"Lord" Darrell Duppa


We have no record of Darrell Duppa in San Francisco; however, a visitor to the site asked if we had any information; the gentleman was a character and, as such, is welcome in histories of the making of the West, so he is included herein. He was born in Paris, attended Cambridge where he learned five languages, and started wandering the world. From Spain to Valparaiso, Chile where the ship wrecked and all died except Duppa. He wandered around South America. Then went to New Zealand, then Australia and from Australia to California.

When asked "Why don't you go back to the old country?" he responded:

"It is useless at this time of life. To do so would require a radical change in my life, and I have lived so many years on the frontiers of civilization that I now have no desire to again assume the life and the attendant."

He has been credited with naming Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona. The home he built in 1870 still stands at 115 West Sherman, the oldest home in Phoenix.

Taken from Roadside History of ArizonaRoadside History of Arizona. by Marshall Trimble.

Roadside History of Arizona.

“Darrell Duppa was one of the queerest examples to be found in Arizona, and I might add in New Mexico and Sonora as well. There was nothing superfluous about Duppa in the way of flesh, neither was there anything about the “station" that could be regarded as superfluous, either in furniture or ornament. Duppa was credited with being the wild, harum-scarum son of an English family of respectability, his father having occupied a position in the diplomatic or consular service of Great Britain, and the son having been born in Marseilles.

Lord Darrell Duppa.Rumor had it that Duppa spoke several languages — French, Spanish, Italian, German — that he understood the classics, and that, when sober he used faultless English. I can certify to his employment of excellent French and Spanish, and what had to my ears the sound of pretty good Italian, and I know too that he was hospitable to a fault, and not afraid of man or devil. Three bullet wounds, received in three different fights with the Apaches, attested his grit, although they might not be accepted as equally conclusive evidence of good judgment. The site of his “location” was in the midst of the most uncompromising piece of desert in a region, which boasts of possessing more desert land than any other territory in the Union. The surrounding hills and mesas yielded a perennial crop of cactus, and little of anything else.

The dwelling itself was nothing but a ramada, a term which has already been defined as a roof of branches; the walls were of rough, unplastered wattle work, of the thorny branches of the ironwood, no thicker than a man’s finger, which were lashed by thongs of raw-hide to horizontal slats of cottonwood; the floor of the bare earth, of course-that almost went without saying in those days-and the furniture rather too simple and meager even for Cathusians. As I recall the place in mind, there appears the long, unpainted table of pine, which served for meals or gambling, or the rare occasions when anyone took into his head the notion to write a letter. This room constituted the ranch in its entirety. Along the sides were scattered piles of blankets, which about midnight were spread out as couches for tired laborers or travelers. At one extremity, a meager array of Dutch ovens, flat-irons, and frying pans, revealed the “kitchen,” presided over by a hirsute, husky-voiced gnome, half Vulcan, half Centaur, who, immersed for most of the day in the mysteries of the larder, at stated intervals broke the stillness with the hoarse command:”Hash pile! Come a ‘runnin’!” There is hardly any use to describe the rifles, pistols, belts of ammunition, saddles, spurs and whips, which lined the walls and covered the joists and cross-beams; they were just as much part and parcel of the establishment as the dogs and ponies were. To keep out the sand-laden wind, which blew fiercely down from the north when it wasn’t blowing down with equal fierceness from the south, or the west, or the east, strips of canvas or gunny-sacking were tacked on the inner side of the cactus branches.

My first visit to this Elysium was made about midnight, and I remember that the meal served up was unique if not absolutely paralyzing on the score of originality. There was a plenty of Mexican figs in raw-hide sacks, fairly good tea, which had the one great merit of hotness, and lots and lots of whiskey; but there was no bread, as the supply of flour had run short, and, on account of the appearance of Apaches during the past few days, it had not been considered wise to send a party over to Phoenix for a replenishment. A wounded Mexican, lying down in the one corner, was proof that the story was well founded. All the light in the ranch was afforded by a single table lantern, by the flickering flames from the cook’s fire, and the glinting stars. In our saddlebags we had several slices of bacon and some biscuits, so we did not fare half so badly as we might have done. What caused me most wonder was why Duppa had ever concluded to live in such a forlorn spot; the best answer I could get to my queries was that the Apaches had attacked him at the moment he was approaching the banks of the Aqua Fria at this point, and after he had repulsed them he thought he would stay there merely to let them know he could do it. This explanation was satisfactory to every one else, and I had to accept it.”

The January 10, 1882 Los Angeles Herald notes in "Hotel Arrivals Yesterday" at the Cosmopolitan Hotel: D. Duppa, Phoenix.

April 13, 1894, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

A White Woman Who Went About as an Apache Warrior.

Yuma Times. The following story is told by one of Arizona's early pioneers:

In 1864, Dr. Alsap and Lord Duppa, well-known pioneers, were prospecting with a party in the Bradshaw Mountains on the Hassayampa Creek. One morning the party separated for the purpose of hunting. In going up a canyon in which they were separated from their companions by high mountains, Duppa's detachment was attacked by a large band of Tonto Apaches. The whites gradually fought their way across the ridge with the hope of rejoining their companions. During the advance Duppa, who was stationed behind a rock, noticed that he was the particular mark of an Indian with a bow. Several arrows had fallen at his feet and one struck him in the arm.

Raising his rifle, he look aim, and just as he was touching the trigger the supposed Indian cried. "Don't shoot!" in good English, but it was too late, and the body fell over with life extinct. Soon after the two parties succeeded in forming a junction and the Indians retreated, leaving their dead.

Out of curiosity the party returned to the place where Duppa killed the supposed Indian and found that it was a white woman, evidently about 30 years of age and dressed in all the paraphernalia of the Apache. Investigation was made, but no trace of her former whereabouts could ever be obtained.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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