Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
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Al Sieber

 

(February 29, 1844 - February 19, 1907)

 

Born in Germany, Sieber migrated to the United States with his mother, lived for a time in Pennsylvannia, then the family moved to Minnesota.

 

He fought for the North during the Civil War participating in battles at Antietam, Fredricksburg and Gettysburg. After a five month recovery from severe wounds received at Gettysburg, Sieber was a guard for a prisoner-of-war camp in New York.

 

After the war, Al headed west to California, then Nevada performing various jobs and prospecting. In Prescott, Arizona he worked on a horse ranch where Apache raids were frequent and chasing these raiding parites was part of everyday life.

 

As a packer during one of General Crook's campaigns, Crook was impressed with Siebers abilities and assigned him chief of the Apache scouts. Crook's strategy in these days was sending out patrols which criss crossed Arizona. These maneuvers where designed to harrass wandering Apaches making Reservation life seem ideal. As the leader of the Apache scouts, Sieber controlled the skirmishes which invovled finding the rancherias, waiting until dawn and attacking the sleepy eyed warriors.

 

Al maintained strict control over his scouts. Disobedience resulted in hanging or an immediate bullet to the head. A number of mutinys were attempted by several scouts, but Sieber was either warned or instinctive and the take over was thrawted. In spite of this dictatorship, Sieber was also fair. After one raid it was discovered a slain women was the mother of one of the scouts. Al halted the patrol for two days so the grieving scout could observe the traditional mouring period.

 

Al Sieber has been associated with the capture of Geronimo. Although he went to Mexico at times on patrol (sometimes alone), his role in the surrender was minor. His service however in controlling the Arizona frontier is legendary and he consistenly received high praise from the military officers he served. One particular officer stated "If there was one man who actually did not know physical fear, that man was Al Sieber!".

 

Toward the end one of his scouts, the Apache Kid, had killed a man over the death of his father. When the scout rode into camp to surrender to the unarmed Sieber, someone fired a shot. Al ran to his tent to get a gun and a bullet shattered his left foot. He was permanently crippled.

 

In civilian life, Al prospected and engaged in other frontier activites. As the overseer of an Apache gang building the Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River in Arizona, Al Sieber was killed by a falling boulder. The exact details of the death rock are unclear. Rumor says it was pried loose by Apaches who held a grude against him.

 

One of the people who served alongside Sieber was the famous man-hunter - Tom Horn.

 

Al Sieber is buried in the Globe Cemetery in Globe, AZ.

 

Photo courtesy of Buck Clark

 

Gravesite Map

 

Information compiled by Steve Grimm

Books About Al Sieber

 

Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts by Dan L Thrapp

 

A book I have not read.

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© Wild West History Association - a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation

http://www.WildWestHistory.org