The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

Book Reviews

what they claimed was unacceptable placement. Within this racial system,
Mexicans were not considered white, and therefore, white children should be
placed in white homes. This local group circumvented the issue of Catholocism
altogether. By the next afternoon, their husbands coerced the Mexican families
to relinquish the children to them in an act of vigilantism. Gordon examines this
event from all angles, and proceeds to dissect it according to race, class, and
gender relationships in Clifton-Morenci and the greater Southwest. This was not
a selfless act on the part of the Anglo participants. Of the eight women who
organized the abduction, seven of them claimed orphans of their own.
Gordon also considers the effects of the 1903 strike on the orphan affair.
What began as workers expressing grievances over wages and mine conditions
quickly redrew racial boundaries-it became a Mexican strike which deepened
the divisions between whites and Mexicans in Clifton-Morenci. This serves as a
backdrop for the orphan abduction. The irony, Gordon points out, is that the
strikers' grievances-a lower pay scale for Mexican workers, health and safety
concerns, and cleanliness-were the same factors undergirding the Anglos' vigi-
lantism. In the end, the courts upheld the notion that white children belong in
white homes, a further act of colonialism if one considers that the U.S. census
identified Mexicans as white.
Gordon goes to great lengths to provide background on the history of the
U.S. Southwest: mining, racial identity, religious differences, labor conflict, class
consciousness, and vigilantism. While this technique provides a wealth of infor-
mation and a goldmine of primary and secondary sources, it also tends to
detract from the narrative. This minor criticism aside, Gordon makes an impor-
tant contribution to the historiography of racial identity in the Southwest. She
also effectively demonstrates how women's agency, both Mexican and Anglo,
helped construct racial identity in mining communities.
Oklahoma State University Patricia Loughlin
James Wiley Magoffin: Don Santzago, El Paso Pzoneer. By W. H. Timmons. (El Paso:
Texas Western Press, 1999. Pp. ix+13o. Acknowledgments, introduction,
conclusion, documentary appendix, notes, bibliography, and index. ISBN o-
87404-282-8. $18.oo, paper.)
This brief but highly informative biography traces the life of James Wiley
Magoffin (1799-1868), a colorful merchant and entrepreneur perhaps best
known for founding an eponymous settlement on the Rio Grande that eventually
became El Paso. Drawing on several collections of recently discovered archival
material, W. H. Timmons has brought long-overdue attention to Magoffin's role
in establishing the U.S. presence in the Southwest, while using his subject's life
as a frame through which to view the mid-nineteenth-century history of the U.S.-
Mexico borderlands.
Timmons's study builds a strong case in support of his claim that Magoffin,
known affectionately as "Don Santiago," was "El Paso's greatest and most impor-
tant pioneer." Indeed, Magoffin's exploits in the Southwest encompassed many



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed December 1, 2015.