Diary by Francisco Garcés

Colonizing Expedition, 1775

Nov 1. SP -- We departed from the laguna [Camani], and having marched 4 leagues westnorthwest we arrived at the Rancheria de San Juan Capistrano, where we were received by about a thousand Indians drawn up in two ranks. They had built a large bower (ramada) in which to entertain us, in front of which had they set up a cross. Soon as we dismounted they passed from one to another to kiss our hand, and saluted us in the name of God, as do all the other Christian Pimas. Since whenever [i. e., in 1768, 1770, 1771, 1774] I have been among these poor gentiles they have received me with equal kindness, I have felt deep grief to find that I could not gratify such great desire as they manifested to become Christians; but on this occasion particular was my pain to see so many people unite in begging us to remain here to baptize them, who in plenitude of affability and mode of living together in their pueblo surpass all others of their nation; as it does not appear that the time has come to gather these sheep (ovejas) into the fold of the church. May God do that which may be to his greater pleasure! They waited upon us and were obsequious to the whole expedition. They possess flocks (ganado menor) very like those of Moqui, or much the same, as I will tell in the final reflections on the Diary. They have poultry (gallinas) and horses, some of which they bartered (cambalacharon) with the soldiers for red baize (bayeta). They brought water for the party to drink, and served us in all respects as well as the most faithful Christian vassals of the king could have done. They were given tobacco and glass beads (abalorio).

Nov 2. SP -- After the 3 padres had celebrated nine masses, which some Indians attended, we traveled 4 leagues west 1/4 northwest, and halted on the bank of the Rio Gila near the pueblo called La Encarnacion del Sutaquison. There came forth to receive us the Indians of the pueblo with demonstrations of much joy, and methought that they might be about 500 souls. In all these pueblos they raise large crops of wheat, some of corn (maiz), cotton, calabashes, etc., to which end they have constructed good acequias, surrounding the fields (milpas) in one circuit common (to all), and divided (are) those of different owners by particular circuits. Go dressed do these Indians in blankets of cotton (fresadas de algodon) which they fabricate, and others of wool, either of their own sheep or obtained from Moqui. Not is this portion of the river abounding in pasturage (de pastos), but in this last pueblo called Sutaquison there is abundance, even to maintain a presidio, as has reported Señor Capitan Don Bernardo de Vrrea, having passed personally to inspect the situations most fit for founding missions. In this Pueblo de Sutaquison and in San Juan Capistrano I manifested to the Indians the image of Maria SSma and that of the damned, and explained them in their language, which is the same as that of my pueblo (de San Xavier del Bac).

Nov 3. SP -- Padre Font and I went from the place where we had camped to the Pueblo de Sutaquison, to distribute tobacco and glass beads. We returned to camp, and having gone 2 leagues northwest arrived at some pools of bad water, where some of our party were made sick, and for that were they called Las Lagunas del Hospital. To the west of these lagunas is the Sierra de San Joseph de Cumars, which ends on the Gila close to (junto) the place where this river is united with the Rio de la Asumpcion. This river is much larger than the Gila, which becomes very much (muchisimo) swollen in the summer by reason of the snows that there are in the sierras in which it rises and through which it flows, of which I will speak at the conclusion of the Diary. This position is found in 33° 14' 30". Here we remained the 4th, 5th, and 6th days.

Nov 7. SP -- We departed from Las Lagunas (del Hospital); and having gone 6 leagues-1 southwest, 2 westsouthwest, 3 west-we halted in an arroyo without water. In all these 6 leagues there is good pasturage, though no water.

Nov 8. SP -- We marched 9 leagues-2 westsouthwest, 1 west, in order to pass through a gap in a sierra, and the rest westsouthwest with some inclination to the west-and arrived at the Pueblo de los Santos Apostoles San Simon y Judas of the Opa nation, or Cocomaricopa, which is the same, who received us with great joy. There gathered in this pueblo to see us some 10 hundred souls, and they were given tobacco and glass beads. Here the Indians raise all sorts of grain (semillas), and regularly two crops each year, whether the season be good or bad; but apparently (segun vimos-according to what we saw) an acequia can be brought from the river, which, as it already has been joined by the Rio de la Asumpcion, always carries much water. These Indians go clothed much like (casi como) the Pimas Gileños, of whom they are very good friends and companions in the campaigns that the one and the other make against the Yabipais Tejua, of whom I will speak beyond. Having shown them the Virgin and the lost soul, I preached through an interpreter, because their language is not Pima, but Yuma. I asked them if they wished with all their heart to be Christians and to admit the padres in their land, and they replied very cheerfully, "Yes." Here we remained the 9th and 10th days.

Nov 11. SP -- We went about 2 leagues west, and arrived at a rancheria of Opas Indians which was near the river.

Nov 12. SP -- After going 5 leagues we arrived at rancherias of the same nation which were near the river and which we called (Rancherias de) San Diego; the course was west 1/4 northwest.

Nov13. SP -- Having gone 4 leagues west 1/4 southwest we arrived at a place called Aritoac, having crossed the river a little above this locality.

Nov 14. SP -- Having traveled 4 leagues westsouthwest we arrived at the Agua Caliente. Immediatley in this position are the rancherias called of San Bernardino, and they are of the same nation. There came about 200 souls to visit us. I showed them the pictures, and preached to them, and to the proposition whether (de que si) they wished to be baptized and have padres in their land, they answered, "Yes." I proposed to the old men that they join our party, in order that the señor comandante might make in the name of the king a governor and an alcalde; to which responded one old man very seriously: "Behold, the justice is to punish the bad; but none of us being bad, for what is the justice? Already have ye seen, Españoles, that we steal not, neither do we quarrel, and though we be with a woman we take no liberty of doing anything wrong." I do not believe all that of their goodness, yet it is certain that this Opa nation is not less serious than the Pima. Having been asked what information they possessed of their ancestors (antepasados), they told me about the same things as (lo mismo poco mas ó menos que) the (Pimas) Gileños said to the señor comandante, and Padre Font put in his diary, concerning the deluge and creation; and added, that their origin was from near the sea in which an old woman created their progenitors; that this old woman is still somewhere (quien sabe en donde), and that she it is who sends the corals that come out of the sea; that when they die their ghost (corazon) goes to live toward the western sea; that some, after they die, live like owls (tecolótes); and finally they said that they themselves do not understand such things well, and that those who know it all are those who live in the sierra over there beyond the Rio Colorado. The señor comandante made a governor and alcalde, who behaved very haughtily, saying that now their names would reach the king; this, perhaps, may cause some jealousy on the part of the (á vista del) Captain Palma. Here is where ends this Opa or Cocomaricopa nation, which is all one; though nevertheless some of them are found further down river. It appears to me that this nation will number some 30 hundred souls. We saw, furthermore, that still continues the peace which the last expedition made through our intervention between this nation and the Yuma, when in order to assure it some of the Opas went down with us to the Yumas, where it was ratified with great rejoicing on the part of each (de ambas partes); and thus our assistance, among other good results, has the effect of preventing the innumerable murders which were committed on both sides. From this place word was sent to the Jalchedun nation of our coming, and that they should go down without fear to the Yumas in order to celebrate peace. This position is found in latitude 33° 02' 30". The 15th day we remained here.

Nov 16. SP -- We traveled 9 leagues westsouthwest, and came to a halt near the river, whose bed is here very broad.

Nov 17. SP -- Having traveled 2 leagues westsouthwest we came upon the river.

Nov 18. SP -- With 4 leagues southwest we halted near the river at the foot of the Cerro de San Pasqual. This locality was found to be in latitude 32° 48' Here we remained the 19th, 20th, and 21st days.

Nov 22. SP -- Having gone 6 leagues southwest we arrived at the hill that the Indians call Cerro del Metáte; and we, (Cerro) de Santa Cecilia. Here were remained the 23d and 24th days.

Nov 25. SP -- Having traveled 5 leagues west 1/4 northwest, we arrived at the edge of a saline lagoon (Laguna salobre). Here came a Yuma Indian sent by Captain Palma to assure us that all his people were awaiting us with great eagerness. From here hastened on ahead the Cocomaricopa justices who were accompanying us, and they went to the Yumas.

Nov 26. SP -- With 4 leagues northwest we halted on the bank of the river.

Nov 27. SP -- Having gone 2 leagues westnorthwest we halted in a very narrow gap (puerto) through which flows the Rio Gila. Here came a brother of Captain Palma, and presently also Captains Pablo and Palma, who manifested singular joy, especially Palma, who went about embracing everybody.

Nov 28. SP -- Having forded the Rio Gila at (con) 5 leagues west 1/4 southwest, we halted in a bower (enrramada) which Captain Palma had ordered to be built for this purpose. Many very festive Indians of both sexes soon gathered here, and in the presence of all was confirmed the peace between the two nations, Cocomaricopa and Yuma. About a league further down from this place the Rio Gila joins with the Colorado. The Rio Gila, for all that I have been able to asertain in my travels, arises in the Sierra del Mogollón, and flows regurlarly from east to west, though front Vparsoytac it inclines to the westsouthwest. In its course it is joined by (se le agregan) the Rios de San Juan Nepomuzeno, de San Pedro, de San Carlos, and by that (river) which is doubtless the one traditionally (en las memorias antiguas) called Rio de San Francisco and de la Asumpcion; this is composed of two, which are the Verde and the Salado. (The Gila) receives the principal volume of its waters from the Rio de la Asumpcion, which is very much increased by the melting of the snows of the sierra through which it flows. On the banks of the Rio Gila there are cottonwoods, willows, and mezquites. Generally this river is found short of grass; but the soil of the rancherias de San Andrés, now depopulated, and that in all the vicinity of Sutaquison, abounds in brushwood and carrizo (Phragmites communis?). There is found in this river no other fish than that which they call matalóte which is so very savory to the taste, but is troublesome on account of the many bones that it has. On this river is found the Casa (Grande) said to be (que dizen ser) of Moctezuma, and very many other ruins, and other edifices with very many fragments of pottery (cascos de losá [sic, error of the scribe for loza]), as well with painting as without it; from what I have seen since (my visit to) Moqui I have formed a conception respecting these structures very different from that which I previously entertained.

Nov 29. SP -- This day was occupied in search of a path, in opening a way through the heavy woods (grande arboleda) of the Rio Colorado, and in seeking the ford, in order that the expedition might cross (the river).

Nov 30. SP -- The Cocomaricopa justices (justicias) departed on their return to their land. The whole expedition passed over the Rio Colorado without any mishap. Having gone about a league northwest we halted on the bank of the river. We crossed this river (where it was) divided into three branches (brazos); its width I judged would be 400 varas, and at this time it was very low, but when it is swollen it extends for leagues.