Here are some brief descriptions of the news in the El Paso Times from December 1897 — 125 years ago.
Dec. 1, 1897
About 20 horses are now located at Washington Park to be put in training for the holiday races. More horses are expected soon.
Dec. 3, 1897
Since a gentleman named Frost took out a marriage license several days ago, no more have been issued. Although County Clerk Pitman says he is not superstitious, he is beginning to think there is something in a name after all.
Dec. 4, 1897
There have been over 100 head of cattle stolen recently from ranches in the Three Rivers and Ruidoso country. The cattle were brought as far south as Fleck’s ranch when the thief was discovered and escaped although followed for some distances by stockmen who shot at him several times.
The Police Department reports that $1,359 has been collected in fines for the month of November.
Dec. 5, 1897
Captain Boone’s horse was found out near the Hueco Tanks with both the bridle and saddle missing; the horse was stolen during the night.
Dec. 6, 1897
A sneak thief swiped Dr. Higgin’s overcoat from his office this morning; when last seen the Doc was flying around town on his bike in hot pursuit of the thief whoever he may be.
J.E. Webster broke the December ice at the County Clerk’s Office yesterday when he took out a license to marry Miss Marthey G. Maning, It was the first license applied for since Nov. 30.
Col. John Simpson, chief quartermaster of the Department of Texas, has opened bids for the construction of the military road from Fort Bliss to El Paso. This was recently ordered laid out by the War Department. The lowest bid was made by A.L, Roy, who offers to take the contract for $3,439.35. However, the result has not been announced.
Dec. 8, 1897
The Juárez officials are after the bunco men with hammer and tongs. An American was buncoed out of $400 yesterday in a flimflam dice game in Juárez.
Dec. 9, 1897
While en route up the line the Messrs. Eddy had a sad accident; the director’s car ran into a bull on the grade and turned over. The bull is dead, very dead, but the Messrs. Eddy escaped with slight scratches.
A prominent real estate man stopped to pluck a boll of cotton from the plants in the plaza. On finding the cotton fiber so long and silky and fine in quality he said he believed that if cotton were grown near El Paso it would be of remarkably excellent quality and find a ready market at good prices.
Dec. 10, 1897
The girls have got an idea into their heads this season that it is not at all “the thing” to have a long string of bridesmaids walking up the aisle before them when they go to the altar. The chic thing now is to have a maid of honor only.
A traveling man found betting on cockfights in Juárez an exceedingly unprofitable pastime yesterday. He said that the combatants looked so much alike that he was unable to make Mexican friends understand which rooster he had his money on, so he lost both ways.
Dec. 15, 1897
The El Paso Social Club came near to getting a black eye last evening in the Board of Commissioners meeting when Mr. Courchesne moved that the use of the Courthouse for dancing be forbidden.
Dec. 16, 1897
At 12 o’clock last night the fire alarm was sounded, and called out a large number of firemen. The fire was found to be in Juárez.
Dec. 20, 1897
The postmaster general has granted the petition of Postmaster Julian for an extra clerk during the holiday rush, to Jan. 9; but nothing has been heard from the postmaster’s request for another carrier.
Dec. 22, 1897
If any El Pasoan gets a Chinese to paint a sign it would be well to have it interpreted before it is paid for. A merchant had such a sign painted. It drew no trade. Investigation proved that the sign read: “Don’t buy anything here; the storekeeper is a rogue.”
The first music box seen here was sent to Mr. Reckhart today. The box is an American made instrument. Reckhart gave it to his wife, along with 42 records.
Dec. 23, 1897
State Collector O’Connor stated that taxes are being paid much faster this year than last. Up to this time last year he had issued only 150 tax receipts while this year he has already issued 450.
Mayor Magoffin’s famous orchard is being surveyed for the purpose of cutting it up into town lots.
Dec. 24, 1897
A message received by the mayor last evening from Washington stated that straightening of the river had been approved in Washington. This means that the river will be given an impetus by removing the crook east of the city.
Dec. 25, 1897
C.R. Morehead, Adolph Krakauer and J.P. Dieter, of the special citizens committee, recommended to the City Council that it establish a full paid fire department for the city. Chief Connors smiled.
Dec. 26, 1897
Santa Claus brought to Edna Van Patten a nine-pound sister. Their mother is doing well.
A member of the Times staff received a fine fat ‘possum yesterday as a Christmas present from Col. R.M. Johnston, managing editor of the Houston Post.
Dec. 27, 1897
A few of the young girls of El Paso must have made up their minds to have a good time Christmas regardless of reputation. They threw themselves right into the celebration at the Juárez fiesta and gambled to their hearts’ content. It was disgraceful.
Dec. 30, 1897
Mice gnawing into a box of matches set fire to the pantry at the Lindell hotel last night, but the blaze was extinguished before any particular damage was done.
A local drugstore will give free gramophone recitals every day at 10 o'clock. The gramophone produces the human voice the same as life and everybody should see and hear the wonderful instrument.
Dec. 31, 1897
A Frenchman who just arrived in the city has challenged George Bovee to a bicycle race at an early day and arrangements are now being made.
Trish Long may be reached at 546-6179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Mice set fire at hotel, no dancing among El Paso 1897 stories