Capt. James Henry Tevis CSA and Bowie, Arizona.

Desert Kid

Sergeant Major
Dec 3, 2011
I took a little road trip down to Fort Bowie today on my day off and couldn't help but share.

With Bowie, AZ. Home of John Rambo, you have to go back before Fort Bowie itself. You have to go back to the 1850s. Back in the wild brush days of Apache Pass.

Apache Pass in the late 1850s was the preferred stopping point on the Butterfield Overland Mail between El Paso and Tucson. Back then the Apache chiefs Cochise and Mangas Coloradas were the most feared and respected in Apacheria. After the Gadsden Purchase, Anglo settlers started peppering in along the Butterfield trail, like my favorite, Confederate Captain Sherod Hunter.

In Apache Pass, the stage station manager was one Virginia native, James Henry Tevis. Tevis settled the Dos Cabezas mountains in search of silver. He found more Apaches than silver. But he kept on with his prospecting and working for the Butterfield Overland Mail.


When war came in 1861, southern New Mexico was abandoned by the Union and the locals were left to the mercy of the Apache. Which quickly forced many along the Butterfield trail to side with the Confederates in Texas. During this mess, was the Bascom Affair where in which a violent bloodletting occurred between the Apaches under Cochise near the site of the present-day fort.

Tevis enlisted in the 2nd Texas-Arizona Cavalry in Mesilla (modern Las Cruces), New Mexico. As the direct lieutenant of Captain Hunter they engaged the Union with volunteers from Pinos Altos (Silver City), Mowry City (north of modern Deming) and Mesilla in service of the Confederate army.


From Picacho Peak to Bayou Teche and Mansfield (@skb8721 ) Hunter, Tevis and the 2nd Texas Cavalry (my ancestor in Company C.) fought with distinction in the Trans-Mississippi Theatre. I am currently reading the book on Hunter. Confederate Pathway to the Pacific: Sherod Hunter and the Arizona Territory CSA

When the war ended, Tevis' group surrendered in Hempstead, Texas.

During Tevis' leave from the Apache Pass area. The California Column established Fort Bowie as a means to guard from the Apaches. When Tevis returned to the area in 1880 after a long stay in St. Louis, he played a large role in laying down the townsite for Tevistown just north of Apache Pass in freshly formed Cochise County, where many ex-Confederates settled. Tevistown laid near a spring that would be easier to reach for travelers. That, and the Southern Pacific Railroad started making it's way through the area. The stationmaster, a man by the name of Bean, had run afoul with Tevis (which Tevis, in a sarcastic manner referred to himself as eating nothing but beans).

By 1891, Tevis had joined the UCV and had been elected to the Arizona Territorial Legislature, representing Cochise County. He served one term. He moved to Tucson briefly as a hotel manager, and then returned to Bowie as a postmaster, where he died in 1905.

Tevis represented Arizona in it's formative days as a territory. Wild, fearless, and nothing short of colorful.

Further reading:

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Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!