Diary of Juan Bautista de Anza
Colonizing Expedition, 1775-1776
Wednesday, November 1 SP -- Having heard the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and prepared our train for the march, we set forth at a quarter to ten today. Going generally west-northwest, and following the meadows of the river until we had traveled four leagues in as many hours, we arrived at the first pueblo of the Pimas, commonly called by them Juturitucam, whose numbers, compactness, and other circumstances I noted in my former diary , and since there has been no change whatever I omit them now.
The affability and friendly treatment which I experienced from these people in my last expedition I have found repeated on this occasion. They all had the good manners to come to salute me and to prepare a bower or arcade of five naves in which to lodge us, and where they voluntarily supplied us with an abundance of water, wood, and some provisions of the kinds which they use. This good treatment I reciprocated with an abundance of glass beads and tobacco, distributing them amongst all those who assembled, who were more than a thousand. In this pueblo there is a good piece of pasturage, a circumstance to be appreciated because of the usual lack of it.
Here I have learned that the tribes between this place and the Colorado, allied with these natives, have remained friendly ever since I exhorted them to peace with each other. To me this has been a matter of satisfaction, because of the advantages to them as well as of the effect produced by the name of the king, in whose name I made the exhortation. For this reason, and in order that they might make known their joy at our passage through their country, the Pimas soon after I arrived at the pueblo asked my permission to celebrate it with their accustomed dances and songs, and with this molestation, for such in reality it is for us, we spent the rest of the day and night with them. -- 8. From the presidio of Tubac to the pueblo of Juturitucan on the Gila River, 42 leagues.
Thursday, November 2 SP -- Because a number of saddle animals were missing this morning it was not possible to start until after recovering them, which was at half past eleven. At this hour we set forth on the road down the river, going generally to the west-northwest, with some small turns to the west to avoid some thick brush, and having passed through two large villages of Pimas belonging to the pueblo toward which we are going, we arrived there, after two leagues of travel, at half past two in the afternoon. Here we halted to pass the night since it was not possible to go forward as we had planned, both because of having lost the saddle animals mentioned and because there is no pasturage until we reach the place to which we are going tomorrow.
In my former diary I noted the vast fields which were cultivated in these pueblos of the Pimas. At present they are not planted as they ought to be because the river is so short of water that in some places it is dried up, but according to what the Indians tell me the drought will last only till the middle of this month, when they will commence their planting. The same affection and the same demonstrations which they showed us at the pueblo of Juturitucan we experienced in this one of Sutaquizon, where, as in the other pueblo, gifts of tobacco and glass beads were made to about eight hundred persons. -- 9. From Tubac to Sutaquizon, 44 leagues.
Friday, November 3 SP -- In view of the report and exploration made of some lakes with good pasturage which are two leagues from this pueblo, I decided to go to them today in order to set out tomorrow in the afternoon for the pueblo of Upasoitac, distant at least thirteen leagues without water. I did this in order to make the journey far away from the river, because this stream makes a turn to the north of more than eight leagues and then turns south and southwest, and because it is not convenient for all the train of the expedition to make such long journeys except in case of great necessity. In consideration of everything we raised our camp and set forth on the march at a quarter to ten, and having traveled more than two hours and about two leagues to the west-northwest, we halted at the lakes mentioned, accompanied by some Pimas who wished to follow us that far. In the course of the march which we made today a heavy rain fell and greatly molested the women, for in addition to its natural uselessness it is to be added that there was no precedent for expecting such a rain to fall, and for this reason it caught them entirely unprepared. -- 10. From Tubac to Las Lagunas, 46 leagues.
Saturday, November 4 SP -- This morning, at the time when I gave orders to begin to raise our train with a view to setting forth, a soldier reported that his wife was gravely ill and unable to travel. On investigation I found this to be true and that the patient was deprived of her natural courses, and I therefore decided to remain here today for the purpose of aiding her with such medicines as were available.
Sunday, November 5 SP - All day the patient was without notable relief so we remained in this place. At night a woman was taken with violent childbearing pains from which it was thought she would die, but by giving her some medicines we succeeded in affording her some relief.
Tuesday, November 7 SP - More through necessity than because the sick women were any better, I decided to leave this place, for from either the water or the location, in the two days during which we have been detained at these lakes the saddle animals have become sick because of the saltiness of the lakes, although it is not known how they got to them. The same thing would have happened to the people if we had not taken the precaution to go to get water from the Gila River three leagues away. It is unfortunate that these lakes have such bad water for they have an abundance of good pasturage, although the trouble mentioned is not noticed until after having been a day at the lakes. In this way, therefore, one succeeds in shortening the next journey by two leagues.
To accomplish this we set forth on the march a little before one o'clock , going two leagues southwest to double the sierra which runs to the northwest and north, where it goes to cause a bend in the river. Having covered this distance and traveled five more leagues to the west-southwest and west, we halted after seven o'clock at night at a place where some pasturage was found in the neighborhood of the Pass of the Cocomaricopas. In the afternoon and all night the sufferings of the sick women continued, and because of these mishaps which occurred at the lakes we called them the Lakes of the Hospital. On the march indicated we sustained the loss of two saddle animals, one of them having died of colic. -- 11. From Tubac to the Puerto de los Cocomaricopas, 53 leagues.
Wednesday, November 8 SP - In continuation of our divided march we raised our train at eight o'clock in the morning, and having traveled to the west-southwest about two leagues we began to go through the pass. It lasted for about a league, after which we came out to better country, through which we traveled to the west and west-southwest four leagues more, until we reached the site of Opasoitac, where we arrived at four o'clock in the afternoon, although the pack train, the cattle, and the extra saddle animals did not arrive until vespers, on account of the illness mentioned.
In my former diary I gave a description of the tribe of the Opas and Cocomaricopas, who occupy the country from here to the neighborhood of the Yumas. For this reason I now refrain from writing at length concerning the matter, and will only add, as a subsequent event, that I have found these people more closely united in their villages now than last year and living in a level and open country with larger fields, depending on the rainfall. These changes have resulted from the peace and harmony which they now enjoy with the Yumas and other tribes with whom they were formerly at war, and with whom I ordered them to maintain friendship in the future. And this peace has made such good progress among all these docile heathen that these here have signified to me with the greatest jubilation that they have intermarried in all directions and all are enjoying the fruits of peace, for which they have given me repeated thanks. With respect to the thanks, I have given them to understand that they owe this benefit to the king, who is dispatching his soldiers through these parts solely with this purpose, and with greater blessings in view, the spiritual ones, which the reverend fathers will explain to them. -- 12. From Tubac to Opasoitac, 60 leagues.
Thursday, November 9 SP - Having found in this place of Opasoitac fairly good maize stubble with grass among it, I decided to remain here today in order to permit the recuperation of our cattle, which arrived last night at nine o'clock completely worn-out, and one of which died. Notwithstanding this, yesterday, when we arrived, as a result of the notice which I had sent ahead to the inhabitants of these districts, many were already assembled, and today many more have come. For this reason I held the foregoing conversation with the Indians, and the Reverend Father Fray Francisco Garcés gave the appropriate talk concerning matters pertaining to the faith. After this the accustomed presents of glass beads were given to about five hundred persons who were assembIed to receive them. The wife of a soldier having had the misfortune of a miscarriage , the child dying, she has been very ill as a result.
Friday, November 10 SP - The last-mentioned patient was not in a condition to travel today, for she woke up in the morning with her whole body swollen, so I deferred the continuation of our march, which is likewise impeded by four other patients, all dangerously ill, not including the father chaplain Fray Pedro Font, who by force of his spirit and zeal has come battling with great ills all the way from San Miguel de Horcacitas to here, and as a result of which he has recently suffered and is still suffering painful intermittent fevers.
Saturday, November 11 SP - The patients being somewhat relieved of their ills, a little before ten o'clock we moved our train and set forth on the march down the river, traveling to the west-southwest about a league and a half. Because it threatened to rain and soon did rain, camp was made for the rest of the day to protect the sufferers from it, which was accomplished more easily here than in any other place because in this one there were some good Indian arbors or bowers, which, together with the tents, served very well. This place was named the Rancherías de San Martín . Although there was no pasturage here, advantage was taken of some stubble of maize or wheat sown by the heathen inhabitants of the place. The rain continued all day and with greater force all the following night. From these villages forward, and even since leaving that of Opasoitac, we are free of the Apaches, which pirates, according to the report which the Pimas have always given me, are the last ones bordering on this region. They extend to the river of La Assumpción, a stream which empties into this one about half way between the pueblos of Zutaquizon and Opasoitac and is thickly inhabited by these enemies. -- 13. From Tubac to San Martín, 61 1/2 leagues.
