Andrew Jackson Bettwy

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Andrew Jackson Bettwy
1938 gubernatorial campaign brochure
18th Mayor Nogales, Arizona
In office
Arizona State Senator Santa Cruz County
In office
Personal details
Born September 24, 1894
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Died October 29, 1950(1950-10-29) (aged 56)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Alma mater University of Arizona

Andrew Jackson Bettwy (September 24, 1894 – October 29, 1950[1]), an Arizona Democrat, served as Mayor[2] of Nogales, Arizona, from 1935 to 1937, was an Arizona delegate at the Democratic National Conventions of 1924 and 1928,[3][4][5] and 1928,[6] and was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in the 1930,[7] 1932,[8] 1934,[9][10] 1936,[11] and 1938 primary elections and in the 1932 general election.[12]

Arizona 1930 primary gubernatorial election candidates

Political life[edit]

Although affable, Bettwy was a controversial firebrand as mayor of Nogales,[13] and he is most remembered in Arizona folklore for flattening William Mathews, the publisher of the Arizona Daily Star, during Mathews' anti-Roosevelt New Deal speech at the 1936 Arizona State Democratic Convention in Tucson, Arizona.[14][15]

His wife Mary Bettwy was also a well-liked Arizona politician, which was a notable achievement for her during the 1930s when the effects of the Nineteenth Amendment were still only burgeoning. When Andrew was Mayor of Nogales from 1935 to 1937, his wife Mary was President of the Nogales Young Democrats Club, an affiliate of Young Democrats of America, which was founded in 1932 to further the election campaign of presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt.[16]

In the 1938 elections, he ran unsuccessfully for Arizona state governor, and she ran successfully for Santa Cruz County Recorder to become the first Hispanic female elected to public office in the State of Arizona.[17] After winning the seat in 1938, she surprised everyone, including political leaders, by immediately appointing her rival as her chief deputy. Her unprecedented political move was reported in newspapers nationwide, from California[18] to Texas[19] to Pennsylvania[20][21] to New York[22] to Florida.[23] As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported: "A political precedent unlikely to bring even a ripple of emulation despite its apparent benefit to the public is that set by Mrs. Mary Bettwy, Democratic recorder-elect of Nogales, Arizona, who has amazed the staunch partisans of her own and the Republican party there by appointing her Republican campaign opponent, Mrs. Ada Jones, as her deputy. . . That great wave of cheering that you do not hear is undoubtedly from the leaders of the Democratic organization in Nogales as the dazed Republican chiefs and the public pinch themselves to find out whether or not they are awake."

They divorced during their campaigns, however, and he later moved to Prescott to retire from politics.[24] Mary Bettwy stayed in Nogales and was reelected five times to serve as County Recorder for 21 years until her death in 1960.[25][26][27][28][29][30] As a popular candidate, she was "one of the top vote-getters each election year in the county."[31]

Family, education and military service[edit]

Bettwy was the son of André Bettwy (1867-1951) and Mary Billand (1863-1939), natives of Alsace who immigrated to the United States and settled in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Bettwy had two sons, Andrew Leo Bettwy (1920-2004), Arizona State Land Commissioner (1970-1978) and William Frederick Bettwy (1918-2005) of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the first commercial pilot to land at Washington Dulles Airport. His grandson was Andrew Wilson Bettwy, the second Chief Hearing Officer of the Arizona Corporation Commission (1975-1979) and renowned utility rate legal expert in Arizona, Nevada and California.

Bettwy was in the first class of the University of Arizona law school (the James E. Rogers College of Law) when it opened in 1915, but he interrupted his studies to join the U.S. Army. From 1916 to 1919, he participated in the Pancho Villa Expedition, including the Battle of Ambos Nogales, which was dedicated to the pursuit of Pancho Villa along the border. While stationed in Nogales, he met his bride-to-be, Mary Chenoweth Escalante, and they had their first son William in 1918. Bettwy served until the end of World War I after which he received an honorable discharge. He re-joined the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer during World War II and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1947.[32] Bettwy and his wife Mary divorced in 1938, and she was County Recorder of Santa Cruz County for 21 years, until 1960. Bettwy moved to Prescott, Arizona, and eventually settled in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was laid to rest.


