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.
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