May 1884


Hillsboro Court House and Jail Complex, Hillsboro, NM, USA, as it looked on August 14, 2016.
Much of this issue of The Black Range Newspaper had to do with the new county of Sierra
 - and falls within the general category of “my how things have changed”.

cattlemans association-filtered

The first page of The Black Range newspaper issue of May 2, 1884 was like all the others thus far.  There was an article on the Cork Tree, an article about transatlantic telegraph cables, ads, and several “humor” pieces.

From Page Two

More than half of page two of this issue was dedicated to ads and legal notices.  It also included the following:

“The jury at Huntsville, Ala., which tried Frank James for complicity in the Mussel Shoals robbery, rendered a verdict of not guilty.  He was immediately rearrested for the Boonville, Mo., train robbery.  The Minnesota officers were on hand but were not quick enough to get him.”

“Las Cruces citizens are engaged in constructing breakwaters along the banks of the Rio Grande in anticipation of the June rise.  There is not the least doubt that the river will be up and doing in a month or so hence.  Consequently the people on the banks should be up and doing now.”

The (often overt) bigotry of The Black Range Newspaper editor against everything non-Anglo is shown in the following exert from page two - but the more telling part of the newspaper was the clip to the right, from page three -- seems the cattleman’s association recognized that the Spanish speaking community was an integral and important part of life in these parts.  Now for the quote from page two: “By leave obtained from the general government, through their agent, Major Llewellen, the Mescalero Apache Indians have become members of the Lincoln County Stock association.  This is considerable of a climb upwards for the red man and particularly for the Apaches.  It is not all unlikely that Mr. Mescalero may interpret his membership to mean that he owns all the stock belonging to the members of the association and that some fine night he may walk off with such of said stock as he can conveniently manage.  The Apache is a suspicious character in any capacity or relation.”

“If Dona Ana county feels herself too poor to maintain her county government, she can scud under light canvas until the next meeting of the legislature and then get itself annexed to Sierra county.  By that time Sierra county will have her county buildings all paid for and will be in shape to take hold and help poor Dona Ana out.  Las Cruces people can then attend court at Hillsboro and learn how it is themselves.  Don’t despair, friends, you condition is not hopeless.”

“The Las Cruces Republican is making a fight against the county of Sierra that is totally unwarranted on any grounds.  It is a doleful cry over spilled milk and hasn’t the merit of a desire or hope of accomplishing any good.  The abuse is not sincere on the part of Editor Hildreth and it is not demanded by the Republican’s proprietors or patrons and he might as well allow the subject to drop.  At least let Sierra rest until it is determined by congress that there is such a county in fact.”

The rest of page two consisted of more conjecture about the new county of Sierra, legal notices, and ads.

From Page Three

“While over the range this week, Joe Thorne shot a large silver-tip bear.”

“Caldwell and Gillem have commenced work on the Mountain King.”

“The third and last month of Miss Barnes’ school opened last Thursday.”

“Doc Reekie has brought a load of ore from the Blue Dandy to the concentrator.”

“Charley Canfield and Frank Hastings have gone to Hermosa to work on the American Flag.”

“Ferree and Pfotenhauer will commence work on the Toledo, up Chloride creek, next week.”

“There is plenty of water in Caliente creek this season for all parties so that hostilities on this point have not been renewed actively this year.”

“John McBride put a force of seven men at work on the road to the Silver Monument mine Tuesday.  When the grade from the mine to the gulch is completed some needed repairs will be made upon the portion of the road now traveled by wagons...The Silver Monument people are sinking a new shaft instead of enlarging and extending the old one from the tunnel to the surface.  In the mean time men are doing work in the levels run from the old shaft.”

“The lessees of the Sunrise are working that property with energy.  The ledge just now is considerably broken up but will doubtless resume its solid form before long.  There is nothing discouraging about the outlook.”

