September 11 (September 1, o.s.)

Massachusetts: William Barker Jr., the fourteen-year-old son of the William Barker who confessed to witchcraft on August 29, is questioned by the Salem magistrates.  He quickly confesses and admits to having been baptized by the Devil and having signed his book in addition to bewitching Martha Sprague, one of the recent Andover afflicted.  In addition to one “Goody Parker,” he names as fellow witches Samuel Wardwell, his wife Sarah, their daughter Mercy, and Sarah Wardwell’s daughter from a previous marriage, Sarah Hawkes.  All four Wardwells are immediately arrested and brought in for questioning, and all four confess.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, having left the main body of his troops camped at the hacienda of Mejía the previous afternoon, rides toward Cochiti Pueblo with a small troop to carry out his plan of a dawn attack there.  During the group’s overnight travels they pass by the Pueblos of Sandia and Puaray, both of which seem to have been recently abandoned, perhaps in response to news of the Spaniards’ arrival.

Shortly before dawn the group arrives at Cochiti and surrounds it, intending to lay siege to it until the inhabitants surrender.  They hear no sounds coming from the pueblo, however, and cautiously approach it.  They find it abandoned, and are able to enter it without any trouble.  Vargas is quite disappointed, because he figured that capturing this important site, whether peacefully or through battle, would have been a major accomplishment for his expedition.

Hoping to make the best of a bad situation, Vargas decides to advance to the nearby Pueblo of Santo Domingo, on the other side of the Rio Grande.  He figures the abandonment of Cochiti gives him an opportunity to use his time to capture that pueblo instead.  To prevent the inhabitants of Santo Domingo from fleeing the way those of Cochiti have, he orders Roque Madrid to take a squad of soldiers and cross the river further upstream, on the other side of the pueblo.  He figures that if the people at Santo Domingo see the dust from the main group’s horses and decide to flee, Madrid and his smaller group will be in a position to block their escape and allow Vargas to surround them.

When the governor arrives at Santo Domingo, however, he finds it just as abandoned as Cochiti.  The inhabitants seem to have fled even before the Spanish troops began their approach.  Frustrated, he sends two soldiers as messengers to Cristóbal Tapia, who is following behind with additional supplies and animals, to tell him to meet the group at Santo Domingo rather than at Cochiti, as his original orders stipulated.  Tapia duly arrives at Santo Domingo at 10:00 am.  He tells the governor that on his way up he went by the Pueblo of San Felipe, south of Cochiti, and saw that all the inhabitants, who had moved their homes up from the riverbank to the nearby mesas, fled when they saw the Spanish troops approaching.  One man from the pueblo rode up to the scouts who were riding ahead of Tapia’s party and, when they told him that the inhabitants of the pueblo could come down and that they were not there to attack them, he replied in Spanish that his people wanted peace with the Spanish to defend themselves against the Tewa and Tano Pueblos, who were constantly attacking them.  The scouts assured him that they had only peaceful intentions and he left, ostensibly to tell the fleeing people to come back to the Pueblo.  The Spanish troops continued on their way, being careful not to harm any of the Indians’ property, but the people of San Felipe did not come back.  When Vargas hears this story from Tapia he concludes from it that the man’s claim of wanting peace with the Spanish was fraudulent and that it was all a trick.  He sends one of the Indian allies accompanying the expedition, a man named Esteban, to San Felipe to see if it is still abandoned.

Esteban returns soon and reports that San Felipe is still totally deserted, so Vargas decides not to waste any more time with these Pueblos and to proceed on to Santa Fe.  The expedition departs from Santo Domingo around 5:00 pm.  The road is very rough and eroded by rain, so it is slow going and the wagons and artillery have to be arduously pulled by hand for long stretches.  As a result, the group only gets as far as a place called Las Bocas, where they make camp for the night in a field surrounded by mountains.

Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)  


  1. […] Barker Jr.’s naming of a “Goody Parker” as a fellow witch in his confession the previous day.  She maintains her innocence, suggesting that she is not the Goody Parker in question and saying […]

  2. […] The grand jury hears further evidence against Samuel Wardwell, who confessed to witchcraft on September 1 but retracted his confession on September 13.  In addition to the confession, the evidence […]

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