The New Mexico: Preliminaries to Conquest
The "Christianization" of Pecos
The Shadow of the Inquisition
Their Own Worst Enemies
Pecos and the Friars
Pecos, the Plains, and the Provincias Internas
"The view of Pecos, as it now lies, without the least
addition," wrote Lt. J. W. Abert in his journal entry for September
would form a beautiful picture, and more than a
picture, for every cloud, every degree that the sun moves, gives such
varied effects to the landscape, that one has a thousand pictures; but
their effects are so fleeting, that although they last long enough to
delight the spectator, it would yet perplex the artist to catch these
changes. For my part, I tried, and tried in vain, until at last some
large night herons came sweeping over my head, and warned me that the
shades of evening were drawing on, when I returned to camp.
National Park Service excavations of
Pecos church and convento, 1967. National Park Service photo by Fred E.
"Ruins of Pecas, Aztec, Church, N.M." a
sketch by Pvt. Josiah M. Rice, 1851. Rice, A Cannoneer in Navajo
Country. Courtesy of the Denver Public Library, Western History
The hulking north transept of the
eighteenth-century church at Pecos, photographed by C. B. Neblette early
in 1966, just before the National Park Service began excavation.
Courtesy of Pecos National Monument
"Ruinen von Pecos," after a painting by
Heinrich Balduin Möllhausen, 1858. Looking north in the main plaza.
Möllhausen, Reisen in die Felsengebirge Nord-Amerikas
On a similar day, August 3, 1975, closest Sunday to
the feast of Our Lady of the Angels, a procession strung out along the
path west of the convento ruins on the way to celebrate Mass in the
roofless church. The clouds and their effect were just as Abert had
described them, the shades of color and light just as fleeting. The
tenth archbishop of Santa Fe, smiling, walked in front. Behind him, the
men of Pecos village carried the restored painting of Nuestra
Señora de los Ángeles as a banner. From Jémez, a
delegation of the Pecos remnant had come to take part, and from
Washington, D.C., New Mexico's two United States senators.
In one sense, the scene was complete in
itselfthe pageantry of the movement, the tolerant presence of
three cultures, the glory of the natural surroundingsenough to
delight anyone. Yet for the spectator who knew something of the history
of the living Pueblo de los Pecos, another dimension lay behind the
scene, a dimension that stretched far back beyond the time when the
people and the place had parted company.
Pecos on the eve of excavation, 1915.
Museum of New Mexico