Message #11:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Arizonans Had No Sense Of Yuma Toward Brothers Who Fueled Mexican Rebellion 
Date: Fri, 03 Jan 1997 22:44:56 -0700
Encoding: MIME-Version: 1.0

When Arizona Was Young:  Mexican revolutionary sentenced to Yuma prison
Reporting a rumor printed in California's Imperial Enterprise newspaper
on Feb. 11, 1911, Yuma's Examiner caused much excitement.  "Arizona
Charley Meadows and 100 men are marching on Gen. Berthold, commander of
the rebel forces in Mexico," it suggested. The paper  prophesied that
once the revolutionaries holding Mexicali were defeated, Charley's
forces would set up their own government across the  border and sell the
area at a reasonable price to the U.S. government.  The rumor was
complete nonsense, but is indicative of the jittery feelings in Yuma
about the activities of Mexican revolutionaries operating near here in
1911. Some folks may have believed the story  because Charley Meadows
was involved. A famous Arizonan, Charley had fought Indians, acted in
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, toured the  world with his own troupe,
and joined the Klondike gold rush before settling down in Yuma.  The
nervousness about the Mexican revolutionaries in 1911 Yuma is
understandable.  Nearby Mexicali and Algodones were invaded that year
along with a camp of Americans working on the Colorado River levee just
below the border. Even the arrival of U.S. Army cavalry troops didn't
completely relieve local anxiety. What was the rebellion about? Mexico's
people were fed up with the corrupt, dictatorial Diaz government. Revolt
was breaking out all over the provinces of our southern neighbor.  Along
the California/Arizona border, supporters of Ricardo Flores Magon were
giving the Diaz forces fits by 1911. While the eventual victors over the
dictator would be the troops of Francisco Madero fighting farther south,
it was the Flores Magon brothers who fueled the rebellion. Ricardo
Flores Magon was an idealist turned anarchist and communist as the
result of his persecution by both the Mexican and U.S. governments.
Along with his brother, Enrique, Ricardo started resistance to the Diaz
dictatorship through his newspaper, Regeneracion. Fleeing to the United
States after the paper was suppressed, and he was imprisoned,  Ricardo
continued his opposition by organizing the Mexican Liberal Party. The
effort alarmed Diaz so much that he hired an American private detective
agency to spy on Flores Magon and and his supporters living in Los
Angeles. After an underground issue of Regeneracion helped spark a
strike against the American-owned copper company at Cananea, Mexico,
pressure from Diaz on the United States, along with information supplied
by the detective agency, led to Magon's arrest in August 1907. The
Mexican government attempted to extradite Flores Magon, but American
liberals hired the famous lawyer Clarence Darrow and prevented it. That
led the U.S. Attorney for Arizona Territory, Joseph Alexander, to try
Ricardo and two supporters on charges of violating U.S. neutrality
laws.  After holding Ricardo in the Los Angeles county jail for 18
months, he was moved to Arizona for trial in March 1909. Although not
everyone in Arizona Territory regarded Ricardo as a hero, some did. One
American sympathizer presented him with a large floral wreath upon his
arrival. The trial of Ricardo and two fellow collaborators, Villarreal
and Rivera, took place in Tombstone in April 1909. American socialists
raised a fuss about the trial with one of its journals, Appeal to
Reason, charging that the jury was stacked against the defendants with
"anti-labor businessmen, Copper Queen (a mining company) scab employees
and ranchers." One historian who wrote about the trial, John Sherman,
decided that there is not sufficient evidence of a stacked jury. While
it probably wouldn't measure up to today's standards since there were no
Mexican-Americans on
the panel, it was not composed of 12 "thugs and gunmen" as one socialist
newspaper claimed. "On the whole the jury accurately represented
the popular constituency (excluding disenfranchised Mexicans)," Sherman
concluded. Letters that Flores Magon wrote to party members in Mexico
were the strongest evidence against him. One approved the seizure of
Nogales. Another urged secrecy to avoid problems with American
authorities. Still another commissioned a Douglas man, Tomas Espinoza,
as a chief of revolutionary forces. Although Sherman calls the evidence
"lame," Flores Magon, Villarreal and Rivera were convicted and sentenced
to 18 months in Yuma's Territorial Prison. They arrived here to begin
serving their sentences on May 25, 1909.  Flores Magon and his Mexican
Liberal Party set off a conflagration that ousted Diaz and reached all
the way from Mexico City to Algodones a few miles west of Yuma by 1911.

by Frank Love - a local Yuma historian.