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the water like ducks. 3

When it is remembered that Mrs. Magoffin was traveling in
the company of her husband and that she had just come from
a society which was already under the influence of Victorian
decorum, it may not seem wise to accept her as the most
creditable judge of women.

All of the men who visited New Mexico were struck by the
beauty of the New Mexican women, and they were fairly

2. Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail (Boston: Little, Brown and Company,
1926), pp. 288-291.

8. Susan (Shelby) Magoffin, Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico, & diary,
1846-1847. ed. Stella M. Drumm (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1926), pp. 90-91.


unanimous in attributing- this beauty to certain characteris-
tics of their appearance. Zebulon Pike was more conservative
in his description than most writers, possibly because his
writing was an official report to his government. He was con-
tent to say that the "women have black eyes and hair, fine
teeth and are generally brunettes." 4 Josiah Gregg showed a
little less restraint in saying that "the females . . . not in-
frequently possess striking traits of beauty. They are re-
markable for small feet and handsome figures." 5 It was
George Kendall who gave the most elaborate portrayal of the
attractions of the New Mexican women.

The more striking beauties of the women of Northern Mexico
are their small feet, finely turned ankles, well-developed busts,
small and classically formed hands, dark and lustrous eyes,
teeth of beautiful shape and dazzling whiteness, and hair of
that rich and jetty blackness peculiar to the Creole girls of
Louisiana and some of the West India islands. Generally their
complexions are far from good, the mixture of Spanish and
Indian blood giving a sallow, clayish hue to their skin ; neither
are their features comely, although frequently a face may be
met with which might serve as a perfect model of beauty. But
then they are joyous, sociable, kind-hearted creatures almost
universally, liberal to a fault, easy and naturally graceful in
their manners, and really appear to have more understanding
than the men. 6

Kendall later described such a "perfect model of beauty"
whom he saw while being marched as a captive to Mexico.

It was at Albuquerque that I saw a perfect specimen of female
loveliness. The girl was poor, being dressed only in a chemise
and coarse wollen petticoat; yet there was an air of grace, a
charm about her, that neither birth nor fortune can bestow.
. . . Her dark, full, lustrous eyes, overarched with brows of
penciled regularity, and fringed with lashes of long and silken
texture, beamed upon us full of tenderness and pity, while an
unbidden tear of sorrow at our misfortunes was coursing down
a cheek of the purest and richest olive. Her beautifully curved

4. Zebulon Pike, Exploratory Travels Through the Western Territory of North
America (Denver: W. H. Lawrence and Company, 1889), p. 335.

5. Josiah Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies, in Early Western Travels, 1748-1846,
vol. XXIX, ed. Reuben G. Th waits (Cleveland, Ohio: The Arthur H. Clark Company,
1905), pp. 344-345.

6. Kendall, op. cit., pp. 432-433.


lips, half open as if in pity and astonishment at a scene so un-
common, disclosed teeth of pearl, dazzling white. . . . She
could not be more than fifteen, yet her loose and flowing dress,
but half concealing a bust of surpassing beauty and loveliness,
plainly disclosed that she was just entering womanhood. . . .
The prettiest girl I ever saw was standing on a mudwall in
Albuquerque with a pumpkin on her head. 7

The beauty of the women was enhanced in the eyes of
their American admirers by their mode of dress. The women
of the United States were at the time wearing clothing de-
signed to hide as much of their feminine beauty as possible.
The dresses were long enough to allow only an occasional
glimpse of an ankle and were bound high around the neck.
With several layers of petticoats under the dresses, there was
little means of identifying the feminine form. The first
glimpse of the New Mexican women in their scanty and re-
vealing attire must have been quite a shock to the visitors.
George Kendall was "a little astonished at the Eve-like and
scanty garments of the females" he met and thought them
only half dressed. He wondered how they could have "the
indelicacy or ... brazen impudence to appear in dishabille
so immodest." Later he decided the mode of dress of the New
Mexican women was more practical than that of the women
of the United States. 8 Kendall described the dress of the
women in detail.

Among the Mexican women, young and old, corsets are un-
known. ... All the females were dressed in the same style,
with the same abandon. . . . the forms of the gentler sex ob-
tain a roundness, a fullness, which the divinity of tight lacing
never allows her votaries; their personal appearance and at-
tractions are materially enhanced by the negligee style. 9

Susan Magoffin added to the description of the women's dress.
"The women were clad in chemises and petticoats only ; oh,
yes, and their far-famed rabosas." 10 The rebosa was a long
narrow scarf made of cotton with sewed-in pockets, which
served as parasol, bonnet, shawl, veil and carry-all.

7. Ibid., pp. 522-523.

8. Ibid., p. 428.

9. Ibid., p. 429.

10. Magoffin, op. cit., p. 93.


So archly and coquettishly does the fair Mexican draw the
rebosa around her face, that the inquisitive beholder is fre-
quently repaid with no other than the sight of a dark and
lustrous eye peering out amid its folds. 11

The mantilla resembled the rebosa in many respects, but was
made of finer material and was worn by the more fashionable
ladies in the larger cities, "with that peculiar grace which no
other than the lady of Spanish origin can affect." 12

Stanley Vestal, in one of his books about this period, de-
scribed the effect the women's clothing must have had on
the Americans.

The way they dressed was, in itself exciting to men from the
states. They never heard of underwear. Petticoats, bustles,
bodices, long sleeves, high necks, hats were all unknown to
Santa Fe. The women wore a skimpy camiso, loose abbreviated
sleeves, short red skirts, gay shawls, and slippers. They made
what then seemed a prodigal display of their charms. 13

Vestal also told of how Kit Carson must have reacted to the
women :

Kit was a little abashed by the exotic black-eyed girls in their
short skirts, skimpy white chemises, their bare shoulders half
hidden beneath gay rebosas or sober black mantillas. 14

The New Mexican women were as vain about their
appearance as women elsewhere, and did everything possible
to add to their attractiveness. The gay, revealing clothing
worn has been described, and in addition they wore much
jewelry, of which they were very fond. 15 A fair skin was con-
sidered to be an outstanding feature of beauty, possibly the
result of a desire to maintain and accentuate their Spanish
ancestry. Some of the women and girls habitually wore a
covering of paste made of the red juice of the algeria plant
on their faces to keep their complexions as light as possible.
When a fandango or baile was to be held, off would come the

11. Kendall, op. cit., p. 431.

12. Ibid., p. 432.

13. Stanley Vestal, The Old Santa Fe Trail (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company,
1939), p. 264.

14. Stanley Vestal, Kit Carson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1928), p. 30.

15. Grejfg, op. cit., p. 344.


red stain and white chalk would be applied freely. 16 When
George Kendall first saw the women with the red stain on
their faces, he thought it had been caused by illness. "Two-
thirds, at least, of the women we had seen were more or less
disfigured by these deep-red marks." He later learned the
cause for the marks. 17 David Lavender described the prepa-
ration of the women for a fandango as he pictured it from his
research on the period.

Off the women's cheek came the startling daubs of flour and
the scarlet stains of algeria juice with which they protected
their complexions during the workaday week. Their lustrous
hair was plaited into long braids; their vanity sparkled with
earrings, necklaces, heavy bracelets, massive crosses of gold
and silver jewelry for which more than one senorita or
senora's husband had willingly accepted years of slavery. 18

Some of the American visitors to New Mexico had reason
to be thankful for the kindness and generosity of the women
they found there. The kindness often came at unexpected
times, when the men were suffering at the hands of the
Mexican men. The Texans, on their long march to Mexico,
received almost their only acts of pity and generosity from
the New Mexican women. ". . . during a short halt," Kendall
wrote, "women gave us each a watermelon, besides apples,
cakes, and, in fact, everything they could spare." The cap-
tured Texans marching under guard, were pitied by the
women, who cried "Pobrecitos" as they passed. 19 Another
prisoner in Santa Fe, John Peyton, owed his life and escape
to the daughter of his jailer. She slipped him nourishing food
during his illness and later helped him to escape. 20

The uninhibited nature of the women was as much a
contrast to what the American men had been accustomed
to in the United States as was their way of dress. The Puritan
influence was still strong in the frontier settlements from

16. Dewitt C. Peters, Kit Carson's Life and Adventures, from the facts narrated
by himself (Hartford, Connecticut: Dustin, Gilman and Company, 1874), p. 240.

17. Kendall, op. cit., p. 426.

18. David Lavender, Bentfs Fort (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1954),
p. 63.

19. Kendall, op. cit., p. 388.

20. Maurice G. Fulton and Paul Horgan, New Mexico's Own Chronicle (Dallas:
Banks Upshaw and Company, 1937), p. 74.


which most of these men had come, and the social contact
between the sexes was always on a decorous and restrained
basis. The lesser amount of restraint in the relationship be-
tween men and women in the new land must have been a
pleasant surprise for the newcomers. It is true the unmarried
girls were subject to chaperonage by their elders, but it was
easily apparent that this situation was imposed upon the
young ladies, and was not of their choosing. The evidence
indicates that when a girl married, usually in her early teens,
she enjoyed a freedom unknown to American women.

Zebulon Pike was one of the few visitors who did not al-
ways show approval of the New Mexican women in his writ-
ings, and he placed the blame for their conduct on the men
of New Mexico.

The general subject of the conversation of men are women,
money and horses. . . . Having united the female sex with
their money and their beasts, and treated them too much after
the manner of the latter, they have eradicated from their
breasts every sentiment of virtue, or of ambition. . . . Their
whole souls, with a few exceptions . . . are taken up in music,
dress, and the little blandishments of voluptuous dissipation.
Finding that the men only require them as objects of gratifica-
tion to the sensual passions, they have lost any idea of the feast
of reason and the flow of soul which arise from the intercourse
of two refined and virtuous minds. . . . 21

Josiah Gregg blamed the immoral conduct of the women on
the forced marriages which were common in New Mexico.
The young girl seldom had anything to say about the choice
of her husband, her parents making all the arrangements for
the marriage. Girls were considered ready for marriage by
the time they were fifteen, and any romance in their lives
usually came after they were married. The society in which
they lived permitted, or at least did not prohibit, such a

In New Mexico marriage ... is usually looked upon as a
convenient cloak for irregularities, which society less willingly
tolerates in the lives of unmarried women. 22

21. Pike, op. cit., p. 338.

22. Josiah Gregg, op. cit., p. 49.


The women of New Mexico were attracted to the men
from the east. The traders and trappers were usually bigger
and stronger than the Mexican men, and much more aggres-
sive and demanding. Also they had money to spend, and
usually did so freely. 23 From all indications, this interest was
returned by the foreigners. These girls were quite different
from the ones the men had known at home. Harvey Fergusson
explained this difference in one of his books about the early
New Mexicans.

... the Mexican girls knew that complete submission to the
male will which was a part both of their Indian heritage and
of their European tradition, and they shared something of the
primitive aptitudes and hardihood of Indian women. 24

Stanley Vestal has tried to picture the wiles employed by the
women in their relations with the Americans.

They seemed to have an almost continental attitude. They could
be haughty and coy, but they knew how to be engaging and
flirtatious, too. Coquetry with them was an instinct, not just a

An example of the reception given the early visitors by the
women of New Mexico is found in James 0. Pattie's narrative
of his own adventures.

. . . it is a strong proof of their politeness, that we were civilly
treated by the ladies, and had the pleasure of dancing with the
handsomest and richest of them. When the ball broke up, it
seemed expected of us, that we should escort a lady home, in
whose company we spent the night and we none of us brought
charges of severity against our fair companions. 26

The women in Texas observed the same license in their
conduct as those in New Mexico. The society in which they

23. Harvey Fergusson, Wolf Song, in Followers of the Sun (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 1936), p. 14.

24. Harvey Fergusson, Rio Grande (New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1945),
p. 136.

25. Vestal, The Old Santa Fe Trail, op. cit., p. 264.

26. James O. Pattie, Pattie's Personal Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and in
Mexico, 18K4-18SO (Cleveland, Ohio: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1905), p. 190.


lived was the same, with the same conventions and the same
attitudes. A Texas colonist reported in his journal on the lack
of discretion among the Mexican women.

Delicacy forms but a small part of female character in San
Antonio. . . . Unmarried girls are very vigilantly kept from
all intercourse whatever with the other sex unless one of the
parents be present soon as married they are scarcely the same
creatures, giving the freest indulgence to their naturally gay
and enthusiastic dispositions, as if liberated from all moral
restraint. 27

This same opinion of the moral laxity of the women in Texas
was expressed by a Mexican official visiting there.

The women, who are, as a general rule, good-looking, are ar-
dently fond of luxury and leisure ; they have rather loose ideas
of morality, which cause the greater part of them to have
shameful relations openly, especially with the officers. 28

One woman was mentioned more than any other by the
visitors to New Mexico. This was Dona Gertrudes de Barcelo,
sometimes known as "La Tules." She was a familiar figure
to Americans in Santa Fe in the years before the American
occupation. She had amassed a great fortune as proprietor
of one of the gambling houses in Santa Fe, and this wealth
gave her much prestige and power in the city. She is an enig-
matic fiure in New Mexican history because the people who
wrote about her gave such different versions of her character
and activities. It was said by some that she was a friend to
the Americans at a time when many Mexicans were turning
away from them. It was rumored that she was the one who
warned the United States occupation forces about an up-
rising planned by the Mexicans to retake Santa Fe and all of
New Mexico from the Americans. 29

The character of Dona Tules shows great dissimilarity as

27. Edward M. Clopper, An American Family (Huntington, West Virginia: Stand-
ard Printing and Publishing Company, 1950), p. 191.

28. Jose Maria Sanchez, "Trip to Texas in 1828", Southwestern Historical Quar-
terly, XXIX, p. 251.

29. Fergusson, Rio Grande, op. cit., p. 228.


portrayed by different writers. Josiah Gregg, who knew her
in Santa Fe, called her "a former prostitute who made a for-
tune in gambling," and added as a note on the society of that
time that she was "now received among the highest social
circles." 30 A modern writer on New Mexico pictured Dona
Tules as the mistress of Governor Armijo, and the real power
in the province. 31 In the historical novel The Golden Quick-
sand she became a heroine and was endowed with many vir-
tues. She was shown as a friend to Americans, although she
got a big share of their money in her gambling house. She
was pictured as a deeply religious person who gave much of
her wealth to the Church and the poor. In the novel Dona
Tules was not the mistress of Armijo, but only his business
associate. 32 A recent writer, who bases his belief on early
church records of the marriage of Dona Tules and the baptism
of her children, states that she was "a respectable woman and
faithful wife." 33 Whatever the true character of Dona
Gertrudes de Barcelo might have been, she has achieved
immortality in the writings of Americans.

Other women of Spanish descent have been mentioned
often in American writings. Two of these were sisters, the
wives of Kit Carson and Charles Bent. Members of the
aristocratic Jaramillo family, they married two of the most
outstanding and influential Americans in the Territory. Lewis
Garrard, a young man on an outing with a group of trappers,
described the two ladies as he saw them at the trial of the
insurgents following the Taos rebellion in 1847.

Senora Bent was quite handsome ; a few years since, she must
have been a beautiful woman good figure for her age; lux-
uriant raven hair; exceptional teeth, and brilliant, dark dark
eyes, the effect of which was heightened by a clear, brunette
complexion. 34

30. Josiah Gregg, op. cit., p. 34.

81. Ruth (Laughlin) Barker, Cabatteros (New York: D. Appleton and Company,
1931), p. 60.

82. Anna Burr, The Golden Quicksand (New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1936),
p. 167.

83. Fray Angelico Chavez, "Dona Tules, Her Fame and Her Funeral," El Palacio,
Vol. 57, No. 8 (August, 1950), p. 234.

84. Lewis H. Garrard, Wah-to-Yah and the Taos Trail (Glendale, California: The
Arthur H. Clark Company, 1938), p. 186.


Of Josef a Carson, Garrard wrote :

The wife of the renowned mountaineer, Kit Carson, also was
in attendance. Her style of beauty was of the haughty, heart-
breaking kind such as would lead a man with the glance of
the eye to risk his life for one smile. 35

Although the early American writers had little good to
say about the men they encountered in the Southwest, the
women received almost universal approval. They possessed
many qualities which attracted the newcomers. They were
kind and friendly, where the men were often suspicious
and surly. The beauty of the women of New Mexico was a
common subject in many of the journals and diaries of the
Americans. Although their moral laxity was commented on
by many, this weakness was usually blamed on native customs
or upon the men, whose treatment of the women was said to
have made them what they were. The great number of Ameri-
cans who married New Mexican women is a good indication
of the regard in which they were held.

35. Ibid.


IN THE first days of the year 1791, a Spanish royal official
sat down in the winter chill of Arizpe, capital of the Fron-
tier Provinces of New Spain, to write out a list of the mis-
sionaries serving in the Province of Sonora. This was an an-
nual duty. His list dated January 3, 1791, located in the
National Archives of Mexico, 1 throws some light on the his-
tory of these frontier missions that does not appear in any
published history.

First, Henrique de Grimarest the officer who drew up
the list named fifteen clergymen among a total of twenty-
six who do not appear in the roll of sixty-two Franciscan
priests known to have served in Sonora from 1768 to 1800
as published by H. H. Bancroft. 2 These additions raise the
known total of Franciscan priests in Sonora during this
period to seventy-seven, and indicate that additional names
may come to light as more documents are found in the

Second, Grimarest's list provides one proof of the true
responsibility for the erection of the architectural gem of
Franciscan mission churches, San Francisco Xavier del Bac
near Tucson, Arizona. Historians of this monument of faith
from Bishop J. B. Salpointe 3 on have credited Fray Baltasar
Carrillo with building the edifice during a tour of duty dur-
ing the construction years. 4 The Grimarest list throws this
theory into discard, for it has Carrillo at Tumacacori and
Fray Juan Baptista Llorens at Bac in 1790. From another
unpublished document, it is known that Father Juan re-

* Cornell University, Ithaca, New York ; and San Diego State College, San Diego 15,
California, respectively.

1. By Ezell.

2. H. H. Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States. San Francisco : Bancroft
Co., 1885, 1 :691.

8. J. B. Salpointe, "The Church of San Xavier del Bac," Arizona Star, April 20, 21,

4. Marion A. Habig, O. F. M., "The Builders of San Xavier del Bac," The South-
western Historical Quarterly, LXI:2 (October, 1937) 154-166.



mained at Bac until at least 1814. 5 Not all his time was taken
up by the problems of mission construction and administra-
tion, for he traveled with Fray Diego Bringas de Manzaneda
to the Pima Indians on the Gila River in 1795. 6 From this
journey resulted one of the most accurate maps of the area
drawn prior to explorations by the United States Army fifty
years later. 7

Third, Grimarest's list includes another priest who played
a significant role in that part of northern Sonora which later
became part of Arizona. In 1820 Fray Pedro Arriquibar
compiled a register of parishioners at the presidio of Tucson
which has been taken to be the earliest census of that city. 8
Inasmuch as Arriquibar appears on the Grimarest list as
missionary at San Ignacio in 1790, he had evidently seen
thirty or more years' service on the Sonoran mission frontier
by the time he was at Tucson in 1820.

With this brief introduction, we present Grimarest's list : 9

Report on All the Missions which there are in the Province
of Sonora, Jurisdictions in which they are found situated,
Names of the Clergymen who Administer them, Monastery to
which the latter belong, and Stipends with which they are as-
sisted annually by the paymaster of Arispe.


of Guada- Monastery

lajara, of the Holy Annual
Juris- Province Cross of Sti-

MISSION diction of Xalisco Queretaro pend

Acomchi Fr. Francisco Antonio





Onavas *Fr. Juan Ruis Tamajon




Arivechi *Fr. Domingo Narena




Saguaripa *Fr. Pedro de la Cueva




Bacadehuachi *Fr. Francisco Cavallero




Baserac *Fr. George Loreto




5. Fray Juan Baptista Cevallos, Auto de Visita de 1814, Manuscript dated July 7,
1814, in Archivo General de la Nation, Mexico, Misiones 11.

6. Lucas Alaman, "Memorial on the Gila Pimas and Maricopas," Manuscript dated
1825, in Archivo Militar, Mexico, D. F.

7. Paul H. Ezell, "Fray Diego Bringas, a Forgotten Cartographer of Sonora,"
Imago Mundi, XIII (1956) 156.

8. Bernice Cosulich, "Copies of Tucson's Earliest Census, Dated 1820, Received,"
Arizona Daily Star, October 18, 1942.

9. Found in Archivo General de la Nation, Ramo de Misiones, XIII :230.



Guasavas *Fr. Diego Vidal




Bacuache Fr. Lorenzo Simo




Banamichi Fr. Fernando Madueno




Matape *Fr. Diego Pozo

Ditto Ditto


Ures *Fray Martin Perez




S. Joseph de

Pimas *Fray Ygnacio Davalos




Comuripa *Fr. Salvador del Castillo

Hostimuri Ditto


Tecoripa *Fr. Juan Labado

Sonora Ditto


Opodepe *Fr. Antonio Oliva

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