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J. J.'s FLOWER BLOOMS AGAIN: A 1919 PEN FROM THE PAST  

Above is James Judson Kilpatrick Sr. known in later years as the "King of Candelaria".



Above is Darwin Dawkins Kilpatrick, son of J.J. Sr. Dawkins or D.D. served as a scout for the last American punitive expedition into Mexico in August 1919. He operated the Candelaria store until his death in the late 1940's.

In the summer of 1919 Candelaria merchant and Justice of the Peace James Judson Kilpatrick Sr. and two of his sons, Jim and Dawkins found themselves caught up in a storm of controversy. Following the Brite ranch raid on Christmas Day 1916, fear ran high along the Rio Grande in the Big Bend. The civil war in Mexico spurred on by Pancho Villa had turned the village of Candelaria into an armed camp. Most of the population of Candelaria left to find a safer place to live. J.J. at first called for help from the U.S. government to fortify and defend his town. Not wanting to run, the Kilpatricks mounted a Colt .30 cal. machine gun above their store to guard their property. Two Candelaria schoolteachers, Pat Greene and his wife packed pistols and stayed ready to climb to the roof of their residence to fight off a an expected raid from across the river. When the new teacher first arrived in Candelaria, J.J. presented schoolmaster Greene a 7mm Mauser rifle and 1,500 rounds of ammunition. A troop of U.S. cavalry under the command of Captain Leonard F. Matlack worked feverously to move their tent camp from old man Engles cotton patch near the edge of the village to Annias Hill overlooking Candelaria, the river and San Antonio del Bravo.

J.J. and Jim wrote letters to congressmen and penned articles at first published by the San Antonio Express, the El Paso Times and the Marfa New Era. Even the New York Times picked up articles about Candelaria. When some of the press reflected badly on the cavalry, a military press blackout was imposed on reporters who were no longer permitted to go to Candelaria. Instead, the reporters could only write stories based on news releases given them from the army at Fort D.A. Russell in Marfa. But the Kilpatricks kept on with their letters and articles. Finally the El Paso Times refused to publish any more from J.J. Kilpatrick because it was too controversial and inflammatory. It didn't help when J.J. got drunk and accidentally discharged his pistol in an El Paso bordello. The El Paso Times did not fail to report this incident. Following this J.J. started publishing his own newspaper circular printed by his brother H.H. Kilpatrick in Marfa. H.H. was Presidio County judge and publisher of the now lost Marfa New Era newspaper.

This is not to say the Kilpatricks were without fault in all of this. They engaged in a steady and highly profitable illegal arms for cattle trade with Villa agents and others. When Dawkins hauled cotton over the Sierra Vieja trails with large mule drawn wagons, he sometimes returned to Candelaria with the wagons loaded with rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition. But their writings to tell their version of the border troubles of that time should not be glossed over or ignored. The following is J.J. Kilpatrick's attempt to counter the newspaper stories of what happened. These papers were given to me years ago by J.J.'s granddaughter, Marian Walker. These are J.J.'s words, exactly as written.
Gj

FALL REITERATES CHARGES THAT CARRANZA SOLDIERS ARE SLAIN BY PURSUING U.S. TROOPS (El Paso Times July 22, 1919.)

An examination into the truth of these charges and an account of the killing of two youthful sotol smugglers and of Gregorio Renteria.

Special to Morning Times. Washington, July 21.-Senator Fall of New Mexico reiterated his charges on the floor of the Senate that Carranza officers and men have been shot by American soldiers when pursuing Mexican raiders across the Rio Grande.

Reads messenger from Marfa-Senator Fall read a telegram from Marfa, Texas giving the names and dates on Carranzista officers and soldiers had been killed by American troops in repelling raids. There were more than a dozen names of Mexicans given ranging from Captins (sic) to Lieutenants to provates (sic), and all were said to have been in Carranza's army. He said that bugles and sabers had been found belonging to Carranza's forces.

The following is the message probably read by the Senator, or a similar one based on the same records or files at Colonel George T. Langhorne commanding the Big Bend District;

Ten Carranzistas killed in the Big Bend since Dec.1, 1917
(By Associated Press)

Marfa, Texas, July 21.-Records on file in the headquarters of the Big Bend military district here show that the Mexicans killed by Eighth cavalry (sic) troopers in the Big Bend and Ojinaga districts since December 1, 1917, ten were alleged to have been Carranza officers and soldiers, according to Col. George T. Langhorne, District commander.

Of the ten, five were killed on April 2, 1919, when Captain Matlack crossed the border between Ruidosa and Candelaria with troops K and M of the Eighth Cavalry in pursuit of a band of Mexicans who had driven off cattle from American ranches. The cattle were recovered and the bodies of the five alleged Carranza soldiers (were) identified according to Colonel Langhorne.

