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In 1849, after New Mexico came under the control of the
United States, the diocese of Santa Fe was separated from
that of Durango. Jean Baptiste Lamy who had come from
Claremont, France, to work in the parishes of Ohio and Ken-
tucky, was selected to become first Vicar Apostolic of Santa

His bishopric covered New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado,
Utah, and Nevada, the peripheries being vaguely defined. In
recognition of the primary need for religious workers, he
first brought a group of the Sisters of Loretto to Santa Fe
and then, in 1854, on a brief business trip to see the Pope,
picked up what recruits he could in Italy and France. He
returned to America with three priests and four seminarians
from his old school in Claremont and a Spanish priest who
had been a missionary in Africa.

In 1856 Bishop Lamy sent Father Machebeuf to France
to recruit more missionaries. His appeal in the Seminary of

1. In making a point of identification with his parishioners, Ralliere used the Eng-
lish and Spanish forms of his given and middle names rather than the French form with
which he was baptised. His Apuntes and letters are written in Spanish, with a rare
slip into French.



Montferrand brought six seminarians, among whom was
John B. Ralliere.

The lives to which these men went had little of ease, no
matter in what corner of New Mexico. Apart from the local
suspicions which must be allayed, conditions of life were
harsh in the villages and a thousand times more so on the
horseback and wagon trips which led them from visita to
visita in their large parishes. Military escorts were the usual
security against Indians in some areas ; elsewhere the men
were on their own. None were killed ; all gained friends and
some, as Father Ralliere, came to be considered almost as
one of the saints by a large portion of his parishioners. Al-
though his name rarely is found in print, his memory remains
bright in Tome, where he served from 1858 to 1911. At his
death, forty-two years ago, four years after he had retired
from the pulpit because of ill health, his body was buried in
a homemade coffin of four boards beneath the rough wooden
floor of his church.

A detailed diary from the pen of any one of the priests
of the early American period could have provided invaluable
data on the times. None had leisure for such a literary ven-
ture, although their letters and papers have contributed to
history. Father Ralliere did keep a few pages of notations
in diary form, but they consist only of names of persons or
of items evidently intended to remind him of some matter.
Fortunately, however, in his later years he set down a series
of Apuntes or "Notes," of quite another type. The incomplete
manuscript in which he recorded some of the local events
occurring between 1872 and 1909 was found by Mrs. Felicitas
Sedillo de Montano of Tome and kindly offered for the present
translation and publication. 2 It was written between 1905
and 1909 in a fine hand, in Spanish (except for an occasional
French word or phrase and the consistent use of the French
article le in place of the Spanish article el) , upon legal size
paper. Some pages show lines ruled off before writing began.

2. Masses of letters and papers were burned after his death but Mrs. Montano, who
had worked in his household and whose brother, during most of his life, had been closely
associated with Father Ralliere as his organist, saved the pages of this notebook as a


In relatively few cases does the penmanship become so
cramped that reading is difficult.

Certain parts are imperfect, the work of a man mortally
tired and ill after a hard life of service. The events recorded
were of major importance to Father Ralliere and, in part,
to the village. How he chanced to begin these notes is un-
known. It is said that in the latter days of his life he became
somewhat crabbed and bitter, as he never had been earlier.
This was the result of ill health and recurrent battles with
some of his parishioners, which left him convinced that his
long efforts and his ideal of aid to the community were not
appreciated. The "Notes" seem to have been written for no
purpose other than as a contemplation of past events in the
writing of which he re-considered his own motives as well
as those of others. One can hardly call it a matter of retro-
spection and self -justification for there is no evidence of a
troubled conscience "explaining" to itself. One feels, instead,
that here is a record of events just as he saw them and that
if confronted with the same situations again he would react
just as in the first instance.

It is clear that he was a very honest, sensitive, and in-
telligent person. His solutions to problems show clear think-
ing and ingenuity. If he seems to have been more resolute
than tactful, it was because he was thoroughly convinced of
the reason and Tightness of his movements, a point in which
his modern reader concurs. The difficulties which brought
about these problems were those of typical Spanish individ-
ualism and competition. Until recently each farmer was
almost the absolute master of his premises, for which he
wrested what was needed from the environment or from
others of the community. Distrust, thus bred, extended to
the local priest who not only was likewise a farmer and
hence a competitor but also, in this case, a representative
of the conquering "Americanos" and hence perhaps desirous
of despoiling the local peoples of lands or moneys. Tithing,
dropped in New Mexico during the Mexican period at the
pleas of Father Martinez that the populace could not afford
such contributions, were re-imposed by Bishop Lamy through
his priests. Their collection did not endear the regime to land-


owners. Father Ralliere always held a body of friends but
frequently he also had enemies, a matter which puzzled him,
and some men moved from one group to the other as their
personal interests dictated.