“There will probably be a tri-weekly mail from Hillsboro to connect with the Black range road at Cuchillo Negro.  It is greatly needed as now it takes anywhere from a week to ten days to get a letter through from the north end of the range to the county seat.”

Sierra County Commission First Meeting

“James Dalglish in whose favor George Turner resigned his position as postmaster of Chloride, has received his appointment from Washington and now does business in  his own name.  No change could have been made which would have been more satisfactory to the public generally than this.”

“J. H. Drake is at work on the Fairview in the neighborhood of the St. Cloud.  Fred Stevens is assisting.  The property is owned by Drake and the father of Wm. Rogers.  The Fairview shaft is now thirty-five feet deep and Mr. Drake says that an average of the fifteen inch ore streak, assayed Saturday, gave returns of $35.24.  This makes the Fairview a way up property.”

“Dunn and Love at a depth of ninety feet in the White Shield struck a richer streak of ore than anything that the mine has yet shown.  The new ore is of a character resembling that of the Mountain Chief which adjoins, and is undoubtedly rich.  The White Shield ore is all high grade and the dump is a good sized one.”

“The Colossal now contemplates sinking the shaft on the ore chimney to a depth of fifty feet or so and it wants the work done by hand if possible.  The shaft was abandoned before on account of water and that in the dryest season of the year.  It is below the level of the creek and it is highly improbable that hand work will prove effective.  The shaft is the only rational place in which to work, but nothing can be done without machinery, and this may as well be purchased first as last if the mine is to be worked at all.  No reasonable man could ask for a better mine than the Colossal has already proved.  More than half of the work done on the property has been dead and useless, yet the first class ore taken out and shipped has more than paid for the expense of development while a couple of hundred tons of second class ore is yet on the dump.  It is conceded that a mine that pays the expense of development from grass roots is an excellent one.  The Colossal has done more than this.”

Page Four of this issue was dedicated to ads, legal notices, and “Foolishness”.

The entire issue may be read at: The Black Range newspaper, issue of May 2, 1884.

St. Cloud


Hillsboro Court House and Jail Complex Hillsboro, NM, USA

restoring photos-filtered

Many an odd story from the Black Range may be explained by the article to the right, from page one of the May 9, 1884 issue of The Black Range Newspaper.  Apparently in 1884 people were already concerned about fading photographs and this article proposes the use of mercury salts to restore the image - something we do not recommend.  The remainder of front page was dedicated to ads, short “info pieces”, and “humor”.

From Page Two

Four of the six columns of page two were dedicated to ads.  The following is from the other two columns.

A major portion of one column dealt with the possibility of building a road across the northern end of the Black Range.  From the first issue of the newspaper this has been a continuing pitch, apparently some thought it of significant importance.  

Much of the two columns described the maneuverings within the New Mexico Republican party at this time.

The “Proceedings of the County Commissioners of Sierra County, April 25-26” took up about 2/3 of a column.  Included in the proceedings was a list of administrative and tax proceedings and the establishment of a physical presence for the county government.  The Commissioners: “Voted that the Chairman of the Board be instructed to rent the building of two rooms adjoining the Hydraulic Co’s office of F. W. Parker for the temporary use of the county officials...Voted that the clerk be instructed to furnish at the expense of the county temporary furniture consisting of a table, desk, and six chairs for county office.”  The Commissioners also “Voted that the Mexican residents to be furnished with blanks printed in Spanish and that the clerk correspond with the territorial auditor in regard to furnishing all necessary blanks that are usually furnished by the territory both in English and Spanish...Voted the clerk publish the circular “Notice to  Taxpayers”...and records of meetings in The Black Range and Lake Valley Herald.”  At this meeting county precincts were established and Justices of the Peace appointed in each.  The last major bit of business at this meeting was “Voted to let contract to Lockhart, Hopper Bros. & Co. of Kingston to build a temporary jail or lockup for $725.00 in County Warrants; said jail to be built of 2 x 4 lumber being spiked together in the form of a box (? - poor copy) with grated window (? size) with mud and (?) roof, the  same be erected within twenty days.”


From Page Three

“W. H. Trumbor is surveying the Silver Monument for patent.”

“The Hillsboro Hydraulic Company and the placers are working steadily with a strong force of men and with satisfactory results.”

“Billy Dunn brought down fifty pounds of ore from the White Shield and had it tested for an average with a result of a nice figure.”

“N. Grayson & Co., of Las Palomas, contemplate, with all the probabilities in favor of the change, the removal of their store and headquarters to Hillsboro.”

“A sand bar is formed at the ferry of the Rio Grande on the Black Range and Engle road and the boat cannot run.  The water in the river is just high enough to run over the box of the stage when crossing at the ford.”

“Larry McDonald came in town last Monday.  Says he has planted about two tons of potatoes on his ranch, but  the season is so backward they are not doing as he had hoped.”


“Frank Le Cratt has planted about 240 pounds of potatoes in his Mineral creek ranch and set out a good lot of cabbage.  He says the ground is in splendid condition and he has fine promise of good crops.”

“County Commissioner Hopewell drives from Hillsboro to his home in Las Palomas distance twenty-eight miles in two hours and thirty-five minutes.  Common iron is of no value when used to hold together his buckboard, the pulverizer.  Rawhide and baling wire only are serviceable.”

“The commissioners of Sierra county have decided to take no steps regarding the construction of public buildings at Hillsboro until all doubt on the subject of the continuity of the acts of the legislature which created the county shall have been settled by congress.  The intervening time cannot be long.”

“Hopewell and Brooks will add three thousand head of stock cattle to their herd about next month.  Their range occupies some twenty miles of Rio Grande river front and comprises a million acres of pasture land.  The bunch now expected will swell the herd on the range to seven thousand head of cows and bulls and one hundred and seventy-five horses.”

A long section of column dealt with the Chloride “Township Question.”

Page Four was dedicated to ads, legal notices, and “Foolishness”.

The entire issue may be read at: The Black Range newspaper of May 9, 1884.  The file is 2.1 MB in size.

Hillsboro Stamp mill-filtered



As hard as it is to imagine, someone liked an article from the front page of the May 16, 1884 issue of the Black Range Newspaper.  So, we have a gap in history.  The real impact of this loss would have been on page two but what was lost there was mostly ads and legal notices.

What remains of the front page is ads and “humor” stories.

From Page Two

“The longer action is delayed the less likelihood there is of congress annulling the acts of the late legislature of New Mexico.” (Ed. note: Primarily a reference to the establishment of Sierra County.)

Of note is this comment about a new Newspaper in Socorro - “Socorro is too small a place to support an independent paper, because there are not enough of that style people there...” (Ed. Note: Papers like Fox News Entertainment and MSNBC were the lucrative ventures.)

“Already Sierra county has use for the new jail whose building was provided for by the county commissioners at their first meeting.  Last Monday a man named Jim Jackson shot and killed James Wilson of Lake Valley.  Wilson was prospector from Leadville, Colorado.  Jackson was drunk when he committed the act.”  

A gravestone at the Lake Valley Cemetery documents the death of Jessie Stanley just a few days before the shooting.  Not mentioned in the Black Range Newspaper, the death of this infant was all too common during the late 1800’s.


Lake Valley New Era

The article to the right continues as such: “ing of the board the Black Range editor was present and set the board right regarding the papers of the county and on this information the action was taken which gave the New Era and Kingston Clipper a share of the work and cut the Deming Tribune off.”  (Ed. Note: Apparently the new County Commissioners did not know about the Lake Valley New Era or the Kingston Clipper.)

From Page Three

“Messrs. Caldwell and Gillem are doing assessment work for 1884 on the Mountain King mine on upper Chloride Creek.”

“Mr. Russel, an early resident of Grafton, has a fat contract on the O. Kelley mine at Hillsboro.  His family lives in Lake Valley.”