  1. ^ "Find A Grave Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Mayors of Nogales, Arizona,
  3. ^ Barbara Basler, In the Tumult of '24, Exhaustion Won, N.Y. Times, Aug. 11, 1980
  4. ^ Our Campaigns (elected state senator from Santa Cruz Country in 1926),
  5. ^ (photo 1927-28)
  6. ^ (photo 1929-30)
  7. ^ Five Candidates Run for Governorship in Arizona Primary, The Arizona Daily Star, Aug. 24, 1930
  8. ^ Runs for Governor, Casa Grande Dispatch, Apr. 15, 1932,
  9. ^ Convention to Settle Policy of Democrats, The Lodi Sentinel, Sept. 15, 1934,,914394
  10. ^ Bettwy for Governor, Arizona Silver Belt (Miami), Sept. 28, 1934,
  11. ^ The Watch Tower, Casa Grande Dispatch, April 24, 1936,
  12. ^ Our Campaigns: Governor - History,
  13. ^ Jane Eppinga, Nogales: life and times on the frontier 142-43 (2002) ("Bettwy started his mayoral term by firing 36 employees and replacing them with 70 men of his own choosing. Craig Pottinger started an "Oust Bettwy" campaign in the International.")
  14. ^ Star's longtime chief was feisty, arrogant, powerful, Arizona Daily Star, Feb. 24, 1991 ("Delivering an anti-New Deal speech to the delegates gathered for the Arizona Democratic Convention in Tucson in 1936, Mathews persevered through a chorus of hissing and booing. Finally, Andrew Bettwy, former mayor of Nogales, could stand it no longer. He leaped to the stage and knocked Mathews to the ground. Unfazed, the Star's editor-in-chief arose, then finished his address")
  15. ^ Publisher Attacked at Demo Confab (headline): Nogales Mayor Hits Matthews, Prescott Evening Courier, May 2, 1926, p. 1 ("Bettwy then swung once, the blow landing on Matthews' left jaw."),,6302355&hl=en
  16. ^ Demos Opening Confab Friday, Prescott Evening Courier, May 14, 1936, p. 1, 6,,132900&hl=en
  17. ^ Arizona Independent Republic, Sept. 14, 1938 (Mary Bettwy defeats Lucy T. Mitchell, 369 to 336, in the primaries),
  18. ^ To The Victor, Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, CA), Jan. 8, 1939 ("An exception to the spoils system was reported from Nogales, Ariz., where Mrs. Mary Bettwy, Democratic recorder-elect, appointed her Republican opponent in November, Mrs. Ada Jones, as deputy recorder"),
  19. ^ Listen World!, San Antonio Light (editorial), Jan. 25, 1939 ("a round of cheers for Mrs. Mary Bettwy, Democratic recorder-elect of Santa Cruz county"),
  20. ^ Herald of Utopia, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 2, 1939, p. 6,,2366951&hl=en
  21. ^ Notes on the New Year, Reading Eagle (Reading, PA), Jan. 8, 1939, p. 14,,1402509&hl=en
  22. ^ The Old Order Changeth!, New Times Record (Troy, NY), Jan. 16, 1939 ("To the ancient political adjuration, 'If you can't beat your enemy, join him,' must now be added 'After you beat your enemy, adopt him.'"),
  23. ^ Notes on the New Year, St Petersburg Times, Jan. 8, 1039, p. 31,,1125728&hl=en
  24. ^ Andy Bettwy Moves Here, Prescott Evening Courier, Dec. 29, 1939, p. 3,,2578439&hl=en
  25. ^ County's 1st Doctor Suddenly is Taken, Prescott Evening Courier, Aug. 21, 1941 ("Mrs. Mary Bettwy, Santa Cruz county recorder"),,3631656 |
  26. ^ Opinion Letter from the AZ Atty General Joe Conway to County Recorder Mary Bettwy, Op. 42-066, June 10, 1942,
  27. ^ Opinion Letter from the AZ Atty General Joe Conway to County Recorder Mary Bettwy, Op. 44-075, Aug. 10, 1944,
  28. ^ Andrew Bettwy Services Held, Tucson Daily Citizen, Oct. 30, 1950 ("Mrs. Mary Bettwy is county recorder of Santa Cruz county, Ariz."),
  29. ^ Bill Turnbow's Political Almanac, 1951, p. 11 (Santa Cruz County Recorder Mary Bettwy); 1952, p. 15 (same); 1954, p. 19 (same); 1955, p. 13 (same); 1956, p. 11 (same); 1957, p. 21 (same); 1958, p. 21 (same, as Mary Bacelier (sic)); 1959, p. 21 (same, as Mary Bachelier),
  30. ^ Arizona Educational Directory, 1957-1958, p. 10 (Santa Cruz County Recorder Mary Bettwy); 1958-1959, p. 10 (same, as Mary B. Bachelier); 1959-1960, p. 24 (same),
  31. ^ County Recorder's Funeral Tomorrow, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), Mar. 27, 1960, Sec. 4, 19, col. 7-8,
  32. ^ Dep't of the Army, Official Army Register (1 Jan 1953)

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