Life and War on the Edge of the Spanish Frontier

Usually when we think of Arizona in Spanish Colonial times we have an image of crumbling adobe walls with ragged settlers cowering in fear, just waiting to suffer slow, tortured death at the hands of hostile Indians. The truth is something very different. The settler of the frontier we know as the American Southwest was as tough and resourceful as any Davy Crocket or Daniel Boone. Danger and disease were always lingering about, and the challenges of survival were many, but the settlers lived a good, productive life. In between field work and child raising the women followed the latest fashions from Britain and France and bought ribbon and silk. Soldiers took pride in who they were and what they accomplished. Life was rough, but these colonists persevered and carved out a settlement that impacts every part of our lives today.

Richard Collins is the President of the Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation, has been a National Park Ranger and longtime volunteer for years. His interest in life on the Spanish Colonial frontier army resulted in designing and creating costumes for the Anza National Historic Trail. He volunteers in the Spanish Colonial collection of the Arizona Historical Society and guides the efforts of the Tucson Presidio Trust to preserve and showcase Tucson history at the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson.

The Cochise County Corral of the Westerners meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at Schieffelin Hall, Fremont St. at 4th, Tombstone. Come and see this wonderful, historic theater built in 1882. There is an optional 5-ish pre-meeting dinner at the Longhorn Restaurant, Allen St., Tombstone. Call or email ahead so we can tell the restaurant how many to expect. This is Cochise County's corral and all are welcome. For more information contact Sheriff Doug Hocking (, 378-1833, or Nevada Smith 520-642-7601; 775-482-7601, or Trail Boss Bob Spahle,, 732-1036. To R.S.V.P. for dinner contact the Recorder of Marks and Brands Liz Severn, 220-6313. Everyone is invited.