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Publication Details

The chieftain.

More information about this newspaper title may be available on the source website.

Source: Chronicling America [US Library of Congress]

Country: United States

State: New Mexico

City: Socorro, N.M.

Issues of this title available in Elephind: 190

Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 774

Earliest Date: 27 November 1891

Latest Date: 28 December 1901


Socorro Chieftain

The mining and ranching center of Socorro in Socorro County, New Mexico, was originally inhabited by Piro speaking people of the Teypana Pueblo who relocated to the south during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.  Socorro was resettled in 1816, and miners, merchants, and cattlemen streamed into the region following the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s.  The New Mexico School of Mines (later known as New Mexico Tech) was established in Socorro in 1889.  The town declined after the nation got off of the gold standard in 1933.

The Socorro Chieftain, one of the first newspapers to be established in the county, commenced weekly publication on May 8, 1884, under the proprietorship of John A. Helphingstine. The newspaper continued as a weekly through October 1885 and then again from 1889 through October 1959.  It was published daily from October 1885 through 1889. The Socorro Chieftain also appeared as the Chieftain between 1890 and 1901, and for a time as the Daily Chieftain.  The April 5, 1889 edition of the Socorro Chieftain stated that it was the official paper of the city and county of Socorro and noted that a subscription cost $2.00 for one year or $1.00 for six months. Eighteen years later, the Socorro Chieftain was still the “official paper of Socorro County,” and subscriptions remained the same. Although primarily an English language newspaper, the Socorro Chieftain did publish the occasional Spanish text, apparently depending upon the editor’s preferences. The July 5, 1895 issue of the Chieftain noted that the weekly appeared in both English and Spanish, although most articles were printed only in English.

Dr. William Tell De Baun, who served for a time as mayor of Socorro, owned the newspaper.  Republican leaning, the Soccoro Chieftain strongly supported Lebaron Bradford Prince as governor of New Mexico Territory. In 1900, the Chieftain was purchased by Republican businessmen who produced it under the name of the Socorro County Publishing Co., with E. A. Drake as editor. During much of the first half of the 20th century, the Spanish-language El Defensor and the predominantly English-language Socorro Chieftain co-existed. On November 5, 1959, the two papers merged to form the El Defensor Chieftain, which is still being published in 2011.

The Socorro Chieftain published occasional Spanish language content throughout its life.  Although the paper did not have a dedicated Spanish section, articles, letters, and notices regularly appeared in Spanish.

Provided by: University of New Mexico