Santa Fe Trail – Pecos Ruins

Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Pecos

September of 1839 Matthew C. Field, a journalist travelling in northern New Mexico, spent the night with a Dr. David Waldo in the Pecos church about 18 miles east of Santa Fe. His article about the “dilapidated town called Pecus,” soon appeared in the New Orleans Picayune.

“The houses now are all unroofed,” he wrote, and the walls crumbling. The church alone yet stands nearly entire, and in it now resides a man bent nearly double with age, and his long silken hair, white with the snow of ninety winters, renders him an object of deep interest to the contemplative traveler. The writer with a single American companion once passed a night in this old church, entertained by the old man with a supper of hot porridge made of pounded corn and goat’s milk, which we drank with a shell spoon from a bowl of wood, sitting upon the ground at the foot of the ruined altar by the light of a few dimly burning sticks of pine. In this situation we learned from the old man the following imperfect story, which is all the history that is now known of the city of the Sacred Fire……………

Pecos pueblo and mission was a deserted curiosity and ruin by the time the Santa Fe Trail became an international trade route across the plains. For two hundred years Franciscan missionaries had resided at Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Pecos and two hundred years before that natives danced and fire had warmed the Pecos kivas. After being inhabited for over four centuries the pueblo was deserted.  Pecos and the mission seemed full of ghostly spirits when Santa Fe Trail trade began flowing past in 1821. Nearly deserted and beginning to deteriorate the remains of a church and village was a place of mystery and wonder to the new arrivals, the Americans. At the time there was only 40 or 50 Pecos that remained of the once powerful tribe. The last of those (17) abandoned their home in 1838. Abandoned, deserted and subject to vandals, scavengers and weather, adobe walls began to crumble.

The first American woman to cross the Great Plains spent the final evening at Pecos before arriving at Santa Fe the next day. In her journal Susan Magoffin descripes standing between the massive walls of the old church…”The only part standing is the church. We got off our horses at the door and went in, and I was truly awed. I should think it was sixty feet by thirty. As is the custom among the present inhabitants of Mexico, this pueblo is built of unburnt bricks and stones. The cieling is very high and doleful in appearance; the sleepers are carved in hiroglyphical figures, as is also the great door, alter and indeed all the little wood-work about it, showing that if they were uncivilized or half-civilized as we generally believe them, they had at least an idea of grandure.”

It wasn’t until 1913 when archeologist A. Kidder was able to excavate and systematically date native pottery at the site and old Spanish journals examined that the true story of Pecos would be revealed.Cicuye, was probably the natives’ own name for their pueblo. Cicuique or Cicuye,  is the designation for the home of the most eastern of the Puebloan people. The first Europeans to encounter the Towa-speaking people of Cicuique were members of the Coronado expedition of 1539-1542.

Forked Lightning a half a mile below the site of the future Cicuye was a haphazard scattered village of associated clans, living on a flat open land in a small valley. It must have housed hundreds of people from about 1225 A.D. to 1300. The village had to think of defense for the first time when nomads from the plains began sporadic raiding around 1300. By about 1400 everyone in the valley had gathered on the nearby mesilla (little mesa ) where a steep-sided, flat-topped ridge afforded them an unobstructed view all round, they then began a monumental community project. Because of raids from enemies they designed a multi-storied apartment building in the form of a giant rectangle around a spacious plaza, built as a defensible single unit. For about a century and a half, from roughly 1300 to 1450, generations of the Forked Lightning people and others who joined them on their long narrow mesilla had become masons, laying up walls of stones embedded between cushions of mud. This was the fortress-pueblo of Cicuye, or Pecos.

To the north are great green mountains thick with ponderosa pine and fir, from there flows a small clear cold river. The valley floor is four or five miles wide, contained by the foothills of the Tecolote Range eastward and the reddish cliffs of Glorieta Mesa toward the sunset. Scattered piñon and juniper trees, chamisa bushes and cholla cactus give way to open spaces of tall native grasses. If one followed the river southeastward around the end of the Tecolote foothills, you would look out upon the ocean-like expanse of the true plains.

