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Pancho Villa and the Raid on Columbus, New Mexico 1916

By Brandon B. Morgan*
 

The citizens of Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico, were awakened by the fire of heavy cannons in the wee morning hours of 2 April 1912. More than one thousand men under the command of Orozquista General José Inés Salazar sought to wrest the town from the control of General Francisco “Pancho” Villa. Only a few months earlier, in November 1911, Francisco I. Madero had been elected president of the Mexican Republic, elevated by the success of revolutionary warfare that had unseated the former dictator, Porfirio Díaz. Soon after Madero’s election to the presidency the military leader most instrumental in the success of his revolution, Pascual Orozco, became disillusioned with the actions of the new national government. Orozco expected political and monetary rewards that were not granted him. On 2 March 1912 the discontented general assumed the leadership of a revolt in the state of Chihuahua and declared his opposition to Madero’s leadership. The Mexican Revolution was re-ignited. [1]

Within a month Orozco controlled most of Chihuahua, with the exception of Parral. General Villa, ever loyal to President Madero, fought tenaciously at Parral to prevent the advance of the Orozco revolution. General Salazar, one of Orozco’s leading officers, commanded a contingent that was superior both in terms of numbers and weaponry to that of Villa. The situation was desperate for the Villistas who hoped to prevent Salazar’s men from installing their artillery piece, a single cannon, atop the Cerro de la Cruz overlooking the town. As the artillery officer directed six mules burdened with the cannon up the hill, Thomas Fountain, American soldier of fortune and Villa’s artillery captain, manned a machine gun and took aim at the enemy field piece. Salazar’s forces were unable to take their position on the hill and were temporarily repulsed from Parral. Once the fighting had abated the six mules and artillery officer were found dead on the hillside next to the abandoned cannon.[2]

Thomas Fountain’s efforts saved Villa’s forces from defeat only momentarily. Two days later Salazar again led an attack on Parral, this time with nearly 2,500 men at his command. Villa’s forces were outmatched and forced to retreat. During the commotion of the retreat, however, Fountain, for unclear reasons, was not able to follow. He took refuge in the local drugstore owned by a man known as Professor Orozco who, upon discovering Fountain, alerted Salazar. Extremely weakened by hunger and fatigue, Fountain was on the verge of death when Salazar’s men arrested him. Soon thereafter he was court-martialed and sentenced to be executed.[3]

Word of Fountain’s arrest and sentence soon reached the American Consul at Ciudad Chihuahua, Mr. Long. Long petitioned Salazar to stay the execution for a period of twenty-four hours, hoping to buy enough time to save Fountain’s life through diplomatic channels. He also asked authorities in Washington to intervene. American officials protested that Fountain should be viewed as a prisoner of war, not subject to military execution. Before any further action could be taken, however, Salazar’s men applied the infamous ley fuga (fugitive law). The “legal execution by firing squad was stayed” and Fountain was retained as a prisoner. In the early morning hours of 10 April, Fountain was released and told to flee. As he did so he was shot down by Salazar’s men under the pretext that he was trying to escape.[4]  The same law would be cited in February 1913 to justify the deaths of Francisco Madero and his vice president, José María Pino Suarez.

Fountain was the son of a prominent military man and lawyer in Mesilla, New Mexico, Col. Albert Jennings Fountain. In the late 1890s Thomas’ father and younger brother had been murdered near Alamogordo as they were returning to Mesilla through the deserts of southern New Mexico. Their murder was never solved, and modern-day scholars can only imagine the negative impact the loss had upon young Thomas. Little is known about the life of Thomas Fountain. By 1906 he had taken up permanent residence in Parral. The fact that he lived in town provides a possible explanation for his failure to retreat with Pancho Villa when Salazar gained the upper hand in April 1912. Although the extent to which Thomas maintained connections to his mother, brother, and sister in New Mexico is difficult to surmise, he did return to Mesilla for a visit in July 1906. When news of his death reached his brother Albert J. Fountain, Albert immediately contacted his senator, Albert Bacon Fall, in an attempt to gain redress. The actions of his brother and coverage of his execution in various Las Cruces newspapers indicate that his death greatly affected the people of his home region in southern New Mexico.[5]

Thomas Fountain was not the only connection between New Mexico and the Mexican Revolution, or the most well-known. Inhabitants of the southern portion of the state lived in fear of raids and other violent acts during revolutionary years. Prominent New Mexicans, such as Albert B. Fall, Amado Chaves, Eugene Van Patten, and Elfego Baca, had a personal interest in the outcome of the revolution. Fall owned various business enterprises south of the border and wanted a quick return to political and economic stability in Mexico. The others met and dealt with Pancho Villa and José Inés Salazar on a variety of different occasions and circumstances. Both revolutionary generals spent a brief time in New Mexico; Villa first came as a hero, then as a raider and Salazar arrived in the state as a federal prisoner. Indeed, the most infamous tie between Villa and New Mexico was his 1916 raid of the small border town of Columbus.

The study of links between Pancho Villa and the state of New Mexico during the Mexican Revolution underscores the impact of the civil war on the region north of the border. Unlike Texas, New Mexico was not the launching point of rebellion for Mexican revolutionary juntas. Accordingly, most scholarly works that engage the topic of the border and the revolution focus on Texas, Arizona, and even California. New Mexico is only brought into the picture in connection with the Columbus raid and the Pershing Punitive Expedition. Despite this absence from the body of scholarship, New Mexico was part of a transnational exchange during the years of the Mexican Revolution that served both to fortify the boundary between the United States and Mexico while simultaneously highlighting its porous nature. Through Villa’s impact on border events, New Mexico was elevated to the international stage and the local racial and political situation was complicated.

The pursuit of Villa’s trail through New Mexico archives reveals that his greatest impact on the state was somewhat indirect. Countless apocryphal Villa legends related by New Mexicans cloud the history of the revolutionary’s connections to the state. Still, his operations in Mexico affected the lives of New Mexicans who came into contact with him there, such as Thomas Fountain, Amado Chaves, and Elfego Baca. Also, in 1914 (and probably on various other occasions) Villa passed through Deming on his way to a conference with the Sonoran governor José María Maytorena. The citizens of the small border town were thrilled to have a revolutionary in their midst and turned out en masse to listen to Villa as he spoke from his railcar.

Thomas Fountain provides an archetypical example of the hundreds of border-region residents who had feet planted on both sides of the line. The northward movement of Mexican citizens to fill jobs in the agricultural and railroad industries has been well documented, as have been the numerous Americans who went south to work as administrators in mining, railroad, and petroleum enterprises. Fountain was one of many whose economic pursuits and family relations caused them to routinely cross the international boundary. Unlike most, however, the decision to serve as a member of Villa’s army and his lengthy residence in Parral created controversy about Fountain’s citizenship status following his death.

