December 27 (December 17, o.s.)

New Mexico: Father Francisco Corvera, the Franciscan missionary who accompanied Governor Diego de Vargas on his reconquest expedition and was granted authority over the missions to Acoma, Zuni and Hopi, approaches the governor in El Paso and asks for the religious paraphernalia found by the expedition at Zuni on November 11 and brought to El Paso to be reconsecrated.  Vargas agrees to do so, and gathers his chief ministers and the newly appointed leader of the missions in the reconquered territories, Father Salvador de San Antonio, as witnesses to the formal delivery of the articles to Corvera.  The hand-off is duly performed and witnessed, and Vargas mentions to San Antonio in the course of it that he promised to return the items to the Zunis once the reconsecration was complete.

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December 22 (December 12, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  The councilors order that supplies and slaves be provided to the militia in the windward (eastern) part of the island to assist in suppressing a slave rebellion, and that all militia colonels are to be warned to take care to prevent similar uprisings in their districts.  Captain Michael Hollingsworth is to be arrested and tried at the next general court.  Military supplies at Port Royal are to be inventoried, HMS Mordaunt is to be supplied, and preparations are to be made to entertain the new governor for a week upon his arrival.

Massachusetts: A bill putting forth a new law on witchcraft, a quite pressing issue in the colony at the moment, is introduced in the assembly.  The proposed statute is nearly identical to the prevailing law in England, which was passed in 1604 and which stipulates the death penalty for occult practices resulting in death or bodily injury.  It differs from the English law, however, in omitting the section preserving rights of inheritance for heirs of executed witches, a change made to protect George Corwin, the Essex County sheriff, who has already seized most of the estates of the witches executed during the current crisis.

New Mexico: Roque Madrid, whom governor Vargas left on December 13 with most of the reconquest expedition’s livestock and orders to proceed at a leisurely pace to El Paso so as to minimize further losses, arrives at El Paso around noon.  Although he was careful not to put too much stress on the animals, he couldn’t help but lose a few of them given their condition.  Vargas is understanding and grateful that as many animals were saved as possible.

Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

December 20 (December 10, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Samuel Ray of Salem posts a bond of fifty pounds for the release from jail of Dorothy Good, whose mother Sarah Good was executed for witchcraft on July 19 and who has herself confessed to being a witch, pending trial by the new Supreme Court of Judicature.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his troops arrive at El Paso around 11:00 am.  All the civil and ecclesiastical authorities come to greet him, as do most of the citizens.  His first act upon arriving is to go to the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for her assistance in making his expedition so successful.  He then goes to the plaza, dismounts, and asks his lieutenant governor, Luis Granillo, about the recent trouble with the Apaches.  Granillo reports that they raided twice and took twenty horses and some cattle, but aside from that things had been quiet for the whole four months Vargas was on campaign.  Vargas is relieved to hear this.

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December 16 (December 6, o.s.)

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his portion of the reconquest expedition cross the Rio Grande and head for the outpost of San Diego.  On their way there they see some people approaching on horseback, presumably the people from El Paso sent to receive them upon hearing word of their approach from the messengers sent ahead on December 11.  Shortly after Vargas and his men first see them, however, the El Paso group suddenly turns around.  Vargas and his men speed up to overtake them and find out what the problem is.  Three of the officers, Juan Páez Hurtado, Martín de Alday, and Juan Lucero de Godoy, are the fastest and reach them first. They discover that the problem is a sudden attack by mounted Apaches, who flee when the three men arrive. They do manage to surround two Apaches who are on foot and immediately begin firing their arrows when they realize that they cannot escape. Páez ends up with an arrow through his left leg, and both Alday’s and Lucero’s horses are severely wounded as well.

One of the Apaches is killed in the fight, but the other survives, though badly wounded.  When the rest of his men arrive on the scene, Vargas orders that the Apache be kept alive long enough to be interrogated.  He is brought along with the expedition as it continues southward, but he has lost so much blood that his condition deteriorates rapidly and Vargas calls a halt at the next stopping place, the outpost of Robledo, in order to question him.  When asked about reports of Apaches raiding El Paso, the man admits to having stolen two horses in the past month but says he knows nothing further.  Having gained this limited information, Vargas orders the man to be executed, but allows Francisco Corvera, one of the expedition’s priests, to try to convert him first if he wishes.  Corvera convinces the man to accept baptism and gives him the name Agustín.  Vargas then orders Alday to have four soldiers take the man to one side of the outpost and shoot him.  They do so.  This incident is the first use of deadly force by the reconquest expedition.

Published in: on December 16, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on December 16 (December 6, o.s.)  

December 13 (December 3, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council orders that Colonel Leonard Claiborne, who has admitted to disobeying orders from his superior officer, be prosecuted at the next general court along with Colonel Christopher Senior and Captain Michael Holdsworth.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, concerned about the toll his long journey has taken on the expedition’s horses and mules, decides the split the group in two for the last stretch.  He orders his officers to select twenty well-equipped men to go ahead with him and his commanders while Roque Madrid stays behind and leads the remainder of the expedition, including most of the animals, at a more leisurely pace.  Madrid is to plan his journey so that he arrives at El Paso in about ten days, and Vargas leaves him sufficient supplies to do this.  Vargas and his accompanying troops then set out down the river.

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

December 12 (December 2, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council orders Captain Maynard of the Mordaunt to impress a sloop and sail it along the coast to catch people trying to leave the island and impress them for naval service.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his expedition leave their campsite and march along the Rio Grande.  Instead of the usual route, the Camino Real, they go along the opposite bank of the river, which is rougher but is more likely to have water for the animals.  They camp at the end of the day along the riverbank at a place where they can see the El Muerto and Las Peñuelas mountains, as well as the Camino Real across the river.

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December 11 (December 1, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal and appoints Thomas Nichols as Attorney General.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, camped near the abandoned Pueblo of Senecú, decides to send word to the people of El Paso that he is nearby and will be arriving there within a few days. He sends Captain Rafael Téllez Girón with two soldiers to go ahead of the main body of the expedition and arrive at El Paso within three days. They are to deliver letters to the main civil and ecclesiastical authorities there reporting Vargas’s success in the reconquest and estimating that he will arrive at El Paso within nine days. Since the garrison at El Paso has been operating with greatly reduced numbers while most of the province’s soldiers have been on campaign, Vargas figures news of the imminent return of his troops will be welcome to the people there.

After dispatching the messengers, Vargas orders the rest of his men to break camp and continue on their march down the Rio Grande.  They head for Fray Cristóbal through a stretch of road within any known permanent water holes, but they figure that there may be some places where water has collected from the recent storms.  After marching all day they camp at a place in the lowlands within sight of a hill beyond which is Fray Cristóbal.

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December 10 (November 30, o.s.)

New Mexico: Despite the fact that it is snowing at dawn, Governor Vargas and his expedition leave their campsite at the abandoned Pueblo of Socorro, cross the nearby Rio Grande, and march down the river toward the abandoned Pueblo of Senecú.  They camp within sight of the pueblo, but not in it.

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December 9 (November 29, o.s.)

New Mexico: Despite the weather being very harsh, with strong winds and snow, Governor Vargas decides to set off from his expedition’s campsite in a ravine at the foot of the Sierra de Socorro.  The campsite has no pasturage or firewood, and is exposed to the weather, so it isn’t a good place to try to wait out the storm.  The group heads for the abandoned Pueblo of Socorro, the closest pueblo.  They reach it fairly soon and camp for the night in the church, which is abandoned but still in fairly good condition.

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December 8 (November 28, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  Colonel Leonard Claiborne confesses to having disobeyed orders given by his superior officer, Captain Bernart Andreis.  A general court martial is ordered for December 1.  The sloop Neptune, impressed for government service after the earthquake, is ordered to be returned to her owners.  French prisoners are to be sent to St. Domingue.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas attends a mass in the morning for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, then meets with his Zuni guide, Agustín, and his companions.  He thanks them for their help and gives them the buffalo hides he promised as payment, as well as supplies for the journey back to Zuni.  They say that they are worried about attack by the Apaches and would therefore like to return by way of Acoma Pueblo, and they ask Vargas for a letter to the people at Acoma to ensure their safe passage.  Vargas obligingly writes a letter to Mateo, the governor of Acoma, introducing the Zunis and explaining why he took a shortcut under their guidance rather than returning via Acoma himself.  This satisfies the Zunis, who leave happy.

Vargas then orders his men to prepare to leave their campsite at the waterhole which he names La Purísima Concepción in honor of the day of its discovery.  They head toward the Rio Grande, with the Magdalena Mountains in view and serving to direct them.  When they get to the Sierra del Socorro they cross it, following the tracks of the men and animals from the expedition who left the previous night to find water.  They find them waiting in a broad arroyo at the foot of the mountains.  Since it is pretty late at this point, Vargas orders the reunited expedition to camp there for the night.

Published in: on December 8, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)