Diary of Juan Bautista de Anza

Colonizing Expedition, 1775-1776

Monday, October 23, 1775 SP -- All the foregoing having been arranged and noted; Mass having been chanted with all the solemnity possible on the Sunday preceding for the purpose of invoking the divine aid in this expedition, all its members being present; and the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, under the advocation of her Immaculate Conception, the Prince Señor San Miguel, and San Francisco de Assís having been named as its protectors, at eleven today the march was begun toward the north. Making some minor turns to the northeast, and having traveled four hours and as many leagues, we halted at the place which they call La Canoa, situated on the River of Tubac. Here during most of the year water is found, although it is not running, but by a little digging in the sand enough can be had for whatever may be required.

At the end of the afternoon today the wife of one of the soldiers of the expedition began to feel the first pains of childbirth. We aided her immediately with the shelter of a field tent and other things useful in the case and obtainable on the road, and she successfully gave birth to a very lusty boy at nine o'clock at night, the rest of which was passed without any other happening. -- Summary of Leagues: 1. From the presidio of Tubac to La Canoa, 4 leagues.

Tuesday, October 24 SP -- At three o'clock in the morning, it not having been possible by means of the medicines which had been applied in the previous hours, to remove the afterbirth from our mother, other various troubles befell her. As a result she was taken with paroxysms of death, and after the sacraments of penance and extreme unction had been administered to her, with the aid of the fathers who accompany us she rendered up her spirit at a quarter to four.

At seven o'clock today it began to rain, and continued until half past ten. For this reason and because it was necessary to divide the march from here to San Xavier del Bac, since there was no water on the way, we remained here this morning. According to custom, in the future we shall call this kind of march a tardeada, which is practiced when it is not possible to accomplish the whole of it in one day.

At two o’clock in the afternoon we set forth on the march, the meadows of the river continuing most abundant in good pasturage and other growths. Going north in the main, over good terrain, and having traveled until five o'clock and covered about four leagues, halt was made to pass the night at the place which they call the Llano Grande. At this time the Reverend Father Fray Francisco Garcés and four soldiers set out for San Xavier del Bac with the body of the deceased in order on the next day to give it burial with church rites. The rest of this afternoon and the night were passed without any other occurrence. -- 2. From the presidio of Tubac to the Llano Grande, 8 leagues.

Wednesday, October 25 SP -- Having raised our train, at nine o'clock in the morning we set forth along the same bottom lands and over the same kind of terrain, going generally toward the north, with the exception of about a league in which we turned north-northwest to reach San Xavier del Bac ; and at half past one in the afternoon, after having traveled five leagues, we arrived at the pueblo, where we halted to pass the night. The condition of this pueblo, its tribe, the number of families, and the.minister in charge, I recorded in my previous diary, as I did for all the rest of this tribe, for which reason I omit them from this one. -- 3. From Tubac to San Xavier del Bac, 13 leagues.

Thursday, October 26 SP -- At nine o'clock in the morning we set forth on the march for the pueblo of Tuczon. Having traveled five leagues and the same number of hours, going to the north for the first four hours and to the north-northwest for the other, we halted to pass the night beyond that pueblo, which is the last of those reduced. North of the pueblo I was joined by four soldiers whom on the preceding 23d of the month I had sent out to explore the country between this pueblo and the Gila River, to see if there was water on the way, the report being that there was none, and that the stretch from this pueblo to the Gila River, a distance of more than twenty leagues, would be impassable except at the cost of great difficulty because of our large train and other impediments which attend us. But from this care we were freed by the favorable report which these explorers brought back to the effect that there was sufficient water. I therefore decided to make our journey from here to the Gila in two divided marches, in order to insure the convenience of all the expedition. The reason for having come through the two pueblos mentioned is that by way of them the journey to the Gila River is easier than by going higher up and crossing the Papagueria. Although that route would save twenty-five or thirty leagues, because it had not rained there we were forced to make the longer journey which we have indicated by way of El Tuczon. --4. From Tubac to El Tuyson, 18 leagues.

Friday, October 27 SP -- At one o'clock in the afternoon we raised our train and set forth on the march toward the north-northwest with some turns to the northwest; and having traveled five leagues and as many hours over good terrain with reasonably good pasturage, halt was made for the night in the neighborhood of a small range which the Pimas call Tututac. At the time when we set forth this afternoon two muleteers deserted us, and I entrusted their apprehension to the justices of Tuczon, who came to bid me goodbye. At eight o'clock at night six Pimas of the last pueblo came to camp and brought one of the fugitives. I immediately had him given a beating, and for this reason the soldiers called the place where we camped for the night the plain of El Azotado. -- 5. From Tubac to Tututac or Llano del Azotado, 23 leagues.

