Geronimo c. 1823–1909
A. Frank Randall (1854–1916)
Albumen silver print, c. 1887
A Bedonkohe Apache war leader, Geronimo earned a reputation as a fierce adversary to Mexican and U.S. authorities alike. After his mother, wife, and three children were killed by Mexican soldiers in 1851, he intensified his opposition to those who were trying to subjugate his tribe. Geronimo did not want to be removed to a reservation, and he fought increasingly to protect his traditional way of life in the Southwest.
During this period his daring raids and improbable escapes made him a larger-than-life figure in the American imagination. After more than thirty years of intermittent hostilities, Geronimo decided reluctantly in 1886 to surrender to General Nelson Miles. He and others were subsequently imprisoned in Florida, Alabama, and finally Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Geronimo became a national celebrity late in life, appearing to great fanfare at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and at President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade the following year.