The annual remembrance ceremony was held yesterday in downtown Columbus under the auspices of the Columbus Historical Society (CHS) and within their dedicated memorial park behind their well-known “Depot Museum.”
CHS President, Shirley Garber lead the ceremony which featured Professor Brandon Morgan,whose presentation was entitled: “Protector and Aggressor: Pancho Villa’s Complicated Relationship with the Lower Mimbres Valley.“
Visitors came from as far as Kansas, Washington (state), and several from El Paso, Texas, as well.
The CHS always holds its service on the exact date of the tragic raid, regardless of which day of the week on which that date falls, whereas Columbus itself, holds their Raid Day events over the closest weekend to that date of March 9, 1916, assuring working families can make the occasion. Next year, in 2024, the date of the actual raid will fall on a Saturday, which will mean the attendees will number in at least the hundreds.
Yesterday’s turnout was estimated to be just short of 60 people. This weekend the renowned “Cabalgata Binacional,” traditionally witnesses a large group of Horsemen and women coming up from Mexico to meet with hundreds of horsemen and women from the states. It’s an across-the-border celebration less of the raid, and more about the kinship and closeness of the sister nations. As in recent years past, the large public event is directed by its principal organizer and promoter, Norma Gomez, who is the landlord for the FASF headquarters Office in Columbus. The celebratory occasion is usually attended by several thousand celebrants.
The following photos are of yesterday’s Memorial Service:
Richardand Elizabeth Pendleton in the foreground speaking with John Tyo
L to R: Allen Rosenberg(an ex-Marine!), in a 1916 Army uniform, joking with Corby Burns, and Patricia Kiddney
CHS Officers and distinguished guests on the Gazebo for the Ceremony – with Professor Brandon Morganat Podium
Audience gathering in readiness to hear the program
After the ceremony concluded, Steven Zobeck (L) and Dr. Kathleen Martin (R) look on as Dr. Morgan shakes hands with Pancho Villa look-alike re-enactor, Rafael Celestino
L to R: Rafael Celestino, Patricia Kiddney, Head Columbus Librarian, Maria Constantine, and Columbus C of C Director,Norma Gomezpose with Darrel Nash (R), Historian for the famed Buffalo Soldiersof the Punitive Expedition – Normahad just presented the Environmental Book Chihuahua to the Library, courtesy of the Mexican Government.
L to R: Maria Constantineand Norma Gomezdiscuss the Buffalo Soldiers museum and the soldiers’ organization with Darrel Nash
The Columbus Historical Society (CHS) just kicked off the new year with a detailed presentation by Professor Andy Hernandez of Western New Mexico University (WNMU). This event was the first held under the newly elected officers and drew an audience from not just Columbus, but also from Deming, NM. The event’s presenter was arranged by Dr. Kathleen Martin, the Society’s Historian.
The entire: 35-minute PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Hernandez is included below, as are some photos taken at the event. The lecture focused on some aspects of what took place during the raid on Columbus, which entailed the First Aero Squadron’s engagement in the Punitive Expedition, but focused primarily on the overall dynamics of the then-ongoing Mexican Revolution, particularly as to its impact on South Texas, but of course included the Mexican rebel leaders, one of which was Pancho Villa, whose raid on Columbus caused the deployment of the First Aero Squadron in what became known as the Punitive Expedition. That expedition was instigated as the direct result of President Woodrow Wilson’s orders to bring Pancho Villaback – – – either dead or alive.
THE PLAN DE SAN DIEGO: Insurgency and Violence in South Texas During the Mexican Revolution. * See the end of the post for a PDF copy of Dr. Hernandez’s paper on this topic.
Dr. Hernandez explained at the outset that the title had nothing to do with San Diego, CA, but rather a small Texas town of the same name. Many Mexican revolutionaries, including some Tejanos, were in hopes of regaining – or returning – depending upon which side of the Tex-Mex border they lived, much of the then-current U.S. Southwestern territories that were previously part of their homeland.
The Plan de San Diego was actually a bold manifesto that called for an uprising against the United States government on the 20th of February, 1915. The document was, in essence, a call for racial strife and chaos in order to help facilitate the return of the Southwestern U. S. to Mexico.
Some of the most violent characteristics of the plot were the intended killing of North Americans over the age of sixteen to free the Black and Hispanic population from “Yankee tyranny.” Needless to say, as Dr. Hernandezillustrated, while he turned the pages of the era’s history for his audience, this HIstpanic-American call for wanton violence and mayhem created massive distrust among many neighbors in Texas itself – – – and threw the state into all sorts of internal political turmoil.
Fortunately for Texas, a copy of the plot’s plan was uncovered before it could take effect, enabling the Governor of Texas, then Oscar Colquitt to take remedial action to thwart the planned insurrection. His successor in office, Governor James Ferguson, was left to deal with the continued political duress and strife that the Plan de San Diego triggered.
Even the Texas Rangers entered the dynamic, and demonstrated their own brand of corruption and racist behavior, seriously tarnishing their reputation. Some of these Rangers wantonly murdered hundreds of often innocent Mexican-Americans solely based upon their ethnicity.
Another key figure in the tensions and actual violence in the pre-WWI period in the border region was Army General,Frederick Funston, who in 1914 took over the Army occupation forces in Vera Cruz, Mexico, and soon began the serious job of administering the city. This was no small chore because that Mexican port city was known for being an unsanitary and disease-ridden metropolis. As soon as the U. S. withdrew from Vera Cruz,General Funston repositioned his troops on the Texas, New Mexican, and Arizona borders to protect the states from any spillover from the ongoing turmoil of the by-then full-blown Mexican Revolution.
In time, so much Texas economic and social turmoil had resulted from the exposure of the violent Plan de San Diego, and its plot’s instigators and followers, that the Federal government took remedial action to quell the chaos by the assignment of the U.S. Army and some of its National Guard troops to the area to help restore law and order: ie General Funston’smajor role. When General “Black Jack” Pershing was later given command of the Punitive Expedition, his direct commander was Gen. Funston.
Although the Plan de San Diego plot did not fulfill its intended purposes, it did leave the area with significant scars in regard to much worsened interracial and Anglo-American vs Tejano relations for many years to come. There was still active segregation in Texas well into the mid-1960s. Your webmaster lived there for several years and remembers this blight all too well.
To see any of the below photos in high resolution or full size, just click on them.
Dr. Kathleen Martin introduces Professor Andy Hernandez to the audience. Watching at right are, Steven Zobeck,seated, and Shirley Garber, the CHS’s new President.
Seated above asDr. Hernandezreadied to give his presentation are, L to R:Jim Tyo, Steven Zobeck, Ron Wize,Gordon Taylor, Librarian Maria Constantine, Retired Luna County Chamber of Commerce Director, Mary Galbraith, Columbus Vice MayorBill Johnson, Carol Crumb, Shirley Garber, andDaniella Sandoval.
Dr. Andy Hernandez describes some further reading for those interested in following up on his lecture’s topic.
Professor Hernandezanswers some questions about his citation of recommended additional reading sources.
Center in the cap,Steven Zobeck asks Dr. Hernandez some questions . . . Marilyn Steffen at left in a gray jacket, and Shirley Garber, at far right, listens intently to Steven’squery about the German role in the Revolution.
Dr. Hernandez experienced an especially attentive audience of history enthusiasts, without one person not paying full attention to his flow of often newly encountered historical facts about the Mexican Revolution – – – and its effect on the U.S.
Dr. Hernandezproduced more references for his audience for those who would like to continue their research into this subject of the Mexican Revolution and its profound effect on our border states, in particular South Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The New CHS Leadership officially thanks the season’s first speaker. L to R above: Leonard Steward, Treasurer; Jim Tyo, VP; Daniella Sandoval, Secretary; Dr. Andy Hernandez; Dr. Kathleen Martin, Historian; and new the CHS President, Shirley Garber.
Click on the lower right-hand corner ‘FullScreen’ icon to see the video in its full size
By far the oldest Columbus historical organization, the Columbus Historical Society (CHS), was formed in 1972, which makes it 50 years old, whereas our First Aero Squadron Foundation (FASF) wasn’t organized until 2007.
While the two sister groups both focus on the historical impact of the March 9, 1916 raid by Pancho Via on the once thriving border city of Columbus, only the CHS actually has a popular operational Museum facility, affectionately called the “Depot Museum.”
Why the “Depot?” Simply because it is housed in the old Columbus Railroad Station building. Additionally, the principal focus of the FASF is primarily on the aviation aspect of the 1916 event, whereas the CHS addresses the entire raid episode and its following “Punitive Expedition” aftermath – – – and all other aspects of the history of Columbus.
On this special occasion of the Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary year, the Village of Columbus designed a hand-crafted Commemorative Plaque to honor one of its two still living founders, Anne Marie Beck, who along with her late husband, Ed Beck, Jr., actually organized the CHS and then acquired and subsequently fully restored the run-down old city train depot into the charming facility it is today. Outgoing President Stan Stevens did a recent makeover of the entire sales floor area, so the Museum is quite an attractive asset 106 years after the infamous Raid on Columbus.
Today the Depot Museum is one of the Village’s most popular tourist attractions. If you are ever fortunate enough to pass through or visit Columbus, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Depot. The large quantity and quality of its exhibits will more than make your visit worth the time. It is regularly manned by well-trained Docent volunteers, and also has an interesting array of Raid-era memorabilia and other related artifacts for sale – – – tax-free.
Every year, the CHS officially conducts a solemn ceremony in memory of the 16 American deaths caused by Pancho Villa’s invading marauders. This coming year the event will take place on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at 10:00 AM at the CHS Rotunda just South of its Depot Museum.
While at the Depot Museum you might want to join the organization since membership is very reasonable: $5 for individuals, and just $8 for a family.
To see any of the below photos full-size and in high resolution, simply click on them.
L to R: Dr. Kathleen Martin, Trustee and newly elected Historian, and Liz Pendleton, member
L to R: Ann Marie Beck, CHS Founder, and member, with Rita Kittrell, a visitor from Arizona
L to R: Gordon Taylor, CHS member, Mart Schneider, VP, and Velvet Fackeldey, re-elected Trustee
L to R: Rita Kittrell, Shirley Garber, Treasurer, and newly elected President, Stan Stevens (turned away) Velvet Fackeldey, Kathleen Martin, Gordon Taylor, Mart Schneider, Corby Burns, member, and Liz Pendleton
On left, Steven Zobeck, and Maria Constantine, Head Columbus Librarian. Both are CHS members.
L to R: Corby Burns, Leonard Steward, newly elected Treasurer, and Sarah Powell, member
President Stan Stevens explains the election procedure to the attendees.
L to R: Dr. Martin with Chuck Forgrave, a member
Liz Pendleton, Dr. Martin, Chuck Forgrave, Stan Stevens, Mart Schneider, Velvet Fackeldey, and Shirley Garber
L to R: Stan Stevens, Annette Schuster, Velvet Fackeldey, Shirley Garber, July McClure(standing), member,Chuck Forgrave, Dr. Martin, andMaria Constantine
On Right, Jim Tyoawards the Columbus Historical Society Plaque to Stan Stevens in recognition of his leadership as CHS President
Close-up of the Special Columbus Historical Society’s Special Award to Mr. Stevensin appreciation for his service
L to R: Stan Stevens,President, Jim Tyo, newly elected VP and Ann Beckwith Shirley Garber, newly elected President
Close-up view of the Columbus Village custom Plaque awarded to Ann Marie Beckas a key founder of the CHS.