stripe decor

The Fight For Statehood, Chapter 4:


The Opposition Within the Territory During the Nineties
By Marion Dargan


      Some twenty-odd bills to admit New Mexico to the union were introduced into Congress between December, 1891, and June, 1903. All of these were promptly referred to a committee, and most of them were never heard of again. Three bills, however, passed the house and attained the dignity of a senate report, although the majority report on the last of these was unfavorable. During the early nineties, Antonio Joseph, delegate to congress from New Mexico, fathered most of the house bills, hoping to win statehood by the aid of his fellow democrats. After his defeat in 1894, Catron, Fergusson, Perea and Rodey followed in rapid succession. Of these, perhaps the first and the last named strove hardest to get an enabling act through Congress, but all met defeat.

      One of the most important factors that contributed to the failure of these hopes was the unwillingness of some of the citizens of the territory to assume the responsibilities of full citizenship. On June 6, 1892, in discussing a bill introduced by Delegate Joseph, George D. Perkins, a republican member of the house committee on territories, said:


"Now, Mr. Speaker, it is a question whether the people of New Mexico desire the passage of this bill. I undertake to say that no evidence has been presented further than the compilation of some old reports-nothing that has transpired during the life of this Congress to show that New Mexico itself is asking for admission. It is true that about a year ago New Mexico voted upon the adoption of a constitution, and rejected it. I do not know but that New Mexico would declare against admission at this time. It is said by those resident in New Mexico that it is not well for New Mexico itself that it be admitted at this time."1

       The Iowa congressman evidently referred to the Joseph report of the preceding March, over seven pages of which appeared under the topic: "Does New Mexico Desire Admission?" The chief documents used to support an affirmative answer to this question were a memorial to congress adopted by the legislative assembly of New Mexico in 1872 and two speeches made by Governor Prince and ex-Governor Axtell at a hearing before the house committee on territories in the spring of 1890. This evidence went to show that the territorial politicians wanted statehood at the times indicated, but it left room for doubt regarding the attitude of citizens in 1892.2

      The bill passed the house, however, and Senator Joseph M. Carey of Wyoming reported it favorably in the senate on July 21, 1892.3 Two pages of his report followed the heading "The People Desire Statehood." Yet, while he went back to that August day in 1846 when General Kearny took possession of Santa Fe and promised the people of New Mexico "a free government, with the least possible delay,"4 he offered no proof that the people of the territory wanted statehood forty-six years later.

       If we compare the reports already cited with three others made in the nineties on similar bills, we will notice that they are all much alike. Each makes some pretense of giving the attitude of citizens of the territory, but none are convincing. All tend to rely on musty documents of the past. The memorial of 1874 is given three times, and one of 1850 twice. The Blackburn report made to the senate in 1894 adopted the Joseph report of the preceding year verbatim.5 After recommending certain alterations in the bill introduced by Senator John H. Gear of Iowa the report made by Senator Cushman K. Davis of Minnesota in 1896 adopted the Carey report of 1892, including the reference to General Kearny's proclamation.6 There is no evidence that any of these committees made a serious effort to ascertain the sentiment of the people of New Mexico. When the Carey report was presented to the senate, Orville H. Platt pointed out that it was not a unanimous report, and that he had not been able to bring his mind to assent to it. The Connecticut senator said:



"There are various statistics and facts bearing upon the question whether New Mexico is entitled to admission which I have not been able to obtain. The census office and the commissioner of education are not prepared to furnish us with data for which we ask."7  

      He therefore served notice that he might file a minority report at the commencement of the next session. Meanwhile he secured the adoption by the senate of a resolution that the committee on territories or a sub-committee should visit New Mexico during the recess to obtain information.8 Territorial newspapers commented on the coming investigation,9 but for some reason it was never made.

       When Joseph presented a thirty-seven page report to the house on October 31, 1893, he devoted a single paragraph to statehood. He said that "In order to test the sentiments of the people of New Mexico," Governor Thornton had called a statehood convention which met in Albuquerque on September 20. This had been attended, according to the delegate, "by more than 600 delegates, representing every political party in the Territory, as well as every county, in New Mexico, . . ." This body had passed resolutions requesting congress to pass the bill under discussion. Joseph concluded "that the present bill met with the unanimous approbation of that convention. This demonstrates the intense desire of the people of New Mexico for admission into the sisterhood of states."10

      This statement is certainly more to the point than 100 per cent of the remainder of this report and all the others made during the nineties. It does not, however, warrant the conclusion which the delegate drew from it. Contemporary newspapers show that enthusiasm for the admission of the territory was not the sole magnet which drew these representatives together.11 Possibly the territorial fair and the southwest silver convention were more important attractions. The Las Vegas Daily Optic featured the silver convention more prominently than the statehood meeting, the only reference to the latter being an account on the last page taken from the Albuquerque Morning Democrat. Little emphasis was placed on the size of the gathering or its representative character. Evidently some of the citizens of the territory were interested enough to get together for a statehood rally in 1893, but this does not prove that the people of New Mexico had an "intense desire" to see the territory a state.

      Committee reports on statehood bills during the nineties were so repetitious and antiquated that it is not surprising to find that the territorial press paid scant attention to them. Advance information that a favorable report was expected was usually given, but no attempt was made to analyze the document when it appeared. Everything else, however, connected with the cause of statehood was news.

      The ups and downs of a succession of bills furnished column after column of copy. Perhaps the "signs of the times" indicated strongly that the next congress would admit New Mexico to the union, as the Silver City Enterprise for October 19, 1891, opined. Again some territorial leader might release an interview, as W. C. Hazledine did two months later, predicting that no attempt would be made to get New Mexico admitted until after the presidential election.12 Evidently party leaders felt that the politics of New Mexico were so uncertain that they were unwilling to run the risk of giving the opposing party four votes in the Electoral College and two in the senate. Little attempt was made by the territorial press to point out the differences between different statehood bills. A few exceptions were noted, however. Thus in January, 1892, the Deming Headlight published the text of a bill introduced by Joseph, declaring that examination would show that it was carefully drawn and fully met "many objections heretofore urged against suggested measures for the admission of New Mexico."13 The following year the press explained the distinction between this bill and one pending in the senate. The former provided merely that English should be taught in all public schools in the new state;14 the latter that these schools should be conducted in the English language. Evidently some senators were afraid that the schools of New Mexico might be conducted in a foreign tongue. The delegate, however, refused to accept the senate bill, so the Optic concluded: "The chances of New Mexico's admission by the present congress ... is so slim that one might safely bet billions to buttons against it."15 In December, 1891, when Platt became chairman of the senate committee on territories, the Denver Republican pronounced this gratifying news to the people of the West, since he had previously shown much interest in the admission of the northwestern territories.16 Two months later, however, New Mexicans returning from Washington reported that Platt and Quay "two powerful senators were opposed to the admission of the territories on the ground that they are not yet . . . prepared for self-government."17 The territorial press also showed great interest in the attitude of the chief executive. Thus in October, 1891, both the New Mexican and the San Marcial Reporter printed stories to the effect that President Harrison would recommend the admission of the territory to the union. The former paper stated that the report came "on very good authority.'1818   while the latter added : "He has certainly shown more interest in our affairs than any previous chief executive of the nation."19 As chairman of the senate committee on territories, the Indiana statesman had shown unusual interest in the qualifications of candidates for statehood, but, in spite of this, readers of his message failed to find the expected recommendation for New Mexico. If the press failed to predict the course which Harrison took, they found Cleveland still more baffling. In December, 1893, the New Mexican predicted:



"Congress may pass as many bills for the admission of new states as it pleases, but it is dollars to doughnuts that President Cleveland will veto every one of them. He has no desire to see the silver cause strengthened by the election of additional senators and representatives from the far west."20

      The following spring, the Optic quoted Colonel Bean, a former delegate to congress from Arizona, as having expressed the opinion that it was useless for any of the territories to knock at the door of congress for admission, since Cleveland had declared that he was opposed to "admitting any more mining camps."21 Three months later, however, several of the territorial papers featured a story of an interview which Joseph had with the president. "The president," so this account ran, told Delegate Joseph he would sign the bill. He said that New Mexico deserved statehood more than any of the remaining territories. He referred to the promise made to old Mexico at the time of the session. That promise was that statehood should be conferred on the ceded territory as soon as practicable. The president said that it was high time the pledge was redeemed.22

      All of which sounded so convincing that it is small wonder that democratic leaders in the territory immediately began to talk of sending Joseph and Fergusson to the senate! This, however, proved premature, since, when Congress convened in December, the Optic reported: "It now comes by wire that his supreme highness, the autocrat of the White House, has given it out cold that he will not sign any more statehood bills”23

      The amount of newspaper space devoted to the statehood movement during the nineties indicates that this subject was of popular interest to newspaper readers in the territory. It does not, of course, prove that the masses of people favored the admission of New Mexico to the union. According to the census of 1890, 44.49 percent of the population of the territory over ten years of age were illiterate.24 Taking the United States as whole, 24.28 percent were under nine years of age.25 As the percentage of children among the native-born population was even larger, and New Mexico possessed few foreign-born, we may assume that at least 24.28 percent of her population was under ten years of age. The omission of these two groups would lead to the conclusion that not more than 30 percent of the citizens of New Mexico could have been newspaper readers in 1890, although there was a slight increase during the decade. What proportion of this group favored statehood it is impossible to say.

       Thus the statehood convention of 1893, together with the newspaper space devoted to the cause, point to the conclusion that some of the citizens of the territory were actively interested in seeing New Mexico become a state. They do not, however, rule out the possibility that many citizens were either indifferent or hostile to statehood.

       Of course, popular indifference to statehood, was not confined to New Mexico. Thus, Minnesota, in spite of its rapid growth in population in the middle 1850s, had been "in no hurry for statehood." "This," says a recent historian, "was due in part to the light territorial tax burden and the liberality of the federal government.”26 Apparently, however, their indifference was easily dissipated. The authority cited described the movement in a single paragraph, as follows:



       In 1857, however, Governor W. A. Gorman made a vigorous appeal in favor of statehood. As long as Minnesota remained a territory, he said, it could not borrow money, nor could it expect grants of land for railroads. He also argued that a railroad ought to be built through Minnesota to the Pacific, and that this could best be accomplished through statehood. "There is no great interest," he said, "in which Minnesota has so heavy a stake to be won or lost, as in the Pacific railroad. It may be constructed so as to make us one of the wealthiest states in the Union. ... A Pacific railroad will be a road to India. It will bring us in contact with six hundred millions of people . . . The millions of wealth that has for ages doubled Cape Horn will pass through the center of the continent." This argument apparently aroused the territorial leaders to action, and the following year Minnesota became a member of the Union.

      The statehood movement in New Mexico did not advance with any such lightning rapidity. Territorial editors and politicians worked for years to bring the people of the territory to "demand" admission to the union. Success always seemed just around the corner, but years were to pass before a new star was added to the flag. The resulting- movement was not a steady growth but rather a series of cycles. Whenever popular interest seemed to strike a new high and party leaders keenly anticipated the wearing of senatorial togas, some catastrophe would give the movement a setback and blast their hopes completely. Thus in 1889 and 1890 when congress created five states in the Northwest, republican leaders in New Mexico had prepared to seize their great moment by drafting a constitution designed to assure them control of the legislature which would elect the senators for the new state. But alas! Their cleverly drawn instrument of government was defeated by a popular vote of two to one, and all their hopes turned to ashes. And, when these hopes had revived slowly but surely, the democrats were to "steal the legislature" five years later and again kill the statehood movement until it revived by a boom at the turn of the century.

       Doubtless many of the citizens whose adverse votes defeated the constitution of 1890 were in favor of statehood itself, but their enthusiasm for the cause was overshadowed by religious prejudice or unwillingness to sacrifice party advantage. Likewise, our study of the next decade will reveal a recurring unwillingness to accept statehood when it meant an advantage for the other party. In addition, however, there was opposition to statehood in itself.  

      Editorials in the Republican territorial press in the early nineties were extremely pessimistic in tone. Thus the New Mexican for March 5, 1891 declared that the outlook for statehood was "none too bright," considering "the recent defeat of a very excellent, liberal and fair constitution through venomous partisanship, slanders, lies, superstition and ignorance . . ." Usually a strong champion of statehood, the Santa Fe paper sadly admitted that "the people of New Mexico are not as well fitted for statehood as we ourselves thought . . ,"27 Statehood had gone "a glimmering,"28 and it seemed doubtful if the time would ever come when it would be seriously considered "by earnest men." Judging "by the lawlessness and dishonesty displayed by the democratic leaders and bosses in New Mexico," it seemed to the New Mexican "as if a territorial condition was to be preferred anyway till there are 1,500 more miles of railway in this territory."29

      Pointing out that the democrats had begun to "talk statehood" less than a month after the referendum on the constitution of 1890, the New Mexican said:



"go to, none of that in ours; the people of New Mexico by a large majority have said, they did not want to be a state, and as far as this paper is concerned, the verdict will stand for the time being."

      A year later the Santa Fe paper had nothing but sneers for the efforts of the democrats. It said:


"The bosses on the Democratic- White Cap central committee are agitating the question of the admission of New Mexico into the sisterhood of states; wonder what corrupt job they are up to?"30

      This insinuation elicited a reply from the Deming Headlight, edited by Ex-Governor Edmund G. Ross, which said:  



"Since the defeat of the bastard constitution of two years ago, in which the people of New Mexico so vigorously sat upon its attempt to re-establish the old Santa Fe gang in perpetual authority, the Santa Fe New Mexican never omits an opportunity to give the statehood question a spiteful but impotent kick. . . . Statehood will come, all the same inside of two years, and it will be a people's, not a ring's, statehood."31

      Before long, however, the republican papers of the territory were beginning to recover from their post-election "blues," and to look forward to better days. Thus the New Mexican for May 21, 1891, declared : "We believe in New Mexico. We have faith in her people, and consider the day not far distant when here must be erected one of the star states in the sisterhood."

      Seven months later the Albuquerque Citizen observed:



 "In New Mexico there has been during a year and a half a remarkable change in the minds of the people with regard to statehood, and if the question could now be submitted to them they would emphatically express their desire for self-government. . . ."32

      Less than a year later the Optic stated that "all the indications" pointed toward the admission of the territory during the winter.33

      Newspapers in the territory constantly asserted in their editorials that the people of New Mexico were in favor of statehood. Such claims were sometimes accompanied by statehood arguments, or by liberal estimates of the proportion of the population claimed for the statehood camp. No proof was ever given, or even a hint as to how the editor arrived at his estimate. Evidently this was a mere guess, the result not of the scientific methods of the statistician but of the wishful thinking of the propagandist. A few quotations may serve to illustrate the bold way in which Max Frost and his fellow editors in the territory strove to build up the case for New Mexico.

      The Optic asserted in the spring of 1892:



"New Mexico wants statehood. Her people are more than nine to one in favor of it."34

      The Albuquerque Morning Democrat added:



"New Mexico is fully qualified for statehood. It has population and wealth enough to maintain a state government, and the people want that kind of a government. They are tired of being governed as the inhabitants of a province, and that is all that a territory is."35

      "Four out of five" seemed to be a favorite expression with the New Mexican. Almost at the close of the year 1895, that paper declared that four-fifths of the people of New Mexico favored statehood and hence must bear the brunt of Catron's tactical blunders in congress.36 Three days later strange to say possibly because of appropriate New Year's celebrations by the editor this estimate had been reduced to "Four out of five of the Democratic voters of New Mexico . . ,"37

      Friendly newspapers outside the territory echoed the refrain in their editorials. Thus early in the campaign year of 1894, the Denver Republican remarked,  



"The Republican National Committee has taken the right stand in urging the admission of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Each of them are ready for statehood. Each has sufficient population and wealth, and the inhabitants desire the right to erect state governments."38

      A week later the Pittsburgh Dispatch spoke of the attitude of the native people of New Mexico as follows:



"of the population a large majority is of Spanish and Mexican blood, the leaders of whom are enthusiastically in favor of admission, although in past years they have opposed it."39

      The claim that the people of New Mexico wanted statehood also frequently cropped up in the interviews given to eastern papers by visiting politicians from the territory. Thus in the fall of 1891 the St. Louis Globe Democrat printed an interview from T. B. Catron who was registered at a local hotel. The Santa Fe leader who was described as "one of the most prominent and best informed men in the Southwest," said:  

"The people of New Mexico, today, are a unit for admission as a state. This was brought about by the operation of what is known as the anti-alien law. The law was passed on March 3rd, 1887, by Congress, prohibiting all aliens and alien corporations from owning real estate in the Territory, including mine property, and it drove most of the foreign capital away."40


      In January, 1894, the Denver Republican printed an interview with another Santa Fean, W. M. Berger, late registrar of the land office who represented "the people of all parties as ripe for statehood."41 In June of the following year, the New York Commercial Advertiser, gave wide publicity to a long interview with Governor W. T. Thornton. That gentleman, who was described as a typical westerner, although not "a typical hustler," painted a rather bright picture of the future of the territory as a health-center and a land of irrigated farms and mines. In concluding his remarks, he said:



"Irrespective of political parties, all who are interested in the welfare of New Mexico desire her to have statehood, and it will not be long before this boon will be granted her."42

      Without doubt, pro-statehood leaders worked in season and out to foster the idea that the people of the territory demanded the immediate admission of New Mexico to the union. When one such leader apparently neglected to make this claim, a New Mexico editor supplied the deficiency. The gentleman referred to was Hon. Luis Sulzbacher of Las Vegas, a lawyer who had come out to New Mexico twenty-five years previously. While on his way to Washington to work for statehood in the spring of 1894, he gave an interview to the Pittsburgh Leader. This was reprinted in his home town paper with the headlines: "Sulzbacher on Statehood. It is an Imperative Necessity for the Progress of the country and the people are in Favor of it."43 Thus the ingenious editor added an important argument which the honorable gentleman had apparently forgotten to mention.

      If the people of New Mexico wanted statehood in the early nineties, it is quite evident that they did not desire it strongly enough to lead them to work together for the prize. The Denver Republican repeatedly lectured its southern neighbors on this lack of team work. In January, 1892, the Colorado paper expressed surprise that anyone in New Mexico should oppose statehood. It voiced the opinion that if the people of the territory united in a request for admission, Congress would pass an enabling act.44 The year before this, the Republican declared that unless the people of New Mexico settled their differences and united in a petition for admission, they would be left out of the Union, while Arizona would get in.45 In the spring of 1895, the Optic said that the Denver paper hit "a hard blow at some of the New Mexico papers, which turned against statehood because of political spleen, . . ." It argued that it was "so evident" that New Mexico should be admitted that there would probably not be much opposition in Congress. The Republican concluded: "the people of that territory should agree among themselves, on the conditions under which they may seek admission, for dissention might prove an obstacle to the passage of an enabling act. Every man in New Mexico should favor admission, and all should work heartily to accomplish that result."46

      Enthusiasm for statehood, however, was a sort of hothouse plant, easily chilled when there was any prospect of advantage for the other party in the wind. While both democratic and republican newspapers claimed that a large proportion of the citizens of the territory wanted statehood, they made it clear that this was on the condition that their party or their locality should not lose even temporarily by the change. Thus early in January, 1893 its Santa Fe correspondent wrote the Optic that the people of the ancient city "all wanted statehood, but we will serve notice, now that the new constitution, when submitted for adoption, must not be weighted down with the relocation of the capitol on its back."47 Shortly after Cleveland's second inauguration, the Deming Headlight asserted that it was "not opposed to statehood, per se, for New Mexico; but thinks that the time for admission has not yet come. People and conditions must be brought up to a higher and different standard."48 The editor added that these had been his views for a long time. The following January, when there was talk of drawing up a new constitution for New Mexico, the Headlight announced that it would favor "any constitution which is not prepared in the interests of mere politicians, time-servers and speculators." After quoting this dictum of Editor Ross, the Optic declared that it favored statehood "under any circumstances, and only wishes that it could be hastened by a year."49

      Apparently this staunch republican journal did not approve of trifling with whatever chance there might be for the territory to slip into the union. Shortly before the election of 1892, the Optic had declared that even Delegate Joseph saw that statehood "would receive its death blow by the election of a democratic legislature," and had "advised his party, on his return from Washington City, to surrender the legislature to the republicans, as a necessary measure for securing statehood."50 But "that party" the Optic declared "cared more for the emoluments of office than for the prospects of statehood, and so repudiated the wise suggestion of their leader. Loss of statehood, then, would be an undeniable result of electing a democratic legislature."

      Long before the campaign of 1894 was over, however, the Optic forsook its "statehood at any cost" principles if, indeed, it ever really entertained them, and placed party advantage squarely above the admission of the territory to the union. This tendency of statehood sentiment to evaporate in the presence of adverse circumstances may be demonstrated by a brief discussion of this campaign and its aftermath. The fact that the territorial conventions of both political parties had declared for statehood would seem to suggest the existence of popular support for the movement. It would also seem to have removed the question from politics; nevertheless, it was an important issue in the campaign. In May the Optic predicted a republican victory, citing among other factors "the democratic juggling with statehood, by which New Mexico has been purposely kept in the territorial condition . . ." 51 In their platform the republicans declared that their party had persistently favored the admission of the territory, and accused the democrats of bad faith for "refusing to redeem its pledges of two years ago, to give us statehood."52 Their opponents, however, were said to be "trying to capture votes by the plea that the best way to promote the admission of the territory is to give the Democrats a majority."53 That party was in power in Washington, and a correspondent there wrote the Santa Fe Republican that "unless the territory returns a handsome Democratic majority, this congress will not grant statehood to New Mexico."54 Referring to this dispatch, the Optic added the comment: "The rich prize of statehood is dangled before New Mexico and Arizona to persuade them to vote the Democratic ticket, and disregard the free wool, free lead and discredited silver clauses of the tariff and silver bills."

