Huachuca Illustrated, vol 1, 1993:

chuca Illustrat

chuca Illustrat

U.S. Army Lifestyles at Huchuca in the Teens:
Women at the Fort

chuca Illustrat



Mrs. Esther Buchanan Smith lived at Fort Huachuca from 1908-21. She was the niece of Ida E. Carty who was the postmistress at Fort Huachuca and she succeeded Mrs. Carty in that job in 1920. She remembered that the post commander kept a train ready in 1916 to evacuate women and children in the event that Pancho Villa raided Fort Huachuca. The 10th Cavalry was away from the post then on the Punitive Expedition into Mexico.

In a 1961 interview, Mrs. Smith talked about the uneasiness and described the precautions. "All civilians wore a .45 and I believe twenty-five or fifty rounds of ammunition. In case of invasion [by the Villistas] the women and children were to flee to the Guard House. The train was kept in readiness there to carry them away."(7)

Esther Buchanan Smith, postmistress of Fort Huachuca from February 1920 to May 1921. She came to Huachuca in 1908 to live with her aunt, Ida Carty and succeeded her as postmistress upon her aunt's death. She resigned in 1921 to go to Fort Leavenworth to marry Capt. Bailey G. Smith, Quartermaster Corps. This picture was taken in 1916 or 1917. Photo courtesy Mrs. Esther Buchanan Smith.

But in the decade 1910 to 1920, Mexican bandits were not the only preoccupation. It was a time when women's rights were on every American's mind. Women at Fort Huachuca had only to pick up the Ladies Home Journal t o read about Grover Cleveland's views. The former president wrote in that magazine: "Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by men and women in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence."

A delegate at the Arizona constitutional convention, P.F. Connelly of Douglas, Arizona, introduced a bill in 1910 that would allow women to vote on the matter of suffrage. He was advised by his supporters not to return to Douglas, called a "bum," and threatened with shooting.

In 1913 some progress was made when a law establishing an eight-hour work day for women went into effect. And finally, on August 26, 1920, the 19th amendment to the constitution was ratified by the decisive thirty-sixth state [Tennessee] and women had won the vote. The victory capped 72 years of campaigning by such heroic women as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul.

Ida Eldora (maiden name Mitchell) Carty, was
-------------------------------Mrs. Lucretia Abby with the Grierson sisters,
postmistress from 11 January 1903 to 25 July 1904,
-------------------------------------Agnes and Alice in 1915. ------------
and again from 22 June 1908 to her death on 3 February 1920.
-----------------Photo courtesy Alice and (Sarah) Joy Grierson.
Her niece Miss Esther Buchanan succeeded her as Postmistress.
Photo courtesy Mrs. Esther Buchanan Smith.

Civilian families in front of the Sutler's store at Huachuca around 1916.

" Firestone-Garlick-Countess-Lupie-Jimmie Gailey-------------------The Grierson sisters at the officers' pool at Huachuca in 1914.
Marie Canou-Fannie-unknown-Carmen".
--------------------------------Photo courtesy Alice and (Sarah) Joy Grierson.
Photo courtesy F.H.L. Ryder Collection.

Capt. Frederick H. L. Ryder's wife and child in front of their quarters on Grierson Street in about 1917.
Photo courtesy F.H.L. Ryder Collection.

One month earlier Ila Harrison of Lochiel married a young cavalry officer, John Healy, in Tucson. Lieutenant Healy was stationed at Fort Huachuca. Ila Harrison Healy would be an eyewitness to national and local events for the next several decades. But she would be more than just an interested bystander. She became a force in the life around Huachuca. She established a reputation as a huntress, ornithologist, snake collector, rancher, world traveler and lecturer. No woman knew the Huachuca Mountains better. She was the foremost huntress of mountain lions in America, having killed dozens of the cats, both by herself and as a member of a hunting party. According to Ila Healy, she even brought them back alive --- treeing them with her dogs, roping them from horseback and tying them over the pommel of her saddle.

Ila Healy, wife of Lt. Col. John Healy, on her horse "Red," ----------------Capt. John H. Healy, 10th Cavalry,
and with her dog "Blue," a Rhodesian
----------------------------------at Lochiel, Arizona, in 1918.
ridgeback lion hunting dog. U.S. Army photo.


Ila Healy on horseback in the Huachucas around 1960. Photo courtesy Ila Healy.


7. Smith, Esther Buchanan, interview, filed in FHIVI files.

4. Recreation

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