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Williams News | Williams, Arizona

home : features : features June 25, 2016

1/2/2013 11:37:00 AM
Out of the past: a look at Williams at the start of 1913
A view of Williams in 1915. Photo/WGCN
A view of Williams in 1915. Photo/WGCN
Williams-Grand Canyon News

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Some things never change. In 1913 Williams residents rang in the New Year with lavish dance parties while state legislators argued about how much they should be paid for their work, probably at the expense of actually working on behalf of their constituents. And, it was really cold outside.

Williams celebrated Christmas with a dance at the Sultana Theatre Christmas night. Professor Barnes' Orchestra entertained about 80 couples. The Dec. 28, 1912 edition of the Williams News reported that Mr. Fousha, the manager of the Sultana "spared neither time nor money in preparation for the event."

Opportunities to cut a rug were numerous during the holiday season. Some Williams residents rang in the New Year attending what the News called "the most pretentious social affair of the holiday season." A dinner dance took place at the Dancing Club in the dining room of the Fray Marcos building. "At the plate of each lady was a large bouquet of violets. The seven course dinner, as well as the musical program, were of the very best sort."

A special session of the first legislature of the state of Arizona convened January 27. Topping the list of topics was whether the state would pay legislators for their work. The News reported that legislators filed a "friendly suit" with the supreme court to "compel the state treasurer to honor the warrants."

The New Year got off to a rough start for Dorothy Beason, 21, of Williams. When Beason found herself stranded in Chicago she stole a horse to go out of town "rather than starve or be turned out on the streets." She made it as far as Dwight, Ill. before authorities tracked her down. She walked into the Clark Street police station while a number of police gathered around "to see the first girl horsethief ever seen here outside of the moving picture shows."

Nobody in Williams claimed to know the young Beason girl.

The Jan. 11 edition of the News reports that Arizona was the top producer of copper in 1912 mining 350 million pounds.

The New Year started out cold. The Western Union telegraph office in Williams reported a low of 16 below zero in the first week of January. Despite freezing pipes across town, the News reported that the city's water supply was never in jeopardy and folks weathered the cold well.

In 1913, the News was not shy about telling its readers what events they should be attending and where they should donate their money. The Williams Boys' orchestra took the stage Feb. 4 at the Sultana and according to the News "all lovers of music, who have the interest of the town at heart, should purchase a ticket whether they can attend or not."

George Ruffner distributed bad checks throughout town in February. The News reported that Ruffner came to Williams in late 1912 and married Ab Wilson. The couple lived in the home of Mary Kay, Wilson's mother. Ruffner handed out worthless checks amounting to $225 at a number of businesses throughout town. As soon as his wife and mother-in-law found out about the scam, they came to town to help the police find Ruffner as "the ladies felt keenly the disgrace" he "placed upon them."

Ruffner was eventually captured in Wichita Falls, Texas and law enforcement officials brought him back to the Flagstaff county jail. Nobody came to his aid and even if someone did, the News reported that "even should his mother come to his rescue and make good on the money he secured on the forged checks it will not lessen his chances for securing a long term in the penitentiary."

Also in February, two train carloads of wild elk from Montana were transported over the Santa Fe line to northern Arizona. According to the News, the U.S. government relocated the elk to save the animals from starvation during the winter months.

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