Sunday, November 12 SP - At half past nine we raised our camp, now being free from the rain, which stopped at daylight. Continuing down the bottom lands of the river to the west-southwest, we traveled four leagues in the same number of hours, until we came to the foot of some hills near the river, on whose bank there is a good field of stubble, where camp was made for the night. This place was called San Diego. In the course of the journey which I made last year from here to the pueblo of Opasoitac I said that it was well settled with heathen who had good fields, but now it is even more populous through many advantages resulting from the peace which they enjoy. This harmony has caused many people to come out from those groves or forests where they were in hiding to protect themselves from the attacks of their enemies, and as a result all the way to here we have come through continuous villages and signs of cultivation. -- 14. From Tubac to San Diego, 65 1/2 leagues.
Monday, November 13 SP - At a quarter past eight we set forth on the march, leaving the river to the right because it now turns toward the north. We went southwest for a league which was occupied by some small hills; this distance passed we went down to a valley, and from it, after turning to the west and also the west-southwest, and traveling three more leagues, we came to the river at the place called La Rinconada, where there is pasturage, and where a halt was made for the night. A quarter of a league before reaching this place, without any difliculty we crossed the Gila River, which had only five or six palms of water where it was the deepest. -- 15. From Tubac to La Rinconada, 69 1/2 leagues.
Tuesday, November 14 SP - At half past nine we raised our train and set forth on the march toward the southwest, immediately climbing a stony mesa which extends for about a league. Then we descended to the river, going with slight turns in the same direction and to the west. After this we traveled three more leagues, until half past one, when we came to Agua Caliente, where camp was made for the night. -- 16. From Tubac to Agua Caliente, 73 1/2 leagues
Wednesday, November 15 SP - Today was devoted to rest for everybody, because this place abounds in pasturage and affords facilities for the families to wash, of which they have great need. Last year the place was deserted on account of the war which its inhabitants were waging with the Yumas. But things are now so different that more than two hundred persons have assembled, and they informed me that they desired to have a chief to govern them like the Yumas, and like their old friends, the Pimas. Being pleased with the request, and they having nominated to me two persons, I appointed one as governor and the other as alcalde. Beforehand they pledged their word to recognize the king as their lord and to obey all orders that might be given to them in his name by the royal ministers. The same was done on three different occasions by all the persons present at the act, and they agreed that it was the duty of these officers to rule them, all the way from La Rinconada to San Bernardino, from the extremes and the center of which district there were people who promised to recognize them as their rulers. Before installing them in their offices I instructed them in their principal duties. This so frightened the governor that for more than an hour he did not cease to tremble so hard that he appeared to be shivering from the severest chill. These things having been done, glass beads and tobacco were distributed amongst them, by means of which this election was made more pleasing.
Thursday, November 16 SP - Having raised our train, at half past nine we set forth, continuing down the river toward the southwest with some turns to the west. In this direction we traveled six and a half hours and covered seven leagues, at the end of which a halt was made for the night at a place with little pasturage, in the neighborhood of San Bernardino. The reason why the journey today was so long was that the soldiers whom at the beginning of the march I sent to look for a place with plenty of pasturage made a mistake, on account of the many roads which there are now in the bottom lands, because now its inhabitants live in the open. -- 17. From Tubac to the neighborhood of San Bernardino, 80 1/2 leagues.
Before I began the march four soldiers set out with a Yuma interpreter for the purpose of reporting our arrival in the near future to Salvador Palma, the captain of this tribe, and in order that, having done this, they might go to explore the watering places and the transit from the Colorado River to the Ciénega de San Sebastián, or to seek another road which may be more favorable to us than those known up to now, for to find such a one as this and learn whether the old ones have water, is what now most occupies my attention, in order that we may make our march to more fertile lands or lands better suited for making our roads through them.
