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Tucson During the 1700s

Tucson in the 1600s remained relatively serene until the end of the century when a new wave of Spanish infiltration began with the journeys of Father Eusebio Kino.

The Tucson history of the 1700s was shaped by the efforts of the Jesuits and the Spanish military to exploit mineral and human resources as they settled the Tucson valley. The Royal Spanish Presidio of San Augustin del Tucson was established on August 20, 1775.

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1700 During a new expedition from April 21st through May 6th, Kino establishes the mission of San Xavier del Bac in the community of Bac (16 km south of present-day Tucson, Arizona), in the Papago territory. He lays the foundation for the church, but never finished.

The Valencian Jesuit Francisco Gonzalvo is in charge until his death August 10, 1702. Now, Lieutenant, Juan Bautista de Escalante, of the Sonora Volante Company, receives an order from his commander and mayor Domingo Jironza to march with 15 soldiers and pacify the Seri Indians on the west, who have committed robberies and murders. (CH)

January 29, In a letter from Juan Baptista de Escalante (Alferez, mayor), he writes about the “operations in the war which is being waged against the rebellious Indians.” (UAiR #100-01242). He was Alfarez of Sonora until he retired in 1722 to become teniente alcalde mayor of the mining town of Motepori, where he held that position in 1689. (UAiR 19764).

Escalante was a Sergeant on the roaming military tropp known as Compania Volarte  ("Flying Company") from Sonora. He founded the towns of Magdelena de Kino, Los Angeles, and Hermosillo in 1700. In 1723, he managed a section of Nacozari.

April 25, Kino spends seven days in conference with Indians from the Papago desert country, the San Pedro valley, Santa Catalina, and from as far north as San Andres on the Gila River. That night, justices from Santa Catalina, Rio and Casa Grande meet with Kino at San Xavier to discuss the origin of the “blue sea shells.” Escalante accompanies Kino’s party. (Kino Memoirs, 235-237) to the meeting. On April 28th Kino lays the foundation of a large church and house at San Xavier de Bac.

On the 30th, he goes to nearby San Cosmé and San Agustin rancherias to baptize children.

1701 From February 27th through April 16th, Father Kino, accompanied by Captain Juan Mateo Mange, travels to the coast of Gulf of California (arriving at the port of Santa Clara, now Adair Bay, near Puerto Peñasco) to check if this is an island or peninsula.

On his return, Kino and Mange visit San Xavier del Bac and the rest of the Santa Cruz missions, which he places Juan de San Martin in charge, with Guevavi chosen as the central location. But, when Kino visited him on November 4th, he found Martin’s house empty.

Kino leaves the Dolores Mission once again from November 3rd through December 8th. His entourage passes through present-day Nogales, Arizona and Sonoita, the Devil's Path and north to the Gila River. They travel west and cross the Colorado River to the land of California.

This is confirmation that California is a peninsula and not an island as previously believed. On his return, Kino draws the map he called, “I pass by land to the California.” But, the authorities in Mexico City demand a demonstration. Subsequent trips prove Kino’s claim. (CH)

1702, April 2, Kino gets “certain news of the treasure and rich mines which have just been discovered near (here at) Quisuani, Aygame, San Cosmé, etc., and very near to the new conversion or mission of San Francisco Xavier of the Pimas Cocomacaques of Pimeria Baxa… In this way, even with every great good fortune and profit to ourselves, by divine grace, we will bring it about that, so many souls being converted, fiat unus pastor, et unum ovile…” (Memoirs of Kino, 362).

1704, January 20, in a letter from Capitan Juan Matheo Mang, he writes, “Hablando de la compania Volante,” a testimony labeled “parafos y puntos sacados de los parezeres de Sonora,” concerning the use of Companias Volantes for purposes other than strictly military. He includes name of Juan Baptista (Bautista) de Escalante, (Alferez); Juan Mateo Manje, (Capt) (UAiR, 01-20-1704).

1711 On March 15th Eusebio Kino dies in his mission at Magdalena (today’s Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, Mexico) and is buried there. (CH)

1720-1752, Francisco Xavier de Escalante serves in the Frontera garrison in the northern Piman frontier.

1732 Following the April 27th instructions of the viceroy, and the support of Juan Bautista de Anza, the commander of the Presidio de Fronteras, the Jesuits reinstate the three missions of the Pimería Alta: (1) the San Xavier del Bac (16 km south of current Tucson by the Swiss Felipe Segesser von Brunegg; (2) the Holy Angels of Guevavi (10 km northeast of present Nogales) is to be administered by Austrian Juan Baptist Grazhoffer (who will be poisoned and died there on May 26th, 1733); and (3) Santa María Soamca (now Santa Cruz, border north of Sonora, Mexico, by the Moravian Ignác Köller, (Ignacio Keller) who served from 1732 through the spring of 1751. (CH)

1724 Padre Campos held services at S. Catalina de Actun; (Keller in 1736, 1737, and 1743) Source: US Dept Interior, Father Kino, Frank Pinkley.

1727-1737 Santa Catharina is reported by Ansa, Keller and the other priests of the Pimeria Alta as a visita “seven (leagues) to the east (of San Xavier)” Note: 7 leagues measures about 24miles. The distance of 24 miles northeast of San Xavier falls between Cañada del Oro and La Ventana in the Santa Catalinas. However, Kino’s location of Santa Catalina was north northwest about 15 leagues of San Xavier del Bac.

1732 Three German priests are sent to the Santa Cruz, San Pedro and “the third Jesuit, Father Phelipe Segesser, took on the task of converting the Pimans of Bac and the down-river rancherías of Tucson, San Agustín and Santa Catarina (ibid., p. 229-230).

1733 The Swiss Jesuit Gaspar Stiger replaces Segesser at Bac who fell ill with some form of bacteria four months later and left. (“Tubac Four Centuries, iv, A”).

1734, June 31: Indians revolt at San Xavier del Bac, Geuvavi and the missions in the area are abandoned.

1736 Padre Jacobo Sedelmayr writes that various mines had been discovered near the missions of San Xavier, Santa Maria Soanca and Guevavi." (Misc. notes AHS file Missions -- Arizona – Guevavi; “Tubac through the Centuries,” Dobyns).

“Recoverable minerals were found in northern Piman country on a grand scale in 1736.” (Hammond 1929:237-238). Padre Keller holds services, conducts baptisms for the Rojas-Bernabe family at Agtun (Mission Database, 6111). Keller returns in 1737 and 1743 (US Dept. Interior, Father Kino).

1737 In mid-July, Ignacio Xavier Keller baptizes natives in the ranchería called Tuxshon (today, Tucson). (CH). On August 13th, Keller is the visiting priest at Santa Catalina de Agtun. He baptizes 52 people (Mission Database 2000, #6118)

1743, Keller is visiting priest at Sta. Catalina (US Dept Interior, Father Kino).

1748 The missionaries baptized children from Aquitini. However, the village near Picacho Peak was not occupied at the time when Spanish scouting party passed through December 27, 1751. There is no record of reoccupation after revolt, so presumed they absorbed into other settlements after the revolt (Marana Heritage Project), or the village was moved to another location. Perhaps the move was made between 1727 and 1737, according to the report.

1751 (The Pima Uprising) On November 20th the Indian captain general of the Pimería Alta, Luis de Sáric (or Luis Oacpicagigua), heads a revolt among the Pima and O'odham Indians against the Jesuits.

They attack the valley of Caborca and kill Father Tomás Tello, who was responsible for this mission on November 21st. They destroy the mission and town of Tubac. While in San Xavier del Bac, the new father in charge, Francisco Xavier Pauer flees with the three to four soldiers before his Indian parishioners join the rebellion.

Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla sets up his headquarters at the mission of San Ignacio on November 30th and begins to send Luis messages of peace while collecting anti-Jesuit information. (CH)

1752 Indian Captain Bernardo de Urrea is the closest officer to the rebellious Pimas who obeys Luis de Sáric. He arrives with three Indian ambassadors.

On January 5th, in the abandoned village of Arivaca (25 miles to the north of Saric), 86 Spanish troops, including 24 militiamen, defeat them in the only battle of this war.

To obtain his surrender, Luis negotiates with Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla in Tubac on March 18th. Parrilla restores Luis’s position and the Jesuits return their missions, including Keller of Suamca (today Santa Cruz; Sonora), Sedelmayer of Tubutama and Garrucho of Guevavi. The 2,000 Pima warriors return home in spring. But the rebellion weakens the border defenses against the Apaches.

To defend themselves and prevent further rebellions of Pimas and Papagos, Diego Ortiz Parrilla creates the presidio of San Ignacio de Tubac, at the village of Tubac. This location was chosen by Parilla, even though the Jesuits preferred Tucson.

On April 1st, with 20-50 soldiers, the northernmost of Sonora becomes the first permanent Spanish establishment in Arizona with Captain John Thomas de Belderrain as its first commander (1752-1759). (CH)

From March 26th to May 25th, as part of a plan to refortify the area, Lt. Francisco Xavier de Escalante of the Fronteras garrison, who spent 31 years in the northern frontier, advocates for building two forts, enclosed with adobe walls, at Tubac and another location in northern Pimaria Alta. This Escalante plays a major role in the decision where to location a new fort after the Pima Indian Revolt. (Escalante, Apr. 22, 1752:90v; “Tubac Through Four Centuries,” Dobyns).

Father Visitor Jacob Sedelmayr, writing from Ures Mission, joins 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).

Father Rector Gaspar Stiger replies from the San Ignacio Mission that he agrees with Father Visitor Jacobo. If one fort is established, Arizona was the proper place. If two were founded, they should be at Santa Catharina or Tucson and at Ocuca (Stiger 1752:103).

Father Visitor Philip Segesser replies from his mission at Ures and agrees that two forts should be founded– one to be placed at the northern Pima village at Tucson or at Santa Cathalina beyond it, and the second at Arisona or Saric. (Segesser May 25, 1752:101v).

Segesser had stayed briefly at the San Xavier del Bac Mission of which Tucson and Santa Cathalina where visitas. He seconded Sedelmayr's argument for locating one detachment far down the Santa Cruz River.

The decision was that the Royal Fort of St. Ignacius was to be built at Tubac and “the council approved the division of the new company into two separate detachments” of 50 soliders. Capt. Don Juan Thomas de Belderrain was equiped with swords, lances, powder, cannons and balls at royal expense for the new Upper Pimería Company (“Tubac Through Four Centuries,” Dobyns).

Escalante witnessed the Pima uprising (Mission Database 2000).

1753 In describing the province for his successor, Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilia wrote that the ores Francisco Xavier Padilla had worked in the Santa Rita Mountains prior to the Pima Revolt of 1751 were proved.

There is some indication that these deposits were being worked again shortly after the founding of the royal fort at Tubac. Parrilla referred to the “Mineral de la Sierra de Santa Rita” (Oct. 22, 1753:33). The expression may only have meant that the governor was aware of Padilla's provdn ore deposits, however, not that they were being currently worked.” (“Tubac Through Four Centuries,” Dobyns).

1756 Jesuit Alfonso Espinosa, in charge of San Xavier del Bac (1752-1767), persuades the Papagos, with military encouragement, to settle at his mission. But, when the despised Espinosa opposes the celebration of the ancestral feast of October 4th the Pimas rebel, aided by the Papagos and Cocomaricopas (and according to some reports by the Jabanimó).

They plunder the mission of San Xavier del Bac. 15 soldiers of Tubac arrive and force them flee. The skirmish causes 15 dead and only three are light wounded. From November through December, Juan Antonio de Mendoza, the governor of Sonora, organizes an expedition of punishment. (CH)

1757 On January 5th, German Jesuit Bernardo Middendorff, who was been in charge of the mission of San Ignacio since October 1756, leaves with his companion Gaspar Stiger to the north of San Xavier del Bac with an escort of 8-10 soldiers and gifts of dried meat towards Tucson, San Agustín del Oiaur and Santa Catarina Kuituakbagum, to establish a visita eight or 10 miles north of Black Mountain.

This would be the northernmost mission at the time. He attracts about 70 families. He had “to sleep under the open sky” until he could make a hut. He couldn’t speak the native language. Middendorf is the first Jesuit priest and soldier to live north of del Bac with direct daily contact (“Spanish Colonial Tucson,” Dobyns, 18).

Rector Carlos de Rojas reported to the provincial in mid-March of 1757 that Middendorff was then “in the Tucson with two pueblos” as mission branches. Even though Bac had two branches, Middendorff's vista would most likely have been farther north at Oiaur and Santa Catalina Kuituabagum. (“Spanish Colonial Tucson,” 2.18).

The Indians became upset at the mission’s restrictions against them for nightly dancing and carousing. One night, 500 “savages.” attack the missionaries. Middendorf aborts his expedition and flees to Bac with some of his conversations, then goes to Sric, leaving his aide Espinosa alone in the care of Pimería Alta. (Tumacacori National Historic Park, NPS, CH)

From April 5-17th Colonel Diego Ortiz Parrilla moves the garrison of San Francisco Xavier de Gigedo and the mission properties of San Francisco Xavier. He establishes the presidio of San Luis de las Amarillas or San Sabá on April 22nd (1757-1768). (CH)

In a December 6, 1756 letter from Sedelmayr to Balthasar, he wrote that “Father Middendorf established a new mission among the Pápagos in Santa Catalina but the Indians were soon tired of it because they were barred from their vices, nightly dances and carousing...”

It was not until early in January 1757 that Middendorf went among the Indians of the Santa Catalina-Tucson area to found his ill-fated mission.” **

1762 Since the Sobaípuris had been good allies, governor José Tienda de Cuervo and the visitador general of the Jesuits Tomas Ignacio Lizasoaín made arrangements for the inhabitants of the valley of the San Pedro who had no missionaries to relocate to the missions in the Santa Cruz Valley in order to protect them from the Apaches. (CH)

There is a general exodus of Sobaipuris from the exposed eastern frontier along the San Pedro River with relatives at Santa María Suamca, Tucson and the other Santa Cruz River Valley settlements (Elias Gonzalez, Mar. 22, 1762; “Tubac Through Four Centuries, xi).

1763 Jesuit Alfonso Espinosa, in charge of San Javier del Bac, tries to change the economy of the amalgam of tribes that live in his visita of Tucson, but the Indians ignore what to do and the project fails. (CH)

After the Apaches cause three new deaths near Buenavista (Mogon, Sonora, Mexico) on July 27th, the commander of the presidio, Juan Bautista de Anza, the other Spaniards leave the San Luis valley and move to Tubac, Terrenate, and other places protected by presidential forces. The new governor of Sonora, Juan de Pineda, opposes this abandonment, which empowers the Apache in his province. (CH)

San Agustin de Tucson is mentioned as a rancheria de visita of the Bac mission. The native population in 1760-67 was 331, and 200 families were settled there in 1772; but in 1774, when Anza visited the place, he found but 80 families of " Pimas." It was occupied as a presidio until the beginning of the Mexican war, 1846.

Font’s journal: “This pueblo de Tuquison is more populous than that of San Xavier del Bac; and the following year of 1776 the presidio of Tubac was transferred hither, where it remains still, and is called the Presidio de San Agustin del Tuquison." (“On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer, The Diary and Itinerary of Francisco Garces,” 79)

1764 Anza suggests that he transfer with the relocated Sobaípuris in Tucson. The Apaches, without the Sobaípuri presence, freely cross the San Pedro valley. They reduce the heads of cattle that Father Alfonso Espinosa had managed to produce in his mission of San Xavier del Bac (Arizona) from 1,000 to 200 and a few calves. (CH)

Rector Manuel Aguirre advocates colonizing Santa Catalina and Buenavista with Papagos as part of the plan “to remove the Sobaipuris from the San Pedro River Valley” (“Spanish Colonial Tucson,” v. 2. 23).

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1767 (Jesuit Expulsion) February 27, Charles II decrees that all Jesuits be expelled “from all my dominions of Spain and the Indies…” July 25, 1767, the priests heard read to them the royal order (ibid., p. 21). The Sonoran Jesuits remained under arrest from that moment on. They were marched to the port of Guaymas, where they had to wait until their Franciscan replacements arrived for shipping to carry them southward. (“Tubac: Four Centuries,” vi, L).

Jesuits expelled from Pimeria Alta. After 1768 San Cosmé del Tucson mission and industrial school, near San Xavier building planned by Father Garces with Captain de Anza.

1768 The Franciscans take charge of the Jesuit missions in Baja California, Sonora (Mexico) and Pimería Alta (Arizona al south of the Gila River until 1773.

Thirteen of them, including the Franciscan Francisco Tomás Garcés, leave at the beginning of the year. Garcés visits the home of Commander Juan Bautista de Anza in Tubac on July 29th and arrives at his base of operations, the mission of San Xavier del Bac (16 km south of Tucson, Arizona on June 30th. From here he makes numerous expeditions through 1781.

He started out on August 29th guided by four pagan Indians to the Gila River but he returned seriously ill. While he was recovering in Guevavi, the Apaches assaulted San Xavier del Bac. They took cattle and were pursued until the passage of La Cebadilla (today Redington Pass), an ambush by the Indians seized two soldiers of the garrison. (CH)

1768-1775 Franciscans gain control of San Xavier and other missions that were abandoned and in disrepair. Renamed Santa Catarina as Aquituni. Akutciny. Map locates it west of Picacho Peak, west of the Santa Cruz probably near its earlier location. Former village of Aktciny, Papago Pimas (Ezell, Hispanic Acculturation, 50)

1768 June 30, August “Franciscan Friars sent to Pimeria Alta from missionary colleges of Jalisco and Queretar. Fray Francisco Garces took up his residence at San Xavier del Bac, on the Rio Santa Cruz.” He leaves August 8, 1771.

He returned July 10, 1774 (“On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer,” 5, 75) 1769 The Apaches attack the mission of Los Angeles Angels of Guevavi (S of Arizona) and kill all the soldiers. They again attack San Xavier del Bac on February 20th when Francisco Tomás Garcés leaves for his 2nd expedition, probably through the San Pedro Valley. He also returns ill, when the Apaches attack at Bac two more times in April and on July 3rd.

The ensign at Tubac organizes an expedition composed of 20 soldiers and militiamen (10 Pimas from Bac, five from Guevavi, and some of Tucson) against them and head toward the Gila River. Garcés demands a garrison of 5-6 soldiers for his mission, so that when he travels he will not leave her without protection. (CH)

1769 Apaches attack Guevavi and del Bac. After, del Bac and Tumacacori missions moved and rebuilt.

1770 When Garcés learns of the plans of the Sobaípuris who relocated in Tucson in 1762 to march to the Gila, he warns Juan Bautista de Anza, who is fighting the Seris in the coast of the gulf. At tthe orders of Domingo Elizondo, he is authorized to march to Tubac with 60 presidials.

From there (April 17) he goes to the north and in Tucson, but as he does not get the Sobaípuris leaders to return to the three families that have already left. Garcés himself goes to the Gila River to look for them (October 18th to November 5th). He finds that an epidemic of measles among the Pimans had been declared (probably contaminated by an Indian who escaped from his mission) and traveled downstream to the territory of the Opata. (CH)

Under the direction of Garcés, the Pimas begin to build the first church of the fortified Indian village of San José del Tucson, which Garcés dedicates to San Agustín, thus changing the name of the town to San Agustín del Tucson (today Tucson, Arizona).

1771 Garces requests more missionaries for Tucson, Sonoita and other areas. On February 1st, the same day that the Pimas of Tucson finish a defensive structure of adobe with towers, they are forced to use it to repel an attack of the Apaches that kills two boys. The raiders take horses, cattle and sheep. (CH)

1774 While busy in Texas and Coahuila, Hugo O'Conor sends Antonio Bonilla to review Sonora's prisons. He declares that the proposed location for the Presidio of Tubac to be moved to Aribaca (Arivaca) is insane. (CH)

Capt of the Tubac Presidio, de Anza, camps at El Aquituni, near Picacho Peak on banks of Santa Cruz. De Anza reports 240 people (Ezell, Hispanic Acculturation, 113, 334) Picacho de Tacca (Tacca being O’odham name for Picacho Peak or “the flat of El Aquitini. (People’s of Gila) Today, in the Picacho Peak area, Aquituni is part of the Moyza Ranch, population 67, at about milepost 11 on the Arivaca Road where Papalote Wash intersects the Santa Cruz from the south.

Eufemianio Moyza settled there in about 1879, a large 2 mile creek, an “acequia,” is nearby.

1775 Following the Royal Order of Relocation of Presidios (September 10, 1772), Hugo O'Conor leaves for Sonora (May 22nd), and establishes those of Fronteras (June 24th through 2 July 2nd), Terrenate (July 4th) and Tubac (August 9-18). He chose to locate the town of San Agustín del Tucson (today Tucson, Arizona) on August 20th.

The Tucson location makes it better to attack the Apaches and protect the mission of San Xavier del Bac. O'Conor’s request to the viceroy to use Tucson instead of Tubac is approved and is transferred to his accidental commander, Lieutenant Juan María de Oliva on December 10th.

In the O'odham village of Chuk-Son (on the other side of the Santa Cruz in relation to the presidio) Francisco Garcés founded the "visita" (church dependent on a mission, in this case of San Xavier del Bac) of San Agustín del Tucson. O'Conor initiates a large campaign against the Apaches, from the southwest of Texas to New Mexico and Arizona in the autumn and spring of 1776. (CH)

Hugo O’Conor declared Tucson as the new presidio site, probably, in October when the Tubac troops started construction. Col. Anza sent first correspondence from Tucson in 1776. (Tucson Presidio Trust).

1776, July 29, visitador comisario of New Mexico, Franciscan Atanasio Dominguez, and ministro doctrinero of Zuñi, Silvestre Velez de Escalante, leave from Santa Fé to discover a direct route to Monterey, on the seaboard of Alta California (History of Utah, 1540-1886, Chapter 1, Hubert H. Bancroft). There is no indication that Silvestre Escalante stayed long when he passed through San Xavier on his way northward during his expedition. Pasqual Escalante was a soldier at the Presidio in 1778. (“Pioneer Families San Agustin”)

1779 Captain Pedro Allande y Saavedra, in charge of the presidio of San Agustín del Tucson from June 12, 1777 through the summer of 1786), with only 59 soldiers of the 77 assigned, he pays out of his pocket to Indian auxiliaries, launches a campaign in the mountains of Santa Catarina, which destroys two Apache settlements. He kills many and takes six prisoners and with only 15 lancers and defeats 350 Apaches who attack the presidio in the 1st battle of Tucson on November 6. (CH)

1780 On June 26th, the Apaches kidnap two girls next to the Tucson prison, but the soldiers’ fire forces them to retreat and abandon their prey. On the same day, the presidio loses its chaplain, Brother Francisco Perdigón. In July, the Apaches also kill three allied Indians in Tumacácori and a Tucson Piman manages to escape them. (CH)

1781 On January 22nd a caravan of provisions from the mission of Sáric (Sonora, Mexico) on its way to the presidio of Tucson is attacked by the Apaches. Thirteen soldiers manage to kill four of them and still arrive at their destination. Some Tucson soldiers temporarily return to their old barracks in Tubac to protect settlers from the Apache attacks. (CH)

1782 The 2nd battle of Tucson between Spaniards and Apaches occurs on May 1st as a vengeance against the entrance of the Spaniards. 600 Apaches, mostly on foot, attack the fort defended by a garrison of 42 lancers, 20 dragons and 10 Indian guides, still under the command of Pedro de Allande y Saavedra. He only has 20 soldiers, including his son and two civilians because the majority are in the village by the river Santa Cruz for Sunday before Mass.

The Apaches cannot wade across the river and try use the bridge that crosses but are repelled by the brave defense of Lieutenant Ignacio Félix Usarraga. The Apaches withdraw after causing two dead (one soldier and one woman) and three wounded (Allande and Usuraga among them). They suffer at least 8 dead, But, 200 of them try again on Christmas Day, December 25th, basically to capture the horses in the 3rd Battle of Tucson.

Lieutenant Jose Maria Abate, who from the roof of his house collaborated in the victory of the first of May builds, at his expense, an adobe wall around the presidio. It was finished at the end of 1783. (CH)

1783 Captain Pedro Allande y Saavedra make almost a dozen attacks against the Apaches, from the Tucson Prison (1783-1785), stabbing their heads in the palisade. They captured two and killed two in the mountains of Santa Catalina between June 24-30th. (CH)

The Franciscans build the current church of the mission of San Xavier del Bac (1783-1797) 3 km to the south of the previous one, in the present Indian reservation Homónima, south of Tucson, Arizona. The structure is still in use. (CH)

Franciscan missionary Fr. Juan Bautista Velderrain was able to begin construction on the present structure of San Xavier mission. Completed in 1797.

1784 The Battle of the Catalina River. Captain Pedro Allande of Tucson sweeps two Apache ranchers near Gila River on January 5th, killing 5 men and 4 women, capturing 24 of both sexes and releasing a captive woman and 5 horses.

Under the command of Ensign Juan Carrillo, the 4th battle of Tucson between Spaniards and Apaches is held on March 21st. 500 Apaches and Navajos attack the soldiers who protected the cattle from the presidio in order to steal the horses. They capture 13, leaving 5 soldiers dead and 1 wounded (three Apaches also die).

But the 12 surviving soldiers, plus another two, 30 Pima guides and five civilians, all commanded by Lieutenant Tomás Equrrola chased them to the river Catalina (today San Pedro, Arizona) where they kill 14, including its chief, Chiquito. It was called the Battle of Catalina River. The heads of the 17 dead Apaches are exposed on the walls of the presidio. Equrrola just replaced José María Abate, promoted to Captain of the presidio of San Carlos de Buenavista. (CH)

1787-1857: Royal Fort of San Rafael at Tubac.

1785 Despite his ill-healed wound in the right leg of May 1, 1782 and other ailments reported to his superiors, Pedro de Allande directs another campaign against the Apaches from his presidio in Tucson by the mountains of Babocomari, Peñascosa, Huachuca, Santa Rita and Santa Catalinas. He kills 8 warriors and retrieves what was stolen in Cieneguilla. (CH)

1786 A group of Apaches appears in Calabazas on October 1st saying they want to settle in the area. Another group (the Chiricahuas) made a similar request shortly before. Its inhabitants believe them, but at the time Apaches kill two Pimas and injure another and escape with a large booty. Captain Pablo Romero, the new commander of Tucson (from the summer 1786 through June 30, 1788), pursues with his 54 soldiers, reaching them in the sierra of Arizona (to the south of the current Nogales, Sonora), kills 4 and recovers the stolen loot. But shortly after, the inhabitants of Calabazas move to Tumacácori, making this mission even more isolated. (CH)

1793 On January 5th, 51 Apache Aravaipas, with a long agricultural tradition in their ancestral fields at the confluence of the San Pedro and the Gila River, leave their territory in Galiuro Mountains and call for peace at the presidio of Tucson. (CH)

1794 Captain José de Zúñiga arrives at his destination, the presidio of San Agustín de Tucson and assumes command until 1803. (CH)

1795 Taking advantage of the pacification of the Apache, José de Zúñiga, captain of the presidio of Tucson, directs an expedition that establishes the road of Arizona to New Mexico (forgotten since 1540), although the Apache attacks will make it dangerous. (CH)

The Franciscan Diego Miguel Bringas, sent to evaluate the missions of Sonora and his military protection, arrives at the presidio of San Agustín del Tucson. Commander José de Zúñiga offers Pedro Ríos as escort and translator to accompany him to the Indian settlements of the Gila River (the Spanish northern border in Arizona). Bringas draws up a detailed map of the area. (CH)

A group of pagan Gila Pima Indians arrive in Tucson where they give Apache prisoners (women and children) to their relatives and sell the rest for small amounts, as they usually do. But one of the provincial chiefs takes them all without paying anything to their owners.

This action provoked complaints to the Franciscan in charge of the area, Juan Bautista Llorens, with the argument that in future they will kill all their prisoners. (CH)

1796 On February 19th 134 Pampagos of Aquituni (about 10 miles near Tubac) move to Tucson, whose commander, José de Zúñiga, helps to locate 63 of them. Father, Juan Bautista Llorens, baptized 51 children.

Since his inauguration in 1790 this Franciscan has been able to attract the Papagos inhabitants of the desert to his mission of San Xavier del Bac and especially to this visit of San Agustín del Tucson, where he already baptized 57 the previous year. On September 27, 1797, the population of Tucson was only 67 survivors of the early Pimas and former emigrants, compared to 211 newly arrived Papagos (107 of them since 1795).

The commander-in-chief asked Llorens not to attract more pagans. The Papagos forbid the Apaches to use the churches of San Xavier del Bac (inaugurated in 1797) and the new one that is now built in Tucson. This caused them to raise another, called San Jose del Tucson. (CH)

1796, A group of 134 Papagos moved from Aquituni to Piman Tucson where 63 of them settled on 19 January 1796. (“Spanish Colonial Tucson, Franciscans at Work,”)

(unverified event) “San Juan’s Day in June, Apaches raided the (Cañada del Oro) mine camp, killing and scattering the Papagos. The settlement was destroyed and forgotten. A clue to the Escalante is a ventaña – a natural hole in the rock resembling a window. The mine is “one league northwest of the ventaña,” according to John D. Mitchell.” (July 1952, DESERT). However, this statement has not been verified according to historical events.

Note: 1 league is about 3.4 miles. At that distance from “Window Rock” (La Ventaña) is the edge of Montrose Canyon where ruins are located, as described by Donald Page (below).


Local Tucson History Books

These books are written by local author and publisher Robert Zucker. Read chapters and download a free PDFs from the books and purchase full copies on Amazon.com.

Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades is a collection of newspaper articles and original photographs covering 50 years of Tucson music and arts entertainment from 1950-1999. Read chapters and download a free PDF from the book.

Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains is one of the most comprehensive books written on the legends and history of the Catalina mountains, north of Tucson. Learn about the Iron Door mIne, Buffalo Bill Cody's mining interest in the Catalinas and how the lure of gold brought prospectors to the Cañada del Oro– the Canyon of Gold. The story of the the lost mine, the lost city and the lost mission. Download a free PDF sample of the book.

Tucson Gold Rush 1880 In the 1880s explores the history of numerous mining claims that were staked throughout the Santa Catalinas and nearby mountains by local pioneer businessmen, many reclaiming old abandoned Spanish and Mexico diggings.


Tucson Valley in the 1800s

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