James W. Hurst
Last updated on Monday, December 23, 2002
James W. Hurst, Professor Emeritus (History), Joliet (Illinois) Junior College. Jim taught history for thirty-five years and moved to Mesilla, New Mexico in 1993. His interests are in the history of the Southwest: research using the libraries of New Mexico State University, the State Records Center and Archives, and the State Library, Santa Fe. Hiking, camping, photographing, and exploring in Southern New Mexico and Arizona are also high on his list of activities.
Jim's writing has ranged from scholarly to popular, and he has published articles and reviews in the following journals and/or magazines: Eire-Ireland; The Review of Politics; Science and Society; The History Teacher; an entry on the Fenian Brotherhood in Irish American Volunteer Organizations; Community College Social Science Quarterly; Gray's Sporting Journal, and Fur, Fish, and Game.
Jim is the author of the recently released book (October 2000), The Villista Prisoners of 1916-17 (Las Cruces, NM: Yucca Tree Press). The book deals with the March 9, 1916 raid on Columbus, New Mexico by Francisco "Pancho" Villa and the fate of Villa's bandits who were apprehended during the raid and its immediate aftermath. A number of Villistas who were in the raiding party were brought back from Mexico by General Pershing's expedition of 1916-17 and tried in Deming, New Mexico for murder. The book details the trials, executions and imprisonment of the Villistas.
Jim was educated in the public schools of Chicago, Illinois. He has a Bachelors and Masters degree from Southern Illinois University and a Certificate of Advanced Study from Northern Illinois University. He has done research and studied at Trinity College, Dublin, the National Library of Ireland, and the State Paper Office, Dublin Castle. His current research interest is in the 1916 raid on Columbus by Francisco "Pancho" Villa and the fate of those Villistas who were subsequently captured.
Articles by James Hurst
On May 17, 1885, Mangus (son of Mangus Colorado), Chihuahua, Nachite, old Nana, the shaman Geronimo, and their followers fled the San Carlos reservation in Arizona in an attempt to regain the freedom they had known before the reservation system was instituted by the United States government. The restrictions of reservation life were difficult for these semi-nomads, and they longed for the openness of the land the Spaniards had called Apacheria. Although the Chiracahuas could not have foreseen it, this was to be their last attempt to recapture the old ways that many of their cousins had already forsaken.
In the days of the Old West, New Mexico was home, at one time or another, to many of the more colorful desperadoes. The Clantons, William Bonney, Jesse Evans, William "Curley Bill" Brocius, Clay Allison, Doroteo "El Tigre" Sains, Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum, John "King of the Rustlers" Kinney, Jim Miller, and Johnny Ringo are a relatively small sample. Because of its remoteness and proximity to the Mexican border, Southern New Mexico attracted a large number of outlaws: violent men who lived from the labor of others, who were quick to kill, and for whom the conventions of settled society meant little. A man who fit the mold of New Mexican outlaw, and has been largely ignored by historians and folklorists, was José Chavez y Chavez.
The Tcihene, or "red paint people", were the eastern band of the Chiracahua Apaches. Their home was in the Black Range, the Mogollon, and the San Mateo Mountains of New Mexico. The settlers in the area, small farmers and villagers at first, called them Warm Spring or Mimbres Apaches and did not want them for neighbors. Soon miners were exploring the ore-rich mountains of the region and with strikes came the boomtowns with hotels, saloons, churches, homes and schools. Caught between 1) a growing number of settlers, 2) the vacillating policies of the Indian agencies, and 3) the Army's mission to establish and maintain peace in the area, the Tcihene found their old ways of life challenged at every turn.
Located in New Mexico's remote boot heel region, Skeleton Canyon begins in the Peloncillo Mountains on the western edge of the Animas Valley and heads northwest by west to a point where about seven rugged miles later, it meets its south fork in nearby Arizona. Tradition has it that the canyon, called Cañon Bonita by the Mexicans, takes it name from the ambush of a Mexican pack train by Curly Bill Brocius' gang of cutthroats in 1882. According to the story, fifteen Mexicans were killed and their bodies left to the scavengers. For years thereafter, their bones provided grisly souvenirs.
On March 1, 1908, while on his way to Las
Cruces, New Mexico's most famous lawman was shot and killed near
Alameda Arroyo on the Mail-Scott Road. Garrett
was riding in a buggy with Carl Adamson, one of two partners who were
prospective buyers for Bear Canyon Ranch , property Garrett had
been trying to sell. About four miles east of Las Cruces, they met Wayne Brazel,
a cowboy who had leased Garrett's ranch for a goat-raising venture. Garrett,
angered at the presence of goats on his property, had tried unsuccessfully to
break the lease with Brazel. The only way Brazel would agree to cancel the lease
was if Garrett's prospective buyers would purchase the goats. The idea of
purchasing eighteen hundred goats did not appeal to the buyers, and the deal was
on the verge of collapse.
By It has been written that behind every great personal
fortune lies a crime, and there is probably no better illustration of that adage
than the cattle empires of the Old West. New Mexico's territorial days offer a
number of such illustrations, but perhaps none better than the story of the
Lyons and Campbell Ranch and Cattle Company of the Gila River country and beyond.
Angus Campbell, a Scotsman, came to New Mexico from
California after gold-rushing with his parents. He discovered what became the
Gosette Mine on Lone Mountain in the late 1870s, established a foundry in
Silver City, and went into business with
Thomas Lyons, an Englishman who had recently arrived in the Territory from
Wisconsin. The partnership prospered, but the two decided that the future was in
cattle and in 1880 sold their mine and foundry and began to acquire land and
cattle. The "LC," as the company was popularly known, began its climb from
modest ranch to cattle empire, and its holdings at the turn of the century
stretched from Silver City west to Arizona and from Mule Creek south to Animas - more, it was said, than five hundred