Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Click on the image to make it larger. 

Hernan Martín is my 11th great grandfather. He was with Hernan Cortes during the conquest of Tenochtitlan, (present day Mexico City). He was there during the "noche trieste". Most of the Spanish soldiers were more than just soldiers.  My ancestor was a soldier AND one of three blacksmiths with the expedition. He was one of the three blacksmiths who first set foot on North America.

The  brigantines mentioned are depicted in the painting above.

The stuff below is, for the most part, from the book "Southwestern Colonial Ironwork" by Mark Simmons and Frank Turley where it states:

 "Late in 1519 the Spaniards, who had occupied the Aztec capitol of Tenochtitlan (present Mexico City), decided to build four brigantines to nagivate Lake Texoco, which sourrounded the metropolis. Corte's sent word to the costal town of Vera Cruz that two of his blacksmiths who had remained there, HERNAN MARTIN  and PEDRO HERNANDEZ, should hasten to join him. But first they were to forge two huge chains for the brigantines. This together with bellows, tools, and iron stripped from the Spanish ships, were to be carried by Indian bearers to the Aztec city. When the smiths arrived with their equipment, Cortes assigned Martin the job of making tools for the shipwrights and carpenters. Hernandez and another man, HERNANDO de AGUILAR, listed as a half smith (medio herrero, perhaps a journeyman) were set to work preparing iron fittings for the naval project." 

"Montezuma was soon made a prisoner by the invaders and placed in shackles and chains. Whether these were forged on the spot or came with the expedition from Cuba is of little consequence. What stands out is that from this point forward, colonial blacksmiths would be called upon repeatedly to make or repair irons for shackling Indian slaves and captives. In the early years, before the prcatice was prohibited, they were also asked to forge small branding irons for marking slaves. After a battle with the Aztecs at Tepeaca in 1520, Cortes had his smiths prepare irons in the form of a "g", representing the words "guerra y".... (war and). With these he branded the prisoners."

During the conquest of Mexico, the first shoeing of horses took place on the North American mainland. A supply ship arrived in Vera Cruz bearing much needed stores of iron, and Cortes directed that the 84 men of his army who were mounted should have their horses shod. Apparently enough metal was left overso that smiths could forge new lance points for the troops. Later, when Tenochtitlan had fallen and the Spanish expeditions were fanning out to explore the limits of the Aztec empire, iron was in such short supply that Cortes gathered a quantity of poor grade silver and from it had his workers make horse shoes and nails."

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Mexican Patriots, More of them.

The picture is of Charles Bent, New Mexico's first governor in the American period.

In August of 1846, when the Army of the West invaded New Mexico Col. Stephen Watts Kearney stated that New Mexico was now part of the United States, he also stated that New Mexicans were now United States citizens, which was an illegal act on his part, considering that the Mexican American war was still going on. 

New Mexico was full of American spies and had been since the Santa Fe trade started soon after Mexican independence from Spain in the 1820's.  A lot of these spies had married into New Mexican families. The Bents were two of the spies. New Mexico's first governor under the Americans, Charles Bent, was one of them. He was married to Maria Ignacia Jarmillo, a local woman who was the sister of Kit Carson's wife. Carson had been another spy for a very long time. 

In the early morning hours of January 19th in 1847 all hell broke loose in Taos. A group of New Mexicans led by Pablo Montoya and Tomas (Tomacito) Romero headed to Governor Bent's house.

They intended to kill the Americans and their New Mexican sympathizers. They did a pretty good job too. Sheriff Lee was killed as was Narciso Beaubian. Pablo Jarmillo, Bents brother in law was another victim, so was District Attorney James White Leal.

The fighting continued for a few days, but it was not to last and eventually over 150 New Mexicans were killed in Taos. All was lost for the New Mexicans.

Pablo Montoya was tried by an American kangaroo type court and found guilty of insurrection. He was hanged on February 7th of 1847.  Tomas (Tomacito) Romero was killed in cold blood in his cell by an American soldier. Seventeen New Mexican's were eventually executed by the Americans for the revolt. 

Pablo Montoya, Jesus de Tafoya, Pablo Chavez, Tomas (Tomasito) Romero from Taos Pueblo, Manuel Cortez, as well as others, who died in the short lived conflict are New Mexican heros. People may not remember them now, but they did not sit idly by while the Americans took over their country. Their fight was futile, but they fought anyway. We owe them a debt of gratitude. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

1803 Grantees For The San Miguel del Bado Land Grant

Click on the image to make it larger. A very interesting group of names.

From the publication Herencia, The Quarterly Journal of the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico.