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Soldiers from Civil War and Indian Wars to be reburied with full military honors

On May 16, 58 soldiers will be reburied at the Southern Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery. They served in the U.S. Army in Arizona from 1862 to 1881.

The soldiers  will be buried in a 19th Century-style military cemetery. The plot was built especially for the remains of these soldiers that were found in Tucson. It is surrounded by a stone and iron wall similar to Fort Huachuca’s cemetery.

Event: Reburial of Historic Soldiers

When: 10 a.m., Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where: Southern Arizona Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery, 1300 Buffalo Soldier Trail, Sierra Vista

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is providing period headstones for the troopers, and cemetery officials plan to erect a monument describing the soldiers’ lives during the Indian Wars. The troopers will be laid to rest with full military honors a stone’s throw away from the oldest operating Army post in Arizona.

The soldiers’ remains were found a couple of years ago in Tucson during an excavation. Originally, the soldiers were buried in a military cemetery that served Fort Lowell in Tucson during the Civil and Indian Wars.

Research showed that many of the soldiers were part of the California Column. This was a 2,300-man brigade that marched into the territory from California in the spring of 1862. Their mission was to confront and drive out Confederate troops who controlled the southern part of what is now Arizona and New Mexico. Troops from the California Column occupied Tucson on 20 May 1862. Various California units were stationed there until April 1866. Other remains represent the 1st, 3rd and 6th U.S. Cavalry regiments, as well as the 8th, 21st and 32nd U.S. Infantry who served at Fort Lowell during the late 1860s to the 1880s.Two of the soldiers were U.S. Army Indian Scouts, and one was a “Buffalo Soldier.”

Among the remains are:

  • Sergeant John C. McQuade, Company B, 2nd California Cavalry, who enlisted in the volunteers in San Francisco on September 14, 1861. He died in Tucson on July 12, 1862.
  • Private Peter Bus, Company K, 21st U.S. Infantry, who was a 20-25 year old sailor from Delfshaven, Holland. He enlisted in the Army in San Francisco on March 7, 1871 and died in Tucson of an accidental gunshot wound to the right arm on February 19, 1872.
  • Corporal John English, Company A, 32nd U.S. Infantry, who was a shoemaker from Ireland, aged 20-25. He enlisted in Boston on July 16, 1865 and died on February 6, 1867.

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Bisbee Copper Kings to host vintage baseball May 9

Ever wonder if time travel is possible? It seems it is if you ask a few passionate baseball players in Arizona. They make a regular journey back in time when they play Vintage Base Ball.

They are members of the Bisbee Bees and the Phoenix Senators. They’ll play at Bisbee’s historic Warren Ballpark on Saturday May 9, 2009.

Players who play vintage base ball use old-time gloves and play with rules from the 1860s to the 1890s. Here’s an excerpt about the game from a March 2008 article in the Arizona Republic by Dave Vest.

“The bats they used were heavier than those used today, and the fielders’ gloves were tiny, more like gardening gloves than baseball gloves. The pitcher stood on the same level as the batter about 50 feet away and tossed the ball underhanded. The uniforms they wore screamed 19th century, and each time a player scored a run that player rang a bell behind home plate to make it official. And – hold on to your pillbox cap for this one – manners not only were celebrated but required.

‘We really value good sportsmanship,’ said Tenney, a 32-year-old machinist from north Phoenix. ‘In our league, you cheer for your opponent and congratulate each other on a nice catch or a good hit. It’s something you don’t really see nowadays. These guys (in the major leagues) are paid dump trucks full of money to play a game, and yet they act like spoiled children. . . . I’m a big baseball fan, and it kind of bothers me that competition is so intense now.’

That last sentence sums up precisely why Tenney founded the Valley’s version of Vintage Base Ball.

Tired of playing in adult baseball/softball leagues with win-at-all-costs mind-sets, Tenney began searching the Internet for alternatives two years ago and stumbled onto a Vintage Base Ball site from back east.

If you’re a person who thinks baseball needs to be played this way, you might want to head to Bisbee for the weekend.

The Copper Kings will host the double header beginning at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 9 at the historic Warren Ballpark. Built in 1909, Warren Ballpark is the oldest park of its kind in the United States.

Details: Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at the Warren Ball Park. Admission to the game is only $5. Find out more about the ballpark at the Warren Ballpark website.

Bisbee, Arizona is 90 miles southeast of Tucson. You can also find accommodations, other attractions and dining at Bisbee’s official tourism website, which is located in Cochise County.

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Arizona Trail–start it in Cochise County!

Have you hiked any of the Arizona Trail’s 817 miles? If you have, you know that it’s got some gorgeous scenery along the way. Part of that trail starts right here in Cochise County.

Last week, an Arizona Daily Star article announced that the Arizona Trail has been designated a National Scenic Trail. President Barack Obama signed it into law on Monday, March 30.

The trail spans the length of Arizona starting at the Coronado National Memorial, where Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led an expedition to find the “Seven Cities of Cibola.” Read its legend and lore.

Cochise County’s portion of the Arizona Trail lies in the Huachuca Mountains.

The Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista

The Huachuca Mountains, Sierra Vista, AZ

It is the first 21 miles of the Arizona Trail on the southern border. Most of the trail lies in the Miller Peak Wilderness, a moderate-to-difficult section of the trail, with segments along the Crest Trail and on to Miller Peak (the tallest mountain in Cochise County at 9,466 feet).

For more information on the trail, contact the Sierra Vista Ranger district of the Coronado National Forest.

Happy Hiking!

