1893). Albuquerque,
NM: University New Mexico Press, 1966.
Mazzanovich, Anton. Trailing Geronimo. Los Angeles: Gem Publishing
Porges, Irwin. Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Man Who Created Tarzan.
UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975.
Porter, Joseph C. Paper Medicine Man: John Gregory Bourke and His
American West. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986.
Wood, Norman B. Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs. Aurora, IL: American
Indian Historical Publishing Company, 1906.