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E. Social Characteristics of Fort St. Rafael

Inasmuch as Tubac was garrisoned with an Indian outfit, it seems likely that the military society of the post was not nearly so strict and formal as it had been at the earlier St. Ignatius post. Unfortunately no evidence has been found to indicate whether the use of Indian troops brought about a tightening or loosening of caste barriers in Tubac society.  It is clear that citizen settlers and economic affairs loomed more importantly in the life of the Tubac populace than in the previous post.

1. Land Grants and Use Rights

The Spanish policy of encouraging civilian settlement at frontier military posts was still operative when the royal fort of St. Rafael was transferred to Tubac. Civilian Spaniards were encouraged to join the Pima Company in refounding a royal outpost at Tubac (Otero 1807:1). One of the persons who obtained a grant of farm lands from the post reservation was Toríbio de Otero, founder of a family still important in southern Arizona with descendants still residing at Tubac.

The grant to Otero was made by Lt. Nicolás de la Errán in 1789, and is of interest for its illustration of the reciprocity relationship between the crown and the grantee. 479Otero received from the government a house lot of considerable size and four farming plots approximately 3,400 yards in circumference. He could not alienate or mortgage this land for four years, nor could he ever dispose of it to the church or any religious organization. Otero was obligated to plant fruit trees or other useful types, and to construct his home on the grant within two years and reside there four years before receiving full possession. Moreover he was obliged to provide himself with weapons and mounts and to serve as a militiaman when needed (Mattison 1946:282). In many respects Otero's land grant resembled the later homestead grants in the United States with the difference that the Spanish government did not make an outright gift of the land when the settler "proved up" by residence and improvement, but restricted the scope of the title by excluding the church from possible purchasers and requiring continuing militia service from the grantee.

There was an additional parallel between the frontier settler in the United States and New Spain. Both recognized "squatters rights" which the two governments to a greater or lesser extent sanctioned. In anthropological parlance, these settlers operated very much in terms of a doctrine of "use rights" regardless of legal promulgations of government.

In the early 1800's Toríbio de Otero was petitioning the Spanish government for aid in recovering his granted lands from farmers who had taken possession of them when Otero transferred his farming operations elsewhere during a water 480shortage. When he petitioned, Otero was apparently a school teacher in the provincial capital at Arizpe, and commercial agent there for the quartermaster at the military post of Tubac (Otero 1807:1). Living at the capital, Otero could realistically hope to gain the ear of the Intendent-General of the Frontier Provinces and enlist the authority and majesty of the government on his side of the local quarrel over land control. He was, in a word, attempting to prove the mastery of the legal land code over the customary use right.

The conflict over title arose in the year 1804 during a drought in the upper Santa Cruz River drainage. Until that time, Otero claimed, he had cultivated the fields granted him intermittently since clearing them. During the drought Otero moved downstream. Immediately three other citizens moved onto his granted lands with permission from the post commandant (Manuel de León). Then the stream flow returned to normal. Otero wanted his fields back, but they were occupied. Otero asked the Intendent-General to decide who was entitled to hold the land. Furthermore he asked that if the decision should be in favor of the actual cultivators he should as the grantee who had cleared the land and placed it in cultivable condition be recompensed by the three usurpers for the cost of building his diversion dam and system of irrigation ditches and clearing and preparing the land for cultivation (Otero 1807:1v)

Intendent-General Alexo García Conde, upon receiving Otero's petition, ordered the Commandant at Tubac, Ensign Manuel 481de León, to report objectively upon the truth of Otero's assertions (García Conde, January 26, 1807).

The Tubac commander replied that the land in question had indeed been granted to Otero by the former post commander Nicolás de la Errán. In 1804, he went on, Otero had loaned a part of the lands to another citizen to farm, and the rest remained uncultivated for lack of irrigation water.  When the water increased again, another citizen

approached Ensign León with the suggestion that he be allowed to farm Otero's uncultivated lands. León agreed, so that the land would not go unused, but pointed out that title remained with Otero. Having admitted Otero's unassailable legal position, the post commander recommended to the Intendent-General that Otero be recompensed for his improvements (León 1807:3-4), clearly implying his hope that the actual cultivators of the land would be confirmed in its possession in preference to the absentee owner, Otero.

The Intendent-General demonstrated in his ultimate resolution of the difficulty that wisdom which kept him at the head of the Frontier Provinces for many years and made him one of the most effective Spanish government officials in New Spain-and a field marshal in the Mexican army when independence finally appeared inevitable. General García Conde decreed that since Otero's legal right was proved he was entitled to recompense for his improvements on the land-but he left the actual cultivators in possession of it if they repaid 482Otero for his investment, thus sanctioning the use-right doctrine. The Intendent-General also provided that if the actual cultivators were not able to raise the money to repay Otero, they would have to return the lands to him as the rightful owner, to farm himself or to rent to whomsoever he pleased (García Conde, Feb. 12, 1807:4-5).


1. A leading citizen of Cucurpe.

2. A leading citizen of Santa Ana.

3 Toríbio de Otero's marriage took place at Santa Ana, and was recorded in Libro de Casamientos del Pueblo o Real de Sta Anna desde Catorce de Mayo del ano de 1778, f. 29-29v.

4. Married Toríbio on February 16, 1779, with Francisco Salazar (probably her uncle) and Juan Thomas Valderrayn the younger as witnesses.

5. Apparently Toríbio's sister, married to his brother-in-law in a case of sibling exchange between families.

6. María Dolores Otero's husband, Francisco Salazar of Santa Ana.

7. Joséfa Beldarrain (daughter of first Tubac commandant Juan Thomas de Beldarrain).

8. Phelipe Salazar of Santa Ana.

9. Born May 28, 1780, baptismal godparents were Juan Thomas de Beldarrain the younger and his wife Ana Gertrudis Monrroy. (Libro que contiene los de la administracion del Pueblo de Santa Ana, Bautismos, f. 6).

10. Leading citizen of republican Tubac, and town official during the 1830's, as described below.

11. Atanacio's wife Carmen Quizada (Libro de las Partidas...de Tubac...f. 15).

12. Ramón Otero.

13. María Jesús Sotelo (ibid., f. 12v), wife of Ramón Otero, and probably daughter or niece of post commandant Lt. Ygnacio Sotelo.

14. Joséfa Otero, born in 1792, died in 1817 (ibid., Entierros f. 9v).

15. José Padilla, Joséfa's husband at the time of death.

16. (Libro que contiene los de la administracion del Pueblo de Santa Ana, Bautismos, f. 2v). María Guadalupe Salazar was born January 24, 1779.

17. Atanacio's daughter Magdalena died in 1821 (Libro de las Partidas...de Entierros...de Tubac...f. 15).

18. Manuel may have been Ramón's son rather than Atanacio's.

19. (Libro de Bautismos No. 0, Magdalena, Sonora).

20. Toríbio's great-grandson (McClintock 1916:III:681), born December 29, 1846.

21. Sabino Otero's spouse unknown.

22. Teófilo Otero, Sabino's brother.

23. María Manuela Otero, daughter of Manuel, was baptized August 29, 1844, at Tubac (Libro de Bautismos No. 0, Magdalena).

24. Manuel O. Otero was born at Tubac in 1867, served in the Spanish-American War (Arizona Daily Star, September 5, 1958).

25. When Manuel O. Otero died, his own children had twenty-one living offspring, and eight grandchildren.

485With the Apaches long pacified, more of the enterprising people of Tubac began to think of expanding their ranching toward the east and former Apache territory, pushing out from the military post.

a. Canoa. Tomás and Ignacio Ortiz, the sons of Agustín Ortiz who had obtained the Aribaca land grant in 1812 and residents of the royal fort at Tubac, initiated proceedings for obtaining an additional grant of land in the Santa Cruz River Valley in September of 1820. The area sought was four sitios located at La Canoa approximately a dozen miles north of Tubac (Mattison 1946:294). Lt. Ignacio Elías Gonzalez surveyed the tract in June of 1821, the same year he became Tomás's father-inlaw, defining it as extending north and south along the river from Sahuarita to the northern edge of the Tubac military reservation. Fray Juan Vaño bid against the Ortiz brothers on behalf of two citizens of Bac at the auction held at Tubac in July (ibid. p. 295). At Arizpe in December the Ortiz brothers finally put up the highest bid (ibid., P. 296).

