|Pancho Villa in the center|
Reasons for the cavalry’s sluggishness? Some of the troops had been drinking. But more important, all of their rifles were chained and locked in gun racks. Even so, the cavalry managed to get organized and fought off the Villistas, killing many in the process.
During their retreat, the Villistas stopped at Columbus, New Mexico for a looting and window shooting spree. For three hours, bullets struck houses amid shouts in the streets of “Viva Villa! Viva Mexico! Muerte a los Americanos!” They were among the first to shout, “Death to Americans!”
The town was set on fire. Villa’s men gained nothing beyond a few dollars and some merchandise from the burnt stores. The terror continued until about 7:00 a.m. when Villa finally rode away. The smoke-filled streets of Columbus littered with the dead and wounded, fourteen American soldiers and ten civilians were killed in the raid.
Controversial Francisco “Pancho” Villa’s original name was Doroteo Arango (June 5,
He changed his name while on the run to avoid getting caught by authorities. In the late 1890s, he worked as a miner in Chihuahua in addition to selling stolen cattle. He soon added more serious crimes to his record: robbing banks and stealing from the wealthy.
Though he started as a bandit, he was later inspired by reformer Francisco Modero and helped him win the Mexican Revolution. After a coup by Victoriano Herta, Villa opposed the dictator and fought many battles against him. He was a very effective revolutionary leader. However, in May 1911, Villa resigned from command because of differences he had with another commander, Pascual Orozco, Jr.
the folk hero
Villa won battle after battle during the next several years. Then Mexico became embroiled in a civil war. The United States supported Villa’s enemy, Venustiano Carranza. Thus, the attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico happened as reprisal.
On May 20, 1920, Carranza was assassinated and Adolfo De la Huerta became the interim president of Mexico. De la Huerta wanted peace in Mexico so negotiated with Villa for his retirement. Part of the peace agreement was that Villa would receive a hacienda in Chihuahua. But he enjoyed only a short retirement.
On July 20, 1923, though Villa usually traveled with a number of bodyguards, this
|Pancho Villa & Maria Luz Corral|
|Pancho Villa retired|
By stealing from the rich and often giving to the poor, some saw Pancho Villa as a modern-day Robin Hood. Villa captured the imagination of many Americans and his exploits were regularly filmed by a Hollywood movie company. He even signed a contract with Hollywood’s Mutual Film Company (1913) to have several of his battles filmed. Some report he advocated for the poor and wanted agrarian reform. Though he was a killer, a bandit, and a revolutionary leader, many remember him also as a folk hero.
What do you think? Is Pancho Villa a bad guy or good guy?
|Janet Chester Bly|
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Janet Chester Bly has written and co-written 32 nonfiction and fiction books with her late husband, award-winning western author Stephen Bly. Her published works include Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill. She is now working on Book 2 to be released later this fall. Find out more at website: http://www.BlyBooks.com or blog: http://www.blybooks.com/blog/
Excerpt from Stephen Bly's novel, Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon:
Bronc hooted. “I asked Big Margarita to marry me six times one night.”“Yep. Her and every other woman in the cantina that night.”
“And they all turned you down?” I asked.
Bronc grinned. “It was my lucky night.”
Quirt balanced his revolver on the worn slick knee of his suit pants. I couldn’t tell if he had bullets in five or all six chambers. “I heard she cold-cocked one of Pancho Villa’s men when they made that raid across the border.”
“She cold-cocked his horse,” Shorty reported.
I swallowed hard and jammed my cap gun back into the holster. “His horse?”
“Yep. That Mexican hit the ground runnin’ toward the border. He might still be running,” Shorty said. “Not even Villa could face the wrath of Big Margarita with a lead pipe in her hand.”
“Is she the ole gal who gave you that black eye?” Granddaddy asked.
Shorty sighed. “Two of them.”
“She gave you two black eyes?” I quizzed.
Shorty shrugged. “Little Brother, some men is slow learners.”