January 1883


Featured in this issue are ads, the Ivanhoe Mine, the Southwestern Stage Company, racial slurs, and our climate.


Part of an ad by John Egger of Socorro.


The focus of “The Black Range” tended to be on the northern part of the Black Range and mining was what it was all about.  Stories and ads were dominated by mining articles and ads.  The boosterism and lack of critical assessment of the stories reported to the paper, and printed, might take us aback today.  Or it may be that the art has just become more “sophisticated and refined” in today’s media.

An article in today’s issue contained information about the Ivanhoe Mine.  The paper reported that at “eight-five feet the rich sulphurets and free gold were struck and the tale of Aladin was told to the world.  Couriers were sent to the nearest telegraph station to inform the lucky owners, and then they incorporated for $5,000,000 and put the stock on the market.  This was disastrous, as they had not opened the property in a shape to warrant this capitalization.  Work was continued in the primitive style, hoisting by hand, and the proper development retarded thereby, until the working capital was exhausted...”  This at a time when a meeting to reorganize the miners union was attended by 40 miners who “pledge ourselves to work underground for a no less compensation than four dollars a day.”  Mines in this area were worked by few miners, the veins were narrow and there simply was not a lot of room for a lot of men.  Given that it would take a long time to work off $5M when there was no capital expenditure being made.  Maybe all that money did not go to paying a few miners less than $4 a day.

1_5_83 black people reference

This issue announced the sale of the stage line owned by Armstrong Bros. & Young to the Southwestern Stage Company for $4,000.  As a result the stage fare from “Engle has gone up to fifteen cents per miles and moneyless travelers on this route will be compelled to resume the ancient practice of pounding the sand.  By the new schedule of prices fare to Grafton is nine dollars, to Chloride and Robinson eight dollars...”  A stagecoach ride from Engle to Chloride would cost two days wages for a miner if he was being paid the very best rate going.  

A hundred and thirty years ago the people of the Black Range counted most if they were White Males.  If you were a White Male it was not mentioned in an article about you.  If you were Hispanic in origin you were referred to as Mexican and the articles were rarely positive.  If you were Black or Asian in origin the references to you were never positive and were derogatory (see clips to the right).  If you were an American Indian you were the enemy.  If you were Female, you were referenced in terms of a precious commodities.  There are people who want to romanticize the American West.  It was often a hard crude place, however, not much romanticism in that.

And, the editors of this newspaper did not like Oscar Wilde.  In today’s issue they wrote “America received on Christmas present, at least, for which the people can be thankful.  Oscar Wilde rid the country of his presence, sailing for Europe on the 23rd.”

1_5_83 mexican sheepholders

This issue also included a reprint from the “Lake Valley Herald:  “The pipe for the Lake Valley water works has arrived and will be laid as rapidly as men and money can accomplish it.  The town will be getting its supply of water through it soon after the beginning of the new year...” (meaning 1883).

But it wasn’t all about mining.  This issue took space in its four pages to talk about our climate, the hot springs and their medicinal value, the beautiful scenery, the “abandoned homes of the cave dwellers” and “the hieroglyphics and paintings of the Aztecs”.  

In all fairness to the editors of “The Black Range”, however, the town of Aztec in northwestern New Mexico received its name because locals believed the ruins there to be Aztec in origin.  The assumption that the Mesoamerican cultures were responsible for the major ruins in the southwest was common during this era.

1-5-83 aztec paintings




1_12_83 Anticipation

In this issue, “The Black Range” reports that: “Lake Valley has a public school with twenty scholars in attendance”; that “the people of Hillsboro want a road to Chloride and steps have been taken to build one via Hermosa.  This is a movement in the right direction and the business men of both towns should lend a helping hand”; and that “Albuquerque invites emigration, and receives strangers with open arms, unless said strangers have the small-pox.”  The best route for a north-south road along the east side of the Black Range is a topic of much discussion in this issue.

On page 2 of this issue, “The Black Range” reports that “The Kingston Tribune has made its appearance.  Greene of the Lake Valley Herald, and Brooke, late local editor on the New Mexican, are the proprietors.  The paper is the twin of the Lake Valley Herald, eight-column and very pretty.”  There was a certain amount of expectation building in the Black Range at this time, see right.

It was not easy to get around the Black Range in early 1883.  “At present the expense of traveling by public conveyance from Hillsboro to this district” (Robinson/Chloride) “is almost as great, and the difficulty much greater, than it is from Engle to Kansas City.”

Each issue of “The Black Range” contains at least a full column of “Witticisms”.  Often containing a fair bit of truth and evidence that the human condition does not change.  For instance, “‘Convict this man of being a gambler?’ said a Texas judge. ‘I won’t hear of it.  He’s an infant in cards!  Why, I beat him out of a $120 last night - when I was pretty drunk, too.’”



Iron King Mine

In this issue: a claim that “The value of town property in Silver City has doubled in the six weeks just passed”; That “John Codie after fasting 103 days at Manistee, Michigan, was fastened in a coffin and securely fastened in his grave.  Fasting is a fastenating business unless it is compulsory.  In the latter case it loses its romance”; And that “In spite of all that is been said and published, and in spite of the undeniable richness of the Sierra properties at Lake Valley the stocks of the company continue to decline and on the 10th the Sierra Grande had fallen to $2.15.  The public is getting cute and not so easily swindled by sharpers as it was a year or two ago.”  On page two of the newspaper The Black Range continues its commentary on the situation in Lake Valley, see the article below right.

Even newspapers recognize that you can’t always believe what you read in newspapers.  The Black Range takes issue with the Lincoln County newspaper in the article to the right.

Black Range Robbers

In this issue, The Black Range refers to the situation in Oklahoma several times, anticipating the Oklahoma land rush of 1889 by several years.  The Black Range proposed sending the Apaches of the area to Oklahoma - “the presence of a murderous band of redskins in Oklahoma would calm Capt. Payne’s fevered desire to occupy that coveted land.  This would be killing two birds with one stone, figuratively speaking, and would prevent the killing of many white people by Indian butchers, literally speaking.” 

A public meeting was held in Chloride on January 13 to discuss the possibility of a road connecting the towns on the eastern slope of the Black Range.  A lot of interest was being expressed and great plans made.

Most of page 4 in this issue was taken up with “whittisms” and ads.  Bringing humor to the Black Range was obviously a calling for the Black Range newspaper - and good filler.

Would you like to read the whole issue - The Black Range Newspaper of January 19, 1883 is a 1.3 MB copy of the entire issue.

lake valley mines



The Pioneer Store in Chloride as it appears today.

No guns

FEATURED TODAY: Trouble for Budweiser, capitalist infringing on the 2nd amendment, free public schools?

In news outside the Black Range, the newspaper notes that: “twelve thousand dollars will be offered by the government for the house in which Lincoln died”; “Central City the oldest American town in Grant County, is about to organize a town company and have the place surveyed for patent”; “Silver City butchers go to Fort Worth Texas for their beef cattle because, as they claim the stock is not to be had in New Mexico or Arizona”; and “Twenty-eight persons have died of small-pox recently in the little Mexican town of San Jose in the northern portion of Socorro county, on the river.”

On page one of this issue, The Black Range,  reports on a bit of capitalist gun control and that Conrad &. Co., the makers of the American beer, Budweiser, had failed - as we know from the cans along the right of way, the beer colored like p... continues to be brewed.


Related, perhaps, to the preceding paragraph is the report that “The Socorro Sun chronicles that P. A. Simpson, our new sheriff, in trying to arrest two demonstrative cow-boys shot and killed one of them.  The dead man’s name was W. H. Townsend...”

The effort to establish a free (public) school system in New Mexico was lauded in column three of the front page. 

free schools

Shipping ore was (is) a major mining cost, so reports that “The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe  railroad company, with a view of encouraging the development of the mining interests of New Mexico, has made a large reduction of the the freight tariff on New Mexico ores to Pueblo and Kansas City.  This reduction will greatly boom mining interests, as it will leave miners a much larger margin on their ore, and will admit of their shipping of a lower grade a greater distance for treatment.”  The other big news in the realm of metallurgy was that “A cablegram from London announces that a cheap process of producing aluminum has been discovered, and that there was great excitement in the metal trade...”  Most of the second page of this issue consists of legal notices of various types including notices of “application for patent”.

Superior Mine

The Pioneer Store in Chloride took out a large ad (see right), which appeared on page two of this issue.  The store as it appears today (2015) is shown below.  The ad notes that J.J. Dalgish retired from the business (to take up ranching) - page three notes the change of business.

pioneer store

In column four it is reported that “there is a rumor afloat at Deming that Boston parties have a project ready to put into operation for building a railroad from that point to run into old Mexico.  The course of the line will be due south and it will run between the Sierra Madre and Sierra Mojada ranges.”

In local news from Robinson it is reported that “Tom Butler last week shot three turkeys at one shot about a mile and a half from Edward’s camp.”  From Fairview the report that “jealousy was the cause of a little pistol play on the part of one of the prominent citizens of Fairview, on Wednesday.  There was considerable scare but no damage done.”  -and- “By the accidental discharge of a revolver in the hand of one of his fellow companions, Wednesday morning, Ed. Sebastian had a furrow plowed in his thigh and his horse killed.  The shot cut through the skirt of the saddle and penetrated the heart of the animal, which dropped dead in its tracks.  This was on the road from Chloride to Fairview.”


In Chloride, “The Bank Saloon under its new management opened Wednesday night with free drinks and a free house.”  -and- “The mob on Tuesday evening shot through Mrs. Andrew’s hen house and killed one of her most valuable Plymouth Rock fowls.  However, it has been or will be paid for.” - and- “Dalton Dalgish is happy now, having traded his two bear cubs to Geo. B. McCauley for a rifle...McCauley took the animals to Engle where he will keep them until he goes east when he proposes to take them to Chicago.”

In more news about the Tuesday mob in Chloride, “Chloride had its first genuine cow-boy experience on Tuesday night.  The worst feature of the affair was that only one or two of the crowd were cow-boys, the remainder being citizens of Grafton and Chloride.  Pistol shooting made night  hideous, the noise greatly annoying not to say injuring ladies with weaknesses and ill health, and the random shots penetrating the houses placed the lives of every citizen in danger...a committee of safety, composed of law abiding and determined men, has been organized for the sole purpose of handling just such cases...”

The paper notes (again) that “The people of Hillsboro and the other towns of the south end of the range who are interested in having a road built to connect with the north will please observe that work has been actively going on at this end of the range for a couple of weeks past, and that...”

You can read the full issue at The Black Range Newspaper of January 26, 1883, the file is 2.3 MB in size.


© Robert Barnes 2018-2020