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Fairbank tells part of Arizona history

Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

If you like ghost towns, check out the historic site of Fairbank. It was once a thriving depot along the rail line that took passengers from Arizona into Mexico.

Travel writer, Nancy Yackel, wrote a great post about the history of Fairbank. Visit her site to learn more.

Want to know more? Visit Cochise County and the old Fairbank town site yourself! Check out the Cochise County web site for more details.

Other ghost towns in Cochise County include Charleston, Millville, Gleeson and others. You might also want to check out another Web site devoted entirely to ghost towns. Here’s the link for those in Cochise County.

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Wordless Wednesday: desert shrine

Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

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Travel: on- or off-season?

I’ve found an interesting discussion about on- or off-season travel. Would any of you Cochise County travelers like to comment?

Follow this link to post a reply, see what others are saying or just stay here and comment below!

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Travel inspiration from books and movies

I read a post today that asked what books and movies inspire travel.

One of my favorite inspirations is the book Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. He drove his van around the country on the “blue highways” that snaked across his maps… the two-lane roads that take you through small towns and rural areas. It’s not the fastest way to go, but if want to really experience America, this is a great way to travel.

It has been ages since I read the book. I do remember that the author goes through Cochise County and stops at the Holy Trinity Monastery, a Benedictine monastery in St. David, just south of Benson.

This is a great read by a thoughtful writer who respects and honors his subjects. Hmmm… Maybe I should pick it up and reread it…

What books, movies, or documentaries inspire you to travel?

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Escape holiday stress

Driving to my friend’s house on Thanksgiving, I listened to Talk of the Nation on NPR. Amy Dickinson, the advice columnist for the Chicago Tribune, was the guest, and they were talking about how to find suitable gifts for less money.

Many of us are entering this holiday season with a smaller budget for Christmas/holiday gifts. The show got me thinking about how everyone feels stressed, and this season I think people will be feeling it even more.

This elf I saw on flickr is really stressed! Instead of curling into the fetal position, try some of these things to make the holidays a little less stressful:

  1. Go for a walk or a hike. Exercise i the perfect stress buster!
  2. If you go to the malls, plan your trip at low-peak hours. I go about an hour before the stores close. Fewer people are out at this time, so you won’t have to jockey for position in line or wait as long. One caveat, however… after a long day, store employees might be frustrated. You might be, too. Take a deep breath and offer a cheerful smile. It will help everyone!
  3. Travel to a rural setting and enjoy the calm of a small town. (Shameless plug: It just so happens that Cochise County has some great small towns like Benson, Bisbee, DouglasSierra Vista, Tombstone and Willcox. You might want to visit!) There are fewer people to line up at the stores, and they often have unique shops. Travel is rejuvenation, and small towns can help
  4. Plan a day or a weekend and do some bird watching. The sandhill cranes have started their migration south to Cochise County. The cranes frequent the Willcox Playa, a dry lake bed, the Sulphur Springs Valley, an area between Willcox and Bisbee/Douglas and the San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon Wildlife Refuges, east of Douglas. Birds gather near the Environmental Operations Park in Sierra Vista and near the San Pedro that runs through Cochise County. Watch these and other wintering birds. Nature can be so calming!
  5. Instead of worrying about a gift, plan some time with a friend or your special someone. My high school friend and I never have enough time to visit when I’m home for the holidays. This year, however, she’ll be in town two weeks before Christmas for work. So, we’re planning some fun beforehand.
  6. Donate. Food banks, toy drives and charities will need your donations more than ever this year. Why not consider adopting a family or donating? Giving to others helps spread holiday cheer, and it makes you feel good too!   

Another blog I read from time to time is www.Unclutterer.com. They have a post about “uncluttered” holidays. I think it’s worth a read if you are someone who has too much stuff!

What other ideas do you have? Leave a comment with your best stress-busting techniques for the holidays!

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Do the math for good deals

I just read a blog post from the folks at WeJustGotBack.com. They had an interesting tip about how to evaluate deals. If you’re looking for bargains, they say, make sure you do the math!

The post compares three offers: (1) get 50% off the second night, (2) your fourth night free or (3) 30% off each night. What’s the best deal? Check out their post to find out.

Most of us are looking for great experiences when we travel. But now especially, it’s important to get our money’s worth. Cochise County in southeastern Arizona has so many fantastic things to explore. And, it’s a great place to find value. Whether it’s Old West history, birding and nature, the arts, great food or Native American history, this diverse area has a lot to offer.

You can find a lot of great ideas for your next vacation at Cochise County’s Web site, www.explorecochise.com.

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Thanksgiving Getaway

In skimming through the November issue of Rachael Ray’s magazine EveryDay with Rachael Ray, I was so excited to find one of Sierra Vista’s outstanding B&Bs featured:  Casa de San Pedro.

The Casa is a very popular territorial-style inn.  I’ve been there hundreds of times and have often timed it perfectly to have a gourmet breakfast with the owners and guests.  Add to that, the pies and coffee that are available all day, and in my opinion, it doesn’t get any better than that!  Well, unless they’re making dinner.

This issue of Rachael Ray’s magazine features the Casa’s Thanksgiving dinner for their guests. So, if you don’t want to stay home over Thanksgiving or don’t feel like making your own turkey with the trimmings, be kind to yourself and stay at the Casa and join the other guests for dinner. 

They are planning to begin with Champagne and hors d’oeuvres; have turkey three ways: oven-roasted, barbecued, smoked; pork tenderloin with sauerkraut, apple and caraway seeds; southwestern mushroom casserole; various potatoes and vegetables; and end with a flourish and four pies.  Mouth-watering.

Maybe I should take my own advice and book my reservation…

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