Biography of John P. Clum

John P. Clum, of San Bernardino, was born in Claverack, Columbia County, New York, in 1851, and his childhood and youth were passed on the banks of the historic Hudson. At the age of nineteen he graduated at the Hudson River Institute, and entered the freshman class of Rutger’s College, New Brunswick, New Jersey. After completing the first year and creditably passing all the examinations, adverse fortune compelled him to leave college, and in 1871 he entered the meteorological service of the United States Government. Having taken a course in meteorology and signaling, he was ordered to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and there opened a station for meteorological observations in November 1871. He was honored with the appointment as delegate to the Presbyterian General Assembly, held at Baltimore in 1873, and at St. Louis in 1874. On February 26, 1874, he was appointed Indian Agent of the Apaches at San Carlos, Arizona, and discharged the difficult duties of the office with remarkable fidelity and efficiency, and to the great satisfaction of the citizens of Arizona and Colorado. February 26, 1876, Mr. Clum resigned the agency, but finally, at the urgent request of the department, withdrew his resignation in October following. He resigned again in March, 1877, and left the agency July 1, 1877.

In November 1876, Mr. Clum was united in marriage, at Delaware, Ohio, with Miss Mary D. Ware, daughter of the late Hon. Thomas D. Ware, of Cincinnati, a refined and cultured lady, whose untimely death occurred in Tombstone, Arizona, after four years of a joyous wedded life. During his service as Indian Agent, Mr. Clum passed through many severe trials, hairbreadth escapes and thrilling adventures, one of the most exciting of which was the capture of the desperate and blood-thirsty savage, Chief Geronimo, the only time that wily old Indian ever was captured. This was affected at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, April 21, 1877, after having marched on foot 350 miles from San Carlos with 120 Indian police. His strategy outwitted Geronimo, and he was captured and placed in irons without the loss of a single life, and, together with several of his worst chiefs, was taken to San Carlos and put in confinement.

After severing his connection with the Indian Agency, Mr. Clum returned to Florence and studied law. He was admitted to practice in the District Court of Arizona at Pinal in 1877; but, preferring journalism to the law, he became editor and proprietor of the Tucson (Arizona) Citizen in November 1877. He continued in that relation until February 1880, when he sold it to R. C. Brown. In May of that year, he, in connection with Messrs. Sorin and Reppy, established the Tombstone Epitaph, and for two years continued the relation of joint owner and editor of this paper. In June 1880, he was appointed Postmaster at Tombstone, Arizona Territory, and filled that office with ability and satisfaction. Early in January 1881, he was elected Mayor of Tombstone, assuming the duties of the office January 12.

December 14, 1881, an attempt was made to assassinate him in the stage, en route from Tombstone to Tucson, by the lawless ruffians whom he gave no quarter in bringing to justice. In the latter part of 1882 Mr. Clum went to Washington and accepted a position in the office of the Chief Inspector of the Post office Department. In February 1883, he was again married, his second wife being Miss Belle Atwood, daughter of the late Judge J. P. Atwood, of Madison, Wisconsin. This estimable lady presides over the destinies of his domestic affairs with happiest results. Mr. Clum remained in the department at Washington until January 1885, when he was reappointed Postmaster at Tombstone. He resigned that office in August, and was elected Auditor and Recorder of Tombstone. In 1886 Mr. Clum removed to California, and settled in San Bernardino, where he has since been engaged in the real estate and insurance business.

Having taken an active interest in the progress of his chosen county, he has twice taken charge of horticultural and mineral exhibits of San Bernardino in the East, one held in Washington in March, 1889, and the Citrus Fair, held in New York in the winter of 1889-’90. All of these enterprises were triumphant successes.



The Lewis Publishing Company. An Illustrated History of Southern California embracing the counties of San Diego San Bernardino Los Angeles and Orange and the peninsula of lower California. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. 1890.

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