Indian Agent's Artifacts, Geronimo's Rifle Trace
Early Southwest History at NORDIA 2001


The University of Arizona Special Collections, Arizona Historical Society and the National Postal Museum of the Smithsonian Institution combined their resources to tell the story of one of the most famous postal inspectors at the NORDIA 2001 Stamp Show Stampede January 19-21 in the Tucson Convention Center.

Indian agent, newspaper publisher, mayor, postmaster, postal inspector, travel lecturer and farmer, John P. Clum did them all and more. The two local organizations and the Smithsonian contributed materials to describe Clum's life during the adventurous times in the Arizona territory. This display was one of the features of the weekend exhibition that placed on display more than 14,000 album pages from stamp collectors throughout the world.

Research shows that Clum arrived in the Southwest in 1871 as a weather observer in Santa Fe. Three years later he was appointed an Indian agent in Arizona, the beginning of his adventurous times in the territory. He later published the Arizona Citizen, then moved to Tombstone and founded that town's most famous newspaper, the Tombstone Epitaph. He served as mayor and postmaster of the town and befriended Wyatt Earp, becoming a lifelong friend to the famous gunman. At age 32 after a few trips between the west coast and Washington, DC, he became a postal inspector. One assignment-in Alaska during the gold rush-gave him the opportunity to assign post offices and postmasters, helping to straighten out the chaotic Alaskan mail service.

Geronimo's rifle, John Clum's personal scrapbook and a Postal Inspection Service badge were among the items that illustrated and recounted Clum's life. The rifle was recovered by Clum April 2, 1877 when he and his Apache Indians arrested 24 Chiricahua renegades, including medicine man Geronimo who Clum promptly placed in irons. Although Clum believed Geronimo should stand trial, he was released back to his tribe. Clum, tired of his constant battles with the military over Indian issues, resigned his post a few months later.

Gordon C. Morison
President, NORDIA 2001, INC.
P.O. Box 59305
Potomac, MD 20859 USA

Tel: +1 301-299-7103
Fax: +1 301-299-0751


2001.01.31 - Morison / Nørby