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 • Cochise County
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Apache "Patchy" May
Birth: 1896
Death: Feb., 1900
Cochise County
Arizona, USA

Apache May, also known as Apache May Slaughter.

In 1896 Indian raiding of small communities and ranches was getting out of hand. The Apaches attacked the Merrill ranch near Ash Springs on the Gila River, slaughtering Horatio Merrill and his young daughter, Eliza. This young girl had a white dress or basque, tight at the waist, shaped by darts and many white buttons down the front. The Apaches carried away many of the Merrill's possessions, among them this white dress and a fringed, brown, woolen shawl.

Alfred Hand, a remote rancher on Cave Creek in the San Simon Valley, was also brutally murdered by these same raiders. Among the items they took from his cabin was a Cochise County election poster made of white muslin, listing the names of the republican candidates in the election of 1888.

John Slaughter joined a group of army calvary to raid the Indian camps. When they were about 50 miles south of the border they found a large Indian encampment and proceeded to eliminate the Indians. The Indians scattered, leaving everything, including their small children. When Slaughter saw a small Indian girl about one or two years old, he picked her up to save her from the Indian-hating soldiers. From that moment he made up his mind that the little Apache would not be an orphan for long.

Once back at the San Bernardino Ranch it was discovered that the child's shirt waist had been cut down from a larger garment...which was identified as being made from the clothing of the murdered Eliza Merrill. The brown woolen shawl that Slaughter wrapped around the little waif had also belonged to Eliza. The childs dress was made from a curious item---the Cochise County election poster, the one stolen from Alfred Hand's cabin after the Apaches killed him.

John and Viola Slaughter raised the little child, and named her Apache May for the month in which they found her. However, the favorite nick-name for the baby was "Patchy" and she soon became a legend in Cochise County. People in Tombstone would be delighted to see her whenever the Slaughter's came for a visit.

At the Slaughter's San Bernardino ranch they used a large iron kettle to boil water for laundry. Apache May was always entertained by watching the big bubbling pot and the huge red flames beneath it. One cold morning in February 1900 she played too close to the pot and her dress caught on fire. The sight of her burning clothing terrified her and she fled running away from the house. She ran so fast that the it took Willie Slaughter some time to catch her and smother the flames. By the time this had been done, a good part of her body had been severely burned. When the doctor arrived he told the Slaughters there was no hope. Apache May died the next morning as bravely as any Apache warrior!

John Fisher the ranch foreman made a tiny coffin of rough lumber and lined and covered it with cloth. Patchy was laid to rest in the ranch cemetery.

Apache May's dress is on display at the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tucson.

Approximately 41 graves are in the Slaughter Family Cemetery.

Cemetery coordinates: 31.34093 N. 109.26602 W. 
Slaughter Family Cemetery
Cochise County
Arizona, USA
Created by: C. Fahey
Record added: Jun 19, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19971217
Apache Patchy May
Added by: C. Fahey
Apache Patchy May
Added by: C. Fahey
Apache Patchy May
Added by: C. Fahey
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Rest in peace little one
- wings214
 Added: Feb. 25, 2014
Merry Christmas, Patchy
- wings214
 Added: Dec. 25, 2013

- D.Frederick Birely
 Added: Aug. 23, 2013
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