Immediately after Albert B. Fall received word of Fountain’s execution he demanded that the State Department make a full investigation. A few days later, on 15 April 1912, Acting Secretary of State Huntington Wilson informed Fall that the Ambassador to Mexico had issued a proclamation to the Mexican government and revolutionary leaders which stated:

The rules and principles accepted by civilized nations as controlling their actions in time of war shall be followed and observed and the Government of the United States must give notice that any deviation from such a course and, indeed any maltreatment of any American citizens will be deeply resented by the American Government and people, must be fully answered for by the Mexican people, thus tending to difficulties and obligations which it is to the interest of all true Mexican patriots, as it is to the desire of the United States, to avoid.

 

Despite the warning to the Mexican government, Wilson went on to explain that further action could only be taken if Fountain was proven to be an American citizen. The State Department had no record of Fountain’s U.S. citizenship or his receipt of a passport. Additionally, Wilson reported that Doctor William Harrison, who had been practicing medicine in Parral, asserted that Thomas Fountain was the “son of an American father and a Mexican mother and is himself married to a Mexican woman, and that until the present difficulties arose neither Fountain nor his father had ever been considered, or had ever claimed to be, American citizens.”[6]

Wilson’s actions indicate his, and the State Department’s, focused effort to avoid open conflict with Mexico. Passports were not yet regularly required for international travel in 1912; traveling without one did not prove that Fountain was not a U.S. citizen. In his response to Wilson, Senator Fall cited his personal acquaintance with the Fountain family to contradict Doctor Harrison’s testimony. Fall claimed to “have known the deceased personally for twenty-three years.” To further substantiate Thomas’s American citizenship, Fall described the Fountain family’s well-established influence over the local affairs of Doña Ana County, of which Fall himself was a resident. Thomas’s father had served in the military and practiced law prior to his murder. His mother was the granddaughter of a former governor of New Mexico. His sister was married to J. H. Paxton, a successful Las Cruces attorney. And his brother, Albert J. Fountain, was “a land owner and former Probate Judge and member of the Legislature of New Mexico.”[7] A few days later Wilson again wrote Fall, this time acknowledging the American citizenship of Thomas Fountain and pledging, “at the earliest appropriate time [the State Department] will take such action in the premises as the controlling rules and principles of international law will [8]warrant.”

Senator Fall astutely used the controversy over Fountain’s death to enhance his own position in the federal government.[9]He was a newly elected senator from a small western state that had received its statehood only months previously. In terms of senatorial seniority, he had none. Fall did have extensive business interests in northern Mexico, however, and great tenacity. He also spoke Spanish and interacted with various Mexican officials in connection to his business ventures. Due to his knowledge of the region, members of the federal government in Washington, D.C., immediately considered him an expert on Mexico.[10] By pressing the Fountain episode, Fall hoped to force the federal government to intervene in Mexico. He took a local, transnational event to the federal level. Fountain’s execution, then, did not only affect his family members and the community of Las Cruces; it became a diplomatic sticking point between the nations of the United States and Mexico. His participation in Villa’s army and Fall’s desire for U.S. intervention placed New Mexico at the center of it all.

Fall’s increasing influence in the senate, however, did not translate into intervention in Mexico. Although Albert J. Fountain and Thomas Fountain’s widow continued to seek redress from the Mexican government, their pleas went unanswered.[11] Still considered an expert on Mexico, Fall attempted to involve the United States in the Mexican Revolution throughout the remainder of the 1910s. On 9 March 1914 Fall made a speech before the senate entitled, “Conditions in Mexico: Protection of Americans and American Policy.” His major premise was that American lives and property were in danger due to revolutionary unrest. Interestingly, Fall used an argument underscoring Pancho Villa’s banditry to make his case. At the time of Fall’s speech, Villa’s popularity in the United States was at its apex. Fall, however, had close ties to many of Chihuahua’s large land owners, including the Terrazas family. Villa’s policy to expropriate the land and wealth of wealthy land owners to supply his army and pay his soldiers specifically targeted Luis Terrazas. Understandably, Fall wanted to put a stop to Villa’s activities in order to protect his own Mexican holdings and those of people like Terrazas. Still, despite his growing authority in the senate, Fall never achieved the type of intervention he had envisioned.[12]

Thomas Fountain’s military association with Pancho Villa set events in motion that elevated his story to the national level. Amado Chaves’s encounter with the revolutionary remained at a more personal and local level. In February 1914 Chaves, accompanied by Eugene Van Patten and Pancho Villa’s El Paso physician, visited Villa’s Juárez headquarters. Chaves was a prominent Albuquerque attorney who had served in the territorial legislature and as Superintendent of Public Instruction for the New Mexico Territory. During the early 1910s he was also one of the lawyers defending New Mexico’s claims in a boundary dispute with Texas.[13] Van Patten had been a colonel on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War. He later gained a reputation as an Indian fighter who “won the respect” of the Natives. For a time he also served as sheriff of Doña Ana County, New Mexico.[14]

   Amado Chaves recounted his meeting with Pancho Villa in a letter to Reverend G. C. Van Goethem of Las Cruces twelve years after the encounter had taken place. Chaves desired an audience with Villa because Pedro Chaves, his nephew, had been taken prisoner by the revolutionary. While in El Paso, he learned that Villa was going to take Pedro, along with other prisoners, to Ciudad Chihuahua. In order to prevent his nephew’s relocation Chaves enlisted the help of Van Patten and Villa’s doctor, both of whom had a friendly relationship with the General.

Van Patten and the doctor led Chaves to the front of the long line of people waiting outside Villa’s office. According to Chaves, William Benton was among those waiting to speak with Villa that day, 17 February 1914. Once inside Villa’s headquarters, the doctor walked past the secretary and opened the door to Villa’s office without knocking. Shortly thereafter the doctor reemerged with Villa. Chaves surmised that the General had been napping, given the disheveled state of his hair. The doctor and Van Patten then introduced Chaves to Villa, stating his purpose of petitioning his nephew’s release. Chaves informed the revolutionary that he was holding an American citizen prisoner and Villa replied that he must be mistaken. When informed that the prisoner in question was named Pedro Chaves, Villa reportedly exclaimed, “Every time I see that boy or hear his name I get a stomach ache.” Pedro had overseen the single gambling hall that Villa had not closed in Juárez. When Villa decided to collect the revenue from the gaming establishment, he declared that the amount was three thousand dollars short. Pedro and his partner, a young man from California, were held accountable and arrested. As a possible solution to the problem, Chaves informed Villa that Pedro’s father was a wealthy wool merchant in Albuquerque who could settle the matter of the money owed. Villa agreed that such an arrangement would be acceptable; upon payment Pedro was to be released.[15]

The matter apparently settled, Villa turned to Van Patten and accused him of harboring General Pascual Orozco at his ranch near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Van Patten reportedly replied, “General, you know in the bottom of your heart that I am the friend of every Mexican and if you ever get in trouble and wish to come across the line all you have to do is come to my home where you will get a hearty welcome and I will protect you just as I am protecting General Orosco [sic] whom you will never get as long as he is with me.” At this Villa laughed and retorted, “I will not try to molest him as long as he is with you.” As the group began to depart, Colonels Abila and Fierro entered Villa’s office with William Benton. Chaves recounted, “Had we remained there a few minutes more we would probably have witnessed the shooting.”[16]

Chaves’ account places two New Mexicans and a Texan in a position of confidence with Pancho Villa. Whether or not William Benton was actually at Villa’s headquarters that day remains unclear. In recounting the episode twelve years after the fact, Chaves may have attempted to give his story added importance by placing himself in a crucial historical moment. Yet the fact that his nephew Pedro had been taken prisoner by the General seems legitimate. Villa was known for his explosive temper and his ability to rapidly turn against anyone that he believed had betrayed him.

Also, the capture of American citizens by Mexican revolutionaries in the borderlands was not unprecedented. In July 1912 A. J. Evans and William Adams of Columbus, New Mexico, were detained by revolutionaries in northern Chihuahua. The two were on a business trip but had not secured a written permit in Palomas, the port of entry. Furious that they were being arrested, Adams slapped one of the Mexican officers and was immediately shot. Evans praised the “Major in command of American troops at Columbus” who “moved heaven and earth” to secure his release. The exchange nearly caused an international incident, as Senator Smoot of Utah and Senator Fall of New Mexico pushed for federal punitive action for the shooting of Adams.[17] The imprisonment of Pedro Chaves, Evans, and Adams placed New Mexicans at the center of transnational negotiations on both the local and national levels.

Although Van Patten may or may not have actually harbored General Orozco, Mexican combatants often sought refuge north of the border. A few even settled in southern New Mexico. In September 1914 the Las Cruces Rio Grande Republic reported that General Salvador Mercado purchased a house from Mrs. M. J. Bavens “with the intention of making it his home.” A few years earlier Maderista General Benjamin Viljoen, who had also fought in the Boer Wars, made the Las Cruces area his permanent home.[18] Other well-known figures of the revolution who sought refuge in the United States include the Flores Magón brothers, Emilio Kosterlitzky, and Felipe Angeles.

The most famous revolutionary figure to spend any extensive amount of time in New Mexico was General José Inés Salazar. Salazar, however, was not in the state as a resident but as a prisoner—he was arrested for violation of the neutrality laws for retreating into Texas after his federal forces were defeated at Ojinaga. His strongest connection to the state of New Mexico was through frontier legend and lawyer Elfego Baca. Even before Salazar was moved to Fort Wingate and later the Bernalillo County Jail, Baca signed on as his lawyer. Mexican President Victoriano Huerta retained Baca to represent Salazar in January 1914 when the latter was still held at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.[19]

By the time of Salazar’s arrest both he and Baca had become enemies of Pancho Villa. In 1904 Baca first met Villa in the town of Parral. Baca had already built a reputation as a gun slinging legend during his thirty-six hour standoff at Frisco in which he resisted eighty attackers, killing four and wounding eight.[20] He had traveled to Parral as a bounty hunter, hoping to catch a man named Grant Gillet, who had a bounty on his head for massive outstanding debts. According to Baca, the first time he met Villa the future revolutionary attempted to sell him some stolen mules. Rather than buying the rustled animals, Baca enlisted Villa’s help in his search for Gillet. The pair was unable to capture their man at that time (Gillet found the means of paying off his debts), but they did build a shaky friendship.[21]

Baca and Villa came into contact again following the victory over Porfirio Díaz’s forces at Ciudad Juárez in 1911. According to his own account, Baca ventured into Juárez just after the fighting had finished. In his biography, authored by Kyle Crichton and heavily influenced by Baca himself, Baca is constantly portrayed as the central actor in events. Therefore, he describes his role in the relations between Villa, Orozco, and Madero as having been more influential than it actually was. In fact the entire biography is rather self-celebratory. Still, Baca apparently met up with his old acquaintance Pancho Villa at that time. Villa requested Baca’s aid in safeguarding some personal valuables, possibly including jewelry, until the revolution had ended. Baca, however, was unable to attend the appointment to retrieve the valuables due to restrictions on border crossing between El Paso and Juárez. Villa viewed his failure to keep the appointment as a serious betrayal and placed a $30,000 bounty on Baca’s head. In retaliation, Baca managed to steal Villa’s prized rifle. [22]

From that moment, Baca’s enmity toward Villa steadily increased. In early 1914, Baca testified that Villa “was a bandit and always would be” before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. When asked about Villa’s cattle rustling, Baca retorted, “[Villa] sold cattle, but never bought any.” His views on Villa are highly similar to those of Senator Fall, with whom Baca had a political patronage relationship. Both men vocally expressed their disapproval Villa’s ransom of Luis Terrazas, Jr., and Baca sought to use the situation to further his career. Fall attempted to retain Baca’s services for Luis Terrazas, Sr., but the elder hacendado apparently had no need for representation. Baca further expressed his contempt for Villa by representing Salazar after his arrest in the United States. Of course, the retainer provided by Huerta also contributed to that decision. In February 1914 the Villista governor of Chihuahua attempted to extradite Salazar to stand trial for the execution of Thomas Fountain. Villa, it seems, still held Fountain’s death against Salazar. Incidentally, he probably did not mind taking Baca’s client from him. The extradition, however, was never carried out.[23]

Baca’s association with Salazar led to events that almost destroyed the former’s career. On 14 May 1914, Salazar was acquitted in Santa Fe of the charge that he acted in defiance of U.S. neutrality laws by smuggling weapons across the border near Columbus. He was not released, however, due to pending charges of perjury and his alleged execution of Thomas Fountain. Over the next few months he was detained at Fort Wingate, then at the Bernalillo County Jail as the date of his perjury trial neared. On the night of 20 November 1914 Salazar escaped from his cell under dubious circumstances. He soon made his way back to Mexico. In Albuquerque Elfego Baca was implicated, accused, and then acquitted of orchestrating the jailbreak. In February 1915 Baca was arrested in El Paso for the murder of Celestino Otero, one of his alleged coconspirators in Salazar’s getaway. Again, Baca was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the death of Otero; he stuck to the story that he had shot Otero in self-defense after the latter pulled a gun on him.[24]

The New Mexico lawyer’s troubles were not over, however. Unconvinced of his innocence, district judge William H. Pope brought disbarment proceedings against Baca in February 1916. Pope was certain that Baca was guilty of the crimes with which he had been charged, although he had eluded conviction in the Salazar jailbreak and the Otero murder. As stated in Baca’s trial for the Salazar prison break, Pope believed “Elfego Baca was cognizant of, instigated, counselled [sic], aided and abetted the said Salazar in evading and concealing himself from the said process and authority of this court, all for the purpose of defeating the processes and jurisdiction of this court over the said Salazar and contrary and in violation of the said duties of the said Elfego Baca as an attorney of the court.” This accusation formed the basis of the disbarment case against Baca. He panicked—an action to which he never in his life would publicly admit. In desperation he wrote Senator Fall for financial, political, and legal aid. Fall declined to do more than write a statement to the effect that Baca was of high moral character and innocent of any wrongdoing. Despite his extreme anxiety, Baca was again absolved of misconduct.[25]

As the cases of Fountain, Fall, Chaves, and Baca all infer, the U.S.-Mexico border was a site of extreme volatility during the Mexican Revolution. For those who inhabited the border region, however, far more than their careers were at stake. During the earliest days of the revolution, Americans viewed the conflict south of the border as an attraction. Various hotels and other structures in El Paso allowed spectators to watch the 1911 battle in Ciudad Juarez from rooftop vantage points. When violence in Mexico reignited with the Orozco rebellion in early 1912, residents of the border (on both sides) became increasingly uneasy. The execution of Thomas Fountain heavily impacted the community of Las Cruces that April. Around the same time, citizens in Columbus petitioned authorities at Fort Bliss for military protection. Only a few months earlier the departure of Troop C, Fourth Cavalry, from the town seemed to signal the end of border hostility related to the revolution. Although contemporary residents had no way of knowing, the violence had not yet reached its apex. The 1912 petition illustrates Columbus citizens’ renewed fears that their lives were threatened and that revolutionary violence was far from over.[26]

From 1912 through the end of the Mexican Revolution, the Deming Headlight ran regular reports on the progress of the war.[27] These reports frequently mentioned attempted attacks on towns just north of the border. For example, on 25 April 1912 revolutionaries attempted to “invade American territory near Fabiens, Tex.” but were prevented from doing so “by a cool headed American lieutenant and a couple of Texas rangers, backed by troop B, 4th cavalry.”[28] Such threats of bombardment coincided with the very real murder of William Adams, mentioned above, to create an atmosphere of fear. The relocation of Orozquista troops to Palomas, Chihuahua, (just across the border from Columbus) compounded this fear in southern New Mexico in August 1912. On this occasion U.S. troops engaged Mexican revolutionaries seeking weapons at the Pacheco Ranch near Columbus. It was in this type of environment that the editor of the Las Cruces Citizen noted, “Even El Pasoans are becoming nauseated with what they once considered so amusing,” taking a jab at those who treated the revolution as a spectator sport.[29]

To a degree, American border merchants seeking to turn a profit from arms trade, intermittently allowed by law during the revolution, brought potential violence to the area. Such was the case in the skirmish just outside Columbus in August 1912. Arms trade is also at the heart of one of the many theories behind Villa’s motivation for the Columbus raid. Local merchant Sam Ravel reportedly either sold the general faulty ammunition or completely failed to deliver munitions that had been bought and paid for. Ravel and his brothers vehemently denied any dealings with Villa for decades following the attack in an attempt to prove that their actions had not caused the raid. Whether or not the Ravels did deal with Villa specifically, they admittedly sold weapons to other revolutionary factions. In late July 1914 Sam was taken prisoner by a group of Constitutionalists and threatened with execution for allegedly supplying the Roque Gómez gang with weaponry. Luna County Sheriff D. B. Stephens intervened with the Mexican consul in Columbus to secure Ravel’s release in that instance.[30]

By 1915 and 1916 constant rumors of attacks on border towns further advanced the environment of fear. Most of the threats never materialized, so new rumors were routinely dismissed by U.S. military commanders in the region. Such was the case just prior to the 9 March 1916 raid on Columbus. The day prior to the attack La Prensa (San Antonio, Tex.) reported that Gabriel Gavira, the constitutionalist commander of Ciudad Juárez, had warned Gen. Pershing that Villa planned to invade the United States at or near Columbus, New Mexico. Gen. Herbert Slocum who commanded the 13th Cavalry, stationed at Columbus when the raid occurred, had also reportedly been warned of the impending attack. Both men, however, disregarded the reports as pure speculation. They had heard similar unfounded rumors so frequently that they simply no longer believed every piece of intelligence that reached them.[31]

The tense atmosphere also affected race relations in southern New Mexico. Local newspapers associated Mexicans with laziness, violence, and drunkenness, among other reprehensible traits.[32] This attitude was also a product of New Mexico’s battle to earn statehood. In order to highlight their American attributes, New Mexicans of Mexican descent disavowed any connection to the mestizo race that dominated the nation south of the border. Instead, they emphasized their genealogical ties (more imagined than real) to the original Spanish conquistadores, calling themselves Spanish-Americans rather than Mexican-Americans.[33] Despite these distinctions, it is difficult to discern whether all those referred to as Mexican were in fact nationals of Mexico. In certain situations, Mexican nationals who did not fit the common stereotypes were not labeled as such. Esquiel Orozco, a cousin of the revolutionary general of the same last name, lived in Deming with his wife and children in 1912. In August of that year he was killed in a barfight at the Palace Saloon. His murderers were described as drunken Mexicans, who fled to seek refuge of the law south of the border. Orozco himself was painted as a family man and thus not labeled a Mexican, despite his doubtless Mexican citizenship.[34] Race was a highly complex issue based on actions and status, as well as national origin, among other things.