“Messrs. Blain and Cameron removed a building owned by them, from Grafton to Chloride this week and have it up for use as an office at the Crawford stables.”

“Judge Holmes has his new appointment and seal for notary work in Sierra county. This is the second seal for the new county, June Fuller of Hillsboro having the first. The Judge will present his bond for approval of the commissioners in due time.”

“The short season of work of the Silver Monument mine and the two weeks work of the concentrator have already made a notable improvement in the finances of this camp. A few weeks more of the same will put Chloride on high wave of prosperity.”


“On the dump of the King No. 2 mine there are several tons of shipping ore.  When the wagon road up Byer's run which M. H. Chamberlin and Fred Stevens are now at work upon is completed, this rich ore will be brought down and sold to Mr. Castle for shipment...The interests of Geo. McAuley and Nate Ayers in the King Mine No. 2 was to have been and probably was sold at auction by the sheriff of Socorro county on Wednesday. The sale was made to satisfy a judgment in favor of Westerman & Co. of Chloride obtained on suit of a note for $200 given by McAuley and endorsed by Nate Ayers.”

“Charley Ridgely and Bob Nortonare sinking twelve  feet in the last shaft sunk on the Midnight, on contract.  This will make the upper shaft twenty-two feet deep.  Every foot gained in depth improves the quantity and quality of the ore and increases the value of the property.”

Black Range Cattle Co.-filtered

“There is a tearing up at Fort Craig caused by the removal of the cavalry now stationed there to Fort Apache, Arizona, and the infantry to the lakes of Michigan.  There will be a new outfit to supply their places at Ft. Craig but the Range doesn’t know where it will come from.”

“Messrs. Hill and Robinson have potatoes planted on their ranch on Corduroy Canyon that are up and growing nicely.  They will have a three acre patch when they are done planting.  The boys are at work fencing their meadow to keep the neighbor’s stock from eating up all their profits.”

“Henry Rickert is having two hundred pounds of the ore from his Orwig mine sampled at the concentrator this week.  The Orwig runs low in silver but the gold assays have run from a trace to five ounces and he thinks that probably the gold value will average so well to make the ore profitable to handle. There are now about three tons of ore ore on the Orwig dump, but the capacity for production is good and it will be worked if only expenses can be made. The ore is among the best in the camp to concentrate.”

“The purchase by H. N. Castle of the small bunches of rich ore to be found throughout the camp, will prove a great help to the camp.  there are innumerable prospects in this vicinity which have dumps containing from five hundred pounds to several tons of rich ore which is now doing nobody good.  The owners thereof have not the means if they had the disposition to ship such small quantities, but now that Mr. Castle is purchasing these bunches there is an opportunity to make a turn and get cash with which to make further developments.  It will pay every mine owner to look over his dump and if he finds ore worth eighty dollars per ton or more to bring it in and get the money for it.”

At the Sierra County Commission meeting of May 5 & 6, administrative matters associated with the new county were conducted.  Constables and Supervisors of Roads were appointed at this meeting and arrangements were made for county plats.  

Page four of this issue was dedicated to the usual ads, legal notices, and “Foolishness”.

The complete copy of this issue may be read at: The Black Range newspaper, issue of May 16, 1884.




With this issue The Black Range Newspaper now carries the following
location in its heading, Chloride, SIERRA COUNTY, N.M. (emphasis added).


Hillsboro county seat-filtered

Page One of this edition of The Black Range Newspaper was dedicated, as usual, mostly to ads and humor pieces.  There was, however, an article comparing various statistics about the United States in the years 1860 and 1884.  In 1860 the U. S. population was about thirty million people, by 1884 it had risen to fifty million.  In 1860, 5% of the population lived in cities, by 1884 that percentage had risen to about 23% (as of 2010 that percentage had risen to 80.7%).  The people of the Black Range are truly bucking the trend.  The article contains other comparisons, mostly of productivity in various industries.

