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Rio Grande republican. : (Las Cruces, N.M.) 1881-1914
Place of publication:
Las Cruces, N.M.
Geographic coverage:
  • Las Cruces, Doña Ana, New Mexico  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
James A. Spradling
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (May 21, 1881)-v. 36, no. 42 (Sept. 1, 1914).
Semiweekly <Sept. 8, 1911>-1914
  • English
  • Doña Ana County (N.M.)--Newspapers.
  • Las Cruces (N.M.)--Newspapers.
  • New Mexico--Doña Ana County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219025
  • New Mexico--Las Cruces.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213387
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 87090080
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Rio Grande republican. November 3, 1888 , Image 1


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Rio Grande Republican

In 1848, Don Pablo Melendres, a local leader and the first justice of the peace in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, asked Lt. Delos B. Sackett of the First U.S. Dragoons to lay out a town several miles south of Doña Ana. Sackett found 120 people already camped at a place known as Las Cruces ("The Crosses"). The origin of the name is unclear; one account says that the site marked the graves of some unfortunate men who were massacred by the Apache Indians.

Founded in Las Cruces in May 1881, the Rio Grande Republican was a Republican, English-language newspaper edited and published by James A. Spralding. There was little support for newspapers in Las Cruces, and many journals were short lived. Publishers relied heavily on political rewards and were politically motivated. Another publisher of the Rio Grande Republican, C.J. Hildreth, attributed the lack of support for his newspaper to the town's large Hispanic population. Hildreth observed that with nearly 50 firms and individuals doing business in Las Cruces only 10 to 12 advertised in his paper at the lowest rates. Hearing similar complaints from J.G. Albright of the Santa Fe Daily Democrat, Hildreth urged Albright to move to a "young American city" where his work would be better appreciated.

Seven months after its establishment, the struggling Rio Grande Republican was sold. Yet, despite financial difficulties and frequent changes in management, the paper survived until 1914. Newspapers in the late 19th century took advantage of any opportunity to poke fun at their rivals. C.J. Hildreth of the Rio Grande Republican was no exception. When a newspaper called the Watch-Dog was launched in nearby Silver City, Hildreth wrote: "Its bark commences with 'our bow. It should have been 'our bow-wow'." Later, Hildreth noted that the Watch Dog's growls were very ferocious and "May he never want for a bone, and be-long in reaching the sausage makers."

The Rio Grande Republican covered territorial news in detail.On February 14, 1885, Col. Fountain was assigned to preside over the murder trial of Muchacho Negro, a local Apache leader whose group joined Chief Victorio's warriors. The Rio Grande Republic notes Las Cruces rarely received distinguished visitors and when they did, they recorded the fact. The newspaper noted that present were Chief San Juan of the Mescalero Apaches and the former compatriot of Chief Victoria and Chief Nana. Corca, the Mexican interpreter of the Apaches, accompanied the Indians who arrived to give testimony on behalf of Muchacho Negro.

On March 21, 1885, an article described the outbreak of hostilities between two factions competing over land in Colfax County, New Mexico. The conflict had been brewing for some time, and a bloody gun battle resulted in a number of deaths and arrests. The Rio Grande Republican hoped the matter was settled and that peace would reign once more in the region.

Provided by: University of New Mexico