It’s Deportation Day, 97 years later

In the pre-dawn hours of a sweltering summer’s day in 1917, some 2,000 deputies began spreading themselves throughout Bisbee and its surrounding communities to lay in wait for the morning shift of pickets.

This was to be the day of the great “drive,” and the men were on high alert, and undoubtedly nerves were on edge. The deputies — though officially inducted by the sheriff, many would call them vigilantes — came armed, most from the greater Bisbee area and some from Douglas.Deportation through Lowell

They had received coded phone messages the night before and knew their roles. The men, whose wives had torn strips of cloth to provide them white arm bands to show their authority — as if the rifles were not enough — moved quietly and stealthily into prescribed positions, secreting themselves in buildings and businesses near gathering points for the union pickets.

Serious business, of unknown risk

None of the men knew how risky their undertaking would be. None knew how successful the organizers of the drive had been in keeping it a secret from its intended prey. Continue reading

You think it’s been windy this year!

We’ve had some gusts around the area this year that have removed roofs and made life less than comfortable. As I write this post this morning, I’m watching ocotillos swaying in the breeze.

But this is nothing compared to what prospector Dan Holland experienced back iProspector hurled 200 feetn 1916.

On Dec. 24, just prior to the Christmas snow fall, a “severe wind storm” visited the area. Holland, better known as the “Yaqui Scout,” according to the Bisbee Daily Review, had been living in a tent on Juniper Flats, near the property of the Juniper Flats Gold Mining Company.

He had gone to sleep and several hours later a “terrible gale of wind struck the ridge” and his tent, bed and “everything in his possession, with himself, was picked up and carried through the air to the bottom of the gulch, 200 yards away.”

The next morning, he was brought to the Calumet & Arizona hospital, where he was operated on. His condition was improving, the paper reported later in the week, “and he has a good chance of recovery.”

The more things change . . . (which is why we study history)

I’ve been reading a recently acquire book titled “Propaganda for War: The Campaign against American Neutrality, 1914-1917” as part of my (for)ever-continuing education about the Bisbee Deportation.

In a nutshell, it the story of the intense British propaganda effort to paint the Central Powers (Germany, etc.) as a foe of the United States, freedom and democracy, and to lure the United States, with its immense power and resources, into the conflict now known as World War I.Map of Cuba

It’s a fascinating read (yes, really) about an aspect of the 19-teens about which I knew relatively little. And it’s a prelude to another book, by the same author, even more pertinent to the Bisbee event, but more about that in weeks to come.

How history relates to now

Whenever I talk history, I try to link the past to the present, to show that we are really not changing all that much, nor have we changed over the ages. But I’m still amazed myself when I find such linkages.

Thus it was astounding this morning, after having begun studying the history book the prior evening, when I came across a news article from the Associated Press headlined “US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest.” Continue reading

Saloon keepers change whisky brand

Here’s a humorous piece from the Cochise Review from Feb. 9, 1901, quoted completely:

“The saloon keepers of this town must have changed their brand of whisky on the boys last Wednesday, for several who took a jolt or two that day immediately started out on the war path, and Judge Wilcox had some fun with them.

“One miner, who is well known in this section, and who was never known to have been under the influence of liquor, took a couple of drinks and some quinine to stave off an attack of the grippe [influenza], and thereupon proceeded to clean up the town.

“He drew a knife on a man, when he was then hauled up before Judge Wilcox, where he immediately ‘smashed’ a constable. Another constable jumped in and the two placed the belligerent miner in the lockup, and here he proceeded to thrash the other inmates.

“The saloon keepers had better go back to their old brand of whisky or there is no telling what may happen.”

Prospectors in Bisbee area as early as 1865

I saw this article almost 20 years ago, then laid it aside and haven’t been able to find it again. Till now.

The Bisbee Daily Review tells the story in 1905 of three prospectors who came up the Sulphur Springs Valley “forty years ago” and camped at a site that is now Erie Street in Lowell.Skeleton of a pioneer exhumed

The paper recalled the story of one George Leach, told around the community two years earlier. Leach, who was thought to reside in Tucson, said he was one of a party of three who camped out in the foothills of the Mules late one afternoon. Leach and one of his companions left the third man to make camp while they went hunting. When they returned about two hours later, it was dark and they found the other man “lying dead and scalped by the embers of a dying fire he had built.

“Hastily digging a grave for the body they placed it in the ground and without further loss of time left the vicinity, retracing their steps to Benson.” (At that time, it wasn’t yet Benson, founded in 1880, or even Ohensorgen, since those brothers didn’t arrive till 1871, but just the San Pedro River Station.) Continue reading

She was put in jail for her own good

“A drunken woman was saved from instant death in the railroad yards yesterday morning by Officer White and Clerk of the City Court Frank Thomas,” the Bisbee Daily Review reported Feb. 4, 1912.

Jailed for her own good“The woman, who later gave her name, after much hesitation, as Margaret O’Donnell, was standing on the track, and was apparently held spell-bound by an approaching train. She was reached by the officers just in time to prevent an accident.”

She was arraigned in Judge High’s justice court on charges of drunkenness. The officers testified that she had been in a state of “intoxication or semi-intoxication” for some time and complaints had been made about her.

