Historical and Genealogical Setting
Alferez José Maria Sosa
supports the authenticity of Antonio Campa Soza's [28K] Arizona roots. It reveals
the ancestral family's trek from Jecori on the Yaqui River in Sonora,
Mexico to Tubac, thence to Tucson, Tempe and the San Pedro River. [35K] A trek, that commenced 250
years ago, and it would lead the family from northern Sonora and
into southern Arizona.
of Jecori, still on the banks of the Yaqui River,12 marks the birthplace of ancestor Alferez José Maria Sosa; [34K] the progenitor
of the Sosa, Soza families of Arizona. His military service record,
provides the clue as to his birth in 1746.
was a medium Spanish settlement near the estancia of Don Gregorio
at Jamaica.14 Nearby were other villages such as Cumpas
and Oposura (now named Moctezuma). Locating the exact site of Jecori
long eluded research efforts, which began with José Maria
Sosa's military transcript. In this document, the place of birth
was written as Tecori,15 not
re-reading Juan Nentvig's Rudo Ensayo, A Description of Sonora
and Arizona in 1764, (Pradeau & Rasmussen) and comparing this
text with several Spanish texts, it became apparent, that Jecori
and Tecori were one and the same. In the map accompanying Rudo Ensayo,
Jecori is clearly marked Jecori, but was overlooked in the textual
search for Tecori.16
The reader is
invited to imagine the sociological and political conditions prevalent
on the Yaqui River in 1746. One would need to recall the chaos and
havoc created by the Yaqui Uprising of 1740-42, the Apache Raids
of 1743, and the Pima Revolt of 1750-1752. [See Dobyns CHAPTER V:
THE PIMA REVOLT OF 1751] These harsh and life threatening episodes
took place before, during and after the birth of José Maria
Sosa in 1746.
efforts at pacification, turmoil visited and permeated the Yaqui
River, possibly prompting the Sosa's family's migration northward
to the Santa Cruz valley to what is now southern Arizona. It is
not known whether the family's move was decided privately or in
response to government instruction or edict.
Aside from José
Maria Sosa's service record,17 nothing is known about his youth or his
family, until his eventual arrival at the Presidio San Ignacio de
record illuminates a career of thirty (30) years in Spanish Presidial
forces; rising through the ranks as a soldier, corporal, sergeant,
and finally a royal commission promotion to Alferez, Second Grade.18
The commission was signed for The King by Manuel de Negrete y de
la Torre on September 26, 1794.
At the time
the transcript was written, Sosa was 55 years old, married, and
had engaged the enemy in over 20 campaigns. No date is discernable
on the poor transcript copy, but deductive logic would point to
a post-1801 date. The record states that Sosa had application, capacity,
and valor19 and was
of good conduct.
The 1798 Census
of Tucson by Father Arriquibar, Sosa is shown as head of household,
married to Doña Rita Espinosa, with one son, José
Maria Sosa 11, and three daughters. José Maria Sosa 11 later
married Gregoria Nunes20 and
the names of their eight children appear in the 1831 Census of Tubac.
question as to when the Sosa family left the Yaqui River valley.
They travelled across other rivers i.e. the Sonora, Matape, San
Miguel and Magadalena, to reach the Santa Cruz River in southern
Arizona. Irrespective of the timetable, it can be surmised with
certainty, that the constant attacks on Spanish settlements, and
acts of rebellion and uprising by the Apache, Pima, Seri, and Yaqui
tribes, were major factors or strong motives contributing to the
move northward. [See Dobyns: CHAPTER VI:
THE ROYAL FORT OF ST. IGNATIUS AT TUBAC]
has surfaced to support a chronology of the northward migration.
Absent a governmental decree ordering the same, the Yaqui Uprising
of 1740,21 Apache Attacks
of 1743, and The Pima Revolt of 1750 were cumulative and compelling
motives suggesting and supporting relocation.
What is known
is that in 1774 Spanish Commander Inspector Hugo O'Connor inventoried
the troops at the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac; then part of northern
Sonora defense perimeter. In the report, the future Alferez was
listed as a soldier, 28 years old, Spaniard, and of good circumstances.
The role of
the Tubac Presidio, which had been founded in 1752, was to thwart
the Apache attacks and raids into northern Sonora and southern Arizona.
However, continued and repeated enemy Apache attacks forced the
presidio's relocation in 1775, from Tubac to present day Tucson.22
With the removal
of the presidio from Tubac to Tucson, the Sosa family again moved
north, this time leaving archival evidence of their presence, that
preceded the Declaration of Independence of the United States in
efforts have been expended in an effort to peer past the 1746 birth
of José Maria Sosa;24 to extend knowledge of the family's lineage;
and ascertain their arrival in the New World. The results have not
been definitive. Hampering the investigation has been the absence
of the identity of José Maria's parentage. From 1746 to 1774,
nothing is known about Sosa, until the inventory of the Presidio
de San Ignacio de Tubac in 1774.
One ray of hope
is a reference to a SOSSA surname that appears in connection with
the Fronteras Presidio in 1726. The absence of a Christian name
for SOSSA presents a serious research impediment. The missing presidio
muster rolls, also operates as a detriment.
of the Fronteras Presidio in 1726 was Don Gregorio Alvarez Tunon
Quiros,25 an absentee commandant
with a lifetime appointment. He spent much of his time at his hacienda
at Jamaica on the Yaqui River, tending to his cattle, farming and
mining enterprises. Mines at Jamaica were founded as early as 1705.26 The site is approximately 90 miles south
of Fronteras and about six miles north of the birthplace of ancestor
Alferez José Maria Sosa. A huge leap of faith might support
the possibility that this SOSSA, cited in a 1726 Fronteras report,
might be the long sought link to the Sosa family at Jecori in 1746.
Maria Sosa service records has been an invaluable tool in tracing
and reconstructing a portion of the life and family of this presidial
soldier from the 18th century. 27
An equally important
source of 18th century material on the life of José Maria,
is the borderland research by Henry F. Dobyns28 in which he chronicles the demographics
of the Tubac and Tucson presidios.
In 1795, lands
held by José Maria became the object of an effort to pacify
the Apaches. Franciscan Friar Juan Bautista Llorens recommended
five points; one point on LANDS specified: "they (Indians) must
be allocated the fields of one citizen and Ensign Sosa".29
of the birth, baptismal, marriage records have not been found for
José Maria Sosa or his wife. It is known that José
Maria married Rita Espinosa, corroborated by the Tucson Census of
1798 by Father Pedro Antonio de Arriquibar (OFM). The census list
José Maria Sosa, his wife Doña Rita Espinosa, his
son José Maria 11, and three daughters.
de Sosa was rated as one of the wealthiest persons in Tucson. She
died on April 16, 1820 at Tumacacori.30 The present cemetery was not dedicated until
October 1822, the National Park Service opines that it is possible
Rita is buried in one of the unmarked graves.31
of San José De Tumacacori 32
information on the Mission Church of San José De Tumacacori,
see Mission Churches
of the Sonoran Desert
In the absence
of church records, the year of Alferez José Maria Sosa's
demise can only be inferentially drawn as occurring between Sosa's
military service record (1801) and the letter written (1811) by
Fa. Arriquibar. In the 1811 letter Father Arriquibar intercedes
on behalf of the late Alferez's son who sought to marry the sister
of his previous love affair.33
impediment may have existed, it was removed as José Maria
Soza 11 and Gregoria Nunes did marry. They raised a family of eight
and appear in the 1831 Census of Tubac. To this united couple, the
following were the children: Rita, Ramon, José Maria 111,
Manuel, Maria Guadalupe, José Calistro, Ignacio, Maria Tomasa.
In the next
section, the names of José Maria 111, José Calistro
and Manuel recur most often, as these three sons and their descendants,
have been more easily researched. Manuel is the father of the subject
of this biography, and Calistro is the uncle/step father of the
same. José Maria Sosa 111 and his wife Solana Mendoza are
historically associated with the property now celebrated as the
SOSA-CARRILLO-FREMONT HOUSE MUSEUM in Tucson.
View a QTVR panorama of the Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House Museum. Get the free QuickTime player.
Continue with: 19th Century
-- Antonio Campa Soza