Saturday, October 28 SP -- Having celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Mass we raised our camp and set forth on the march, continuing over good terrain toward the west-northwest for three leagues, when we came to some ponds of water by which the people, saddle animals, and cattle were refreshed. After this we continued our march, going to the northwest in order to reach some ponds more abundant in pasturage than the foregoing. This place the Pimas call Oit Par, which in our language means Old Town, because it was the old town of the natives here. It was almost completely destroyed by the common enemy, the Apaches, because their habitations are so nearby that in less than fifteen leagues from this place to the northeast and east in preceding years I have several times attacked and made captures in their villages. In this place without the greatest difficulty wheel wells could be made to provide an abundance of water, as the land itself manifests by the growth of various trees, shrubs, and pasturage which could not be maintained unless there were moisture nearby.

Sunday, October 29 SP --At six o'clock in the morning I sent four Pimas whom I brought from the pueblo of El Tuczon to give notice to the pueblos, also of Pimas, who live on the Gila River, that we would very soon arrive there, in order that our coming might not cause any disturbance. At eight o'clock this morning the same number of people from El Tuczon and the pueblo of San Xavier del Bac came to our camp and delivered to me one of the runaway muleteers mentioned hereinbefore. We gave him suitable punishment and paid the Indians for bringing him, charging it to the culprit.

At nine o'clock on the same morning, after having celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Mass, all the members of the expedition attending, I issued a proclamation making known the penalties imposed by the Ordinance on any one who should violate women, especially heathen, or steal their goods. Under the same penalties I forbade anyone to raise arms against the heathen in the country through which we pass, except in a case of necessity for the defense of life, or at my orders, and likewise against any one who should spread any report which might withdraw these heathen from the true religion and the dominion of his Majesty. For this purpose and in order that such important aims may be achieved, I likewise urged them to accord these people good treatment, and exhorted them to set the example which we ought to show them by our customs, and by our attendance upon all the acts of devotion which may offer themselves in our expedition.

In continuation of our journey, having raised our train, we set forth at half past twelve today, traveling through a spacious valley, toward the northwest in the main, for although there were some turns to the north-northwest they were of small consequence; and having traveled four hours and a half, going five leagues, a halt was made for the night in this same valley at the place where the pasturage ends, at a site known as the flat of El Aquituni. -- 6. From Tubac to the vicinity of Aquituni, 28 leagues.

Monday, October 30 SP --At half past seven we set forth along the same valley, which from here forward is entirely without pasturage, and traveled through it for about two leagues to the west-northwest to go around a thicket. Turning afterward to the northwest for five leagues and then three more to the north, we arrived at the Gila River at a site with abundant pasturage and water which by its inhabitants is called Comari, where we halted to pass the night. From what has already been said one can see how difficult this journey must have been, but it was necessary to make it, for lack of water, any of which is found only by rare accident. Nevertheless, no dissatisfaction whatever has been shown by the people who have made the march, and this is a thing to marvel at, especially in the women and children, and their patience under the hardships is an indication of the contentment with which they are accepting their lot.

At one o'clock today, about four leagues before arriving at the place named, I was met by the governors and justices of the heathen pueblos, most of them Pimas, who live on this river. They manifested the greatest satisfaction at our visit and our passage through this region. I reciprocated in the same spirit and it was a pleasure to all members of the expedition to see these people so attached to us, for those who were not acquainted with them did not imagine they would be so docile and attentive. These heathen told me that when a large number of them were hunting the day before, they encountered a band of Apaches who were coming at once, bent on their accustomed robberies, but having had the good fortune to surprise them they were able to kill two and to cause the rest to flee and retire to their own country. -- 7. From Tubac to El Comari on the Gila River, 38 leagues. rest for everyone. About three leagues from here there is an edifice of the ancient Indians, and I decided to go to see it for the purpose of making an observation of its latitude, as a notable site because of this circumstance. And so, at eleven o'clock today we reached the edifice, and having taken all its measurements according to the rules which we knew, they are set forth at the end of this diary, together with a description of the ruin.

Having done this we noted that other edifices followed, all of which showed that they lived close together and covered an area nearly two leagues long and almost a quarter of a league wide. All were built a league or a little less from the river, the stream being conducted through the middle of them by means of several ditches which ordinarily are five and a half yards wide, and are plainly seen in all the places where we have traveled today. The inhabitants of this river have only a remote and confused tradition that these ruined edifices belonged to their ancient sovereigns.

In all the region which I have seen today we have observed the same lack of pasturage noted on this river, for from the time when I set out from the place where I now am till I reached the edifices mentioned, no pasturage whatever was seen in all the valley, and I found the same to be true for many leagues in circumference and even further, as I have said hereinbefore.