. . . . .
Consistently, Cochise impressed literally every man who met him. Not only by his stature (in his prime his height was invariably estimated at near six feet, which was a good 5-6 inches taller than the average Apache of that time), but also in his demeanor. Apaches chose their leaders based on a number of attributes, and a man's appearance, if impressive, went a long way toward winning followers. Of course other traits played even greater roles, and Cochise possessed, in spades, every one of the most important of them.
We have in writing the impressions of a good number of Anglos who had the
opportunity to meet Cochise in person -- and the recollections, given to
biographers, of Apaches who were contemporaries of the great chieftain.
Whether friend or foe, the underlying sentiment was the same: Cochise
was unquestionably an extraordinary man, and one whose very appearance
demanded respect and, to many, admiration.
As I've mentioned, even those who perceived Cochise more an enemy than
a friend found themselves in awe of his attributes. Such a man was
James H. Tevis, stationkeeper at the Apache Pass stage stop from 1858-59.
This was during a time of comparatively peaceful relations between Anglos
and Cochise's Chokonen band -- yet there was always an underlying tension.
Tevis had little to say in the way of praise for Cochise's character (their
relationship was impersonal at best, and Tevis was working from a hostile
viewpoint as a result of having to put up with fairly frequent stock raids
carried out by Cochise's men). Still, he left the following testimony
for our consideration:
From Joseph Alton Sladen's personal journal, written during his stay with
Cochise in 1872, we have this assessment:
One man working at Ft. Bowie as a sutler commented that Cochise never smiled, and added that he always wore a grave countenance. This must be taken for what it is worth: Cochise's demeanor while visiting this fort could not be expected to be particularly relaxed. He was in the midst of Americans while making appearances there, and Cochise, though respectful of the strength of the Americans, never came to trust the whites (with the notable exceptions of two men, Thomas Jeffords, with whom Cochise formed a solid friendship, and General O.O. Howard, with whom he made his peace treaty in 1872.) Others have made comments that show Cochise had not only a pleasant countenance at times, but a sense of humor as well. In another journal entry, Joseph Sladen states, "The old chief meditated a few minutes over this and then said, smiling, 'Leave Captain Sladen. I will take care of him."
In an article written by General Howard just weeks following the peace
conference, we are treated to several revelations with respect to Cochise's
capacity to show kindness. He imparts this exchange, which took place
only minutes after the General's first meeting with Cochise had begun:
* * *