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

Health Conditions, continued

4. Population

The population of the military post at Tubac and its auxiliary citizenry eventually numbered somewhat over four times the complement of the garrison. At any rate 421 persons were reported living at Tubac in November of 1761 (Tamarón 1937:305 & Santos Angeles de Guebavi, p. 129-130).  The garrison at that time numbered fifty-one officers and men. This was about seven years after the full complement of fifty reverted to Tubac. As time went on the proportion of civilians to soldiers increased.

In 1761 there were sixty-two families at Tubac (Tamarón 1937:305). How many of these were families of troops and how many of citizens is not known. By the end of 1766 the citizens numbered forty (Anza Dec. 30, 1766) probably meaning male family heads. Since the total number of dwelling units at the post was over seventy about that time (Urrutia 1766), it appears that perhaps thirty of the troopers had families and twenty were single. Certainly the population was growing as a result of immigration of civilians to the post (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766).

365On October 23, 1775, the population of Tubac decreased sharply with the departure of sixty-three persons with Captain Anza's expedition to colonize the San Francisco Bay in Upper California (Bolton 1930:I:242), apparently the largest contingent sent to the Golden Gate by any one community in New Spain.

If the Tubac population refrained stable from 1766 to 1775, sixty-three emigrants took away fifteen percent of the total populace of the post. If Captain Anza had been able to augment the citizenry by attracting more settlers, the percentage loss was, of course, smaller.

That Captain Anza had not been able to attract many pioneers to Tubac after 1766 is suggested by the number of civilians reported living at the post in August of 1775 two months before the departure of the California colonists. At that time there were thirty-nine families of citizens settled at Tubac, plus two families of Yaquis, two of Opatas, one of Piros and one of Apaches-forty-five families in all not belonging to members of the garrison (Oliva Aug. 10, 1775 No. 8). This represented either a net loss of one family since 1766 or a gain of five, depending on whether Anza counted Indians among the forty citizens he reported then. (If Anza actually meant their were forty total civilians in 1766 rather than forty family heads, then forty-five families represented a very considerable increase.) Family number is no accurate index to Tubac's total population however.

366a. Birth Rate. The Tubac population was a fertile one and most of the married women there bore several children during their productive years. The garrison of the original company seems to have been a comparatively young one, with most of the men recently married and their wives entering their most fertile years.

The Tubac stork derby began in November of 1752 when wives of two soldiers bore children conceived at Santa Ana (Libro de Bautismos del Partido de San Ygnacio de Caburica p. 172-173). The total population of the post was at least seventy-six (counting the rotated unit at Ocuca, nineteen verified wives and six known children taken to Tubac). The crude birth rate can be estimated at about fifty-two births per 1,000 population. This is about double the recent birth rate in the United States which averaged 25.1 births per 1,000 population from 1951 through 1956 (Dunn 1958:I:XLII). The estimate is high to the extent that the Tubac population exceeded seventy-six, but this error is at least partially corrected by births of which no record has been found.

1753--The next year there were nine known births to wives of Tubac soldiers. Nine births in a population of seventy-eight meant a crude birth rate of 115 births per 1,000 population or about four and one half times the current United States birth rate which is increasing the population rapidly combined with a low death rate. Again, of course, this Tubac figure is to some extent an overestimation.

3671754--This year the birth rate fell spectacularly to a mere 23 births per 1,000 population due to the rise in population the previous year and a drop of births to only two. This just maintained the known population, since there were two deaths in the post population during 1754 (speaking always in terms of births and deaths of which record has been found, of course).

1755--The women of Tubac rebounded from the 1754 low with a doubled crop of infants in 1755, four births. This meant a crude birthrate of forty-six births per 1,000 population and a net increase to ninety-one verified residents.

1756--Three births during 1756 indicated a crude birth rate of thirty-three births per 1,000 population, increasing the verified population of Tubac to ninety-four persons.

1757--Only two births in this year meant a crude birth rate below the current United States rate, only twenty-one births per 1,000 population. One fatality at least occurred that year in the company, so the net gain in the verified population was only one. (Actually it was two since the deceased soldier would have been replaced by a recruit or a transfer.)

1758--This was a better year for the goals of colonial administration for the crude birth rate climbed to sixty-three births per 1,000 population. Six women bore children at Tubac to raise the population four persons-two fatalities of record having occurred-to ninety-nine individuals. 3681759--Three births during 1759 exactly balanced three known fatalities. Both the crude birth and death rates ware thirty per 1,000 population.

b. Fertility. Certainly during the seven and one-half years from June 1, 1752, to January 1, 1760, there was additional immigration to Tubac which has not been taken into account in the preceding computations. This does not invalidate the estimates just offered, however, for the immigrants would have had children also, and none of those are included in the computations above. The birth rates above represent the fecundity only of the original Tubac pioneers.

Perhaps this point can be better made by analyzing the fertility of the women involved. As mentioned above, available documents have permitted identification of only nineteen wives of the original garrison. Some troopers were bachelors and some wives bore no children during the seven and one-half year period analyzed. Only seventeen of the nineteen verified wives are known to have born children between the founding of the post and January 1, 1760. These seventeen bore thirty-one children during that seven and one-half years, an average of 1.8 children per child-bearing female of record.

There was a very intriguing correlation between socioeconomic status and number of births per wife during this first seven and a half years of the post of Tubac. Two women out of the seventeen bore four children each. They were 369Doña María Theresa Prudhom Butron y Moxica de Beldarrain and Doña Bartola de la Peña de Ramirez, wives of the post comandant and ensign-lieutenant respectively!

One of the other wives bore three children during these seven and a half years and six bore two children each, leaving eight wives who bore a single infant each. It bears repeating here that since these totals are all documented, the possibility remains that these same women bore additional children of whom no record has been found. The figures analyzed therefore indicate minimal fecundity in this small population. Some of the children born to Tubac mothers were born out of wedlock often in other settlements (Libro de Bautismos del Partido de Huquitoa de 1757 f. 16v), so records of births of that type are difficult to locate.

The virtual certainty that special chaplain Br. Joséph Manuel Díaz del Carpio was keeping a separate set of administrative records for the Tubac post from 1760 on prevents any precise estimation of demographic characteristics. Figures derived from records kept by other priests can yield minimal and skewed estimates only, not reliable ones. The crude death rate which could be computed on the basis of the one known death during 1762 (Santos Angeles de Guebavi, Libro de Entierros, p. 64) would be only 2.4 deaths per 1,000 population. This is little more than a quarter of the present United States crude mortality rate (Dunn 1958:I:LIV) and much too low to be reasonable.

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