about table of contents home

CHAPTER V:
THE PIMA REVOLT OF 1751

A. Tubac's Role in the Pima Revolt

The Pimans of Tubaca were located at the edge of the centre of the nativistic movement of the northern Pimans. Luís Oacpicagigua, the most effective leader in all northern Piman history probably, started the uprising at his home town of 114Saric. Messengers from Luís carried word to the other principal settlements of the day on which all were to rise in concert to take the hated Spaniards by surprise.

Two of the Spanish farm supervisors most disliked by the Tubaca area Indians had been in Tubac a few days before, but on November 20 they were elsewhere. Father Garrucho's general foreman Juan María Romero "Squash Squabble" infamy died at Aribaca along with his wife and son. So did a second Spanish participant in the "Squash Squabble", the foolish lancer Joseph de Nava (Sedelmayr, Estiger & Nentuig Nov. 30, 1751:67).

1. War Clubs in the Morning

At Tubac itself the revolt turned out to be somewhat of a fiasco. The Indians waited until daylight instead of attacking the local Spaniards during the dark of night. Then the Spanish-style officials of Tubac Indian town, led by their governor, assaulted the lone Spaniard with their native war clubs (Romero Dec. 3, 1751:82v). Said mission ranch supervisor Juan de Figueroa succeeded in fighting off his attackers and fleeing wounded toward Guebavi. He was still running when he reached Guebavi with the first news the people at the mission had of the revolt (Ygnacio Oct. 15, 1754:77v). They promptly fled to the hills with their weapons.

During the excitement of the attack on Juan de Figueroa, a friendly Piman hid his wife from the rebels so she was able to escape unhurt. The Spanish custom of acting as godparents 116to baptized Indian infants stood her in good stead, for her Indian savior was a compadre of hers (Sedelmayr, Estiger & Nentuig, Nov. 30, 1751:67) who clearly lived up to his Catholic ritual kinship obligations at the expense of his tribal loyalty. Figueroa's flight while his wife yet lived bespeaks an instinct for self-preservation under stress not condoned by the honor system of colonial Spaniards of the time, to whom honor was their dearest possession, even more so than life itself. Chances are that Figueroa was just a poor peasant farmer trying to improve his lot on the frontier, and an atypically pusillanimous sort at that. In his defense be it noted that the foreman at Saric also saved himself while his wife and children perished (Ewing 1945:261).

Apparently the Tubaca natives took out some of their spite on the possessions of the Spaniards before they departed from their homes. At any rate, the church and house belonging to the priest were burned (Fontes Dec. 17, 1751: 19v) and the rebels very likely set the torch to them when they attacked Figueroa.

2. Second Thoughts

The Tubac Indians themselves carried news of the uprising north down the Santa Cruz River Valley to the great village at Bac. The captain and some principal medicine men began urging the assassination of the local Jesuit missionary, but the governor managed to urge Father Francisco Pauer on his way before the final decision was reached by the slow 117process of northern Piman town-meeting (Chrisptoval Oct. 19 1754:87v).

Very soon after the unpropitious beginning of their own rebellion, the Indians of Tubaca packed up and moved to Tres Alamos on the lower San Pedro River, where they were joined by their neighbors from Tumacacori who had departed from their homes on receiving word of the uprising from Guebavi (Phelipe Oct. 15, 1754:79). A couple of other small rancherías also took refuge at Tres Alamos. There the people of Tubac seem to have remained through the winter, although they may have joined Captain-General Oacpicagigua's force in the Santa Catalina mountains.

The flight of the Tubac population effectively scotched at least some of the strategy which Captain-General Luís Oacpicagigua had evolved in preparing for the revolt. He had suggested to his kinsman Pedro de Chihuahua that the latter go establish himself among the Spaniards living in the San Luís Valley prior to the revolt. Then Luís would send him word afterwards to withdraw to Tubac where Luís would await him (Padilla, Feb. 3, 1752:25). In the event, Tubac turned out to be quite unsuitable as a rendezvous and Captain-General Luís Oacpicagigua kept to the mountains with his forces most of the time. His instructions to Pedro, even though that ex-lieutenant of his denied any intention of following them, (ibid., f. 30) sealed Pedro's death warrant when he was arrested on orders from Father Ignacio X. Keller (Menocal Dec. 2, 1751:9-11) who took command of troops and militiamen with 118much more of the iron hand of the Prussian officer than the humble soul of a missionary priest. Captain-General Oacpicagigua apparently continued to regard the site of Tubac as an excellent rendezvous point, since he suggested to the reluctant rebels of Bac that they unite with him at Tubac or Sopori (Ruiz de Ael, Dec. 17, 1751:l8).

3. On Active Service

Several Tubac warriors joined Captain-General Luís Oacpicagigua's forces. One Tubac resident named Gabrec reportedly ventured into Apache country to invite those Indians to join the northern Piman rebels in fighting the Spaniards (Joachín Jan. 8, 1752:68). The western rebels were reported to have tried to interest the Seris in a similar anti-Spanish alliance, but the gist of the response from both tribes was that the Pimas were hardly in a position to request their aid after having killed their relatives in concert with the Spaniards (ibid.).

The same Joseph of Tubac who had suffered the lashes of Father Joseph Garrucho's juryless justice for leaving Tubac without leave to accompany Captain-General Luís to fight Apaches and Seris was apparently one of the prime movers in the revolt (Buptucquim, Tubaasan, Tuthuburi & Siarisan, Feb. 23, 1752:116v), as might have been expected of a stalwart warrior who had been so grievously wronged.

The pre-revolt mador of Tubac was part of a multitude assembled at Bac in January of 1752 (Ruiz de Ael, Jan. 16, 1752:48), 119which probably included a good many more Tubac men working on the backward rebels of Bac.

CONTINUE
TABLE OF CONTENTS