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Ring Brothers History

Friday, May 25, 2007

Former columnists shine with touching personal memoir
Book Review

By Kathy Engle - Green Valley News

Their work is familiar to many Green valley-area readers since the trio wrote a bi-monthly column. "Along the Ruby Road" for the Green Valley News for four years, highlighting the fascinating history of the Oro Blanco Mining District, with emphasis on the mining ghost town of Ruby, the subject of their first book.

Dangerous places: In the second, Ines' story, one of incredible courage and fortitude, is also the story of her husband Jack and their lives in the crude, isolated. and often dangerous mining camps in borderland Arizona.

Like many men of his time before and just after the turn of the century, Arizona pioneer Jack Fraser was consumed with gold fever.

He made heroic attempts at prospecting and mining in Alaska and Southern Arizona near what is now the ghost town of Ruby.

His struggles to make a living in the mining industry forced many a separation between Jack Fraser and his beloved wife and their children.

Strong bonds: But the bond of love between them was too strong for constant financial uncertainty and Jack's frequent travels to ever break and the couple remained exceptionally close and devoted to the end.

Finally, however, Jack decided to quit the mining game once and for all.

Not only was the mine petering out at the El Oro and Los Alamos mines in Southern Arizona, but the miners faced a growing danger from Mexican revolutionists and bandits along the international border.

So great was that danger that the 10th Cavalry, known as the "Buffalo Soldiers," began patrols in the Arizona borderlands on a regular basis.

Arivaca, near the Frasers' home at Los Alamos, (five miles southwest of Ruby) quartered one of the military camps established in 1916 to protect the U.S. border with Mexico following Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, N.M.

Jack did get out of the mining business and bought the general store in Ruby in 1920, with his brother Al.

Murdered by bandits: Shortly afterward, he and Al we brutally murdered by two Mexican bandits, a story printed in newspapers around the country because the store was also an outlet for the U.S. Postal Service.

"Unfortunately," Ines wrote, "most accounts sensationalized the crime beyond reason and conflicting accounts were the rule."

Devastated by his murder, Ines nonetheless found the strength to raise and financially support her four children alone in San Diego during the Depression.

The authors describe their new book as a "personal memoir, primarily a touching love story, but also a gripping account of how Ines met the incredible challenges of her life."

Much of the book is devoted to the personal letters that Jack wrote to Ines from 1913 to 1919.

The book also includes other family letters, old photographs, and examples of Ines' poetry.

To the authors and probably to many readers as well "Ines Fraser exhibited the true spirit of early Americans that made this country so great."

Ines was a well-educated woman, who had been a teacher before her marriage and later in life wrote scholarly articles.

While Jack was the great love of her life, she also thought deeply about education, religion, family dynamics, and politics. She spent much of her life attempting to understand her relationship with God and exploring ways and means to strengthen and enrich that relationship.

Her thoughts are beautifully expressed in letters, in poetry and the articles she wrote.

Through the book, Ines captures the spirit of the times and the place where she spent her happiest years.

She was an incredibly optimistic woman, content with few luxuries that most now take for granted.

She truly loved Southern Arizona and her insights on life during those times are filled with vivid description of the terrain and simple pleasures, such as riding horseback and cultivating a garden and even helping with the mining by pitching in to build a dam in a shallow wash.

Indeed, Ines proves herself to be the epitome of the frontier woman, who endured innumerable hardships and thrived, achieving "quiet contentment."

Readers will enjoy this well-crafted well-edited memoir that rings authentic and inspirational.

"Frontier Lady of Letters" is published by Wheatmark, which has listed the book on online bookstores, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

The book in paperback at $19.95 is also available from the authors.

Information about ordering.

"Frontier Lady of Letters: The Heroic Love Story of Ines Fraser" is the second book by Bob Ring, Al Ring and Tallia Pfrimmer Cahoon.

Do you have any related documents, photos, or personal histories that you could share with us? If so, please contact:
Al Ring

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