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The Chronicles Of Grant County

Initial Businesses In Silver City: Mining Life

silver city from boston hill copyA view of Silver City from Boston Hill. (This photo provided with permission from Mary Alice Murphy)

The initial survey for the Town of Silver City indicated a number of businesses in operation in 1873. This news column highlights one of those enterprises, the Mining Life newspaper.

According to the survey, Mining Life had an office at the southwest corner of Yankie and Bullard Streets. Several reports indicated that this was the first newspaper in Silver City. "A new paper to be called 'Mining Life' will shortly be started in Silver City," according to a news article dated January 28, 1873, in The Weekly New Mexican. "The press, etc. was purchased in this place, and is now on the road to its destination. Grant county needs a paper to herald abroad its wealth and resources, and we wish the proprietor Mr. [O. L.] Scott, and his enterprise every success."

News articles from Mining Life were re-printed in newspapers throughout New Mexico, including in the Las Vegas Gazette. In a news article in the Las Vegas Gazette dated April 25, 1874, it was reported that Mining Life had come "out in favor of a state government." New Mexico remained a territory until statehood came in 1912.

Some consider the justice system in the United States too lenient today, while others consider punishment too harsh for those that commit crimes.

Justice was handled quite differently in Silver City in its early years.

Information from Mining Life was quoted in a news article in the July 25, 1874, edition of the Las Vegas Gazette: "The Mining Life...says that a Mexican, from Tucson, A. T., who came all the way to Grant county after a horse thief, catching up with the fellow, took possession of the three stolen animals, tied his brother Mexican up, gave him as many lashes on the bare back as he could stand to administer and then, cutting his right ear off close to the head, turned him lose again...upon the world and returned to his home."

A severe whipping plus the removal of an ear. Punishment for theft in 1874.

Reports indicated that Mining Life was printed for about two years;

On February 23, 1875, The Daily New Mexican reported that "We learn with regret that the Mining Life of Silver City has suspended; temporarily, we hope, certainly. The Mining Life was one of the most newse sheets that ever came to our table. It was ever alive to the interests of its section and from whatever cause it is shortsighted in the people of Grant county to allow the paper to suspend. Bro. [Brother] Scott possesses a good deal of clear grit and we shall be disappointed if we do not again soon see the Mining Life in full glory."

That did not happen, according to the Library of Congress and other sources. The Las Vegas Gazette reported on March 20, 1875, that "The Mining Life, of Silver City...has been resuscitated under the more metropolitan name and style of the Grant County Herald..."

Information on other early businesses in Silver City will be detailed in future editions of The Chronicles Of Grant County.

mining life map 67Mining Life had its office located at the corner of Yankie Street and Bullard Street in Silver City. (The above image is part of a larger image of the General Land Office of the Bureau of Land Management of the U S Department of Interior was provided through the courtesy of The National Archives and Records Administration.)

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Contact Richard McDonough at chroniclesofgrantcounty@mail.com.

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© 2021 Richard McDonough

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