THE JUMANO INDIANS IN
HERBERT E. BOLTON
Reprint from The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association,
Volume XV, No. 1.
THE JUMANO INDIANS IN TEXAS, 1650-1771
HERBERT E. BOLTON
I. THE JUMANO MYSTERY
Among the many subjects on which the archives of Mexico are
now shedding new and much needed light, one is that of the his
tory of the Jumano Indians after the middle of the seventeenth
century. In the early annals of New Mexico and southwestern
Texas the tribe was well known, and though they were less promi
nent after 1629, a few references to them between that date and
the end of the seventeenth century have been long available. But
of their movements thenceforth students have until recently found
little trace. Bandelier, writing in 1890, was constrained to say:
"The Jumanos were lost sight of after the great convulsions of
1680 and succeeding years, and their ultimate fate is as unknown
as their original numbers." 1 Similarly, Hodge, in a recent study,
states that until shortly before his writing he had been "baffled by
what appeared to be the sudden and almost complete disappear
ance of this once populous tribe." 2 The present writer, through
his investigations in the archives of Mexico, had the good fortune
to pick up the thread again in 1907 and to show that from 1750
forward the Taovayas, a Wichita tribe of the Eed Eiver (Texas),
were regularly called "Jumanes" by the Spaniards of New Mexico. 3
Hodge has taken this newly acquired information to be the key to
the solution of the mystery, and, in the recent study referred to,
has concluded that the Jumano formerly known in the Southwest
were identical with the Taovayas, and, under the latter name, were
l Final Report, in Papers of the Archaeological Institute of America,
American Series, III, 1890, p. 169.
2 "The Jumano Indians," in the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian
Society at the Annual Meeting, April, 1909. My references are to the
reprint of that article.
3 See an article on the "Tawehash" by the present writer in Hodge,
Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Part II, p. 705. The
information concerning the Jumano in 1750 therein contained was compiled
in 1907. See Hodge, "The Jumano Indians," 19, notes.
67 The Jumano Indians, 1650-1771
absorbed by the Wichita,, in which tribe they are now represented. 1
He has concluded, also apparently, that for the name "Taovayas,"
wherever found, "Jumano" can be substituted. 2
By restating the hitherto available data concerning the Jumano
and correlating it with the recent discoveries concerning the
Taovayas, Hodge has done valuable service to the history and
ethnology of the Southwest. That his conclusion explains the
apparent disappearance of a part of the people known as Jumano,
the present writer is convinced. But there has come to light in
the Mexican archives a considerable fund of information which
Hodge did not use; and a study of it shows that he has taken too
little account of a part of the Jumano and, it may be, drawn a con
clusion that is too far-reaching. The purpose of this paper is to
present some of the new data, and thereby help to fill in and cor
rect the hitherto scanty history of the Jumano tribe between 1683
Hodge regards the principal notices of the Jumano nation be
tween 1629 and 1683 as referring to a people living near the Ar
kansas Kiver. He recognizes toward the close of the eighteenth
century a southern (with reference to New Mexico and Texas) as
well as a northern people called Jumano, but seems to be able to
trace them only to 1691, his discussion thereafter being devoted to
the northern group. Even of this group he appears to be able to
find only one faint trace between 1697 and 1719, that being in the
year 1700. In 1719 he finds another trace, at which point he
remarks : "No definite reference to the northern Jumano between
1719 and 1750 is found." Finally, the Jumano of whom he finds
mention are consistently hostile to the Apache, or at least allies of
the enemies of the Apache.
To one who has worked extensively in the sources of later seven
teenth and early eighteenth century Texas history recently made
available, and has not, like Hodge, made the Jumano a subject of
long and special study, the article in question contains cause for
surprise on four counts : the first is that the "Nueces Eiver," where
the Jumano were several times met between 1629 and 1683, should
be identified with the Arkansas or any stream in its vicinity; the
^'The Jumano Indians," pp. 19-22.
2 See Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Part II, "Syn
onymy," p. 1067.
Texas Historical Association Quarterly gg
second, that references to the Jumano in the eighteenth century
should be considered so scarce; the third, that the Jumano should
be regarded in the first half of the eighteenth century as primarily
a northern (with reference to Texas and New Mexico) rather than
a southern tribe; 1 the fourth, that no mention should be made of
Jumano who were not enemies but allies of the Apache, and even
regarded as Apache themselves.
As one who has experienced this surprise, the writer has at
tempted to present, in the pages that follow, evidence to show that
the "Nueces River," where the Jumano were found in the third
and fifth decades of the seventeenth century, was probably the
Colorado River of Texas, rather than the Arkansas; that the Ju
mano were frequently encountered in southern Texas between 1675
and 1771, at least; and that in the second half of this period they
were regularly regarded as allies of the Apache, or even as Apache,
and, therefore, as hostile to the Wichita, a part of whom, the
Taovayas, we well know, were regularly called Jumano after 1750.
Everything here stated is with due deference to Mr. Hodge's great
learning in matters of Southwestern ethnology.
II. THE IDENTITY OF THE "RIO DE LAS NOEZES," HOME OF THE
The history of the Jumano before 1650 it is not my purpose to
discuss, but for the sake of clearness it may be briefly summarized.
The tribe was first seen by Cabeza de Vaca in 1535 on the Rio
Grande, near its junction with the Conchos River, a place known
as La Junta (the junction) ; in 1582 they were found in the same
place by Espejo; in 1598 they were receiving religious instruction
in eastern New Mexico; for several years before 1629 they visited
Fray Juan de Salas at Tsleta, asking him to go to live among them ;
in response to this request Father Salas in the year named visited
the tribe more than one hundred and twelve leagues to the east
ward of Santa Fe, "or /possibly," says Mr. Hodge, "in the western
part of Kansas in the vicinity of what later became known as El
Quartelejo"; in 1632 they were again visited by Father Salas in
*Mr. William E. Dunn, for example, in a recent paper based on a wide
use of eighteenth century Texas sources, says of the name Jumano, "Most
commonly it applied to Indians living in southwestern Texas near the Rio
Grande." THE QUABTEBLT, XIV, 268.
69 The Jumano Indians, 1650-1771
the buffalo plains on a stream which the Spaniards called the
"Nueces"; in 1650 and yet again in 1654, they were encountered
on the "Nueces" River by Castillo and Guadalajara, respectively. 1
In a former article Hodge states that the "Nueces River" visited
in 1632 and 1650 "must have been the Arkansas"; 2 and in the
recent one already cited he holds the same opinion. 3
As viewed by the present writer this conclusion as to the location
of the "Nueces River" does not seem warranted by the sources.
The "Ynforme" of Father Posadas, 4 Avhicli is Hie chief authority
for the expeditions to the Nueces River between 1629 and 1655,
states clearly and in terms that the place visited by Martin and
Castillo in 1650 was far to the south of Santa Fe. He relates
that after reaching "this said place of the Rio de las Nueces and
this nation of los Jumanos,' J they went down stream east-southeast,
and, after having traveled some fifty leagues, arrived at the bor
ders of the Texas country. He then continues: "Among these
nations that of the Tejas must be (estard) in twenty-eight degrees;
from its limits said Captains Hernan Martin and Diego del Cas-
, op. cit., Reprint, pp. 3-9.
*Land of Sunshine, XIV, 52; Posadas, "Ynforme," cited below.
8 At this point he writes thus: "As previously stated, Fray Juan de
Salas, earlier in the century, found the Jumano on the prairies about 112
leagues eastward from the Rio Grande. But distances given by the early
Spanish travelers must be regarded as only approximate, and there is no
reason for believing that the tribe had moved farther away simply because
Captains Martin and Castillo, in 1650, are said to have found the Jumano
on the Nueces, 200 leagues from Santa Fe. They may have been in prac
tically the same spot during this quarter century. There is ground for
strong suspicion that the village or villages of the Jumano on the plains
at this time were in proximity to if not actually at the Quartelejo, or
Cuartelejo, mentioned frequently by writers of the eighteenth century. The
distance of the Jumano from Santa F6, according to two writers above
cited, varied from 112 to 200 leagues (300 to 530 miles) ; while El Cuar
telejo, according to the record, was from 130 to 160 leagues (350 to 450
miles) from the New Mexican capital. This Indian outpost was situated
in the valley of Beaver Creek, in northern Scott county, Kansas." (op.
cit., Reprint, 3.)
4 "Ynforme hecho a su Magd. sobre las Tierras del Nuevo Mexico," MS.
in Memorias para la historia de Nueva Espana, Tom. 3, ff. 1-18. Also in
Fernandez Duran, Don Diego de Penalosa, Madrid, 1882. For a note on
Posadas, see Hodge, op. cit., Reprint, p. 11. The report was written as
late as 1686, in consequence of a royal cedula of December 10, 1678, di
rected to the viceroy of New Spain, and of another of August 2, 1685, to
a succeeding viceroy. Posadas states this in the opening paragraphs. The
references which I give are to my own MS copy.
Texas Historical Association Quarterly 70
tillo returned by the same route (rumbo) 1 to the Villa of Santa
Fee, going up toward the North as far as is implied ly saying from
twenty-eight to thirty-seven degrees and a distance of two hundred-
fifty leagues/' 2
From the foregoing it is plain that Posadas considered the
Nueces Eiver to he a stream whose middle course was several de
grees of latitude south of Santa Fe. That this was his under
standing is evident also from other statements which he made in
the same report. He tells us that flowing eastward from Santa
Fe, or, as he puts it in one place, east-one-fourth-south-east, anct
joined by a tributary from the north, there is a large stream called
the Rio Grande; and that rising northeastward from Pecos and
flowing southeast is the Nueces. "From the Noezes to this [Eio
Grande] in the direction of the north will be about one hundred
leagues." From the Nueces to La Junta he considered the dis
tance eighty leagues, 3 or only three-fourths of his estimate of the
distance from El Paso to La Junta, and only two-fifths of that
from La Junta to Santa Fe. Again, in summing up he says,
"looking to the Southeast [from Santa Fe] one-fourth south we
shall find, two hundred leagues away, the junction of the Rio del
JSTorte and the Conchas . . . and looking directly (en linea
recta) to the southeast we shall find at a distance of two hundred
leagues, the Rio de las Noezes in the Aijados nation." In other
words, as he understood it, this point on the Nueces River, which
was adjacent to the Jumano country, was just the same distance
southeast from Santa Fe as La Junta was southeast-south. 4
It is thus seen that a close scrutiny of the principal source of
information regarding the "Nueces River," seems to preclude its
identity with the Arkansas. It can now be shown on the strength
of positive evidence, partly drawn from the same document and
partly from other sources, that there are very strong reasons for
^e had previously stated that they had reached the Nueces by a route
(rumlo) different from that followed by Salas and Ortega in 1632. Ibid.,
2 Posadas, op. cit., ff. 5-6. The italics are mine.
3 Ibid., fol. 5.
4 IUd., 2, 4-5; 9-10; 17.
71 The Jumano Indians, 1650-1771
identifying it with a stream much further south/ namely, one of
the upper branches of the Colorado of Texas.
Being especially interested in the pearls carried back by the
party of Martin and Castillo, the viceroy ordered another explora
tion of the Nueces Kiver, and in 1654, Posadas tells us, Diego de
Guadalajara and thirty soldiers set out "in the direction stated"
[that is, southeast] to execute the command. "Having traveled
about two hundred leagues, they arrived at the Rio de las Noezes,
and found on it many Indians of the Jumano nation/' 2
It so happens that Juan Dominguez de Mendoza, a member of
the Guadalajara party, became the leader of another expedition to
the Jumano on the Nueces in 1684. This connecting link between
the two expeditions is important, for during the latter journey
Mendoza recognized the stream which he was then on as the one
Guadalajara had visited, and he kept a diary which beyond ques
tion establishes the identity of the stream with one of the upper
branches of the Colorado, in west-central Texas. 3
The Mendoza expedition was the result of a petition made by
Juan Sabeata, an Jumano Indian, at Paso del Norte in October,
1683, for missionaries and Spanish settlers in his own country.*
*It would be interesting, in this connection, to reproduce here the map
which Dr. Ethel Z. Rather, a careful scholar, made to illustrate the geo
graphical facts stated in the Posadas "Ynforme," to accompany her trans
lation of it, executed for the present writer. She had no thought, perhaps
no knowledge, of a possible controversy over the location of the Jumano
as understood by Posadas. Her conclusion agrees exactly with mine, as
id., f. 7. It is clear that Posadas regarded the Nueces River of
this expedition as identical with that visited by Martin and Castillo four
3 The authority for the direct assertion that Mendoza was with Guad
alajara is Posadas, "Ynforme," op. cit., 12. He says: "The commander-
in-chief, Juan Dominguez de Mendoza, was in this expedition and war."
Mendoza's recognition of the stream on which Guadalajara had been sup
ports the assertion. Guadalajara was at the City of Mexico at the time
when Posadas was there writing his memorial, and Posadas must have
made the assertion on good authority. It is said, also, that Mendoza had
been there recently.
*This summary of the Mendoza expedition is based upon the MS. diary,
the correspondence, declarations, and representations connected with the
event. These documents are contained in two collections. One is entitled
"Autos sobre los Socorros q pide el Govr. de la Na. Mexico, y otras notaa.
tocantes a la Sublevazion de los Yndios Barbaros de aquella Prova.," etc.
These are original manuscripts. The other collection is entitled "Viage
Que A solicitud de los Naturales de la Prova. de Texas, y otras naciones
Texas Historical Association Quarterly 72
Since the story of this expedition has hitherto been marred by some
errors,, 1 and because of its important bearing on Jumano geography,
it will be summarized here. According to his own story, Sabeata
lived at La Junta "with many" of his own people and Julimes.
Part of his tribe lived six days to the eastward, or three-fourths of
his estimate of the distance from La Junta to El Paso. Three
days from La Junta were the buffalo herds; three days [beyond]
was the Nueces River, the home of a part of his tribe and of many
others, friends of his own people; from La Junta to the Texas,
from whom two messengers were waiting at La Junta, it was fif
teen or twenty days. 2
In response to the appeal, Father Nicolas Lopez set out on De
cember 1 for La Junta with two companions, Fray Juan de Zava-
leta and Fray Antonio de Acevedo. Fourteen days later he was
followed by the Maestro de Campo Juan Dominguez de Mendoza
and a small band of soldiers. 3 On the way down the Rio Grande
Mendoza noted in his diary several ranclierias of Suma Indians,
and at La Junta, rancherias of Julimes, on both sides of the Rio
Grande. The distance from El Paso to La Junta he estimated at
ninety-seven leagues, which would make each of his leagues about
two miles, air line. 4 This point should be kept in mind for later
Of the route traversed by Mendoza from La Junta, a minute
circumvecinas, y de orden del Governador del Nuevo-Mexico D. Domingo
Gironza Petris de Cruzati Hizo el Maestro de Campo Juan Dominguez de
Mendoza en fines del ano de 1683 y principos de 1684." These documents
are copies from the originals. The transcript of this second collection
fills ninety-two typewritten pages.
*See note 2 below, and page 75, note 2.
2 "Declaraci6n" of Juan Sabeata at El Paso, October 20, 1683. MS.
According to Governor Jironza de Cruzate, reporting the event on October
30, Sabeata had come with six companions. They arrived on Santa
Teresa Day. (Letter of Jironza de Cruzate to the viceroy, October 30,
1683. MS.) Cf. Vetancurt, Cronica, 96-97. This author says that
Sabeata reported thirty-two tribes awaiting baptism. Sabeata, in fact,
enumerated thirty-three, including his own.
3 "Certificaci6n" by Mendoza, El Paso, June 23, 1684, which gives the
date of the starting of the missionaries; also Mendoza, "Derrotero." Both
are MSS. Escalante is incorrect in stating that Sabeata arrived at El Paso
in December (see his letter of April 2, 1778, in the Land of Sunshine,
Vol. XII, 311). The statement that Mendoza accompanied the mission
aries to La Junta is also incorrect.
4 "Derrotero," entries from December 15 to December 29.
73 The Jumana Indians, 1650-1771
study will be reserved for a later task, and only enough details will
be given here to show that the Nueces River which Mendoza reached
was clearly one of the upper branches of the Colorado. 1
On January 1, 1684, the party, leaving Father Acevedo to min
ister to the Indians at La Junta (or La Novedad de las Cruces,
as it was now called), set out for the country of the Nueces River.
From La Junta the route was evidently north, or a little east of
north, to the Salado (Pecos), which was reached on the thirteenth,
after going seventy leagues. 2 The point was perhaps in Pecos
County, opposite Crane County, Texas, though it may have been
a short distance farther west, in Reeves County. 3 Following the
river for nine leagues, they crossed to the village of the Jediondas,
"at the foot of a great rock which serves them as a protection
against the hostile Apaches/'* Here Mendoza stopped seven days.
Leaving the Pecos, he now marched eastward across an unwatered
plain. Forty leagues out he struck the head of an east-flowing
stream, remarkable for its shells (conch eria) . Mendoza called the
riv,er the Nueces, regarding it as the one he had come to find. It
was perhaps the middle Concho. Following this stream east
twenty-one (or twenty-four?) leagues, and passing by one or two
tributaries, he came to the "Rio de Seiior San Pedro, which is the
principal [river], called de las Perlas, or, by another name, de las
Nueces [nuts], although they all have them, which river is the one
appearing in the order which I bear . . . and which order is
now fulfilled. Said point is about eight leagues further down the
said River than the place where Don Diego de Guadalajara ar
rived/' 5 The point where this entry was written was perhaps near
San Angelo, at the junction of the North and Middle Concho
Nineteen leagues further on he reached the end of his journey
1 Miss Anne Hughes, one of my students in the University of Texas, has
made a careful study of the diary, and hopes some time to complete it for
2 /&i<2., entries from January 1 to 14.
s lbid., entries from January 1 to 14. At the point where the Salado
was reached, "a great Saline" was discovered a league across the river.
4 "Derrotero," entry for January 18. No mention is made in the diary
of the presence of Jumanos in the village. Cf. Escalante, op. cit., p. 311,
and Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I, 386.
5 "Derrotero," entry for February 24. The italics are mine.
Texas Historical Association Quarterly 74
at an eastward flowing stream, which he called the San Clemente.
He was now about forty leagues (eighty miles according to his
former estimates) from the head of the "Nueces" River, and twice
that distance from the point where he had left the Pecos, or eight-
sevenths of the distance from La Junta to the Pecos by the north
ward route. The place was apparently on the Colorado near its
junction with the Concho. Mendoza tells us that on his return
home he went straight west, much of the way near an east-flowing
stream., to the Pecos, which, after going some distance along the
north bank, he crossed at the point where he had passed it before.
The testimony of this diary, supplemented by Posadas's report,
seems to identify the Nueces Eiver, home of the Jumano in 1684,
with the Concho, 1 whose very name is significant. Equally so is
the fact that a considerable pearl-fishing industry is still carried
on in the Concho River, in the neighborhood of San Angelo, which
is not true of other streams of central Texas. It may be added
that the Concho is today one of the greatest nut-producing streams
in the Southwest.
III. DATA REGARDING THE JUMANO IN SOUTHWEST TEXAS BE
TWEEN 1683 AND 1716
Regardless of its bearing on the existence of a Jumano tribe on
the Arkansas in the middle of the eighteenth century (and that
bearing is not difficult to see), the above conclusion as to the iden
tity of the "JSTueces River" implies, of course, the presence of
Jumano in southwestern Texas at that period. With this as a
starting point, it is my purpose now to present evidence, much of
which has never been taken into account, to show that Jumano
continued to range through the same general region till after the
middle of the eighteenth century, at least. Some of the evidence
even points to a residence there after the time when Hodge implies
that the whole tribe were living on the Red River under the name
] To this conclusion there is only one alternative. If, on his outward
journey, Mendoza struck the Pecos, in Reeves county, and followed it nine
leagues up stream instead of nine leagues down stream, the Nueces would
be Giraud Creek, and the San Clemente the Colorado below Giraud Creek.
One thing in favor of this conclusion is the fact that Mendoza returned to
the Pecos by a more southern route tha% that which he followed outward.
("Derrotero," entries for March 16 and May 21.)
75 The Jumano* Indians, 1650-1771
of Taovayas, and in other ways disturbs views that have been
regarded as established.
It may be noted, as a preliminary to the discussion which fol
lows, that the forms Juman, Chuman, Jumane, Jumana, Xoman,
Xumana, etc., frequently occur in the Spanish documents as vari
ants of the name Jumano. Indeed, in the Spanish sources Jumane
and Jumana occur much more frequently than Jumano, the form
which has been adopted by the Bureau of American Ethnology
and which I have followed for that reason. Juman^ Xuman, Chu
man, etc., are sometimes used for the tribe while the people are
referred to as Jumanes, Xumanes, Chomanes, etc. In the seven
teenth century the name was probably pronounced Zhuman.
To show that during the decade between 1683 and 1693 the
Jumano lived in the general region of the Eio Grande, from
La Junta eastward, the evidence is ample. To go back a step, in
1675 Fernando del Bosque and Fathers Larios and San Buenaven
tura found the Indians of the Xoman tribe at a place called Dacate
Mountain, a short distance north of the Eio Grande and east of
the Pecos. 1 While there is no certainty that these Xoman were
the Choman, or Jumano, known on other grounds to have been
near the Rio Grande at this time, yet there is a strong probability
that such was the case. We have already seen that the Jumano
chief, Juan Sabeata, claimed in 1683 to live near La Junta "with
many" of his tribe, and that part of the tribe were found in 1684
on the "Nueces" (Colorado) River. It is clear, moreover, that
Father Posadas regarded the Jumano to be living near the Rio
Grande when he wrote his "Ynforme" (about 1686). He states
that at La Junta Mendoza and Lopez "saw many Indians Ju-
manas, Rayados, Oposmes, Polupames, Polaques, and others." 2