A little above this place is San Bernardino, last of the habitations of the Opas or Cocomaricopas, who are one and the same. In my former diary I gave their number according to the reports which they themselves and the Yumas gave me, but it occurs to me now to note that they are not so numerous as I indicated there. For, most of this tribe having come before me with the intention of not living hidden now, because of the peace which they enjoy, as well as to receive the presents which are given them in the name of his Majesty, for which purpose I have convoked them, there have assembled on the way from San Simón y Judas y de Opasoitac to here scarcely fifteen hundred persons, whereas all the country from here as far as the Yumas is unpopulated.
Friday, November 17 SP - At half past ten in the morning we continued our way toward the southwest. Following along the river, and traveling until a little after twelve o'clock, we covered a league and a half, and then, because the previous journey was extraordinary, we halted in a place with some pasturage, to which we gave the name of El Pescadero - 18. From Tubac to El Pescadero, 82 leagues.
Saturday, November 18 SP - At half past nine we raised our camp and went southwest for a league and a half, when we recrossed the Gila successfully. After this we continued west-southwest for another league and a half, until at one o'clock we came to the site of San Pasqual, where pasturage was found and a halt was made to camp for the night. Here I was overtaken by the governor and the alcalde of the Opas elected three days before, with ten other men and four women, who are going voluntarily to the Yumas so that in my presence they may ratify the peace which, because of my former admonitions, the two tribes have agreed upon. Of this peace both tribes have given good proofs. Nevertheless, these officials say that they will not be entirely satisfied if I am not present at the ceremony with Captain Palma and when they smoke and dance with the tribe under his command. Therefore I sent couriers to the Opas whom we left behind, and to other tribes, their allies, who have made certain and perpetual peace, promising them to enforce it together with everything conducive to their welfare. -- 19. From Tubac to San Pasqual, 85 leagues.
Sunday, November 19 SP - At two o'clock in the morning a soldier reported that his wife, Dolores, had been taken with violent parturition pains. I got up immediately to arrange that she be given assistance, wherewith she successfully gave birth to a boy, for which reason I suspended the march for today. At a suitable hour the child was baptized.
Tuesday, November 21 SP - The patient being taken with severe pains and other troubles following upon the childbirth, it was not possible to march today. In the days just past, especially yesterday and today, the cold has been so severe that as a result of it and of the ice, six of our saddle animals have died during the last four days. In the course of the carrying which it has been necessary to make at this place there has been found in an estuary of the river a great quantity of salt that is both white and hard, from which the necessary supply has been obtained.
Wednesday, November 22 SP - At half past eleven we set forth on the march, continuing west-southwest along the bottom lands of the Gila by a road that was sandy in part, for in the stretch from this place to the junction with the Colorado begin the little sand hills which we commonly call médanos. They very badly crippled the riding animals because of their natural difficulty, as we experienced today, and now especially with the horned cattle. But having accomplished the passage and covered five leagues in as many hours, we halted for the night at the foot of a lone hill which we called Santa Cicilia, where the first pasturage was found. -- 20. From Tubac to Santa Cicilia, 88 leagues.
Thursday, November 23 SP - Having loaded the packs, and even begun the march, the men who were driving the cattle reported that many beeves were lacking and had gone into the brush along the river, from which they could not extract them. On hearing this news, which required some delay and caused some trouble, I went back with men and also ordered those who were already on the way to return, since as a result of the occurrence there was not time enough now to get to the camp site, which it was necessary to reach in the daytime, for otherwise we should expose ourselves to still greater delays. The work of extracting the cattle from the brush was completed at the end of the afternoon, after imponderable labor, because the animals obstinately refused to travel and in order to escape it refused to come out of their hiding places, where they became so enraged that they attacked as if they were wild cattle. At nightfall a woman who is near parturition was taken with pains which continued the whole night long.
Friday, November 24 SP - Because this woman was suffering with most severe pains it was necessary to suspend the march today. Later in the day it was seen that the pains were not those most appropriate for the complete result, and for this reason measures were taken to prevent the miscarriage with which she was threatened, by means of such medicines as it was possible to give her, and as a result she improved during the night.
Saturday, November 25 SP - At half past nine we moved our train and set forth on the march to the west-southwest. In this direction we traveled four leagues in as many hours, along the bottom lands of the river, over ground that was as soft as it was full of thick brush, and as a result of which one of our horses died. At half past one we halted in order to pass the night at a place where pasturage was found and which we called Laguna Salada. Shortly after twelve o'clock I was met by a messenger from Palma, captain of the Yumas, who was sent to welcome me and to tell me that for four days he had been awaiting me about eight leagues this side of his house, but since I did not come he had returned to assemble provisions and prepare lodgings for me there, and to ask if I would please inform him just when I should arrive, in order that he might return to meet me, as he desired to see me and all my people. -- 21. From Tubac to Laguna Salada, 92 leagues.
Sunday, November 26 SP - At ten o'clock we began our march, continuing along the same bottom lands and over the same kind of country, going west-northwest with some turns to the west. In this direction we traveled until nearly two o'clock, covering about four leagues, at the end of which we halted for the night at a place with some pasturage near some hills called Cerros del Cajón. -- 22. From Tubac to the Cerros del Cajón, 96 leagues.
Monday, November 27 SP - At half past nine we continued our march, skirting some hills on the left and going toward the west with some turns to the west-northwest, until, at the end of three leagues, and having traveled a little more than three hours, we came to the end of the hills which we were skirting, when I was obliged to halt for the night at a place called Los Cerritos, because there was pasturage here, which is lacking all the way to the junction of the rivers, a stretch which is difficult to cover because the ground is of pure sand. -- 23. From Tubac to Los Cerritos, 99 leagues.
At three o'clock in the afternoon Salvador Palma, captain of the Yumas, arrived at our camp with a following of more than thirty of his people, all unarmed. As soon as he saw me he began to embrace me and to give me the most emphatic signs of joy and satisfaction at my arrival, which he told me was shared by all his tribe and all those along the river who know me.
This heathen captain had the courtesy to ask me about the health of his Majesty and of his Excellency the Viceroy , telling me that I was fortunate for having seen them, as they told him when he was at the presidio of San Miguel, and favored by having heard them speak; and that in order to hear them he would gladly take off his ears and put on some Spanish ears so that he might understand what they would say. He begged me to tell him whether the Spaniards and fathers were now coming whom he had requested the governor to send to his country, since for a long time he had desired it, and in order to make himself deserving of it he had strictly fufilled all the commands which I had given him, and especially that of refraining from war with any tribe. From this he excepted the tribe of the mountain range to the west, because he had heard that these people had gone to our new establishments of Alta California to steal the horses and that they had killed one of our men. But with the rest he had maintained peace, and now had formed alliances with all, and restrained them from making war with various other tribes. In this, because of his warlike disposition, he had made no little sacrifice, as a gift to God and the king who had commanded him. And finally, all that he had done and was doing with the tribes, and all that he hoped to do, was in order that all these things might be perpetuated, and that the Spaniards and missionaries might settle here. To this end he offered all his lands in the name of his tribe, since all would be pleased if we should come for these purposes, and especially to Christianize them, for they wished to embrace all the laws of our religion, of which they had some information, and he especially, because he had dealt with our own people in their settlements; and with this understanding I must remain in his country with all of my expedition and report to the king about it.
To this I answered that I could not grant what he asked, but I assured him that just as his Majesty and his Excellency the Viceroy were sending me with these troops and families to another place to establish the true religion, because this had been promised to its natives previously, just so he and all his people would obtain the same favor in due time. He accepted my reply, but added that if by the time of my return our establishment in his country had not been effected, he would go with me to request it of his Excellency the Viceroy. To this I responded that I would very gladly conduct him to Mexico on condition that it should be with the approval of all his tribe, and that with this in view he must consult with them, and also bear in mind the great distance which he would have to travel.
In view of all the foregoing and of my experience with this captain and his tribe since my first visit, I have no doubt that they will embrace our faith and our customs with all complacency. Indeed, I have superabundant evidence that they are attached to both one and the other. One of many proofs is that now when they show us their wives they boast that they have only one. Another is that they still know how to say "Ave María," and repeat other words belonging to our prayers, which they ask us to teach them. More than this, we have found them now so well covered for modesty's sake that this has surprised us as much as their nakedness surprised us when they came before us on the first occasion. And finally, we note that they preserve the slight touch of good manners which we instilled in them when we passed, and all, generally speaking, urge us that now we shall remain to reside among them. On the night of this day I delivered to this captain the suit of clothes sent to him by his Excellency, which he prized in the highest degree and showed to his people, who admired it with the same show of enthusiasm as its owner.
With these heathen in so friendly a disposition as they now manifest, I have not had much hesitation in trusting to them the safety and care of the two fathers who by order of his Excellency have come to remain at the junction of the rivers, for Captain Palma has told me that in his tribe and in his house he will be responsible for their safety as well as for the security of anything that I may leave in his care.
Tuesday, November 28 SP - At half past nine, having moved our train, we set forth on the march to the west-southwest, and at the end of four leagues and as many hours we arrived at the junction of the Gila and Colorado River s, where, after safely crossing the first stream by a good ford, camp was made for the night. -- 24. From Tubac to the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers, 103 leagues.
In this place Captain Palma had provided for our lodging a large house made of branches, in which we were received by his wife and family, and by the family of another captain, his principal subaltern, and by those of several others who came to welcome me one by one, each giving to all of us special demonstrations of joy at our arrival and likewise of their own liberality. Indeed, they invited all members of the expedition to eat, giving them in abundance beans, calabashes, maize, wheat and other grains which are used by them, and so many watermelons that we estimated that there must have been more than three thousand, of which articles as well as of the other things mentioned we all had more than we could use.
Having learned that the four soldier explorers whom I sent from Agua Caliente had arrived this morning at the other side of the Colorado , I sent them orders to cross over to report to me on the matters I had entrusted to them. In response the commander crossed over and reported that even though for six consecutive days and at the cost of great labor they had looked for watering places and roads in the directions which I had indicated to them, they had not found any watering places or any sign that there were any, for they had found no tracks of either people or animals, but that having examined those which we already knew, they had found them in the same condition as when we made our first expedition.
Wednesday, November 29 SP - Being told by this soldier as well as by the Yumas that the Colorado River has no ford, it being necessary to swim for a long stretch, at seven o'clock in the morning I mounted a horse to go to explore. Having seen the river I had no doubt that the report was true, so I made arrangements that logs should be brought to make rafts on which to take over safely at least the women and the pack loads. To this the Indians raised the objection that it was not possible because the water was too cold, and that at best it would require a whole day to take over a single raft load, and even then at the risk of its being lost.
Facing this exigency and that of having to remain here many days, I ordered them to proceed with the bringing of logs. Then, going along the banks of the river upstream with a soldier of spirit and with another Yuma, I crossed over to seek a ford, and by virtue of having made soundings with the horses all the rest of the morning, about one o'clock in the afternoon we found one, although it was deep, at a place where the river divides into three branches. Besides the labor of finding the ford in this way and the danger we were in, there is to be added especially the difficulty of having to go back to camp through an impenetrable thicket which we found in our way and which forced us to go on foot.
As soon as I returned to camp I sent to have a road opened. This was accomplished after nightfall, and at that time I gave orders for crossing the river next day, with the precautions which seemed to me necessary. All received the orders with the more pleasure because they did not have to cross on rafts, being frightened by what they had heard the Indians say in regard to the coldness of the water.
Thursday, November 30 SP - At seven o'clock in the morning we began our march along the bottom lands up the Colorado. Going for about a quarter of a league we unloaded, in order to take over all the provisions and equipage in half loads. This having been done, we began to cross the first branch of the river on the largest and strongest horses, leading by the bridles those on which the women and children were riding; and as a precaution, in case any one should fall, I stationed in front ten men on the downstream side. This branch was crossed in the main at a depth of five and a half palms of water and in the middle six. The second branch was crossed at a depth of four or five palms, and the last, which was the widest, was four palms deep in most places and six and a half at the deepest. In these crossings we had no other mishap than the falling of a man who was carrying a child, but he was rescued immediately. Although this mishap ocurred a second time, all the families, the baggage, and most of the provisions got over to this bank of the river, where a halt was made to assemble and bring over the rest of the provisions, there not being time to effect this today. The three branches of this river, if they were united, would not be less than two hundred and forty yards wide, which is about its width where it is not divided.