From Page Two

Page Two contains the article to the right - more posturing about the new Sierra County and the selection  of Hillsboro as its County Seat.

The rest of Page Two is dedicated to national news, legal notices, and ads - except for a long article (just short of a full column) which examines the prevalence of malaria along the lower Rio Grande of New Mexico and its tributaries - and determines that the difference in infection rates at various localities is due to the presence or absence of Cottonwoods.  (Ed. note: All that is written is not fact.)

Ojo Caliente water-filtered

From Page Three

About a third of Page Three was dedicated to ads and legal notices.  The rest of the page was used to report local news, like the following:

“Work has been discontinued on the Sunrise Mine.  The leasees thereof moved downtown Tuesday last.”

“George Richardson has entered into partnership with Wm. Cloudman in the butcher business at Fairview, and  the new firm will run a meat wagon to Chloride every other day, to the great accommodation of our people.”

“Four gentlemen of Kingston have, according to the Clipper, formed a company with a capital of $30,000 whose purpose is to build a wagon road from Lake Valley to Kingston direct.  The route is a hilly and tedious one and It is hardly probable that the capital stock of the company will be sufficient to put it through without an increase.”

“The American Flag at Hermosa sent up to the concentrator yesterday by S. S. Staley's teams twenty-three hundred pounds of second-class ore for a test run. If this experiment proves satisfactory the Flag has five hundred tons which will be sent along Immediately.   There are ten or twelve men at work upon the mine at present piling up the ore on the various dumps.”

Silver Monument-filtered

“The owners of the Black Knife mine In the Cuchillos are anxious to resume work on their property and will do so if the concentrator can handle their product with success. They will probably have a few tons run through the Chloride mil! as a test and if it proves satisfactory work on the property will begin in earnest.  They will not attempt to use their smelter right away however.”

“The Equator mine in the Iron Reef district is working three men now sinking its shaft toward the granite contact which is estimated to lie about two hundred and fifty feet below the surface at the mouth of the opening.  The shaft Is now ninety-four feet deep and is following a crevice of gouge matter with occasional bunches of mineral which makes it evident that the rich deposit of ore first discovered came from below where there it doubtless a larger and richer body remaining. Last week twenty-six hundred pounds of ore was sent to Denver and five hundred dollars net was received from it. The owners of the property have full confidence that there is ore beneath them which will prove to be a bonanza when they reach It.”


“Jake Blun, of Fairview, is the only merchant in the  range who refuses to take the concentrator scrip at par. He discounts it five per cent, when taken in trade. Blun was one of the first men in the range who agreed to take the script at par and he is the only one who has refused to do so up to this time.  Other merchants are pleased with it.  It helps them out in making change; it puts more money into circulation and assists greatly in collecting outstanding accounts and by its being redeemable in eastern exchange it saves merchants expense when paying bills for goods. The scrip is as good a thing for Blun as it Is for anybody but the natural meanness for which everybody curses him, as the Range remarked last week, steps in in this case and prompts him to ask five per cent, interest for the possible non-use of his money for the not more than twenty days that he may be deprived of it by the scrip. He may make this pay and he may not.”

“The concentrator run on the St. Cloud ore to the amount of seventy tons has demonstrated that this is a nice paying property. The ore body is simply immense and now that it is known beyond doubt that the value is satisfactory the owners are going to work with renewed energy and an increased force.  The face of the tunnel is now fifty-seven feet from the connection with the shaft which will have to be sunk twenty feet deeper than it now is to reach the tunnel level. In the tunnel at a  distance of sixty feet from the shaft the ore changed in character so us to be identical with the shaft ore which it had not perviously resembled and which is much richer than the tunnel ore previously found. An assay on an average piece of ore from this point showed a value of 225 ounces of silver and thirteen percent copper, the gold not being given. As the ore is continuous in the vein instead of being in pockets.  The developments mill returns and assays prove that the St. Cloud is entitled to rank with the remarkable silver and copper mines of the world.”

