Fr. Eusebio Kino's Visits to the San Pedro River (1692, 1695, 1697): The Eastern Sobaipuri and their Fate
Sources: Bolton, Herbert, 1919, Kino's Historical Memoir of Pimeria Alta, Vol. I, Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark; Manje, Captain Juan Mateo, 1954, Luz De Tierra Incognita, English translation of part II by Harry J. Karns & Associates, Tucson: Arizona Silhouettes; Bernal, Lieutenant Cristobal Martin, 1966, "Diary of Lieutenant Cristobal Martin Bernal", In Fay Jackson Smith, John L. Kessell, & Francis J. Fox, S.J., Father Kino in Arizona, Phoenix: Arizona Historical Foundation, pp. 35-50; various articles by Deni J. Seymour.
Above left, a detail of the map of some San Pedro River settlements, based upon these visits, dating to 1701-2. At the left-hand portion of the map, Santa Cruz River settlements are listed; at right, those of the San Pedro River. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) See also Early Historic Maps for some more early versions of the scene.
For our own contemporary orientation, we provide this essential reference map:
We will take this map as the authoritative guide for this discussion, and will present small-detail maps adapted from this main reference source through the text below.
Father Eusebio Francisco Kino was a Jesuit Missionary (highly distinguished in mathematics) who arrived in Mexico in 1681 and conducted his first missionary work in lower California in 1683-85. Bolton describes him as "a perfect picture of a true missionary, devoted heart and soul to the one object of converting and civilizing the natives, and for whom no task was too mean and no incident too trivial if it contributed to his main end."  When he visited outlier rancherias, he brought gifts of food and trinkets for all encountered, he made some study of local languages, delighted in teaching the children, and dwelt with affection on every indication of the people's intelligence and friendship. (Later, in Sonora, Arizona, and California, he also led the beginnings of a livestock industry, bringing animals to build food supplies for the missions and entrusting some of them to local people.)
In 1687 he was assigned to Pimeria Alta (what is now northern Sonora and southern Arizona), which included various sub-groups of Pima-speaking and Yuma-speaking people. He founded the mission of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) on the northern edge of the mission frontier in a rich and fertile valley along the San Miguel River, a place which became his home for nearly 25 years. (By the time he arrived, a number of Spanish mining operations operated in the vicinity, which probably contributed to the unstable politics recurrently evident there.)
From this location he made numerous exploring and missionizing expeditions (see the reference map for a visual overview), only a few of which involved sizeable military escorts but most were well supplied with horses and mules. The large increment of domestic livestock associated with his work became, of course, a powerful attractant for adventurers of all kinds. He was a veteran horseman, typically riding "an average of thirty or more miles a day for weeks or months at a time...." [Bolton p. 59]
In 1691, while Fr. Kino was touring the Pima country missions northwest of his base at Nuestra Sonora De Les Dolores, his party was surprised when "from the north some messengers or couriers of the Sobaipuris of San Xavier del Bac ["bac" = place where water appears], more than forty leagues' journey, and from San Cayetano Del Tumagacori, came to meet us with some crosses, which they gave us, kneeling with great veneration, and asking us on behalf of all their people to go to their rancherias also." (Bolton. p. 119. Also see Seymour on Tumagacori) So they went, baptised some infants at Tumagacori, and planned soon to return, but later in 1691, "when, as usual, the Hocomes, Janos, and Sumas [chronically "enemy" groups usually linked with the Apaches and with "Apacheria" in these accounts, see the reference map and other sources cited below] carried off various herds and droves from this province and its frontiers, these offenses were imputed, though falsely, to the Pimas, and their conversion and the coming of the missionary fathers were completely prevented." (p. 120-21)
Despite these setbacks, In August and September of 1692, "I went in, with fifty pack-animals, my servants, and some justices, to the Sobaipuris, both of the north and of the northeast. The latter are in the valleys of the river of Quiburi [the San Pedro River) and the former are in the valley and river of Santa Maria [the Santa Cruz River] to the west." Going first to the West, he "found the natives there very affable and friendly", especially at the "principle rancheria of San Xavier del Bac, which contains more than eight hundred souls." (122)
"I then passed on to the other Sobaipuris, of the east, on the Rio de San Joseph de Terrenate, or de Quiburi, who, in their chief rancheria, that of San Salvador del Baicatcan, are thirty leagues distant. Captain Coro and the rest of them received me with all kindness. It is true that I found them still somewhat less docile than the foregoing of the west."  This, his very brief reference to this "rancheria", is also his first reference to Captain Coro, who played a considerable role in subsequent accounts of the area.
