Wed, May 22

1865: CAMP LINCOLN NAMED; December 20.

Ed Boblett, Joe Melvin, "Poker" Johnson, and another man went out to gather wild grapes along Clear Creek. While there, another man brought the news that President Lincoln had been assassinated. Joe "Melvin jumped up, popped his heels together, and said it was the best thing that ever happened. Mr. Boblett took the matter up with Joe and they went at it fist and skull. Joe was found on the bottom in the sand." (see: "Pioneer Stories of Arizona's Verde Valley;" 1933, 1954; James H. Strahan; pages 53-54.)

In response to Special Order No. 21, 1st Lieutenant Antonio Abeytia left Fort Whipple with 18 foot soldiers from Company K, 1st Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, a doctor, 4 broken-down mules, a wagon, and 30 day's rations, on August 23, 1865. On the way to 'The Settlement' on the Rio Verde, the wagon was wrecked at a place which became known as Grief Hill. Indians came and burned the wagon and its contents. The 20 military men arrived at the Rio Verde on August 27, 1865.

They were welcomed by the people at "The Settlement:" 17 men, 2 women, and 3 children. In a flat area near the stone fort built by the settlers for protection, the military detachment set up a small tent camp. This was called the "Camp on the Clear Fork of the Rio Verde."

A short time later, 1st Lieutenant Abeytia, who was a sick man, was replaced by 1st Lieutenant William McNeil, 7th Infantry, California Volunteers. The camp soon became known unofficially as Camp Lincoln. Then 1st Lieutenant McNeil made a request to name the place in honor of the late President Lincoln.

Brigadier General John S. Mason, Commanding Officer of the District of Arizona, issued General Order No. 16 on December 20, 1865: "the camp on the Rio Verde, in honor of our late lamented Chief Magistrate, will hereafter be known as Camp Lincoln." In an aside to his officers General Mason said he wanted "the Copperheads among the local settlers to owe their protection to a post bearing the name they abused."

The military camp was moved about 6 miles up the Verde River in January 1866, where Camp Lincoln became Camp Verde on November 23, 1868.

U. S. Army advertisements for the purchase of supplies for military Camps and Forts include the provision; "No bids will be entertained from any person who has given aid or comfort to further the late rebellion." (Arizona Miner; Fort Whipple; April 11, 1866, etc.)

Men who had been Union soldiers and people from the northern states could usually buy and sell at Camp Lincoln and Camp Verde. Beginning in 1875, after the Rio Verde Indian Reservation was cancelled, many people arrived in the Verde Valley who had supported the Union. Most of these men and families claimed land near the military post. Men who had been Confederate soldiers and their families usually settled and claimed land far from the military establishment, such as on the Upper Verde and Upper Oak Creek. Civil War scars and the regional differences of the original settlers influenced friendships and marriages for generations.

See: "Fort Verde: An Era of Men and Courage;" by Nicholas J. Eason; 1966; Camp Verde Historical Society; and "Poor Food, Poor Equipment, Poor Housing, Impossible Task; the Arizona Volunteers in the Verde Valley, 1866;" by Stan Brown.