Irate Mom Stops Deputies Cold -- Frees Sons from Deportation Mob!
Photograph courtesy of the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum.
When Anna Payne of Bisbee heard that her two sons had been picked up by the vigilantes for deportation she stormed through the gauntlet of armed men and demanded that they be released. Although she was threatened by the deputies she persisted in her demands and her two sons, William and John Raymond were released to her custody. The picture from the Brophy collection was mistakenly identified as the famous “Mother Jones” of early mining labor history. The picture was correctly identified by her granddaughter, Imongene G. Gembrin who spotted her grandmother in the mining museum collection.
Statements of witness examined by Hon. Wiley E. Jones, Attorney General of the State of Arizona, at an investigation held by him, in the Mason Boarding house at Lowell Arizona, August 5, 1917, into the deportation of men from Bisbee, Arizona, July 12th, 1917.
Mrs. Anna Payne
I live in Tombstone Canyon, Bisbee. On the 12th of July I looked out of my window and seen seventy-five men in front of my place; they were taking my neighbors in front and lining them up, and I had just called my son to go to work; he works in the Soft Drink place here in town called Imperial. He went down to his business on the next street, and there was some gunmen down there and two of the Beonton’s grabbed him by the arm and pushed into the line and one of them tied a white handkerchief on his arm first and he took it off and said “I am not going, with your crowd, I am going to work,” and they said, “We will take you with us.” They took him down to the ball park and imprisoned him there. I had another son seventeen years old that was sick in bed and I told him that they had taken William and he said, “what are they going to do with him,” and he jumped out of bed and ran down the street and they grabbed him and tied a handkerchief on his arm and he pulled it off and stomped on it an said, “I never carried and white feather and I never will.” They took him down to the park and imprisoned him to. I got excited and looked up and asked one of my neighbors, I said, “are my boys in there,” and a gentleman says, “they are both there.” Just then an officer come up and grabbed me by the arm, and I said, “be careful there, I got to have this hand to carry this crutch with.” He said, “are you in sympathy with those fellows there,” and I said “I certainly am, my two boys are in there and my friends are in there.” He said, “well, in you go.” I says, “all right, in I go,” so they pushed me in the pen and I went in, and I stirred up quite a time, I got on the platform and made them a speech. There is one gunman here, I understand, he is Mr. McKeen, a great big able bodied fellow, he came up where I was speaking and he looked right up at me, and I said, “you great big fellow, come off that horse,” I said, “you are no good,” I said, “to pick up a gun against the working men, I said, “if your mother could see you now, she would be ashamed that she ever gave you birth, that is not the first time, I understand, that you have carried a gun against the working people”, so I abused him. Then I met Mr. Bledsoe, he was coming along grabbing the men and pushing them into the cleared place where they was going to load them into the cattle cars, and I said, “I am surprised at you, Dr. Bledsoe, a man that was a working man for years,” I said, “you are nothing but a dirty coward.” In passing along the next one I came to was our sheriff of Cochise County, Mr. Wheeler, and I said, “you are a dandy,” I said, “I think you fired your last shot, you cooked your goose,” I said, “you area dirty coward”. He said nothing to me. We come on up came to the cars, and I don’t know who the officer was, but anyhow he had one of them long guns and he just placed the gun right across my chest and says, “you are going in there,” and I says, “if my two boys go in there,” I says, “if they get in that car I am going in there to,” and I pulled back my fist and says, “let me by or I will just smack you in the jaw, I don’t care how big you are,” so they put me out of the line and gave me my two boys and I left.