Bolton's 1918 map shows this eastward journey below, over what is presumably the "Old Spanish Trail", from the Santa Cruz valley out between the Rincon and Empire Mountains, thence along the river downstream past Tres Alamos to the vicinity of Cascabel. [The location of this village named "Baicatcan" has been, and remains, the subject of considerable debate.]
1692 Visit to Baicatcan
Between 1692 and 1695, the entire region of Pimeria was being raided by groups of Indians variously called "Hocomes" [or "Jocomes"], "Janos" (or "Xanos"), "Sumas", and "Apaches", who carried off herds (of cattle) and droves (of horses). The Tarahumara, with whom the Spaniards were at the time much more familiar, attributed these raids to the Pima or Sobaipuri, which for a time prevented the missionary fathers from repeating their visits to "Pimeria Alta". However, in 1695 a series of Spanish-led military expeditions explored the lands of the hostiles to the east, including the "Serro de Chiguicagui" (the Chiricahua Mountains, home of the Chiricahua Apaches or "Tch'okonen", as they called themselves), and found "the spoils of many robberies falsely imputed to the Pimas Sobaipuris." [Bolton, pp. 145-7] Some historians have argued that most of these groups, including the "Hocomes" (perhaps a Spanish attempt at spelling "Tchokonen"?), were in fact Apache bands. Others have doubted this view, and see a diversity of hostile ethnic groups present in the area, some of whom must have later disappeared. For current multidisciplinary research seeking to resolve the issue, see Seymour on the Canutillo Complex
In any case, some Spanish authorities thought the Sobaipuris were part of the "enemies", the Lower Pimas of the Altar Valley in Sonora having risen against them in March and April of 1695, partly in response to killings of natives by Spanish soldiers. So, believing that the Sobaipuri had been falsely accused of these extensive hostilities, Fr. Kino went again to the San Pedro River Valley, to "San Pablo de Quiburi", "passing by Santa Maria [De Bugota] and Santa Cruz [de Gaybanipitea]" [see the map below], arriving on December 15, 1695, where he observed a place that "has more than four hundred souls assembled together, and a fortification, or earthen enclosure, since it is on the frontier of the hostile Hocomes." After he preached to the group, "the principal captain, El Coro, "gave me his little son to baptise, and so did others, and we began a little adobe house for the father within the fortification, and I put in a few cattle and a small drove of mares for the beginning of a little ranch." [pp. 164-5] For detailed discussion of archaeological identification of this site, see Seymour on Quiburi.
1695 Visit to Quiburi
On November 2 of 1697, Father Kino began another expedition north up the San Pedro, aiming to determine both the attitudes of the Sobaipuri there and the limits of their habitation, accompanied by Captain Juan Matheo Manje (who also recorded an account of this journey), soldiers, servants, and "more than 60 horses and mules." 
Manje provides a fairly detailed report [see the reference above]:
They arrived at the town of Santa Maria [[de Bugota] "whose natives received us with arches, crosses and swept roads and gave us generously of their supplies." 200 persons were counted at this village. "This town has fertile lands that produce good crops of corn, beans and other cereals. All the people dress in cotton and chamois." [76-77]
On November 6 they traveled northwestward "over plains and hills covered with pasture" and arrived at a settlement called San Joaquin de Baosuca [Huachuca]. "We were given lodgings in a medium sized adobe house constructed with beams and a flat roof. We counted 80 souls. This is a humid, fertile valley with the lands full of reed-grass. The Indians are well dressed, and they have plains with pasture for cattle and horses." 
On November 7, they traveled east to settlement named Santa Cruz de Gaybanipitea, "located on a hill to the west of the river which takes its rise in the plains of Terrenate [the San Pedro River Valley] and runs to the north. This is a valley of good agricultural lands with ditches for irrigation."  They were received in an adobe house with beams and flat roof, built previously for the missionary the residents had asked for. "They take care of about 100 cows, given to them by the father. We counted 25 houses and about 100 persons."  [The interpreter at the Mass said here was one Francisco Pintor, a Pima Indian from the town of Ures who knew Castilian.
On November 9, "we traveled north through a valley and down the river. At a league distance, we arrived at the settlement of Quiburi, located on the banks of the river with a large valley, plains covered with pasture, and lands where corn, beans and cotton are harvested. The Indians are dressed in cotton. All the lands are under irrigation. Captain Coro, chief Indian of the Pima nation, together with his people, received us splendidly. We were lodged in an adobe and beamed house, and they gave us presents, as is their custom. We counted 100 houses and 500 persons of both sexes." 
Father Kino, Lieutenant Martin Bernal [see below], and Captain Manje reported that Captain Coro and his people "were dancing with the scalps of 13 enemy Jocomes and Sumas which they had killed toward the north up among the rest of the rancherias of their own tribe." [B, pp. 36-7] Observing that the dance was made in a circle, Manje said that " hanging from a high pole in the center were 13 scalps, bows, arrows, other spoils taken from "the many Apache enemies who they had slain." [M, p. 78] [Kino said 15 enemies, p. 169] Kino went on to observe that "This was so pleasing to us that the Senor Captain Christobal Martin Bernal, the Senor Alferez, the sergeant, and many others, entered the circle and danced merrily in company with the natives." [Bolton, p169]
Bernal's Military Mission
Lieutenant Bernal led a separate expedition to determine the attitudes of the Sobaipuri, and which departed from Corodeguachi [now Fronteras] and met Kino and Manje at Quiburi. His Diary provides some additional perspectives to those of Kino and Manje. For example, at the start of his travels:
Accompanied by a famous borderland interpreter [Alferez Francisco de Acuna, who spoke Pima], and a sergeant who had traveled the route in 1692, Lt. Martin Bernal set off with 20 soldiers, horses, and "plenty of ammunition with all arms in order" (MB, p. 35), marching in formation. On November 7th he marched to "the pueblo of Santa Maria [now the town of Santa Cruz, a few miles south of the border town Lochiel, AZ] which is a distance of 12 leagues where I found the Reverend Father Pedro Ruiz de Contreras, Missionary at the pueblo"(MB, p. 36) [ftnt: Fr. Ruiz survived an attack on the pueblo by 300 Apaches, Jocomes & Sumas on February 28, 1698, after which he fled and never returned.] Fr. Ruiz said his children (the natives) were harvesting their crops, obedient and quiet. Knowing that some families had left the Pueblo, Martin told them through Acuna "that they were obligated to live together in their pueblo within the sound of the bell and to build their earthen houses storing their grains in them, to obey their Missionary Father and their Governor and the rest of the Justices and to build a community house, helping the Spaniards who stopped there with firewood and other things which they needed." [MB, p. 36] to do everything ordered. They agreed.
Martin Bernal continues: on November 8, he marched the 12 leagues to the valley & ranch of San Juaquin [Bolton: the village also known as Huachuca, now the ranch of Babocomari.] He gathered all the people into the little house which they have built for the Missionary promised them, he told them what they must do. Since the Governor [of the village] had died; I named his nephew to replace him. The entire village had requested this and were pleased.
Throughout his account, Martin Bernal emphasizes his suspicions, his demands for obedience from the natives, and his lectures to them demanding loyalty etc. At Quiburi, he affirmed that "they brought pinole and other things to me", "showing themselves obedient, by which I ascertained there was no evil in them." He wanted Captain Coro to accompany the military party going north, and Coro offered to go but feared leaving his village exposed. "Asking him how the Sobaipuris were on the river below [north of] Quiburi, he said he did not know because it had been a long time since they had communicated with him because in days past he had sent a relative of his on business and they had killed him. For that reason they became enemies because he suspected they are communicating with the enemy Jocomes."
Bernal's observations were strongly oriented to the political/administrative. He appointed various officials in the villages (giving them staffs of office), and he also took careful censuses. At Quiburi, "I counted 97 houses and 486 souls at the village." [MB, p. 37]
Manje continued, "We confirmed that the nation is opposed to the enemies" [with whom it had been thought they were allied]. "Chief Coro and 30 of his men came with us on this trip to make friends with people of the settlements of the mission, who lived to the north and were opposed to him." [M 79]
On November 11, "we traveled down the river along its banks, to the north, over plains. After going 10 leagues, we camped at a place called Los Alamos where there are many large and shady trees." [M 79] We were already at the frontier of our enemies the Apaches, so posted sentinels. In the map below, the red star indicates the location of the confluence of the Tres Alamos Wash with the San Pedro.
1697 From Tres Alamos to Jiaspi
Manje continues: On November 12th, "we continued to the north down the river passing by some deserted settlements. Because of discord with other settlements of the north, Chief Coro had depopulated them a year before. He told us of this while traveling with us. [Note: since he was reported by Fr. Kino living at Baicatcan in 1692, the inference is that he and his people had reconsolidated further south at Quiburi by 1695 or anyway completely by 1697, though archaeologists now know that the area was occupied before that.] We passed through good and fertile lands." [M, p. 79] Martin Bernal says, "I marched to a place called Baicadeat, which was 13 leagues from the place, passing some deserted villages." [MB, p. 37] [ftnt in the text suggests this to be near Redington, judging by mileages, but note Bolton's alternative positioning for "Baicatcan".]
Manje: After having gone 13 leagues, we camped for the night on a deserted plain, posting sentinels. (M, p. 79]
Manje: On November 13, they sent messengers ahead "to advise the settlements of the north of our coming." Capt. Ramirez (who had previously traveled downriver) told us there were many narrows between cliffs (traps) ahead. [M, pp.79-80) "After passing this narrow gorge, the river widens again into a large valley." [Note: this suggests passage through the corridor constriction that occurs in or near the vicinity of Cascabel.]
Manje continues: After going two leagues, we arrived at a settlement called Cusac with 20 houses and 70 people. We were received there with kindness and were given large jicaras of boiled squash, beans and corn meal which are their best foods." [M p. 80]
Continuing north down the river, two leagues further, "we came to another settlement called Jiaspi, which we renamed Rosario. Their chiefs received us with crosses, arches and swept trails and other demonstrations of welcome." [M, p. 80] "We were given lodgings in a house made of sticks and mats, which they had built for us." "We counted 120 persons and 27 houses." While the priest was baptising, "the chief of the tribe, Humari, arrived accompanied by others to welcome us." "Humari had gone to Dolores the past year, a distance of 200 leagues, both ways, to ask to be baptised" (and was baptized there, by Fr. Kino); he had also asked for a priest. (M, pp.80-81) Also at Jiaspi Manje reports finding scalps of 6 Apache enemies, who they had killed recently; and two young prisoners; so clearly there was no alliance with the Apache enemies (as had been believed, apparently by some of the soldiers); no traces of horses, no horses had passed on the "wide roads" existing here, the roads were all "soft", untrampled by horses and the people seemed afraid of horses. [M, p. 81] [This reference again alludes to the prejudices apparently still held by some of the soldiers that the Pimas were secretly "enemies", allies of the Apaches. The Spaniards saw this issue in terms black-and-white, but as Seymour emphasizes, the historical relations among these groups were much more complex.] At this location, also, Chief Coro was reconciled with the Sobaipuris of the north.
Here is Martin Bernal's report for November 13: I dispatched 2 couriers of Coro's men to advise the rancherias of Sobaipuris that Fr. Kino was coming, "and for them to make a ramada for him as he was going to say Mass at the rancheria. At about half a league from the ranch called Tiaspe its captain and the rest of the important men came out to welcome me and rendered their obedience to me." At the rancheria, "we found everybody in two lines without arms to render obedience, the men as well as the women and children rejoicing [MB, pp. 37-8] greatly to see me and embracing Captain Coro and bringing me coritas of pinole, beans and squashes".... This rancheria has 23 houses and 140 people, small and large, and fr. kino baptised four children. All asked to be Christians and for Fathers to come to them. I gave them a talk and appointed Justices.
From Jiaspi to the Gila Confluence
Manje continues: At a settlement called Muyva, "whose heathen Indians welcomed us with crosses and swept roads", the visitors talked with them, then continued north for 6 leagues, through three intermediate settlements with kind people, "we came to sleep in the settlement called Arivavia." "These people, although they were heathen Indians, received us like the best of Christians with arches and swept roads. They gave us lodgings in a house, which they made for us of sticks and petates. They gave our soldiers so many cooked beans and corn flour that they did not have sufficient talegas (bags) in which to carry them.... We reciprocated, giving them knives, ribbons and other trinkets which they liked very much." [M, p. 81]
(M, p. 82) "They were given staffs of justice with which to govern themselves. Five children were baptized. All were anxious to become Christians...." "We counted in this settlement, together with the intermediate settlements, 500 persons and 130 houses made of sticks and mats in the shape of an arched framework. All these are beautiful valleys of fertile lands where they harvest corn, beans and cotton. From the cotton they weave prime cloth that is painted in various colors and from which they make dresses and adorn themselves."
Martin Bernal's account reads thus: On November 14th I continued marching down river. At about half a league, another rancheria, they welcomed us "placing crosses and arches at the entrance", all the people waiting for us as previously. Other rancherias came in at short distances over the 6 leagues from where I left "to this rancheria, Aribabia [ftnt: 3 miles north of Sacaton Ranch, just north of where the road turns west toward Oracle], which I named San Pantaleon. The houses from where I left to here we counted 75, well populated with 225 souls. "I appointed Justices and our Father Kino appointed Fiscales at the request of the rancheria." 4 little ones were baptized, and "going along I find all these people peaceful and without traitorous Indians. All the Justices of the rancheria came along with me, guiding me and showing me the roads and waterholes." They also said that 14 leagues eastward was a rancheria of Jocomes, though they had since withdrawn.
Manje continues: On November 15th, "bidding goodbye to the natives, we continued north down the river. After a short distance we came to the settlement called Tutoyda, with 20 houses, where 100 persons showed the same affection to us....  another 3 leagues, we passed the settlement of Comarsuta "with 80 courteous persons...." another 3 leagues, "stopped to camp at the settlement La Victoria de Ojio, the last settlement on this river to the north. This is the home of Captain Humari, chief leader of all this tribe...." "At this place the Indians exceeded their demonstration of joy on our arrival, feasting and dancing and have arches and swept roads. We were lodged in a house made of sticks and mats, so large that there was room for all the soldiers, [92-3) the priest and his retinue. This house had a chapel at the center, wherein mass was celebrated."
"We counted 70 houses and 380 persons of all ages and both sexes. When we were busy talking to them about God and His Sacred Law, other Indian chiefs arrived from two settlements called Busac and Tubo, located on a small creek which runs from the east and joins the river.[This would be the Arivaipa Creek.] Eighty-five men came with corresponding women and children. They are all frontier Indians and live nearer to the Apaches, Jocomes and Janos who are their chief sworn enemies."  "We baptized six children for them, and they were given staffs of justice, so they may enter into politics and government.
Martin Bernal says, on November 15th, I set out again, marching; after a league, another rancheria of 20 houses with 123 people, rejoicing; he gave a talk [MB, pp. 38-9] then 2 leagues further, another rancheria 12 houses with 60 souls. Another talk. Marched 7 leagues, another rancheria with 73 houses & 315 souls. "Arranged in two lines, they rendered obedience to me showing much pleasure, placing at the entrance many arches and crosses as a sign of great peace. They called this rancheria Ojio and one gave it the name of Nuestra Senora de Victoria." [ftnt: next to Quiburis, this was the largest settlement on the San Pedro; just south of the mouth of Arivaipa Creek. In 1860 an army camp established here, Camp Arivaipa; went through changes - Camp Stanford, Camp Breckinridge, Camp Grant - moved to the north side of the Creek, then abandoned in 1872 because of Malaria, moved to the southern slope of Mt. Graham. Later became Fort Grant.] Martin Bernal continues: A Captain who lives in the east in another valley called Babitcoida [Arivaipa Creek], "bringing with him 71 men without arms and 31 women and some boys to render obedience to me." This Captain tells Martin Bernal about contacts with the Jocomes, fighting with the Apaches, etc.
Martin Bernal continues: The Governor of this rancheria of Ojio is Francisco Eusebio Humari. He has two sons [MB, pp. 38-9], [Fr. Kino baptised these some time ago] I gave them staves of Justice. "Francisco Humari is an old man, much admired and is the principle Captain of all the rancherias." They brought 6 little ones for baptism. I appointed Justices and Fiscales, gave them a talk, said we would return to see if they were faithful in what they agreed. Capt. Coro also gave them a talk, and they were very friendly.
Manje summarized his view of the trip as follows: "All this valley, as I said, is wide and long and very fertile; and their fields are under irrigation. There are large areas of pasture fields for cattle and horses. The Indians are dressed and adorned with painted cloth. They wear belts, and strings of beads around the neck."
Martin Bernal says, on November 16th I Marched north, "all the Justices of the rancheria coming in my company", "until arriving at the junction of the Gila River with that of the Quiburi. We searched to see if there were any hidden bands of horses, not having seen any in the whole valley nor even a trace, by which it [the rumor] is recognized to be false, not having any horses. All the people of this valley are very industrious, and the whole valley is very pleasant, filled with many cottonwoods and water." [ends p. 40]
Manje says that on the 16th, the visitors bid goodbye "to these heathen Indians" and went on north down river. After 6 leagues, they came to "where this river joins the great Jila River", continued west, and [M, 83-4) and 3 leagues further we camped, "having soldier sentinels ready, since we were in the frontier of the enemy, the Apaches."
Manje: "We were told by the guides from the nearby settlements that on the other side of the river there are old buildings consisting of large houses, which are believed to have been built by the Mexican tribe before they left the north." [M, p. 84]
On November 17, they left the river banks because of obstacles, noting that the river "carries so much water that a ship could be navigated." Continued west, they passed over a small hill from where "we could see, toward the east, the Florida Mountain [the Santa Teresas and associated mountains, home of various Western Apache tribes) where the apaches make their home sometimes." [M, p. 84.
"To the west we saw Casas Grandes, which, from a distance of 17 leagues, looked like castles." [M, p. 84]
Manje goes on to describe the area around Casa Grande in considerable detail (and the party's return southward through the Santa Cruz River basin as well), but that material goes beyond our interests here. Martin Bernal's account roughly parallels Manje's but with less detail. Arriving in Dolores on December 2, Martin Bernal completed his report on December 4, 1697.
Father Kino later reported (here taken from the account in Smith, Kessell, & Fox, cited above, pp. 47-50) on "The Remarkable Victory which the Pima-Sobaipuris have won against the Enemies of the Province of Sonora:"
"But especially the fine loyalty of this Pimeria was made apparent with the following remarkable victory": On March 30, [Easter, 1698], "the enemies, Jocomes, Sumas, Mansos and Apaches, who the previous month had overrun Cocospora... threw themselves at the rancheria or incipient pueblo of Santa Cruz del Cuervo, which is a league and a half from Quiburi. They killed the Captain and forced the rest of the Pimas to retire into their corral and fortification which they have of adobe and terrado. These natives are taking care of, for me, a few cattle and a small band of mares for the Father, whom, with those of Quiburi, they expected to receive. The enemy, with their women, went about sacking and burning the houses of the rancheria; they killed three cattle and three mares and began to roast and stew the meat and the beans and to parch corn and grind pinole; but in the meantime the news reached Quiburi and its Captain, called El Coro....This Captain Coro, with all his many brave people... hurried then to the aid of Santa Cruz del Cuervo and circled the enemy; and having spoken directly to the Captain of the enemy Jocomes, called El Capotiari, the said Capotiari remarked [MB, 48-49] that Captain Coro with all his Pima people were nothing but women; that the Spaniards with whom he had been incited by the Fathers were not brave;" the Pimas were greatly aroused by this, a young man came out and threw him to the ground and pounded him; with equal valor his companions pursued the rest for two leagues, with only 6 escaping on as many horses stolen from Cocospora." Martin Bernal and another went 50 leagues to Quiburi, and counted the dead bodies 54 corpses, 31 men and 23 women. 5 Pimas died. [MB, 49-50]
Summary and Discussion
Thus the 17th Century ended in warfare between the Sobaipuris of the east and their roaming, raiding neighbors -- the Apaches and their several allies on their eastern and northern frontiers. Toward the end of this time, as Bolton has summarized, in the San Pedro River Valley downstream from Santa Cruz de Gaybanipitea "lived more than two thousand people in fourteen villages, chief of which were Quiburi and La Victoria, headquarters of Coro and Humari, respectively." [Bolton I:170-71, f.n.193] These people were now in the process of becoming militarized, living in settled villages but facing an increasingly hostile frontier occupied by much more mobile others.
Prior to 1691, direct historical accounts of our Sobaipuris are lacking (except probably for the account of Fray Marcos de Niza in 1539, see Seymour for her views on the matter of his route, Coronado for her assessment of the latter's later, different route, and Brasher for an outline of the new archaeological evidence for the latter), but obviously considerable indirect Spanish impact was reverberating through the area. Some of the places in the Sobaipuri area already had Spanish names, and in 1691 Sobaipuri emissaries from San Xavier del Bac came south to request the presence of Christian Missionaries. Spanish technologies (guns and other iron tools, crops, and of course horses, cattle, and other livestock) were strong attractants to many, and also sources of hostility and fear.
The texts we have considered suggest a gradient of cultural influence running from west to east (the Eastern Sobaipuri being "less docile" than those in the west in 1692), and from south to north along the San Pedro River, a gradient which may have intensified conflict between the people of Captain Coro in the south and those of Captain Humari in the north (leading to Coro's retreat from Baicatcan further south to Quiburi between 1692 and 1695). By 1695 Quiburi had a "fortification", an earthen enclosure, and the visitors began a little adobe house for their anticipated Missionary Father within that fortification. By 1697 the visitors there were lodged "in an adobe and beamed house". On the same trip, in the northern village of Jiaspi, they were given lodgings in a house made of sticks and mats, "which they had built for us", and at Arivaiva (further north near the Gila) Manje reported that the houses were "made of sticks and mats in the shape of an arched framework." This was traditional O'Odham practice, and it seems noteworthy that Manje would only describe it as present here. It seems clear there were no "adobe houses" in the villages of this northern zone at this time, but only ones of the O'odham traditional type. At Ojio, the home of the northern chief Humari, the visitors were similarly lodged in a house made of sticks and mats, but a very large one, and it contained "a chapel at the center." This was surely a new production, inspired by Humari, who had himself traveled all the way to Dolores during the previous year in order to be baptised. Humari thus in a sense leapfrogged his southern opposition despite the remoteness of his domain. And Martin Bernal, observing that Humari was "an old man", bestowed on his two also previously baptised sons "staves of office". In this instance, the sons may have previously influenced the father.
The process of political colonialization is very obvious in these texts. Both Manje and Martin Bernal report the natives' practice of receiving the visitors with "arches, crosses, and swept roads." This practice is repeated from the villages near Dolores all the way to near the Gila confluence, and what aspects of this ritual were old forms of inter-group greeting and what more recent signs of political submission (specifically, to the Spaniards) is an interesting question. In any case, Lieutenant Martin Bernal appeared to represent the hope for the future: in the south, emphasizing people's "living together in their pueblo within the sound of the bell", and building earthen houses (presumably meaning not to continue making those of the earlier type), obeying the Spanish authorities and their native agents, providing for their needs when they visit. Along the way north, he looks for villagers presenting themselves, "everybody in two lines without arms to render obedience" and the like, expects receiving ample provisions, and lectures them on the necessity of rendering obedience.
Careful observers of things military, both officers saw another sign of the more limited acculturation of the north: the absence of horses along the way, and indeed Manje saw evidence that people there were afraid of horses. Things were different in the south, where both cows and horses were already being raised, and of course, becoming attractants for already-horse-riding groups roaming the eastern frontier.
In passing, the visitors emphasize the settled qualities of these people: their growing of corn, beans, squash, other cereals, and cotton by means of irrigation; their being "well dressed" "in cotton and chamois"; "From the cotton they weave prime cloth that is painted in various colors and from which they make dresses and adorn themselves", "They wear belts, and strings of beads around the neck"; and with regard to their surroundings, "the whole valley is very pleasant, filled with many cottonwoods and water", with "plains with pasture for cattle and horses" [i.e., extensive grasslands]. This is surely a picture of a reasonably prospering, sedentary people.
But then there are those fairly explicit descriptions of bloody warfare, reflecting this intensifying militarization, which the Spaniards themselves are actively encouraging, even dancing with the Sobaipuris in a circle around hoisted scalps of the enemies. In about 60 years hence, the Spaniards would remove the last members of this settled-village Sobaipuri community from this valley and scatter them near the new Military Presidio at Tucson. Soon thereafter, finding that even a full-fledged European fortress complete with bastion for cannon emplacement [the Presidio of Santa Cruz de Terrenate] would provide no security from mounted, mobile, patient and locally self-sufficient warriors armed with guns, they would abandon the San Pedro River Valley itself to "the enemies".