Apache County, AZ

By Michael Liddy on August 25th, 2008



“On February 24, 1879, Apache County was created out of Yavapai County, one of the four original Arizona counties. The area assigned to Apache County was not to remain undisturbed, for in 1881 that part of it between the Black and the Gila Rivers was cut off to form part of what is now Graham County. Apache also lost a great stretch of land when Navajo County was formed. Apache County’s present area is 7,151,360 acres. The county seat is St. Johns.

Apache County was named for the Apache Indians of Arizona and New Mexico. The first reference found to the name Apache is an account of the 1581 Espejo Expedition, in which they are called Apichi. The word Apache is derived from the Yuman apa (”man”), ahwa (”war; fight; battle”), and tche, which pluralizes the combination. As a nation the Apache Indians did not exist, the term being applied comprehensively to many tribes. According to Cortez, who wrote about this matter in 1799, the Spaniards included as Apaches the Tonto Apaches, the Chiricahuas, Gilenos, Mimbrenos, Taracones, Mescaleros, Llaneros, Lipanes, and the Navajos.

Almost from their initial contact with white men, the Apaches dealt death and destruction to the invading race. Their usual method of attack was to ambush individuals or small groups, their primary intent being to steal and, if necessary to kill in order to steal. This early haphazard approach soon changed to vengeful and purposeful killing after the Apaches themselves had been repeatedly attacked and slaughtered by early Spanish-Americans and later by Americans. However, the warlike Apaches also included among their enemies the peaceful Pimas and Maricopas, who lived along the Gila and Salt Rivers.

One by one the Apache tribes were either decimated until they were no longer able to withstand the incursions of settlers, or they were subdued in large groups and herded onto reservations set aside for their use, such as the Fort Apache Reservation and the Navajo Reservation.

Apache County is a cattle raising and lumbering area in that portion which has not been assigned to Indian reservations. Many sheep are raised on the Navajo Reservation, a large portion of which is in Apache County. Other agricultural activities are conducted in the county.”

Barnes, Will C.; Granger, Byrd (ed.) Arizona Place Names University of Arizona Press. 1960.
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apachemap1 · Irish - 2%
· Other Hispanic or Latino - 2%
· Apache - 1%
· Scottish - 1%
· French (except Basque) - 1%
· Italian - 1%
· Scotch-Irish - 1%
· Swedish - 1%