January 11, 1917

While President Woodrow Wilson was praised for his work in peace negotiations, both sides said it was not likely that the war would be ending any time soon, according to stories datelined Jan. 11, 1917.

Border troubles come to film (Jan. 11)

The entente allies (Great Britain, France, etc.) replied to Wilson’s peace note expressing the belief that it was impossible to attain peace because they could not be assured of reparations, restitution and other guarantees.

No peace likely in Europe

In hindsight, (and possibly in the opinion of many of the day), this edged the United States ever closer to joining in the battle against the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, etc.)

In addition to the note from the entente, Belgium added that it would only accept a settlement that would guarantee its security in the future.

The allies had received Wilson’s note on Dec. 19, and “studied it with the care imposed upon them both by the exact realization which they have of the gravity of the hour and by the sincere friendship which attaches them to the American people.”

The reply was in French, and was cabled to the U.S. ambassador in Paris. Though it acknowledged the burden of the war on neutrals, it clearly blamed the course of events on “the willful aggression Germany and Austria-Hungary to insure their hegemony over Europe and their economic domination over the world.”

And the cable detailed the horrors of war, as perpetrated by the central powers.

Response of the central powers

Germany, as would be expected, replied. It had received the Dec. 12 note from Wilson as well, and replied that “our adversaries declined this proposition, giving as the reason that it is a proposition without sincerity and without importance.

“The central powers have no reason to enter into any discussion regarding the origin of the war,” German wrote. “History will judge upon whom the immense guilt fo the war shall fall; history’s verdict will as little pass over the encircling polity of England, the revengeful policy of France and the endeavor of Russia to gain Constantinople as over the instigation of Russia which meant war against Germany.”

Germany added that the world “holds before its eyes the fate of the Irish people, the destruction of the liberty and independence of the Boer republic, the subjection of Northern Africa by England, France and Italy, the suppression of Russian alienations, and also the violation of Greece, which is without precedent in history.”

The central powers also referred to the “war of starvation against Germany” and the “barbarous treatment of prisoners.”

Answer to Belgium

In response to Belgium, Germany said it told the government that it didn’t come as an enemy and “asked it to spare the country the terrors of war. Germany offered to guarantee the integrity and independence of the kingdom to the full extent and compensate for all damage which might be caused by the passage of German troops.”

But Belgium “declined the repeated offer,” Germany said.

The central powers’ response said they they “have made an honest attempt to terminate the war and open the road for an understanding among the belligerents.” But the “hostile governments declined to accept this road. Upon them falls the full responsibility for the continuation of the bloodshed.”

The next move in the attempt at a peace process, The Bisbee Daily Review said, would be in secrecy.

January 4, 1917

Meanwhile, in Columbus, N.M. . .

Columbus, hard by the Mexican border (across from Palomas, Chihuihua) about half way between Arizona and El Paso on today’s Highway 9, is the town in which the deportees landed in mid-July 1917. But before that, it was the target of Pancho Villa’s infamous raid of March 9, 1916, and then was Gen. John J. Pershing’s base for his Punitive Expedition to neutralize Villa.

As 1917 opened, the United States was negotiating with the various revolutionary parties in Mexico about what it would take to encourage withdrawal of American troops. Troops on the border (including those at Naco and Douglas) were often national guard units. At Columbus, the New Mexico national guard was on duty, and an Associate Press dispatch (in the months after the raid, the AP kept a reporter there) discussed those troops.

The New Mexico State Record (Santa Fe) gave the state’s national guard front page play, running a dispatch from the Columbus-based Associated Press reporter Phil McLaughlin, saying they were “fast reaching the efficiency standards of the regular army.”

Best on the border

The First New Mexico infantry is “among the best of the guardsmen now on the border,” the report read.New Mexico national guard the best

McLaughlin, interviewed while visiting El Paso for a few days, said that “I have observed the New Mexico infantry and I have seen it steadily improve from day to day and from month to month until today I believe the organization is one of the most efficient units on the border.

“Regular army officers with whom I have talked share this opinion and many of them do not hesitate to declare the New Mexico infantrymen the equal of a similar number of regular troops.”

New Mexico’s troops were the first to respond to President Wilson’s call, with one company from nearby Deming not waiting for the call, but arriving at Columbus a mere six hours after the Villa raid.

Punitive Expedition
Troops under Gen. Pershing marching into Mexico after Pancho Villa raid on Columbus, N.M.

The New Mexico troops had been criticized when they first arrived at the border. This was justified in part, the reporter said, because physical exams by army doctors resulted in fully 40 percent of them being rejected for physical disability.

Officers of the troops, Col. E.C. Abbott and Major R. Ruppe “have worked unceasingly to recruit and bring the regiment up to a high standard and to uphold the honor of their state,” the reporter added.

“That they have succeeded in their task is the unanimous opinion of the regular army officers on duty at Columbus.”

The New Mexico regiment was the only national guard unit directly under the command of Gen. Pershing. Several of the unit’s officers have commanded truck trains the ran between Columbus and the expedition’s headquarters in Mexico.

The reporter noted that this was the only unit on the board that includes men of Hispanic heritage, adding that there is a “healthy rivalry between these and which might be called the regular Americans,” a rivalry that “works well in bringing out the best there is in both classes of soldiers.”

January 3, 1917

End of Ajo strike seen soon

When Walter Holm returned from Ajo on Jan. 3, 1917, he opined that the labor situation in that mining camp had improved and that the strike would come to an end soon.

In reporting his comments, The Bisbee Daily Review headline referred to him as a “prominent labor leader of Bisbee,” but other articles about the man in the Review and other papers classify him more as an owner of a mining company (the Bisbee-Ajo company) and as a merchant.

The article said that he had returned from Ajo, “where he has mining interests. Holm was a visitor in Ajo for several days and looked over the situation from every angle.”

The strike at Ajo came as a surprise, commented the Arizona Sentinel (Yuma) the past Nov. 30.

“The company there has been building a model town for its employees, with excellent living conditions,” the Yuma paper said.

Ideal community houses

It added that “ideal community houses of concrete have been built for the Mexican employees. The company is erecting a store, which will run on an actual co-operative basis, the profits going back to the employees.

“Model school buildings are being provided; in fact, everything was designed for the comfort and health of the employees.”

The Ajo mine was being developed by the Calumet & Arizona Mining Co., which had operations in Bisbee. The company had its headquarters in Bisbee, as well, where general manager John C. Greenway was based. Ajo would be the first open-pit copper mine in Arizona

Wanted the sliding scale

The strike was aimed at putting workers there on the sliding scale for pay, which was common at copper mines in the West. Under the sliding scale, miners were paid more if the price of copper rose, less if it fell.

Sliding scale wages in 1917
This chart is from the Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1917. The scale was put into effect in copper mines in 1914, and set the minimum wage at $3.50 per day. See the accompanying chart for the average price of copper each year.

But because Ajo was not yet a producing mine, Greenway had argued that it shouldn’t fall under the sliding scale, since it made no money regardless of the price of the commodity.Annual price of copper

Some were back at work

Holm was quoted as saying that the lead burners* and brick masons were back to work, having been ordered to return by their international headquarters. The carpenters, painters, electricians and steel workers were still out, “but I cannot see what they expect to obtain.

“While at Ajo, I advised the strikers to return to work and hasten the time when the New Cornelia company should be able to pay wages based on the sliding scale of the price of copper.”

Holm’s credentials

Holm, the Review said, had been a resident of Bisbee for years and was one of the recognized labor leaders of the district, “at one time having been secretary of the Bisbee miners’ union.

“He is thoroughly cognizant of the Ajo situation and appears to favor a complete resumption of work. He adds that nearly 600 men are working for the company and a like number is still on strike.”

Holm’s prediction was accurate. In mid-January, the strike was over. The Review would report that the structural iron workers had received instruction from their headquarters to return to work, and others followed suit.

“It is understood the organizers of the Western Federation have left the camp,” the Bisbee paper said.

*Lead burning was a type of welding, or soldering, that put lead on lead. Lead was often used in processes that involved acid. The Ajo mine incorporated a type of leaching and chemical extraction to remove copper from the oxide ore capping. After that was removed, the sulfide ore would be shipped to the C&A smelter at Douglas, along with the ore from Bisbee.

January 2, 1917

[Ex?]-Gov. Hunt not budging

George W. P. Hunt formally handed Thomas Campbell, the newly elected governor of Arizona, a typewritten document, dated Jan. 2, refusing to give Campbell possession of the executive office.

Hunt had signed it and had identified himself as “governor of Arizona,” The Arizona Republican reported.

No peace on the border (Jan. 2)

Bisbee goes dryer than dry (Jan. 2)

This came after Campbell’s second and formal demand upon Hunt for possession of the office.

E.S. Ives, chief counsel for Hunt, offered to take the issue to trial on the basis of the ballots thus far inspected [see below], but like other offers, this one was rejected by Campbell’s lawyer, Richard Sloan, a former territorial governor and federal judge.

Hunt not budging

Since he could not get into the executive offices, Campbell set up at his home, which was not at the capitol grounds, but “sufficiently near to be handy,” the Republican said.

Who’s who in Arizona

The state auditor and treasurer remained neutral, saying they would not transact any business requiring the governor’s signature until after the court hearing later in the week.

But to add to the confusion, Gov. Campbell began appointing officials. “How the tax commission of Arizona will organize on its first meeting, said to be called for Jan. 4, is a mystery,” the Phoenix newspaper said.

Hunt had not appointed a new tax commissioner to succeed the former one, who happened to be Campbell. But Campbell appointed Rudolph Kuchler to that office. He was a prosperous rancher who was president of the Arizona Taxpayers’ Association.

Campbell named a handful of others to office as well, but held off on most of the vacancies. “There may be some interesting times if two boards of control attempt to meet to transact the same business,” the Republican commented.

“It is generally believed, however, that no state business requiring the presence of either claimant to the governorship will be done until there is an expression by the courts regarding the mandamus brought by Judge Sloan against Mr. Hunt.”

The governors meet

The Republican, which billed itself at the time as “an independent progressive journal,” noted that in the meeting between Hunt and Campbell, “the office was graced by the presence of several of the radical laborites, but they took no part in the parley.” These men went unnamed.

The newspaper said that Campbell and Sloan were met by Hunt and his secretary, L.A. Ladd. “The ex-governor was palpably nervous, and instead of taking much part in the conversation, kept patting Campbell’s shoulder and talking about having a fair and equitable determination of the issue.”

Ladd acted as his spokesman.

In the letter Hunt gave to Campbell, he referred to the “gross misrepresentations to which I have been subjected recently by the newspapers who are championing your cause.”

Hunt wrote that his “only purpose is to proceed with all possible dispatch to terminate the dispute and to abide in all respects with the law.”

Meanwhile, ballot inspection continued with the inspection by three boards, the newspaper said.

With about half recounted, the Democrats said Hunt had gained another 96 votes, while the Republicans gave him a gain of only 1.


January 1, 1917

Arizona has two governors

“Thousands see Campbell inaugurated while Hunt still bars the doors,” read the headline in the Bisbee Daily Review. Arizona’s first, second (and eventually many-time) governor George W. P. Hunt wasn’t giving up the executive offices in Phoenix, even though Thomas E. Campbell (apparently) had been elected the new governor of the state, in a battle as contentious as the recent presidential election.

Hope of peace dying (Jan. 1)

Is this pre-Rose Bowl? (Jan. 1)

The choice of governor would have many repercussions that would play out in the Bisbee Deportation, which rocked the state some six months later.

The Associated Press reported, in a story datelined Jan. 1 out of Phoenix, that “Arizona presents the seeming paradox of having two governors today,” the first day of the new year, when elective offices changed out.Oust Gov. Hunt

While the Campbell inauguration was peaceful, “Hunt or his agent still occupies the executive offices in the state house and continues to resist all efforts to oust him.”

Campbell’s lawyers asked for a writ of mandamus and a court hearing had been set to establish who was really governor. That needed to be done before Jan. 8, when the legislature was set to convene.

Hunt (through friends) had offered to leave the executive office if the inspection of ballots be stopped, a process then about half way complete, and action be taken on what had already been discovered. Campbell rejected the offer.

Campbell bore no animosity

Campbell delivered his inaugural address from the state capitol, “surrounded by friends of both big political parties.” He spoke, the AP said, to thousands of people in attendance. Despite the bitterness and opposition of the election, he said he bore no political animosity.

“Today the executive branch of the government is transferred to new keeping, but it is still in the hands of the people,” the new governor said. “The bitterness of defeat and the exultation of triumph should be supplanted by an ungrudging acquiescence to the popular will.”

He added that he would administer the office without appeal to class prejudice or partisan animosity. The news report said that the “expected outburst against his opponents did not develop.”

The conflict between labor and capital, which had been a major issue of the election, especially in relation to the mining industry, was mentioned, and he said that a recognition of the rights of both sides was important.

Hunt said he would continue his job

Hunt, who was at his country home, declined to talk about the election, the AP reported. He said that he never showed up at the governor’s office on a holiday, but the following day, he intimated, he would be back at his desk, exercising the functions of the governor.Repudiate Hunt

He added that inspection of the ballots thus far had indicated he had received a majority of the votes and would be serving out the next two-year term.

Campbell, in his inaugural address, made one reference to the contest: “The man who has to regard the ballot box as a juggler’s hat has renounced his allegiance; a party success that is achieved by unfair methods is hurtful and transitory.”

Dems threaten to repudiate Hunt

Meanwhile, the state’s Democrats, the predominant party in Arizona, threatened to repudiate Hunt, an action that “seems assured,” the Review said.

“Chairman George J. Stoneman, of the Demoratic state central committee, has sent a letter to the various members of the committee in which he recounts the actions of Hunt and infers, without possibility of mistake, that the once successful leader of the party in the state has brought that organization into disrepute.”

The Bisbee newspaper printed Stoneman’s letter, written Dec. 31, in toto, noting that it hadn’t even considered Hunt’s “action in holding the governor’s chair by force.”

This will be a continuing saga throughout the year. I’ll also be putting up some articles about how the situation came to be.