Winner of the New Mexico Library's 2017 Best Southwest Books Award

Winner of the New Mexico Library's 2017 Best Southwest Books Award

In the early eighteenth century, Spanish colonial women of New Mexico submitted petitions and complaints to the alcaldes mayores and governors about things that were not quite right in their lives. These included complaints about abusive spouses, adultery, breach of promise, abductions, dowries, and rape as well as theft, fights (between men over women and with each other), property boundaries, and inheritance. It also shows the alcaldes and governors listening to their concerns, hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses, trying to follow legal procedures as they knew them, and mandating punishment or compromises.

To the many descendents of the Spanish colonials, these translations will provide first hand information about their ancestors.

For this volume, Tigges and Salazar have selected 35 documents for translation and transcription. Many of these documents exist in the original hand-written manuscripts in Spanish Archives of New Mexico in Santa Fe. Others come from the Archivo General de la Nacional in Mexico City and elsewhere. To the many descendents of the Spanish colonials, these translations will provide first hand information about their ancestors. They can read about their behavior, listen to their testimony and, for better or worse, learn more about them than just their names. This book can be considered a companion, in part, to Ralph Emerson Twitchell’s Spanish Archives of New Mexico


summaries of documents

What's in the Book?


Documents List

  1. Sisters row Rocks at Rival, Governor threatens Banishment
  2. Jacinto Sánchez Granted Permission to Search for a Bar of Lost Spanish Silver
  3. Gossip Creates Domestic Violence; Josefa Sedaño Fears Loss of Reputation
  4. Family Killed in 1696 Pueblo Revolt; Female Survivors Ask Permission to Leave the Colony
  5. Soldier Agustín de la Palma Accused of Rape; Takes Sanctuary in the Parroquia
  6. Francisca Gómez de Torres Asks Governor for Protection from Abusive Husband
  7. Cristóbal de Góngora Clai ms Divorce from Wife; She Resists
  8. Battered Woman Walks From Atrisco to Santa Fe in Fear of Husband and Mother-in-Law
  9. Couple Punished for Cohabitation
  10. Inheritance of Two Cows Demanded by Orphaned Daughter Catalina de Villalpando
  11. Two Male Servants Fight over Woman on Other Side of the Santa Fe River
  12. Presidio Soldier Killed in Action; Wife Requests Money from Insurance Fund
  13. Mistress of Deceased Governor Cuervo y Valdés Searches for Promised Financial Guarantee of 10,000 Pesos
  14. Ana María Romero [Villalpando] Spreads Scandal; Sentenced to Humiliating Punishment
  15. New Mexican Ranchers Lucía Hurtado and Luis García de Noriega End Court Case with Embrace; Cow Recovered
  16. Pedro Montes Vigil Accuses Ana María Romero of Gossip and Father-in-Law of Reneging on Marriage Portion
  17. Father Demands Marriage of Presidio Soldier to Seduced Pregnant Daughter. 
  18. Bigamy Case Made against Agustín de la Palma Set Forth by Inquisition Tribunal; Severe Punishment Imposed
  19. Prickly Pear Cactus Cause of Altercation between Santa Fe Neighbors
  20. Isidro Sánchez Confesses to Robbing Presidio Storehouse; Lieutenant- Governor Villasur Investigates
  21. Mother Accuses Daughter and Son-in-Law of Ongoing Afair
  22. Bigamy Case Dropped When Murder of Wife Discovered
  23. Juana de Anaya Almazán Claims La Cieneguilla Inheritance  
  24. Fight between Chimayó Cousins Results in Head Injury; Mother Complains.
  25. Mother of Soldier Slapped by Santa Fe Trader; Son Intervenes
  26. Wife Complains about Husband’s Fifteen-Year A air to Governor
  27. Santiago Resident Asks for Help with Incorrigible Wife; Couple Escorted to Valencia by Soldiers
  28. Isidro Sánchez Gives Legal Advice to Jilted Presidio Soldier
  29. Isidro Sánchez Ordered to Stop Giving Legal Advice by Alcalde and Governor
  30. Lovers Flee Santa Cruz to Outside the Kingdom; Woman Returned to Husband
  31. Rosalia García de Noriega Claims Inheritance; Rescinds Husband’s Power of Attorney