The Chronicles of Grant County

This column will feature items that relate somehow to Grant County - the name of a street in the case of the first one, and maybe other streets, or the name of a building or whatever catches the fancy of the contributor, Richard Donough. Readers are encouraged to send him topics of interest to them, so he can do the research and write an article.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

silver city view from boston hill october 3 2012 flickr steve douglas 50Silver City as viewed from Boston Hill.
(The photo was provided courtesy of Steve Douglas through Flickr, October 3, 2012.)

For a time, local addresses almost became "Silver City, Arizona."

In 1876, people in Grant County were celebrating the centennial of the United States of America by seeking to follow the lead of Revolutionary War leaders – to break away from its existing governing entity. In 1776, it was 13 colonies seeking to break away from the United Kingdom; in 1876, it was one county (and perhaps several others) seeking to break away from the Territory of New Mexico.

Grant County – then including territory that is now Hidalgo County and much of Luna County – wanted to join the Territory of Arizona. News reports at that time indicated that Grant County was among the wealthiest places in New Mexico.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

virginia shenandoah valley radford wine from pixabay 35The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. (The photo was provided through Pixabay courtesy of Radford Wine, August 13, 2015.)

Virginia Street is one of the roadways in the Town of Silver City named after states and commonwealths of the country. In this case, the Commonwealth of Virginia. This jurisdiction itself was named, according to several sources, for Queen Elizabeth I of England.

According to the National Park Service, Sir Humphrey Gilbert had a charter from Queen Elizabeth to explore what is now known as "North America." When Sir Gilbert died, "Sir Walter Raleigh, his half-brother, decided to carry on the venture, and obtained a similar charter from the queen. Reports from his expedition in 1584 sang the praises of the rich land, and by the middle of the following year England had made its first tentative move to transplant English culture to foreign soil. The new colony was called Virginia, after the Virgin Queen."

The Chronicles Of Grant County

bataan statue visit las cruces 50“Heroes of Bataan” is a memorial located in Veterans Park in Las Cruces. In its description of the Bataan Death March, Visit Las Cruces noted that this was “…one of the most brutal chapters in American military history.” (The photo was provided courtesy of Visit Las Cruces.)

As we celebrate our freedom and the independence of the United States of America today, it’s important that we recall a saying that “Freedom is not Free.”

We should remember how New Mexico helped secure the freedom that some people in Grant County may take for granted at times. The price paid was high. For the men who served in the uniform of our nation. Men from both the U S and the Philippines. And for their families and loved ones. It’s a price we should never forget.

On Memorial Day, the edition of The Chronicles Of Grant County highlighted the life of one of the men who survived the Bataan Death March. Thomas Foy was one of a number of New Mexicans who served our country during World War II. He was among the troops captured by the Japanese in the Philippines, forced to walk about sixty miles through the Bataan Death March, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his release.

While the distance is great in terms of miles, there is a closeness between Bataan and New Mexico that years have not diminished.

“Tens of thousands of Americans and Filipinos – including many New Mexicans – demonstrated incredible and courageous fortitude during the Bataan Death March,” stated Martin Heinrich, U S Senator for New Mexico, in a news release dated April 9, 2021. This document highlighted proposed legislation supported by him, Senator Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, and others – both Republican and Democratic – within the U S Senate. “We must never forget their undaunted heroism in the face of unthinkable conditions and horrific abuses.”

“America owes its Bataan veterans a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” said Senator Luján. “These brave soldiers demonstrated courage in the face of captivity and inhumanity.”

bataan survivors dedication of park in grant county 2008 mary alice murphy 20Grant County operates a park – in the process of being updated – named in the memory of those who served the people of the United States and the Philippines. Several survivors of the Bataan Death March and family members are seen here attending the dedication of the Bataan Memorial Recreational Park in Grant County approximately 13 years ago. This park is located just outside of the limits of Santa Clara, off of Fort Bayard Road. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Mary Alice Murphy, 2008.)

Grant County operates a park – in the process of being updated – named in the memory of those who served the people of the United States and the Philippines. Several survivors of the Bataan Death March are seen here attending the dedication of the Bataan Memorial Recreational Park in Grant County approximately 13 years ago. This park is located just outside of the limits of Santa Clara, off of Fort Bayard Road. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Mary Alice Murphy, 2008.)

“On December 8, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers attacked U S military stations in the Philippines,” the news release detailed. “Despite being cut off from supply lines and reinforcements, thousands of American and Filipino forces mounted a courageous, months-long defense of the Bataan Peninsula and then Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. This brave defense changed the momentum of the war, delaying the Japanese conquest of the Philippines and providing the Allied Forces with critical time to mount a campaign to liberate the Pacific.”

“On April 9, 1942, after the Battle of Bataan, approximately 75,000 troops from both the United States and the Philippines were taken prisoner by the Japanese,” the news release continued. “They were forced to endure a torturous march of more than 60 miles that came to be known as the ‘Bataan Death March’ to prison camps throughout the Philippines. The marchers endured intense tropical heat without food, water, or medical care. An estimated 10,000 men – including thousands of Filipinos and hundreds of Americans – died from starvation, exhaustion, and abuse.”

“Survivors of the Bataan Death March were held captive in Japanese prison camps for [more than] three years, where they were subject to further torture, undernourishment, and forced labor,” noted the Senators in this news release. “Others died when they were transported out of the Philippines, by way of unmarked Japanese Navy ‘hell ships’ that were targeted by Allied Forces. Out of the 1,816 New Mexico National Guardsmen in the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery who were originally sent to defend the Philippines in the Fall of 1941, 829 never returned home.”

Let me repeat that:

“Out of the 1,816 New Mexico National Guardsmen…sent to defend the Philippines…829 never returned home.”

A memorial to all of these men – “Heroes of Bataan” – is located in Veterans Park in Las Cruces; this was the country’s first federally-funded monument honoring American and Filipino veterans of the Bataan Death March. This monument was dedicated on April 13, 2002, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Bataan Death March.

“Entangled in one another’s arms, three soldiers stand in eternal tribute to the 70,000 men that braved the treacherous journey…,” noted Visit Las Cruces. “These larger-than-life bronze statues represent the oft-forgotten American and Filipino soldiers who hiked the Bataan Peninsula, the 50,000 who survived and the thousands of others who did not.”

According to a statement from Visit Las Cruces, “Artist Kelley S. Hestir, who was commissioned to create the monument, said “‘Heroes of Bataan’ portrays Filipino and American prisoners of war entwined in their struggle to survive the Death March. They look back to what has passed, down to what is present and ahead to what might be. The many footprints which surround the statue are symbolic of the many soldiers who began the march and the few who finished. The impressions were made from the feet of those who survived.”

Take a moment today to remember the men of Bataan. The men from New Mexico, from the rest of the U S, and from the Philippines. The men who survived the Bataan Death March. The men who died and the men who were murdered along the route. Recall the sacrifices of those who served, those who survived, and those who perished. Keep their families and loved ones in your prayers.

Our Independence Day is based on freedom.

Remember always: “Freedom is not Free.”

(Photo from 1942)

The caption for this photo was listed by the U S Department of Defense as “The March of Death - Taken during the March of Death, from Bataan to Cabana Tuan Prison Camp.” (The photo was provided courtesy of the U S Marine Corps through The U S National Archives and Records Administration, May of 1942.)

Do you have questions about communities in Grant County?

A street name? A building?

Your questions may be used in a future news column.

Contact Richard McDonough at chroniclesofgrantcounty@mail.com.

If your email does not go through, please contact editor@grantcountybeat.com.

© 2021 Richard McDonough

bataan death march u s marine corps national archives two may 1942 50The caption for this photo was listed by the U S Department of Defense as “The March of Death - Taken during the March of Death, from Bataan to Cabana Tuan Prison Camp.” (The photo was provided courtesy of the U S Marine Corps through The U S National Archives and Records Administration, May of 1942.)

Do you have questions about communities in Grant County?

A street name? A building?

Your questions may be used in a future news column.

Contact Richard McDonough at chroniclesofgrantcounty@mail.com.

If your email does not go through, please contact editor@grantcountybeat.com.

© 2021 Richard McDonough

The Chronicles Of Grant County

The graph below the Read More shows the relative levels of deaths from COVID-19 Disease (COVID-19) among five major racial/ethnic groups within the State of New Mexico. The yellow line represents the number of COVID-19 deaths among Hispanic Americans in New Mexico, the green line represents the number of COVID-19 deaths among Non-Hispanic White Americans in New Mexico, and the blue line represents the number of COVID-19 deaths among Native Americans in New Mexico. The gray line, representing the number of COVID-19 deaths among Non-Hispanic Black Americans in New Mexico, and the orange line, representing the number of COVID-19 deaths among Americans of Asian and Pacific Island heritage in New Mexico, overlap one another for many months in this graph. You can click here to see a larger version of this image. (This graph was provided courtesy of the New Mexico Department of Health, June 15, 2021.)