In April 1914, as U.S. forces took possession of the Mexican port of Veracruz, and again in March 1916 race issues came to a head in New Mexico due to developments related to the Mexican Revolution. Governor William C. McDonald received a barrage of letters from New Mexicans requesting military commissions should the United States go to war with Mexico following the occupation of Veracruz. Among that bunch of correspondence was a letter from A. I. Prattier of Rodeo, New Mexico, located in the state’s “boot heel” near the Mexican border. Unlike most of the other correspondence from private citizens at the time, Prattier did not seek a commission for himself. Instead, he voiced the concerns of his locale, requesting that the governor either send troops to protect Rodeo’s citizens or send arms so they could defend themselves. Along with others in town, Prattier was concerned not only that revolutionaries might cross the border to wreak havoc on the community but also feared “the Mexicans at and around the Mining Camps in Arizona north west of us that might want to return to Mexico and would probably take this route on account of it being rough and unsettled, and that they would rob and murder on their way, not only for revenge but also to get outfits together.”[35] Due to revolutionary violence, New Mexicans in the borderlands viewed Mexicans north of the border with even more than the usual disdain.

Immediately following the raid on Columbus Governor McDonald sent the state Adjutant General, Harry T. Herring, on a mission to find out whether “old Mexico Mexicans” residing there would remain loyal. The Adjutant General reported that in the northern and central portions of the state Mexican nationals did not pose a threat to locals or to the state. Along the border, however, the findings were the opposite. In Las Cruces Captains Dessauer and Totten of the state National Guard “seemed to be uneasy for fear the old Mexico element in that vicinity (between 400 and 500 people) would give trouble.” They also worried that the local sheriff, Felipe Lucero, had potentially exacerbated an already tense situation in the area by deputizing local citizens who belonged to his political party. Similar fears existed less than fifty miles to the south in El Paso. At Cambray, between Las Cruces and Deming, Herring found the women occupying a house together in town while the men congregated at a central point each night, both as emergency measures. A similar fear of Mexican violence from either side of the border existed in Deming and other southern New Mexico towns.[36]

En route to Sonora in August 1914, Pancho Villa himself entered into the anxious environment that existed in the southern New Mexico borderlands. The revolutionary was accompanied by General Alvaro Obregón, a thirty-five member bodyguard, and “an escort of twelve non-commissioned officers of the 6th U.S. Infantry.” The generals had been granted special federal and state permission to cross through U.S. territory as they traveled to meet with Sonoran Governor José María Maytorena. When the group stopped in Deming to eat breakfast on 27 August 1914 and news of Villa’s presence circulated, “half the town turned out to see him.” He addressed the group from his private rail car assuring them that the violence in Mexico would soon come to an end. The general also encouraged any Mexicans in the area to return to Mexico where they would be given land upon which they could raise their families in peace. Considering himself a “man of the people,” Villa maintained that he wanted “to see the Mexican people united in one solid nation, living in peace and happiness.” He also promised to forgive any who had formerly been his enemies, inviting them to return to Mexico where he would treat them as brothers.[37]

Although contemporary reports of Villa’s visit to Deming do not relate the residents’ attitudes toward the general, they appear to have treated him like a celebrity. In the aftermath of the Columbus raid in 1916, the editor of the Deming Headlight sarcastically commented, “What has become of all the photographs of our prominent citizens falling over themselves to shake hands with Villa when he visited Deming two years ago?”[38] The editor’s tone seems to indicate that Villa, who immediately became a horrific villain in southern New Mexico following the raid, had been treated as a hero in Deming only two years earlier. General Obregón was not a subject of the town’s intense interest in the way that Villa was. Obregón’s presence is only mentioned in passing as part of Villa’s entourage, yet Obregón was one of the most successful generals involved in the revolution. This discrepancy is likely a result of Villa’s campaign to magnify his image on both sides of the border. He sought recognition as the protector of American lives in Mexico and as the general who would bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In return he hoped to gain the support of the U.S. government. Obregón, on the other hand, did not attempt to build a larger-than-life image for himself.[39] The fact that Villa addressed the citizens of Deming while Obregón apparently did not underscores this vital difference between the two men.

The reaction of the crowd in Deming on 27 August indicates Villa’s success as an image builder. The fact that the townspeople turned out in great numbers to meet him suggests that they viewed him as someone who honestly sought to resolve the violent conflict that so often threatened border settlements. Villa received a similar reception as he passed through the region of Benson, Arizona, probably during the same trip. According to Bertha Whetten Shupe, who was about twelve years old at the time, her entire family turned out at the local station through which Villa’s train was to pass. The general stopped and addressed the massive throng that had gathered to see him. Shupe did not understand his speech because she did not speak Spanish, but she was impressed by his appearance. He struck her as handsome, wearing a grey suit, shiny brown “leggens” on his boots, and a grey Stetson hat. As Villa spoke the crowd, including her father and grandfather, broke into chants of “¡Viva Villa!”[40] Although the exact details of Shupe’s account may have been blurred by memory and the passage of time, the general positive attitude of the Arizonans seems to jibe with the reaction of the Deming residents. In the New Mexico (and Arizona) border region Pancho Villa’s visit brought a figure of international importance to the local level.

All of Villa’s efforts at image construction in the United States were shattered, however, by the Columbus raid in March 1916. An account and analysis of the raid itself goes beyond the scope of the present study, but the attack has been discussed at length in popular and scholarly literature.[41] Through the raid, Villa once again impacted the lives of New Mexicans and placed the state on the international stage. Most famously, the raid resulted in the Pershing Punitive Expedition which unsuccessfully hunted for Villa until February 1917. Infamously, six Villista survivors of the attack were hanged in Deming in the wake of the raid. The men were tried as murderers, not as conscripted members of an army. Specifically, they were accused of the murder of Charles D. Miller, one of the fifteen Americans killed during the attack.

The trial was carried out hastily following the attack. Seven Villistas, Eusebio Rentería, Taurino García, Juan Castillo, José Rangel, Juan Sánchez, José Rodríguez, and Francisco Alvarez, were sentenced to death by hanging by Judge Edward L. Medler in Deming on 27 April 1916. Although the men were found guilty of First Degree Murder in the death of Charles D. Miller, the state District Attorney had only proven that they were in Columbus during the raid, not that they had actually murdered Miller.[42] The condemned Villistas were described as “ignorant and misguided” by a patronizing Deming Headlight. The paper contrasted the “children of the desert” with the many Americans who had gathered at the courthouse to hear the verdict read. The Villistas were all dressed alike in overalls. They were bandaged from the wounds they received during the raid. José Rangel was carried into the courtroom on a stretcher because he could not walk. Many of the other defendants supported themselves on crutches. The sandals they wore appeared out of place when compared to the “footwear of those who moved noiselessly about the room,” including lawyers and spectators.[43]

Throughout the account, the Villistas were characterized as backward Mexicans. When the defendants spoke out, with the aid of interpreter Miguel Marrufo, declaring their innocence because they had been forced to serve in Villa’s army and they had no idea that they had crossed into the United States on the night of the raid, the author of the article seemed to pity their childlike ignorance. Rangel broke down in tears when the sentence was issued and the author could not help but remember “another trial when the populace cried out ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’” The reference to Christ was made to indicate that the trial resembled a witch hunt, not to infer that the Villistas possessed any Christ-like qualities themselves. The article concluded with the question, “What does death mean to men who have never lived?”[44] This final statement attempted to close the matter with the justification that the Villistas’ lives were not worth much in the first place.

Although Governor McDonald postponed the executions on two separate occasions, six of the men were put to death in June 1916. Even as a gallows was being erected in May 1916, McDonald granted the Villistas a twenty-one-day reprieve in order to investigate the matter more fully. President Woodrow Wilson had also voiced his opinion that the men should not be hastily executed. Following the governor’s inquiry, José Rodriguez’s sentence was commuted to life in prison but the other six were hanged in Deming. As stated by the editor of the Deming Headlight, their death served to “pay their debt to the state of New Mexico for their share in the massacre of American citizens in the little border town three months ago.”[45]

The quick execution did seem to satisfy many of the residents of Columbus and Deming, but there were also some who believed that the Villista’s deaths would do more damage than good. The 19 May 1916 issue of the Deming Headlight included the opinions of several of the town’s residents regarding the hanging. Many echoed the sentiments of L. W. Taylor: “I do not think there is any other way of punishing these men, for death is about all they fear. On account of the lack of protection and the fact that the Villistas were captured by federal troops on Mexican soil, I do not see why they should not be hung in Deming.” But others believed that hanging the Villistas in Deming would “only make matters worse.” G. G. Crichet opined, “If we hang those Mexicans we make ourselves worse than they are.”[46] Deming, therefore, was not simply a town caught up in a vengeful frenzy. The situation was more contentious and complicated than that.

Unfortunately, trials of Villistas did not end with the execution of the six men in June 1916. During the course of its search for Villa in Mexico the Pershing Expedition found twenty-one others who had allegedly taken part in the Columbus raid. These men were indicted in New Mexico in April 1917, again on charges of murder in connection with the raid. Sixteen of the men pled guilty to Second Degree Murder. A. B. Renehan, the Villistas’ defense counsel, argued that they were unable to understand the implications of such a plea. Renehan also made the argument, just as the six executed Villistas had, that they were “victims of a press-gang, seized by force, under threats and made part of Villa’s army.” They did not join voluntarily and they were “utterly ignorant of their destination at the time of the Columbus raid, except a general supposition that they were being led to attack Carranza forces supposed to be at Palomas.” After interviewing the Villistas, Renehan reported that there was “one poor little devil,” who was paralyzed from the waist down among the prisoners. He reportedly had nothing to do with the Columbus raid. The family of his girlfriend did not approve of him, so when Pershing’s men came through their town, they claimed that he had been involved in the raid in order to be rid of him.[47]

This group of sixteen Villistas was still held in the New Mexico state prison in Santa Fe in 1920 when Governor Octaviano A. Larrazolo investigated their case. Larrazolo himself had been born in Allende, Chihuahua, to a wealthy ranching family. He was educated in Arizona and New Mexico, eventually setting up a law practice in Las Vegas, New Mexico. His personal Mexican heritage seemed to weigh heavily on him as he considered various petitions for clemency from family members of the accused Villistas.[48] Larrazolo unconditionally pardoned Ramón Bustillos, Rafael Bustamente, Tomás Camareno, Santos Torres, Pedro Borciago, José Tena, José de la luz Marquez, Lorenzo Gutierrez, Rafael Rodríguez, Pedro López, Mariano Jimenez, Juan Muñoz, David Rodríguez, Francisco Solís, Juan Torres, and José Rodríguez on 22 November 1920. His major argument for doing so was that the men were forcibly conscripted into Villa’s forces, meaning that they had to follow his orders or face the possibility of death themselves. As mere soldiers, none of them knew beforehand that they were crossing into the United States to attack Columbus. They, therefore, could not be guilty of murder.[49] Although the pardon was contested, most heavily by members of the New Mexico American Legion, the men were eventually freed.

Their freedom was short-lived, however. The New Mexico Supreme Court decided to uphold an injunction on the pardons and allowed their arrest by Luna County authorities. Governor Larrazolo publicly defended the pardons, again arguing that the men should not be viewed as bandits because they were merely participants in a military expedition. In April 1921 the sixteen Villistas were placed on trial in Deming for the murder of William T. Ritchie, the proprietor of the Commercial Hotel who was killed during the raid. Attorney R. F. Hamilton was appointed by the court to represent the accused. His main defense was, again, that the men had been forcibly conscripted into service under Villa and therefore were not guilty of murder. When the case was passed to the jury on 28 April 1921 deliberations ensued for only twenty-five minutes before a verdict of “not guilty” was returned.[50]

In all the cases of Villistas placed on trial for their part in the Columbus raid, an event of international importance impacted local affairs in New Mexico. The Villistas themselves, who had been either forced to participate in the raid or who were not even involved, were devastated by Villa’s decision to attack the United States. The lives of Columbus residents were forever altered as well. In Deming conflict erupted that underscored condescending racial attitudes toward Mexicans as the six Villistas were executed. The legal battle over the alleged murder of Columbus residents during the attack continued to cast a shadow over New Mexican politics through the early 1920s.

In fact, Villa’s impact on New Mexico continued throughout the twentieth century. In the 1960s his name caused renewed conflict in Columbus when a new state park was proposed. Although many locals were outraged that the park was to be named after Villa, others welcomed the name as a vehicle for state and nationwide recognition. The lawmakers behind the proposed park defended their use of Villa’s name as a means of building unity between New Mexico and Chihuahua by letting bygones be bygones. Still, as Columbus resident Carl Graham put it, “It’s hard to figure. . . . Somebody comes in and wrecks the place. So what do they do—name everything in town in his honor.” Arthur Ravel and Jesús Carreon, who both lived through the raid, were equally puzzled and outraged.[51] And only a few years ago, following the terrorist attacks on New York City on 11 September 2001, stories appeared in the Albuquerque Tribune which compared Villa’s raid to the actions of the modern terrorists.[52]

Pancho Villa’s influence on events in New Mexico was mostly indirect, although interactions with prominent state politicians and a brief visit to Deming directly impacted the opinions of New Mexicans about the revolutionary general. Villa was highly adept at building a positive image for himself north of the border. That image was destroyed by the Columbus raid, which also placed New Mexico in the thick of international events. Residents of the border region already experienced the fear and uncertainty of potential revolutionary violence that regularly filtered through the porous border. At the same time, the border was reasserted as a very real dividing line between a backward nation caught in the throes of civil war and an advanced nation with imperial ambitions.

