Sunday, August 31st, 2008

The Telegraph Arrives in Mesilla – Feb 5, 1879

Completion of the Southern Competing
Transcontinental U. S. Mil. Tel-Line
Congratulations to All
Rates Cheaper
Oh! For Southern Competing Railroad


Denison Tex. 5.

Editor NEWS:

Mesilla, compliments of Denison Texas to citizens of Mesilla N. M. congratulations on completion of direct telegraphic communication over United States Military Telegraph lines.



Mesilla N. M. 10:15 a. m. Feb. 5. ’79

To Lt. Tengle and citizens Denison Texas:

In answer to your telegram accept congratulations of THE MESILLA NEWS and citizens of Mesilla Valley to Lieuts. Tengle and Allen and through them to Signal Service War Department, also to citizens of Denison Texas, on completion of through Southern Competing Transcontinental Telegraph line. Now for Southern competing Transcontinental Railroad.

Ira M. Bond


Denison Tex. 2 – 5.



Denison Tex.


Mesilla 5.

Denison Tex.

Will X. — con mucho gusto,



The above were some of our telegrams sent and received on Feb. 5th [1879], the first day the through, Competing, Transcontinental United States Military Telegraph Line commenced working. The great importance of this line to the business interests of, not only the south and west, but of the whole country, for the present and future can hardly be estimated. The only thing that will surpass it will be when we get a southern competing Transcontinental Railroad, which looks now like it will be in the no distance future. Mesilla now has not only an important signal office, but is the important telegraph center of the Great Southwest. The line works like a charm from Mesilla to Denison Tex., a distance of about one thousand miles, each "click" of the instruments being as it were, simultaneous, though the difference in time being nearly an hour.

THE NEWS made proper mention at the time when Lieut. Allen completed his part of this line, 100 miles east of El Paso, so it only remained for Lieut. Tengle to complete his part in order to make a through connection.

Operator White informs us that the automatic repeaters here work to his entire satisfaction only requiring careful attention, while at they work the repeaters with button. A through message from Denison Texas to San Diego Cal. about 1800 miles will work through repeaters at Fort Concho, Mesilla and Tucson A. T. [Arizona Territory]. There are 80 cells now in the battery here, and batteries at Davis, Concho and Denison.

The rates for sending and receiving all telegrams for all places on the U. S. Mil. Tel. line, to the States via Tex. Route, will be about one half that it is via Santa Fe and Pueblo. Even now telegrams from Albuquerque and Santa Fe for the states are sent via Mesilla and Denison Tex.

Lieut. Allen, supt. of the New Mexico division, U. S. Mil. Tel. has now about 700 miles of line under his charge. We hope he could find it to his advantage to move Headquarters to Mesilla, as it would place him near the center of his duties, as also near the center of his line, instead of way off to one end. The work at this office is already increasing quite rapidly, and we would not be surprised if very soon 2 operators and 2 repairmen were not required at this place.

Oh! For a southern competing Transcontinental railroad. Where the benefit of the competing telegraph is felt by one, the benefits of the railroad would be felt by a thousand and a thousand fold. Come on with your Railroads from north, south, east and west if you want to carry away our millions of wealth, and give us somewhere on the Rio Grande a grand railroad center.

Mesilla News, Feb 8, 1879 (newspaper)


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