Names of the Victims. The names, as shown on the headquarters records, were: Felicito Hernandez, Reyes Callanes, Pedro Fallesco, Andres Rodriguez, Blacida Zapata. The five others, also recorded as Carranza soldiers, who were killed prior that date, were, Lieut. Flores Haciendita, killed December 21, 1918; Captain Avila, killed December 25, 1917; Luis Momoz, Roman Hegura and Carlos Rivera, killed in raids on American ranches the records state. Avila was killed leading the attack on the Brite Ranch Christmas day, 1917, and photographs are on file in military headquarters here showing his body clad in the uniform of a Carranza officer.

"American cavalry troops in the Big Bend district crossed the border eight times during the same period in pursuit of Mexicans who had raided ranches on the American side of the border according to headquarters records."

We as well as most Americans on or near the border been passive Villa sympathizers and in favor of sort of intervention. However, I am now rather lukewarm if not altogether cold, in my attitude towards armed interference in the affairs of Mexico. This change on my part is due to some extent to the conduct of the Eighth cavalry (sic) while on the border. Holding no brief for the Carranza government, yet I must say the truth of Rio Grande history in the Big Bend, demand's that Senator Fall's statements should be challenged and the flimsy and false evidence upon which they are founded exposed. It is inconceivable why the general public, making no effort to ascertain the truth, permitted itself to be hoaxed by the reports formerly sent out, it seems, from military headquarters at Marfa; for, an examination of the facts contained in the Senator's message will reveal how the people have been deceived and certain officers gained notoriety under false pretenses. The files in the office of Colonel Langhorne at Marfa, July 21, 1918, showed that the Mexicans killed by the Eighth cavalry (sic) in the Big Bend and Ojinaga districts since December 21, 1917, ten were alleged to be Carranza officers and soldiers, five killed April 27, 1918, by Captain Matlock (sic) when he chaised into Mexico a band of Mexicans how had driven off cattle from American ranches; namely,Felicito Hernandes, Reyes Callanes (Pallanes), Pedro Fallasco (Zalas), Andrez Rodriguez and Placida (Plasido) Zapata, and five killed prior to the time; namely Lieut. Flores Haciendita, killed Dec. 21, 1918; Captain Avila, killed December 25, 1917; Louis Munoz, Roman Hegura (Segura) and Carlos Rivera.

Since Roman Segura and Carlos Rivera were killed at the same place, in which, and at the same time when Zalas, Rogriguez and Zapata were killed, the tow former should take the places of Feliceto Hernandez and Reyes Pallanes, killed nearly a year subsequently. Attention is called to the interchange of these names, in rely (sic) to indicate the bungling work formerly done in filing away border reports at Marfa.

Now, April 7, 1918, when Roman Segura, Carlos Rivera, Pedro Zales, Andres Rodriquez and Plasida Zapata were killed, Matlock (sic) did not cross the border in pursuit of these Mexicans; neither had theyor any other Mexicans driven cattle or anything else from American ranches. That there had been no raid of any sort is an incontrovertible fact, and the officer responsible for the report that had been should be dismissed from the army as a sensational prevaricator. Matlock (sic), did cross the Rio Grande at or about the time mentioned upone a manufactured hot trail; and learing in San Antonio that Chico Cano who he doubtless had long been planning to kill or capture, had that morning with nine of his men gone up the river, he, Matlack and his troops following after him in no great hurry. Coming upon the Mexicans with their shoes off and asleep by the side of the regular trail, after their noon meal, the Americans surrounded and shot to death five of them, Chico escaping in his stocking feet slightly wounded. Yet Senator Fall read on the floor of the senate a message from Marfa, saying these five Mexicans were alleged to be Carranza soldiers, who having driven off cattle from the American ranches, were pursued across the border by Captain Matlock (sic), and killed, an absolute untruth.

These five Mexicans wore no uniform and were not soldiers, but were locally known as Chico Cano's men. While in the employment of the Carranza government, their exact status of function no one seemed to know. Some said they were border patrollers; others that they were secret scouts; that Chico himself held no commission as a Carranza captain, but was merely chief o the patrolers or scouts. That point, however, is immaterial, since they had not raided any American ranches, or as an organized band committed any depredation on this side of the river. As individuals some of them may have been guilty of the sporadic stealing of horses from ranches in Texas, but that the individual wrongdoing of soldiers is proof of connivance on the part of the government with the commission of crime is simply absurd.

