The Moragas

According to the Moraga Historical Society, located in Moraga, California, the earliest of my ancestors to come to the New World have been traced to New Spain to 1604. Their name was Moraga. It is believed by my great-great uncle, Jesus Maria Zepeda, that they came from the high Basque country in northern Spain. In New Spain, in the area that is now southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Juan Moraga was a soldier assigned to the northern reaches of the Spanish Empire. His two sons were also both in the military. José Ignacio Moraga, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, was commander of the Tucson Presidio in 1791. His younger brother, José Joaquín Moraga (1741-1785), had gone with De Anza to found San Francisco in 1776 and San Jose in 1777. Ironically, for some time my father believed that José Joaquín was my great-great-great-great grandfather and for that reason named my brother after him! It was not until later that my father discovered that we were descendants of José Ignacio!

Painting of an unknown Moraga
This is an unknown artist's representation of one of the Moragas

José Ignacio's son, Salvador (1776-1846), was one of the last commanders of the Presidio of Tubac. When Tucson became part of the Gadsden Purchase, and thus part of the United States, the Presidio moved to Altar, Sonora. Salvador Moraga retired there with his wife and two daughters.

Guadalupe Aros Moraga
Guadalupe Aros Moraga

The earliest photograph we have of a Moraga is of Guadalupe Aros Moraga, the younger daughter of Salvador Moraga, my great-great-great grandmother. In an article by Weadock in the Arizona Daily Star (1928), it was printed that she was born at San Xavier Mission after her father had arrived there as an envoy from Sonora. According to family history, Guadalupe and her sister Juana traveled with their father in a very peculiar manner. The two girls would be placed in rawhide pouches slung on opposite sides of a mule. So that the two would ride evenly, Guadalupe was balanced with Juana by addition of sand and stones to her saddle pouch. This family history became unbelievable many years later when research revealed that Juana was twenty years older than Guadalupe!

Read "The Moragas: Concerning the Last Conqueror and His Descendants"

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