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Orson P McRae, Phelps Dodge shift boss

Orson P McRae, Phelps Dodge shift boss

Orson P McRae's grave site in the Evergreen Cemetery, Bisbee.
Photo taken by Beth Henson, Nov. 2004.

Orson P McRae, Phelps Dodge shift boss

Orson McCrea (McRae) lies in state on the porch of the Phelps-Dodge store. Dr. Nelson Bledsoe stands to right of casket.
AHS, Pictures-Places-Bisbee-Bisbee Deportation, #62117

Born 1884. Died July 12, 1917.

Orson McRae was a Phelps-Dodge shift boss. He was recruited into the Loyal League, an association of miners loyal to the companies, and sworn in as a deputy on July 11. On the morning of the deportation, he joined a posse of five deputies who were assigned to pick up striking miners from rooming houses. McRae was unarmed when he forced his way into Jim Brew's room, after Brew warned that he would shoot. McRae had a wife and four children. Brew and McRae were the only two deaths which occurred during the deportation. Phelps-Dodge gave McRae an elaborate funeral; his body was laid out under the rotunda in the PD Mercantile Building downtown. The bottom of his tombstone reads, "Erected by the citizens of the Warren Mining District."

[Sources: James W. Byrkit. Forging the copper collar: Arizona's labor management war of 1901-1921. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1982; AHS vertical files]