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Answers to Go with Susan Smith

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Q. Is the nearby community of Geronimo named after the Apache warrior?

A. For the answer to this question, I turned to a book donated to the library by noted allthings-Texas author, Mike Cox. We were happy to accept his gift of 4,200 books from his personal Texana collection. For many years, he wrote for the Austin American Statesman. Cox may be best known for his books on the Texas Rangers.

“The History of Geronimo, Guadalupe County, Texas 78115” by Carolyn Bading discusses a spring belonging to Geronimo (or Jeronimo) Flores. Geronimo Creek flows into the Guadalupe River three miles southeast of Seguin.

She also refers to a February 1781 report by Governor Domingo Cabello on an encounter with Indians. David McDonald’s translation of the report includes the following excerpt: “Alferez Valdes camped on the bank of the Guadalupe River. Not finding any indication that the enemies had crossed, he decided to cross the river at the paso named Tio Geronimo...”

In November 1831, surveyors Charles and Byrd Lockhart write of the Tio Geronimo Spring and rich plains near the Guadalupe River. Their survey was completed for a land grant for Senator Antonio M. Esnaurrizar of Vera Cruz and San Luis Potosi.

Of interest to San Marcos residents – Juan Martin de Veramendi had originally been interested in the same land, but filed a new application for land including the headwaters of the Comal and San Marcos Rivers.

Let’s turn to “American National Biography” for information on the Apache warrior Geronimo who was born around 1823 on the upper Gila River near the border between Arizona and New Mexico. His boyhood Apache name was Goyahkla.

His mother took him to Sonora, Mexico when his father died. Warfare was common between the Mexicans and Apaches there. In 1851, a force of Sonoran irregulars killed his mother, his first wife, and their three children. He responded with a series of raids into Mexico where he came to be called Geronimo.

I looked at the index of another book we received from Cox, “Geronimo: The Man, His Times, His Place” by Angie Debo. It did not include any entries for Texas. It seems unlikely that Geronimo was active in Central Texas. “The Handbook of Texas” does confirm that other Apaches were active in this area.

We also have Geronimo’s autobiography: “Geronimo: His Own Story: as told to S.M. Barrett.”

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