Father Ralliere never was a passive man. The role of an
energetic French priest in one of the oldest Spanish com-
munities in New Mexico was not easy. His ultimate success
appears in the tales of the old men of today, who remember
that he was ever able to see the humor in any situation, that
he had a dicho (saying) for every occurrence of daily life, and
that through his leadership "He made labor sweet, inspired
the desire for heavenly joy and glory, and earned the nick-
name "Padre eterno."

In Ralliere we see the idealist and something of that
mercurial spirit which we are apt to attribute to Frenchmen ;
these were traits which" endeared him to his friends among
laymen and clergy. His enemies no doubt considered him
both hot and hard-headed, even as he would have character-
ized them. He suffered most at their misunderstanding of his
altruistic motives and positivistic concept of "right," but he
never flinched from a position taken. We may think that he
could have managed a smoother road to the successful out-
come of many of his plans had he concentrated his under-
standing upon human relationships and the foibles of
mankind as he did upon the more material needs of his parish,
but this was not a part of his uncompromising nature. If his
notes give something of an egoistic impression in places,
one must remember that they were written without the
veneer of proper modesty imposed by our culture when speak-
ing of one's self to someone else. Here an old man re-lives,
as something of a scrupulous self -judgment, his own actions,
decisions, and intentions, and the problems which were their
background in the periods of special stress in his life span.


[The start of Father Ralliere's Apuntes seems to have
been a record he jotted down in 1905, the names of the priests
who had attended the annual retreat of that year. He was


seventy-three years old at the time ; the list may have been
merely an aid to his memory] .

Present at the Retreat, Aug. 21-25, 1905
Monsigneur Bourgade, Monsigneur Pitaval, Fourchegu
Vicar Besset Plantard Giraud Vicar Delaville
Gamier (San Juan) Jouvenceau (Park View) Courbon
Seux (San Juan) Alverne Mariller (Rito) Alterman
(Santa Cruz) Medina (Penasco) Garcia (Costilla)
Balland (Mora) M. Ribera (Sapello) Gilberton V.
Thomas, Cooney (Raton) Ceillier (Springer) Lamerth

Splinters (Chiquito) Gatignol (Anton Chico) Casals
(San Miguel) Paulhan (Pecos) Barrau (Sanatorium)

Derocher Rabeyrolles (Santa Fe) Coudert Chas-
sier Docher (Isleta) Juillard M. Dumarest (Gallup)
Picard (Belen) Ralliere (Tom6) Martin (Socorro)
Pelser (San Marcial) Kriel (Monticello) Girma (Lin-
coln) Gauthier (Manzano) Alf. Halterman (Santa
Rosa) . 8

[Two years later, farther down the same page he noted
the men with whom he had been in retreat that season]

Retreat 22 day of August 1907

Plantaro, Kriel, Martin, Picard, Docher, Juillard, Barrau,
Seux, Hartman, Courbon, Alverne, Giraud, Pajet, Balland,
Gilberton, Molinier, Cooney, Ceillier, Dumarest, Lamerth,
Olier, Gatignol, Splinters, Moog, Paulhan, Fourchegu, Redon,
Gauthier, Girma, Rabeyrolles, Alf. Halterman, Gamier,
Castagnet, Deraches, Bertrome, Delaville, Pugens, Besset,
Th. Vincent, Charnier Absent Ribera, Pelzer, Poiyot, A.
Jouvenceau, Medina

[The remainder of this page is left blank except for a
sentence of memorandum at the bottom.

Aubrey made the trip from Kansas City to Santa Fe in 8
days. This was quick transportation in comparison with the
weeks remembered for freighting by team or ox cart across
the plains, the old system by which Ralliere had imported his

3. Ralliere in most cases wrote the names of the parishes which these priests repre-
sented in small letters ; we have here capitalized and added parentheses. Most of these
men are listed in J. B. Salpointe, Soldiers of the Cross, 1898, p. 206.


church bells, organs for various chapels and individuals, and
the few items of urban living which could be afforded.

On his next page, apparently written on January 11 or
12, 1905, Ralliere speaks briefly of rains and small floods, a
matter of ever-watchful concern to residents of Tome. On
repeated occasions during his residence there, as well as
before and since (until flood control was given serious
governmental attention in the early 1930's) this town and
others in the lowlands where farming was best were almost
destroyed by freshets which overflowed the banks of the Rio
Grande or broke through to form new channels. Adobe struc-
tures, so well suited to a dry climate, after several days of
rain or of water at the foundations collapsed. While families
fled to the hills or to other towns, their fields were torn, new
swamps created, and animals drowned. The priest stayed
with his people, holding services, encouraging them, and aid-
ing in directing what repairs might be accomplished]

1905. On the 10, 11, of January sleet fell ; for two days all
the houses leaked frighteningly. The field was very damp,
the roads very bad. On Dec. 3, 1904, other rain had fallen for
a day. On the 8th of Oct., 1904, another for one day. The
29th of Sept., 1904 In these two rains the river overflowed
at Chical [a farm area belonging to and just south of Isleta
pueblo], at Bosque de Los Pinos 4 [now known as Bosque
Farms, just north of Peralta] at the place of Polidor Chaves,
and at Valencia. 25 houses were under water and in danger of

In the previous year there had been a drought terrible
for farms, for cattle. The river dried up in March and after-
wards ran at intervals.

In the year 1903 the river rose terribly in May, June, over-
flowed at Chical and later dried up entirely.

The Plaza of Tome so far has escaped [the water] but is
seriously threatened by the river one mile to the north.

[Ralliere here breaks his record of floods to note the death
of a friend]

4. Location of the Fortalesa (Fort) of early American and Civil war period. Here
military escorts were available for the priests and other travelers going: through Indian


Father Noel Dumarest 5 died the 13th of January in the
Sanatorium of Albuquerque and was buried on the 17th in
Pena Blanca (Rest in Peace) where he had been curate var-
ious years. 1905

At present [during flood of January, 1905] I stay in
Peralta at the house of Aniceto Gurule, 6 Ofelia Griego
Eraclio de Pole [sacristan of Peralta church, a visita of the
Tome parish] moved to Albuquerque and returned to me the
keys to the church. I had thought of closing the [Peralta]
church but Margarita Toledo and Ofelia caught up with me
and offered a house. [His own house was next to the church
in the Tome plaza.] It is the house which formerly belonged
to Ofelia R. de Connelly, spacious. But now it is full. Here
live Hilario Griego, Pilar Romero, Eliseo Griego, Lucinda
Gurule, Daniel Gurule, Luz Cisneros, Jesus Gurule of 80
years, Rafael Gurule, and Margarita. They are near the house
of their daughter, Francisca, the wife of Remigio Chaves. All
of these people lost their houses in October [the Canada de la
Cobra flood] .

How many houses I have moved between since 1872 when
I began to offer mass in Peralta. The houses of El Negro
Sanchez, Peregrina Luz Chaves, wife of Ambrosio Chaves,
Manuel R. Otero, Pilar Romero, Lola Chaves, Juan Gurule,
Desiderio Gurule, Josefa Cobos, Rafael Gurule, Aniceto

[Father Ralliere again interrupts his account to note
some details he has just recalled or been given concern-
ing Dumarest.]

Noel Dumarest was born December 10, in Lyon 1868
he came to N.M. 1893 ordained, he was lieutenant [as-
sistant] to Rev. Father Redon Anton Chico Pastor at
Pena Blanca 1900 pastor at Springer 1902 went to
France 1901 Chaplain of the hospital.

[The first lengthy account in the big Ralliere notebook
written at intervals between July 29 (or perhaps began even

5. Well known among; anthropologists for his small but valuable monograph on
Coehiti Pueblo, edited by Elsie Clews Parsons from notes Dumarest recorded while sta-
tioned at Pena Blanca. Father N. Dumarest, "Notes of Coehiti, New Mexico"
Memoirs, Amer. Anth. Assoc., 6, Pt. 3, 1920.

6. Most of the persons here mentioned are represented by relatives in TomS today.


earlier in the spring) and November 4, 1905, is neatly titled
as an account of the last of the many disastrous floods which
struck Tome during Father Ralliere's years there. For his
forthright actions in cutting ditches to drain some of the
water ba*ck into the river, he paid a heavy price in the
enmities of self -centered owners over which he suffered
much anguish as well as an actual fine set by court action.
This episode became one of the sorest points in the memories
of his declining years, and touched his gay disposition with
bitterness. It may also explain his concentration upon floods
in these Apuntes]


The legislation passed a law creating the River Commis-
sion. For this group members were Abran Kempenich and
Bernardino Cedillo. In March "burros" [levies] were built
in Chical, in Bosque de los Pinos, in Los Chavez, in Valencia,
in Tome, and in La Constancia. For some years the river has
been eating away the banks at San Fernando towards the
east. About ten years ago [erosion] carried away the acequia.
A "burro" was built which the river carried away, and then
another which Don Guillermo Chavez supervised and the
town constructed it at my own insistence and re-formed and
strengthened it. It held the river for several years especially
during the height of the flood of Sept. 27, 1904. When the
river broke through [its banks] at four points north of Tome,
this "burro" did not break, thanks to the care of the people.
In March 1905 Bernardino made another "burro" further
down [south] of ten yards width at the base and five on top,
of solid sod blocks very good carried in the arms [of
the people] .

Several of the principal men were opposed to this tremen-
dous task, thinking it better to reinforce the old "burro"
farther north but thanks to God Bernardino went ahead with
his idea. The gentlemen mentioned in fact brought about
great harm by asking adjournment to sow their wheat. This
was the cause of Bernardino reducing the width of the
"burro" and when the river [flood] came to the "burro" Jose


Baca who was deputy commissioner lost precious time widen-
ing the "burro" where it was not thick enough. The river
reached the "burro" on Saturday, May 20, and all the people
of Tome, some 80 men, last Sunday, the 21st, [were] digging
up mud and sods from beneath the water. Above [farther
north] the river was eating away [the land] ; it took the
acequia, a "water check," then another, and it flowed along
a little valley at La Casa Vieja, the old house of Don Bar-
tolome Baca, Governor of New Mexico. Then very late on
Monday, the 22nd, they thought of making a "burro" to
await [meet] the flood water, but they did not build it high
or wide enough and they abandoned it. On Tuesday, the 23rd
at 7 in the morning when the people thought to strengthen
the "burro," the river was on its way humming [in swift
current] towards Tome. Twenty men came from Casa Colo-
rado to help, a useless trip. They waited in a group in front
of the house of Santos Barela, to divert the course of the cur-
rent. They opened the drainage ditch of .Tavalopa. Jose Baca
went out to break the lateral ditch of Toribio Archuleta and
F co . Salazar but did not dare do it because Catalino Montano
opposed him because he (Montano) did not want to lose his
wheat [from flooding]. When I learned of this, seeing that
all this water would come and cover the plaza, that it needs
must drown the church and all the houses, I went at noon
and had three openings made which [soon] became immense
gulleys which will be seen for many years. The rest of the
water leaped upon Jerusalem, Tavalopa, 7 and felled or at
least flooded about 25 houses [belonging to] : Santos Barela,
[Dona] Felipa Miguel Perea Projedes Celestino Mar-
quez, Daniel Lucero, house of Jose Chiquito Antonio
Montano Celsa Estevan Cedillo Ana Ruperto Perea
Natividad Juan Perea Ofelia 8 Maria wife of deceased
Querino Perea Francisco Perea Juana Lorenza Juan
Marquez Rebecca Ignacio Varela Eulalia Juan Lujan
Merced Juan Lujan Jr. Maria Castillo Nicanor Za-
mora Sef erina Jose de Jesus Piedad Antonio Saiz Ade-

7. Ralliere's humorous designation of outlying "suburbs" of Tome. The northwest
section he called "Tavalopa." The southeast section was "Jerusalem."

8. J. B. R. in this list mentioned the first name of a wife after the first name and
surname of husband. Ex. : Juan Perea Ofelia refers to Juan Perea and his wife, Ofelia.


laida Jose Baca Maria Jaramillo Octaviano Baca
Carmelita Francisco Salazar Nestora Toribio Archu-
leta Lugarda Francisco Otero Estef ana Amada Barela,

By night Manuel moved his family [which now] cooks in
the house which he bought from Nicolas Baca, husband of
Climaca. I stayed with Proceso in order to say mass next day
and to take out Our Lord. All night long Daniel Lucero,
Pancho Salazar, Ricardo Enriquez, Manuel Salazar, and
Jemenez, Laureano Jaramillo walked around with lanterns
watching the progress of its water in my fenced-in land. In
the morning a current of water was flowing at the foot [of
the wall] of my school house and at the east of the convent,
without reaching the foundation of the church nor of the
convent. There was considerable dry patio to the west of the
convent, and dry also was the shady lane under the poplars
to the east. The drainage ditch of my fields held back much
water and made it run along the highway which became an
arroyo impossible for travel.

I spent 47 days in the foothills. It was Tuesday when the
river entered. I stayed at home [that day] to say mass and
to take out Our Lord. At midnight Manuel Torres arrived,
he awakened me saying : What are you doing here ? By morn-
ing there will not be a dry spot on which to hitch the horses.
But it was as I predicted, the patio was dry. Rosita took
advantage of the time to clean her house. She fixed for me
[in the foothill community] a very clean room, very cool, with
a good view to the south. I visited all the neighbors in Cerro
and those who had fled there [from the flood], among these
Jose Baca Maria, Juan Cedillo Teresa Quirino and his son
Julian Amanda Antonio Montano Celsa, Santos Barela
Felipa Nicanor Zamora Sef erina Adelaida and Antonio
Saiz Amado Barela Margarita.

Each day I visited my ranch 9 where Jose de la Luz Barela
de Maria Jesus lives old like myself. I sowed 25 pounds of
alfalfa and thought to sow another 25 pounds near the
garden. But water did not run in the Cerro acequia. The first

9. Close to Cerro, a suburb of Tom6 near the base of Cerro de Tome, the volcanic
hill which marks the north end of the Tome land grant.


three weeks Manuel lost. Every day he went to the plaza to
feed the farm animals and the chickens and he stayed all day.
On the last Sunday of May should have been [the date for]
the 40 hour devotion. Of course nothing took place. On the
Sundays when mass should have been given in Tome I offered
it among the trees [at the home] of Jose Cedillo. Here I gave
the mass for rain. I held Corpus Christi at Casa Colorado on
Thursday, June 22 ; in Valencia, the day of the mass of water
[June] 24 ; in Peralta, Sunday the 25th. On week days I gave
mass in the little parlor of our house. They played and sang
hymns at mass each day Clotilde, Teresa, Quirina, Celsa,
Serna, Guadalupe Varela here we finished the month of
Mary [May]. On June 10 we returned to the plaza after 47
days. The plaza was very dry. The 9th day of July was 20 D .
In the morning I went to Valencia. On my way back I visited
all Tavalopa and Bella Vista where all had returned from
Cerro. I arrived at home at three in the afternoon. They called
me for a confession at Picuris [in the Peralta foothills]
30 miles that day at a trot [of my horse]. Twice I opened
discussions concerning draining the stagnant waters in Tava-
lopa and later I was not able to find a soul. The day when
Julian Zamora thought of doing a little work, then Ramon
Otero built the Camino Real [highway] and made the drain-
age impossible. This water makes all the houses of the town
very damp and even now, July 29, this dampness is eating
the walls of my house. Manuel repaired the new corral. The
south wall was weakened since the rains, and he was able
to pen all the horses as usual. There is no other corral in all
the town except for the rear corral of Juan Salazar. For a
month no one stayed in the plaza [center of town] except
Pancho Salazar and Daniel Lucero. The water came up to
their doors. Some people stayed on the other side of the
acequia and at Cerro and in Ranchos. Celso Salazar made a
"burro" just north of his place and [thus] saved his house.
I have not mentioned above that during Holy Week, April
22, from Saturday until Monday, it rained so much that there
was not a house which did not leak. I had one free corner
in my room near the cabinet where it was dry, except for a
drop which fell on my chest. I spread out my cape and that


kept the bed dry. My people [those of the big household]
slept in the grain bin. On Easter Sunday I hardly was able
to say mass at the altar of Mary. Don Manuel Salazar y
Jimenez says it was not the river which made his house
crumble but the rains. I completed ten months of traveling
on horse back. It was impossible to travel by buggy. [People]
walked on the [adobe] walls.

Now before the fiestas I am putting a pretil (firewall)
all around [the top of] my house. The dampness penetrated
the walls because the house lacked pretties. Not the church,
for it had pretties, but in the center where there was more
earth [on the roof] it leaked more. I had to pay 30 dollars
for breaking the acequia of Toribio and of Francisco Salazar
and for the wheat of Catalina and Francisco Salazar 20
dollars. Daniel Lucero helped me with ten dollars. Even then
Francisco Salazar threatened me with a suit. He saw [spoke
to] E. Sanchez who wrote to me. But I sent Toribio to him
and he informed [advised] him better and it seems that all is
ended. It was Antonio Salazar who spoke to the lawyer.

I got five wagon loads of alfalfa from my fenced land.
But I have a large amount of grass [hay] from the rinconada
lands and from the swamps of Manuel and Julian Torres.
But I think that much may be lost because of the rain today,

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