After the Pueblo Revolt: Negotiating a New Life in the Land of the Tarahumara

In about 1684, Pedro II Duran y Chaves[1] and his extended family moved to the valley of Coyachic in the larger region inhabited by the Alta Tarahumara and other indigenous groups. This move into the region by the Duran y Chaves family and other families of New Mexico required deft negotiation with Spanish colonial authorities and local indigenous groups.

Years earlier, certain indigenous groups near and in the valley of Coyachic killed several Jesuit missionaries and devastated some of the indigenous pueblos administered by the Jesuits.[2] More immediately, in May of 1684, Sumas, Mansos and other indigenous groups attacked the mostly New Mexican community at Janos and Casas Grandes. Reports of the attacks at Janos-Casas Grandes quickly circulated in northern Nueva España.[3] The extended Duran y Chaves family and their friends would have been particularly sensitive to such reports, as they were violently displaced and still traumatized by the Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico in 1680 and 1681.[4] Peace was paramount.[5]

In July of 1684, members of the displaced New Mexican community approached Spanish colonial authorities for assistance in paving the way for long-term settlement in the region of the Alta Tarahumara, and Spanish colonial authorities made official peace overtures to the Tarahumara on behalf of the displaced New Mexican families.[6] Records indicate that, at that time, New Mexican families were living, at least temporarily, at Nombre de Dios, Babonoyaba, Namiquipa, the valleys of Papigochic and Coyachic, and other places.[7]

For New Mexican families, the use and acquisition of land in the region involved giving valuables to members of the Tarahumara nation and creating and maintaining good relationships with the local Spanish colonial authorities. A mandamiento acordado was usually obtained, which was a formal document or set of documents pertaining to the process of purchasing and recording the sale of indigenous land.[8] A Spanish military official called the “protector,” who was assigned to manage relations with indigenous nations, often times became involved in the land negotiations.

Coyachic

In 1685, according to an official report, members of the local Tarahumara nation told Capitan Protector Diego de Molina that they wanted to sell land at Cieneguilla to Maria Duran y Chaves, the widow of Pedro Marquez. The local Tarahumara were referred to as the “dueños de las tierras” (the owners of the land). Maria then reportedly acquired the land from the Tarahumara by paying them the value of 110 ganado mayor (cows or horses) and yeguas (mares). The land in question stretched from four leagues from the Pueblo of San Bernardino and about three leagues from La Concepcion, in the jurisdiction served by the Jesuit mission Santa Ysabel.[9]

About the same time that Maria acquired land in Cieneguilla, her father Pedro II Duran y Chaves acquired land in [San Nicolas de] Carretas from the “naturales” (the indigenous) with the help of the “protector” of the Tarahumara. In 1688, Pedro II requested that this land in Carretas be officially recognized as his, on the grounds that, he had served his Majesty, and after his acquisition of the land, he had taken care of it for three years. He described himself as a “besino de jurisdision de Coyache” (resident of the jurisdiction of Coyachi).  His request was apparently granted, as the back side of his request, dated August 17, 1688, reflects the signature of Juan Ysidro de Pardinas Villar de Francos, the Governor of Nueva Viscaya.[10] 

1688_PDC

(See Pedro II’s request above.)

Separately, the lands of Pedro II and Maria were substantial. Each consisted of a valley with access to rivers and streams for an abundant water supply. Mountains for timber were nearby. Even more, Pedro II’s and Maria’s lands were adjacent to each other, which represented an enormous combined land holding for the Duran y Chaves family. It was about sixteen miles from Cieneguilla to San Nicolas de Carretas.

As records show, the Duran y Chaves family maintained close ties with other New Mexican families in the area, particularly the Marquez and Herrera families.[11] As mentioned earlier, Pedro Marquez was married to Maria Duran y Chavez. Records show that he served as Capitan in the Spanish colonial military in 1684. He wrote a letter from Nombre de Dios warning about certain dangers.[12] He was dead by 1685. His brother Bernabe Marquez, acquired land near the Duran y Chaves family at San Nicolas de Carretas, and was married to another Maria Duran y Chaves.[13] In his petition to register grazing lands at San Nicolas de Carretas, Bernabe stated that he had served the Royal Majesty in New Mexico.[14] From about 1687 to 1691, Bernabe served as Sargento Mayor and Capitan de Guerra of the Coyachic area, and his influence extended to Casas Grandes.[15]

Similarly, Sebastian de Herrera, served as Sargento Mayor and Capitan de Guerra of the Valley of Papigochic in 1684.[16] He then moved closer to the Duran y Chaves and Marquez families by 1685.[17] It should be noted that, while he was in Papigochi, Sebastian de Herrera received one of the urgent letters from Janos-Grandes asking for help. He sent “two hijos” of the displaced New Mexican community in Papigochi — Pedro Varela y Losada and his own son Sebastian de Herrera II.[18]

In 1690, Thomas Duran y Chaves, the son of Pedro II, submitted a petition to register the lands of his sister Maria and at least a portion of his father’s land in San Nicolas de Carretas. Thomas described his father as Capitan Pedro Duran y Chaves. Thomas’s petition to register lands pertained to land for ganado mayor, land for ganado menor (sheep and goats), pastures, portions of mountains, access to rivers, water diversion points for irrigation, and streams.[19]

Thomas became a relatively prominent person in the region. By 1707, he was serving as the Teniente de Alcalde Mayor and Capitan de Guerra of Real Minas of San Juan de La Concepcion.[20] Eventually, Thomas would acquire an interest in a mine near Santa Eulalia.[21] Other Duran y Chaves family members at or near San Nicolas de Carretas included Leonor, Teresa, Joseph, Juan, and Cristobal.[22]

By 1713, Thomas’s friend Sebastian II de Herrera became the Alcalde Mayor and Capitan de Guerra for the area of Santa Eulalia and San Francisco de Cuellar (later Villa de Chihuahua).  Sebastian II authorized many land and mine registrations.[23] In 1714, Sebastian II registered a mine called Los Remedios in Santa Eulalia.[24]

The records discussed herein tend to disprove accounts that displaced New Mexican families moved to this region without permission or were otherwise rogue “exiles.” On the whole, the settlement of this region by New Mexican families was relatively organized and effective.

At the time he moved to the Valley of Coyachic, Pedro II Duran y Chaves was an elderly man.[25] The move to the region was not easy. However, Pedro II and his fellow New Mexicans had the skills necessary to overcome difficult conditions. Together, they helped to lay the groundwork for the foundation of San Francisco de Cuellar, later the city of Chihuahua, which became one of the most important cities in Nueva España.

 

Cite as Sonja Sonnenburg de Chavez, After the Pueblo Revolt: Negotiating a Life in the Land of the Tarahumara, Linealist (October 12, 2015)


 

1 This Pedro Duran y Chaves was most likely the son of Pedro Duran y Chaves and Isabel de Bohórquez of New Mexico. He is now commonly referred to as Pedro II Duran y Chaves. Based on a review of the historiography, much that has been written about Pedro II Duran y Chaves is based on records containing hearsay of his political adversaries. During Pedro II’s lifetime, the Duran y Chaves surname was also spelled Duran de Chaves or Chaves. Today, it is usually spelt Chavez or Chávez.

[2] Juan Hortiz, Relación de las Missiones en Nueva Viscaya (1678), FHL 1521093, image pages 775-805, especially pp. 782-783 (from the Archivo General de la Nación), available  HERE. The Jesuits were known as the Compañia de Jesus.

[3] Letters from Francisco Ramirez Salazar of Janos-Casas Grandes to Bernardo Gomez de Montenegro of San Juan de Concepcion, and related correspondence (May 1684), Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Milicia y Guerra, Sediciones, AHMP.FC.C11.009.094.  The records show that the New Mexicans families in the land of the Tarahumara received the urgent letters of the attacks on Janos and Casas Grandes.   See letters of Capitan Pedro Marquez and Sargento Mayor Sebastian de Herrera in this particular file.  To access records of the Fondo Colonial of the Parral Archive, visit http://www.rootspoint.com/fondo-colonial/.

[4] Many New Mexican families from all backgrounds – Spanish, indigenous and mixed heritage – fled to El Paso del Norte during the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 and 1681. See generally, Charles Hackett, The Retreat of the Spaniards from New Mexico, and the Beginning of El Paso, Volume I, The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, pp. 137-168 (Oct 1, 1912) and Volume 2 (January 1, 1913), available respectively at the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/jstor-30234558 and https://archive.org/details/jstor-30234558. Spanish colonial authorities were particularly ineffective in dealing with the desperate conditions of the displaced New Mexicans in Paso. Political battles in Paso made a dire situation more difficult. See e.g., Documents related to complaints of citizens in Paso, Spanish Archives of New Mexico, Reel 1, ff. 14-32.

[5] Violent altercations continued between the local indigenous populations and new settlers to the region inhabited by the Tarahumara. See Luis González Rodrígues, Testimonios Sobre La Destrucción de la Missiones Tarahumares y Pimas en 1690, available from the Universidad Nacional Autómoma de México.

[6] Report on vecinos from New Mexico seeking to maintain peace with Tarahumara and Conchos (July 11, 1684), Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Milicia y guerra, Sediciones, AHMP.FC.C11.009.097.

[7] Id. See also, e.g., Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y administración, Minas y terrenos, AHMP.FC.A17.017.350 (Petition of Gregorio Cobos de Parra to register land at La Concepcion, which shows New Mexican presence at the Coyachic in as early as 1683).

[8] A “mandamiento acordado,” often times accompanied with a map, was usually created in connection with the sale of indigenous land during the Spanish colonial period in Mexico. See Federico Fernández Christlieb, et al., Territorialidad y Paisaje, p. 154-156 (Fondo de Cultura Económica, Instituto de Geografía, UNMA 2006).

[9] Report of Capitan Protector Diego de Molina witnessed by Jesuit Fray Diego Arias regarding Tarahumara land sale to Maria de Chaves, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y administración, Minas y terrenos, AHMP.FC.A17.018.386, images 8-9. Although Molina’s report bears both a 1679/1680 and a 1689 royal seal, the land sale occurred in 1685, according to Molina. Molina was a military captain and the “protector” of the Tarahumara and Tepahuana. Molina’s report was submitted by Thomas Duran y Chaves with his petition to register lands.

[10] Request of Pedro Duran y Chavez regarding land in Carretas, at Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y administración, Minas y terrenos, AHMP.FC.A17.018.386, images 10-11. According to at least one official contemporary account, Pedro II claimed title to the lands of San Nicolas de Carretas in 1695.  See Historia section in Plan Municipal de Desarrolo Municipio de Gran Morelos, Chihuahua, p. 9.

[11] Both the Chavez and Marquez families had close ties to the Domínguez de Mendoza family. Angela Marquez was married to Andres Domínguez de Mendoza. Margarita Marquez was married to Juan Mateo Domínguez de Mendoza. Pedro II Duran y Chaves was the widower of Elena Dominguez de Mendoza.  See the chart of New Mexicans who lived in the region of the Alta Tarahumara in Pueblo Revolt, Part 2, at https://linealist.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/after_pueblo_revolt2/

[12] Letter of Sebastian de Herrera from Papigochi, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Milicia y guerra, Sediciones, AHMP.FC.C11.009.094, image page 30.

[13] Petition of Bernabe Marquez to Register Land, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y administración, Minas y terrenos, AHMP.FC.A17.018.389. Bernabe died in about 1709 and the priest noted that the body of Bernabe Marquez of Carretas, widow of Maria de Chaves, was buried inside the church “cruz alta.” Death Records, Santa Rosa de Cusihuiriachi, FHL 162469, p. 82. Bernabe’s wife, according to Fray Angelico Chavez, was a sister of Fernando Duran y Chavez of Taos, New Mexico. Fray Angelico Chavez, Origins of New Mexico Families, location 3250 (Kindle Edition)

[14] Petition of Bernabe Marquez to Register Land, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y administración, Minas y terrenos, AHMP.FC.A17.018.389.

[15] In 1687, Bernabe Marquez witnessed a document related to the petition of members of the indigenous Suma nation for land in the Valle de San Antonio de Casas Grandes, and was described as “sargento mayor” at the time. (Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y administración, Minas y terrenos, AHMP.FC.A17.018.368). In 1688, in a petition to register land in Coyachi, Andres de Solis described Bernabe Marquez as “sargento mayor.” (Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y administración, Minas y terrenos, AHMP.FC.A17.018.372.) Bernabe was also described in 1691 as “natural de nueba mexico” and a “sargento mayor” in the marriage records of Miguel Cristobal. Bernabe was about 48 years old in 1691. (Sacramental Record Book, Santa Rosa de Cusihuiriachi, FHL 162458, p. 732-734.)

[16] Letters from and regarding attacks at Janos-Casas Grandes, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Milicia y Guerra, Sediciones, AHMP.FC.C11.009.094, image page 30.

[17] Petition of Thomas Duran y Chaves for land, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y Administración, AHMP.FC.A17.018.386 (describes land as close to home of Sebastian de Herrera).

[18] Letters from and regarding attacks at Janos-Casas Grandes, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Milicia y Guerra, Sediciones, AHMP.FC.C11.009.094, image page 30.

[19] File of the Petition of Thomas Duran y Chaves for lands at Cieneguilla and San Nicolas de Carretas, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Gobierno y Administración, AHMP.FC.A17.018.386.

[20] 1707 Muster Rolls of the Jurisdiction of Cusihuiriachi, Parral Archive, Fondo Colonial, Milicia y guerra, Padrones de milicia, AHMP.FC.C.10.001.025, at image 4. Further north, Thomas’s brother Fernando (also a son of Pedro II) participated in the resettlement of New Mexico by colonists, and served as Alcalde Mayor and Capitan de Guerra of Bernalillo, New Mexico. See, e.g, John Kessel, ed., et al., Correspondence to and from Fernando de Chaves in Blood on the Boulders, The Journals of Diego de Vargas, Book 1, pp. 743-747, 765-767 (University of New Mexico Press 1998).

[21] Archivo de Ayuntamiento de Chihuahua (AACh) Reels 1 and 2.

[22] See the chart of New Mexicans who lived in the region of the Alta Tarahumara in Pueblo Revolt, Part 2, at https://linealist.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/after_pueblo_revolt2/

[23] AACh, Reels 1 and 2.

[24] AACh, Reel 1.

[25] Pedro II Duran y Chaves was a controversial and impressive person. In 1641, he was accused of being a co-conspirator in the assassination of Luis Rosas, the former Governor of New Mexico. During his tenure, Governor Rosas was the highest-ranking Spanish colonial authority in New Mexico. Not surprisingly, certain Spanish colonial authorities took the murder as a threat to Spanish royal authority, and arranged for the public beheading of most of the accused conspirators. One of those executed was Diego Marquez, likely the father of Bernabe and Pedro Marquez. Alleged co-conspirator Pedro II (and his brother Fernando) escaped execution, through a combination of luck and political maneuvering. Dossier on the assassination of Governor Luis Rosas, and the extrajudicial execution of the alleged conspirators, available at http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0fr37213 (see pages 292-294 for the defense petition of the surviving co-conspirators.) Alleged co-conspirators Alonso Baca and Juan Ramirez de Salazar also escaped execution. The men who were executed were Antonio Baca, Francisco de Salazar, Diego Marquez, Cristobal Enriquez, Juan de Archuleta, Diego Martin Barba, and Nicolas Perez – all either brothers or cousins of the surviving co-conspirators. For a well-researched discussion on the political battles in New Mexico at the time of the Rosas assasination, see France V. Scholes, Church and State in New Mexico and Scholes’s Troublous Times in the New Mexico Historical Review, which links are available at the Linealist site at https://linealist.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/nmhr/.

 

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