      Antonio Joseph, who was serving his fifth term as delegate to congress, was a candidate for reelection on the democratic ticket. Even republicans at times explained his long service in the national capital on the ground that he was "the most popular man in the territory."55 Thomas B. Catron was the republican standard bearer. Prior to the nominations, the Optic had declared that the Santa Fe leader, while "an able and brainy man, could scarcely be expected to win, even if the democrats should again nominate the champion do-nothing Joseph."56 This opinion was based on the fact that Catron had made the race two years before and had been defeated, his opposition to the Kistler school law in 1889 and his reputation for being more interested in land grants than in the welfare of the territory. Joseph's popularity, however, could not keep sheep raisers and mining men from feeling that democratic policies had "knocked the bottom out of their business."57

      During the campaign the Optic vigorously fought the "little scheme to get the Republicans to concede the [office of] delegate to the Democrats on account of the promise of statehood."58 The Las Vegas paper declared:



"Statehood is not so great a boon as to be purchased at the price of Democratic dominancy. In fact, it is doubtful if we want statehood under Democratic rule. Much of the future of any state depends upon the character of the state government with which it begins its career. Let us, then put off statehood until after New Mexico is redeemed from the thralldom of democracy."59

      A little nearer election the Optic stated briefly but boldly "Republican success is more valuable now than immediate admission."60

      When the campaign was finally over, Catron had been elected delegate by a plurality of over 2,700 votes.61 The Las Cruces Democrat admitted that the election was a corrupt one, and testified to the general desire to hush up such matters for fear of damaging New Mexico's chances of early admission to the union. The Democrat said:



"The saturnalia of drunkenness, debauchery, bribery and corruption called an election in New Mexico has come to an end for the present, ... If any stranger, observing the damnable corruption of our political campaign, ventures to speak or write the truth . . . , we all jump upon him with both feet, shriek that he is a malignant libeler, and swear that our people are the most incorruptible on earth. Why? Because, forsooth, the publicity of the facts might hamper us in the struggle for statehood."

      The editor declared that he did not hold the native Spanish- American voters responsible for this condition, but rather American politicians who have taught him



."... that the suffrage is a commodity, exchangeable in open market for provisions, clothing, whiskey, or cash, and when a poor devil can secure provisions for his family for two or three months by simply placing in a box a slip of paper that means absolutely nothing to him so far as he knows, who can blame him?" 62

      With such an election it is easy to see how doubt might arise or be cultivated as to who had been elected to the legislature. The republicans claimed a number of seats ; in fact, the Optic declared that there was not the least doubt that they had a majority of the legislature.63   When that body convened on December 31, 1894, however, the democrats proceeded to organize the legislature according to a carefully laid plan. Lorion Miller, the secretary of the territory, a democrat appointed by President Cleveland, simply refused to swear in certain gentlemen who claimed to have been duly elected.64   Apparently his determined attitude was made more effective by the presence of a sheriff with a posse of armed deputies.65  The result was that eleven republicans walked out of the house, and the democrats were left in complete control.

      It was a foregone conclusion that the result of the election and the "steal" of the legislature would affect statehood sentiment, stimulating it in some quarters while killing it in others.66 The democrats quite naturally thought the prospect very bright.67 Governor Thornton devoted a full page of his message to the legislature to the aspirations of his people for statehood. Declaring that "For more than forty years our people have labored continuously and arduously for admission to the sisterhood of states," he complained that their "wishes" had been "ignored." He added:  

"Defeat and disappointment in the past have in no degree dampened the ardor and enthusiasm of our people for statehood and independent self–government; we are as anxious as ever for statehood today, and our hearts are filled with hope that success is about to crown our efforts,"68


      While the governor failed to mention it, republican newspapers were ready to suggest that one of the hopes which excited the territorial democracy at the moment was that of sending Fall and Fergusson to represent the new state in the United States senate.69  Indeed, possibly this was the chief purpose of the coup d’état.

      As for themselves, republican papers lost all interest in immediate admission. Several did not wait for the legislative steal before they attacked statehood. Rumors of democratic plans put them in opposition immediately. A few quotations will reveal something of the bitterness with which they regarded the situation. On November 19, the Optic declared that unless elections could be made pure, "New Mexico neither deserves nor should receive statehood." Shortly before Christmas the Clayton Enterprise remarked: "There will be little opposition to statehood, if common honesty prevails in the organization of the legislature."70  

      On December 24, the Optic commented: "The general assembly convenes in Santa Fe a week from today. Statehood probably hinges on the manner of its organization." Two days later the Optic added: "A number of New Mexico papers continue to 'nurse their wrath to keep it warm’ over the prospect of the Democrats stealing the approaching legislature.71  We give three characteristic extracts:"  These somewhat abbreviated are as follows:  



“Rumors are rife in our exchanges, charging that the Democrats will attempt to organize both branches of the legislature, by fair means if possible, by foul means if the deed cannot be done otherwise. “ Rincon Shaft.



 “No greater calamity can befall New Mexico than to be admitted to statehood under its present management. The expressed will of the people is to be trampled underfoot, the honest voters are being insulted and publicly denounced, by the recognized organ of the officials ; religious fanaticism is appealed to in the hope of bringing on contention and strife, and then we are told that such men are fitted to lead honest and decent men into statehood affairs.”  Raton Range.



 “The only thing left to secure the defeat of the ringsters who have determined to usurp authority in this territory is to solidly unite and defeat the state constitution when it is submitted. This will knock their schemes too dead for resurrection, and save the people from the ills of being controlled and outraged by a ring of tricksters, who would plunge the young state into hopeless bankruptcy.” Albuquerque Citizen.

      The Raton Range had taken a strong stand soon after the election. The Optic for November 23, 1894, gave the attitude of the Colfax County paper in an item entitled "Not Fit for Statehood." The Optic said:  



The Raton Range has never favored statehood ; but now it is more opposed than ever, owing to election frauds and Democratic methods. Capt. Collier says:

"God forbid that New Mexico should become a state until we can be assured of reasonably fair officials and ordinarily decent government. Neither can be expected from the outfit now disgracing the territorial management.



If the present damnable program is carried out, and the fairly elected representatives of the people are deprived of their positions by the Democratic-federal officials, we don't believe New Mexico is fit for statehood or capable of self-government, if they submit to such treatment, without a struggle.



We appeal to every fair-minded man to watch the proceedings of the organization of the next territorial legislature. And if their honestly-elected representatives are denied their seats, let them organize and unite to defeat statehood until two years hence, when the dishonest officials now yielding power to the detriment of the territory, will be swept into everlasting oblivion."

      The chorus of republican newspapers throughout January, 1895, was that "statehood is dead." The Rincon Shaft made the sarcastic suggestion "that the native New Mexican people memorialize Congress at once, protesting against statehood, the main reason being that the eastern-born people, now claiming citizenship in the territory, are not fitted for that important chance, and are not capable of governing themselves."72 "Bippus," the Albuquerque correspondent of the Optic, said in his column for January 14:  

But what of statehood, now? The spectacle of a five for a nickle demagogue like Miller, setting at defiance, not only the will of the people as expressed at the polls, but also law, order, and common decency, is not calculated to inspire the senators in Washington with a desire to give statehood to a people who quietly permit such political shysters to defraud them of their rights, and by that fact prove that they are not capable of self-government. The present indications are that statehood is a dead issue, killed by the very schemers who expected to reap the lion's share of office and plunder.

      The Albuquerque Citizen for January 17, predicted that if a state constitution were submitted to the people it would be defeated. The Citizen said:



"The Citizen clearly, plainly and forcibly stated that it would help defeat statehood, if the Democrats overrode law and justice in organizing the present legislature. The secretary and his willing tools did what they said they would do, and the result is that people of New Mexico are in a frame of mind to defeat the proposed constitution when it is submitted. They are convicted that to vote for statehood would only be a perpetuation of power of the disreputable gang who are now illegally in the majority in both branches of the legislature, and give them an opportunity to bankrupt the new commonwealth by the reckless use of the public credit.



If the enabling act passes, Mr. Miller will be the returning board to count in the members of the constitutional convention. His scoundrelism is so evident and clearly proven, that no one can doubt that he would count in the gang who would serve his interests, and the proposed constitution would be a patchwork of ignorant partisanship. This territory would be benefited by statehood if the state would be organized on honest business principles, but this paper believes that it is serving the people by its present course, and will follow it till convinced that a different policy is conducive to the public good."

      After referring to recent "outrages" in New Mexico, the Denver Republican predicted about the middle of January that statehood would be "in danger of being killed in New Mexico itself if there were no assurance of an honest count and canvass of the votes cast at the first election to be held under the new state government."73   The Colorado paper added: "Better to be ruled from Washington as a province than to let fraud at elections defeat the popular will."74 Doubtless "Bippus" heartily echoed this sentiment. After criticizing the acts of the legislature, especially the Hinkle school fund bill, he said on January 21:



"The most earnest advocate of statehood must admit that the present legislature has demonstrated the fact that statehood, if now conferred, while the disreputable gang controlling the machinery of government is in power, means ruin for our territory; and that it will put us back at least fifty years behind the march of progress and civilization."

      While many of the territorial newspapers diligently sought to spread the idea that the great majority of the citizens of New Mexico favored statehood, they did not cling to this view consistently. Thus the Optic departed from its usual point of view early in January, 1893. In his message to the legislature, Governor Prince had presented the subject of statehood and urged that an appropriate memorial be sent to congress.75 In his peroration Prince said:



"Our people are mainly the descendants of the two great nations which insisted on the rights of the people in England under Magna Charta, and drove the Moors out of Spain that self-government should reign there. They are the children of the patriots who fought for the independence of the United States in 1776, and of Mexico from 1810 to 1821. Surely the sons of such sires must be capable of self-government!"76

      There was nothing unusual about the governor's remarks, but the comment which they provoked was quite significant. The Optic said:  



"The message of the governor argues ably and unanswerably in favor of statehood. It cannot be denied that New Mexico has every requisite for admission into the union. The governor, however, neglected to say whether the native people of the Territory desire statehood. That is a point now receiving a good deal of attention. Many believe that the masses of the native people do not wish statehood, and that, if Mr. Catron had announced himself as opposed to it, on that issue he would have overwhelmingly defeated Mr. Joseph. It is doubtful if many of the democratic leaders now desire statehood, since they are certain of the federal patronage in the territory. It may be, then, that the arguments in favor of statehood should be viewed from the other end of the line, and should be addressed to our own people rather than to congress."77

      The Optic, then, admitted that it was an open question whether the people of the territory wanted statehood or not.78  Some of its contemporaries went still further and answered the query in the negative. Thus the Deming Headlight said on March 7, 1893:



"It is only the politicians who are howling for immediate statehood. The taxpayers and people of the territory, generally, would vote down a statehood proposition, if it were submitted to them, tomorrow precisely as they did two years ago. What our people are eager for is such a change of conditions as will make statehood desirable and acceptable. It is now openly urged all over the territory that the last legislature will constitute a standing argument against statehood for a long time to come."79

      That opponents of statehood talked much the same in Arizona and New Mexico was asserted by the San Martial Reporter in November, 1891. The remarks were explanatory of the following item quoted from an Arizona exchange:




"I am a Hassayamper," said an old prospector yesterday in an Allen street saloon, "and I want it understood that the pioneers of this territory don't want any statehood. We came to this country before you youngsters came, we've had plenty to eat under our present form of government, and don't want a change. There were better times in our territory when beans were 50 cents a pound and onions 25 cents a piece than there have been since the railroads brought in a lot of Yankees. If the youngsters want to live in a state let them go back where they came from, and let we'uns who came here first have a little say." 80

      Several weeks after the election of 1894 an editorial appeared in the Optic which discussed the attitude of the people with the greatest candor and frankness. The Optic said:  



There is great talk of statehood for New Mexico and Arizona, by the press of the two territories, and by the political press of the general country. Yet there is considerable doubt whether the statehood proposition, if submitted to the people of the two territories, would carry in either. In Arizona, there is a large part of the people, without party distinction, who oppose statehood entirely on financial grounds. Whether in a majority or a minority, only an actual election can demonstrate. In New Mexico a very large and important element of the Anglo-American population have their doubts, serious and pressing, whether New Mexico is at present at all qualified for statehood; and it is generally conceded that the majority of the Spanish-American population are indifferent, if they do not actually oppose the movement. It is certain, therefore, that even after congress passes an enabling act, statehood can be secured for New Mexico only by the united and harmonious and energetic efforts of both of the political parties.81

      So far we have presented the opinion of contemporary newspapers that there was a considerable body of opposition to statehood among the people of New Mexico in the early nineties. Perhaps our readers have found the repetition tedious, but the evidence is cumulative and one or two samples would give no hint as to its quantity. Of course, all this is mere newspaper opinion, taken largely from the files of one paper. However, since the Optic normally fought for statehood, we hardly think that the editor would have overestimated the strength of the opposition. Perhaps, though, we should now strive to get away from generalities and indicate a little more definitely who these people were who opposed the admission of the territory to the union. While still relying largely on newspaper testimony, we can offer a little substantiating data from the Catron correspondence and from interviews with old timers.82

      As we shall mention a few names in the course of the discussion, perhaps we should caution the reader against jumping to any rash conclusions. Some opposed statehood because they were loyal party men who fell into line with the idea that it was good political strategy to do so at the moment. Others had more individual reasons for their attitude. Both groups had a right to follow the course of action which seemed best to them. Perhaps it was natural for enthusiasts to try to hush them up, but we today have no right to question the sincerity of their motives. It is all ancient history, anyway.

      Probably the most persistent charge throughout the 1890s was that the federal officeholders in the territory were opposed to statehood. Thus early in 1894 the Denver News sized up statehood prospects for the western territories briefly as follows:



Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico are in imminent danger of being left out in the cold again until another congress meets. The administration is hostile to their admission because the eastern money power objects to more silver senators. The Republicans object to their admission for political reasons, and last but not least, the Cleveland office holders in the Territories are working secretly like beavers to prevent statehood and the loss of their official position.83

      Under the circumstances this charge was quite plausible and few governors of the territory escaped. Even Governor Otero, who was very active in the cause of statehood, was not immune. As late as January, 1903, he found it necessary to send the following telegram to a member of the legislature of California:84  



I understand that Senator Hahn of Pasadena, states that our people as well as myself are opposed to statehood for New Mexico. Such a statement, if made, is absolutely untrue. Delegate Rodey's majority last fall of nearly 10,000 on a statehood plank certainly expressed the wishes of the people on that question, and my attitude in favor of statehood of New Mexico is too well known to need any explanation on my part. My annual report to the interior department, messages to the legislature, and frequent calls for statehood conventions will thoroughly answer any such statement.


Governor of New Mexico. 85

      Evidently strong championship of the cause did not prevent leaders from being charged with opposition to statehood at times. Thus Colonel George W. Prichard had taken a prominent part in the movement in 1889 and 1890. He was not only a member of the convention to draw up a constitution for the proposed state, but had himself sponsored the bill in the council which provided for the calling of that body. Prichard had come to New Mexico in 1879,86 and became a prominent lawyer and republican leader. Later he served for three years under Governor Otero as attorney general for the territory, and as a member of the constitutional convention of 1910. Yet in spite of this record, this leading citizen is said to have opposed the admission of the territory to the union in 1892. The charge was made by Catron in a letter to his friend, Senator Stephen B. Elkins of West Virginia. Having heard rumors of the resignation of James O'Brien as chief justice of the territorial Supreme Court, Catron was writing to recommend Sulzbacher for the place. He added:  



"I understand from the Optic that L. C. Fort, G. W. Prichard and Francis Downs are all applicants for this place. Prichard and Downs are both opposed to the State movement, because they know they will have no chance for preferment under it. Prichard formerly favored the State movement, but when he learned that O'Brien was liable to resign he changed his opinions and wrote a letter to Platt opposing it and abusing our people very severely. Downs is the man who was put in the jail, with others, by Axtell for contempt of court."87

      Since Catron was trying to promote the candidacy of one man at the expense of others, his testimony cannot be regarded as impartial. Prichard and his fellow lawyer, Downs, may have opposed the admission of the territory at a time when it seemed likely that the democrats would gain thereby but we may be certain that the former, at least, was not opposed to statehood, per se.

      In January, 1895, the rump territorial legislature adopted a joint memorial reciting the advantages of statehood and praying congress to grant New Mexico that great gift.88 While this was a victory for the pro-statehood forces, it is clear that neither all citizens of the territory nor all members of the legislature were in favor of the action taken. The preamble is significant:



WHEREAS, Numerous reports have been sent out to the effect that the passage of the act pending in the Senate of the United States for the admission of the territory of New Mexico is not desired by the people of New Mexico, which said reports misrepresent the public sentiment in said territory: . . , 89

      The memorial did not pass without opposition. The house journal reveals the fact that four members cast dissenting votes. The following account of the debate is taken from the Albuquerque Democrat:  

A lively and interesting discussion ensued, developing that an overwhelming majority in the house favors statehood. Mr. Carr moved that the memorial be adopted and in so doing said: "Owing to recent disturbances familiar to all, there has developed a certain sentiment against statehood. I think, however, that we should have an opportunity to vote on this measure by obtaining the passage of the enabling act. I am and have been from the first a friend of statehood and do not propose to be driven from this position by partisan outcry. . . ."  


      Mr. Martin was opposed to the memorial and to statehood on the ground that it would raise our taxes much above the present figures. Mr. Pino said that he was indescribably shocked at the position of the gentleman from Socorro, Mr. Martin. He said that he could not conceive upon what principle so sensible a son of New Mexico as Mr. Martin could oppose statehood. Mr. Martin must have changed his views on the subject, for a few weeks back he was a most persistent and consistent friend of the statehood cause. He said that the position of the gentleman from Socorro was little short of treason in the interests of New Mexico. . . .  

      Mr. Martin said that he hoped lightning would strike him if he ever voted in favor of statehood. He said that the only persons who favor statehood are the politicians and a "few damnable land grabbers." The roll call then proceeded on the adoption of the memorial. . . . The total vote stood 19 to 4, those voting in the negative being Messrs. Martin, Valentine de Baca, Miguel Martinez, and Mora. 90

      The memorial encountered opposition in the council also. On January 29, it was read twice by title under suspension of the rules.91 The motion of a member,92  that the rules be suspended for the third reading failed to win the necessary two-thirds vote and was lost. Of the twelve members present, five voted in the negative: J. A. Ancheta (Silver City), J. F. Chavez (Los Lunas), Nicholas Galles (Hillsboro), Walter C. Hadley (Albuquerque), and Pedro Perea (Bernalillo). On the next day Ancheta offered the following amendment:  



We further memorialize Congress to immediately enact a law making it felony for any Secretary of any Territory to usurp power, or to use revolutionary methods in organizing any Territorial Legislature in any Territory of which he is Secretary.93

      The amendment having been tabled by a vote of 8 to 4, the memorial was then adopted by the council. Ancheta and Hadley voted "no."94

      Perhaps we may regard these two members of the council as representatives of the active opposition to statehood in the middle nineties. Ancheta was a young man of about thirty years of age the son of a refugee from a Mexican revolution. After graduating from St. Michael's College, Santa Fe, and Notre Dame University, he had taken up the practice of law in Silver City. He was appointed district attorney in 1889, and was twice elected to the council. He was widely known in New Mexico as the innocent victim of an attempt to assassinate T. B. Catron. On a February night in 1891, while leaning against a window in the latter's office, he had been shot in the neck and shoulder. He died in 1898.95

      Walter C. Hadley was a native of Indiana who came to New Mexico for his health in 1880.96 His father, Hiram Hadley, who had been active in building up the school system of the Hoosier state, followed him seven years later to be near his invalid son.97 An able educator, the father served New Mexico as the first president of the agricultural college, and later as territorial superintendent of public instruction. Walter Hadley had been educated at Haverford College, and had later taken a course in mining engineering at the University of Chicago. On coming to New Mexico, he first tried journalism, then mining. A pioneer in both fields, he was eminently successful in the latter. He owned the Bridal Chamber mine in Sierra County, where they found the largest chunk of silver ore ever discovered in that region. A man of fine moral character, considerable wealth and the highest social position, Hadley was one of the first citizens of the territory. He lived in Las Cruces and Las Vegas during his first years in New Mexico, but later moved to Albuquerque. Here he became president of the Commercial Club. When he died in 1896 at the age of thirty-nine, he was one of the best known men in the territory.98

      Hadley was a good writer and was in touch with prominent people back east. He was sincerely opposed to statehood, and there is evidence that his use of his talents gave some of the leaders of the movement grave concern. Thus two of Catron's correspondents in 1895 connected his name with opposition to statehood. Frank W. Clancy wrote, February 22, revealing strong suspicions of the silver mining man:



While I was in Washington Senator Carey asked me who was writing letters from New Mexico to Senator Platt which were calculated to prejudice him against us. I told him that I did not know, because you were the only person that I knew who was in communication with Senator Platt. Since I have been here however I have heard something which leads me to believe that the unfriendly influence is to be attributed to Mr. Walter Hadley. Now I don't want you to mention this as coming from me, but I want you to know the fact for your own guidance and because it may possibly enable you to counteract it in some way. Senator Carey told me that he knew that somebody was continually writing to Senator Platt in such a way as to produce a bad impression." 99

      More definite information regarding Hadley's activities was supplied several months later by W. H. H. Llewellyn who wrote on October 1:



Recently in Chicago I met Oaks Murphy of Arizona 100 and in talking regarding statehood for New Mexico he made the remark that the people of said Territory did not want statehood and that therefore we would not get in.  



I told him that he was mistaken and in reply he said that Walter Hadley had so informed him and that Walter had represented to him that % of the people were opposed to statehood.  I should think that Pedro Perea could stop this kind of talk.101



Perhaps a thorough search in Washington will turn up these letters to the chairman of the senate committee on territories. Democratic sources were inclined to regard them as very damaging to the cause. Thus, shortly after the expiration of Antonio Joseph's term in congress, the New Mexican stated that in an interview with a reporter he had laid "the defeat of statehood on the republican senators, who were influenced, he says, by leading New Mexico republicans." 102

      Somewhat later, while Catron was delegate to Congress, the Santa Fe Sun said "the main factor in the defeat of the [statehood] bill was the deluge of letters from republicans in New Mexico to the republican senators on and off the committee, . . ,"103

      One way in which territorial leaders strove to counteract anti-statehood propaganda may be seen in a letter which Catron wrote to Senator Carey, January 15, 1893. He said:  

“I understand that Senator Wolcott,104 during the vacation visited Taos County to attend an Indian Festival, and that he reports that our people are opposed to Statehood and that the Mexicans are behind the Indians in intelligence. That is the county which has the largest proportion of Mexican people of any county in the Territory and in that county there are some few people who are opposed to Statehood, but there are not more than one to ten. I have enquired of many prominent men from the town of Taos where Senator Wolcott was whether they had conversations with him and they informed me that they did not. One of those is the Hon. Pedro Sanches, a personal friend of Mr. Teller and at present a member of the Legislative Council. He tells me he saw Senator Wolcott in company with a gentleman by the name of ---,105 most all of the time he was there. ---is a man who has soured on the world. He never has a pleasant word to say about any one, and while he claims to be a republican, he always works with the Democratic Party. I do not consider him reliable at all. I only refer to this to show you how easily a false impression may be obtained with reference to our people, by a gentleman who went to visit an Indian festival. Those Indians, by the way, are not savages; they are civilized. They all speak Spanish, many of them read and they all belong to the Catholic Church.”



1 Congressional Record, Vol. 23, Part 6, p. 5087.

2 Delegate Joseph reported for the committee on March 16, 1892. Congressional Record, vol. 23, part 3, page 2121. For the report, see 52nd Congress, 1st Session, House Reports, No. 736, vol. 3 (Government Printing Office, 1892). For the documents cited, see pp. 14-20.

3 Congressional Record, vol. 23, part 7, p. 6484. The report is given in 52nd Congress, 1st Session, Senate Reports, No. 1023, vol. 5.

4 Ibid., pp. 8-9.

5 The Blackburn report was made on Aug. 3, 1894. Congressional Record, vol. 26. part 8, page 8141. The report is given in 54th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Reports, No. 628, vol. 14 (Government Printing Office, 1895), p. 1.

6 Senator Davis made his report on March 19, 1896. Congressional Record, vol. 28, part 3, page 2960. The report is given in 54th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Reports, No. 520, vol. 3 (Government Printing Office, 1896). See especially pp. 3, 7-10.

7 Congressional Record, vol. 23, part 7, p. 6484.

8 Ibid., pp. 6525, 6875.

9 The Las Vegas Daily Optic expressed the opinion that the trip would prove "a mere junketing affair, for which there is about as much need as there is for a trip to the moon. What a senatorial party, on a palace car excursion through New Mexico, can learn of this Territory, we already know from experience. It is absolutely nothing." Optic, April 12, 1893.

10 53rd Congress, 1st Session, House Reports, No. 155, vol. 1 (Government Printing Office, 1893), p. 16.

11 Optic, Sept. 21, 1893. See also Albuquerque Democrat, Sept. 20, 1893; Albuquerque Citizen, Sept. 20, 1893.

12 Santa Fe New Mexican, Dec. 7, 1891, quoting the San Francisco Examiner.

13 Optic, Jan. 26, 1892, quoting the Deming Headlight.

14 For the text of the bill, see Congressional Record, vol. 23, part 6, p. 5086.

15 Optic, Feb. 6, 1893.

16 New Mexican, Dec. 18, 1891, quoting Denver Republican.

17 Optic, Feb. 8, 1893.

18 New Mexican, Oct. 6, 1891.

19 Ibid., Oct. 20, 1891, quoting the Reporter.

20 New Mexican, December 19, 1893, quoting the Denver Republican.

21 Optic, April 7, 1894. Curtis Coe Bean was delegate to Congress from Arizona from 1885 to 1887. Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1927 (Government Printing Office, 1928), p. 683.

22 Optic, July 9, 1894 ; Silver City Enterprise, July 13, 1894. Both papers cited the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. See also the Optic, July 12, 1894.

23 Ibid., December 11, 1894.

24 Eleventh Census of the United States: 1890, vol. 1, part II (Government Printing Office, 1895), p. 2.

25 Ibid., part I, p. XV.

26 Carman, Harry J., Social and Economic History of the United States (Boston, 1934), vol. II, p. 195.

27 New Mexican, Nov. 21, 1890.

28 Ibid., Jan. 2, 1891.

29 Ibid., Nov. 26, 1890.

30 Ibid., Oct. 10, Nov. 25, 1890.

31 The editorial from the Headlight, together with its quotation from the Santa Fe paper, appears in the New Mexican, Oct. 19, 1891. The article is entitled "What One of the Principle Boodle Organs and Defender of Ballot Box Thieves Thinks of the New Mexican."

32 New Mexican, Dec. 16, 1891, quoting the Albuquerque Citizen.

33 Optic, Oct. 13, 1892.

34 Optic, May 12, 1892.

35 Albuquerque Morning Democrat, June 23, 1892.

36 New Mexican, Dec. 80, 1895.

37 Ibid., Jan. 2, 1896.

38 Optic, Jan. 17, 1894, quoting Denver Republican.

39 Optic, Jan. 24, 1894, quoting the Pittsburgh Dispatch. The editor added:

"A congress so anxious to create democratic states that it can swallow the tardy repentance of the Mormon Church, should have no trouble in accepting the loyalty of the Spanish-American element to the United States."

40 Optic, Sept. 23, 1891, quoting St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

41 Optic, Jan. 15, 1894, quoting Denver Republican,

42 New Mexican, June 29, 1895, quoting New York Commercial Advertiser.

43 Optic, April 10, 1894, quoting the Pittsburgh Leader.

44 Optic, Jan. 20, 1892.

45 Optic, Sept. 16, 1891.

46 Optic, March 8, 1895, quoting the Denver Republican.

47 Optic, January 3, 1893.

48 Optic, March 14, 1893, quoting Deming Headlight.

49 Optic, Jan. 2, 1894.

50 Optic, Oct. 18, 1892.

51 Optic, May 25, 1894.

52 The text of the platform, which was drawn up by the territorial convention at Socorro, Sept. 20, 1894, is given in the Optic for Sept. 21, and Oct. 19.

53 Ibid., Sept. 26, 1894. The Optic added: "This plea may catch some votes, though its honesty is open to question. Since the bill has already passed the Democratic house, it might be better policy to consider the effect of the election on the Republican Senate." See also the Optic for Oct. 13 for a similar editorial from the Denver Republican.

54 Ibid., Aug. 30, 1894.

55 Optic, March 31, 1892.

56 Ibid., June 25, 1894.

57 Optic, June 8, 1894.

58 Ibid., Sept. 29, 1894.

59 Ibid., August 29, 1894.

60 Ibid., Oct. 2, 1894.

61 Catron to F. M. Cox, Nov. 16, 1875. Catron received 18,113 votes, while Joseph received 15,351. Catron was writing to furnish data for the Congressional Directory.

62 Optic, Nov. 12, 1894, quoting Las Cruces Democrat.

63 Optic, Dec. 26, 1894.

64 Albuquerque Daily Citizen, Jan. 16, 1895, quoting the Denver Republican.

65 Albuquerque Daily Citizen, Jan. 2, 1895.

66 Optic, Jan. 2, 1895, quoting: Albuquerque Morning Democrat. In defense of the legality of the proceedings, the Democrat said: "According to a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, the only lawfully qualified members of a legislative body, are those who have been sworn in by the secretary of state or territory." The Optic declared that the Citizen was "taking things pretty badly because the loss of the prospect of being public printer seems to have gone to the brain. The fact is that the democrats had a good opportunity to capture the legislature an exceedingly good one and they used it: just as the republicans would have done, had the tables been turned, and just as the republicans had captured several previous legislatures. Ibid., Jan. 3, 1895.

67 Albuquerque Morning Democrat, Jan. 5, 1895.

68 Proceedings of the Legislative Council of the Territory of New Mexico: Thirty-first Session (Santa Fe, 1895), pp. III-IV.

69 Optic, Jan. 7, 1895.

70 Optic, Dec. 20, 1894, quoting the Clayton Enterprise.

71 Optic, Dec. 26, 1894.

72 Optic, Jan. 5, 1895, quoting the Rincon Shaft.

73 Optic, Jan. 19, 1895, quoting the Denver Republican.

74 Another editorial from the Denver Republican is given in the Albuquerque Daily Citizen, Jan. 16, 1895.

75 Proceedings of the Legislative Council of the Territory of New Mexico: Thirtieth Session (Santa Fe, 1893), pp.vii-x.

76 Ibid., p. x.

77 Optic, Jan. 4, 1893.

78 See also Optic, July 23, 1894.

79 Cf. the following from the St. Joseph, Mo., Herald: "The proposition for admission comes, not so much from the people, as from the men who are desirous of attaining to the offices ; ..." Quoted in Optic, Feb. 20, 1893.

80 New Mexican, Nov. 25, 1891, quoting the San Marcial Reporter. The latter paper added : "That sounds like the talk of New Mexico's 'breechclouters' who with the Democratic organization under the lead of Childers, Ross, et al., and the other enemies of free schools and progress, doomed New Mexico to an indefinite period of dependence and bondage."

81 Optic, Nov. 20, 1894. On Dec. 10, the Optic said : "The Cleveland Leader Bays that the chances are that the territories of Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma will be admitted to the union before the end of the present session of Congress, in spite of their Republican majorities in the recent election." In commenting on this forecast, the Las Vegas paper concluded by saying: "Consequently, statehood seems

assured, provided only the people shall be found to desire it."

82 Catron was a determined fighter for statehood for a number of years. See the Review, vol. xiv, pp. 28-30. Unfortunately old timers do not care to be quoted.

83 Optic, Feb. 6, 1894, quoting the Denver News. See also the Albuquerque Morning Democrat, March 15, 1895.

84 Senator W. H. Savage.

85 Otero, Miguel Antonio, My Nine Years as Governor of the Territory of New Mexico, 1897-1906 (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1940), p. 201. For a fuller discussion of this charge with reference to Gov. Otero, see the Review, vol. XIV, pp. 24-25.

86 Coan, Charles Florus, History of New Mexico (Chicago, 1925), vol. 3, p. 353.

87 T. B. Catron to S. B. Elkins, August 3, 1892.

88 This was House Joint Memorial No. 2. It was introduced by W. E. Dame of Santa Fe County. It passed the House of Representatives on January 24, 1895. Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the Territory of New Mexico, Thirty-first Session (Santa Fe, 1895), p. 93. It passed the council on January 30, 1895. Proceedings of the Legislative Council of the Territory of New Mexico: Thirty-first Session (Santa Fe, 1895), p. 95.

89 House Journal (1895), pp. 92-93.

90 Albuquerque Democrat, January 25, 1895. The Optic for the same date mentions the adoption of the memorial but gives no details of the debate.

91 Council Journal (1895), p. 88.

92 W. B. Bunker.

93 Ibid., p. 94.

94 Ibid., p. 95. The Morning Democrat for February 1, 1895. said: "It is pleasant to record that the memorial passed the council after some bitter discussion on the part of the enemies of Secretary Miller that had no real bearing on the matter in hand and which was, as a matter of fact, of no real significance."

95 95 Twitchell, op. cit., II, pp. 509-510.

96 96 Hiram Hadley. Prepared and privately printed by Anna R. Hadley, Caroline H. Allen and C. Frank Allen (Boston, 1924), p. 24.

97 97 Ibid., p. 32.

98 98 Optic, Feb. 17, 1896. The second building to be erected on the campus of the University of New Mexico was named Hadley science hall in honor of Walter Hadley. His widow contributed ten thousand dollars toward its construction. U. N. M. Board of Regents Minutes, Book A, p. 155. See also the Mirage, vol. I, No. 3, pp. 3-4.

99 99Catron Correspondence, which has been loaned by the sons of Senator T. B. Catron to the University of New Mexico.

100 100 Nathan Oakes Murphy was delegate to congress from Arizona from 1895-1897. He was governor of the territory twice, from 1892-94; and from 1898-1902. Biographical Directory of the American Congress, p. 1347.

101 101 W. H. H. Llewellyn to Catron, October 1, 1895.

102 102 Optic, March 19, 1895, quoting the New Mexican.

103 103 Undated press clipping found in Catron Correspondence (1895-1897). Cf. the following from the Optic for July 15, 1892: "The Deming Headlight is aiding the enemies of statehood in the senate, by arguing that the people of New Mexico would defeat a constitution if submitted to them."

104 104 Edward Oliver Wolcott was a senator from Colorado, 1889-1901. He was a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of the law department of Harvard University. Biographical Directory of the American Congress, p. 1722.

105 105 For obvious reasons, the name which appears in the Catron letter book is omitted here.


Marion Dargan, New Mexico’s Fight for Statehood (1895-1912):The Opposition within the Territory During the Ninties." New Mexico Historical Review 16, (no. 1, 1941): 70-103. Copyright by the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. Posted electronically by permission. All rights reserved.
Commission of Public Records-State Records Center and Archives