“At first she refused to give her name, disputing the court’s right to ask her name, but when she was threatened with imprisonment for contempt of court, she tremblingly gave the name of Margaret O’Donnell.”

High sentenced her to 60 days. She was expected to be taken to Douglas and given employment on the county poor farm.

“As the woman appeared to have lost control of herself, it was deemed an act of mercy to place her where she would be unable to satisfy her diseased appetite for intoxicants.”

We can hope that “intoxicants” weren’t as easy for inmates to acquire then as they are today!

Not all falls in the mines were fatal

This is the first item for a future book tentatively titled “Death in the Mines.” It will look at fatalities in Bisbee’s mines prior to about 1920. At least everything I can find. These items will be found under the category “Death” as shown in the top row on this page. (Or under the top pulldown menu on your smartphone.) Each item will include an introduction and then the report from the newspaper, more or less verbatim.

The Cochise Review was a predecessor to the Bisbee Daily Review. At this time, it was run by William Kelly.

The Cochise Review, Feb. 2, 1901

William H. Loftus, a miner in the employ of the Copper Queen company, fell down the man-way at the mine on Thursday night. He fell a distance of twenty-four feet and sustained a badly lacerated scalp and several bruises. He was at once removed to the hospital and will soon be able to resume his occupation.


First strike in Bisbee – newsboys!

While the Bisbee Daily Review, under any ownership, was loath to say anything good about strikes or unions, there was one time it did so gleefully – when the paper carriers for the archrival Bisbee Evening Miner went out on strike.

Miner newsboys on strikeThe Review reported Sept. 18, 1902 that “the first strike in the history of Bisbee is on. The smelter and mine continue to operate as usual. The stores are not closed and trains continue to run, but the delivery system of the Miner is sadly crippled.”

We can rest assured that the use of “sadly” was tongue in cheek.

“The Amalgamatedd Association of the Indepenent Order of Newspaper Carriers has walked out. Notice was served on the Miner management last evening and if you don’t get the Miner, you may know that the tie up is complete.”

The first issue was wages. The Miner paid $8 per month, while the Review paid $10, “but the Miner management claimed the Review carriers had to deliver more papers.” Continue reading

Daughter kills father to protect her honor

An 18-year-old Douglas girl killed her 57-year-old father in Douglas on June 8, 1902, the Bisbee Daily Review reported the following Wednesday, in order to protect her honor. A coroner’s inquest the day after the shooting declared her justified in the shooting and the young woman was “exonerated of all blame.”

Daughter kills fatherThe daughter told officials that her father was attempting to assault her at 5 o’clock that morning, she found a revolver and shot him. A bullet “took effect in the head, lodging in the brain,” killing him instantly, the paper said.

The inquest developed other evidence leading up the crime. The prior Wednesday, the man, identified as Fayette Janeway, had attempted to assault his daughter, Ida, “but was repulsed after a hard struggle.” The same thing happened two days later.

The two lived with a brother of the girl, who was away on Sunday, and the man made three attempts to assault his daughter. On the third attempt, “just as he was about to grab his daughter she pointed a revolver at his face and fulled the trigger. Janeway dropped over dead, a victim of his own unnatural lust.”

Ida was bearing up bravely “under the trying ordeal,” the paper said, adding that “the people of Douglas extend sincere sympathy.”

Angry Bisbee crowds were hot to lynch murderers

We’re all familiar with the story of the Bisbee and Tombstone mob that broke John Heath (Heith) out of jail and strung him up from a telegraph pole for his role in the Bisbee Massacre. The deed was immortalized by a photographer.

But hundreds of Bisbee residents were ready to lynch a couple of the other perpetrators of the heinous crime as they were being brought from Clifton, where they were captured, to the county jail in Tombstone.

Had Sheriff Jerome Ward not been aware of the potential of facing an angry mob, the lynching would have come to fruition, hanging two of the six men months before their expiration date.

The massacre had taken place on Dec. 8, 1883 and that night the perpetrators left town under the light of a full moon. The posse wouldn’t catch their trail until the next morning. The five men split up, heading to eastern Arizona, New Mexico and two destinations in Mexico, taking their meager booty along.401px-TombstoneinTombstone (1)

The two who went to the Clifton area, James “Tex” Howard and Comer W. “Red” Sample, had among their share a watch that could be identified. And it was. The local constabulary of (what was then) Graham County arrested them and called for Cochise County officials to come get them.

The Sacramento Daily Record-Union, in its edition of Dec. 22, reported that around Tombstone and Bisbee, “rumors were rife and threats openly made” that Tex and Red “should not live to enter the jail.”

The report, datelined Tombstone, Dec. 21, said that “upon the arrival of the regular stage last night there were fully 300 men in and about it, it having been noised about that the Sheriff would arrive with them.”

“It was well known that since the departure of Ward for Clifton a party of men from Bisbee had been at Fairbank,” the story said. Fairbank was the closest railroad station to Tombstone at the time.

“Their only object could have been the lynching of the prisoners,” the newspaper report continued. “Under the circumstances, it looked as if their threats would be carried out.” Continue reading