Milligan Plaza and the Texas War of Elfego Baca - Reserve
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Thread: Milligan Plaza and the Texas War of Elfego Baca - Reserve

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  1. #1

    Mar 2004
    New Mexico
    21 times

    Milligan Plaza and the 'Texas War' of Elfego Baca - Reserve

    I've never seen anyone metal detecting around Reserve. Considering the history, I'm not certain why.

    The air-views show plentiful ruins of early structures on both sides of the Frisco.

    Reserve, New Mexico
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,_New_Mexico

    Coordinates: 33 42 31 N 108 45 39 W

    In the 1860s, Mexican-Americans established a string of villages along the river, naming them the Upper, Lower, and Middle San Francisco Plazas. In the late 1870s Anglo settlers began arriving. They renamed Upper Frisco Plaza as Milligan's Plaza, naming it after a merchant and saloon owner.

    Milligan's Plaza was the site of the legendary Frisco Shootout of Elfego Baca. In 1882, or perhaps 1884, the nineteen-year-old Baca apparently appointed himself deputy sheriff and rode 130 miles from Socorro to the Plaza. There he set about bringing justice to the Mexican-American community which had been beset by drunken cowboys.

    Outnumbered by 80 Texans, Baca holed up in a jacal, the flimsiest kind of hut, and was besieged by the mob. Bullets and dynamite could not dislodge him, and in a gun battle lasting 33 hours, he inflicted death and grievous injury on his adversaries without being injured himself.


    San Francisco Plaza, New Mexico
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    (Redirected from Frisco, New Mexico)• Ten things you may not know about images on Wikipedia •Jump to: navigation, search

    The Frisco Store in Lower Frisco Plaza San Francisco Plaza was name of three towns in Catron County, New Mexico, United States. Located in the San Francisco River Valley, the towns were settled by the Spanish crown in the 1860s. Today Middle San Francisco Plaza is almost non-existent; Lower San Francisco is called "Lower Frisco" and Upper San Francisco was renamed Reserve when U.S. Forest Service headquarters were built there.

    Located in the San Francisco Valley, Reserve was named Upper San Francisco Plaza by its original Hispanic settlers in 1874. Apaches made frequent attacks on the community, which sit within Apache hunting lands.[1] In the late 1870s Anglo settlers began arriving. They renamed Upper Frisco Plaza as Milligan's Plaza after a town merchant and saloon owner.

    Milligan's Plaza was the site of the legendary Frisco Shootout of Elfego Baca in 1884. The self-appointed deputy sheriff made a stand-off against a mob of Texas cowboys in Upper San Francisco Plaza in 1884[2], quickly gaining a reputation as the hero of the Frisco Shootout. Author Louis L'Amour included Upper San Francisco Plaza in his novel Conagher, calling it "The Plaza".[3] The Tularosa River flows into the San Francisco River at Middle San Francisco Plaza.

    The 'Texas War' - Eyewitness account [differs considerably from the 'massaged' Wiki and local non-Hispanic version]

    According to one of the witnesses to the battle, William French, Recollections of a Western Ranchman, Baca was an official deputy sent to arrest a Texan who was part of a group who held a Mexican sheep-herder down on a table and castrated him. The locals quickly appointed a Justice of the Peace to handle the case so's to keep him from being taken to the County Seat in Socorro to stand trial. The quickly and informally elected JP fined the Texan $5.00 while an angry mob collected to witness things. Baca slipped out the back and holed up in a nearby jacale so's to not be offered similar treatment to the sheep-herder.

    French gives a vivid account of the Texans trying to take the jacale and the respect they with which they came to regard Baca's marksmanship with his six-shooters. Most of the 33 hours involved Texans hiding behind barriers out of pistol range and riddling the jacale with rifle fire.

    Baca's own account is more humorous, "shooting with one-hand and cooking with the other", etc.


    A few books about the general and specific area that might provide you with a lot of ideas for metal detecting as well as a lot of enjoyment. I've websearched for some possible sources because of the out-of-print status on some: [www_gilahot_com]
    Recollections of a Western Ranchman
    Captain William French. 1883. 283 pages. Reprinted (1990) by High-Lonesome Books P.O. Box 878 Silver City, NM 88062
    "When I want to learn what the frontier Southwest was really like, I consult William French's Recollections. Whether writing about the region's daily happenings or its natural history, Captain French presents an objective, yet lively, portrayal of his observations in the best tradition of that unique genre of British explorer-participants that includes Sir Richard Burton." - David E. Brown

    William French left the British Army to be a rancher just west of here near the town of Alma. He participated in the incredible Elfego Baca affair (locally known as "the Mexican War" he informs us), met the Wild Bunch, and had numerous adventures at a very interesting time in southwest history. He was a participant, but his tales have a droll, one step removed flavor of an observer. Intelligent, insightful, understated. [www_amazon_com]

    Recollections of a Western Ranchman (Paperback)
    by William French (Author)

    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
    Great book!, November 1, 2000
    By A Customer

    This is an amazing gem. I couldn't put it down. Capt. French managed to live through more wild times and adventures than I would have thought possible. Truly the 'wild west'. Written in an understated tone, with a sense of humor. Some great wild animal encounters/stories in addition to the usual cowboys, Indians, cattle rustlers, train and stagecoach robberies, etc.

    Books about [or authored by] Elfego Baca [www_amazon_com]

    True Tales , Compiled and Edited by Patti Unger.. 1991.
    193 pages. Sundog Publishing, HCR 88067, 5156 Silver City, NM 88061

    Articles, photos and ads originally published in the Silver City Enterprise in 1882 & 1883. Newspapers were far more opinionated and interesting to read in pioneer days. Imagine your local newspaper publishing this little snippet about one of its advertisers. "Tenderfoot Miller has managed to get a big display advertisement into this paper. He imagines himself terribly smart because he runs a big livery stable and a corral, filled with horses and hay. He probably thinks it is funny to be proprietor of a silver mounted hearse, &c. Tenderfoot is a terror to the traveling public." Many accounts of gold and silver strikes, Apache raids, and encounters with badmen, and references to many booming towns and mining camps that now are only a memory.

    Cow Dust and Saddle Leather by Ben Kemp, University of Oklahoma Press 1968 [search_abaa_org]

    Kemp, Ben W. with J. C. Dykes Cow Dust and Saddle Leather
    Norman, OK University of Oklahoma Press 1968, First Edition Very Good Cloth Very Good + 8vo., 300pp. Text. Photographs. Letters. Appendix. Index. Bound in yellow cloth boards, with illustrated dust jacket. 6-Guns 1229. [www_amazon_com] [www_amazon_com]

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    bobw53 likes this.

  2. #2
    Dec 2008
    2792 times

    I just stumbled across this great post. Good stuff!

    A classic book on Elfago Baca is Law and order, ltd.; The rousing life of Elfego Baca of New Mexico by Kyle Crichton (1928). Bob McCoy's old Rio Grande Press reprinted it after it had gone out of copyright and Bob told me he heard from every Baca in New Mexico, demanding a royalty payment. Which is particularly humorous because, as I once told him, the only authors he got along with were dead.

    "In fashioning this life story of Elfego Baca we have made no attempt to set down in chronological order his deeds from birth to old age, but have been more concerned with those incidents which best bring out the interest and humor and strangeness of the Old West he lived in."

    I recall a weekly Walt Disney Western about Sheriff Baca - probably that company's first with a Chicano hero.

    Good luck to all,

    The Old Bookaroo
    lastleg likes this.
    Make America Think Again

    Do you have good books in good condition you are never going to re-read? Clean 'em out!
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