Monday, July 27, 2009

High Grade Violence in Spanish Colonial and Mexican New Mexico

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It was high grade violence, no two ways about it. The non Pueblo Indians were used to this violence and our ancestors adapted to it with ease. It was not bad in the pre revolt period because our ancestors were the only ones with the horse. Yes, the horse, not a gun, the horse. Once los Indios barbaros got the horse my ancestors had to adapt to the raiding that was the norm for the tribes surrounding/sharing New Mexico. The Navajos, Apaches, Kiowa, Ute and later the Comanche.

On horseback they were a formidable enemy. And the Spanish provided the means for their sucesses at raiding, the horse! The Indios barbaros mentioned had grown accustomed to rading as a means of making a living. In New Mexico they would not give it up until faced with extinction at the hands of the Americans. Prior to the coming of the Americans the Indians would kill the men, older women and young boys during these raids. They would keep younger women and kids as servants in their camps. Killing them if they would become uncooperative.

But my ancestors were no slouches at retalating, with raiding back. They did not need horses, but bodies would do, the captured men to the mines of Mexico and the young and women as servants in New Mexican households. Nothing was wasted by New Mexicans. Men were a commodity just like the rest. The Indians might not want Hispano men, but New Mexicans knew how to get rid of Indian men, the mines at Santa Rita in the interior needed labor.

This was the pattern in New Mexico until the Americans arrived. Eventually they put a stop to it. But left to their own devices the Indians would still be at it. Driving them to extinction or near extinction was the solution that the Americans had used in the East. It was a tried and true method.

Monday, July 6, 2009

En la Tierra de los Siegos...... el Tuerto es Rey.

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. And in New Mexico in 1846 on the eve of the American invasion, New Mexicans were the blind and the Americans were the one eyed men.

They had had spies in the country since 1810 or so, all over the place. The Santa Fe Trail was carrying more than money back to the "states". It was carrying information on the situation in New Mexico. They knew that guns and ammunition were scarce if not non existent amongst the common folks. They also knew the population numbers, the numbers of men capable of fighting should the Americans encounter resistance.

They were also aware that there were no reinforcements for New Mexicans should they decide to resist. Mexico had been having problems since their independence from Spain and New Mexico was too far away to be on the Mexican radar screen. They had problems closer to home.

Governor Manuel Armijo knew this too. He knew a lot more than the group of American spies that had infiltrated new Mexico. He decided to avoid a blood bath for the poorly armed New Mexicans who could expect no help from the Mexican nation. If New Mexicans went at it alone, they would lose. Governor Armijo knew this. So he did not fight and allowed the Americans to enter the province without a shot of resistance. He probably saved many thousands of New Mexican lives.

It was probably inevitable. And who knows what New Mexico would be like today if Mexico had retained not only New Mexico, but Arizona, California and parts of Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Idaho. AND DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THEY KNOW, THEY DON'T.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Territorio de Nuevo Mejico vs Samuel Dean, Ref. Justice of the Peace Roman Benavidez

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The following are notes my grandfather, Roman Benavidez kept when he was a justice of the peace in the late territorial and early statehood period for precinct No. 12, which was in San Miguel County, Rowe, New Mexico. His papers are in the possession of my sister in Albuquerque. She copied the documents from the original and I am using what she transcribed. The translation from Spanish to English is mine.

SPANISH - with associated mispellings.

Territorio de Nuevo Mejico


Samuel Dean

Este dia 13 de Septiembre, AD 1909

Comparecio el Senor Mauricio Archuleta por medio de una reclaracion jurada acusando en ella a Samuel Dean por atropeo a su propiedad y familia. Una orden de aresto fue puesta en manos de Cristoval Padia que dipute. Asi mismo, para el testigo. Y el diputado retornando y precentando el acusado anvas partes convienieron y entraon en un areglo dando una fianza a Samuel Dean de las suma de cien pesos y por el periodo de cies mezes en favor de Maraucio Archuleta y su familia y propiedad la cual fur aprovada por mi este dia 13 de Septiembre A.D. 1909.

Roman Benavidez
Juez de Paz
Prto. No. 12


Territory of New Mexico


Samuel Dean

On this date, 13 September, A.D. 1909

There appeared before me Mr. Mauricio Archuleta with a sworn declaration accusing in it Samuel Dean of abusing his (Mr. Mauricio Archuleta's) property and his family. An order (warrant) of arrest was placed in the hands of Cristoval Padia that I deputized. The same warrant was for the witness. The deputy returned and presented (to the Justice of the Peace, Roman Benavidez) the accused. Both parties agreed and entered into an arrangement which placed a "bond" on Samuel Dean a sum of one hundred dollars ($100.00) and for a period of six months in favor of Mauricio Archuleta and his family and property and which was approved by me this date 13 September A.D. 1909

Roman Benavidez
Justice of the Peace
Prct. No. 12