1. Founding a Jesuit Mission Near Tucson, 1694–1756

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IN 1954, ARCHEOLOGISTS DISCOVERED Native American potsherds dating from A.D. 800–900 on a pithouse floor ruin directly beneath the sun-dried brick wall of the Spanish colonial military post at Tucson.1 This discovery showed that Native Americans had settled this site at least a millenium ago.

We cannot, of course, ever know exactly who these first pioneers were, but their descendents who were living at Tucson when Spaniards first reached the site were Northern or “Upper” Piman Indians. That is, they spoke a language called “Piman,” and belonged to the northern division of speakers of Piman. They were almost separated from the southern or “Lower” Pimans by Opata tribesmen who spoke a related but quite distinct language.

Evolution of a Place Name

The Northern Piman name for Tucson may be written a number of ways. One is schookson, pronounced with an s as in English sin, ch as in chin, oo as in cool, k as in key, o as in owe, and n as in now. This would reproduce the modern Tautaukwañy or Kokololoti Papago dialect pronunciation of the place name. Other modern dialects would pronounce it schook shon with an initial sh instead of s on the final syllable. Another way of writing this term is stjukshon.2

As the resemblance between schookson or stjukshon and Tucson indicates, the name now applied to this city was directly derived from the original Northern Piman term. English pronunciation, having modified the sound of the borrowed word, differs in sounding more like Too sahn, accented on either syllable. The Piman place name was always accented on the first syllable and the k was always sounded. Tucson became the Spanish written form of the Northern Piman place name. The Spaniards who first came into the area used s for the sound which was s in some Northern Piman dialects and sh in others, and they used an initial t for the double consonant cluster s-ch or s-tj of Northern Piman. This choice was probably influenced by Lower Piman Indians working as interpreters for the Spaniards.

Schook or tjuk is the Piman word which designates the color called black in English. The suffix son or shon designates a place “at the foot of.”3 This specific place name is still understood by Northern Piman speakers hearing it to refer to the hill or mountain rising from the Santa Cruz Valley bottom just off Congress Street in modern Tucson. Usually called “A” Mountain

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today after the large white-washed stone letter maintained on its slope by University of Arizona students, this peak has been called Sierra de la Frente Negra (literally, “Black-Browed Range”), Picacho del Sentinela or Sentinel Peak, and Warner's Hill.4

A Christian Saint's Name

The first non-Indian who saw the Northern Piman Indian ranchería of scattered homes at Tucson, as far as anyone knows now, was the Reverend Eusebio F. Kino. This locally famous Jesuit missionary pushed forward the mission frontier of Spanish Sonora between 1687 and 1711, exploring extensively what the historian Herbert E. Bolton felicitously labeled a “rim of Christendom.”

Kino probably passed by Tucson on his way to the Gila River in November of 1694, inasmuch as he traveled along the Santa Cruz River.5 The missionary explorer surely saw Tucson in November of 1697.6 Then, on 27 September 1698, Kino and his military escort leader, Captain Diego Carrasco, made the first known written references to Tucson. Kino called it “San Cosme de Tucsón,” and Carrasco “San Cosme de Tucsiom.”7 Kino greeted the people of Tucson again on 7 March 1699. Lieutenant Juan Matheo Manje, his military escort commander on this journey, mentioned passing “four settlements one league apart” between Oiaur and Bac — one of them evidently Tucson.8 Kino again identified “San Cosme del Tucson” on 1 November 1699, while showing his superior, Father Visitor Antonio Leal, the northern frontier country.9

When Kino and Manje began writing the history of Spanish penetration into this area, Tucson was certainly a small and unimportant settlement. Kino traveled through the place at least twice before he gave it a saint's name.10 The good priest, who was something of a real estate and foreign mission promoter, had a penchant for applying a Christian saint's name to every likely-looking Northern Piman Indian settlement. So his delay in naming Tucson implies it was not impressive.

On the other hand, Kino gave a saint's name only to Tucson of the four Native American rancherías recorded between San Xavier del Bac and San Agustín de Oiaur at this time. Thus it was not the least important settlement in this stretch of scattered habitation along the Santa Cruz River.

Ranchería Life

Tucson was at that time clearly much like a modern Papago Indian ranchería in settlement pattern. That is, people lived scattered through the brush in clusters of houses near the Santa Cruz River barely within sight of one another. Kino wrote that it had “splendid” fields which were similar to the ones at San Xavier del Bac.11

Manje remarked that the entire five to six leagues between Oiaur and Bac contained numerous cultivated, ditch-irrigated fields.12 Clearly the Europeans had some difficulty in defining a sufficient concentration of dwellings to qualify in their minds as a “settlement,” in such a long stretch of rural

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farmsteads. Kino's assignment of the name “San Cosme” to Tucson could reflect growth in population there between his visits, or his growing familiarity with local territorial terminology that enabled him to recognize an Indian identification with Tucson regardless of dispersion of residences.

It seems likely that the Tucson natives raised maize, beans, squash, melons, wheat, cotton, amaranth, chenopodium, devil's claw and tobacco13 on fields irrigated from the river and the springs flowing from the valley's margins. They depended, on the other hand, upon the semi-arid desert for some of their vegetable foods and all of their meat.

About the only record of direct contact between Kino and Tucson's inhabitants is his notation that they gave him six children and one sick woman to baptize at “San Cosme.”14 Manje did note that the Spaniards “greeted” the heathens of the four small rancherías between Bac and Oiaur on 1 November 1699.15

Kino also pronounced those characteristic words of Spanish frontier conversion policy, “I baptize thee in the Name …” in the course of another journey from Bac to Oiaur. He left Bac, where he was laying the stone foundations of the first Christian church there, after Mass on the 30th day of April in 1700, stopped at Tucson, continued on to San Agustín de Oiaur and returned to Bac that afternoon. Quite clearly Kino spent a very short time in Tucson.

There are no available records to indicate that Kino ever conducted a funeral at Tucson, or that his rare presence affected the burial practices of its people. Nor did he mention any special structure being built by the Native Americans there for holding Mass. Lack of such information from Kino's pen, inasmuch as he was an inveterate letter writer about changes toward European norms by Native Americans, seems a good indication that his rare visits changed the aboriginal culture of the inhabitants of Tucson very little. They accepted the curative value of the black-robed magician's baptismal shell, holy water, oil and salt applied to ailing adults and infants with the impressive incantation, “I baptize thee in the Name.…” Thus, these Native Americans fell under the sway of the peaceful prong of Spanish imperialism symbolized by the little silver baptismal shell.

Initial contact with Jesuit missionaries and Spanish troops left the people of Tucson essentially unchanged. Far more important influences on the Tucson natives probably had been Old World diseases transmitted to them by other Indians even before Kino reached them. Smallpox and other diseases, Jesuit and army explorers, constituted merely a prologue to Spanish imperial colonization, ethnic differentiation and urbanization at Tucson.

Early Jesuit Efforts

Real cultural impact upon the Northern Piman Indian ranchería known as Tucson did not begin until a Christian missionary from Europe began regularly to visit its residents. Like many Native American settlements on the northern frontier of New Spain, Tucson entered into recorded history as a visita. That is, the people of Tucson received more or less regular visits from a priest stationed at a nearby mission. The clerical campaign to convert

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Native Americans to Christianity generated the first changes in the Tucson native community that can be attributed to contact with Europeans.

Spanish colonial policy relied heavily on the mission as a frontier institution. Colonial officials depended upon missionaries to concentrate scattered native populations at a relatively few mission sites, and there to foster Indian farming and stock-raising, and teach European crafts while firming neophyte military allegiance to Spain. Ideally, at least, the missionary's goal was legally to prepare Native Americans to become tribute-paying Christian subjects of the Crown in one decade.16

As an instrument of colonial policy, the Christian mission under the Spanish Crown relied upon clerics belonging to various religious orders. Secular priests ministered to parishioners in the settled diocesan areas, leaving the regular clergy (priests belonging to orders whose lives were specially regulated) to convert the heathens.

When the northwestern frontier of New Spain reached Northern Piman Indian territory, that portion of the missionary effort had been assigned to the Society of Jesus. Founded in 1531 by Ignatius Loyola, the Society entered New Spain in 1572 and the Indian mission field in 1591.17 Jesuits began seeking converts among the mountain tribes of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Sinaloa. In 1604, the Jesuits advanced to the Fuerte River.18 In 1617, the powerful Yaqui Indians, who defeated Spanish military expeditions attempting to subjugate them, invited the black-robed Jesuits to enter their country.19 While radically transforming Yaqui social organization and settlement patterns, the Jesuits advanced northward into Opata country in 1628.20

After several decades of expansion of Opata missions, Eusebio Francisco Kino in 1687 carried Jesuit mission activity into the southeastern edge of Northern Piman territory at Dolores, in the San Miguel River Valley.21 He explored most of Northern Piman territory before he died at Magdalena in 1711, opening the way for later mission expansion.

Changes of the sort sought by Spanish colonial officials possibly began at Tucson in 1701 when Francisco Gonzalvo, a 28-year-old native of Valencia, arrived at Mission San Francisco Xavier del Bac as its first resident priest.22 On the other hand, his reception was not overly friendly. Manje wrote that Gonzalvo “had to leave” Bac in 1702 because the Native Americans of Juaxona and Tunortaca began to kill his mission livestock.23 Gonzalvo died on 10 August 1702 and was buried at San Ignacio de Cabórica,24 so he could have had but little lasting effect on the conservative farmer-hunter-gatherers living at Tucson.

When Eusebio F. Kino wrote to the viceroy of New Spain in 1703 urging appropriation of funds for ten more missionaries for Upper Pimería, he did not even mention Tucson. In the second year of the War of the Spanish Succession, the ranchería was merely one of “two other settlements dependent” on Bac,25 similar to the scores of other small settlements to which Kino referred without names.

The coming of European-stimulated cultural change was, however, only a matter of time for the Native American inhabitants of the lower Santa Cruz

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River Valley. Because these people known to the Spaniards as Sobaipuris26 were to some extent sedentary irrigation farmers, missionaries stationed farther south could visit them occasionally. Crusty Father Joseph Agustín de Campos did visit Tucson during the 1720s from his San Ignacio Mission.27 The partially fixed nature of Northern Piman settlement acted as a lure for Spanish colonization and missionization. The Spanish New World empire was built upon a food-producing native agricultural base. Thus, settled natives to be economically exploited and converted to Christianity comprised a magnet leading to new Spanish frontiers, along with the search for new mines, stock ranches, and commerce.28

Only in 1732 did the Crown-supported and controlled colonial church finally prove able to supply additional priests for the northern Sonoran missions envisioned by Kino. Spain by that time had recovered from the War of the Spanish Succession and enjoyed half a dozen relatively peaceful years after Philip V's abortive abdication. In that year, Philip Segesser took charge of Bac.29

Philip Segesser von Brunegg was a native of Lucerne, Switzerland, born on 1 September 1689. He entered the Society of Jesus in 170830 and came to New Spain in 1730.31 Assigned to Mission San Ignacio in the late fall of 1731 for training in missionary work among Northern Piman Indians under the veteran Joseph Agustín de Campos, Segesser was escorted north to Bac in 1732.32 He continued to assist the ailing Campos at San Ignacio until at least 7 March 1733, however,33 so his impact on the people of Tucson must have been slight. He considered their settlement of little importance, listing it only as among the “other small rancherías to the north” of Bac.34 Perhaps Tucson had lost population since the turn of the century like most other Northern Piman communities, which declined in numbers as their inhabitants succumbed to Old World diseases the Spaniards transmitted to them.

Another Swiss missionary followed Segesser to Bac. He was Kaspar Stiger, a slightly younger Jesuit born 20 October 1695 at Oberried in the Diocese of Constance. Stiger entered the Society in 1725 and reached New Spain in 1729, going first to a Tarahumara35 mission. This priest had a difficult time with the Bac native religious leaders, especially in 1734. So the veteran Campos came north to control the Native American opponents of conversion.36 Because Stiger's energies seem to have been largely absorbed in staying alive and struggling with his native competitors at Bac, he affected the Tucson Indians very little, except insofar as results of his survival struggle at Bac provided conversation farther north.

Stiger remained at Bac, also ministering to Guebavi from 1733, until ordered to San Ignacio to replace Campos in 1736.

The Bac missionary's transfer to San Ignacio was an emergency call occasioned by the ouster of Father Campos by Jesuit superiors who could not brook his “insubordination” and independence. Apparently the hierarchy was caught somewhat by surprise in 1736 without a spare missionary immediately available to carry the baptismal shell among the Native Americans of the northernmost mission. Not until the following year was a newly arrived

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recruit named Joseph Fabier sent from Cucurpe37 to Bac. Fabier died very shortly after his coming at the age of 31,38 leaving the Tucson natives still relatively unchanged.

Alexander Rapicani, a Neopolitan educated at Bremen, took over responsibility for ministering to Bac on 1 June 1737. The church furnishings were still in sad estate as a result of native destruction in 1734.39 Rapicani's mission station was Guebavi,40 so his influence on the people of Tucson was even less than on those at Bac. While Rapicani professed his final vows in the summer of 1740, there is no known documentation to indicate that he significantly influenced the Native Americans at Bac and Tucson before his transfer to the Seri mission at Pópulo later that year.41

On the other hand, the doughty missionary at Suamca, Ygnacio Xavier Keller, did visit Tuxshon as he wrote it, in mid-July of 1737 and baptized people there.42

A much younger Jesuit, Joseph de Torres Perea, took charge of Guebavi Mission and its outlying settlements early in 1741. Born at Chalchicomula in the Province of Puebla, in 1713, Torres Perea joined the Society in 1729.43 The governor of Sonora suggested that José Miquio be sent to Bac in 1742,44 but there is no evidence that he actually went. It was Torres Perea who reported the condition of Bac in 1744. Because his description of the slow pace of cultural change at Bac would have applied equally to Tucson, it is worth translating here:


This Mission, which is ministered to simultaneously with that of Guebavi in Pimería Alta, is 25 leagues distant from Guebavi toward the North over a road scant in water and dangerous because of the enemy. Toward the North there no longer are Christians, but various gentile nations without the Light of the Gospel nor knowledge of Christ. This Mission was founded the same year as Guebavi, that is 1732, and since then until the present year 1744 shows on its baptismal register 2,142 without counting those whom other Fathers baptized before, in whose books I think they were recorded.

It is a well-populated Mission. There are more than 400 families. It is a Mission of Indians who are still mountain-dwellers, little or not at all amenable to the subjection of the gentle yoke of Christ. They are Christians more in name than reality. Only two Missionary Fathers lived in this Mission. They bewitched one in the year 1734; they rose up and profaned the vestments and chalices. Afterwards they surrendered, and now live quietly. Since then they have been ministered to by those who are Missionaries of Guebavi (because of the scarcity of Missionaries) who cannot do what is necessary fully to teach and minister to them, because of the distance and risky terrain.

These Indians still appear to live like gentiles with the difference that in their paganism they were not baptized as they are now, without any change in their way of life. They know not how to pray, not even the “our Father” nor the “Hail, Mary,” nor to cross themselves. Many adults flee from baptism, and I have found old and very old gentiles. The majority, and nearly all, marry according to their pagan rite: they

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really work at avoiding being married by the Church. In this matter they hide the truth from the Missionary Fathers, telling them that they had been married by the Church by previous Fathers. This is not true, because I convince them with the marriage registers in which one does not find thirty couples married by the Church, there being more than 400 families. Yet they are not convinced. The poor Fathers work hard in this, but because the jurisdiction is large, it is not remedied according to one's wishes. Dated in Pimería Alta on the sixteenth day of March of 1744.


In 1744, Father Ildefonso de la Peña joined Torres Perea at Guebavi. Soon Torres Perea moved to Caborca. In May, Father Visitor Juan Antonio Balthasar visited Guebavi, and it can be concluded that de la Peña departed in his entourage.46

The visiting clerical inspector wrote another description of the Native Americans at Bac, which undoubtedly also applied to Tucson. To Father Juan Antonio Balthasar, the natives were a “bad lot.” Some “abandoned” the mission — almost surely in the age-old Northern Piman economic pattern of transhumance.

This regular seasonal movement to enable exploitation of economic resources constituted a major block to the missionaries, who strove to make the Northern Pimans a sedentary people. Water supply largely governed Northern Piman transhumance. These Native Americans wintered at either “well villages” located near permanent springs in the mountains, or on the Magdalena-Concepción, Santa Cruz-Gila or Colorado Rivers. They carried water in baked clay vessels to the thick stands of giant cactus for the rich mid-summer fruit harvest. When summer thundershowers filled earth tanks out in the alluvial valleys between the permanent streams, some moved to their “field villages” to till soil softened by rain or flood to plant maize and other crops. Despite a close juxtaposition of fields and permanent domestic and irrigation water at Bac and Tucson, their residents had to travel to stands of giant cactus, oak groves and yucca stands for edible fruits and fibers. They also moved out to good deer and mountain sheep hunting hills, minimizing their residence in fixed abodes well known to hostile Western Apaches, or Yavapais.

In view of such ingrained native cultural patterns, the clerical inspector claimed that the mission at Bac needed colonial troops to “force” the Northern Pimans to live in the pueblo, to labor in the fields, “to punish” the medicine men, and “to drive forth” undesirables. Balthasar advocated obtaining a viceregal order authorizing the deportation of Native American “troublemakers” to Mexico City's workhouses. He viewed the “many and powerful medicine men” who killed one another and bewitched even missionaries as the worst troublemakers.47

Another father visitor, Carlos Rojas, reported in 1748 that Bac had had clerical attention only on a fill-in basis for the previous decade, meaning that Tucson had received even less. He pinned an “unlucky” label on the Bac mission.48

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The missionary who filled in beginning in 1745 was evidently Joseph Garrucho, stationed at Guebavi. He was born 27 March 1712 on Sardinia, and entered the Society in 1731.49 He came to New Spain in 1744 after being captured at sea by British pirates,50 and was sent to learn Northern Piman mission work from Father Ygnacio X. Keller at Santa María Suamca.51 He took over Guebavi the following year,52 with responsibility for visiting the downriver Native Americans.

Thus, the Bac-Tucson stretch of the Santa Cruz River remained quite peripheral to the Jesuit mission effort in northwestern Sonora until new missionary reinforcements arrived from Europe a decade and a half after Stiger left Bac. It was not until 1751 that the Jesuits once again assigned a resident priest to the mission. This time he was a central European, Franz Bauer, a native of Czechoslovakia. Bauer was born 6 January 1721 and entered the Society on 9 October 1737.53 He reached New Spain in 1750,54 and refounded the Bac mission the following year.55 Apparently Bauer first rode to Bac early in June. Then he divided his time between Bac and San Ignacio.56 Spaniards spelled Bauer's name in a number of ways, and he himself Hispanicized it to Francisco Pauer.57

Northern Piman Nativistic Movement

Franz Bauer re-established part-time missionary work at Bac on the eve of a major nativistic movement among the Northern Piman Indians. This crisis arose in part from competition for control of Spain's colonial government between clerics and civil-military officials.

Royal officials recruited Northern Piman warriors to campaign against hostile Seri Indians on the Gulf of California coast of Sonora in 1749. Led by Luis Oacpicagigua of Saric,58 the Northern Pimans fought well even by Spanish standards. As a matter of fact, the Northern Pimans seem to have acquitted themselves somewhat better in battle than the Spaniards. Consequently, the Northern Piman veterans returned home feeling less awe for the Spaniards than they had before. Rewarded by the military authorities for their contributions to the Seri campaign, the Northern Piman veterans chafed at authoritarian Jesuit conduct of mission life. A series of untoward incidents between missionaries and Northern Piman neophytes generated a large-scale military revolt led by Captain General Luis Oacpicagigua.

The Pima Revolt of 1751 was typical of nativistic movements59 seeking to throw the white man out of native territory and bring back the “good old days” before Europeans began ordering natives about. Such armed rebellions occurred again and again on the northern frontier of New Spain as an aftermath of initial Native American contacts with Western Civilization.

The Pima Revolt was unusual, perhaps, in that the rebels enjoyed initial success. They actually did kill or eject all non-Indians from their territory. The evils of missionization from the Northern Piman point of view were incarnate in the Jesuit missionaries Tomás Tello at Caborca, Henry Ruhen at Sonoita, Joseph Garrucho at Guebavi, and above all Ygnacio Xavier Keller at Santa María Suamca.

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From a Christian point of view, Tello and Ruhen were martyred by apostate Indians.60 In the eyes of Northern Pimans, just revenge was wrought on these two Jesuits. Neophytes exacted vengeance for their mistreatment of relatives such as a pregnant woman locked in the stocks at Caborca.61 Garrucho and Keller escaped death, but transferring Keller out of the area was one of the Northern Piman conditions for restoring peace with Spain.

When the revolt began late in November of 1751, Franz Bauer received a warning from a Native American at Bac loyal to him. The missionary escaped with his Spanish foreman and three or four soldiers stationed at the mission for his protection62 before the Bac warriors reached a firm decision to join the movement.

So far as Tucson was concerned, the important point is that the natives there had not yet had sufficient experience with missionaries and the harsh inter-cultural clashes of missionization to join in planning the revolt. Even the Bac people were not highly motivated to set off the conflict. They debated for several days before committing themselves to the rebel cause. The Tucson population had had less experience with missionaries, and they surely played a very inconspicuous part in the greatest military action ever carried out by Northern Pimans.

Lieutenant Colonel Diego Ortiz Parrilla, the governor of Sonora, followed an extremely wise course of scouting Northern Piman territory in force, but not provoking hostilities while offering to negotiate peace. His men had to fight one pitched battle against some 2,000 Native Americans, but experienced Apache-fighter Ortiz Parrilla's63 patience finally paid off in a negotiated peace. Thus the Northern Pimans were brought back into the Spanish colonial orbit with their Apache-fighting power essentially undiminished by battle losses in what could have turned into a very bloody campaign had Ortiz Parrilla chosen to force a military decision. The Northern Pimans who had fled their villages in November and December of 1751 were returning gradually by the spring of 1752.64

Locating a Frontier Garrison

As soon as the governor received the first news of the insurrection, he wrote dispatches to the viceroy in far off Mexico City requesting among other things authorization to recruit and equip a new frontier garrison to overawe the Northern Piman Indians. By the spring of 1752, Lieutenant Colonel Ortiz Parrilla had received the requested authority, and he raised the company in March.

Then he had to settle on the best location for the garrison. He held a meeting of military officers and non-commissioned officers with experience in Northern Piman country at his forward headquarters at Mission San Ignacio. Ortiz Parrilla also asked some of the surviving Jesuit missionaries for their opinions as to the most suitable location for a new post to pacify the Northern Pimans and resist Apache incursions. The frontiersmen generally favored two garrisons, one on the Santa Cruz River and the other on the Altar River. The Jesuit recommendations are of especial interest in the ethnic

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foundation of Tucson, because they constituted a prelude to Spanish settlement there. It is thus significant to note that in 1752 the missionaries already considered Tucson a suitable site for a Spanish military post, as evidenced in their recommendations translated here:

By order of my Father Visitor Phelipe Segesser I give my opinion on the place or places where there should be placed the new fort or the new forts in the Upper Pimería. Supposing that there is one fort to be located, it is my opinion that this should be put at Aribaca, or if this should not be appropriate from this place being subject to sickness, it should be put toward Aqua Caliente or Arizona or Saric. The reason is that located in any of these places it should be in the middle of the Pimería and more at hand in order to quell the altercations of those Indians and assist the tranquility of the towns. Any of the places mentioned has plenty of water and pasture with which to maintain the garrison horse herds.

If two forts are to be erected, in such case it is my opinion that one should be planted some four or five leagues beyond San Xavier at Santa Cathalina or in Tucusona, places abundant in water and pasture, and the other in the Valley of Saric, Caborca and Tubuttama.65 The first, as adjacent, would intercept the disorders of the Northern Pimas and nearby Papagos, and the second should contain the Pimas of the west and neighboring Papagos. In this lucky event one or the other should come to be where the horde of Pimas has occasioned the past uprisings and where the most caution is necessary. This is how it seems to me, and I sign.


Ures.66May 10, 1752.

The veteran missionary Gaspar Stiger wrote a brief note concurring in Sedelmayr's recommendations, and Segesser transmitted both of their opinions to the governor with his own comments:

Sir Governor and Captain General:

In compliance with Your Honor's order which, with date of May eighth of this year 1752 Your Honor remitted to me in order that opinions might be given by me and the Fathers Jacobo Sedelmayr, Visitor of the Upper Pimería, and Father Rector Gaspar Stiger of the same Pimería, as experienced and informed of its terrain, I make the proper report in accord with the knowledge which I possess and conforming to that which Your Honor asked of me.

I find as appropriate and necessary for the reduction of Upper Pimería the two forts which Your Honor has sited in it. One should be put in the place of Santa Cathalina or in that nearby named Tucuson inasmuch as both are abundant in water and pasture for the remount herds and cattle as well as the population. With such a garrison the subjugation and reduction of the most heathen, which embraces the Northern and Eastern part of said Pimería, would be achieved. Not only that part of the Northern Piman Indians which inhabits the banks of the Río Xila, but also the rancherías of the apostate Apaches farther upstream and in the nearby mountains would be curbed. Such a garrison would cover the territory and give a hand to the Post of San Phelipe de Guebavi

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at Terrenate, enabling their captains zealously to comply with the civil and politic orders of His Majesty for the education of the Indians.

Thus, the other fort should be situated in the Arizona or Sariqui, places of equal quality as the aforementioned Tucuson. Thus, the Papago Indians of the west and the rest would be subjugated as in the center of the Pimería and with the same ease it might give a hand to the two preceding posts, serving not only toward the end of subjugating the Pimería and maintaining its missions in security, but also to parry the hostilities which are executed in it by the Apache tribe.

This is my feeling from the knowledge that I possess with which I have satisfied the request from Your Honor, for whose prudence I pray to God, and that He may preserve the important life of Your Honor for many years. From this Mission of St. Michael of Ures, May 25, 1752.


The military experts with whom Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla conferred at San Ignacio recommended yet another Northern Piman Indian village farther up the Santa Cruz River as the site for the new post. When the governor made his final choice, he settled on Tubac.69 It received a headquarters unit with a 20-man garrison on detached, rotating duty at Ocuca, between Magdalena and Altar.

Thus Tucson's future was not yet permanently committed to Western Civilization, and its ethnic diversification did not begin in 1752. Nonetheless, the idea that Tucson offered advantages as a garrison site had been planted in the colonial bureaucracy to bear later fruit.

Aftermath of Revolt

The aftermath of the Northern Piman nativistic movement of 1751 appears to have directly affected the future of Tucson as a Native American settlement. The 1751 revolt and Spanish reaction to it produced significant demographic dislocation of Northern Piman local populations. Resettlement of dislocated natives apparently constituted a turning point for Tucson. As Northern Pimans returned from their desert refuges, the Santa Cruz River Valley natives apparently congregated at Tucson instead of spreading along the river as before in four small settlements betwen Bac and Oiaur. Perhaps some of the erstwhile rebels of Bac considered themselves safer farther from the Spanish military, frontier and moved to Tucson. Possibly some residents of Tubaca moved to Tucson when the Spanish garrison took their lands. At any rate, Tucson began to rival Bac in population, judging from the relative number of baptisms recorded at the two places when a missionary reentered the area with shell in hand.

Even after the Spanish post was established at Tubac, the lower Santa Cruz River Valley did not offer a very inviting prospect to Jesuit survivors of the violent nativistic movement. Not until 1753 did Franz Bauer return northward as far as Guebavi, making that his headquarters for visits farther north to re-convert the recent rebels against Christianity and its cultural implications.70 He baptized 49 persons at Guebavi and Tumacacori, 50 at

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Tucson and 43 at Bac among Native Americans who had returned to peace in 1754.71

Bauer visited Tucson infrequently. On 6 August 1754, he baptized 43 persons in Bac and Tucson.72 He returned again to Bac on 16 February 1755,73 having just returned to his mission from Arizpe,74 where he went to make his final profession before Father Rector Carlos de Roxas on 2 February.75 In October, Bauer came down with chills, probably malaria. The priest might have contracted that illness during his August trip down the Santa Cruz River, inasmuch as that was the rainy season when humid afternoon air favored insect reproduction.76

Lack of records of rituals other than baptisms indicates that Bauer continued to be concerned mainly with conversion at this period, as might be expected from the relative lack of previous missionary contact with the Tucson natives. There was, moreover, not too much point in the Jesuit missionaries trying to prepare converts for confirmation. No bishop had visited Sonora for 18 years, and the Jesuits had not then been granted the privilege of confirming, although they hoped to receive it.77

The people of Tucson had not yet learned enough Catholic customs to change their marriage ceremonies or funerary or other practices in response to direct prodding by Spaniards. They had, nonetheless, altered some of their customs as a result of indirect European influences, such as wheat seed and various new infectious diseases. Taking into account Bauer's reports to his superiors that rebel Northern Pimans destroyed the church, missionary's house, vestments and livestock at Bac during the revolt, it seems most unlikely that Tucson showed any material signs of Christian conversion in 1754.

After 1755, Tucson and Bac ceased to be mentioned in the Guebavi records, except for the names of random individuals from those settlements who happened to travel south to have a Christian ritual performed. The reason for that change was the 1756 arrival of another resident missionary at the northern settlements in the Santa Cruz River Valley. This new priest, Alonso (Ildefonso) Ignacio Benito Espinosa, was the nearest thing to a native Spaniard yet sent to this frontier post. He had been born in the Canary Islands, which Spain had conquered on the eve of its New World discoveries, on 1 February 1720. Espinosa entered the Society of Jesus and reached New Spain in 1750.78

Although the Mexican Jesuit Province had had no immediate replacements for priests slain in the 1751 Bac uprising, it first sent Alonso Espinosa to Caborca.79 Late in 1754, Jesuit Visitor General Utrera found Espinosa at San Ignacio regaining his health.80 There he stayed until mid-April of 1755,81 when he finally went north to Bac.

The new missionary evidently did not stay long at Bac on this first trip. In mid-1756, his immediate superior in the Society reported that Espinosa had charge of Cocospera Mission, while Franz Bauer still cared for Guebavi and San Xavier del Bac.82

Already rumor was predicting what was to become a serious setback for Espinosa. Word had it that Gila River Chief Crow's Head intended to rebel with some Papagos. Franz Bauer traveled north to tell this native leader

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to go reassure the colonial authorities of his peaceful intentions. Pleading that he was too old to make the journey, Crow's Head sent one of his grown sons to declare the rumors false. This son admitted that some “Papagos” at Atí83 wanted to take advantage of Crow's Head's leadership of the powerful Gileño Pima tribal army to avoid moving. Espinosa may have been pressing the desert dwellers with colonial military backing to migrate to his Santa Cruz River mission to make up population losses there. Crow's Head's son maintained that his father would not accede to the wishes of the uncooperative inhabitants of Atí. This Gila River spokesman further asserted that soldiers who claimed that Crow's Head and his followers had all gone to the Colorado River had not been within 20 leagues of the chief's house.

Tucson clearly continued to be simply one relatively unimportant Northern Piman ranchería among many at this time, a target for Christian proselytization, yet unconverted, and strongly linked to the growing Native American military power on the middle Gila River.

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