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Mexican Wolves
Part Five
Due Care In The Wild

geographic boundaries for the mexican wolf 1998 final rule u s fish and wildlife service 65This map shows the initial geographic boundaries for the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf as defined in the 1998 Final Rule of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1998, Silver City and many of the nearby communities were included in the initial boundaries. Note that at that time, only those areas of Grant County north of Interstate 10 were within the territory designated for the reintroduction of the Mexican wolf. A subsequent map enlarged the boundaries. In 2015, the boundaries were expanded to include all of Grant County as well as all of New Mexico south of Interstate 40. (Map provided courtesy of the U S Fish and Wildlife Service, 2015.)

The Mexican wolf is a protected species under Federal law. What that means is that there are severe limits on what individuals can do in relationship to this animal.

While New Mexico has hunting seasons for a variety of animals, there is no hunting allowed of Mexican wolves. Under Federal law, “Taking a Mexican wolf with a trap, snare, or other type of capture device within Occupied Mexican Wolf Range…is prohibited and will not be considered unintentional take, unless due care was exercised to avoid injury or death to a wolf,” according to a statement from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

There are some exceptions to this policy as detailed in the 2015 Mexican Wolf Final Rule of the U S Fish and Wildlife Service. For example, taking of a Mexican wolf is acceptable “…in defense of human life,” according to the Federal government.

In addition, “On non-Federal lands anywhere within the MWEPA, domestic animal owners or their agents may take (including kill or injure) any Mexican wolf that is in the act of biting, killing, or wounding a domestic animal…” The term “MWEPA” is an acronym for the “Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area.” This is a large area of the central and southern parts of New Mexico and Arizona. In New Mexico, all lands south of Interstate 40 – including all of Grant County – are within the MWEPA.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Mexican Wolves
Part Four
Wolves In Nature

translocation of mexican wolf m1049 to the wild in january 2011 u.s. fish and wildlife service 65Translocation of Mexican wolf M1049 to the wild in Catron County, New Mexico. (Photograph was provided courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011.)

Local folks may reasonably wonder why would you purposely place predatory wild animals in an area inhabited by human beings.

Views on this issue differ based on philosophy. Those philosophies have been enshrined in laws and regulations. As years have gone by, those standards have changed.

There was a time where local folks – with the support and active participation by governmental authorities – hunted Mexican wolves with the intent to eliminate that species from the landscape. In large measure, that was achieved in Grant County and nearby jurisdictions in both New Mexico and Arizona. The goal to remove the Mexican wolves from the region was rooted in the view that the frontier was to be made hospitable to humans and our ways of life.

In the early days of settlers from outside the region coming into what is now Grant County, those new folks wanted to create an environment that they considered safe for themselves. The rights of those who were here before – whether they be fellow humans like the Apache or wild animals like the Mexican wolves – were immaterial to large portions of the new population.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Mexican Wolves
Part Three
Statistics Of Livestock Depredations In Catron County

wolf catron county jess carey three 65 copyMexican wolves in Catron County, New Mexico. (Photograph was provided courtesy of Jess Carey, Catron County Wildlife Investigator.)

This news column is part of a series of reports to the people of Grant County and beyond on the re-introduction of wolves to New Mexico and Arizona. The news columns will include details on many aspects of this program – from those who support the re-introduction of the wolves to those affected by the program. Views will be included from wildlife organizations, ranchers, governmental officials, among others. Individual news columns will focus on specific aspects of these efforts.

Part Three details the statistics of depredation of livestock in Catron County.

"Catron County is home to more than 95% of the wolves in the state," stated Jess Carey, Catron County Wildlife Investigator. The activities in Catron County, located just north of Grant County, directly impact people in Grant County as wolves do not recognize county boundaries.

Wolves are not the only animals that kill livestock. According to Mr. Carey, among other animals involved in depredation of livestock in Catron County are bears, lions, and wild dogs. In addition, depredations can be caused by humans as well as occur in nature.

The statistics and the details about the depredations in Catron County included in this news column are from reports issued by Mr. Carey.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Memorial Day - 2021

fort bayard national cemetery two u s department of veterans affairs 65Fort Bayard National Cemetery (This photograph was provided courtesy of the U S Department of Veterans Affairs.)

Grant County is the final site of rest for thousands of people at the Fort Bayard National Cemetery. There will be no public ceremonies for Memorial Day at this cemetery this year. That doesn't mean the day will go without notice.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs Santa Fe/Bayard National Cemetery will host a solemn Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony," according to a statement issued by the Federal Government. The wreath laying will be "accompanied by brief remarks, a moment of silence, the playing of Taps, and a rifle volley… This will not be a public ceremony."

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