Back in 1902, the Graham Guardian referred to a suicide in Safford as the “six-shooter route to the other side.” Words were not minced, nor feelings spared if a colorful headline or story could be penned.

In my research this afternoon, I came across a newspaper called the French Broad Hustler. Had to look that one up. A couple of centuries ago, North Carolina had two broad rivers, one called the French Broad because it flowed into what was then French territory. The use of “broad” as slang for a woman didn’t come about till 1911, and the term “hustler” for a paper goes back at least to 1896, when this particular one was started. Shock alleviated.

Small problem on railroad in Naco

Doing research on the three big floods that hit Bisbee in 1908, came across a minor item about a dust-up on a passenger train in Naco, Sonora, and, of course, as one thing tends to lead to another . . . .

Trouble at NacoThere was trouble in Naco, the Bisbee Daily Review reported in its Aug. 5, 1908 issue, as a conductor on the Yaqui River railroad put a troublemaker off the train and was arrested by a local cop for his effort.

Datelined the prior day, the story said that Victor Bennett, “a well-known passenger conductor” on the road, the full name of which was the Cananea, Yaqui River and
Pacific Railroad, was arrested by a Mexican police officer for putting a Mexican passenger, who refused to pay his fare, off the train.

“For a while there was much excitement over the arrest and it required the conciliatory efforts of Superintendent H.J. Temple of the Yaqui River railroad to keep Conductor
Bennett out of jail.” (more…)

Bisbee railroad starts running

In the Feb. 2, 1889 issue of the Tombstone Daily Prospector, the Bisbee mining company started running its schedule for its shiny new railroad. The ad was approved by Ben Williams, superintendent of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co. The ad was intended to run indefinitely: The “tf” in the lower left is newspaper-speak for “till forbid,” and means the ad will run till cancelled. (more…)

Bisbee Memorial Day, 2016

Evergreen tombstone marked with GAR medallion

To see information about a photo, hover over it or click on “show thumbnails” and then choose a photo.

Bisbee’s 2016 Memorial Day commemoration will be at 11 a.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, under the auspices of the local VFW and American Legion posts.

Bisbee holidays of the past seemed to be taken more seriously, in no small part because there were fewer of them. But 50, 100 or 125 years ago, none of them was relegated to simply three days for barbecuing.

Evergreen tombstone marked with GAR medallion

Bisbee’s Evergreen Cemetery has at least one Civil War soldier’s grave marked by a GAR medallion.

Days like Memorial Day, which was originally May 30, were on the designated day, not the nearest Monday. Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day, so called in 1868 when it was established because it was a time to decorate the graves of men who had died while serving in the army or navy.

It was established by an organization known as the GAR, or Grand Army of the Republic, Union army veterans, but the day later took in Confederate veterans and then all men and women who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

There is much that can be said about Memorial Day in Bisbee. The photo gallery at top shows the heart of the community’s story.

Bisbee railroad announced, 1888

A new railroad into Bisbee, to reduce the cost of hauling in the likes of coke for the smelter, timber for the mines and goods for the rapidly expanding commercial district, and hauling out the ever-increasing amount of copper bullion produced in its mines, was announced by The Tombstone Epitaph on April 14, 1888.

“Its early completion an assured fact,” the subhead on the story said, adding that rumors were “flying in the air.” The Copper Queen’s desire for the railroad had been an “open secret” for more than a year.Railroad to Bisbee

Proof of the planned railroad came from the news that Ben Williams, superintendent of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Co. property, “says so.” the Epitaph said.
In addition, the story said, J.E. Durkee & Co., which had the Copper Queen contract for hauling supplies and product overland, had been notified of the plan and had thus halted planned improvements to the road on which they traveled, laying off 15 men.
“This much is positive,” the Epitaph added. (more…)

Bisbee gets good water source

Bisbee was booming in 1902, the year it became an incorporated city.

To keep up with that boom, it needed more water — a perennial tale in the arid West — to supplement that which was being pulled from the Mule Gulch aquifer.

Water pumped from Naco to BisbeeIn a story that would be repeated so many times in the decades before and afterward, it got its need filled through a venture with Copper Queen Consolidate Mining Co. On June 21, the first day of summer, water was pumped from the well fields of Naco — still in use today — to a tank above the Spray shaft, on Queen Hill.

It was, as the Bisbee Daily Review touted in the lead column of its next issue, “a day of rejoicing.” For the brand-new city it meant not just more to drink, and the guarantee of continued mining, but the assurance of better fire protection.


John Behan signature auction

Appropriate for the upcoming (this weekend) Wyatt Earp Days in Tombstone, a signature of Wyatt’s nemesis John Harris Behan is being auctioned by Barnebys. Starting bid is $300 and the anticipate winning bid is north of $600.

Document bearing John H. Behan's signatureThis is appropriate for Wyatt Earp Days since Behan’s relationship with Wyatt was probably no small part of the animosity that led to the infamous gunfight. (more…)

What I’m reading this week (May 24, 2016)

Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp, by Ann Kirschner.

This is a relatively new story of Wyatt Earp’s long-time mate, written by a woman who admits she and her brother grew up on the old Wyatt Earp TV series way back when. Thought it would be a good read for the week of Wyatt Earp Days, the big celebration in Tombstone this weekend.

Will follow it up with a reread of my friend Glenn G. Boyer’s I Married Wyatt Earp, the book that launched a thousand controversies.

For fiction, I’m starting over with the Joanna Brady series, which is now up to 18, all in all. The first of these, Desert Heat, is where Joanna becomes a widow and runs for sheriff, not to give too much away, and it’s been two decades since I’ve read it. It’s fun to get the refresher, especially since I’m taking some huge fans on the Jeep Tour.

Disclosure: The book links go to and if you buy, I get a commission.

Bisbee’s hills with two names

Folks on the Lavender Jeep Tour often ask about location names, and I've been surprised at how many times I've had to say "this" or "that." Seems especially that the hills around Bisbee have two names. Some have evolved over time and some are the differences between what local say and what USGS topographic maps record.

Gold Hill, or Geronimo

Gold Hill, or Geronimo

Gold Hill / Geronimo

Interestingly, all of the hills that are on this topic can be seen from High Road. At the greatest distance is the one officially called Gold Hill, and from which emanates Gold Gulch. (Where many folks have panned a bit of gold.) Even on topo maps going back to 1902, it was known as Gold Hill, but when I was growing up, it was called Geronimo. Other natives know it by the same name, but no one seems to know why.

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