486b. Sonoita. Another of those who acted was León Herreras, who secured title to the old Piman rancheria and mission at San José de Sonoyta on Sonoita Creek east of Tubac in 1821 (Britton & Gray 1884:29). His land adjoined the grazing and outlying farm lands of the Indians of Tumacácori Mission, and the Franciscan there a little later, Fray Ramón Liberos, stepped in to make sure that a firm boundary was established between the two great estates (ibid., p. 30).

Herreras petitioned the royal commissary general of the treasury on the frontier in May of 1821, during the final days of Spanish rule in New Spain (Mattison 1946:298). He was finally granted title four years later by the sovereign state of Mexico, although the grant was made under provisions of a Spanish act of 1754 which continued in force in the newly independent nation (ibid., p. 299).

2. The Anza Ranches

When Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza departed from the Sonoran frontier to assume the governorship of the Province of New Mexico, he had developed a large number of ranching properties in the Santa Cruz River Valley on both sides of the present international boundary line. His ranches included Sópori (Yslas July 18, 1810:20) on Sópori Creek, a western surface-flowing tributary of the Santa Cruz a few miles northwest of Tubac, Divisaderos and Santa Barbara on the southern loop of the upper Santa Cruz river south of Tubac, 487Sibuta and Sicurisuta in the headwaters of the Magdalena River drainage a short distance to the southwest of the Santa Cruz loop and Sasabe (ibid.), apparently in the midst of the wide, grass-covered Avra Valley between Aribaca and the Babaquibari range. Colonel Anza retained ownership of these extensive ranch properties, apparently entrusting their management to his brother Francisco (Narbona May 40 1810:19).

To a significant extent ranching in the region guarded by the royal fort of St. Rafael at Tubac remained firmly in the hands of the Anza family segment of the Sonoran provincial elite despite the departure of Colonel Juan B. de Anza. This ownership survived even the Colonel. When he died in 1788 his estate went to his two nieces Ana and Rosa, daughters of his brother Francisco (Vildósola 1819:23). Without active management, however, these frontier properties were not worth a great deal to two Spanish gentlewomen reared by a wealthy and indulgent father and uncle whose very strong characters and great abilities precluded the girls' ever learning anything about practical ranch management. Shortly after 1800, therefore, the heiresses sold the Sópori ranch to another female member of the provincial elite, Ramóna de Vildósola (ibid.). She in turn gave the property to her cousin Benancio Tato on the eve of her departure for the City of Mexico in 1819 (Vildósola June 10, 1819:25).

The Sópori ranch continued to be occupied at least off and on until the eve of United States acquisition.

488 3. The Tubac-Tumacácori Complex

Since the Indian mission at Tumacácori lay only three miles away from the royal fort of St. Rafael at Tubac, visiting between these two frontier settlements was easy-a matter of an hour's stroll or a few minute's ride. A great deal of visiting back and forth is expectable under such conditions and appears to have occurred. In fact the two settlements existed in what was in many ways a symbiotic relationship: the mission community furnished the military post with religious services for community and individual, with a significant quantity of provisions, a few mates, and considerable social reinforcement. The fort in its turn provided the mission with military protection, civil government, some mates and very abundant social reinforcement.

This very close social relationship between Tubac and Tumacácori is apparent time and again in the simple notes on every day life which slip into mission records. Every now and then, for example, someone from the mission died at the fort, proving the frequency of visiting between the two communities. This happened to a mission servant on November 12, 1791 (San José de Tumacácori, Libro de Entierros f. 148v).  It happened to a widow of Tumacácori on March 21, 1793 (ibid., f. 148) and it happened to a Pima Indian widower from Tumacácori on February 6, 1797 (ibid., f. 153). It also happened to an Apache Indian child living at the mission on June 25, 1798 (ibid., f. 154-154v), and to a nine-month old infant 489on September 12, 1816 (ibid., f. 168v), and to a married man who was carried to the fort to die on November 7 of that year (ibid., f. 170).

On a happier note, women from Tumacácori sometimes bore their children at Tubac. A citizen women from the mission bore her child at the fort on January 26, 1804 (ibid., Libro de Bautismos f. 37v). Another did so on December 22, 1808, (ibid., f. 45) and another on September 10, 1814 (Libro de las Partidas...de Bautismos...de Tubac... f. 2). The Spanish women living at the mission seem to have had the same preference for bearing their children at the military post which characterized the earlier generation.

a. Economic Symbiosis. During the 1790's there was a very firm economic foundation for the close relationship between mission residents and military posts. In the latter part of the decade the missions of Upper Pimería in general suffered an economic depression which Tumacácori escaped because of its close proximity to Tubac. In earlier years all the missions had been able to show a profit on their grain crops raised with Indian labor on church fields, and their cattle herded by neophytes, because the cereals and beef were sold to civilian miners for food. San Ildefonso de Cieneguilla was probably the major market for all the Upper Pimería mission grain and meat surplus, and certainly for that of the western missions. By the latter part of this decade, however, the Cieneguilla placers were about exhausted and 490the mine community was turning into a ghost camp. The same situation existed at smaller mining camps in northwestern Sonora, and put a serious crimp in the mission economic system. Not only did the unemployed miners cease purchasing mission grain and beef, they themselves turned to farming and ranching to survive and began growing competing crops!

Tumacácori evidently escaped poverty because its production went to the adjacent military post where there was a continuing market for grain and meat for the troops. No other settlement could compete against Tumacácori for the Tubac market because of its extremely short haul which allowed the Tumacácori missionaries to undersell anyone else except farmers right at the post. Tumacácori's relative prosperity was such that it could lend funds to neighboring missionaries to help construct churches at both Bac and Cocóspera (Yturralde April 3, 1798:11v-12).

b. Mining. Another factor in the demand for Tumacácori Mission farm products at Tubac besides the military garrison seems to have been continued interest of Tubac residents in mining the rich lode deposits in the nearby mountains. The exploitation of mines undoubtedly boomed in the Tubac area with the comparative pacification of the Apaches, and perhaps rich ores provided as much motivation for seeking land grants as did abundant grass and water resources.

At the very tag end of December of 1821, just after Mexico achieved effective independence from Spain, Apache raiders 491struck the Salero Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, killing a young man from Tamazula on the Michoacan coast (Libro de las Partidas...de Entierros...de Tubac...f. 15). The record of his death suggests that the Salero Mine had been worked steadily during the later colonial period, providing at least one mine camp outpost east of Tubac, and one more mine camp to buy Tumacácori Mission agricultural produce and beef.

4. Tubac and Other Communities

Tumacácori Mission was far from the only other community with which the people of Tubac enjoyed visiting relationships and other close social ties. Residents of the royal fort had kinsmen, both genetic and ritual, in many other northern Sonora communities, and carried on trade and social visits with them.

On February 21, 1796, an infant girl was baptized by the Franciscan missionary at Tumacácori whose parents were from the town of Cucurpe to the south although then living at the mission. Her godmother was the wife of a citizen of the royal fort at Altar living at Tubac (San José de Tumacácori, Libro de Bautismos f. 29v). On March 17th of that same year a godmother of a Tumacácori girl was an immigrant from Mission Santiago at Cocóspera (ibid., f. 30).

Some of the soldiers in the company of St. Rafael were recruits from nearby Pima-speaking Indian communities such as Mission St. Francis Xavier at Bac (ibid., f. 30). Others came from other tribes and more distant settlements, as did 492a soldier-godfather and his wife who were Opatas from the town of Sinoquipe (ibid., f. 30).

These were all cases of intersettlement ties produced by migration between towns in Sonora. The socio-religious compadrazco system also helped to create and reinforce intercommunity ties with nearby settlements other than Tumacácori. Thus Pedro Bojorquez and his wife, citizens of Tubac, became baptismal godparents to the infant son of residents of Calabazas on December 5, 1810 (ibid., f. 46).

A high proportion of these intercommunity ties were established, however, through community exogamy in marriage.  Marriageable men and women tended to find their mates in settlements other than Tubac about half the time. This sent Tubac brides off to Tucson (Libro de las Partidas... de Casamientos...de Tubac... f. 8v, 10, 1v), Onavas (ibid., f. 11v), Cucurpe (ibid., f. 10) Arivaca (ibid, f. 5v, 8, 8v), etc.