Riding with Pancho Villa
as recorded in the postcards of WC Horne
Pancho Villa and his cohorts
During the Mexican Revolution of the late 'teens, folk hero Pancho Villa and his men terrorized both sides of the border. Rumors
were rife in Sanderson and all of the Big Bend, especially after the Glenn Springs raid in the deep Big Bend and the Brite Ranch
raid near Marfa. Folks were on high alert and Sanderson formed a Home Guard led by ex-sheriff and school superintendent JJ Allen.
The citizens were extremely paranoid and expected a raid at any time of the day or night, especially since Sanderson is only twenty
miles from the border. When movies were shown at the skating rink tent down by the depot, whole families literally ran all the
way home after the show. The government established the 90th Aero Squadron of De Haviland bombers and biplanes at Sanderson
to patrol the border. And, a detachment of US Army soldiers and cavalry was stationed here to alleviate the fears of the local
populace and maintain peace.
Seeking favoarable public relations for his cause, Villa allowed WC Horne and company of El Paso
to follow his army and document his escapades with a series of photos, marketed as penny postcards. Highly popular and somewhat
gruesome, citizens of Sanderson eagerly collected them, and a rather large number were given to the Terrell County Memorial Museum.
We present them as they are, but the public is warned that some of the postcards are very graphic.
The photospread below is a public domain page from the New York Times. It is a photo dispatch from the Battle of Ojinaga,
in which Villista General Ortega attacked and defeated Federale forces. The defenders were sent packing to the US, where
they were collected and incarcerated at Ft. Bliss as illegals.
General Orozco often escaped to the US to evade pursuers. He had many US supporters, including these prominent Sanderson businessmen.
Other photos show them hunting and in camp. Details are not known, so this could just be a friendly hunting trip. The
original photo below shows the Sanderson men more clearly. Mexican Gen. Orozco in front, Jim Kerr, WH Lemons, B.M. Weeks, to
For the American view point, click here.
All text and photos on this site copyright Terrell County Memorial Museum, 2010-2012, except where attribution is given.