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CHAPTER VI:
THE ROYAL FORT OF ST. IGNATIUS AT TUBAC

F. 2. Indian Agent

While the garrison of the royal fort at Tubac had little to do in the way of campaigning against the pacified northern Piman Indians, the fort commander did have considerable responsibilities and many duties in the realm of friendly Indian affairs. With the northern Pimans at peace and allied with the Spaniards against the common southern Athapascan enemy, the job of the Tubac comandant in many ways resembled that of the British District Officer in native Africa, the Australian counterpart in highland New Guinea, or the United States army officer commanding a fort in Indian country prior to 1849 when Indian administration was taken from the War Department and placed under civilian control in the Department of the Interior. In other words on-the-spot 227administration of Indian affairs was part of the complex job of the Tubac comandant.

a. The Natives Leave. One of the earliest problems in Indian affairs faced by the original comandant of the Tubac post, Captain Juan Thomas de Beldarrain, was the relationship between his troops and the native Indians of the ranchería of Tchoowaka. Little direct evidence survives upon his handling of this problem, but sometime after their return to Tchoowaka in the spring of 1752 its natives migrated to the neighboring ranchería of Tumacacori. The latter was still a visita of Guebavi Mission at the time of the move which had been completed at some date prior to 1762 (Nentvig 1951:141). Quite likely the increment of population from Tubac helped to persuade the Franciscan friars to transfer the mission from dying Guebavi to Tumacacori in the early 1770's.

b. Mission Work. The military post was at times utilized by the local missionaries in their proselytizing efforts, especially in the aftermath of the Pima Revolt. The Jesuit missionary at Guebavi, Francisco Pauer, baptized five Indian children in Tubac on New Years Day of 1754 (Libro de Bautismos y Casamientos de los Pueblos...de Santa María Soamca, f. 9v). All the godparents were apparently Spaniards, two of them soldiers. Pauer seems to have been bent upon impressing his converts and establishing close ceremonial kinship ties between them and the Tubac Spaniards.

228After a trip north to Bac, Father Pauer repeated his use of the post for Indian baptisms on January 6, adding four more young souls to the fold (ibid., f. 11v). On March 28 Pauer combined forces with the parish priest, Br. Joachín Felis Díaz to baptize seven more little Indians (ibid., f. 12v-13).  This practice continued as late as May 1, 1755 (ibid., f. 18). The later function of the post in Indian social relations is discussed below under compadrazco system.

c. Indian Prison. The Spaniards continued to imprison northern Piman medical practitioners after the Pima Revolt, not knowing the distress and opposition this caused them or not caring. The new post at Tubac became the prison for holding Indians arrested in the northern communities. For example, one of the leaders in the rebel faction at St. Francis Xavier Mission at Bac in November-December of 1751 was being held prisoner at Tubac as a witch in the fall of 1754 (Chrisptovalo Oct. 19, 1754:88). This function of the Tubac post continued throughout the existence of the St. Ignatius garrison. The cost of Indian prisoners was being charged to company funds-that is, the Royal Exchequer-in 1775 (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775) as in 1754.

d. The Gila River Pimas Rebel. After the pacification of the northern Pimans in 1752, the problems of the Tubac post comandant as principal local governmental agent in charge of those frontier Indians became acute to the point of open conflict at least twice more. Governor Juan Antonio de Mendoza 229stirred the Gila River Pimas led by Crow's Head-former comrade in arms of Captain-General Luís Oapicagigua-into rebelling in 1756. Pápagos also rose; Caborca was attacked in the west and Father Alonso Espinosa left Bac to take refuge in the royal fort at Tubac (Gardiner 1957:1). In November and December of 1756 Governor Mendoza campaigned against the Pápagos and Maricopas, carrying the fight all the way to the Gila River. He decisively defeated the Indians in a battle on their chosen field at the junction of the Gila with the Salt (ibid., p. 3-7).

e. The Pápagos Rebel. Since Juan Bautista de Anza was still serving at Fronteras as a lieutenant at the time of Governor Mendoza's campaign it is not likely he participated unless Fronteras troops were detached to the governor's force. It seems that the Pápagos rose once again, probably after Anza took command of Tubac in February of 1760. For Anza claimed credit for personally putting down a Pápago revolt by slaying the principal rebel chief and several other warriors with his own hands (Anza April 1770). This feat was mentioned in the post inspection reports of the Marques de Rubí so occurred prior to December of 1766 (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766).

This incident could not therefore have occurred in the spring Of 1770 when Anza again took a force into Pápago country as Rowland (1930:216 fn. 1) inferred.

The 1770 Incident arose while Captain Anza was serving in west central Sonora with the Elizondo Expedition. Captain 230Urrea sent word from Altar that one of his officers scouting for Apaches ran onto half a dozen Pápagos with stolen stock.  The missionary in charge of Ati where they lived, suggested strong measures were required to whip the Indians into shape.  Elizondo gave Captain Anza sixty presidial troops and instructions to punish the guilty in the Pápago country and call for more troops if they were needed. Very shortly Anza had brought protestations of peace and loyalty from the northern Pimans living from Altar to the Gila River, so Anza went Apache-hunting (Rowland 1930:215-216) which was probably more to his liking.

f. Anza Talks Turkey. Another example of how the Tubac comandant functioned as an administrator of friendly Indians was Captain Anza's visit to Bac and Tucson in 1770 during his northern excursion from the Gulf Coast theatre. Eight years previously there had been a general exodus of Sobaipuris from the exposed eastern frontier along the San Pedro River to refuge with relatives at Santa María Suamca and Tucson and the other Santa Cruz River Valley settlements (Elias Gonzalez, Mar. 22, 1762). The Sobaipuri refugees at Tucson had been an unstable element in that settlement ever since, creating problems for the native Indians, the missionaries at Bac and the responsible presidial officer, Captain Anza of Tubac.

While the Spaniards generally favored the concentration of scattered Indian settlements into fewer larger towns more easily governed, they found this process proceeding beyond 231their desires in northern Piman Country by 1770. Very heavy mortality during epidemics and Apache attacks had seriously reduced the population of northern Piman country and declining ranchería populations coalesced with great frequency. The Spanish colonial policy of encouraging concentration in mission communities had hastened this process (Oapicagigua Mar. 24, 1752). But the process of coalition had progressed to the point of diminishing return, defensively speaking, by 1770, at least from the Spanish point of view. The Indians clearly felt that the larger the community the safer the individual, and they were all for continuing to combine settlements as population continued to fall. The Spaniards on the other hand wanted to freeze the existing settlement pattern for strategic reasons-further diminution in the number of Indian villages would open even wider gaps in the territory between towns, and make the Piman defensive screen even less effective as a buffer between the Apaches and the more settled parts of Sonora.

By the late spring of 1770 the Gila River Pima village with their large populations and efficient resistance to Apache attacks and abundant irrigation water looked like a better place to be than Tucson to the immigrant Sobaipuris (Ezell 1955:2 and Anza May 19, 1770:119). Late in April of that year at least three families left Tucson for the Gila River Pima settlements (Ezell 1955:2; Anza May 19, 1770:118). Captain Anza showed up at Tucson four days after their departure and persuaded the rest to stay put, issuing orders to the 232village governors to make those who had already moved return. Anza also showed the Indians where to build a fortifying wall for defense.

The Indians exacted a price for their cooperation with the Spanish official, however, demanding a church be built for them such as the other settlements had if they were to remain. What they actually meant, as much as the physical structure, was that they wanted food given them for their subsistence while they worked. Captain Anza arranged with Father Francisco Garcés to release all the harvest of the church fields at Tucson and half that grown at Bac to feed these importunate Indians, so they agreed to stay on and work on the fortifying wall and church (Ezell 1955:2 & Anza May 19, 1770:119).

As the responsible official field agent in Indian relations, Captain Anza had also to exercise his persuasive powers on his own hierarchical super-iors. The governor of Sonora interpreted one of Anza's reports on the Sobaipuri desire to resettle on the Gila River to mean they intended returning to their former homes on the San Pedro River-probably the governor's natural desire to re-establish the former military buffer zone there led him to read what he desired into what Anza actually had reported. Anza therefore had carefully to disabuse the governor and reaffirm the Sobaipuri interest in the Gila River, and their total disinclination to beard the Apaches by returning to the San Pedro (Ezell 1955:2 & Anza May 19, 1770:120).

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