Thu, April 09

1918: JEROME; Horace Harrison Murdered, September 23, Part 1.

MINE GUARD ASSASSINATED: Chief Watchman Harrison Is Slain By An Unknown Man - Posse In Pursuit.

"With a cigarette between his lips, Horace Harrison, brave man and gentleman, strolled unconcernedly into the darkness to death at the hands of a lurking, cowardly assassin who murdered him without the slightest cause and without giving him one chance for his life."

"It was about 12:30 this morning that M. R. Corbett, one of the U. V. mine watchmen, saw five men, apparently Mexicans, moving around the United Verde & Pacific station in a suspicious manner. One of Corbett's instructions is to allow no one around the railroad oil tanks along the track west of the station, and he was immediately on the alert."

"One of the men was ahead, two were a short distance behind him and two were still farther back. Corbett poked his rifle down over the railing and asked the first Mexican what he was doing there. The intruder replied that he was a miner going on shift. Corbett knew that no miners went on shift at that time and warned the Mexican back. His warning was obeyed. The five collected on the road west of the station, then crossed the track and disappeared in the darkness up the hillside to the southwest."

"HARRISON NOTIFIED: Corbett called the mine office by telephone. Watchman W. J. Smith answered and Corbett asked him to call Harrison, then asleep. Harrison arrived at the station about 12:45 and Corbett told him of the five prowlers who were about."

"'You were quite right to call me,' Harrison told Corbett. 'Always do so when you see anything suspicious.'"

"WANTED NO HELP: Corbett offered to walk along by the oil tanks and the old powder house, now used only for the storage of caps, to be sure that the Mexicans had gone. Harrison replied that he would perform this duty himself. From his manner, Corbett inferred that his chief did not think anything was seriously wrong."

"Before Harrison left he told Corbett to join him if he heard one shot and stated that if everything was all right he would fire his revolver three times."

"A SINGLE SHOT: Calmly smoking, Harrison walked along the track toward the oil tanks and soon disappeared from Corbett's view. In two or three minutes Corbett heard a single shot and, obedient to instructions, hurried after Harrison."

"Beside one of the tanks, Corbett came upon the body of a man lying upon his face. He turned the body over. It was Harrison, dead. A single bullet had entered the side near the left nipple, ranged downward and emerged near the right kidney, probably touching the heart en route."

"ROBBERY OF BODY: Corbett saw three men scurrying away in the darkness still farther to the west. He probably arrived just after they finished rifling Harrison's pockets. The dead man's revolver and pocketbook were taken. A dime, a can of tobacco and a package of cigarette papers and one cartridge were left in his pockets. Beside the body were two more cartridges and the officer's electric flash."

"Mine Superintendent H. DeWitt Smith and Assistant General Manager Robert E. Tally were immediately telephoned by Corbett. Corbett then returned to the body with Watchman Smith and they found two coats a few feet from the body. The coats were closely examined this morning by Deputy Sheriff Frank Bartlett, of Clarkdale, but he found nothing in the pockets that would give the slightest clue to the identity of the owners."

"WENT WESTWARD: Deputy Sheriff Fred Hawkins went up the hill after he disposed of Gabriel Acero at the primary school. He returned at daylight and came to the conclusion that Harrison's murderer and his companions had gone westward."

"ROBINSON IN CHARGE: Undersheriff John Robinson and a posse of deputies arrived from Prescott by auto at 6 o'clock this morning and Robinson took personal charge of the chase. He agreed with Hawkins that the fugitives had probably gone west and the pursuit is in that direction. Several Indian trailers from the valley are giving what assistance they can."

"THE DEAD WATCHMAN: Horace Harrison was one of the best known peace officers in Arizona and there was certainly no one with more cool nerve. He lived in Tucson for a number of years and served several times as a deputy sheriff there. In that capacity he performed many deeds of daring and became known as a man who could be depended on to do his duty and not lose his head under any circumstances. With rifle or revolver he was an expert shot and his ability as a marksman added no little to his value as an officer. Among the Mexicans of the entire southwest he became known as an officer to be feared."

"PROMINENT IN AJO: For a time Harrison conducted a sporting goods store in Tucson. About two years ago, at the request of the sheiff of Pima county, he went to Ajo as a deputy to take charge of a difficult and dangerous situation. Mexicans and I.W.W. were pretty nearly running that camp. They ceased to run it the moment Harrison arrived."

"In the spring of 1917 Harrison came from Ajo to Jerome to become a watchman for the United Verde. He was chief assistant to Head Watchman R. J. Snowden and last Saturday, when Snowden went on a vacation, Harrison took charge of all the watchmen at the mine."

"WOUNDED IN 1917: It will be recalled that Harrison was wounded in the leg at the time Jim Evans and Genero Mayragoitia were killed in the latter part of May, 1917. Though he could not in any way be held responsible for that unfortunate affair, wherein mine guards mistook each other for enemies and began shooting promiscuously, Harrison deeply regretted the occurrence and frequently spoke of it."

"By nature Harrison was one of the gentlest of men but in the performance of his duty he was stern and unrelenting. He knew the Mexicans as well as any American in Arizona, and though he had many friends among that race he had no illusions about the treacherous nature of the 'cholo.' And a 'cholo' finally 'got him.'"

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Monday, September 23, 1918; page 1. columns 1-2, and page 8, column 4.)

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