Godfroy de Monroe had a difficult task helping the Mescalero tribe

This photo shows William H. Bonney, well known in legend as
This image shows Geronimo, (Goyaałé), a Chiricahua Apache, kneeling with a rifle, circa 1870s. According to the official website of the Apache Mescalero Indians, Geronimo was born in 1829 and was the last warrior to fight for the Chiricahua Apaches.  His descendants now reside in the Mescalero Apache reserve.

Frederick Godfroy was born in Monroe in 1828 and died in Plattsburgh, New York on June 15, 1885.

In 1876 Godfroy was appointed Agent for the Mescalero Indians in Lincoln County, New Mexico. His efforts to help replenish supplies, protect the crops and livestock of the Indian Mescaleros, and try to improve the living conditions of the Mescalero have often met with indifference from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and violent resistance from white settlers. of Lincoln County.

According to the text of William Keleher’s 1957 book, “Violence in Lincoln County, 1869-1881”, Godfroy requested military support from the Mescalero in their fight, described in a letter dated March 12, 1879 from Governor of New Mexico Lew Wallace: You can be of the greatest help to me in my current efforts to catch thieves and murderers in this part of the land… ”

According to Lawrence L. Mehren’s thesis of the University of Arizona in 1969, “A History of the Mescalero Apache Reservation, 1869-1881”, Godfroy was educated at Catholic schools in Monroe and briefly attended the University. from Michigan before working in Charles G. Johnson’s dry goods store. and the Wing and Johnson Bank (which later merged with the First National Bank of Monroe).

Godfroy once considered entering the Catholic priesthood but later moved to Hillsdale and worked for Mitchell and Waldron Bank before being appointed by Senator Isaac P. Christiancy of Monroe and the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions (an American Christian board of directors involved in mission activities in the Indian territories of the United States) on May 22, 1876.

During Godfroy’s tenure from 1876 to 1879, the challenges of helping members of the Apache Mescalero tribe were made even more difficult by the uprisings that eventually became known as the Lincoln County War (which began in February 1878). Rival factions of the local militia, including Lincoln County regulators whose members included William H. Bonney – better known in legend as “Billy the Kid” – often included Mescalero Apache horses and cattle in their thefts – resulting in accusations of guilt on several fronts. Godfroy attempted to mediate the crossfire of Indians killing each other as well as internal and external militia fighting – what could be considered a “three-party war.”

Godfroy’s philanthropic efforts included asking officials at the US Bureau of Indian Affairs to purchase blankets, flour, and other provisions for the Apache Mescalero people. Often times, shipping delays and supply hacking will delay shipments or cancel them altogether. At one point Godfroy resorted to buying supplies on the open market, which prompted John Q. Smith, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to write Godfroy a “brief letter November 25, 1876” criticizing Godfroy for having incurred a debt of $ 4,781.48 in the third quarter. from 1876 ($ 122,580.17 in today’s dollars). Godfroy said he felt compelled to feed the Mescalero Apaches, who were receiving half rations and also suffering the effects of the Lincoln County War.

At one point during the conflict, 25 to 30 white looters (possibly Lincoln County regulators) seized 21 animals, including two mules from the Indian agency. The Office of Indian Affairs did not supply weapons to Godfroy’s employees, although the agency was eventually able to enlist the help of a 15-soldier detachment led by Lieutenant Thomas C. Davenport.

Godfroy then demanded the formation of an “Indian police” and funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to arm them. Godfroy eventually got 12 .50 caliber Sharps at $ 15.50 each and ammunition at $ 30 per 1,000 rounds. Shipments of rifles were received in February 1878, but ammunition arrived several weeks later.

Critics accused Godfroy of defrauding the government for his efforts to aid the Apache Mescalero.

Tom Adamich is President – Visiting Librarian Service, a company he has run since 1993. He is also a Project Archivist for the Greening Nursery Company and Family Archives.

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