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Author Archives: Jane Eppinga

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Murder at Ruby

In the 1870s, Jack Smith discovered rich ore reserves of silver, gold, lead, zinc and copper at the Montana Mine located in Ruby, Ariz. The Ruby town site is located in southern Arizona, roughly halfway between Tubac and Sasabe. Julius Andrews operated the general store near the mine for 18 years and became the area’s first postmaster. He named the post office in honor of his wife, Lillie B. Ruby.

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Hyman Capin

Hyman Capin, a native of Lithuania, learned the trade of tailoring, a skill which would serve him throughout his life and began working in New York and Pennsylvania around the turn of the 20th century. He did well in Harrisburg, Penn., but his wife, Dora, had respiratory problems, and her doctor recommended that the family seek a warm, dry climate. So, the Capin family moved to Los Angeles in 1907 where, ultimately, the climate proved to be too damp for Dora’s health.

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The Getaway Train

It all started when Thomas Hart, a drifter with a penchant for alcohol, stole a case of whiskey from Paul Moretti’s saloon. Moretti reported the theft to Yuma County Sheriff Gus Livingston. Not long after, Moretti spotted Hart on Main Street and pointed him out to a young deputy, Matt DeVanem, who confronted Hart and tried to arrest him. Hart shot the deputy at point blank range with a gun hidden in his pocket. The deputy died an hour later. Hart was taken into custody shortly after.

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Tombstone’s deadliest gunfighter

John Peters Ringo — famously known as Johnny Ringo and dubbed Tombstone’s deadliest gunfighter — first turned up in Arizona at a bar in Safford in 1878, where he offered a whiskey to a man seated next to him. The unarmed man declined and said he preferred beer. Ringo then drew his pistol and fired, nicking the man’s ear. When the case came before a grand jury, Ringo did not appear.

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Tucson Mayor William Armine Julian

William Armine (W. A.) Julian arrived in Tucson in 1899 at age 34 from San Diego with his wife Margaret. He promptly opened the W. A. Julian Company in a two-story building featuring a handsome facade of granite and pressed brick and several large show windows at 122 E. Congress. The business would eventually control 85 percent of Tucson’s plumbing, heating and roofing business. He also sold Charter Oak stoves, crockery, glassware and solar water heaters.

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Hi Jolly: The Camel Man

When the U.S. Army sent the first survey crews to northern Arizona in 1857 to survey a wagon road along the 35th parallel, it included in the contingent a herd of approximately 30 camels.

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A Territorial Christmas (access required)

Christmas time in the 1860s in the Arizona Territory was similar to Christmas in the state of Arizona in 2010. People had feasts, decorated large Christmas trees, children ate candy and townspeople spread cheer by caroling.

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The questionable Battle of Carrizal (access required)

In 1916, Capt. Charles T. Boyd, Lt. Henry Adair and Capt. Lewis S. Morey, on direct orders from Gen. John “Blackjack” Pershing himself, led their regiments across large swaths of desert to check on a possible buildup of Mexican troops around the small northern Mexican town of Villa Ahumada.

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Tombstone’s Boothill Cemetery (access required)

The Boothill Cemetery, which was laid out in 1878 on a rocky hillside facing the Dragoon Mountains, earned the name for a reason. If a body was buried not wearing boots, it meant the person died of natural causes. If the body was buried wearing boots, it meant the person was killed.

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