Photo detail

Writer Stan Brown reposes on the well-marked grave of Private Joseph McLernon, a few hundred yards from the site of the Battle of Big Dry Wash.

Stories this photo appears in:

The Wild West in the Rim Country

Chapter 6: The missing body of Joseph McLernon

This is the pathetic story of an immigrant Irish youth who joined the Cavalry and hoped to become a United States citizen. However, he died at the Battle of Big Dry Wash July 17, 1882. Today the name of the area is East Clear Creek on the Mogollon Rim, just upstream from the Blue Ridge Reservoir. Until recently souvenir hunters were finding cartridges, brass buttons and human bones around the Rock Crossing where a band of one hundred renegade Apaches tried to ambush the pursuing army, but were defeated by several converging detachments of the Cavalry. Many natives died; the young Irishman was the only white man to fall in the firefight.


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