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According to the Associated Press, some 1 miles of recently constructed border barriers near Columbus, New Mexico will have to be removed because they were mistakenly placed on the Mexican side of the border. It could cost as much as $35 million to correct the mistake. In March, U.S. officials discovered that the mile and section protruded between one to six feet into Mexican territory. Mexico is insisting the barriers be moved. Gj

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It seems that the fabled Yellow Rose of Texas may have actually existed and the story has some truth to it. At least according to Kent Biffle of the Dallas Morning News that is. For those not familiar with the story of the Yellow Rose, she was a "Mulatta girl" by the name of Emily who kept Santa Anna occupied in his tent when the Texans attacked at the battle of San Jacinto in April 1836. Biffle cites an unpublished and forgotten essay titled "Texas In 1842" written by an English travel writer by the name of William Bollaert. Bollaert who wrote, The Battle of San jacinto was probably lost to the Mexicans, owning to the influence of a Mulatta Girl (Emily) belonging to Col. Morgan who was closeted in the tent with General Santa Anna, at the time the cry was made the ememy, they come! and detained Santa Anna so long that order could not be restored readily again. Gj

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January 5, 1947. El Paso Times. Captain John R. Hughes, whose life as a Texas Ranger in the gun-toting days sounds like a movie scenario and earned him the title of "Border Boss" was found dead today at the age of 92 Tuesday night in Austin, Texas, a bullet through the roof of his mouth. Justice of the Peace Mace Thurman of Austin ruled in his inquest that the death was a suicide.

"The body of the famous veteran of early day law enforcement was found in a garage at rear of his Austin home. A United Press dispatch said that Hughes ended his life with a .45 caliber Colt revolver, the type the Rangers packed in the pioneer days of the Southwest".

"Hughes had been in poor health for some time, but last week he made a brief appearance in the House and the Senate where resolutions were adapted lauding his career. Hughes was well known through out west Texas and southern New Mexico for his work with the Rangers along the border. He was a tall, handsome man, a deadly shot and an excellent horseman".

"In 1896, he was sent by the Texas governor to El Paso to stop the famous boxing match between Bob Fitzsimmons and Pete Maher. He seceded temporarily, but the fighters and their band took a train to Judge Roy Bean's headquarters at Langtry, Texas, across the border where the fight was staged."

Hughes could only watch the fight through his binoculars from Texas. The El Paso Times said it was the only time he failed to get his man. Captain John Hughes was the last of the old ranger captains before the desent of the force and its leadeship into the years of politics and corruption at the beginning of the new 20th century. John Hughes truely deserves to be well remembered. Gj

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Hello Mr Justice,

I am writing to you as a shot in the dark. I was told a story by and uncle years ago regarding my grandfather(Jose Valdez) and how he and his brother(Mercedes Valdez) were reunited after many years. They were separated after their mother's death and did not have knowledge of each other until they met as adults. Anyway, here is the story as I remember it.
My grandfather lived on a ranch on the border of TX/MEX in Chihuaha(probably in the Pilares area where my mom was born). There had been several cattle killed by a mountain lion so my grandfather, uncles and several other men set out to track and kill this lion. In the process, the lion was cornered inside a hole and the solution to get to him was that my grandfather would go in with a pistol to try and kill the lion. At about the halfway point one of the other men found another opening to the whole above where the original entrance was and preceded to drop a rock down the hole. This caused the lion to try and exit through the first hole running directly in the direction of my grandfather. As my grandfather stated to me, he had only one option and that was to lay as flat as possible and fired the pistol a couple of times as the lion passed over him. The shots proved to be on target, killing the lion.
Somehow, this story reached a man who wrote short stories of the West and published them in a little publication popular in those days. This particular publication was in circulation in Hawaii and read by my grandfather's brother. He did some research to verify that this was his brother. Mercedes had left Mexico and became fairly wealthy over the years. This whole thing lead him back to Mexico to see his brother(must have been late 50's). Mercedes brought my grandfather and his family to the U.S.(Van Horn) where he purchased a couple of lots and a house for my grandfather. Our family still owns this property with both my grandparents having passed away. My grandfather and his brother corresponded for years through letters that I would translate and write for my grandfather. The last letter we received was to let us know that Mercedes had passed away. Don't know if he left anything to my grandfather since we never heard from his family again.
Anyway, the whole reason I am contacting you is, that I have wanted to find this story or publication that brought the two brothers together. So any help you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Efrain Gonzales

I think you might be talking about True West or Old West Magazine. The University of Texas in Austin has a complete collection of these magazines.

