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Thomas Jeffords

Jeffords, Thomas, 1832–1914, American pioneer, b. Chautauqua co., N.Y. He went to Arizona in 1862 as a U.S. army scout and messenger and later became a stage driver. In 1866–67, he controlled mail service between Fort Bowie and Tucson. A number of his men were killed by Apaches, and he decided to meet with their chief, Cochise. He won the Apaches' respect by riding into their camp alone. A strong friendship developed between Jeffords and the chief, and it halted for a short period the Chiricahua Apaches' warfare against the whites. As Jeffords was the only white man whom Cochise trusted, Gen. O. O. Howard, the Indian Commissioner, used him as an agent in a treaty (1872). Cochise agreed to live on a reservation only if Jeffords were the Indian agent. Jeffords consented, and during the four years that he was the Indian agent, trouble with the warlike Chiricahua Apache virtually subsided.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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