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Reymundo Baca Valencia: Banished!
Banishment During the Spanish Period in New Mexico: The Case of Reymundo Baca Valencia
By J. Richard Salazar
On March 18, 1765, Antonia Martin, resident of the Puesto of Nuestra Senora de la Soledad del Rio Arriba (the present day community of Alcalde), appeared before Alcalde Mayor of Santa Cruz de la Canada, Manuel Garcia Pareja, the local official for that area. She filed a formal complaint against her husband, Reymundo Baca Valencia, for mistreating her and abusing her two daughters. She also complained that Baca Valencia had sex with his step-daughter, Margarita, and had tried to do the same with the other step-daughter, Getrudes. Regarding this as a most serious complaint, Garcia Pareja immediately commenced legal proceedings against Baca Valencia, and took a formal statement from Antonia Martin.
To be certain that Baca Valencia could defend himself against the complaints of Martin, Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja ordered Baca Valencia to be present. In her complaint she stated that she and her daughters were forced to live a life of isolation and were mistreated by her husband, who had forced her daughter, Margarita, to have sex with him, and he had also propositioned her other daughter, Getrudes, for the same purpose. Antonia concluded her testimony saying that she was fifty years of age. Due to the seriousness of the complaint Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja placed Baca Valencia in jail.
A few days later, on the 22nd of March, Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja requested that the daughter of Antonia Martin, Getrudes Martin, appear before him to take her statement. He asked her to explain what had transpired between her and her step-father, Reymundo Baca Valencia. She stated that one night while he was lying in bed and she was seated at the edge of the fireplace, during the time that her mother was out looking for her younger brother, her step-father began to proposition her. He promised her that he would take care of her and that she would not have to worry about anything as long as she lived. As this was taking place her mother walked in and asked her husband what they were discussing? He told her that it was nothing of importance.
On another occasion while her mother was hoeing her garden and she was grinding wheat, Reymundo Baca Valencia once again approached and propositioned her. Again Antonia intervened and asked her husband what was going on between him and her daughter. Once more he denied that anything was wrong. