Foundation of the Upper Pimería Company


While the dispatch rider was covering the many long miles from San Ignacio south to the capital city and back again, Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla had succeeded in restoring peace to the northern Pimans. Considering his labors on the Pima Revolt emergency sufficiently complete no longer to require his presence at advanced operations headquarters,the governor was preparing to return to San Miguel de Horcasitas when his dispatch rider brought the viceroy's instructions into San Ignacio Mission on March 18, 1752 (Ewing 1945:27). Having cleaned up other business, and with some months of field experience with the provincial officers, troops and militia, Governor Ortiz Parrilla could and did act swiftly to carry out the viceroy's orders.

Eight days after receiving the viceregal delegation of powers, Governor Ortiz Parrilla completed his arrangements for the new company of troops, and on March 26, 1752, dictated a series of documents formally founding the new company.&nb sp; As predicted, he had encountered no difficulty in recruiting the authorized force.

1431. Comandant

The authorization of a new garrison permitted Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla to counterbalance the unruly frontier companies-in-being with a new loyal force, and the power of appointment of its comandant enabled him to place an obedient officer on the northern frontier. These considerations probably weighed in the discussions of the council of War at the capital, and Ortiz Parrilla had to look no further than his own escort troops to find the man for the job. His choice was, of course, greatly simplified by the strongly expressed preference of the viceroy and other officials for the captain recommended by Father Provincial Juan A. Balthasar. Captain Juan Thomas de Beldarrain already commanded the Company of Sinaloa which provided the governor with his principal personal striking power, and had rendered good service during the Piman Rebellion emergency. So on March 26, 1752, Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla issued a commission to Captain Juan T. Beldarrain as first comandant of the Company of Upper Pimería (Ortiz Parrilla Mar. 26, 1752a), subject to approval by the viceroy. Since Beldarrain had already returned to Horcasitas, the governor ordered him to come back north to activate his command on April 1 (Ortiz Parrilla Mar. 26 175 2b:46).

2. Garrison

By March 26 Governor Ortiz Parrilla had already recruited 144the fifty-man complement of the new Upper Pimería Company and decided on its subordinate officers as well as the commander, so on that day he passed the new unit in review, reporting the roll so the men could begin drawing their pay as of April 1.


Extract of Review which I, Lieutenant Colonel of theRoyal Armies Don Diego Ortiz Parrilla, Governor and Captain-General ofthese Provinces of Sinaloa and Sonora, made on March 26, 1752, of the new company of regular soldiers which has been formed at the order of HisExcellency the viceroy of these Realms in this Province of Sonora forservice in Upper Pimería from the first day of the approachingmonth of April.

Captain Don Juan Thomas de Beldarrayn, employed in the Fort of San Miguel at the present
Lieutenant Don Simón Thaboada, present; P-1
Ensign Don Juan Ramirez, present; P-1
Sergeant Don Juan María Oliba, present; P-1
Corporal Joséph Moraga; P-1
Corporal Nicolás Burruel P-1
Joséph Esteban de España P-1
Francisco de Zalasar P-1
Bernardo Urquixo P-1
Francisco Xavier de la Cruz P-1
Julian Antonio de Albizu P-1
145Joséph Antonio de Salazar P-1
José María Orosco P-1
Santiag Medina P-1
Ygnacio Poravo P-1
Ygnacio Joséph Castillo P-1
Juan Manuel Martínez P-1
Joséph Nicolás Torres P-1
Bartholomé de Estrada P-1
Salbador Corona P-1
Salbador Contreras P-1
Juan Manuel Burruel P-1
Marcos Pelegrino P-1
Joachín de Ussarraga P-1
Joséph Antonio Murrietta P-1
Pasqual Gallego P-1
Andrés Carrillo P-1
Juan Medina P-1
Ygnacio Moraga P-1
Guillermo Munguia P-1
Joséph Antonio Maldonado P-1
Miguel de Auyna P-1
Juan Narciso Martínez P-1
Ramón Leal P-1
Vizente Valenzuela P-1
Francisco Facundo Sanchez P-1
Joséph Sanchez Thovar P-1
146Manuel Gonzalez P-1
Carlos Marques P-1
Juan Portillo P-1
Juan Ygnacio Cota P-1
Francisco Xavier de Arriola P-1
Manuel Ramirez P-1
Cayetano Limon P-1
Gregorio Monrreal P-1
Nicolás Gonzalez P-1
Juan de Luque P-1
Juan Baldenebro P-1
Antonio Yguera P-1
Simón de Arguelles P-1
Joachín Gonzalez P-1
Total = 51


From the total of this extract is attested that said company finds itself formed with the number of fifty-one men including the captain and officers, which is the same that His Excellency the viceroy of these realms authorized. It is advised that it is complete with arms, horses, and other equipment except for eight sets of leather armor which are being sought for its completion. The Captain should arrive in this Pimería in order to begin his service the day expressed; to this end the proper order has been dispatched, so that he should be credited like the other officers of this company with the current stipend from that day forward.


147Town of San Ignacio in the Upper Pimería on March 26 seventeen hundred fifty-two.
Diego Ortiz Parrilla

A significant proportion of the recruits were displaced refugees from the Pima Revolt. Forty citizens of Upper Pimería had enlisted for duration of the crisis as auxiliary troops under Governor Ortiz Parrilla's command. They served from December l, 1751, until March 31, 1752, for the meagre pay of ten pesos per month (Urrea Mar. 31, 1752:2v). Probably many of these men had been left homeless by the revolt, and nearly a quarter of them enlisted in the new company, making up eighteen per cent of its complement (Ortiz Parrilla, Mar. 26, 1752c). Another four per cent of the new troop enlisted from the ranks of the Opodepe valley militia (Arregui Apr. 3, 1752:1v-2) neighbors of the Upper Pimería.

For the moment, selection of a permanent site for the new garrison was deferred. Circumstances of field service, citizen protection and supply lines effectively fixed its first station at the Spanish town of Santa Ana a few miles south from San Ignacio Mission (Ortiz Parrilla May 15, 1752: 88v). From there Captain Beldarrain and his subordinates ranged at need through the southern district of Upper Pimería as spring turned into summer (Beldarrain May 13, 1752:72v).

3. Locating the Post

While Santa Ana might serve as temporary headquarters 148for the new Upper Pimería company, Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla recognized that he must choose a more permanent garrison site. As a conscientious officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ortiz Parrilla sought expert advice on the best of all possible locations for the projected post to carry out its mission of overawing and keeping the northern Pimans peaceful. While he possessed delegated viceregal powers to determine the fort location, because he was the responsible official nearest the scene, Ortiz Parrilla realized that he himself had been no farther into northern Piman territory than San Ignacio Mission, so the pioneers on the frontier knew the possible sites much better than did he.

a. Frontiersmen's Meeting. Shortly after Governor Ortiz Parrilla returned to San Miguel de Horcasitas from San Ignacio he ordered Captain Joséph Díaz del Carpio, who was still at the mission, to hold a meeting of responsible persons experienced in northern Piman country to discuss feasible fort sites (Ortiz Parrilla Apr. 4, 1752). Three days after the governor issued his order Captain Joséph Díaz del Carpio acknowledged it and called together a crew of distinguished officers and citizens of the frontier to consider the question (Díaz del Carpio Apr. 7, 1752:83v-84). He summoned Militia Captain Bernardo de Urrea, the lieutenant of the chief civil officer of Sonora and a rancher in the northern Piman country prior to the revolt although he lived at Opodepe. He summoned Joséph Ignacio Salazar, Ensign of 149Militia and Francisco Xavier Padilla, Ensign of Militia and former miner in the Santa Rita Mountains east of Tubac. He summoned his own post ensign, Antonio Olguin, and his company, sergeant, Pedro de Espinosa. He called in a retired ensign named Joséph Romero, and a commissary official, Ignacio de Romero. Finally Captain Díaz del Carpio issued a general invitation to the citizens of the San Luís and Magdalena River Valleys who found themselves in Santa Ana to attend the conference (ibid., f. 34).

The big meeting convened three days later on April 10, with Captain Joséph Díaz del Carpio as chairman (Díaz del Carpio, Apr. 10, 1752:85-85v). The deliberations of the assembly required only a little more than two hours. Moreover, the men participating agreed unanimously (ibid., f. 86) on reinterpreting the mission of the new company. The viceroy might have intended its garrison to awe the northern Pimans into submission, but now that they had this windfall the northern Sonoran settlers wanted to convert it into an Apache fighting outfit. They found the Apaches to be a more constant and dependable menace than the just-pacified northern Pimans (ibid., f. 86v). Not only that, the Sonorans agreed that the one post was not enough! Not satisfied with the loaf the viceroy had given them, they asked him to bake them a bigger one and cut it in two. They offered as their considered opinion the idea that the royal interest would best be served by increasing the strength of the new company to sixty men, 150and then dividing it into two detachments to garrison two rather widely separated sites. They recommended one detachment of thirty men be located at Tupo, which was somewhat northwest from Santa Ana , and the other thirty-man detachment at Tubac. Both places were commodious, endowed with permanent water, cultivable lands, stock pasturage and other prerequisites for the successful frontier fort. Such a distribution of forces would not only overawe both the western and northern branches of the northern Pimans, but would also impede the freedom of movement of the hostile Apaches (ibid., f. 87).

A garrison at Tupo alone would leave the northern part of the Piman population to maintain its well-known bellicosity, the Sonorans argued. A force at Tubac should assure that those warlike natives gained a wholesome respect for Spanish arms, and would also be nearer the existing post at Terrenate so the two could act in concert in case of another emergency similar to the revolt recently ended (ibid., f. 87v). "And, the post of Tubac being also garrisoned (in case that the Indian s of the North should rebel) it would stop the union which the latter would seek with those of the West" reasoned the Sonorans. A post at Tubac would have the additional merit of freeing the Terrenate garrison of the necessity of detailing men to northern Piman duties, leaving it able to concentrate on the Apaches and the more or less friendly Eudebes, Jovas and Opatas (ibid., f. 89).

151Having gone thus far in suggesting policy to the governor, the Sonorans gathered in public meeting went on to urge that the new posts should be defended by a closed adobe wall so that the small number of troops likely to be on guard duty could easily defend then against Indian attack (ibid., f. 88v).

At least some of the Sonorans present apparently continued the discussion after the close of the meeting, and later went to Captain Díaz del Carpio with the suggestion that the site of Ocuca would make a better fort location than Tupo, being farther west toward the hostile Seris and the western Pimans, and having better water (ibid., f. 89).

The next day Captain Díaz del Carpio dispatched the report of the meeting to Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla (Díaz del Carpio, Apr. 11, 1752).

b. Other Officers Agree. Apparently still not satisfied that he had received the best advice, Governor Ortiz Parrilla on April 19 ordered the lieutenant and ensign of the Fronteras garrison to appear before him to testify on the proper location of the new company (Ortiz Parrilla Apr. 19, 1752).  Three days later the veteran lieutenant reported to thegovernor to offer his advice on the subject. Francisco Xavier de Escalante had served on the northern frontier since 1720 so his experience covered a span of thirty-one years (Escalante, Apr. 22, 1752:90v-91).

Many times during those thirty-one years, Lt. Escalante had had occasion to traverse the terrain of the northern Pimans (ibid., f. 91). With this background, Lt. Escalante 152averred that although he venerated the superior dispositions of the viceroy, he felt that the king and the public welfare would be much better served by increasing the strength of the newly authorized company to sixty men and dividing it into two detachments, one to be posted to Tupo and the other to Tubac (ibid., f. 91v). Quite clearly, if Escalante had not read the report of the public meeting at San Ignacio Mission, he had heard of its recommendations and was only too ready to add his voice to the frontier clamour for more men and two posts for the price of one.

Lt. Escalante stressed the importance of the Tubac Site in curbing Apache raids, for he advised the governor that it served them as an open door to enter Spanish territory which a military post there would close. Like the Sonorans at the San Ignacio meeting, Escalante stressed that the northern Pimans were the most warlike, and a single post at Tupo would be too far removed even to curb those bellicose Indians (ibid., f. 92). Escalante, too, urged that troops at Tubac could preve nt the northern Pimans from linking up with the western Pimans in the event of another uprising (ibid., f 92v). In a word, Lt. Escalante enthusiastically repeated the recommendations and arguments of the Sonorans at San Ignacio, with a few added touches of his own. He even seconded the motion for enclosing the two desired posts with adobe walls (ibid., f.93-v).

That same day Governor Ortiz Parrilla heard from Ensign Joséph Moraga of Fronteras on the same subject, and his views 153coincided very neatly with those of his lieutenant and the other Sonoran frontiersman. Moraga had served in the Fronteras company since 1726 and like Escalante had made repeated visits to the towns and rancherías of northern Pimería (Moraga Apr. 22, 1752:94v). He pled for ten additional men for the new company (ibid., f. 9 5) and its division into two thirty-man garrisons for Tupo or a site in the Altar Valley and Tubac, or a site between there and San Xavier del Bac such as Sópori (ibid., f. 95v). Like Escalante, Moraga stressed the importance of Tubac as an entry point for hostile Apache raiders who made good their retreat with prisoners and stolen stock and goods through that area (ibid., f. 96v), and supported the idea of enclosing the post there with an adobe wall (ibid., f. 97v).

c. The Missionaries Concur. Whatever Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla's opinion of the proper size of the new company and its most beneficial location, he was still not satisfied with the opinions he had been offered on these subjects. He either wanted another point of view for guidance or for the record as seems more likely in view of his antipathy toward at least some of the Jesuit missionaries on the northern Piman frontier. For early in May he wrote to the Father Visitor Philip Segesser requesting the opinions of Fathers Sedelmayr and Stiger as well as himself on the subject of fort locations (Ortiz Parrilla May 7, 1752).

While the governor summarized the viceregal decisions for the Father Visitor when he wrote, he did not transmit154copies of the suggestions of the San Ignacio meeting nor Escalante's nor Moraga's whole hearted endorsements of the two-fort idea. The governor did, however, inquire whether the missionaries thought that the entire available force should be concentrated in one post, or divided between two (Ortiz Parrilla, May 8, 1752:100).

That was sufficient hint to the Jesuits, even if they had not known of the deliberations at San Ignacio Mission. Father Visitor Jacob Sedelmayr, writing from Ures Mission, joined in advocating two forts, one to be fixed four or five leagues north of San Francisco Xavier del Bac Mission at Tucson or Santa Cathalina, and the other somewhere in the valley extending from Saric and Tubutama to Caborca (Sedelmayr May 10, 1752:102v). Sedelmayr, who had explored toward the northwest through des ert Pápago country, stressed the role posts in these locations would play in subduing the Pápagos (ibid., f. 103). If the governor had to establish only one post, Sedelmayr suggested that Aribaca was the best geographic location, but since people living there were subject to sickness, it ought to be placed farther toward Agua Caliente, Arizona or Saric (ibid., f. 102v). Father Rector Gaspar Stiger replied from San Ignacio Mission that he agreed with Father Visitor Jacobo. If one fort were established, Arizona was the proper place. If two were founded, they should be at Santa Catharina or Tucson and at Ocuca (Stiger 1752:103). Meanwhile the recent rebels of the Baboquiburi region and some Pápagos were stealing horses and cattle from 155the upper Santa Cruz River Valley, from the settlers of the San Luís Valley and the Guebavi Mission herds. So Stiger pled for the Company of Sinaloa to be stationed for a while between Tubac and Guebavi or in either of those places in order to stop the thievery (ibid., f. 103v).

Father Visitor Philip Segesser replied from his mission at Ures that of course two forts should be founded, one to be placed at the northern Piman village at Tucson or at Santa Cathalina beyond it, and the second at Arisona or Saric (Segesser May 25, 1752:101v). Segesser, who had labored briefly in the San Xavier del Bac Mission of which Tucson and Santa Cathalina were visitas twenty years previously, seconded Sedelmayr's argument for locating one detachment far down the Santa Cruz River. A post at Tucson would subjugate the desert Pápagos to the west, he claimed, while overawing the northern riverain Pimans and opposing the Apache threat (ibid., f. 102). Segesser's prophetic words were later proved in the event, but not for another generation.

The returns were all in by May 25 (Ortiz Parrilla, May 25, 1752) and the governor required little more time to ponder the generally similar advice which he had received from all quarters. Only a week later he was ready to announce his final decision, and determine the configuration of the Spanish northwestern frontier for the coming generation.

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