The Black Range Newspaper

(See individual issues below.)

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V. B. Beckett began the publication of The Black Range Newspaper on April 13, 1882 in Robinson. Robinson, which was located about four miles northwest of Winston existed for about ten years. It was another of the short lived  towns of the Black Range, like Percha City, which I posted about on August 22 of this year, on The Free Range Blog. The Black Range was published in Robinson until January 1883 when it moved to Chloride, then to Socorro, then back to Chloride where it ceased publication on August 6, 1897. A one year subscription to The Black Range cost $3, you could buy a single issue for two half-dimes. Half dimes were minted until 1873 and were still in circulation in 1882.

The Library of Congress describes “The Black Range” newspaper as follows (provided by the University of New Mexico):

“Robinson was established in the Black Range in 1882, located four miles northwest of Winston, New Mexico. In the early 1880s, during a local mining boom, it was anticipated the Santa Fe Rail Road would extend a line to the Black Range. As a result, in 1882, Robinson was laid out as a terminal. The origins of the town's name are uncertain. One story has it that hopeful organizers named the Robinson after the man who was chief engineer of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. Another explanation is that the town took its name from an individual named M.L. Robinson. In any event, the new town failed to prosper, and less than 10 years after its birth Robinson vanished.

The Black Range, a daily Republican newspaper was published in English by the Black Range Printing Company from April 13, 1882, to January 1883. At that point, the newspaper moved to Chloride, then briefly in 1886, to Socorro, before returning to Chloride for good. It continued publication until August 6, 1897. The editor, V.B. Beckett, included below the masthead the following motto: "Devoted to the mining interests of the Black Range country." A one-year subscription cost $3, a six-month subscription cost $1.75, a three-month subscription cost $1, and a single copy cost 10 cents.

The Black Range heavily invested in territorial politics. In 1882, it was one of three papers in Territorial New Mexico which refused to support Tranquilino Luna, a congressional candidate. The methods used in Luna's nomination by the Santa Fe Ring members were highly questionable. The Santa Fe Ring, consisted of a clique of Republican state politicians who had near total control of the state during the late 19th century and through the early 20th century. It was said that they turned a blind eye to and were actively involved in corruption. When the coinage of silver became a political issue, leaders and newspapers from both parties in New Mexico adopted a pro-silver attitude. It was generally believed that the free and unlimited coinage of silver would boost the economy of territorial New Mexico. Republican papers in the mining camps were particularly strong supporters of free silver. In 1896, the Black Range was one of two Republican newspapers which refused to support the national Republican Party because of its opposition to silver. The paper called on "All freedom-loving citizens to cast aside partisanship and [to] rally around the silver standard." A year later, in 1897, W.O. Thompson, the publisher and editor of theBlack Range abandoned the paper after he lost all hope for higher silver prices.

Local, territorial, and national news appeared in each issue. An example of territorial news can be found in an article in the Black Range dated October 8, 1886, which described the Apache warrior Geronimo's conditions for surrendering to the government; they included imprisonment in the Dry Tortugas, a group of islands wholly destitute of vegetation in the Gulf of Mexico, 40 miles from Key West, Florida. On January 25, 1889, another article reported that House Bill 41, presented by Col. Albert Jennings Fountain "To prohibit county officials speculating in county or territorial warrants, should by all means become a law."

The Black Range had its squabbles with nearby papers. For example, on November 2, 1883, it wrote: "Until a contemporary mentioned the fact that the Deming Headlight had cut its exchange with the territorial weeklies, the Black Range had not noticed the absence of the little jerk-water." The Deming Tribune is all the exchange that the Black Range cares for from Deming anyhow. The Deming Headlight was a poor, snarling, growling ear when a weekly, and as a daily it is six times worse."  “

We are summarizing the issues of this newspaper, with only the first issues completed thus far, see below:

                July    August    September    October    November    December



© Robert Barnes 2018