The pueblo itself was variously described as consisting of two separate room blocks, four and five stories high and eight large patios, each one with its portal. Within the central plaza were kivas, or underground ceremonial chambers. Jaramillo an early Spanish visitor observed that “all of the pueblos have underground estufas [kivas]. Although not beautiful, they are very good shelter from the cold.”

For an Indian pueblo, all agreed, it was impressive. “Cicuye,” wrote chronicler Pedro de Castañeda, “is a pueblo of as many as five hundred warriors. It is feared throughout that land. In plan it is square, founded on a rock. In the center is a great patio or plaza with its kivas (estufas). The houses are all alike, of four stories. One can walk above over the entire pueblo without there being a street to prevent it. At the first two levels it is completely rimmed by corridors on which one can walk over the entire pueblo. They are like balconies which project out, and beneath them one can take shelter.

The houses have no doors at ground level. To climb to the corridors inside the pueblo they use ladders which can be drawn up; in this way they have access to the rooms. Since the doors of the houses open on the corridor on that floor the corridor serves as street. The pueblo is surrounded by a low stone wall. Inside there is a spring from which they can draw water.”

The pueblo of Cicuique was also described as being “in a small valley between mountain ranges and lands forested with great stands of pine. It includes a small stream, which has many fine trout and beaver. Many large bears and excellent falcons flourish around there.” The people of this pueblo pride themselves that no one has been able to subdue them, while they subdue what pueblos they will. Despite their fierce reputation, the people of Cicuique feared the nomadic Teyas of the Great Plains more.

To avoid possible hostilities the people of Cicuique developed an alliance with the Teyas, trading with them and allowing them to camp and spend winters at the pueblo in the fields below the walls of the settlement. Cicuique located as it was at the portal between pueblos and plains, the community had a distinct advantage and served for a century as a center of trade. From the plains came shells, buffalo robes, slaves, chipped stone knives and parrots and from the pueblos came corn, vegetables, turquoise, pottery and cloth. Cicuique’s defensive posture and strong stone construction had evidently prevented its being overrun by hostiles from the Great Plains.

Cicuique was deemed to be partially civilized and to be “of the same state and [have the] same customs as the other pueblos.” It was also noted that the Indians of Cicuique grew beans, herbs and squash and kept a few domesticated turkeys although they were too far from the waters of the Rio Grande River to harvest much cotton. Juan Jaramillo also added these observations: “they have corn, beans, squash, hides, and some feather robes. [These latter] they make by twisting together feathers and strands of yarn, from which then they make an excellent cloth in the same way they make the mantas with which they protect themselves from the cold.”

Castaño de Sosa also described the dress of the men as consisting of a cotton blanket, highly decorated breechcloth and a buffalo hide, when needed. The women wore a blanket knotted at one shoulder, a sash, and either a manta or turkey feather robe in cold weather. Corn was a staple of the diet and tended in nearby fields. The abundance of corn was then ground in three separate bins, each time making the flour finer which then could be used from porridge to breads.

Pueblo social and religious life followed the cycles of seasons. There were rituals to uphold to ensure the relationship between the tribe and the natural world was in balance. At the Spring Vernal Equinox and the last frost there would be seed blessings, the planting of corn and squash and the gathering of the first wild plants, hunting of wild game would cease. There would be a corn dance to honor what was hoped would be a plentiful harvest. During the long days and short nights at the Summer Solstice there would be time for relay races and social games. A rain dance would help to bring the needed moisture for the growing of crops. The people would be out gathering wild fruit and berries as they ripened. With the Autumnal Equinox there would be a harvest dance and blessing of the corn, a flute dance, deer dance and other social dances. There would be a general cleaning of the community, pinon harvest, storing of the squash and a redistribution of food. Salt gathering, trading expeditions and hunting trips would be under way. At the Winter Solstice with long nights and short days there would be stories and histories told around the evening fires. Craftsmen would be shaping arrow heads and tools while others would be shaping clay into pottery or weaving cloth and baskets. Then it would be time for buffalo, eagle, butterfly and squash dances and the cycle would begin anew.

