Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another Innocent Swarthmore Student

The Mexican Revolution was in full swing. The New York Times headline for May 11, 1911 was “Juarez Falls; Gen. Navarro a Prisoner; Madero Captures Border Town after Three Days’ Sharp Fighting and Makes it His Capital." At the end of a long dispatch came the following:

“Happiest among those who were about the streets were the prisoners liberated from the jail during the day. Many of them claimed they have been innocent of any wrongdoing. James Monaghan of 3309 Baring Street, Philadelphia, a student in Swarthmore College, who went sightseeing in Juarez on Sunday, says he was arrested as a spy, and since then has been in prison, being forced frequently during the fighting to carry water from across the street to the Federal soldiers who fought from the top if the jail.”

He was actually James Jay Monaghan IV (1893-1980), the son of a Quaker lawyer. He went to Friends Central, then spent some time at school in Vevy, Switzerland. During the summers of 1908 and 1909, he worked at cattle roundups in Wyoming even though he was only 5'6" and 100 pounds. After Swarthmore, he spent several more years in the west and later got an M.A. from Penn. He became a Lincoln scholar and Illinois State Historian (at left with Carl Sandburg, 1947).

Basically, he was just another Quaker kid from Powelton.