April 28, 2019

The Amazing Mascots of the Arizona Rough Riders

Arizona Roughrider mascot "Cuba"
The Arizona Regiment of the Roughriders had three different animal mascots. Two were canine and one was feline. All were extremely popular among the entire army.

Upon departing Prescott, the Roughriders were given a mountain lion named Josephine by Palace Saloon owner, Robert Brow. She was a remarkable and beloved animal. More on her later.

When the Arizona 1st met with other troops from around the country in Santa Fe, it was felt that the regiment needed a dog. So George Alexis, from Chewawa OR, presented them with a chihuahua. “He is a peculiar little fellow,” the paper described, “about one foot long and only a few inches tall. He (was) devoid of hair and had long ears out of proportion with the rest of his body.” His bare skin was black with tan spots. 

Once when the Oregon men were drinking, they decided to wager if the small dog would drink a glass of liquor. “The little creature downed a whole glass of whiskey without whining.” So the Oregon regiment named him “Whiskey.”

But on the way to El Paso, the pooch that loved hooch strayed away. “All the troopers who have leave of absence today are inquiring for him,” the paper reported. “His loss is felt by the men, as he was a jolly companion.” Despite their efforts, they never found the pup.

So the men adopted, (or perhaps stole,) another dog. He “was found in El Paso by CC Jackson of Captain O’Neill’s troop when en route to Cuba, and the Captain told him to take it along as the mascot. Jackson had to guard the dog closely in the east, as there had been several attempts to steal him," the paper said. The men named the terrier “Cuba.”

The stories of three beloved Prescott community animals: Mike the dog, Old Joe the horse, and Stub the cat.

The Arizona Republic recounted Cuba’s service:
“He is an intelligent little fellow, and has many accomplishments. He was at the front all the time, but when a band began to play he would scamper off and the boys would not see him for days at a time. He was known by the entire army. When Santiago was captured, the Roughriders...thought they had lost him forever. He had gone away before and come back with his curly hair taken out in chunks by the Cuban dogs he had encountered on the trails, but this time no trace of him could be found. The Roughriders went on to Montauk Point. They were followed by the 9th Cavalry which was composed of colored men. And a few days after the 9th had gone into camp, Cuba reported with military punctuality at the camp of the Roughriders. He had gone aboard the transport which took the 9th Cavalry from Cuba.”
When the veterans returned to Arizona, Col. Brodie brought him along for people to see during speeches and lectures. Eventually, “CD Jackson of Flagstaff, formally a member of the Roughriders adopted Cuba.”

But it was the Arizona regiment’s first mascot that was by far the most popular. “The Arizona Volunteers mascot—the mountain lion [named Josephine]—is a great drawing card, and the boys down in San Antonio are thinking of charging a nickel a head to see [her] to swell the regimental fund,” the Journal-Miner reported.

“(She) is provided with a cage, but is seldom kept in it. Josephine is fastened to the cage by a long chain and is given perfect freedom, so far as the chain will allow. Adults and children crowded about the animal all day long. Several of the visitors tried to stroke the the animal's head, but Josephine was in a vicious mood and repelled their advances with a show of teeth which was calculated to make a stout-hearted person feel uneasy." 

She was 5 years-old and was taken care of by trooper George Allen ever since she first joined the men. Josephine was much attached to Allen and would only allow him to pet her. "Allen slept in the car with the lioness while on the road, and in the Armory always spread his blanket a few feet from her cage."

Unfortunately, Allen contracted malaria and required hospitalization. “When he didn’t appear at the usual time to feed (her,) the poor animal was inconsolable,” the paper said. “She whined piteously and would not be still. As the evening wore on and Allen did not appear, Josephine grew more and more restless and paced up and down in front of her cage.” When it came time for the men to retire for the night, Josephine curled-up in her cage and nobody thought to close the door. Then at 2 am, "while all except the guards were asleep, everybody was suddenly awakened by a loud screech which sounded like a Comanche war whoop.”

Chaos immediately ensued. “Every man in the building was up in an instant,” it was reported. “Some who were aroused from their sound slumbers seized their carbines and listened for the order to fall in. Many thought themselves in camp and (under) attack.”

The cause of the commotion was soon revealed. “Trooper Charles Green of Troop K, had spread his blanket within 10 feet of Josephine. The cougar, in nosing around in search of her missing master, had come upon him, and after playfully pulling his blanket off of him had seized hold of his toes. He was awakened by the sharp teeth of the animal penetrating his flesh through his heavy army boots.

“On seeing the glaring eyes and dark form of the cougar almost upon him, he thought himself in deadly peril, forgetting for the moment that he was not on the plains. He jumped high in the air and emitted the screech which aroused the other troopers. When they awoke, they found him frantically fighting an imaginary foe. Josephine, as badly frightened as anyone, had sneaked back into her cage and was growling savagely." After things calmed down, "Green moved his blanket beyond the reach of Josephine, and the weary troopers were again dreaming in a very few minutes.”

Josephine got along incredibly well with the dog, Cuba. “The dog and lion were the best of friends,” the paper revealed. “They played together all the time, and when a strange dog came into camp, Josephine would slap it a vicious blow and send it away yelping. The lion protected Cuba at all times, but when Cuba got mad the lion would run to its cage. She was never known to punish Cuba.” The two animals were truly remarkable.

When the war was over, Col. AO Brodie telegraphed Bob Brow asking him what should be done with Josephine. “Col. Brody stated that the lion was in great demand there, as over a score of people want [her]. Mr. Brow replied saying ‘send [her] home without fail!’”

But Josephine’s journey home was fraught with difficulty. “Mr. Brow was advised by telegram…that the lion would be shipped in the car with the officers' horses.” He anxiously awaited for several days, but when the railroad car arrived, there was no lion in sight. Brow telegraphed to try to locate the animal determined “to have her at any cost almost.” It was discovered that she had disappeared in Chicago.

“Col. Brodie has the Pinkerton detectives at work on the case,” the Republic reported, “and the recovery of the lion is far probable at an early date.” In fact, it took a month. She was finally found “in Indian territory.” Brow happily paid extra to have her shipped express.

After Josephine died, she was taken to a taxidermist. Several recall stories of Josephine being on display at the Palace Saloon. Eventually she wound up in storage at Northern Arizona University.

Unfortunately, those who have seen her in recent years say that her body has deteriorated terribly.

The story of a greyhound named Abe and his ability to find Native Americans during the Indian Wars at Fort Whipple, Yavapai county, AZ.

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“Panic at the Armory” Newspaper clipping from the collection of Lt. Frederick  Wientge. Prescott Western Heritage Foundation Vertical File—Roughriders.
Graham Guardian, 6/10/1898; Pg. 1, Co. 6.
Arizona Republic, 10/19/1898; Pg. 8, Col. 2.
Arizona Republic, 3/25/1899; Pg. 3, Col. 1.
Weekly Journal-Miner, 5/25/1898; Pg. 2, Col. 1.
Arizona Republic, 9/17/1898; Pg. 3, Col. 2.
Weekly Journal-Miner, 10/12/1898; Pg. 1, Col. 5.
Arizona Republic, 11/15/1898; Pg. 3, Col. 1.

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