The first Europeans the Cicuique would encounter were from the expedition of Captain General Francisco Vázquez Coronado. In a search for cities of gold and glory Francisco Vasquez de Coronado  leading an army of 1,200 men, made his way into the country north of Mexico in 1540. Six months into the Coronado march he rode into a cluster of Zuni pueblos, near present-day Gallup, New Mexico. He attacked the Zuni at Hawikuh, taking over that principal town and its food stores for his famished soldiers.

While camped at Hawikku at the end of August 1540, a delegation from Cicuique led by Bigotes, Mustaches as the Europeans called him, arrived to offer Captain General Francisco Vázquez de Coronado the friendship of their pueblo. “He said that if the Christians had to travel through their land, they would consider them allies.” The parties exchanged gifts, the Europeans greatly interested in bison hides and the Indians at the glass beads and drinking vessels. The Captain General then dispatched Hernando de Alvarado to accompany the Bigotes party back to Cicuique.

The chronicler Pedro Castañeda de Nájera recounted Alvarado’s impressions of Cicuique and its people: After traveling five days beyond the Rio Grande Pueblos “[Alvarado] reached Cicuyc, a very strong pueblo with four-storied [buildings]. The [people] of the pueblo came out to welcome Hernando de Alvarado and their [own] captain with demonstrations of happiness. They took [Alvarado] into the pueblo with drums and flutes, of which there are many there similar to fifes. And they offered him a large gift of clothing and turquoises, of which there are a great many in that land.

Bigotes offered a captive Plains Indian as guide to lead Alvarado farther to the east. “Because by his appearance he seemed like one,” the Sanish called him El Turco, Alvarado had no orders to proceed further east and he returned to the Rio Grande. Due to the fantastic tales told to the Captain General by El Turco, Alvarado was again sent to Cicuique to confront Bigotes regarding the withholding of certain “golden arm bands which this Turco said they had taken from him when they captured him.” Despite repeated denials of the existence of the armbands, Alvarado deceived Bigotes and the pueblo’s cacique (principal leader), took them captive, put them in chains, and hauled them back to Tiguex on the Rio Grande. There they were held captive six months and tortured. The province held neither golden cities nor ready riches and after a bleak winter along the Rio Grande in 1542, the broken, empty-handed Coronado returned to Mexico, leaving fray Luis de Úbeda behind to convert the Indians of Cicuique. The missionaries were probably killed within the year and the Pueblos settled back into their old ways.

It wasn’t until forty years later that Spaniards once again visited Cicuique. In 1581, explorers began prospecting for silver in the land of the Pueblos. The expeditions of Francisco Sánchez Chamuscado and fray Agustín Rodríguez (1581) and Antonio de Espejo (1582) and then ten years later the Gaspar Castaño de Sosa expedition of 1591 made its way to Cicuique.  Nearly 60 years had passed since Coronado came and went but now the Spaniards had come to New Mexico to stay.

The people of Jémez, the only other Towa-speakers among the Pueblos, called Cicuye something like Paqulah or Pekush. From them, the Spaniards of Don Gaspar Castaño de Sosa adopted the now historic name Pecos. Castaño de Sosa journals confirmed the use of overhangs as walkways and noted that the people had a ready supply of timbers at hand for any future construction project. He also “found many cellars and passageways, which came out underground to other house blocks and kivas that they have underground.” He counted sixteen whitewashed  kivas. The house blocks were still 4-5 stories tall and he estimated that each house consisted of 3-4 whitewashed rooms on each level, giving a total of 15 or 16 rooms per family. He counted five plazas and noted the pueblo had little ramparts and defensive walls.

Little had changed from the time of the Coronado expedition of 60 years prior and the people of Pecos, as it was now called, exhibited open hostility toward the Spaniards. The interest of the Spanish Crown was twofold in the new lands; convert the Indians to Christianity and colonize land where settlers could farm and raise livestock, securing the lands for the Spanish crown. Juan de Oñate was first to pursue this mixed objective, in 1598. Taking settlers, livestock, and 10 Franciscans he marched north to claim for Spain the land across the Rio Grande.

Governor Juan de Oñate in 1599 assigned the first missionary, fray Francisco de San Miguel, to Pecos. It was not until 1617 however that the building of the great church was first started. The new religion had gotten off to a shaky start. After episodes of idol-smashing provoked Indian resentment, the Franciscans sent veteran missionary Fray Andrés Juárez to Pecos in 1621 as healer and peacemaker. Under his direction the Pecos built an adobe church south of the pueblo, the most imposing of New Mexico’s mission churches-with towers, buttresses, and great log vigas (roof beams) and carved corbels. The massing of mid sixteenth century churches suggests military architecture. The bare surfaces of massive walls were a result of untrained labor and amateur design relying on memories of large structures seen in 17th century Spain. The friars also needed a refuge, both for themselves, as outnumbered strangers surrounded by potentially hostile Indians, and for their villagers, who were exposed to the attacks of nomadic tribes.

In the early 1600s fray Alonso de Benavides made an inspection tour of Pecos Pueblo noting that 2,000 souls still inhabited the pueblo. He also thought that they were Indians who had “strayed out of their territory,” meaning the Jemez nation, since they both spoke the same language. He declared the Pecos Indians to be “well trained in all the crafts, and in their schools of reading, writing, singing, and instrument-playing.”

The ministry of Fray Juárez from 1621 to 1634 coincided with the most energetic mission period in New Mexico. It was a Franciscan-led time of mission building and expansion. Its success bred conflict-church and civil of­ficials vied for the Pueblo Indians’ labor, tribute, and loyalty. The Indians suffered these struggles as religious and economic repression.

Pecos continued to thrive over the next several decades. The Indians followed their traditional profitable trade with the Apache of the plains and the westward pueblos along the Rio Grande River, becoming the most powerful pueblo in the territory. The massive white washed Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Pecos was the largest church in the new colony. Elsewhere in New Mexico the situation was more difficult. The Apache and Navajo plagued the colony with raids and made off with sheep, horses, cattle and prisoners. Drought, locusts, crop failure and disease were prevalent during the 1660s and 1670s. The government and the church were still competing with each other for the labor and tribute of the natives. The colony was in serious economic difficulty and relations between Spaniard and Indian were deteriorating.

New Mexico was not immune to the harsh conduct of the Spanish Inqusition underway in Europe. In 1675 Governor Juan Francisco Trevino arrested 47 alleged Indian sorcerers. They were tried and found guilty. Three were hanged, one commited suicide, and the rest were whipped. A group of seventy Pueblo Indians confronted the governor, secured the release of the prisoners and then returned to their pueblos. It was a pivotal event.

Decades of Spanish demands and Indian resentments climaxed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Indians in the scattered pueblos united to drive the Spaniards back to Mexico. The people of Pecos were divided as to how to deal with the Spaniards. One group wanted to warn the Spanish while another group supported the uprising. On August 8, 1680, in the Pueblo de Los Pecos, Father Fernando de Velasco was one of the first to learn that a general uprising was imminent. The next day on August 9 Governor Antonio de Otermin received a warning from Father Velasco plus two other warnings from Taos and Galisteo. On August 10 the Indians began coordinated hostilities throughout New Mexico. They attacked the settlements, including those on the Rio Grande, Santa Fe and Taos, murdered the priests and burned the churches. Father Velasco was safely escorted out of Pecos but unfortunately was murdered while in hiding at Galisteo. The Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Pecos was burned to the ground and its walls tumbled. The united Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was successful in driving every Spaniard from the territory.

