Registered Charity

The FOBLC is recognised by HMRC as a charity, ref. XT38745, and is a member of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends

For all enquiries please contact our Chairman geoffrey@foblc.org.uk


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FROM BROCKLEY TO BOOT HILL : APACHE CHIEF GERONIMO AND THE KILLING OF EDWARD WENTWORTH LYON.



The family grave of Arthur Wentworth Lyon lies in Ladywell cemetery. Although a challenge to locate amidst the tumble of broken headstones and gnarled vegetation in Ladywell cemetery, the faded remnants of the grave surround that holds the mortal remains of Arthur Wentworth Lyon (1852-1935) also holds a truly fascinating family history. Arthur spent periods of time representing the family business abroad, his father had worked for the East India Company, and Arthur spent time in Bombay (India  before returning to England to live off his investments. The photo of Arthur (dated 1905) bespeaks of a comfortably placed businessman astride an early motor vehicle.



The family had moved from Manchester to a landed estate near Rochester, Kent. Arthur's brother, William Walter moved to Australia before eventually settling in the USA, dying in Virginia in 1885 at the early age of 34. One of William's sons, Henry fought 'with heroism' in the Spanish-American War of 1899. Another brother, Charles Sturges involved himself in the famIly business, marrying the daughter of the Mayor of Oldham (Lancashire ) and cotton mill owner, Joshua Walmsley. A third brother Herbert advanced to the rank of Admiral in the Royal Navy, after coming out of retirement to serve in the Mediterranean in the Great War and is buried in an impressive vault on Malta.

The fateful encounter of Arthur’s elder brother Edward Wentworth Lyon, with the legendary Apache Leader Geronimo (seen below) is drawn from a contemporary account.



On May 17th 1885, 150 Chiricahua Apaches, including women and children, left the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona because they were unhappy with conditions there. Led by men such as Geronimo, Natchez and Ulzana, they raided east into New Mexico, killing, looting and burning as they went.  One of their first victims was Edward Wentworth Lyon, a civilian who is buried in Boot Hill cemetery. His father was Arthur Wentworth Lyon, and his mother was Sarah (nee Schwind) Lyon.

Lyon, just 25, was an Englishman, visiting in this country with former classmate Montague Stevens, founder of the WS and SU (Stevens-Upcher) ranches, both in what is now Catron County (later associated with the Sundance Kid!) Lyon had ridden from the SU Ranch to Alma to pick up the mail and was ambushed and killed by Apaches on May 20, 1885, north of Alma on his way back to the ranch. When he failed to return, Montague Stevens and others set out looking for him and found his body not far from scraps of torn mail.


Edward Wentworth Lyon was the first person buried in the Boot Hill graveyard (see photograph  above ) but before the year was out, he'd have company.  In November and December 1885, Ulzana and about 20 warriors went on a 1,200-mile rampage through eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, killing about 38 persons.  The 1972 Hollywood film, Ulzana's Raid is based on these events.



Source : The historical information above was mainly sourced from the Find A Grave website ( Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries )