5. Franciscans at Work, 1790–1821
AFTER FRIAR JUAN BAUTISTA BELDERRAIN DIED, the father president of the Upper Pimería missions rushed a replacement missionary to Bac early in 1790.1 Friar Juan Baptista Llorens had been missionary at Oquitoa since 1787.2 He came to Bac and Piman Tucson to stay for a quarter century of key ministry in the lives of the Northern Pimans there. Llorens completed the construction work initiated at Bac by Belderrain. It took Llorens seven more years, but in 1797 he finished the present church and mortuary chapel.3
Taking over the project in 1790, Llorens had to cope with rising prices generated by conditions in Europe. As early as the fall of 1792, the purchasing agent for the College of the Holy Cross was warning the frontier missionaries of inflation. Sugar sold at 6 pesos per arroba even though it never before cost over 18 reales, for example.
Thus, the national historic monument resulted from the combined local efforts of Fathers Belderrain and Llorens, with the latter responsible for the finishing touches, plus the Franciscan supply system reaching from Vera Cruz to the frontier. Llorens and other Pimería Alta missionaries all signed one power of attorney empowering their agent to collect their royal stipends. The president had to certify to the royal exchequer that each missionary in fact served his mission and was eligible for payment. By 1792, colonial policy had changed so that Llorens could no longer count upon income from mission lands.4 As the mission Indians' living standards presumably rose, mission building-income fell just when inflation caused construction costs to rise.
During the busy construction period, Llorens had also to try to protect the irrigation water rights of the native population of Tucson against usurpation by the soldiers of the presidio and civilian settlers.5 He showed himself to be a capable and versatile missionary who accomplished much besides completing the Bac building program.
According to Spanish-language oral tradition in Tucson, the peaceful Apaches who had settled at the Piman village (see Chapter 9), picturesquely but probably inaccurately termed “mesquetaires and Coyllatiars” (that is, Mescaleros and Coyoteros), joined in the work of finishing the present magnificent church structure of St. Francis Xavier at Bac, and helped with another dedicated to St. Joseph.6 Although a Franciscan official wrote in 1793,7 it was not actually finished until four years later, even with the possible addition of Apache labor. “The date, 1797, which is seen on one of the doors of this church, is, according to the tradition, the date of the monument's completion.”8 Oral tradition is confirmed in this instance by a report of the father president of the Upper Pimería missions who made an inspection tour that year.9 According to tradition,
This mission was built for all Christian Indians, but the Papagos would not let the Apaches have anything to say about the feast10 or anything about the church but to pay the ties [tithes].11 So they asked for a mission or convent where they could kind of work for themselves, which was granted them and the place was designated as the line northwest of the Rancho del Tucson and was called San José del Tucson. It was more of an industrial school than a mission. This was built by the Apaches and had but little help from the Papagos. During the building of this mission [a] great many Indians came from the northeast to assist.… It was not very hard work to build the mission as there were so many to do it.12
Even so, some of the newly pacified Apaches evidently were not much interested in even light work done by many hands. Before the construction was finished, according to the same oral tradition, “some of the Indians got dissatisfied and a great many of them left, taking horses and cattle with them. That made the others dissatisfied, so they had a fight.”
The oral traditions this account follows in dating the construction of the church at Piman Tucson after that of San Xavier del Bac are independently supported by a Forty-Niner's journal. Ygnacio Saenz, one-time civil judge of the Presidio of San Agustín under Mexican sovereignty, told H. M. T. Powell that the two-story building at the Pima Pueblo of Tucson across the valley from the fort was erected after the church of St. Francis Xavier del Bac.13 The construction of this edifice is treated later in this chapter.
It is clear that Llorens took quite seriously his ministry to his Apache helpers, a duty which was eschewed by military chaplains of the presidio of San Agustín del Tucson. That Llorens established his program rather promptly and with some effectiveness appears in the first lines of a report he made to the president of the Franciscan frontier missions in 1795.
Other officials had urged the founding of new missions to the Peaceful Apaches. Father President Barbastro14 had written to Llorens at Bac and to Arriquibar at Bacoachi for information, considering them the two missionaries under his jurisdiction most knowledgeable of prospects for proselytizing the Apaches:
15 the Lieutenant came as is habitual for the commanding officer. We discussed the matter. He told me that the Apaches are very obedient and prompt to carry out what they are ordered to do, and that they are desirous of being Christians. On such evidence, he concludes that there will be no difficulty whatsoever with their settlement. We could not speak to the Apaches because they were out hunting.
Many still have not returned. Others were here today. They did not fail to understand me. They showed themselves to be quite content with what I said, and desirous that it should be carried out promptly. Nevertheless, one cannot make a great point of this, because they are quite enchanted by novelties without penetrating them through and through. They do not understand that they have to give up vicious customs and superstitions. Neither do they comprehend that the enemy Apaches would make war on them as a result.
I know that the yoke of the law will weigh heavily upon them—heavier than it would have when they first came down. This is because today, besides living completely licentiously, they have followed many bad examples that they have seen citizens set. Nonetheless, we could hope probably to reach all the youths, and to settle some of the elders little by little with the patience and industry of the Minister. Yet they must concede the following, in my opinion.
The first thing is that the Father Minister must govern their temporal and spiritual affairs without the Commandant's interfering except when the Father is present, or when he requests help in making them respect and obey him.
The second is that they should immediately try the law, so that they come to know the penalty or punishment which must be handed out to those who break it, so that they are denied all contemplation of doing so.
Third, they must be established in the Pueblo of Tucson with a detachment of ten soldiers and the captive interpreter under the command of the Father, insofar as Indians are concerned. To remove them from the presidio but to leave them far from the view of the Father and the Church is to risk all and to further nothing.
Fifth, they must be allocated the fields of one citizen and Ensign Sosa16 which are next to the Pueblo, with those on the Island17 that are contiguous to these and belong to the Pueblo, in order for them to manage themselves with a quarter part of the water from the irrigation ditch in the middle belonging to the Pueblo. Said citizen, with another who is on the Island, and the Ensign, can obtain the lands that the Apaches hold today far below the Presidio, in order to avoid in this way quarrels and difficulties.
Sixth, that for the first time each family head be given a hatchet, a hoe, a sickle, and a plowshare. Moreover, they should be given provisions for one year from the hand of the Father, so that they may apply themselves to their fields, and lose the drive to go out seasonally to the mountains to hunt. Said agricultural implements must be given to them by the Father, who would take care to collect them so the Apaches do not lose them.
The difficulty that arose among the Pimas over admitting the Apaches to the Pueblo and allowing them entry to the Pima lands I have already conquered, although it cost me some labor. In spite of what I have said, I would not presume to guarantee their loyalty, in view of the contrary examples we have. Your Reverence should report, therefore, what he may judge fitting. Doubtless, all will be achieved if this is God's work.
FRIAR JUAN BAUTISTA LLORENS18
Thus, Father Llorens forwarded a sober, well-reasoned assessment of the prospects for converting the Peaceful Apaches at Tucson to Roman Catholicism. His counterpart at Bacoachi was considerably less restrained. In the following report Friar Pedro de Arriquibar eloquently denounced the terrible example the local Christians were setting for the Peaceful Apaches there:
We must suppose, before everything else, that from the beginning until this very day, there has been continued an error in the political government of these Indians. For this reason, they are full of new vices learned among the very people who are called Christians, besides those they already used to commit in their heathendom. It appears that at least the principal heathen vices such as robbery and murder are already amended by the passage of time and lack of exercise. On the other hand, I consider it very difficult, indeed, to amend the new vices they have learned among our people, principally because the cause does not cease. That cause is the bad example set by Christians!
The heathen Apaches are themselves the most expert and objective witnesses to prove the truth of this conclusion. During the conference I held with them on the afternoon of my visit, I witnessed them playing the game of “albures”19 to which they are addicted, principally the youths but even the women. They told me that this, like the other games of cards that they play, is the first milk that they sucked from the Christians, because in their lands they used to know nothing about these things. They responded in the same vein with regard to dances, swearing, obscene words and the rest of the vices that they display. They said that they had learned them all from the Bacoachi Christians. Thus it is that this cause of their vices does not stop in Bacoachi. There are too many dances where they sing a thousand blasphemies and they make a thousand iniquitous movements, there is no lack of depraved conversations, insolent swearing and curses, injuries, envy and so on. We ought promptly to confess, although with great sorrow, that the settlement of20
Father Arriquibar did not really consider the Bacoachi Mescaleros convertible. Some of his reasons provide insights into Apache cultural stability after military defeat, and the operation of the colonial Apache-control system:
Besides what I have said, if we learn from experience, we see that the faith enters into this class of heathens more by the mouth than by the ear. Their true settlement will be achieved by no method that does not take special care that they make good use of the rations which the Piety of the King affords them for their maintenance. This point I conceive to be one of the most important ones in the experiment that has been tried, although it is dealt with by much carelessness and omission. What I have observed in this particular is that these unhappy heathens end up with nothing on the very day that they receive their ration. I have seen with my own eyes that they go about throwing away bread, meat, etc., on the same day on which they had just drawn their ration. From this disorder it follows that inasmuch as the unhappy heathens have nothing to eat, they must seek it by hunting in the mountains, roasting mescal, etc., with no stability in their ranchería. All this could be remedied if they were forced to conserve one ration until the next issue.
Yet, even in case these heathens knew how to spread their ration over a week,… they would still have to dress themselves. This they do with buckskins. These they seek in the wilds. Thus, their wanderings cannot be denied them, inasmuch as it is not proper for them to present themselves to learn the Doctrine naked — especially the women and their daughters. Thus, we have this great difficulty to overcome on this road.21
Unlike the disparaging Arriquibar, Llorens clearly saw the Peaceful Apaches at Tucson as potential converts. He intervened with his Northern Piman neophytes to smooth the path of imperial resettlement of hereditary enemies on Piman Tucson lands. The letter from the father president quoted earlier indicates that Llorens had persuaded the Peaceful Apaches to adopt a religious salutation in the Spanish language. Bringing Apaches within the formal folds of the Church may well have been this missionary's strategy for gaining Northern Piman acceptance of Apache integration into their settlement. Certainly later generations of Papagos have referred to the Peaceful Apaches as the Waukoñi Aup, or “baptized enemies.”
A decade after initial Apache settlement at Tucson, these migrants formed an integral part of the Tucson Pueblo population. Still hostile Apaches attacked the “Apaches Mansos” who “live in the pueblo of Tucson” in May of 1804, killing four and capturing three.22 Llorens' prediction of inter-band Apache fighting was confirmed.
Father J. B. Llorens traveled out into the Papaguería like Garcés before him, but to proselytize rather than to explore the country.23 Llorens obtained Christian results. He persuaded many of the Desert People to come to settle24 A group of 134 Papagos moved from Aquituni to Piman Tucson where 63 of them settled on 19 January 1796. Capt. José de Zúñiga played some role in resettling them. Llorens baptized 51 infants in the migrant group.25
Having in mind the rations the viceroyalty gave the Peaceful Apaches, no doubt, an official of the Apostolic College of the Holy Cross of Querétaro asked the commandant general to order these Papago settlers given steers and other foodstuffs so that “they might see effective the advantages this union brought them.”26 Meanwhile, Friar Juan drew on the resources of San Xavier del Bac Mission to ration the new Papago settlers and to clothe them according to European concepts of propriety.27 The older converts may have talked the new Papago neophytes into flight. In any event, flee they did, so that Llorens had to persuade them all over again to move to the Pueblo of Tucson.28
On 25 September 1797, the population of Piman Tucson consisted of only 68 survivors of the area and previous immigrants, and 211 recent Papago settlers.29 About 107 of the latter group had been brought there and baptized since 1795. Captain Zúñiga reported the flight of the Papago migrants to the commandant general. Consequently, the government “intimated” to Llorens that he should allow no more pagans in his mission. The president of the Pimería Alta missions appealed to the guardian of the college in Querétaro to obtain official approval for relocating Papagos at Bac and Tucson pueblo and founding two missions among the Gila River Pimas.30
At that time the adobe church with beam-supported roof at Piman Tucson that Garcés had begun in 1770 was so dilapidated that Llorens hoped to build a new one. Six statues of saints graced the main altar, and sufficient vessels to celebrate Mass were kept in three locked boxes. The old church did possess a baptismal font and a supply of holy oils.31
Llorens or his assistant celebrated Mass in the ruinous structure at Tucson on most Sundays and feast days, but required an interpreter to translate the sermon.32 The continued necessity of preaching through interpreters appears in early Pima County records relating to a field once belonging to the Mission of Tucson. A claimant declared that it “was donated by the priest —Juan Bautista Llorens— to Pedro Ríos for services as interpreter during the conquest of the Indians by the Missionaries.”33
Friar Diego Bringas de Manzaneda led a fund-raising and revivalistic preaching mission in northwestern New Spain in 1795. His action apparently so rejuvenated his College of the Holy Cross at Querétaro that it was once again able to recruit enough Franciscans to post two missionaries to each Pimería Alta Indian mission. Thus, Father J. B. Llorens had assistance from other priests in his missionary work among the Tucson and other Northern34 The quarters and chapel constituted an impressive mission plant for this frontier. A description of the chapel and its furnishings has been published and need not be repeated here.35 Mission economic resources only allowed Llorens and his helpers to build the structure of sun-dried bricks, however, so that it deteriorated rapidly once unroofed.
In 1797, Llorens had Friar Bartholomé Socies36 for an assistant. This priest had formerly served at Tubutama in 1791,37 and had been pro-secretary to the president-governor of the Custodio of San Carlos in 1793. He transferred to Saric Mission in 1798.38 By that time Llorens began baptizing the Papagos he persuaded to move to Tucson Pueblo in 1795. On 21 April 1798 he christened 25 of the adults and a dozen more on Holy Saturday.39 On the Saturday of the Vigil of Pentecost, Llorens baptized 20 adults and 2 infants, leaving 27 migrants still outside the Christian fold. Llorens renewed at this time his affiliation with the College of the Holy Cross.40
A young priest born in Puebla, New Spain, Ignacio José Ramirez y Arrellano, arrived at Bac on 15 June 1802, only four years after entering the Order. In letters to his family, Ramirez mentioned that mission Indians from both San Xavier and Piman Tucson joined the Gila River Pimas and Papagos to fight Apaches. He assisted Llorens until his death on 26 September 1805, after a long fever.41 Later, Friar Diego Gil assisted Llorens in 1814, when the latter still had charge of Bac and Piman Tucson.42 These assistants allowed Llorens to travel to other missions as well as into friendly Indian country.43 He baptized a child at Tumacacori Mission on 6 April 1808, for example, signing the register there as “Ministro de S.n Xavier del Bac.”44
In 1808, Friar Juan B. Llorens also twice acted as an investigator for the Bishop of Sonora into difficulties between the military chaplain and the Tucson post commandant.45
Llorens' tenure at Bac and Tucson Pueblos coincided almost exactly with the period of the French Revolution, the Terror, and Napoleon's regime, exile, and return and final defeat between 1789 and 1815. These were world-shaking events whose effects reached even to the far northern frontier of New Spain and the Northern Piman Indian village at Tucson, undoubtedly shaking to its foundations the settled world of Llorens' youth. Late in 1808, he celebrated the accession of Ferdinand VII to the Spanish throne on orders from the bishop of Sonora transmitted by the father president of the Upper Pimería missions.46 What must Llorens have thought of the ancient symbolism when the occasion stemmed from social ferment that threw a lowly Corsican to the commanding position in France that enabled him to humble the reigning Spanish king?
The visitor, Commissary Prefect Juan Baptista de Cevallos, instructed Llorens and Gil in many areas of endeavor. Because little has been known about ecclesiastical administration of Mission San Xavier del Bac and its branch at Tucson during this unsettled terminal period of colonial rule, the Cevallos affidavit is translated here in full:47
After informing myself well, it seemed to me that I ought to order, and I ordered arranged the old registers that there used to be in the Mission and other papers and that all should be placed in order in the archive.
I also ordered folios arranged, and authorized the registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, not only those belonging to this Mission but also those of Tucson and the Ranchería of Santa Ana, plus another register of Royal Orders, of military papers of the Commandancy General, or whatever other non-religious petitions. [I also authorized] this book in which are copied only the Letters Patent of the Order, Decrees and affidavits of Inspection, which bears the seal of my office and [has been] approved by my Secretary.
Thus I also ordered formed four books in which separately according to their titles are to be kept the accounts of the branch to which each one pertains; that is, one for Cattle, another for small stock, a third for horses, and a fourth for the seeds. [I ordered] two more books, one for the population enumerations and the other for the inventories, and moreover a cash book in which is recorded the receipt and expenditure of reales using the method which is explained in it.
I charged the Ministers to supervise with great care instruction in Christian Doctrine. For this end there shall be hired as soon as possible a School Teacher to teach the alphabet in the Mission, and another in the branch Pueblo so that the children may learn the Doctrine, to read, to write, and to speak our language. I saw it thus: that the citizens should pay the Teacher for their children according to custom, and the Mission should pay for its children according to arrangements made by the Ministers.
I charged the Father to live in the Mission, and the other in the branch Pueblo alternately at least some days of each week. [I instructed them] that on festive days they should explain personally or through an
I equally ordered that in the future lands should be given to the Indians who do not have them. [I instructed them] that one should take into consideration that the laws give preference in the use of water to Mission Indians. [I indicated] that after they have attended to the heathens who are converted and settled in the Mission, to these and to others should be allotted the indicated land, giving them possessory title. The Minister should do this in accord with the tribal Alcalde and the statement of goals in the matter. Not only should the Indians not be impeded in cultivating their lands by being occupied in other works which distract them, but they should be assisted and motivated to work them. [I indicated] that in no way should the Indians be permitted to alienate by themselves the lands that might have been allotted to them nor to sell other things of value, inasmuch as this should be done only with the approval of the Minister and the tribal Alcalde.
I arranged equally that citizens who wish to settle in the Mission Pueblos should be loaned that extent of land which in the judgment of the Minister and tribal Alcalde can be given to them, keeping in mind that neither the Minister nor the Alcalde has the authority to allot them any Mission lands, and that which may be assigned to them has to be on condition that it not prejudice the plantings and irrigation by the old residents of the Pueblo nor its converted pagans.
Inasmuch as the temporal resources are under the care of the Ministers, I ordered that until the Government may arrange something else, they shall continue to administer them, but in conformity to that which has repeatedly been ordered. This is that the portion of the lands that are said to belong to the Mission must be cultivated at the request of the Minister, by means of manual workers, be they Indians or citizens, to whom an individual salary should be paid according to the rate in this Province. In no manner should they be obliged to work at this task, nor in any other occupation whatsoever, such as steward, cowboy, cook, gardener, sacristan, etc., without paying them a just wage. Because there may be among the Indians those who wish to apply themselves as is convenient, and are sent to learn the skills of a carpenter, blacksmith, mason, soapmaker, and such like, when they are ready to apply in actual labor the skills that they learned, they should also be paid their just price. With regard to the product of the labor of the Mission, the cattle and small stock, horse herd, which are the temporal resources that are in charge of the Ministers, are to be used to pay the manual workers and to help with the costs of construction, the Church, sacristy, wax, vestments, sacred vessels, as well as the payment to the schoolmaster, for the succor of poor widows, orphans, the sick and other necessities and requirements, but, all in proportion to the income derived from said branches [of enterprise] and in conformity with the prudence, Apostolic Zeal and Christian and Religious Charity of the Minister.
I equally charged the Minister to be carefully vigilant that the boys and girls cover their flesh, and [that he exercise] much more care in this regard among adults, especially the women, and that the Indians should make distinct rooms in their houses as demanded by Christian decorum.
Finally, I exhorted the Ministers to comply with their respective obligations. Convoking the Pueblo in the Church, I preached the Divine Word. I explained the Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, and persuaded them of the necessity for observing it. I exhorted everyone to unite, and pay among themselves the respect for and obedience to the Ministers and tribal Alcalde, and to submit to all that which may be ordered and decreed by the legitimate authorities so that it may be carried out. Nothing else in particular occuring to me, I thanked the Ministers for that part of their obligations which they have fulfilled, and for the trouble they have taken for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the Mission, its branch Pueblo and pagan ranchería. With that I concluded and closed the Inspection Affidavit which I signed in said Mission of San Xavier del Bac on the 7th day of July in 1814.
It is interesting to note that despite inter-ethnic conflicts over local resources, the ecclesiastical inspector directed that citizens who wished to settle at the mission pueblos were to be loaned such lands as might be available in the judgment of the priest and the alcalde. The continued depopulation of the native Northern Piman Indians, which is documented in detail in Chapter 13 of this book, was thus important in freeing mission fields for Spanish cultivation.
One of the final instructions to Llorens and Gil from the commissary prefect reflected the rate at which Spanish attitudes and values had been accepted by the mission Indians at Bac and Tucson. Thirty years after Bishop Reyes reported that these Indians ran about practically naked unless supplied clothing by the priest, the inspector found them still not dressed to his pious liking.
Again, the part depopulation played in the Westernization of the mission Indians appears to have been critical. As fast as converts learned to wear European-style clothing in an approved manner, they died. Then the missionaries had to go out and repopulate their missions with new converts, who had to be taught all over again about such things as the proper manner of wearing the trappings of Western civilization. Almost without a doubt the very adoption of clothing helped to foster disease among the mission Indians, who had not yet learned the principles of personal sanitation that went along with European-style clothes.
As the highlight of his inspection, Commissary Prefect Juan Bautista Cevallos assembled the Native Americans and preached to them on the new concept of constitutional monarchy for Spain and the values of unity and obedience to as well as respect for civil and ecclesiastical authority. He formally thanked the priests for their labors on behalf of the people of the Pueblos of Bac and Tucson. All in all, Friar Juan B. Llorens, who had spent
How long Fathers Llorens and Gil remained at Bac and Piman Tucson remains unknown. Llorens reportedly died in 1815 near Santa Cruz.48 By 1818, Friar Juan Bañó had taken charge of the Bac and Tucson mission. This missionary was born in 1781 and became an Indian missionary in 1815,49 quite possibly at Bac.
Bac and Tucson led the eight Upper Pimería missions in 1818 in production of wheat, garbanzos (chick peas) and lentils, and came second in maize and bean harvests and number of cattle.50Crop production fell heavily in 1819,51 and continued to fall in 1820, except for wheat. The 1820 wheat harvest at Pueblos Bac and Tucson increased by one-third over the 1819 harvest, while maize dropped one-third, beans two-thirds, chick peas over a third and lentils by almost half. Cattle increased to 5,700 head, while sheep and goats dropped to 700. Horses decreased by one-third, and mules and donkeys did not change in numbers.52
At the end of the colonial period, then, the Spanish Catholic missions to the Northern Piman Indians had not yet solved the fundamental problems of stabilizing the converted population, and converting the heathen population that managed to reproduce itself. To be sure, a most impressive church had been erected at Bac (and others at a few more places), yet the mission frontier remained as much a frontier in 1820 as it had been in 1720. While earlier imperial policy gained Upper Pimería 30 years of peace and prosperity, the preoccupation of Spain with European wars during the final 30 years of the empire prevented any significant colonial initiatives toward advancing the political frontier in the Gila-Sonoran region.