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Field Division of Education
Chronology for Tumacacori National Monument
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Abstracted by
W. E. Rensch

Cave J. Couts Diary (Bancroft Library)

Oct. 19, 1848. (p. 66) "St. Cruz is an old and compact rancho inhabited I may say by one company of Mexican State Troops, though none of them would be taken for soldiers. . . The company is about 80 strong and was once cavalry, mounted lanciers, but some three weeks since a party of Apaches made an attack and carried off all their animals but one single mule, and all their clothing. . . The town is completely surrounded by a wall."

Oct. 20, 1848. (p. 68) Left Santa Cruzs for Tucson. The Santa Cruz "is a beautiful little stream, passing through the mountains lined on either side by a large growth of cottonwood. . . Houses are thick along its banks. . . but all are deserted." Deserted ranchos are passed. . . "The people were particulary friendly: they understood that we were after Apaches." Some inhabited ranchos passed.

Oct. 22, 1848. (p. 72) Sunday arrived at Tubac "A small presidio today." (p. 74) Near Goibabe" (Guebavi?) was a gold mine where 20 men were working in dread of Apaches.

Two and half miles from Tubac passed a nice Indian village. The churck looked very well (Tumacacori?) "Tubac itself might be called an Indian village for there are two Apaches to one Mexican. Their huts are built of straw and grass around the edge of the town. (p. 75) Apaches were friendly. Chief told his people to be friends to Americans and not to steal from them.

Oct. 25, 1848. (p. 78) The churches in this valley are remarkable -- "At Tumacacori is a very large and fine church standing in the midst of a few common conical Indian huts, made of bushes, thatched with grass, huts of most common and primitive kind. This (the church?) was built by an old padre who died at Monterey, Mexico last summer, and who was highly thought of." The funeral procession was the largest ever sen in the city. "This church is now taken care of by the Indians, Pimas, most of whom are off attending a jubilee, or fair, on the other side of the mountains. No priest has been in atendance for many years, thought all its images, pictures, figures, etc., remain unmolested and in good keeping. No Mexicans live with them at all."

(pp. 78, 79) "The church at Xavier del Bac. . . is said to be the finest in Sonora. 'Tis truly a noble and stupendous building. Its domes and spires. . .was of itself sufficient to guarantee a City with many churches and other large and fine buildings. But when we came up, found it standing solitary and alone, not anohter building nearer to it than Tucson, save the few old Indian huts of the most rude description, whose inmates (Pimas) had charge of the find old church. It is built of burnt brick, the first any of us had seen in Mexico. . .The dressing, which always attend their churches is truly magnificent. Wax figures and paintings, particularly fine. Standing under the large dome and looking directly up, its whole inner surface is a complete elegant painting, indeed, the same might be said of its whole interior surface. . .The faces are exceedingly handsome. The wax figure of the Virgin Mary deprived of one arm by time has as handsome a face as I ever saw. The exterior shows no age, on the contrary, looks rather new; but there is an appearance of age about the interior which rather adds to, than deteriorates from the sublimity of the picture. It is kept by these Pimas with incredible care and neatness."

C. C. Cox Journal (Martin 1925-6, 142-144)

"Santa Cruz, a garrisonal town, was the first settlement the emigrants came to after leaving Dona Anna and a considerable emigrant literature was created about it." (Martin, 1925-6, 142.)

C. C. Cox (Aug. 31, 1849) and party stopped at Santa Cru a few hours and then moved down Santa Cruz River to the deserted ranch of San Lazaro, "a beautiful place" that "had once been in a high state of improvements. There was an orchard of peaches, apples, pears, quinces, etc.

Sept. 1, 1849. "This morning we passed a deserted mission (Tumacacori) and obtained a further supply of peaches.

Sept. 3. "Passed another mission (San Xavier) . . . occupied by Mexicans and Indians - the Elucia was really a splendid looking building, the interior of which presented a solemn and imposing scene." Camped at Tucson the evening of the 4th. (Martin, 1925-6, 142-3). A fandango was held in honor of the Americans. On the 5th "we bid adieu to Tosone and its friendly people."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dec. 1849. Hayes found "some 50 peach trees in an enclosure" at Tumacacori, "the ground in places covered with the seeds - the fruit has fallen and none to gather it. Corrals still standing - not a living thing seen. It had a melancholy appearance. The walls of the church still stand, no roof, and only the upright piece of the cross. It looks desolate indeed . . . (It was) built of beautiful large burnt brick; the walls inside plastered with cement, and adorned with paintings in the cement. The dome over the altar covered with cement which shines white in the sun; portico in front, with two tier of columns; Rich and exquisite carving inside, 4 bells, one has been taken down; sweet-toned, probably a chime. This would be an ornament to any of our cities." (Quoted from Hayes manuscript by Coy, The Great Trek, 1931, 247)

Coy, 1931, 247-9.

San Xavier and Tucson

"The route continued down the Santa Cruz Valley past deserted ranchos until at last the river lost itself in the sand and the road crossed a barren desert country to a village of Indian huts and adobe houses. Here in contrast to their poor dwellings was a once magnificent church . . . "Hayes makes the following obeservations, (See Coy, 1931, 248-9 for quotation from Hayes' Journal) (p. 249) "About nine miles from San Xavier was the town of Tucson. This was quite a settlement with two blacksmith shops, and a shoe factory employting seven workers. The women were expert in needlework. Here as at San Xavier the emigrants were able to secure a supply of milk as well as grain and flour . . . The Americans were well received and occasionally a fandango was held in their honor."

"After leaving the Tucson the California route led across the Tucson desert northwestardly and reached the Gila River near the Pima Villages. This was a trying jornada of 90 miles and the stock suffered greatly.

Coy, Santa Cruz Emigrant Route

"The valley of the Santa Cruz which the emigrants . . . followed" north from the garrison town of Santa Cruz to Tucson made a very pleasing contrast to the desert contry over which they had come. All unite in describing it (in their diaries and journals) as beautiful country with good soil and a good supply of timber, although the effects of Apache raids were sadly evident in the deserted ranches along the way.

This first church ruin that the emigrants made note of were those of the old missioin of San Gabriel de Guebavi founded by Kino, about 1702. "It was nearly a mile off the regular route but many of the emigrants took occasion to get a closer view. A long trail of ashes indicated that before its destruction there had been an extensive enclosure." (Mentioned in Hayes Diary)

Fifteen miles brought them to another village in which were the ruins of an even more extensive church. This was Tumacacori mission. The deserted mission orchards furnished a very elcome supply of fruit to the California emigrants." (Here quote from Hayes m.s.s.) (Coy, 1931, 247)

Powell, 1931, 131.

In the autumn of 1848 Joseph Lane, appointed governor of Oregon territory, took the Santa Fe Trail and then pressed far to the south to avoid snows of the mountains. It seems that he blazed the trail to Santa Cruz followed by the later emigrants (See Biography of Lane by Western ((pseud.)) Washington 1852, p. 25)

Journal of Powell noted Sept. 28th "We are entirely off Cooke's route, and do not, now, know anything of the road. We suppose it a new route made by Governor Lane last year, as we saw his name marked on a tree a short distance back."

p. 133. October 1st, evening. "The first view of the town was very beautiful. It is a rise of land in the centre of the valley." Detailed description of the beautiful country follows.

"most of our train are much annoyed at being off Cooke's route so far. This way, we learn, is four days the farther."

Oct. 2nd entered Santa Cruz. Corn fields. (p. 136) "Santa Cruz is an old looking place, very dilapidated; the gramma grass growing on the top of the houses. Two churches, one quite large and much ornamented, the other smaller, are quarters for the soldiers 130 of whom are stationed in the town; 130 more I understand, being out on country parties after the Apaches who stripped them last spring of every thing except a few sheep and goats." Twook in all 3700 cattle, mules and horses." (2 months since . . . killed 3 or 4 women and children in Tubac) got supplies at Santa Cruz. Flour plentiful, quinces, melons, pumpkins, sugar.

(p. 137.) Oct. 3rd. Passed a deserted rancho; large establishment with a tower having loop holes and S. E. corner Adobe two stories high. Burnt brick for sides of door ways and for floors. Lime kiln, furnaces. Cemented cisterns, tools, etc. Fine peach orchard, apples, pears, grapes, apricots, figs. Cemented vats. Santa Barbara Rancho

(p. 139) At what he thought was Guebavi, Powell said there was one house with four rooms, one with six rooms, in each a furnace and outside much cinder. Seventy or eighty adobe houses in back, on left bank of river. Three miles beyond was another ruined rancho on an elevation on right bank of river. Pile of crumbling adobe. One mile below this on opposite side was what he thought was Calabasas.

(p. 138)) Some Mexicans gave following, which was surprising to Powell since he thought the valley a wilderness like that which they had passed before coming to Santa Cruz; 7 miles from Santa Cruz-deserted rancho, 3 leagues farther to Rancho Santa Barbara; from there to Guebavi (r) 2 leagues; to Calabasas (r) 2 leagues; to Tumacacori 6 leagues; to Tubac 1 league; to San Xavier 16 leagues; Tucson 3 leagues.

(p. 141) Made sketch on south side of Tumacacori Oct. 6, 1849. "The church is built chiefly of brick, plastered over. The square tower looks as if it had never been finished. The houses, extending East, are adobe. The church inside is about 90 x 18, painted and gilded with some pretensions to taste. The altar place under the dome was, of course, more carved, gilded, and painted than anywhere else. Behind the church, north side, there is a large burying ground enclosed by a neat adobe wall plastered and having niches in it at intervals. There was a circular ovatory at the south end of it near the church. East of the Church there was a large square yard, on the west side of which, passing under some solid arches, we came to a flight of steps leading to a granary, etc. It is a very large establishment and the monks or priests had every accommodation to make life comfortable.

"In the square tower there were three large bells, and there was one lying inside the church, dedicated to Senor San Antonio -- dated 1809." Found Tubac deserted, Apaches two months since had killed two women and two children. "It is a mere pile a tumbledown adobe houses. The church has no roof; it is built in the form of a cross--main building 90 x 25." (Snelling family mentioned)

(145) Reached San Xavier. Oct. 9th. Oct. 10th reached Tucson.


The Emory expedition "saw the remains of mining operations," everywhere formerly conducted by the Spaniards and more recently by the Mexicans. On the Santa Cruz River a few miles north of the boundary the remains of a mill for crushing gold quartz were found. Said Emory, "I hope nothing I may say will induce persons to run off in unprofitable searches in these distant and unprotected regions. . . The country is now full of prospectus from California, who will undoubtedly discover anything worth knowing." (Emory, 1857, I, 95)

At Tucson, there were about 70 families of the mixed Spanish and Indian races, engated in the pursuit of agriculture and south of Tucson there was a small settlement at San Xavier of semi-civilized Indins, called Papagos; "and further on, at Tumacacori, a small settlement of Germans". (Ibid., p. 95)

Lieut. Michler of the Emory survey party and his men were encamped at Tucson the month of June 1855. He says "During this time we became the recipients of every attention and civility from Captain Garcia, who commanded the place, and from his family." (Michler, in Emory 1857, I, 188)

Michler proceeded down the valley of the Santa Cruz to have conference with Emory at the base camp at Nogales. "You pass through the towns of San Javier and Tubac, and the mission of Tumacacori. The first place has been ceded by the Mexicans to the Papago Indians. A beautiful church, with its exterior walls richly ornamented, carved and stuccoed, and the interior handsomely decorated and painted in bright colors, with many paintings in fresco, still stands as a monument to the zealous labor and religious enthusiasm of the Jesuits of the past century.

"Tubac is a deserted village. The wild Apache lords it over this region, and the timid husbandmen dare not return to his house."

"The mission of Tumacacori another fine structure of the mother church, stands, too, in the midst of rich fields; but fear prevents its habitation, save by two or three Germans who have wandered from their distant fatherland to this out of the way country." (Michler in Emory, 1857, I, 118)

"Ojo del Agua de Sopori is a spring, twelve miles from Tubac, in a westerly direction; it once irrigated the valley of the same name, which was cultivated by Mexicans. We found a solitary peach tree," says Michler, "loaded with fruit, and signs of acequias, relics of other days. The stream is a small and pretty one. A league from it, in the Sierra Atascora, rich mines of copper, silver, and gold are said to exist." (Ibid, 119)

Eighteen and one half miles south and west from Sopori was the deserted Mexican rancho, in the valley of Aribaca. "Within four miles, and south of the deserted rancho, are to be found large excavations made by men previously engaged in mining; piles of metallic ore lay near the springs where they had been engaged in smelting." A mule trail ran south to Tubutama about thirteen miles from Aribaca. (p. 119)

The main escort and train were encamped at Aribaca in July and to the middle of August 1855.

The latter part of August the surveying had been completed. Lieut. Patterson was found at Imuris near Magdalena. Here some Apaches attempted to stampede the animals but were unsuccessful. Here the Mexican and U. S. Commissions separated.

"From Imuris we travelled the road up the San Ignacio River by Cocospera, a deserted mission, to the rancho de San Lazaro, where we struck the main southern emigrant road." The road led via Santa Cruz, Janos and Corralitos to El Paso, etc.

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