• Sunlight illuminates the top of historic Mission San José de Tumacácori church.

    Tumacácori

    National Historical Park Arizona

Francisco Pérez

San José de Tumacácori

Tumacácori

By

Ginny Sphar

Francisco Pérez was born in the villa of Rubielos de Mara, east and south of Teruel, Spain. He entered the Franciscan order on November 23, 1800. He sailed for the Americas on September 6, 1811.[1]

In the winter of 1812-1813, five arrivals had ridden north with Father Cevallos. By early June 1813, under the eye of the old guard, they took up their ministry in Pimería Alta. One of these recruits was Pérez and he came to Tumacácori as compañero to Gutiérrez.[2]

Pérez and Gutiérrez did not get along. Pérez decided he would rather be a chaplain at the presidio rather than a missionary to the Indians. Evidently Gutiérrez let him do this. Pérez also spent some time at San Xavier with Father Llorens in the spring of 1814.[3] Pérez signed no marriage or burial entries at Tumacácori.[4]

In 1814, Fathers Cevallos and Fontbona came to Tumacácori in late June to explain to the Indians what the Constitution of 1812 meant. Before Cevallos rode to San Xavier, he had a long talk with Pérez. Gutiérrez’ young compañero, charged with looking after the presidio, had done more than that. He got into a fight with Tubac’s alcalde national and this led to many scandals. The aggrieved alcalde had twice appealed to the Father Prefect to punish the wild young friar and said if he did not receive satisfaction he would have recourse to the government. Cevallos, seeing no way to squash the scandals that had already occurred and avoid others that threatened, wrote to Father Guardian Bringas. He wrote, “I persuaded father Pérez to ask me for a license to return to the College of Querétaro.” That satisfied the alcalde and on June 28, 1814, Pérez left Tumacácori.[5]

However, the independent friar had other ideas. Instead of taking the shortest route to Querétaro, as he was supposed to, he traveled around looking for an opening as a presidial chaplain. That idea failed. Then he talked his way into an interim vicariate of an Indian pueblo in the diocese of Mesquital. Some time later Father Cevallos discussed Pérez with the commandant general and the episcopal deputy. Both agreed to suspend Pérez and order him to return to the College. At this point, Pérez dropped from sight.[6]



[1] Cardoso Lista, Cevallos to Bringas, Durango, December 31, 1812, and Chihuahua, January 27, 1813, AGN, Misiones, 18.

[2] Cevallos to Bringas, _____ 31, 1812. Moyano to Iturralde, Oquitoa, June 4, 1813, ACQ, Cartas de Sonora (CS). Typescripts of the so-called Cartas de Sonora, hundreds of documents from the ACQ for the period 1813-1842, variously labeled, are filed at the Bancroft Library in the Bolton Research Papers, Nos. 359 and 378. Carbon copies are in BL, M-A25. BL, BRP, No. 373, contains photocopies of some of the documents.

[3] Llorens to Bringas, San Xavier del Bac, April 4, 1814, ACQ, CS. Tumacácori’s Francisco Pérez spent some time with the despondent Llorens at Bac in the spring of 1814.

[4] Moyano to Iturralde, Oquitoa, September 4, 1813, ACQ, CS. Pérez signed no marriage or burial entries at Tumacácori. The baptisms from late 1810 to late 1814, four folios, are missing. DCB.

[5] Cevallos to Bringas, San Xavier del Bac, July 7, 1814, ACQ, CS.

[6] Cevallos to Bringas, February 2 and June 14, 1815.

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