Naco brick helped build Bisbee’s boom

As well as being a port of entry for the mine at Cananea, Naco had a reputation for making brick. “Without any other natural advantages,” the Cochise Review said in its June 5, 1900 edition, “Naco is destined to become a town of prominence through the excellent quality of the brick that is manufactured in the Line City.”

Bisbee's brick made in Naco

In another article in the same issue, the Review said that E.G. Norton, who had suffered the loss of his cottage to fire two days earlier, would be rebuilding from Naco brick.

“Such a building would be expensive should the material have to be shipped over rail,” the article said, but “Mr. Norton says a fine quality of brick is being manufactured at Naco and he can build with this material equally as cheap as with lumber and that henceforth the Norton buildings will be of modern architecture and not subject to the fury of the flame as heretofore.” Continue reading


Why do I use so many quotes in articles?

In writing about an era ±100 years in the past, it shows the flavor of ideas and language of the times. In so many ways, the newspapers of that bygone time, and the people they wrote about, were much more colorful and less, shall we say, politically correct, than today. Through direct quotes, that can best be shown, rather than told.

‘The border is secure,’ 1877 style

While doing research on Lt. Tony Rucker, whose U.S. Cavalry troop out of Ft. Bowie was responsible for the discovery of mineralization in the Mule Pass Mountains (Bisbee), I came across this interesting article about how little the local populace believed what the federal government had to say.

The article was in the Arizona Weekly Miner out of Prescott, but was reprinted from the Citizen in Tucson, and was datelined Jan. 16, 1877. It reported that Lieut. J.A. Rucker had returned to Camp Bowie, where his Sixth Cavalry unit was stationed, and had reported killing 10 Chiricahua Apaches “on the Chiricahua” instead of 8, as previously reported. Continue reading

What’s wrong with this 1887 map?

This map of Arizona is from an 1886 atlas that was revised in 1887. It was published by George V. Jones & Co., a map company of which I have never heard. The map says it was engraved for People’s Publishing Co. in Chicago. I’ve cropped it to show just Cochise County.

It has some interesting mistakes that I spotted. Perhaps you can find more. (Continued below map.)

1887 Cochise County mapFirst, relating to Bisbee, it places the 10-year-old camp in the Dragoon Mountains instead of the Mule, or Mule Pass, Mountains. Continue reading

Boom at Cananea coincided with Bisbee’s

As the 20th century began, Bisbee was booming, as were the new communities of Douglas and Naco (both sides of the border.) Bisbee’s growth, to a great extent, came from the startup of mining interests affiliated with the “Bonanza Circle,” all of which later would be amalgamated into Calumet and Arizona Mining Co.

Douglas was created to accommodate the C&A smelter, and before long, the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co. decided to move its facility there from Bisbee. Those two acts not only created Douglas, but also allowed for more growth at Bisbee because larger smelting capacity meant more demand for mining.

Cananea smelter

Cananea smelter


At the same time, however, a mining boom was taking place south of the border. “Colonel” William C. Greene’s Cananea Consolidated Copper Co. was abuilding at a similar pace as Bisbee and Douglas, which also providing for the development of the two Nacos. Continue reading

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