The misleading and worthless character of the files from which Senator Fall's telegram is yet to be told. And it is amazing how reports which are pure fabrication found their way into the former military records at Marfa, yet just listen; Felicito Hernandez and Reyes Pallanes, both of whom I knew, recorded in the army files of the Big Bend district as Carranza soldiers killed prior to April 7, 1918, while raiding American ranches, were only two youthful sotol smugglers, cruelly shot to death by two of Matlock's (sic) soldiers the night of June 1, 1919. Being Justice of the Peace, I investigated the killing. The soldiers late in the evening made an engagement with the boys to bring over some sotol that night-and then shot them down in the shallow water about ten feet from the bank, then they returned with the liquor.

But I have not finished with the crooked files; Luis Munoz, also recorded as a Carranza soldier, etc., was no other that the worthless son of Pablo Munoz, and was hung in Mexico for hog stealing by the Mexicans themselves. I know what I am saying.

Captain Avila-the bandit killed by Sam Neill Christmas day 1917 had on a tight fitting coat fitted with brass buttons. Somebody in Marfa said the picture of the dead outlaw resembled a certain Captain Avila who fled with two thousand others to this side when Villa took Ojinaga. Hence, it seems brass buttons on a coat and the resemblance; somebody imagined he or she noted, was sufficient evidence to prove a Carranzista captain had been killed raiding an American ranch. Ever if the dead raider had once been an officer in the Mexican army the only logical conclusion that could be drawn from this fact is the he was a deserter, Villistas and Carranzistas raided the Brite ranch.

Lieut. Flores Haciendita killed December 21, 1918, was probably intended to read: Lieut. Flores, killed at Haciendita; however I have been unable to locate anyone who has ever heard of the lieutenant or of anyone's being killed on the date above mentioned. Anyway if a Mexican was killed at that place on or about that date his lieutenancy was no doubt similar to the Captaincy of Sam Neil's bandit, namely of American manufacture.

My criticism is not yet exhausted. These files tell of bugles and sabers belonging to he Carranza forces having been found. When and where the message read by the New Mexico senator did not say; and noting in the papers the bugle and saber statement I marveled at the Senator's lack of information. In the homes of a number of Americans on both sides of the border, may be found bugles, sabers, swords, etc., exactly line those in the Eighth cavalry's museum or war. Mr. Fall, no doubt, has a Carranza (Mexican) saber and may be that we gave it to him for we have given away several since the revolution in Mexico first began. My purpose in part for exposing the worthless character of the telegram read by Senator Fall on the floor of the Senate is this: Colonel Shaw was recently sent out by Washington by General March to ferret out the truth in regard to certain border reports. It will be remembered that Major Collins a little pussy footing whitewasher, exonerated Matlock (sic) of all charges I made against him or to any members of my family and among the other things recommended that no more money be spent investigating any charges we may make. But the flowers of truth though withered by time will, as long and justice and right will live, blossom and bloom again. The war department paid no attention it seems to this little swivel chair Major who is no other than the son in law of a life-time political enemy of ours and so disqualified to investigate anything which my family and I were interested.

In his two hour interview with me Colonel Shaw asked how I knew the reports sent out from the border were generally grossly exaggerated or fictitious. Because I explained such was their character as reflected in the newspapers. While admitting that, since I had not seen the reports on file in military headquarters, I could not say that the newspaper copies were correct, yet I called the Colonel's attention to the fact that charges were made prior to this testimony and from the telegram read by the New Mexico Senator, the inescapable conclusion that my charges were true. Without going into detail, I will say of the 21 Mexicans killed on this side of the river since 1917, only one was a bandit, the other 19 being unarmed Mexicans or prisoners; and of the 96 so called outlaws killed by American troops on the other side of the river during the same time, only 16 had corporal bodies, only two of whom being bandits; five were Chico Cano's men; seven were prisoners; one an old blind Mexican killed at Pilares; and one a lunatic killed at the Jacal settlement opposite Indio, by Matlock (sic), so a government scout informed me. Of the remaining 80, six were killed at San Jose on the telephone wires; seventeen killed by Matlock (sic) with spyglasses at the so-called second day's fight opposite Indio. And fifty-seven on paper with hot air rifles.

Of the eight raids implied by the telegram from Marfa, July 21, 1918, only two were genuine bandit excursions-Brite and Nevill raids; two were simply cases of cattle thefts by border thieves-the Tigner and Nunez ranch incidents; one was a bogus thing-and the phantom raid of Chico Cano, and three, if they ever happened must have been trivial affairs, for I have been unable to find anyone who knows anything about them.

James Judson Kilpatrick, Sr.
Candelaria, Texas
Circular No. 3



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