The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 236
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
one of which was banditry. In 1859 the El Paso headquarters of
the company were in an adobe house on the site presently oc-
cupied by the Hilton Hotel. Because of the danger of robberies,
the clerk, a man named Atkins, and his assistant slept in the store.
One morning after Atkins had taken the previous night off, he
returned to the building and discovered that a window in the
south wall had been removed. Hurrying inside, he found his
young assistant lying dead with fourteen knife wounds in his
body. Cash and quantities of valuable goods had been carried off,
but no trace of either robbers or money was ever uncovered. No
one ever slept in the store alone again.52
A far more serious source of Giddings' losses in the mail service
lay in Indian raids, as is shown by his claims against the United
States government. The greatest single loss suffered at the hands
of the Indians was the massacre at Stein's Peak on the eve of the
Civil War.53 Until February, 1861, the stage line maintained fairly
good relations with the Apache Indians, who furnished hay for
the animals used in the mail service at most of the stations be-
tween Mesilla and Tucson, a distance of three hundred miles."5
Early in February, however, a young lieutenant at Fort Buchanan,
George N. Bascom, betrayed the trust of Cochise, one of the
Apache chieftains who had come to the outpost to parley. Three
Indians were killed, and Cochise escaped by slashing the wall of
his tent and running for life. Enraged by the incident, he ordered
all of his tribesmen to rise against the white men, and to terrorize
and slaughter all that came into the territory.55
George Giddings' brother, James, who was a surveyor on the
road, was in Mesilla at the time.56 Acting on the advice of an
Indian agent there, he started out with his six-mule coaches and
a party of thirteen well-armed men to find Cochise and attempt
to pacify him. At Stein's Peak the mail service party made con-
tact with the Indians, but the aroused Apache were not in a
mood for pacification. Some 250 strong, the warriors launched a
52W. W. Mills, Forty Years at El Paso, 1858-1898 (Chicago, c. 1901), 36.
SlBrief and Argument of Claimant George H. Giddings vs. the United States
and the Comanche, Kiowa and Apache Indians. United States Court of Claims,
December Term, 1892. Washington, D. C.
64San Antonio Express, February 23, 1919, and July 16, 1939.
"sBarnes (ed.), "Giddings Memoirs," San Antonio Daily Express, May 4, 19o02.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/292/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.