See ... 0055.html. Also, the Haley Memorial Library in Midland has many of these magazines, see I believe the Haley has a index of articles which should be most helpful. Good luck! Gj

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According to the Associated Press, some 200 miles of steel vehicle barriers resembling those built by the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy during World War II are being constructed in Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Park. The steel barriers are designed to block roads used by drug smugglers driving vehicles across the border. There are already some 80 miles of vehicle barriers currently in use along the U. S.-Mexican border.

Closer to home in Texas, the Border Patrol has informed Texas Parks and Wildlife that wildlife refuges in Starr, Hidalgo and Cameron counties will soon have approximately 82 miles of border fences because they are located on lands owned by the federal government. These areas include the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and the Santa Anna Wildlife Refuge. No studies of the impact on wildlife have been performed and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service was only given a few days to respond to the plans.

Reuters is reporting that U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Augilar said Wednesday that he expects the United States will have "operational control" of the U.S.-Mexican border by 2013. According to Augilar, there are presently plans to put up 370 miles of fence along the border. In addition, by the end of next year, the number of Border Patrol agents will increase from 13,500 to 18,300. Gj

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According to U.S. Border Patrol chief David Agular, a new high tech virtual wall will soon be operating along the U.S. Mexican border. The pricey new system manufactured by the Boeing Company will be composed of hundreds of interconnected 98 foot tall mobile towers that contain ground sensing radar, cameras, lights, data access points and radio communications equipment. The system of towers is known as SBI or the Secure Border Initiative and is designed to detect persons attempting to illegally enter the United States. Agular has said that the system is so effective that it will, detect and classify more than 95 per cent of illegal entries within with the virtual wall. On the Arizona border some 28 miles of the SBI system is scheduled to be in operation by the end of May. According to the Associated Press, SBIs should be in operation in New Mexico and parts of Texas within a year.

The SBI system will replace aging Viet Nam era ground sensor equipment that could be easily set off by livestock. The SBI system will transmit images and data to Border Patrol agents laptop computers hopefully eliminating troublesome false alarms. See ... 4b_pr.html for a photo of one of the new towers. Gj

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Whatever happened to the town of Chisos, Texas, and the quicksilver mine? My grandfather used to work there about 1914-1920 or so. Are there any book on the area.
George R Brown

The Chisos Mining Company Camp was located at Terlingua in Brewster County. See ... hnt13.html for a brief histoy. You will probably want to read Kenneth Baxter Ragsdale's fine book, "Quicksilver: Terlingua and the Chisos Mining Company" published by Texas A & M University Press. Terlingua is no longer a ghost town today being a poplular tourist attraction. Check out Gj

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I can't tell you how many times I have driven by the Burro Lady in the Big Bend over the years. You would see here everywhere in the Big Bend along side the road with her burro and big hat. Sometimes she would be camped out but mostly always seemed to be on the move. I even remember seeing her along I-10 in El Paso once. She used to go upriver from Candelaria camping along the way in some very remote out of the way places. I never knew her name until today when I read that the Burro Lady is no more. Her name is Judy Ann Magers and she was 65 years old. The Border Patrol found Magers' body not far from Sierra Blanca Friday appairently not long after she had died. For more on the Burro Lady see:

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In January 1918 a heavily armed group of Texas Rangers, ranchmen and members a troop of U.S. Cavalry descended upon the tiny community of Porvenir, Texas on the Mexican border in western Presidio County. After rounding up the inhabitants of the village and searching their homes, the vigilantes selected fifteen Mexican boys and men ranging in age from 16 to 72 years and marched them off into the darkness. A short distance from Porvenir, the prisoners were lined up against a rock bluff and shot to death. In January 1919, the Porvenir massacre came under the scrutiny of the Texas House and Senate Investigation of the State Ranger Force. The following is a sworn statement taken from Rosenda Mesa describing the massacre.

According to the transcript, Rosenda Mesa was 47 years old and an American citizen born in Fort Davis, Texas. That he was at Candelaria, Texas, on January 25, 1918, where he heard that on the 24th of said month, had been perpetrated on the El Porvenir Ranch, by a party of armed men, composed of about 40 individuals, consisting of American soldiers, Rangers, and Texas ranchmen, at about one o'clock on the morning of January 24th, who proceeded to take from their homes, all the inhabitants of Porvenir, and after they had been gotten together, about 30 in number, they were taken about on-fourth mile below said ranch without any explanation of the cause, and without asking anything, and after arriving there, they were told they could return to their homes, with the exception of Eutemio Gonzales, Roman Nieves, and Manual Fierro, who they took away as prisoners and held them two days in the mountains, making terrible threats, but allowing them at last to return to Porvenir, Tesas where on the last day of the assault, the first named two were killed, and where Manual Fierro was saved, because he was not in Porvenir on January 28th.

He (Mesa) was then asked under his oath, according to law what he knew about the assault and people killed at Povenir. He went to Porvenir where the families of the victims told him that about one or two o'clock AM of that day, an armed group assaulted them on the 24th and they also made another assault about one or two A.M. on January 28th, in the number of about 40 men, the same being soldiers, Rangers, and Texas ranchmen. That as soon as the ranch was surrounded, the rangers proceeded to take the inhabitants from their houses, and from that number selected 15 and took them about one-quarter mile from said ranch, and then in a very cowardly manner, and without examining any of them, shot them. On January 29th, permission was obtained from the military commander at Candelaria, Texas, and also from Colonel Eduardo Porcallo of Porvenir, Mexico, to pass the dead bodies of the victims to the Mexican side for burial, which was done in the company of the friends and families of the victims.

"The bodies were found about one-quarter mile below Porvenir, Texas on the ground in a parallel line and had wounds in bodies, and also a shot in the head of each one, the bullets passing through the heads of many of them (sic). Their bodies were examined, and that in life, the names were as follows: Manuel Morales, Antonio Casteneda, Pedro Herrera, Biviano Herrera, Sibriano Herrera, Ramon Nieves, Longinio Flores, Tiburcio Jaquez, Alberto Garcia, Macadonio Huerta, Ambrocia Hernanez, Sieapio, Jiminez, Juan Jiminez, Pedro Jiminez, and Eutemio Gonzales. Longinio Flores, one of those killed was my father-in-law, and in whom I had great faith, and with whom I have traded for many years. Being asked if he knew where the inhabitants of Porvenir had participated in the assault upon the Brite Ranch, and hand not been in connivance with any of the bandits that had operated on the frontier, and that they were people living by their hones and work, as can be testified to by and American school teacher Enrique N. (Harry Warren), and another American citizen by the name of John Bill (John Bailey), who resides near Porvenir, Texas and that all having in their homes necessary gain for their families, also their work and domestic animals, and that some of the had been a long time in the United States, and had about one section of land sown with wheat. Being all that he could say, this declarations was terminated by the Judge and witnesses assisting, signing same, but not by this witness, as he could not write.

For more on the Porvenir massacre, see Chapter 8 in my "Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend". Order online:


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The Harry Ransom Center located on the University of Texas Austin campus is celebrating its first fifty years of existence this year. The Ransom Center is a remarkable facility filled with countless thousands of historical treasures ranging from one of five Gutenberg Bibles in the world to the first photograph ever made. The center has an amazing archive including probably the finest nineteenth and twentieth century collection of Texas photographs anywhere. This includes the Big Bend photos made by the "Matthew Brady" of the Big Bend, W. D. Smithers. The Smithers Collection contains nearly 3,000 photographs made by Smithers and other photographers from original negatives and glass plates. Other notable holdings include a first edition of "Leaves Of Grass" signed by Walt Whitman and Scarlett O'Hara's "Gone With The Wind" movie dress. The center is said to be one of the world's most significant collections of arts and letters and it truly is. For more about the Ransom Center see:

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