This must have been embarrassing, take 2!

Published a blurb the other day about the Bisbee newspaper having some fun at the expense of the Bisbee Fire Department, so now it’s time to give local law enforcement equal time.

Seems that back in 1904, a couple of boys from the state Industrial School at Benson (that was the reformatory for juveniles), not only escaped, but made off with a couple of horses.Boys rode off on Rangers' horses

“Not the least interesting part of the story is that the horses are the property of the Arizona Rangers,” reported The Bisbee Daily Review. One of them belonged to Ranger Wheeler (didn’t specify whether Harry or Frank) and the other to Ranger Eastman.

The Rangers had parked their horses at the school stable while they took care of business in town. Some time during the night, two of the oldest boys at the facilities, who were “trusties,” made their way to the stable, saddled up the horses and rode away. Continue reading


Liberty Valance and Bisbee Deportation

Was listening to Gene Pitney’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” while reading the transcript from the Deportation trial in 1920 and realized there was a line in the song (which wasn’t used in the movie, by the way, but was based on the same plot), that characterized the belief of many in Bisbee back in 1917.

The Jimmy Stewart character was a lawyer, said to be the kind of man the West would need to tame a troubled land. But, the song says:

“When the final showdown came at last, a lawbook was no good.”

As with all analogies, this one will break down under close scrutiny, but it does seem a bit odd that Jimmy Steward is lionized (by the public in the movie and the movie-going public) for going out of character and accepting a gun from a fellow townsman, then using it, while in the case of the Deportation, men are indicted for their actions in the “final showdown.”

What is your take on this?

This must have been embarrassing!

This must have been embarrassing for the Bisbee Fire Department! Here’s a blurb from a 1920 Bisbee Daily Review, printed in its entirety:

Bisbee Fire department responded to an alarm from the Horace Mann junior high school yesterday. Crew No. 2 got there first, but as the truck turned up the hill from Tombstone Canyon Road, the driver killed his motor and was forced to back down.

No. 1 then arrived and succeeded in getting a little further up the hill, but the driver stalled the motor on a sharp turn to avoid hitting the wall.

In the meantime the school children put out the fire.

Sheriff Wheeler feted by Bisbee residents

Just a few days after A.S. Embree was found not guilty of rioting during the 1917 strike in Bisbee — don’t know if the timing was coincidental — the community honored Sheriff Harry Wheeler with a banquet at the Country Club south of Warren attended by 300 “leading citizens.”

The organizer of the Deportation lamented being rejected by the army, lambasted Embree, complained about President Wilson’s Mediation Commission report and showed his usual modesty.

Harry Wheeler illustration“My friends, you pay me too much honor in this matter,” Wheeler said. “There were scores of men in that drive the morning of July 12 who are entitled to more honor than I; who did more than I that day for the district and our home fires. I merely did my duty. I couldn’t shirk. You could. But you didn’t.”

The Bisbee Daily Review reported Dec. 6 that attendance at the banquet “overwhelmed the committee on arrangements and there were not enough places for the guests at the long tables. Continue reading

Embree not guilty of IWW offenses in Bisbee

When Wobblie leader A.S. Embree returned to Bisbee after the Deportation, he was arrested and tried for inciting a riot. The jury quickly agreed that he was not guilty.

You can read this article as a Kindle ebook if you prefer. It’s available here.

The first of many trials

After the Bisbee Deportation of July 1917, there would be trials (and tribulations) for participants on all sides. Most of the court trials would go nowhere.

Most well known, of course, is the 1920 trial in Cochise County Superior Court of one particular man who had participated as a deputy in the deportation, and who was chosen to be representative of the hundreds who had been indicted. The jury found Harry Wootton not guilty because of a successful argument of the “law of necessity.”

Embree acquitted by supreme court jury of rioting

This headline mistakenly refers to the superior court as the supreme court. The article gets it right.

What is not as well publicized, however, was the trial held immediately in the wake of the deportation of one A.S. Embree, a leader among the IWW strikers in Bisbee, who was charged with instigating a riot.

Embree was to be found not guilty by a Pima County Superior Court jury on Dec. 1, 1917.

During the trial, which had been moved to Tucson at Embree’s request, Cochise County Attorney John Mason Ross told the jury that the Bisbee strikers “attacked a Mexican workman in presence of defendant,” the Bisbee Daily Review reported the following day, “and when defendant led a party of pickets to a laundry at Bisbee and the pickets were alleged to have threatened to blow up the building.” Continue reading


Some of the Wobblies rode to Warren

I had always been under the impression that the men being deported in the Summer of ’17 were forced to march from their picket posts or residences to the Warren Ball Park, mostly because that’s what the photos show. But in reading the testimony in the 1920 trial of Harry Wootton for the kidnapping of Fred W. Brown, prosecution witness Thomas Green says that “. . . they loaded us on a street car, and from the street car they takes us down to the Warren park, and at the depot there they stopped.”

A “Blues” baseball team here in 1910

The Bisbee Blue baseball team, which inhabited Warren Ball Park last summer, but which won’t be back this year, had a predecessor, it appears.

Warren Blues baseball teamBack in 1910, there was a kids team known as the Warren Blues. The Bisbee Daily Review reported on a “spirited game” at Warren between the Medigovich White Sox, of Bisbee, and the Warren Blues. Remember that at the time, Bisbee and Warren were separate communities. Couldn’t find any other mention of the team in the paper.

“The indigo hue of the Warren team was deepened by the final score, which read 42 to 28 in favor of the Bisbee lads.” Sounds more like a basketball or football score, but since the story was dated June 28, we’ll have to assume it was baseball. Certainly a batter’s game. Continue reading

Chase scenes not necessarily like in the movies

When you think “western,” you think of a posse riding hard cross country to catch the bad guy.

But you certainly don’t think of a deputy sheriff in a buggy in hot pursuit.

Such was the case back in March of 1901, however, when a subcontractor for the railroad being built along the border near Bisbee ran off with a load of supplies.

Studebaker wagonThe firm of Robinson & Toohey was contracted by Arizona & Southeastern Rail Road and then successor El Paso & Southwestern to build the line. In turn, it hired subcontractors for the various stretches of the road, and furnished them will all their supplies, including “all kinds of merchandise, plows, scrapers, etc.,” the Cochise Review reported.

One of the subs was C.C. Harwell, who had a “large” contract and required supplies and material valued at about $1,500. The sub loaded his supplies at the contractor’s commissary and started for the section of ground on which he would be working, somewhere between Don Luis and the New Mexico line. Continue reading

Old newspapers offered readers humor, too

Encountered this humorous article in an issue of the Cochise Review of Bisbee, on Feb. 23, 1901, and the only way to tell it is to do so in its entirety. So here goes:

One On Uncle Billy.Texas flag art

Uncle Billy Plaster, like most people who have arrived at a mature age, has a hobby on which he is more or less “touchy.” Uncle Billy’s pet hobby is Texas, which he considers about the best place on earth, and hopes that when he dies his soul may be assigned to the precincts of the storied Alamo.

Some months ago Uncle Billy was foreman of the grand jury at Tombstone when the case of a young man who had robbed the lodging house of Mary Tack [in Bisbee] of a number of blankets came before the inquisitorial body. Mary was a witness before the jury and after answering several questions volunteered the statement that she did not wish to prosecute the boy, as “he was from Texas and could not help stealing.”

This was a stunner for Uncle Billy, and if Mary had known it, a critical moment for her. After Uncle Billy had recovered from his astonishment at the, to him, almost blasphemous sentiment, he roared out, “Turn the son of a gun loose.”