Though the Utah
man wears a dozen yokes,
And Nevada stacks her chips;
They belong to the forty six grown up folks
And nobody minds their slips;
But young Arizony must do right
And her people must be good.
So she’ll walk in robes of shining white,
And she jines the sisterhood.
Famed cowboy poet,
and at the time, Cochise County resident, Charles
Badger Clark, wrote a humorous piece for the March 1910 Tombstone
Prospector. The U.S. House had recently passed an Enabling Act which
allowed Arizona Territory to write a Constitution for eventual
Statehood. The Senate agreed in June of 1910 and one of the last
obstacles for Arizona joining the “Sisterhood of States” was removed.
its long farewell to Old Nick’s spell,
To the guns and the doubled fist,
And the men can’t score on the wheel no more,
And the ladies can’t play whist
Quit your shooting scraps and you can’t shoot craps,
Nor indulge any wreckless traits
For a wisdom tooth ends our careless youth
And we’re going to jine the States.
Arizona detractors in
Washington, D.C. often claimed that the territory, “not ready” or
“lawless” or its citizens “not intelligent enough” in their refusals to
consider petitions for statehood. Indeed, the national media covered
every misstep, like the Earp brothers’ street fight in Tombstone, in
lurid detail. Military campaigns against the Apaches or the law
enforcement activities of the Arizona Rangers reinforced the “lawless’
nature of the territory in their reporting.
At the roundup
camp when the stars peep our
And the coyote tunes his harp;
You will find nice cowboys grouped about
Playing marbles on a tarp.
And with lemonade their souls they steep
Till the campfire light grow dim
While the cook reads “Pilgrim’s Progress” deep
And the range boss hums a hymn.
Oh, its adieu to our language grim
And the ways of Grizzly Pete;
All our wild oats crop must be sody pop
And the cueb cigareet.
It is sure a crime, in our sun kissed clime
For the boys to get on skates;
And the long horn kin must shed their sin
Yes we’re going to jine the States
Early in the 20th Century
Territorial communities and the legislature began to pass ordinances and
laws aimed at diminishing gambling and alcohol consumption. Bisbee, for
instance, outlawed all alcohol in 1910. Tucson placed high license fees
on saloons and gambling houses. Arizona’s first constitution did not
include a prohibition provision but a temperance amendment was passed in
1914 and Arizona officially remained ‘dry’ until 1932!
In the gloomy
mines and the roaring mills
Where the air was once so blue,
They have changed their ways and assumed the frills
Of the W.C.T.U.
And the fireman sweats but he plans to flee
From the blistery fires to come
And the miner just says, “Oh, dear me,”
If the hard steel whacks his thumb
Oh, it’s fond goodbye to our old friend,
Hi, Lo, Jack, and the family tree,
And the miner packs just a bunch of tracts
Where his Climax used to be.
Once Bill and Sam didn’t care a…dam
But our wise men legislates
That we’ve got to be from our sins set free
If we’re going to jine the States.
Citizens of Arizona
Territory, like Clark, who were interested in the issue, discovered that
an individual Senator could delay or refuse to allow a vote to be taken
on a Statehood bill or anything else. The Chair of the Senate Committee
on Territories repeatedly refused a hearing or vote on Arizona
Statehood, even after approval in the House. Arizona’s Constitution,
considered very progressive for the time, included such Direct Democracy
provisions as Initiative, Recall, and Referendum. An eight hour workday
and end to child labor was found in the document. Women’s suffrage,
segregation of schools and prohibition were not included but were soon
added by amendment. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, founded in
1873, was active throughout the country. Clark’s mother was a member.The
WCTU worked tirelessly for prohibition and on many “moral” issues like
gambling. Hi, Lo, Jack a popular card game in Tombstone and throughout
the west was among the targets of the WCTU.
our Arizony sashays forth
Dust white as her yucca bloom
And the fat old States to the East and North
Will remark as they make her room,
“It is plain to see by your sweet face dear
That you’re strange to the ways of sin,
Plumb stainless is a rare thing here,
And we need you bad. Come in.”
So it’s long farewell to merry…hell
Blue smoke and red, red paint,
And the first “troubled” that hints we’re had
Will be licked till he swears we ain’t.
Now the water cart and an icy heart
For the Old Boys tempting baits;
We’ll be calm and cold and let on we’re old
Now we’re going to jine the States.
his lifetime, Badger Clark would see ten territories become States
beginning with his native South Dakota in 1889 when he was six years
old. He was twenty-nine when Arizona became a State on February 14th,
1912. For people like Clark, adding new States, with new populations,
and constitutions was an ongoing process. While in Arizona Territory he
was able to vote for or against jointure combining Arizona and New
Mexico into one big State, for Territorial representative and finally,
for delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
Some of us might
remember the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to statehood in the 1950s.
Few of us understood them, or how complex politics and arcane
maneuvering which was an essential part of the addition of the 49th
and 50th States.
Arizona and New
Mexico had been one territory when added to the United States in 1848,
President Lincoln divided the territory in 1863 into two nearly equal
parts. Both Arizona Territory and New Mexico Territory struggled for
decades to be considered for Statehood. Arizona and New Mexico enjoyed
a booming mining, farming and ranching economy. Railroads criss-crossed
each territory. Yet, hardball politics and race, religion and language
were all used as impediments when congress was petitioned to consider
statehood. Badge Clark’s poem sums it up pretty well when he wrote:
“…we’ve got to be from our sins set free/If we’re are going to jine the
Happy Birthday and
Feliz Cumpleaños to Arizona and our sister State New Mexico. One
hundred years and still going strong.
© 2012, Greg Scott,
All rights reserved
Presented at the 20th
Annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering, February, 2012
This photo of Badger Clark is from Cowboy
Poetry, Classic Poems & Prose by Badger Clark, used with
Find more about Badger Clark in our feature here.