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Clash with Rangers radicalizes rancher
August 03, 1915

On this day in 1915, Aniceto Pizaña escaped a gunfight with Texas Rangers at his ranch north of Brownsville and became a full-fledged revolutionary. Pizaña was born in Cameron County about 1870. He met Ricardo Flores Magón in 1904 and with Luis De la Rosa helped formed the Floresmagonista movement to redress the injustices done to Mexicans on both sides of the Rio Grande. In Brownsville Pizaña helped to form a branch of the Mexican Liberal party, which by 1915 had joined other Floresmagonistas in using the Plan of San Diego to combat injustices by guerrilla warfare. The plan called for the American Southwest to become an independent republic. At first Pizaña did not fully support the plan and headed a moderate faction favoring reform over revolution. But after Pizaña's wife, brother, and son were captured, the latter having been shot in the leg, by rangers who arrived at his ranch to investigate a raid near Brownsville, Pizaña swore revenge and decided to support the plan. Commanding raiding parties from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, he was primarily responsible for the guerrilla activities of the revolutionaries, generally swift nocturnal attacks. He used regular Mexican troops in the raids, weeded out ineffective men, and used strict discipline to produce troops of combat quality. By 1916 Mexican provisional president Venustiano Carranza was being pressured by the United States government to stop Pizaña's raids. Pizaña was arrested in Monterrey in February 1916 and lived in Tamaulipas until his death in 1957.

Murder of sheriff candidate kindles feud
August 03, 1898

On this day in 1898, the Colorado County Feud began. This murderous quarrel between rival local factions was ignited when Larkin Hope, a candidate for county sheriff, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant. Jim Coleman, a family friend of Sheriff Sam Reese, was immediately suspected. He was never charged. Less than a year later Reese was killed in a gun battle on the Columbus Street where Hope had died. Stray bullets killed Charles Boehme and wounded a boy named Johnny Williams. Even though evidence suggests that Reese had provoked the fight, his sons vowed to get revenge. In five more gunfights between May 17, 1899, and May 17, 1907, five more men were killed and several others wounded. No one was ever convicted of the killings. The feud also had a direct effect on the economic well being of Columbus. In 1906 the citizens voted to turn the administration of the city over to the county and Columbus remained unincorporated for twenty years.