The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

29 June 2008

What Can Be Found in Old Newspapers

While searching for an obituary of my 2nd great grandfather, I came upon two short articles that I wish to share with you. These were posted in the "Local News" section of 26 November 1887 "Socorro Bullion". One article is light fare, while the other tells of a tragedy that fell upon a group of little boys:

The dance given at the Garcia opera house Thanksgiving evening proved to be a very enjoyable affair. A large number were in attendance and everyone seemed happy. From seven until a little after nine o'clock, the floor was covered with skaters, and those who did not participate, amused themselves by admiring the peculiar grace of some of the skaters, and laughing at the ludricrous antics of the novices at the business. Dancing commenced about 9:30 p.m. and was kept up until after midnight.

A very sad accident occured in San Marcial Thursday afternoon about two o'clock. Three little boys named Willie Hammond, Bruce Cruickshanks and Willie Clifford obtained possession of a torpedo, such as are used by railroads for danger signals. After placing it upon a post, Willie Hammond struck it with a heavy hammer. The torpedo exploded and a piece of shell lodged in the little fellow's neck. At first he was not thought to be seriously injured, but after walking a few steps he fell over dead. The other two boys received slight injuries. Dr. Cruickshanks extracted the shell from the boy's neck and it was found that his windpipe had been severed.

"Local News", Socorro Bullion, Socorro, New Mexico, 26 November 1887, 3rd page, column 1. Microfilm, Socorro Bullion, April 1, 1883 - January 29, 1889.

It is interesting that the light hearted piece about skating would be placed between my ancestor's obituary and the tragic story. There is usually no rhyme or reason to the editing of these local newspapers.

I like to go through these newspapers to find little tidbits about my family. Sometimes I find an obituary; othertimes it's just a notice that "Mr. So-and-so arrived in town from Lemitar yesterday to do business here." Sometimes it even mentions what the business is, which gives one a good understanding of what his or her ancestor did for a living.

I'm currently working on an obituary I found on Pedro Antonio Baca in the 12 November 1887 edition of the "Socorro Bullion". Although Pedro Antonio was not an ancestor of mine, he does have a connection to one of my ancestors. I hope to soon have a short article written for the New Mexico Genealogist. Maybe I will have it in time for the next issue. I'll keep you posted.

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