 

Twelve years later, led by Don Diego de Vargas, the Spaniards returned to their lost province, peacefully in some places but ready with sword in others. De Vargas anticipated fighting and resistance with the Pecos, but after a short siege the village capitulated. Opinion had shifted and the Pecos welcomed him and the Franciscans back. Built on the ruins of Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, the first mission reestablished after the reconquista was at Pueblo de Los Pecos. To show their support of De Vargas Pecos supplied 140 warriors to help him in the retaking of Santa Fe, where rebellious Indians had set up quarters the past decade. A second major Indian revolt broke out in June 1696 but Pecos remained staunchly allied with Spain. In return, the Franciscans mod­erated their zeal and would tolerate some of the traditional Indian customs and dances. The practice of encomiendas (paying tribute) was abolished. As allies and traders, the Pecos became partners in a relaxed Spanish-Pueblo community.

In the 1730s the Comanche ruled the plains and their aggressions disrupted traditional trading practices between the people of Pecos and the Apache. The Comanche made war on Pecos, Apache, Ute and threatened Spanish interests. To protect those interests Colonel Juan Batista de Anza governor of New Mexico led a military expedition in 1779 to the plains where he killed the Comanche chief Cuerno Verde (Green Horn) in battle.  Six years after that victory de Anza was able to establish peace with the Comanche. A treaty and ceremonies were held in Pueblo de Los Pecos, February 28, 1786. Once again Pecos became an important trading center – this time with Comanche and Ute as well as Apache.

By the 1780s, disease, Comanche raids, and migration reduced the population of Pecos to fewer than 300. Longstanding internal divisions-those loyal to the Church and things Spanish versus those who clung to the old ways-may have contributed to this once powerful city-state’s decline.

In the late eighteenth century fray Francisco Atanasio Domínguez made an inspection tour of the mission churches, stopping in Pecos in 1776. He described both the north and south pueblos perched on a rock surrounded by an adobe wall. The pueblo, consisting of 100 families, or 269 persons, had by this time been greatly diminished due to disease, raids and economic difficulty. He noted their wells for drinking water and both irrigated and dry land farms. Apparently, they still plied their carpentry craft and adobe making skills learned from the early friars but the village was in decline. The function of Pecos as a trade center faded as Spanish colonists, now protected from the Comanche by treaties, established new towns to the east. The population of the pueblo and surrounding area was no longer primarily Indian and by the end of the century Spanish settlers had begun establishing ranches and farms in the area. As the 18th century wore on, Pecos Indians drifted to Santo Domingo, Cochiti and San Felipe Pueblos along the Rio Grande and Hispanic towns in the Pecos Valley.

On the last day of 1804, Governor Chacón filed a state-of-the-missions report. Addressing himself to the Franciscans’ spiritual care of the Pueblos he claimed- they charged exorbitant fees, disregarding the schedules set by the distant bishops of Durango…if someone could not pay a baptismal or marriage fee, the friars set them to work. It was common on the death of a poor colonist, said Chacón that the friar suddenly became the deceased’s sole heir, while the legitimate heirs found themselves reduced to utter penury. For years, Chacón alleged, some ministers had let the Indians sell off portions of the four leagues of land each pueblo enjoyed under the law, thus contributing further to their charges’ privation.

None of the missionaries in 1804 had knowledge of the native languages, “nor,” claimed the governor, “do they exert the least effort or application to acquire it.” For the most part, the Pueblos understood Spanish but preferred not to use it, especially the women. The friars left religious instruction to other Indians, the fiscales. Since it unlawful now in employing them to serve, they abandon them under the pretext of not being able to control them, protesting that they neither pay attention nor obey them. Generally they treat the Indians badly, abusing them in word and deed whenever they have the opportunity.

Father Bragado endured at Pecos almost six years. He saw the rowdy mixed-breed communities of San Miguel and San José del Vado almost double in size. As their priest, Bragado found himself very much involved in the lives of the El Vado settlers. Evidently work was progressing on the San Miguel church, but not without incident. Once in the summer of 1805 when Manuel Baca, interim deputy justice of the district, ordered Ignacio Durán, in charge at San José, to beat the drum for the people to come work on the church, not everyone assembled. Reyes Vigil and his sons refused. When Duran ordered them, Vigil told him that he could “eat shit, eat a bucket of shit!” Afterwards, at Vigil’s corral, the two got into a name-calling, rock-throwing, hair-pulling brawl. Because only a part of the record survives, the outcome of the ensuing legal action is not known.

Whether or not the Baca affair hastened his departure, Father Bragado cleared out early in 1810. Assigned in his place was Fray Juan Bruno González, an untried Spaniard who had arrived in Santa Fe on February 26 and found himself minister of Pecos and El Vado on March 12. Like his predecessors, he soon learned that the settlers were as unreliable as the Pecos when it came to notifying the Father that someone was dying or needed the administrations of the church. He stayed not quite one year.

Twenty-seven-year-old Fray Manuel Antonio García del Valle, a native of Mexico City, had been appointed minister of the mission of Pecos, and it was still the cabecera, or seat of the “parish,” but he saw no earthly reason for him to reside in a dying Indian pueblo when the large majority of his parishioners lived ten leagues or so downriver. After relieving González in March 1811, he baptized thirty-two infants for the settlers of El Vado before a Pecos Indian couple finally had a baby. 1812 the last resident Franciscan missionary moved from Pecos to the nearby community of El Vado. That year the settlers at last finished the chapel of San Miguel del Vado. Why should he not reside there?

During the remainder of 1828, Fray Teodoro Alcina alternated at San Miguel with Fray José de Castro. They were both old European Spaniards and much needed in priest-poor New Mexico. Alcina, had spent thirty-five of his sixty-two years in New Mexico and Castro was only a year younger. On June 2, 1828, Father Castro had performed the last recorded baptism of an Indian by a Franciscan at Pecos. The following November, the dutiful Father Alcina visited the mission and baptized the infant son of settlers from the Cañón de Pecos. His burial entry at San Miguel on December 3 was the last by a friar. On January 1, 1829, don Juan Felipe Ortiz, diocesan priest from Santa Fe, took over. After better than two centuries the Franciscan ministry on the Río Pecos had come to a close

In 1821 Mexico declared its independence from Spain and on January 6, 1822, the new flag was raised for the first time at Santa Fe.  Although a position of power existed because of the church and state influence, Pecos continued to be attacked by other tribes.  In Handbook of North American Indians, Albert Schroeder wrote…Over the years, a succession of Plains Indian raiders had tested their valor against the fortress-pueblo of Pecos: Apache, Comanche, and Apache again. In the 1820s, when it was hardly more than a ruin, others tried their hand. These so-called “barbarians of the north” were likely Cheyenne and Arapaho. On the night of June 16, 1828, they stealthily surrounded Pecos “closing even to the houses.” Detecting them just in time, the Pecos “repelled them, firing on them.” Next morning, according to a report by Juan Esteban Pino from the Cañón de Pecos, “they [the Pecos?]” followed the heathens’ tracks “up onto the mesa by El Picacho toward the Rincón de las Escobas.” From the tracks, they estimated that there were a considerable number headed as if for Galisteo.

While the memory of this sort of thing probably figured in their decision to abandon the pueblo a decade later, it is too much to credit the new raiders with “bringing to a dismal end the history of the proudest pueblo in all New Mexico.”  The valley’s proliferating Hispanos, had been encroaching on mission lands with their crops and livestock, disease and migration decreased the population and in the 1820s the Santa Fe Trail linking Missouri and New Mexico began reorienting the economy of the region. By the 1830s Hispanic settlers had taken possession of virtually all of the land formerly cultivated by the people of Pecos. By the early 1800s there were no more than 40-50 people living at the village. The last 17 survivors left the decaying pueblo and empty mission church in 1838 to join Towa-speaking relatives 80 miles west at Jémez pueblo, where their descendants still live today.

In 1848 General Stephen Watts Kearney occupied Santa Fe and declared that all of New Mexico had been annexed into the United States…The few original inhabitants were compelled to abandon the village about eight years previous to our government’s taking possession of the country in 1846. They left in consequence of their reduced circumstances and numbers and the encroachments of Mexican citizens in general. Schroeder pointed out that “This decline so affected membership in various Pueblo societies, clans, and ceremonies that customs, observances, kivas, and the entire fabric of their way of life no longer could function or cope with the daily needs.”

   The Pecos clans were as follows: Waha (Cloud), Pe (Sun), Ya (Coyote), Seé (Eagle), Kyunu (Corn), Sohl (Badger), Sungti (Turquoise), Daahl (Earth or Sand), Wahaha (Calabash), Kiahl (Crow) Pa (Deer), Shiankya (Mountain lion), Whala (Bear), Fwaha, (Fire), Amu (Ant), Kotsaa ( Pine), Petdelu (Wild Turkey), Tashtye (Buffalo),Gyuungsh (Oak), Alawahku, (Elk), Alu (Antelope), Morbah (Parrot), and Hayah (Snake).

Some observers recorded more mundane theories of why the Pecos had departed. Santa Fe trader James Josiah Webb, passing through in 1844, surmised that the inhabitants “had become so reduced in numbers that they were unable to keep their irrigating ditches in repair, and other necessary community labor, to support themselves in comfort.” From a different persective, Indian Agent John Greiner asserted in 1852 that the Pecos had been “annoyed beyond endurance by the Mexicans living in their houses and seizing their property by piecemeal.” Finally they had given up. “The pueblo of Pecos is now a mass of ruins,” reported John Ward in 1867.

In the succeeding years ownership of the lands around the Pueblo de Los Pecos continued to be squabbled over in the courts. In the early 20th century the Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles and Pecos Ruins would became one of the premiere archeological sites in the Southwestern United States. Pecos Ruins are now a part of the National Park System and listed as historical site on the old Santa Fe Trail.

Sources used:

New Mexico office of the State Historian

U.S. National Park Service

Schroeder, Albert H. “Pecos Pueblo.” In Handbook of North American Indians, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983

Kessell, John L. Kiva, Cross, and Crown. University of New Mexico Press, 1987

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About earthstonestation

promoting environmental education, protecting all species and preserving the wild places with art, music and storytelling.
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9 Responses to Santa Fe Trail – Pecos Ruins

  1. xee says:

    This is a great and very informative article and helped me in my research on the santa fe trail. Thanks!

  2. winsomebella says:

    I find the history of this part of the world fascinating. Thank you for sharing your research and captivating writing 🙂

  3. McEff says:

    Thanks for that fascinating story, Dohn. That’s another slice of history I had no idea existed.
    Alen McF

  4. likewise … appreciate the time and research you have taken, it is sad that mankind is so obsessed with dominance. thanks for posting.

  5. What an amazing post Dohn. It must have taken you ages to research and write it. Congratulations.
    These stories of Europeans colonising all over America are so sad, the misunderstandings, the greed, the anger, the killing.. oh dear…I’;m reading the same stuff on another blog, about Colorado. Valerie

    • Aloha Valerie, You are right this was a time consuming post and a tough one to compress the history. Once I got curious I kept delving further and further. I’ve come up with an unexpected viewpoint after all this. The colonizing of the West was not such a simple affair indeed. Thanks for following and your feedback is very much appreciated. Mahalo, Dohn

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