Goatview Farm - The Saint Report www.goatview.com


April 11
The Short, Tragic Life of
Apache May Slaughter

(2004?) I went to Tombstone the other day and saw these pictures, one in the Bird Cage Theater and one in the Rose Tree Museum. The story behind them reminded me of hunters who go out and kill a whole mess of coyotes or foxes or raccoons and then bring back one of the orphaned baby whatevers for the kids to raise. Those displaced youngsters don't fare well, either. I'll let the pictures tell Apache May's story:

apache may slaughter


Here's the text of the second picture so search engines can find it. Errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation; the general tone; and the author's sensibilities are NOT mine:

"In 1896 Indian raiding of small communities and ranches was getting out of hand. John Slaughter joined a group of army calvary to raid the Indian camps. When they were about 50 miles south of the border they found a large Indian encampment and proceeded to eliminate the Indians. The Indians scattered, leaving everything, including their small children. When Slaughter saw a small Indian girl about one or two years old, he picked her up to save her from the Indian-hating soldiers. From that moment he made up his mind that the little Apache would not be an orphan for long. John and Viola Slaughter raised the little Apache, naming her May. However, the favorite nick-name for the baby was ' Patchy' and she soon became a legend in Cochise County. People in Tombstone would be delighted to see her whenever the Slaughter's came for a visit. At the Slaughter's San Bernardino ranch they used a large iron kettle to boil water for laundry. Apache May was always entertained by watching the big bubbling pot and the huge red flames beneath it. In 1900 she played too close to the pot and her dress caught on fire. Patchy began to run and by the time she was caught and the flames were put out, it was too late. When the doctor arrived he told the Slaughters there was no hope. Apache May died as bravely as any Apache warrior!"

Update: I took a ride to the old Slaughter Ranch, which is now a park of sorts outside of Douglas. It is a beautiful place...a real oasis. In the house there were framed magazine pages and some of those had Apache May stories. The whole thing was weird and horrible but none of the writers seemed to see the weirdness or the horror. For instance, one writer interviewed an old friend of the Slaughters who had met Apache May. The old friend mentioned that Apache May hated Viola Slaughter and used to tell people she was going to kill Mrs. Slaughter when she could. This was treated as comic. The child was about two years old when the Slaughters took her in--where did the hate come from?

What if she had not died? What if she had grown up and learned that the man who was her adopted father was probably the murderer of her parents, and certainly her kidnapper?

I am pretty sure about a couple things: I would not like John Slaughter. I would probably not like Viola in spite of the fact that she was an intrepid woman and I usually admire intrepid women. And by the time the Slaughters had worked their magic on her, I probably wouldn't have liked Apache May, either. It's a sad dark tale, and that's a fact.


Saints celebrating feast days today include Saint Stanislaus, Saint Barsanuphius, Saint Isaac of Spoleto, Saint Godeberta, Saint Guthlac, and Saint Gemma Galgani.

Birthdays today: Ellen Goodman (1948, Boston), Joel Gray (1932, Cleveland), Louise Lasser (1939, NYC), and Meshach Taylor (1947, Boston).

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© Marilyn Jones 2002-2008