Mike Lord

Mike Lord

4th generation Santa Fe Gringo.

Wednesday, 01 July 2020 16:02

Santa Fe Plaza Obelisk History


My View Oliver La Farge


Obelisk is a part of 'real' Santa Fe past


  • By Oliver La Farge
  • Jun 27, 2020


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In the 1950s and early '60s, my father, Oliver La Farge, had a weekly column in The New Mexican under Robert McKinney. For those who have forgotten, by that time, my father had been fighting for Indian rights, for their decent treatment and for the honoring of treaties for decades. As an anthropologist and advocate, he was widely considered America's foremost authority on Indian society and culture, which is one reason he decided to live in New Mexico, aside from the fact it was my mother's ancestral home.

The question of the obelisk first came up in the 1950s. This is what he had to say in 1961, taken from the book of his columns, The Man with the Calabash Pipe, edited by poet Winfield Townley Scott.

John Pen La Farge


"Some Folklore and a Monument"

From several sources I hear of a peculiar folklore of misinformation about the obelisk in the center of the Plaza. It is important that the truth be made known …

One false belief is that the monument landed in the Plaza because it was unwanted and there was nowhere else to stick it. This is obviously absurd. The monument was authorized by the territorial Legislature to celebrate the outcome of two serious wars; its cornerstone was laid in November 1867, with great pomp and ceremony, and it was carefully placed in the most honorable spot in New Mexico, in the center of the capital's Plaza, fronting what was then both the governor's mansion and the territorial capitol.

The other is that this monument celebrates Anglo-American achievements and has no meaning to Spanish-Americans. This belief is also entirely false. Its currency shows that too many of our Spanish-Americans have forgotten a proud chapter in their own history.

The monument is dedicated on two sides to those who died in the Civil War fighting for the Union, on the third side to those who died fighting the "savage Indians," meaning Navajos and Apaches.

Both wars were fought simultaneously. At the beginning of the Civil War, the bulk of regular army troops were withdrawn, to be replaced by volunteers. In short order New Mexico found itself in a pincers movement, with the Confederates striking from the southeast, the Navajos from the southwest, and the Mescaleros operating in between. … The bulk of the forces were Spanish-American, not only the enlisted men but the officers, of whom the highest was Lt. Col. J. Francisco Chaves.

 [V]olunteer they did, fought bravely against the "rebels" and provided the manpower that defeated them at Glorieta.

They went on fighting equally bravely under Chaves, Kit Carson, and others, in the long and difficult campaigns that pacified both the Mescaleros and the powerful Navajos, against whom the efforts of regulars had been unavailing …

On February 6, 1864, The New Mexican reported, "We have often and with much pleasure, received much warm recommendations … of volunteer (Spanish-American) soldiers … These men deserve high credit and consideration …"

Most of these men were born citizens of Mexico. In a time of crisis, they showed how completely they had adopted the United States … they established a glorious tradition, which they have continued in full force in the Spanish-American War, when they poured into the Rough Riders, the two World Wars, and the Korean War.

This, then, is what that little monument stands for. ...

I can see why a Texan might not be fond of this monument. A southerner or a Navajo might object to "rebel" and "savage" — expressions of the time, mementos of the honest feelings of that age. To Spanish-Americans, it should be one of their most cherished monuments, for it is they, above all, whom it celebrates.

Newcomers might be confused, but I am surprised that an old-timer … should think for a moment that the "savage Indians" referred to so sincerely … meant the Pueblos. So far as I know, hostilities with the Pueblos ended not long after the bloody (not "bloodless" as so often advertised) reconquest of New Mexico. From then until the Navajos were broken and signed the Treaty of 1868, Santa Fe and all New Mexico, including the Pueblos, were relentlessly harried, threatened with extinction, many settlements and pueblos wiped out by Navajos, Apaches, Kiowas, and Comanches…

These were the "savage Indians." No one even faintly conversant with New Mexico history could doubt to whom the territorial legislature was referring, or forget that Pueblo Indians were among the "heroes" who fought and are commemorated on the slab.

Under the Madison Avenue influence, we are getting to where we want even our history mad bland, sweetened, suited for consumption without any sensation whatsoever. The plaza monument is something else again, an authentic survival of frontier days, of the conditions of those times, of their simplicity and even other crudity.

You can decide to bury all traces of what Santa Fe once was and forget New Mexico's history was full of storms and violence. Personally, I prefer to keep a little of the real thing, to counterbalance the next ballet of whiskers and poke bonnets when we confuse our anniversaries with those of Square Corners, Ioway.

The monument refers to "savage Indians," it means exactly what it says, and furthermore, the term is accurate. That the white men … were often equally savage is beside the point…

The monument refers to "Rebels" in the same forthright manner….the word in their minds must have been "Tejanos". The common people of New Mexico were bitterly anti-Texan, hence devotedly pro-Union…

The monument is authentic, it is unpretentious, it is a true record of the important passage in New Mexico history. It is altogether too easy to brush such simple things aside, brushing our predecessors aside along with them…

For heaven's sake you who want to keep a little of the real Santa Fe, resist every move to remove these stones as you would resist having the bones of your ancestors ground into fertilizer for the capitol gardens.




Friday, 27 March 2020 00:41

Marbles in New Mexico

Joseph Ulibarri provided this photo from Las Vegas, NM.  He says: 

"The photo was taken by Nappy; the empty lot was behind what we call the Tru-Parts Building and is now Plaza Antiques. The photo was taken upstairs facing west. The building on the upper left is the Margarito Romero mansion. I'm thinking that the date is more likely mid 1940s. My Dad was born in 1926 and he looks like a young teenager. He's the tall one on the left-he wasn't that tall. His brother is on his right. The street is West National."

When I was in grade school in the mid 1950s, marbles was what we did when the weather permitted.  A 3 - 6 foot circle was drawn in the dirt.  Each player would place 5 marbles in the center of the circle in the form of an X.  To determine who went first, players would "lag" their shooters (which were larger and heavier than regular marbles) to a line drawn about 10 feet away.  Closest to the line went first, and the knuckles had to be on the ground, outside of the ring.  If the shooter knocked a marble out of the ring, he (girls never played) kept the marble and got another shot from where his shooter landed.  If no marble was knocked out of the ring, the shooter stayed where it landed and it was the next player's turn.  If a shooter was knocked out of the ring, that player was done and forfeited all of his marbles.  This continued until all of the marbles were gone.

Marbles had different names.  Cat eyes, puries, boulders, aggies, are what I remember.  There was a kid who's dad worked in an auto shop whose shooter was a ball-bearing called a steelie.  He could shatter glass marbles with that thing.

I understand that, in more genteel societies, marbles were played for fun and all marbles were returned to the original owners at the end of the game.  In Santa Fe, we played for keeps.  Always.  I lost way more than I won.

Marbles Los Alamos 1960

Bernardo C de Baca While I lived in the Agua Fria neighborhood. this was totally new to me. Corner of Agua Fria and Hickox...Anybody?


The Albino Perez monument, “a small boulder with a polished face and inscription lies enclosed within a rusting iron fence in the 1400 block of Agua Fria Street. The words carved in stone read: Governor Perez was assassinated on this spot on Aug. 9, 1837. Erected by sunshine Chapter, DAR, 1901”.

Celina Rael Garcia We grew up knowing what the marker was for. As kids walking home after dark we ran past the marker.

Celina Rael Garcia Several people told of El Hombre Largo. Have you heard that one? Folks had encounters with an apparition that carried a noose and as he approached you he grew to gigantic proportions. That was most common. Also back in the day when cars had running boards there was a man who swore that a figure jumped onto the running board as he was going down past the marker on Agua Fria, when he turned to look at it it had the face of a skeleton. The bar at the corner was owned by someone name Elias. Some of his customers told of encountering La Llorona there. I’ll try to dredge up more memories. Maybe I’ll publish something entitled Growing Up Scared Out Your Wits in Santa Fe.

Gloria Valdez I have one, or two Celina. You remember the big tree at the bottom of the hill going toward our house on Velarfe Lane (off Agua Fria)? Folks used to say that a man had been hanged there years back. Apparently, on occasion people said he would appear there. I'm happy to day I never saw him. But, at night going home I would run past that tree as fast as I could. Just in case he decided to make an appearance. Lol Also, since we lived right by the santa fe river, there were always takes of appearances by the Llorona. Again, I never saw her, but was always terrified she might appear.

Celina Rael Garcia Gloria Valdez I remember the tree. It was always so dark down the joya, we broke records running home after dark. The first time I heard the story of El Hombre Largo was from Lydia and Tomasa. They had gone to a movie at the Arco Theater on Hickox. As they walked home he appeared at the marker and grew taller as he approached them. They ran and somehow Tomasa lost her shoe and just left it. Both Lydia and Tomasa died in the past 5 years and I wish I’d recorded them telling the story.

Celina Rael Garcia Gloria Valdez Tomasa was over 100 when she passed, Lydia was close to 90.

Gloria Valdez Celina Rael Garcia my mom was a born story teller. She'd let us build a bonfire outside and roast corn on the cob and apples while she narrated her stories. Besides the hanged man and Llorona, she had many witches tales, which she said happened in the Pecos area. She and her sisters would hide and watch their goings on on the mountains above my Tia's house. While scary, we were always enthralled with her tales. Very interesting.

Josie Byers I was maybe 14,and my aunt Angelina and I had gone to the movies. We came home in a taxie,as she didnt h as ve a car. We got out of the cab,were opening the lock ,and we heard something wierd,like someone crying. We stood at the door and the crying got closer. It was scary cause we couldn't see anyone..anyway the crying sounded like it was coming down the street and we could hear it like it was passing right in front of us and passed and went down the street..
At that time it was when La Llorona was heard .

Josie Byers Celina Rael Garcia yes but this happen on Torcido street where my grampa lived .I dont think my auntie was married to Armando .

Celina Rael Garcia Josie Byers the Acequia Madre ran through there. There are a lot of Llorona sitings along the Acequia.

Josie Byers Celina Rael Garcia no Torcido is off Cerrillos road and goes to the street that goes to St Annes church and the next street is Agua Fria . The Y. I forgot te name of the street

Celina Rael Garcia Josie Byers the Acequia Madre runs from uptown all the way down to Siler Road. The arroyo that cuts through Torcido now Baca Street is the Acequia Madre.

Gloria Valdez People up and down Agua Fria claimed to have heard her. Never heard of anyone seeing her, tho.

Gloria Valdez Josie Byers once we were parked alongside the river at night (with boys) and we heard what appeared to be wailing. The boys claimed it was the Llorona. We all got scared and got away fast.

In January 1847, while serving as territorial governor, Charles Bent traveled to his wife's hometown of Taos, without military protection. There, on January 19, he was scalped alive and murdered in his home by a group of Taos Pueblo Indian attackers, under the orders of Mexican conspirators, who started the Taos Revolt.

His daughter, Teresina Bent Scheurich, later recalled the event:

"He was killed in January 19, 1847 about six in the morning.  We were in bed when the Mesicans and Indians came to the house breaking the doors and some of them were on the top of the house tearing the roofs, so we got up and father step to the porch asking them what they wanted and they answered him, we want your head gringo, we do not want for any of you gringos to govern us, as we have come to kill you.  Father told them what wrong have I done to you, when you come to me for help I always helped you and your familys.  I have cure you people and never charged you anything.  Yes, you did but you have to die now so that no American is going to govern us, then they commenced to shoot him with the arrows and guns, while he was talking to them.  Mother went to him and said why don't you jump on one of those horses that you have in the corral and go somewhere.  Father told her would not do for a Governor to run away and leave his family in danger, if they want to kill me, they can kill me here with my family.  Mrs. Carson and Mrs. Boggs, and an Indian slave dug a hole to the next house, so between the four women they took him where they had dig out the wall.  So he commence to put all of us children first then Mrs. Carson, Mrs. Boggs.  He wanted my mother to go next, but she told him, you go first, but when he was to go through the arrows that he had in his head hurt him so he pull them our, and crushed them against the wall so he went through the hole to the next house.  Then mother was going, and an Indian had found where they went, he was going to shoot Mama, but the slave woman stood in front of mother and the poor Indian was killed.  Then he struck mother on the back with the butt of the gun.  Father went with all of us to a little room, and he sat and took his memorando book, suppose he wanted to write something, but by that time the whole crowd of Mesicans and Indians got to the room where we were so they commence to shoot at him and scalp him and strip him of his clothes and when they killed him, some of the crowd wanted to kill all the family, but some of the Mesicans said, no, woman folks and children we must not kill, but we will not help them in anything. So they left us about three o'clock.  A man by the name of Manuel Gregorio Martin came to see us, and ask mother what are you going to do about the burial of the Governor and she said I have nobody to see about it.  I have no clothes for him nor nothing, so this man told her that he had a pair of trousers and a vest, so he went to his house and brought the clothes and then he went to see if he would find someone to make the coffin, so next day, he had the coffin and buried him.  So we stayed in the Lashones house for three days till Mrs. Catalina Lovato de Valdez sent for us.  Before we went a man by the name of Juan Bautista Vigil, one of the best to do gentlemen, use to come to the house of Lashones about three o'clock in the morning and brought us provisions and clothes as we did not have anything, as they stole everything from our house and all of us were with our night gowns.  We stayed at the house of Mrs. Valdez till the Americans came, that was 15 days after father was killed and the American soldiers got here the 3rd of February 1847 and they went to fight the Mesicans and the Indians the 4th of February, they killed about 250 there in the Pueblo, had 6 Mesicans hanging here in the middle of the Plaza and if I am not mistaken, 16 Indians were hung too somewhere near Mr. Phillip's studio.  At the same time that father was killed they killed here in town Shirif Luis Estaven Lee, Cornilio Vigil, mother's uncle, Provost judge Lawyer Leal, Pablo Jaramillo, mother's brother, and Narcizo Beaubien.  In Arroyo Hondo they killed Turley the owner of the Distelary and seven men more that were working there.

This is my recollections, as a child of 5 years"

From the original transcript.  Grammar, spelling, and punctuation not corrected

Wednesday, 13 November 2019 01:26

Francis Schlatter, The Healer

Healer and the Cross

By Alice Bullock
There was no ladder on the ranch, nor was there any white paint, but there was the ten-foot high Cross on the west wing of the Morley ranch house near Datil. It had not been there the day before, but the next morning, there it was. No footprints, no signs of activity of any kind – but the Cross, a heavy one, shone stark in the early morning sun. It was still there when the ranch house was moved several years later.
Mrs. Ada Morley, widow of the famed Maxwell Land Grant manager at Cimarron, later surveyor of the Santa Fe railroad over Raton Pass, chose not to tell her daughter Agnes until she came home from school on the west coast. When she drove the buggy up in front of the ranch house, daughter Agnes gasped. “Who did that?” she demanded, pointing to the huge Cross.
“We don’t know,” Mrs. Morley said quietly. “It appeared the morning after Francis Schlatter left.” There’s a long, fascinating story back of the name Schlatter.
Francis Schlatter was a big question, a highly controversial one in New Mexico in 1895-96. He showed up at the village of Peralta, south of Albuquerque, after walking through the Mojave Desert in mid-summer with only a small pail for water, a few pounds of flour, and the copper rod that he always carried. That rod 35 inches long, weighing slightly over 27 pounds, is now in the Museum of New Mexico.
He began healing all sorts of the ills that beset man – sight, hearing rheumatism, broken bones, stomach and intestinal disorders, heart troubles. Crowds formed wherever he was, and he healed some, failed with others. Long lines formed and he never accepted any recompense for his services. “I do what the Father commands,” he answered questions quietly.
Leaving the villages, he went to Albuquerque, and was promptly mobbed by seekers for relief from misery as well as curious non-believers. The newspapers, pro and con, printed daily stories, and his fame spread from coast to coast, with national coverage in newspapers and magazines.
From Albuquerque, he went on to Denver, and thousands waited in line for his ministrations. He stayed in the home of Alderman Fox, whom he had healed of a hearing deficiency. While there, he was given a gray horse, retired by the fire department. Mrs. Morley saw him in Denver, and believed in him.
On November 13, 1895, Fox entered The Healer’s (as he had become known) room when he did not appear at the usual time. He was gone with a note explaining, “Father has called me. I must go.”
There was a great furor, of course, for different cities had offered as much as $5,000 if he would come to them. Special trains of the sick and ailing were drawing into the Denver station. A search, such as is normally reserved for a dangerous criminal, was instituted. He could not be found. He had ridden the gray horse, but every clue turned out to be false.
Weeks later, he rode into the Morley ranch, an isolated, difficult one to find at the time, following a heavy snow. He accepted their hospitality with the proviso that his presence be kept a secret.
During the weeks spent at the ranch, he wrote an account of his wanderings and entrusted it to Mrs. Morley for publication. The print of his large feet in the corrals, his gray horse, caused speculation and people began to “drop by” in increasing numbers. He then told Mrs. Morley that he had to go on – down into Mexico.
His hostess tried to persuade him not to go, but he assured her that he would return, no matter what tales she might hear, for this was “The New Jerusalem.” Mrs. Morley believed him, saw that his manuscript was printed, and died waiting for Schlatter to come back.
A few years later Dr. Edgar L. Hewett, of the Museum of New Mexico, ran into the copper rod and the story of his [Schlatter’s] death on a lone hillside near Casas Grandes, in Mexico. The villagers sent the rod to Hewett in Santa Fe. Hewett writes about this in his book “Campfire and Trail.”
Agnes Morley (Cleveland) grew up and became well-known as a writer. She devotes a chapter of her book “No Life for a Lady” to The Healer. The huge Cross on the Morley two-story ranch home was never explained. Neither has The Healer been categorized firmly unto this day. Was he a divine healer? A fanatic who cannot be explained? Doctors at the time tried, but were unsuccessful in arriving at a consensus even among them. His history can be traced – nothing highly unusual until he began a long trek three years before his death, and it was only because of his healing from mid-1895 through November, when he left Denver, that he became nationally known, a mysterious man – and a mysterious cross on the wall of a New Mexico ranch house.
The Schlatter book, only three copies known to survive, gives no real clue. He was much better as a healer than a writer. Mrs. Cleveland’s daughter, Loraine C. Lavender, of Santa Fe, has permitted the Museum of New Mexico to replicate her copy so that it may be read there.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 01:01

Don Ambrosio Armijo's Roof - By Paula Vallejos

“October 16. The century and year of 1898 (?) this roof was built by Don Ambrosio Armijo.”

If you’ve never seen this before it’s in Albuquerque's Old Town, just before you go into the Gorilla Graphix store. Look up. It’s very cool.

Friday, 20 September 2019 16:16

Don Francisco, the interpreter - by Chris Baca

Storytelling Time

When I was a little kid, maybe 5-7 years old, my father would entertain the family after supper by telling us stories of his growing up years in Las Nutrias. We’d sit around in the kitchen table after it had been cleaned up and and listen to him spin his tales. Usually, he’d be sipping a cup of coffee and was totally relaxed. The kitchen would be nice and warm because the old stove was still giving out heat from the lleña that had helped cook my mom’s delicious meal including freshly rolled tortillas. The yummy smells of the recent meal still lingered in the air.

In between sips of coffee he would begin the story. My favorite one was about a pompous villager who would like to lord his command of the English language over the less capable English speakers from Las Nutrias. This must have been around 1910 or so. In those days few people spoke English as Spanish had been spoken in the area since the late 1600s. The area had been settled after the reconquista of New Mexico. In any case, Don Francisco (the “smartest man” in the community) would strut around the village blurting out phrases in
English and asking “Saben lo que yo dije?” “Do you know what I just said?” Of course, no one did. They would shake their heads “No!” He would snort out “Pues es porque yo se mas que ustedes.” “Well, it’s because I know more than you do.” He would strut away with his chin in the air having once again asserted his superior knowledge over the commoners of the little village.

Well, one day, one of the revered elders of the village, Don Tomas Baca, got ill and the curanderas weren’t able to cure him. So it was decided that he had to be taken to the town of Belen to see the only doctor in the area. The young doctor only spoke English. This was about 15 miles away and he had to be driven there in a buckboard. Don Francisco, the most “competent” English speaker, was assigned to go with Don Tomas to interpret for him.

Once they got there Don Tomas began to be examined by the doctor and Don Francisco has to explain to the patient and doctor what was being said. “What are your symptoms?” “Tengo un dolor aquí,”. and pointed to his stomach. “I have a pain here.” Except Don Francisco interpreted “dolor” or “pain” as “dollar”. The doctor was astonished “He has a dollar there?” Yes, nodded Don Francisco. “Did he swallow a coin?” “El médico quiere saber si usted se comió una dolar de plata?” Don Tomas was confused “Este médico no sabe
nada. Esta loco! Que tipo de medico es este? De caballos?” “This doctor doesn’t know anything. He’s crazy! What is he? A horse doctor?” The doctor continued his examination and told Don Francisco to tell Don Tomas to take off his clothes. The old man was hesitant but he was in a lot of pain so he disrobed and the doctor began poking and probing still wondering why Don Tomas had  swallowed a silver dollar. He worked his way down to his nether region and told him he was going to check for a hernia and needed to check his groin. “El médico piensa que tiene algo mal con sus huevos!” Don Tomas was frantic. What could possibly be wrong with his balls. Yes, they had shriveled a bit with age but they were quite functional in his mind. However, because he was in such pain he conceded to the request and the doctor asked Don Francisco to tell Don Tomas to turn his head and cough. “Que me está diciendo? No quiero que me toque los huevos!” “What is he saying? I don’t want him to touch my balls!” Don Francisco misinterprets cough as coffee so he says “Se me hace que le dice que toma mucho café!” “I think the doctor is telling you that you drink too much coffee.
Apparently, he can tell your drinking too much coffee by the weight of your balls!”

By then we were all laughing, tears rolling down our eyes. My dad would end the story by saying “Se le acabó el Ingles a ese pendejo, Don Francisco!” In essence “Don Francisco, the dumb ass, ran out of English!”

Obviously the pompous Don Francisco got his comeuppance when he got back to the village somewhat chagrined that he wasn’t as fluent in English as he thought. And Don Tomas was angry because he had been “manhandled” and couldn’t drink coffee anymore.

Story telling was and is an art form. My dad was an awesome story teller. We didn’t have a radio or TV so he was our entertainment.

Metro area was once home to Apaches

By Dennis Herrick / Rio Rancho Author
Sunday, August 25th, 2019

Most Albuquerque-area residents know about Pueblo Indians. But what about the Faraon Apaches, whose base for many years was the Sandia and Manzano mountains?

Since the late 1590s, Spaniards called the Apaches of the Middle Rio Grande by the Spanish word “faraón” for pharaoh, a reference to Biblical Egyptians. Spaniards reported that the Faraon Apaches were allied with several pueblos against Spanish rule in 1692.

The new Spanish presence had disrupted much of the area’s traditional trading network, resulting in Faraones intensifying raid-and-trade at pueblos to obtain what they wanted or needed.

For Apaches too poor to buy horses – which were forbidden to them, anyway – the alternative was to steal them from Spanish herds at ranches and pueblos.

Most Albuquerque-area residents know about Pueblo Indians. But what about the Faraon Apaches, whose base for many years was the Sandia and Manzano mountains?

Since the late 1590s, Spaniards called the Apaches of the Middle Rio Grande by the Spanish word “faraón” for pharaoh, a reference to Biblical Egyptians. Spaniards reported that the Faraon Apaches were allied with several pueblos against Spanish rule in 1692.

The new Spanish presence had disrupted much of the area’s traditional trading network, resulting in Faraones intensifying raid-and-trade at pueblos to obtain what they wanted or needed.

For Apaches too poor to buy horses – which were forbidden to them, anyway – the alternative was to steal them from Spanish herds at ranches and pueblos.

Spaniards and their Pueblo allies would deploy numerous campaigns against Faraon Apaches to punish them for thefts of horses and other livestock. One of the campaigns came after Faraon Apaches raided settlers around Bernalillo and Alameda.

Historian John L. Kessell wrote about how a campaign launched in 1704 would end with the death of Diego de Vargas, who had reconquered pueblo country after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Vargas led the punitive expedition, marching south from Santa Fe to Alameda with Spaniards and Puebloan allies. The force found Faraones with stolen livestock at the “watering place of Carnué,” which was how Tijeras Pass was known then, but the Faraones escaped. Vargas and several expedition members became ill, and Vargas was taken to a Bernalillo home, where he died at the age of 60.

In June 1706, the year of Albuquerque’s founding, the new villa’s first alcalde mayor, Martin Hurtado, wrote about a visit by “the pagan Indians of the Faraon Apache nation.” Hurtado reported that Faraones “have constantly come to trade and barter with the Spanish inhabitants of the said Villa of Alburquerque (sic) and the Christian Indians of the mountain passes and towns of this district.”

Spanish Gov. Francisco Cuerbo y Valdés had predicted troubles with these same Apaches when he founded the villa, writing: “For (colonists’) security, I decided that a group of 10 soldiers of this presidio should go in a squad, taking their families to escort and guard them, because (the place) is in the main frontier of the barbarous … Faraones.”

Pecos Pueblo residents told Gov. Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón in 1714 that Faraones “make their base in the Sierra de Sandia from which they sally forth to rob horses and cattle” from pueblos and colonial ranches. Two days later, Faraones took the horse herd at Picuris Pueblo.

Gov. Mogollón reacted by ordering a campaign against Faraones near Bernalillo and Albuquerque, where Vargas had gone 11 years earlier. The force set out in 1715 and searched for weeks without finding any Faraones. It was suspected that someone had warned the Apaches.

As late as 1754, Gov. Tomás Vélez Cachupín noted that raids by one or another Apache band posed a threat to ranches and pueblos around Bernalillo and Albuquerque. By then, the area was also suffering from deadly attacks by Comanches on horseback from the Great Plains.

Author and former Journal reporter Sherry Robinson said some mid-1800s maps still labeled the area from Sandia Mountain to the Pecos River as Faraon territory, although the Faraon Apaches seem to have merged with the Mescaleros by then.

Although on every colonist’s mind in the 1600s and 1700s, today’s memories of the Faraon Apaches of the Sandia and Manzano mountains have faded to obscurity.

Dennis Herrick is author of “Winter of the Metal People” and “Faded Pueblos of the Tiguex War.”

Sunday, 17 February 2019 18:49

Enchilada Recipe - 1877

I recently came across this recipe from Buckeye Cookery by Estelle Woods Wilcox, dated 1877.  I'm assuming that she was from Ohio (The Buckeye State.)  It may be that she took a trip to the southwest and observed the preparation of tortillas and red chile by a local cook, recording the process.  According to some local Hispanic cooks, she was quite accurate.


Put four pounds of corn in a vessel with four ounces lime, or in a preparation of lye; boil with water till the hull comes off, then wash the corn (usually done by Mexicans on a scalloped stone made for grinding corn as was practiced by Rebecca), bake the meal in small cakes called "tortillas," then fry in lard; take some red pepper ground called "chili colorad," mix with it sweet oil and vinegar, and boil together. This makes a sauce into which dip the tortillas, then break in small pieces cheese and onions, and sprinkle on top the tortillas, "enchiladas" is the result. Any one who has ever been in a Spanish-speaking country will recognize this as one of the national dishes, as much as the pumpkin pie is a New England specialty.

Mis Oremos and Mis Crismas, are holiday traditions that are unique to the villages of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. In the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, the Culebra Villages outside of San Luis have carried on these cultural traditions. For the second year in a row San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado, is bringing this tradition back into their community.

Richard de Olivas y Cordova, active member of the governance team for Adelante San Luis who leads the revitalization of Manito Culture, explained, “The town of San Luis is reviving this tradition as a way for families to come together and celebrate heritage and community.” Although, not held on the traditional date of Christmas Eve (this year’s gather took place this past Saturday, it is still just as powerful a bringing together people. “A family from Texas was passing through town and saw the large gathering of people outside the town hall. They stopped and asked about what was going on, and were just amazed because they had never seen anything like it. We invited them to join and they did, they had a great time, and we hope more people feel welcome to come experience this tradition with us next year.”

“Costilla County Prevention Partners(CCPP) brought students down to be a part of the celebration that had never experienced this tradition. They were just so excited and had so much fun learning and participating in this cultural experience. The resident team of volunteers worked very hard planning and leading this event. ” Said Jessica-Ortega-Dugan, Coordinator of Adelante San Luis.
“This was a great success and partnership for our second annual Mis Crismas Celebration between Adelante San Luis, CCPP, the Town of San Luis and Social Services.”

It begins in each village with the lighting of one luminaria (bonfire) on Dec 16th. On the 17th two luminarias are lit. On the 18th three, so that on the 24th there will be 9 luminarias in each village. On the evening of the 24th, Christmas Eve, a few of the older teenagers don masks and costumes as not to be recognized. They are called abuelos (grandfathers). They make the younger kids sing, march in formation, etcetera-all to the beat of a chicote (a horse whip) around the bonfires. Finally the whole group goes to the homes of their neighbors in the villages to ask for Oremos. In front of the homes the farolitos (candles in bags) are lit. At each door the children, guided by the abuelos, recite this poem:

“Oremos, oremos Angelitos semos.

Del cielo venemos a pedir oremos.

Si no nos dan oremos

Puertas y ventanas quebraremos.”

English Translation:

“We pray, we pray. We are little angels.

From heaven we come to ask for oremos.

If you do not give us oremos,

Doors and windows will be broken.”

Rita Martinez, of San Luis, remembers the tradition from her childhood fondly, “It is a little bit like Halloween. We would put on tons of clothes and gloves to walk through piles and piles of snow on Christmas eve saying Oremos at each house and collecting goodies like empanaditas, biscochitos and candies. Then again Christmas morning we would bundle up again. All the neighborhood kids would all wait outside excitedly for the kids to gather and we would go house to house together saying “Mis Crismas” in place of Oremos. The neighbors all wanted to be the house that had the best goodies and would fill our pillowcases to the top. We would do this all morning, playing in the snow along the way, making snow angels and having so much fun. When we got home, Christmas dinner was ready.”

These festivities are held around Christmas time and relate to Christian tradition, but parts are reminiscent of Judaism and of the Matachina dancers. Richard explains, “The luminarias are lit, increasing by one fire a day, similar to the lighting of the candles on Hanukkah. It is possible this was a way that people could have secretly celebrated Judaism in this area, without being questioned, since they tied it into Christmas tradition. Occasionally the lighting of the luminarias corresponds exactly to the nights of Hanukkah.” The Matachina dancers were originally brought over from Spain, the music and dance depicts the coming together of the Christians and the Moores. The Spanish showed the Native Americans this dance and they adapted it to celebrate the coming together they were similarly experiencing. Costumes and masks were worn and the abuelos used a chicote whip to keep time to the music. “I think it is interesting that the traditional Matachinas have died away, they used to dance and celebrate every Christmas when I was young. Now you can only find them in a few places like Bernadillo, NM. The Abuelos of Oremos is one way that we have kept the connection to that part of our history.”

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