History of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
Travel Down the Mission Trail
Scholars' Bookshelf
Missions Bibliography
Ysleta Bibliography
Roster of El Paso Area Tribal Leaders
Native American Water Use Chronology
Tigua Military History
Early Accounts & Bibliography
Tigua Ethnographical History  
Tigua Participation at Texas State Fair
Travel Links & More
Ysleta Land Grant Chronology
Acknowledgments / Resources

Bio-Sketch of Observers & Reporters

Pedro Jose de la Fuente, 1765,
Captain of San Elizario Presidio

The expeditionary journal (January-July 1765) of Pedro Jose de La Fuente, captain of the Presidio of El Paso del Norte, provides insight to the significance of the El Paso Indian pueblos to the region’s defense. Spanish presidio reports cite the participation of El Paso Pueblo scouts, but seldom identify a specific Indian pueblo. The de la Fuente journal was translated and edited by James M. Daniel. In 1765, Apache and Comanche raids were a constant threat to the El Paso region. The presidio of El Paso Norte, since its establishment following the 1680 rebellion, relied heavily upon military support from the El Paso Indian pueblos. This support continued since the establishment of the Presidio of San Elizario in 1789 until Mexican independence in 1821. Ysleta Pueblo’s war captain with his four subordinate captains and other tribal members served at the Spanish presidios in the region.

James S. Calhoun, 1847, Indian Agent

Following the acquisition of the El Paso area in 1848, the United States Government extended military and civil authority over the new territory. James S. Calhoun, Indian agent, who was stationed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, prepared an inventory and census of the Indian communities within the territory of New Mexico, which, until the 1850 Texas Compromise, included the El Paso district.

Calhoun briefly mentioned Ysleta del Sur Pueblo citing information provided by civil officials, especially Judge Spruce M. Baird, about the El Paso region. There is no evidence that Calhoun visited Ysleta Pueblo. He recognized that the pueblo constituted a distinct Indian community and expressed concern that the federal government should protect tribal interests, especially land and water rights. He recommended that Ysleta Pueblo should have an Indian agent. Calhoun believed that the Pueblo Indians villages were important an important resource to maintain American control of the region.

Lieutenant W.H.C. Whiting, 1849, Topographical Engineer

The journal of Lieutenant William Henry Chase Whiting is an eyewitness account of the El Paso area. He was aware that Ysleta Pueblo was a distinct Indian community with ancient traditions. In 1849, he and W.F. Smith of the Corps of Topographical Engineers were assigned by the army to find a trail through the Big Bend to the Rio Grande. They located the Lower Road, which was used by the army and many that traveled between east and west Texas. Whiting’s route included the Lower Valley communities of San Elizario, Ysleta and Socorro. He arrived at El Paso del Norte on September 8, 1849. He was favorably impressed with Ysleta Pueblo and the fertility of the El Paso region.

George Wythe Baylor, 1879-85, Captain of the Texas Rangers

In 1879, Captain George W. Baylor assumed command of the Texas Ranger post in Ysleta. He relied on the tracking skills of Tigua Indian scouts during the campaign to control Apache raids on the border. He had as many as thirty-three scouts under his command at one time. The Baylor home served as the Texas Ranger post and also boarded the rangers. George W. Baylor, his wife and two daughters participated in the social life of Ysleta and the El Paso area (El Paso Herald, December 14, 1881:4:1). In 1885, he retired from state service with the title of major.

Baylor wrote sixty published accounts of his frontier experiences and reminiscences (Thompson 1966). He had great admiration for the skills and reliability of the Pueblo scouts who served under his command. He died at the age of eighty-three on March 7, 1916 in San Antonio, Texas (El Paso Herald, April 1, 1916:3-4).

James B. Gillett, 1879-1881, Sergeant, Texas Rangers

James Buchanan Gillett, born on November 4, 1856, was an experienced frontiersman and cowboy. He joined the Texas Ranger in 1876. In 1879, he was ordered to Ysleta where he served under George Baylor and became familiar with the Pueblo scouts. He married George Baylor’s daughter, Helen in 1881, which was followed by a divorce in 1889. Gillett resigned as a ranger in the fall of 1881 to become city Marshall of El Paso. He wrote two books about his ranger experience, which included accounts of the Tigua scouts and Ysleta Pueblo (Gillett 1925, 1927). He later became a rancher in the Marfa area and died in Temple, Texas on June 11, 1937 (Stephens 1975:35; Thrapp 1988 II:556).

Captain John G. Bourke, 1881, American Ethnologist

John Gregory Bourke graduated from West Point Following army service in the Civil War,. He served under General Crook’s command during two Apache campaigns. He also served in the Department of the Platte. He wrote several books about the Apache wars and published many ethnological reports. His diary (128 volumes) is preserved in the West Point U.S. Army Library and Archives. Captain John Gregory Bourke was an army officer and ethnologist.

On November 11, 1881, he visited Ysleta, Texas. That portion concerning his visits to Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico and Ysleta Pueblo, Texas has been selected for this volume, which was edited by Lasing Bloom. During, Bourke’s brief visit, he painted a watercolor image of the Ysleta del Sur Mission (Houser, 2000, Ysleta Archives, III:3).

H.F.C. Ten Kate, 1886, Dutch Ethnologist

The Dutch ethnologist, Dr. H.F.C. Ten Kate, visited Ysleta on December 27, 1886. He purchased items of material culture from Bernardo Olguín and other Tigua tribal members, which now reside in the Rijksmuseum Voor Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Netherlands. He also took photographs of Bernardo and other tribal members, but these images are apparently have been lost (Brasser, Ted 1967; Kaemlein, 1967:137). Mr. William Wright visited the museum in 1994 and took photographs of the artifacts such as a war cap, shield, drum, and other items (Wright 1993). (Houser recommends that the Ten Kate book be translated in English and republished)

James Mooney, 1897, Ethnologist and Linguist

James Moony, ethnologist and linguist, visited the El Paso area in December 1897 and recorded in a hurried scrawl Piro and Tigua vocabularies in his notebook. Apparently, other documents of this trip have not been located. Mooney also wrote about the Kiowa calendar history, which recorded the Hueco Tanks battle (Bureau of American Ethnology, Seventeenth Annual Report, I:301-305).

Jesse Walter Fewkes, 1901, American Ethnologist

In 1901, Dr. Jesse W. Fewkes of the Bureau of American Ethnology conducted visited Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. Although his research primarily concentrated Ysleta Pueblo, he also visited Senecú. He took photographs in Ysleta and Senecú, but unfortunately these are missing. Fewkes described the Ysleta Mission and mention that the old Indian Pueblo formerly that was located just east of the church and cemetery.

Fewkes recorded over 20 names of tribal members, both men and women. He also described the tribal organization (Fewkes 1901:62). He compiled a list of the tribal leaders with the Spanish and native titles and recorded the family names. He identified the major tribal feasts and dances. He wrote about the Tiwa language, prepared a list of Tiwa vocabulary, and described the clan system (Diamond, Ysleta Archives, 2000, Vol. 3:189).

John Newton Phillips, 1931, Tigua, Oral Tradition

John Newton Phillips, although not an early observer, is included in publication because he was of Tigua descent and recorded the Tigua oral tradition. Moreover, he was proud of his Indian ancestry during a period in which racial discrimination was commonly practiced in the El Paso area. He was the grandson of Juana Márques, daughter of the tribal governor José Domingo Márques (Hamilton 1976:174).

Phillips received a formal education and later became El Paso County Clerk. He was aware of the contributions of Ysleta Pueblo to the cultural and historical development of the El Paso region. His major informant was Manuel Ortega, the old tribal cacique, who recalled the oral accounts of two 19th century tribal leaders: “Chapo” Alvino Márquez and Juana’s father. Phillips stated that non-Indians had encroached on Indian land. He recorded the oral tradition about tribal military assistance to the commander of San Elizario presidio, for which the tribe was awarded land in the Sierra Hueco and Guadalupe Salt Lakes region.

Tom Diamond, Tribal Lawyer & Historian

Tom Diamond, a Word War II veteran, has degrees in engineering and law. He is the tribal lawyer. He became interested in the Tigua Indians and El Paso history in 1964 and has contributed original research and has served the Tribe since the 1966. He also is the author of a novel on the west, which reflects his interest and intimate knowledge of the Black Range of southern New Mexico. He edited the Fewkes diary (Ysleta del Sur Archives) and wrote a chronology on Tigua tribal history.


Jay W. Sharp, 1985, Historian

Jay W. Sharp has written several articles and books on southwestern history. He is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin whose interests include history, cultural anthropology, and archaeology. His article on the 1837 Hueco Tanks battle, between Tigua Indians and presidial soldiers and a Kiowa raiding party, was selected for this volume because it was the first published account of that battle which synthesized Kiowa and Tigua oral traditions with the written record (Sharp 1987).