 

*Brandon Morgan is a former receipient of a New Mexico History Scholarship


Endnotes:

 


[1]. Friedrich Katz, The Life and Times of Pancho Villa (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998), 160, 140.

[2]. Ibid, 160.

[3]. Ibid, 161-62; and “Tom Fountain, Hijo Nativo de Esta Plaza, Asesinado por Los Rebeldes in Mexico,” La Estrella (Las Cruces, N.Mex.), 13 April 1912, p. 1.

[4]. “Tom Fountain, Hijo Nativo de Esta Plaza”; and “Tom Fountain Shot to Death by Rebels at Parral, Mexico,” Las Cruces (N.Mex.) Citizen, 13 April 1912, p. 1.

[5]. “Locales y Personales,” El Eco del Valle (Las Cruces, N.Mex.), 21 July 1906, p. 3. For correspondence between Albert J. Fountain and Senator Albert B. Fall regarding the death of Thomas, see “Correspondence, Mexico: Albert J. Fountain,” box 14, folder 2, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, Rio Grande Historical Collections, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces (hereafter RGHC). For newspaper coverage, see “La Revolucion en Mexico, Francisco Villa Derroto al Rebelde Campa en el Parral,” El Labrador (Las Cruces, N.Mex.) 12 April 1912, p. 2; “Tom Fountain, Hijo Nativo de Esta Plaza”; “American Newspaper Man,” La Estrella, 13 April 1912, p. 4; “Washington,” La Estrella, 20 April 1912, p. 3; and “Tom Fountain Shot to Death By Rebels at Parral, Mexico.”

[6] Letter from Huntington Wilson to Albert B. Fall, 15 April 1912, box 14, folder 2, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-19 Letter from Huntington Wilson to Albert B. Fall, 15 April 1912, box 14, folder 2, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, RGHC.41, RGHC.

[7]. Letter from Albert B. Fall to Huntington Wilson, 16 April 1912, box 14, folder 2, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, RGHC.

[8]. Letter from Huntington Wilson to Albert B. Fall, 19 April 1912, box 14, folder 2, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, RGHC.

[9]. This is not to say that Fall did not exhibit genuine concern for the Fountain family. He had long been involved with their affairs, even taking part in the investigation and trial surrounding the murder of Colonel Fountain. At the same time, Fall was keenly aware of his, and New Mexico’s, status at the federal level and used every opportunity to increase it.

[10]. Linda B. Hall, Oil, Banks, and Politics: The United States and Postrevolutionary Mexico, 1917-1924 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995), 36-38.

[11]. Letter from A. J. Fountain to Albert B. Fall, 29 May 1912, and Letter from Thomas B. Rapkoch to Mrs. C. C. Chase, 28 May 1936, both in box 14, folder 2, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, RGHC.

[12]. “Conditions in Mexico: Protection of Americans and American Policy,” Speech given by Albert B. Fall in the US Senate, March 9, 1914, box 6, folder 1, Series 501: Correspondence as U.S. Senator, Thomas B. Catron Papers, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (hereafter CSWR). On the popularity of Villa in the United States, see Mark Cronlund Anderson, Pancho Villa’s Revolution by Headlines (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000), ch. 2.

[13]. “Say Amado Chaves May Succeed Llewellyn,” Albuquerque Morning Journal, 6 December 1907, p. 1. “Amado Chaves Runs Afoul of Villa Law in Juarez,” Albuquerque Morning Journal, 15 January 1914, p. 6.

[14]. “Early Day Indian Fight and Stagecoach Driver Comes to End of Trail: Death of Col. Eugene Van Patten of New Mexico Recalls Exploits Once Famous in Southwest and On Border,” Clipping from unknown newspaper, 6 March 19??, box 3, folder 39, Amado Chaves Papers, New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe (hereafter NMSRCA).

[15]. Letter from Amado Chaves to Reverend G. C. Goethem (Las Cruces, N.Mex.), 10 March 1926, box 3, folder 39, Amado Chaves Papers, NMSCRA. For the date of the Benton Affair, see Anderson, Pancho Villa’s Revolution by Headlines, 8.

[16]. Letter from Amado Chaves to Reverend G. C. Goethem (Las Cruces, N.Mex.), 10 March 1926, box 3, folder 39, Amado Chaves Papers, NMSCRA.

[17]. “Americans in Trouble in Mexico,” The Deming (N.Mex.) Headlight, 12 July 1912, p. 1; “Town Talk” and “Columbus,” The Deming Headlight, 12 July 1912, p. 3.

[18]. “Gen. Mercado Buys Home” and “General Vilojen Sues Santa Fe Railway,” Rio Grande Republic, 29 September 1914, pp. 1-2.

[19]. Larry D. Ball, Elfego Baca in Life and Legend (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1992), 67-68.

[20]. Kyle S. Crichton, Law and Order Ltd.: The Rousing Life of Elfego Baca of New Mexico (Santa Fe: New Mexican Publishing Corporation, 1929), 34-48.

[21]. Ball, Elfego Baca in Life and Legend, 48-49.

[22]. Ibid, 67-68; and Chrichton, Law and Order Ltd., 116-131.

[23]. Ball, Elfego Baca in Life and Legend, 67-68; Letter from Albert B. Fall to Elfego Baca, 26 January 1914, box 7, folder 3, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, RGHC; and “Hitch Has Occurred in Removal of Gen. Jose Ynez Salazar,” Albuquerque Morning Journal, 2 February 1914, p. 5.

[24]. “Salazar Given His Liberty By Federal Jury,” Albuquerque Morning Journal, 15 May 1914, p. 3; “Move Mexican Prisoners,” The Deming Headlight, 1 May 1914, p. 1; “Elfego Baca Faces Murder Charge,” The Deming Headlight, 5 February 1915, p. 3; “Elfego Baca Must Face Charges of Unprofessional Conduct,” Rio Grande Republic (Las Cruces, N.Mex.), 11 February 1916, p. 1; and Ralph H. Vigil, “Revolution and Confusion: The Peculiar Case of José Inés Salazar,” New Mexico Historical Review 53 (April 1978), 163-167.

[25]. “Elfego Baca Must Face Charges of Unprofessional Conduct,” Rio Grande Republic; and Letter from Albert B. Fall to Elfego Baca, 15 January 1916 and Letter from Elfego Baca to Albert B. Fall, 18 February 1916, both in box 7, folder 3, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, RGHC.

[26]. David Dorado Romo, Ringside Seat to a Revolution: An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juárez, 1893-1923 (El Paso, Tex.: Cinco Puntos Press, 2005), 86-87; “Columbus Cullings,” The Deming Headlight, 16 February 1912, p. 2; “Columbus Cullings,” The Deming Headlight, 8 March 1912, p. 1; and “Troops Leave Columbus,” Columbus (N.Mex.) Courier, 18 August 1911, p. 1.

[27]. Such stories were largely absent from the Columbus Courier. The reason for this seems to be Columbus residents’ desire to attract settlers and investment to their town. They did not want to publish that fact that the area was dangerous. This trend even continued in the local newspaper following the 1916 raid. The attack was not mentioned in detail until a few weeks after the fact. Then, throughout subsequent years only passing references to the raid are made in an attempt to paint the town as secure. See, “Columbus,” Columbus News, 25 November 1910, p. 4; “Columbus Is,” Columbus Courier, 30 June 1911, p. 6; “An Excellent Idea,” Columbus Courier, 22 June 1917, p. 2; and “Columbus is Well Protected,” Columbus Courier, 9 March 1917, p. 2.

[28]. “The War in Mexico,” The Deming Headlight, 31 May 1912, p. 1.

[29]. “Cavalry Called to Columbus,” The Deming Headlight, 22 November 1912, p. 2; “Columbus” and “Excitement at Columbus,” The Deming Headlight, 16 August 1912, pp. 4-5; and “Mexican Trouble becoming Intolerable,” Las Cruces Citizen, 21 December 1912, p. 3.

[30]. “Sam Ravel in Trouble,” Deming Headlight, 31 July 1914, p. 1; “Did Villa Raid Columbus After Merchant Refused to Sell Guns?: Mexican Writer Contends He Did,” The Southwesterner (Columbus, N.Mex.), November 1961, p. 5; and “Albq’s Arthur Ravel Walked Close to Death When the Villa Raiders Hit Columbus,” by Howard Bryan, Albuquerque Tribune, 11 March 1970, p. A-4. See also Alberto Calzadías Barrera, Villa Contra Todo y Contra Todos (México, D.F.: Editores Mexicanos Unidos, 1963).

[31]. “Gavira Notificó Al Gral. Pershing Que Villa Se Acerca A Columbus,” La Prensa, 8 March 1916, p.1, located in box 16, folder 4, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, 1905-1941, RGHC; and “Villa Kills American Cowboys On Way To Columbus Raid: McKinney, Corbett and O’Neil Slain,” The Southwesterner, December 1961, p. 3.      

[32]. See, for example, Editorial paragraph, The Deming Headlight, 3 January 1913, p. 4; “Town Talk,” The Deming Headlight, 9 August 1912, p. 3; “Town Talk,” The Deming Headlight, 5 July 1912, p. 7; and “Deputy Sheriff Shot the Mexican,” The Deming Headlight, 15 March 1912, p. 3.

[33]. John Nieto-Phillips, “Spanish American Ethnic Identity and New Mexico’s Statehood Struggle,” in The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of New Mexico, Erlinda Gonzales-Berry and David R. Maciel, eds. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000), 128-131.

[34]. “Town Talk,” The Deming Headlight, 9 August 1912, p. 3

[35]. Letter from A.I. Prattier to Governor William C. McDonald, April 24, 1914, box 30, folder 408, Governor William C. McDonald Papers, NMSRCA.

[36]. Report to NM Governor Regarding Attack on Columbus, 10 April 1916, box 10880, folder 15, New Mexico Adjutant General Records, NMSRCA.

[37]. “General Villa Passes Through Deming,” Deming Headlight, 28 August 1914, p. 2.

[38]. Editor’s comments, Deming Headlight, 24 Mar. 1916 p. 6.

[39]. Anderson, Pancho Villa’s Revolution by Headlines, ch. 3; and Clarence C. Clendenen, The United States and Pancho Villa: A Study in Unconventional Diplomacy (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1961), 44, 47.

[40]. Bertha Whetten Shupe, Oral History Transcript, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, LDS Polygamy Oral History Project, interviewed by Jessie L. Embry, 9 January 1981, p. 7, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

[41]. See Eileen Welsome, The General and the Jaguar: Pershing’s Hunt for Pancho Villa, a True Story of Revolution and Revenge (New York: Little, Brown, and Co., 2006); and Haldeen Braddy, Pancho Villa at Columbus: The Raid of 1916 (El Paso: Texas Western College Press, 1965) for a sample. The story of the raid was also related by Bill McGaw in monthly installments in The Southwesterner, November 1961-March 1962. 

[42]. “Six Villistas Facing Death,” Deming Headlight, 21 April 1916, p. 1.

[43]. “Life’s Sunset for Seven Men,” Deming Headlight, 28 April 1916, p. 2.

[44]. Ibid.

[45]. “Closing Scene in Four Lives,” Deming Headlight, 30 June 1916, p. 1; “Reprieve for the Villistas,” Deming Headlight, 19 May 1916, p. 2; and “Six Hanged for Villa Raid,” by Marie Evans, Deming Headlight, 5 January 1978, 6B-7B.

[46]. “Curb Stone Jury on the Villista Hanging,” Deming Headlight, 19 May 1916, p. 2.

[47]. Letter from A. B. Renehan to Governor O. A. Larrazolo, 13 May 1919, box 10, folder 167, Governor Octaviano A. Larrazolo Papers, NMSRCA.

[48]. A series of these letters are located in box 10, folder 167, Governor Octaviano A. Larrazolo Papers, NMSRCA. “A Long Journey for Mexico-Born Governor,” by Marc Simmons, Santa Fe New Mexican, 26 January 2008, pp. C1 and C3.

[49]. “Executive Order granting a full and complete pardon to Mexican soldiers who attacked Columbus on March 9th 1916,” written by Governor A. O. Larrazolo, 22 November 1920, box 10, folder 167, Governor Octaviano A. Larrazolo Papers, NMSRCA.

[50]. James W. Hurst, The Villista Prisoners of 1916-1917 (Las Cruces, N.Mex.: Yucca Tree Press, 2000), 59-65.

[51]. “State Park Name Misunderstood,” Pancho Villa Vertical File, Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, Santa Fe New Mexico.

[52]. See “Villa the Terrorist?,” by Ollie Reed, Jr., Albuquerque Tribune, 28 February 2002, p. A-1.; and “Villa was no Terrorist,” Letters to Editor Section, Albuquerque Tribune, 6 April 2002, p. C-4.