A NEW BEGINNING IN THE MISSIONS

  In 1768 Anza was once again on temporary assignment in central Sonora and commanded a detachment in the Cerro Prieto campaign south of Pitic (Hermosillo) against the rebel Seris and Pimas, the start of which he described in the previous report. During his absence from Tubac, Father Francisco Garcés arrived as the new missionary at San Xavier del Bac, the northernmost mission protected by the Tubac presidio. As Garcés made his way northward through central Sonora, he evidently made it a point to meet the official protector of his new mission while Anza was in the south. On arriving at Tubac, he sought lodging with Anza's family. The following Garcés letter tells of the early acquaintance of these two men and presages by its tone and content their common future and destiny. Their relationship could be described as warm and personal from the start.

Despite Garcés' Spartan nature, his loneliness at the farthest outpost shows through in the letter. There were no Spaniards in Tucson or anywhere near it at this early date - only Indians. A year after his arrival he wrote: "In Tucson, there is not so much as a mud wall. My brush hut there is even poorer than those of the Pimas."

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San Xavier del Bac.
July 29, 1768.

TO CAPTAIN JUAN BAUTISTA DE ANZA.

I arrived at this mission on June 30, having enjoyed the hospitality of your home en route. The graciousness of your wife and family reflects your own good manners and education.

There is nothing new here. The Pimas await my command to go campaigning against the Apaches. These are primitive people, showing no sign of knowing Christian teachings - even in their own language.

The Tucson Pimas have made it known that they want no father but myself, since I have assured them that my purpose in being there is not that they work for me. They have already made me a tiny brush hut in among their own. I have visited them three times and have promised that I will live there a week or two during August, since they are just as much my children as the people here at San Xavier. They are quite pleased at this.

My two soldier escorts are doing very well here. They give the best of example to the Pimas and are very faithful in calling the people to Christian instruction.

As for myself, I am very happy here. I was warned of the hardships that awaited me, but so far these have consisted of but a few flies and mosquitoes. I am told that the Jesuit fathers found it very difficult to subsist here, even with their cattle, horses, and fields. Armed only with my royal stipend, which they had as well, I have not found it so.

I pray to God that he bring you as soon as possible to spend a little time with me at this last outpost. One of

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the rooms here is known as "the captain's room." Though it reflects the poverty of Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of our Franciscan order, I hope you will not spurn it. Also, I trust you will send me news of the progress of your campaign. I am anxious to know which captains and troops are arriving there at Pitic.

FRAY FRANCISCO GARCES2

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Desert Documentary by Kieran McCarty - Chapter 2
Tucson, Arizona: Arizona Historical Society, 1976.

© 1976 The Arizona Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

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