The Chronicles Of Grant County

turkey gila national forest 25A wild turkey in the Gila National Forest. (The photograph was provided courtesy of the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.)

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. While the situation does not appear to be as dire as it was in 2020, Grant County and New Mexico are not yet out of the woods regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic.

During the Pandemic of 1918-1919, there were three main waves of disease and death. Thanksgiving of 1918 was held during the midst of that Pandemic, but much of the disease had passed though the region by Thanksgiving of 1919.

Today, we look back on happenings in Silver City and Grant County during November of 1919.

Grocery shopping was changing at that time in Silver City. Retailers were dealing with the change in time because of daylight savings, staffing in the stores, and delivery options. (Sound familiar?) A news article in The Santa Fe New Mexican on November 3, 1919, reported: "The grocers of this city [Silver City] have announced that they will close their stores in the future at 5 o'clock instead of 6 o'clock, as formerly. This decision was reached when the clocks were turned back one hour, reverting to the old time. The grocers believe that under the new rule they will be better able to serve their customers and also that it will be easier on their employees, especially the delivery boys."

The U S Congress had voted earlier in the year to repeal Daylight Savings Time, effective October 26, 1919. Daylight Savings Time had been put into effect during World War I.

The Albuquerque Morning Journal reported on November 8, 1919, that the New Mexico Normal School (today known as the "Western New Mexico University") has a policy "…to strengthen the faculty and broaden the scope of the courses offered in order that this school may better serve the people of the state."

A few days later, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on November 12, 1919, that "The public schools of this city [Silver City] are making excellent progress and the close of the second month of the fall session shows that the attendance and enrollment has been kept up to standard. For these two months the enrollment has been over 500 and the attendance records 94 per cent. The upper grades of the schools are very crowded especially in the assembly hall where the seventh and eighth grades have their work. On account of the large number of pupils in these grades the school board found it necessary to employ another teacher and equip another teacher and equip another class room."

"Stockmen Organize Salt Pool" was the headline of a news article in an edition of the Carrizozo Outlook dated November 14, 1919. The news article detailed how "Twenty stockmen operating small herds south of Silver City over 30 townships of public domain have organized a salt pool…Because these men were operating on public lands no one person felt responsible for the salt supply. As a result there has always been a shortage of salt. By means of this salt pool there will always be plenty of salt available on the range."

In 1919, one of the more "interesting" news articles involved a shooting in Silver City likely on November 20 of that year. A news article in The Santa Fe New Mexican dated November 21, 1919, detailed how a wife "…went gunning for her husband." The wife found her husband "allegedly" in the company of another woman. When the husband would not answer the door, according to the news article, the wife "…opened fire through the door with a revolver"; one of the bullets did hit the husband. According to the newspaper, the wife and "other woman" were both arrested; the wife "…was held to the grand jury under a bond of $200…" and the "other woman" was "…ordered to leave town on the next train." No mention was made as to what happened to the husband.

A more hopeful news article was printed on November 21, 1919, in The Columbus Courier. "The federal aid project covering 16 miles of road between Silver City and Santa Rita has been approved by the secretary of agriculture [of the State of New Mexico]. The estimated cost of the road is $239,000."

After three waves of disease during 1918-1919, the news in November of 1919 indicated that Silver City and Grant County were moving forward (except, possibly, the marriage between the wife with the revolver and the husband with a "friend").

Happy Thanksgiving of 2021.

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© 2021 Richard McDonough