Page Four was dedicated to ads and “foolishness”.  It is noticeable that the number of graphics continues to increase.  The full issue may be read at: The Black Range newspaper, issue of May 23, 1884.




Ying’s Restaurant, Hillsboro.

Chloride townsite

Pages One and Four of the May 30, 1884 issue of The Black Range Newspaper held true to form, being dedicated to ads, legal notices, “general information”, and “humor” pieces.  About half of Page Two was dedicated to the same.

From Page Two

Most of Page Two dealt with national politics and the Republican Convention in Chicago in particular.

A legal notice about the formal platting of the Chloride townsite (see right) was printed on this page.

From Page Three

One-third of Page Three was dedicated to legal notices and ads.

“Capt. Bryant is at Hermosa prospects in the Amajacano lode.”

“Work is progressing on both drifts of the Silver Monument mine...Mr. Drake is increasing the force on Silver Monument mine weekly. Pending the arrival of the machinery that is now on the way he is hoisting with a whip, and he is well pleased with the way it cleans the  openings...The road to the Silver Monument will be completed next Week. If the road supervisor of this precinct will only qualify and get together the road tax of Chloride  be can use some of it with good effect on the lower end of that route.”

“The new Dreadnaught ore is the equal in beauty of anything ever mined in this or any other country. It is also rich and there is lots of it.”

“Quite a number of the men of the camp have lately gone to Hermosa to work on the American Flag. A.J. Knight is one of the number.”


“"Ma" Miller is In Chloride again this week, telling of the very many delicacies in fruit and vegetables that are enjoyed in Lake Valley and not in Chloride.”

“Fairview will have a public school for a few months now Miss Nellie Russell having been engaged as teacher at a salary of about forty-five dollars per month. School will begin one week from Monday.” (Ed. note - This is about 1/2 the salary that miners were being paid.)

“During the past week water has been running several feet  deep through the streets of San Marcial, the flood being caused by the rise in the river. If the Rio Grande gets up as high as is feared It will make a total wreck of the town.”

At the May 19 County Commissioners meeting in Hillsboro the tolls for the planned Lake Valley to Kingston turnpike were set (see right).  The Commissioners also voted “that the Chairman of board and sheriff be instructed to select and order four dozen shackels and one-half dozen leg irons.”

“The Fairview townsite business is practically settled and the property owners of that burg have clear titles to their property. D. H. Wenger returned from Socorro Saturday with deeds of property signed by the probate Judge and delivered them to those or the lot claimants who paid for them.”

“The owners of the St. Cloud mine are again at work in drift and shaft. They report that the shaft ore is getting richer and more solid rapidly and they expect to be able to make a handsome showing - something extraordinary even - when the level of the drift is reached.”

“J. M. Smith went down to the Percha this week.  From the best Information that the Range can get Smith's Ingersoll mine on the North Percha is an excellent property and one of the very best of that excellent country. The ore Is of good quality and there is an abundance of it.”

kingston turnpike

“The news comes from El Paso that the odor of the chemicals used In photography has made a confirmed invalid of C. C. Harris, in consequence of which he has abandoned business at the City of the Pass and removed to Los Angelos, Cal., where Mrs. Harris will use her needle for the sustenance of the captain, Russy and herself.”

“Assays upon ore from the Midnight which had heretofore been considered simply black spar gave a return of over two hundred ounces per ton in silver. The quantity of the ore is so large that the surprising richness Is exceedingly agreeable. Mr. Chamberlin is now at work at running an open cut on the ledge into the bill on the north aide of the gulch opposite, the present workings and he is finding ore of nice appearance in large quantities.  No assays as yet.  All the work on the Midnight improves the appearance and value of the property.”

The entire issue may be read at: The Black Range newspaper, issue of May 30, 1884.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2024