Ray Acosta


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...is scheduled as the guest speaker for the 313th meeting of the Karl Hess Club, to convene on September 21, 2020.


     Ray Acosta on "Elfego Baca."


Elfego Baca (1865-1945) was a Mexican-American gunman, lawman, lawyer, and politician in the later years of the American Wild West. He is most famous for holding off a band of drunken cowboys for 33 hours after he had arrested one of them for being drunk and disorderly, in Socorro County, New Mexico, 1884.

Baca served for a time as the County Sheriff, then served as US Marshal. He studied law, and was admitted to the New Mexico Bar in 1894, and practiced law until 1904.

There are lots of stories about him. One is that upon assuming the office of County Sheriff, instead of sending deputies out to chase down those with outstanding warrants, he mailed them all letters informing them that he had warrants for them. They were invited to surrender themselves to him at the county jail. Failure to do so would imply that they intended to resist arrest, and they would then be shot on sight.

Another tale says that when he was practicing law in Albuquerque, he received a telegram from a client in El Paso. The telegram said that Baca's services were needed, as the client had been arrested for murder. Baca is reported to have replied, "Am leaving immediately with two eye-witnesses."

In 1958, Walt Disney released a 10 part mini-series on Baca called The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca, starring Robert Loggia. That was how I became familiar with him.


     About Ray Acosta:


Ray Steve Acosta is an American of Mexican heritage, a telephone engineer, and a writer.

Born in San Diego (Feb 18, 1944) and raised in Los Angeles, Acosta graduated Downey High School in 1961. He earned an AA from Cerritos Junior College in 1963, and a BS in Mathematics at California State College, Los Angeles, in 1970. Between his college stays, he served two years in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician.

Acosta began his career as an outside plant engineer for Pacific Telephone in Los Angeles. In 1979 he transferred to their HQ staff in San Francisco, where his engineering work focused on mechanized tools. In 1998 he moved to Dallas to work for GTE Internet Workings as a systems planner. He fully retired in 2001.

In 1991 Acosta became interested in Mexican history, especially its revolutionary era (1910 to 1920), reading over a dozen books on the subject. In 2002 he joined an online group of amateur historians interested in the revolution, where he attracted the attention of Richard Grabman of Editorial Mazatlán. Grabman asked Acosta to write a chronology of the revolution, which resulted in Acosta's first book, Revolutionary Days: A Chronology of the Mexican Revolution (2010).

Acosta currently lives in Whittier.