Reference Blog Entries

Centennial of the Mexican Border War

Laura's picture

One hundred years ago last month US soldiers left Mexico and ended a skirmish that had begun in January 1916 when a train carrying US workers was stopped by forces loyal to the Mexican revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa. Fifteen passengers were executed. Shortly thereafter on March 9, 1916 the Mexican revolutionary Black and white photograph of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villacrossed the Mexico/US border and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico. What does that have to do with Columbus, Ohio? Those attacks prompted President Woodrow Wilson to call on the National Guard to prepare for a punitive expedition and possible war with Mexico. In response, the State of Ohio built a military encampment on the same land that was to become the city of Upper Arlington. The encampment was known as Camp Willis.  

Development of the village had already begun. Houses had been built; streets had been laid. Thus the camp caused significant disruption to the early development of the village and hampered the free access of the early residents to their own homes. No one knew how long the camp would be there.  Fortunately, a full war with Mexico did not come about and the camp was closed for good in September 1916. At that time construction resumed, plans were reconstituted and the growth of the village went on as it had started.

If this little-known aspect of Upper Arlington history interests you, you can read more about it in the following sources. Photos and letters of some of the soldiers are included as well as a profile of one of the more colorful characters of the camp, Major Harold Montfort “Hellroar” Bush.  

Feel free to contact a Reference Librarian by phone, text, email, or in person for assistance in using our databases and print materials.


Ohio Room resources:

  • Our Late Unpleasantness with Mexico - The Ohio National Guard on Border Service”, Timeline, May –June 2002, page 40
  • Camp Willis: When Upper Arlington Was Drafted”, Columbus and Central Ohio Historian, No 1, 1984; pp. 19 -27 REF. OHIO COLLECTION   977.1305 CO



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No Rest for the Weary (Parenting Resources)

Eliza's picture


Baby sleeps in basketIf you’re the lucky parent of a baby who isn’t nearly as tired as you, fear not. Before you know it, that bundle of joy will shock you with a strident “no!” as you attempt to arrive on time to your next social engagement (and let’s be realistic; these days, even a medical checkup is a social engagement). So while you lose shut-eye, peruse our plentiful parenting picks: