University of New Mexico.

New Mexico historical review (Volume 34) online

. (page 2 of 27)
Online LibraryUniversity of New MexicoNew Mexico historical review (Volume 34) → online text (page 2 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


6. The Bishop of Durango (1731), A. G. I., Audiencia de Guadalajara, 104-2-11
(A. C.). And Adams, op. cit.

7. Father Sant lago de Rebald, vicar and ecclesiastical judge in New Mexico to
Father Beaubois, in Henry Folmer, "Contraband trade between Louisiana and New
Mexico in the Eighteenth Century," NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW, 16 :262. Also 16 :91.



12 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

the mountain range which is still known as La Platta (the
Silver Mountain) . 8

Don Santiago, Vicar and Ecclesiastical Judge in New
Mexico, was the representative of the Bishop of Durango.
There was a running dispute, although intermittent in oc-
currence, between the Bishop of Durango and the Franciscan
Order concerning the question of jurisdiction in the province
of New Mexico. The latter were stubbornly insisting that it
was still a mission field and properly under their control. 9
The presence of Don Santiago on this journey had no direct
influence on the subsequent Franciscan missionary work
among these Navahos, but the spur to action was felt from
another quarter, the competition of the Jesuits who had been
granted jurisdiction over the Moqui province by a royal
cedula of July 19, 1741. The scarcity of missionaries in their
ranks and other difficulties barred immediate action, so the
province was restored to the Franciscans in 1745. 10 Mean-
while the latter had not been idle in the matter, and had vis-
ited the Moqui. Then they turned their attention to the
Navahos.

The Commissioner-General of the Franciscans, Fray
Pedro Navarrete, ordered the mission project to be under-
taken. In the inclement season of March, 1744, the sixty-seven

8. P. S. D n . Santtiago Roibal, Clerigo Presbytero Domiciliario del obispado de
Durango Vicario y Juez ecleciastico de este Reyno, in Sarjento Maior Don Joachin
Codallos y Rabal Gobernador y Capitan General de la Nueva Mexico, Testimonio a la
letra de los Auttos que originates se remiten al superior Gobiernor del Ex mo Senor Conde
de Fuenclara . . . Sobre La Reducion de los Yndios gentiles de la Provincia de Navajo
al gremio de Nuestra Santta Madre Yglecia, Febrero 26, 1745. New Mexico Originals,
PE24 (B. L.).

A part of this ms. has been translated with some errors and published in W. W. Hill,
Some Navaho Culture Changes During Two Centuries. Washington : Smithsonian Insti-
tution, 1940. Reprinted from Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections vol. 100 (whole
number) . Roibal's testimony of the journey is omitted.

For a short biography of Roibal see Fray Angelico Chavez, "El Vicario Don San-
tiago Roybal," El Palacio, 65:231-252 (August, 1948).

9. A detailed discussion of this jurisdictional problem can be found in the Introduc-
tion to Adams, op. cit. For a broader discussion see Robert Charles Padden, "The Orde-
nanza del Patronazgo, 1574: An Interpretative Essay." The Americas, 12:333-354 (April,
1956).

10. Hackett, Historical Documents .... 3 :394 note ; 417.

The story of the Moqui mission can be read in Henry W. Kelly, "Franciscan Missions
of New Mexico, 1740-1760," NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW, 15:345-368 (October,
1940), 16:41-69 (January, 1941).



1720'S TO 1770's 13

year old Fray Carlos Delgado, with Fray Jose Yrigoyen as
companion, left Isleta for the Navaho country, traveling by
way of Jemez Pueblo which was Fray Jose's mission. The
two Padres spent six days with the Navahos on their mesa-
top homes in the canyons of northwestern New Mexico,
preaching the gospel, and distributing gifts to promote the
good work. The Indians who assembled to hear the Padres
all embraced Christianity, so it was reported. In the zealous
eyes of the missionaries, they numbered five thousand, 11 a
figure that traveled through official channels of communica-
tion and eventually reached the King himself.

Meanwhile, one tangible result came from this entry to
the Province of Navaho. Some Indian Captains promised to
visit Santa Fe at the time of the full moon, and they were
as good as their word. Fray Carlos presented them to the
Governor, Joachin Codallos y Rabal (1743-49), who pro-
ceeded to take them "under the royal protection as vassals of
a king so Catholic that he would protect and defend them
from all their enemies." 12

Both the Governor and the missionaries were eager to fol-
low up this promising beginning toward bringing the pagans
into the folds of the Church. Recommendations were sent
through both civil and ecclesiastical channels that three or



11. Fray Carlos Delgado to Pedro Navarrete, Isleta, June 18, 1744. A. G. N., His-
toria 25, 216 (pt. 2, N. M. A.). And in Hackett, Historical Documents . . ., 3 :392f.
Yrigoyen to Navarette, Jemez, June 21, 1744. Ibid., 3 :414. Historia 25, op. cit., f219.

Fray Carlos Delgado to Fogueras (commissary general), Isleta, June 10, 1745. B. N.
M., legajo 8 (pt. 1, doc. 19, N. M. A.).

The eyes of Fray Carlos were not so blinded with apostolic fervor that he was not
aware of the realities involved in the task of converting the Navahos. So he was of the
opinion that "until more [goods are available, such as beads, ribbons, tobacco, etc.], they
will be more effectively converted with arms, which, accompanied by words, produce an
effect and accomplish a great deal." June 18, 1744, op. cit.

12. Delgado to Navarrete, Isleta, June 18. Op. cit.

Fray Gabriel de la Hoviela Velarde to Fray Pedro Navarette. El Paso del Norte,
July 12, 1744. B. N. M., Legajo 8 (pt. 1, doc. 14, N. M. A.).

There is some discrepancy in the dates concerning this visit to the Navahos. Fray
Carlos stated that he left Isleta on March 3 for the Province of Navaho and that the
Indians promised to visit the Spanish at the full moon. This lunar phase occurred on
March 28, and April 26, 1744 (Letter from H. M. Nautical Almanac Office, England,
April 20, 1956). Fray Gabriel stated that he sent Fray Carlos to the Province in May.
This implies that two trips were made. The total evidence is clear however that this could
not have been. A copyist's error on the date may have occurred in one of the Padres'
letters.



14 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

four missionaries should be assigned to the new field. The
reasons advanced were that the Indians had clearly revealed
a desire to become Christians, that they wanted missions es-
tablished in their homeland, and that they had lived at peace
with the Spanish for a number of years. The Viceroy re-
sponded in October with instructions to the Governor of New
Mexico that further investigation be made of the project. 13
Interest in the matter was increased by Fray Carlos' state-
ment that the appearance of the Navaho country gave prom-
ise of mineral wealth. But the promise of such wealth played
no part in the outcome of the mission work.

Governor Codallos y Rabal held extensive hearings in
February and early March of 1745. New Mexicans who had
entered the Province of Navaho at various times for the past
four decades gave testimony in considerable detail on the
nature of the country and the character of the people. While
this investigation was in progress, the Franciscans were also
active in keeping with the viceregal order of the previous
October.

Fray Francisco Sanchez arrived at Isleta Pueblo on Feb-
ruary 18, 1745, bearing a patent from the Father Custodian
to visit the missions of New Mexico. He also brought dis-
patches for the Governor and one for Fray Carlos. These
were to the effect that the latter should give aid promptly for
another trip to Navaho to sound out the attitude of the In-
dians. Weather permitting, he was anxious to do so.

March 23 found Fray Carlos at Santa Ana Pueblo ready
to leave on his mission when an unexpected difficulty arose.
The worthy Padre apparently had not secured formal permis-
sion from Fray Francisco. The resulting dispute dragged on
for nearly a month. The Governor sided with Fray Carlos and
helped to break the deadlock through conferences in Santa
Fe. Fray Carlos finally left Isleta on April 21, once more

13. Delgado to Navarette, June 18, 1744. Historic. 25, f244 (pt. 3, N. M. A.) ; same in
Hackett, Historical Documents . . ., 3 :394. Delgado Report to Conde de Fuenclara, quoted
in letter's statement, October 3, 1744. New Mexico Originals, PE 24 (B. L.).

The Governor of New Mexico had used the figure of 4,000 for the Navajo in his
report. However, the current estimate of the Navahos ranged from 2,000 to 4,000. Joachin
C6dallos y Rabal, Santa Fe, June 16, 1744. A. G. I.. Audiencia de Mexico, 89-2-17 (A. C.).



1720'S TO 1770'S 15

bound for the Navaho country in company with Fray Jose
Yrigoyen and Fray Pedro Ygnacio del Pino. 14

The trip to the northwest was not without hardships,
which was no doubt true of many of the pioneer missionary
trips. The mule bearing supplies fell in the Rio Santa Ana,
causing some damage to the cargo. Furthermore, the Rio
Puerco of the East was not the damp arroyo of late summer,
but held sufficient water to serve as an unwelcome barrier to
travelers: "We crossed it undressed and with considerable
risk of our lives." Continuing their journey, the Friars ar-
rived at a spring which they named "Nuestra Senora," which
was one league distant from the first settlement of the
Navahos. This could have been the San Jose spring of later
days or, more likely, Amarillo Spring near the head of Canon
Largo. Here a Navaho chief met the party.

The Navahos had been informed that the missionaries
were coming with soldiers to destroy them. The tale bearer
was a native of Jemez Pueblo. To this rumor Fray Carlos
replied that the informant was the devil in disguise. So he
and his companions continued peacefully on their way, visit-
ing the people in various localities and distributing gifts
among them. A few rosaries, some beads, an occasional neck-
lace and considerable ribbon were used to gain goodwill.

At a Navaho "Pueblo" named los Collates (the coyotes) ,
a large number of Indians gathered. In confirmation of their
desire to become Christians, which they had expressed the
year before, some of the leading men now asked for baptism.
This step Fray Carlos refused to take without direct orders
from his Superior, but he did feel qualified to baptize sick
people, so two adults and five children were given this rite of
the Church. At least this was the account given to Fray Juan
Fogueras in a report prepared at Isleta on June 10. Testifying
on an earlier occasion, the missionary stated that he had
baptized a chief, his wife, and five sons (without mentioning

14. Fray Francisco at least went through the formality of issuing an order for the
trip to the Province of Navaho. Santa Fe, April 5, 1745. A. G. I., Mexico 89-2-17 (A. C.).
Delgado to Fogueras, Isleta, June 10, 1745. B. N. M., leg. 8 (pt. 1, doc. 19, N. M. A.). The
controversy is discussed at length in this document. Fray Francisco's order named Fray
Pedro Ygnacio Pino as Delgado's second companion, but he states that Fray Juan Joseph
de Toledo was his companion.



16 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

the matter of illness) and that he "would have baptized many
more if he had remained longer in the Province." 15

Meanwhile, Fray Miguel Menchero, Solicitor General of
the Missions of New Mexico, had read the reports from the
north concerning the new mission field. He was sent to New
Mexico as visitador by Fray Juan Fogueras, and soon proved
to be a welcome and vigorous addition to the ranks of the
pioneer missionaries in the Navaho country. At least he ac-
quired a halo of goodwill from Fray Carlos : "He has been a
rainbow of peace in the turbulent storm that occurred in
regard to those whom we had converted in the year '44 in
the province of Navajoo." 16

The Governor was co-operative in supplying a military
escort and other necessities for mission work. Sometime in
June, Fray Miguel started on the trip in company with Fray
Carlos, Fray Jose Yrigoyen, and Fray Pedro Ygnacio del
Pino, all escorted by Don Bernardo Antonio de Bustamente y
Tagle, Theniente General of New Mexico, with a detachment
of twelve soldiers. Travelling the well-known route that had
been blazed by Fray Carlos, they arrived in due time at their
destination the scattered rancherias of the Navaho nation
in the southeastern tributaries of the Rio San Juan. Moving
around the Province, they preached the gospel and distributed
more gifts. At the Pueblo Espanoles, eight children were bap-
tized. The demonstrations of the Indians were so favorable
toward receiving the Holy words that the Friars were over-
come with emotion and not able to chant the Te Deum
Laudamus.



15. Fray Delgado on Navaho mission project, May 12, 1745. A. G. I., Mexico 89-2-17
(A. C.). Delgado to Fogueras, Isleta, June 10, 1745. B. N. M., leg. 8 (pt. 1, doc. 19,
N. M. A.).

There is no doubt about the baptisms having taken place. The one additional note
is that they received "instruction," a procedure that became a point of concern to some
Franciscans later. Fray Juan Miguel Menchero, Statement, Santa Barbara, September
15, 1745. B. N. M., leg. 8 (pt. 1, doc. 18, N. M. A.).

While Fray Carlos was preparing his report, the Alcalde Mayor of Jemez arrived
with a story that six Navahos had come to Jemez with the news that one of the baptized
Navahos had died. This confirms the statement of Fray Carlos that he had baptized sick
people. The news pleased him. He looked upon the event as the "first fruits" of his work.
Ibid., doc. 19.

16. Delgado, et al to Fogueras, Isleta, July 11, 1746. Hackett, Historical Documents
. . .. 3:421 ; or Historia 25, f250v (pt. 3, N. M. A.). Menchero, Informe. Santa Barbara,
November 20, 1745. A. G. I., Mexico 89-2-17 (A. C.).



1720'S TO 1770'S 17

The long- interval between the visits of the missionaries
had made the pagans a bit doubtful of their good intentions.
But they were now appeased by the renewed effort of the
Friars to carry out their professed intentions to bring them
into the fold of the Church. They not only listened to the
words of the Gospel with attention, but they also received
with pleasure the more tangible evidence of what the pro-
posed new way of life held for them. They were given rosaries
and Christian relics for their spiritual life ; hoes, needles and
tobacco to satisfy their material desires; and a variety of
items to appease their vanity, such as glass beads, necklaces,
ribbon, and scarlet capes. The ribbon amounted to about one
thousand Spanish yards in length. 17 If the other items were
in comparable quantity, the Indians had been treated gen-
erously. The capes were probably distributed only among the
few.

On the return trip from the Navaho Province, Fray Juan
Miguel with the military escort turned aside at the Holy
Ghost Spring, near the southwest end of Nacimiento Moun-
tain, and traveled to the Pueblo of Laguna. His goal was
Cebolleta Mountain where another large group of Navahos
had lived for many years. Departing from Laguna with Fray
Juan Garcia and Fray Juan Joseph Padilla, the party arrived
at their destination on June 30. Fray Juan Miguel went to
work in great earnest. He delivered three sermons in as many
hours, and recorded the conversion of all the people, or more
than 500. But he did not baptize any adults ; only the children,
and they were volunteers. Don Bernardo Antonio, Theniente
General, Don Geronimo de Zevallos, Alcalde Mayor of Laguna
and Acoma, and some soldiers held the children in their arms

17. Testimony taken at Isleta in July, 1746, from Bustamente, et al. B. N. M.,
Legajo 8 (pt. 1, doc. 32, N. M. A.). A. G. I., Mexico 89-2-17 (A. C.). Fray Juan Jose
Perez Mirabal to Commissary General Fray Juan Fogueras, Isleta, July 8, 1746. A. G. N.,
Historia 25, f249v (pt. 3, N. M. A.) or Hackett, Historical Documents, 3:420-421).
Delgado et al. to Fogueras, Isleta, July 11, 1746, op. cit.

The name of Pueblo Espanoles was derived from Dona Agustina de Peralta and
Dona Juana Almassan who were taken captive at the time of the Pueblo revolt of 1680.
See above Testimony. This implies of course that the Navahos were involved in that
uprising.

Fray Juan Miguel Menchero was credited with being generous in distributing gifts
among the Navahos in 1746 without cost to the royal treasury. Bernardo Antonio de
Bustamente y Tagle, "Testimonial," B. N. M., leg. 8 (pt. 2, doc. 45, N. M. A.).



18 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

during the baptismal rites, thereby acting as Godfathers.
Twenty-seven were so gathered into the Church. They were
given presents for co-operating in the ceremony. With this
heartening success, the Friars returned to the mission of St.
Joseph at Laguna and sang Te Deum Laudamus. Then they
moved to St. Stephens at Acoma and sang mass. 18

While the missionaries were laboring among the pagans,
the civil government was studying reports and coming to a
decision about the new mission project. A year and a half
after Fray Carlos first entered the Province of Navaho in
1744 and reported that 5,000 souls had been won for the
Church, the King ordered that all necessary aid be furnished
for the mission project and that a detailed progress report
be sent to him. 19 In keeping with the royal instructions, the
Viceroy issued the decree of June 28, 1746, directing the
Franciscans to establish four missions in the Province of
Navaho. 20 But neither the zeal of Fray Juan Miguel nor the
will of the Viceroy could bring about the successful establish-
ment of the proposed missions.

A number of factors interfered with the project. The Utes
on the northern frontier, and border tribes elsewhere,
erupted and taxed the military resources of New Mexico. The
Governor, therefore, was unable to provide immediately the
military protection for the proposed missions. Fray Juan
Miguel himself took time out to accompany a military expedi-
tion against the Gila Apaches, operating from the Presidio
at El Paso in the summer of 1747. 21 By December of this year,
he was again at Isleta. Evidence of his previous missionary
activities awaited him.

A Navaho had arrived from Los Coyotes where the Friar
had baptized a few children. At that time the wife of this

18. Testimony taken at Isleta in July, 1746, op. cit. Menchero wrote of "my mission-
aries in the conquest of the province of Navajo and the new conversion of the nation of
the Cebolletas in their rugged and uncultivated mountain. . . ." A. G. I., Mexico 89-2-17
(A.C.).

19. Instructions to Viceroy Conde de Fuenclara, San Lorenzo, November 23, 1745.
A. G. L, Guadalajara 235 (N. M. A.). The same in Hackett, Historical Documents, 3 :416.

20. B. N. M., Legajo 8 (pt. 1, doc. 83, N. M. A.)

21. Ralph Emerson Twitchell, The Spanish Archives of New Mexico, 2 :218ff. The
Torch Press, 1914. 2 vote. H. H. Bancroft, Arizona and New Mexico, p. 245. San Fran-
cisco, 1888.



1720'S TO 1770's 19

Navaho was pregnant. The father now wanted the new born
infant baptized. With Don Nicholas Chaves and his wife act-
ing as God parents for the Indian child, the appropriate rites
were performed. In due time the Navaho returned home, stat-
ing that he was coming back with some friends and other
people. As of June 15, 1748, he had not returned.

Prior to this event, and during Fray Juan Miguel's ab-
sence from New Mexico, his associates, in some way not
clearly revealed, had had contact with the people in the
Province of Navaho. The Navahos in turn (at least some
leaders) had led the missionaries to believe, and the Governor
too, that they would come to Santa Fe to be missionized in
the spring of 1748. They had not done so.

Fray Juan Miguel was tempted to visit the Navaho once
more to clinch the matter, but several reasons weighed
against it. New Mexico was suffering from a drought, so
springs were dry. This made travel difficult for both man and
beast. He also seemed a bit uncertain about what Navahos
had obligated themselves which, in view of their scattered
settlements, might cause him to miss them. In other words,
they might be traveling to Santa Fe by way of the Piedra
Lumbre while he was moving northward from Jemez. And
then he had the new Pueblo of Sandia on his mind. There he
was trying to settle about 350 Pueblo folk who had been
brought back from the Moqui Province after a number of
years of exile. 22

Conditions by the summer of 1748 led Fray Juan Miguel
to change his mind about immediate plans for the Navahos.
For one thing he had completed the task of settling the Mo-
quinos at Sandia Pueblo. Then a Navaho, probably Fernando
de Orcazitas, visited him with a renewed request for a mis-
sion. So sometime during the following months he did bring
some Indians from the northern province to a new homesite
in the Cebolleta region. Writing early in 1749 or late 1748, he
stated that despite the inability of Governor Codallos y Rabal

22. Menchero to Fray Lorenzo Anttonio de Estremera, Santa Fe, April 20, 1748.
B. N. M., leg. 8 (pt. 2, doc. 50, N. M. A.). Menchero Petition to Governor, June 15, 1748.
Ibid. (doc. 45). Governor to Viceroy, Santa Fe, June 15, 1748. Ibid.

Documents on the Sandia resettlement project are translated in Twitchell, Spanish
Archives, 2 :220-225.



20 NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW

to fulfill the commands of the Viceroy in 1746 that a military
escort be provided for the proposed missions, he had acted
independently : "I took the step in compliance with my obliga-
tion to seek the said Indians and to bring them to the place
opposite of the point of the compass, which is the South, of
the said province of Navaho. . . ," 23

Just when the migration took place is not specified. But
the fact that it was done is supported by the report of Fray
Juan Sanz de Lezaun who, writing in 1760, alludes to the
heathen Indians at Cebolleta, among whom he worked in
1748, as being both Apaches and Navahos, thus distinguish-
ing between the Navaho of the Province of Navaho and those
who had long lived on and along the base of the Cebolleta
Mountain. Fray Juan Miguel had drawn the same distinction
when he first visited Cebolleta in 1746. Of course both groups
were Apaches in the eyes of the Spanish (or Navaho, if you
prefer) , and belonged to the same linguistic group, namely
Athapaskan. 24

The Navahos were suffering from the effects of a drought
in 1748. With inadequate crops, they had been forced to draw
heavily upon their livestock for subsistence. This no doubt
made some of them more amenable to the missionaries' sug-
gestion that they move to the Cebolleta region. 24a

In the fall of 1748, Fray Juan Miguel had petitioned the
Governor to accompany him to select mission sites in the
Cebolleta Mountain area and also to examine the people and
land farther north. The Governor was physically incapaci-
tated at the time, so he commissioned "Theniente del Alcalde
Mayor" and War Captain of Laguna and Acoma, Don Pedro
Romero, to do the job. Fray Juan Miguel, Fray Juan Joseph

23. In statement of Don Juan Francisco de Guemmes y Horcacitas, Conde de Revilla
Gigedo (Viceroy 1746-1755), Mexico, October 18, 1749. New Mexico Originals, PE 30
(B.L.).

The Spanish reads : tome la providencia en complimiento de mi obligacion de buscar
a dicho Yndio, y a traer los p. r la parte opuesta de el rumbo que es, el sur, de la dicha
Provincia por donde no los ymbaden sus enemigos tanto, y ofresen mayores comodidades
BU cituacion que es la Sierra de la Cebolleta. . . ."

24. Fray Juan Sanz de Lezaun, Noticias, 1760. A. G. N., Historic, 25, 41 (pt. 1,
N. M. A.) ; or Hackett, Historical Documents, 3:471.

24a. Gov. C6dallos y Rabal, "Statement," Santa Fe, July 20, 1748. N. M. A., doc.
494 (1748-1751).



1720'S TO 1770'S 21

de Padilla, Fray Juan Joseph Toledo, accompanied by Don
Fernando de Orcazitas, Captain General of the Navaho peo-
ple, traveled together to the proposed mission site where the
Friars had already laid the seed for their work. The party
was escorted by Don Juan Phelipe de Ribera, Lieutenant of
the Santa Fe Presidio, with a force of ten regular soldiers, ten
residents from the Albuquerque district, and twenty-five
Pueblo Indians. Leaving Laguna Pueblo about November 9,
they arrived at Cebolleta Canyon, a distance of six to seven
leagues to the north, where they received a cordial welcome
from the Navaho people.

Entering the "Jacal de su morada," or sheltered assembly
place, the group seated themselves on the ground and Fray
Juan Miguel proceeded to explain the purpose of his visit,
speaking through interpreters. The Indians present professed
to understand him. With this auspicious beginning, Fray
Juan Miguel retired to his tent for a rest.

Early the next morning, the real work began. A variety
of gifts were first distributed to the adults and children:



Online LibraryUniversity of New MexicoNew Mexico historical review (Volume 34) → online text (page 2 of 27)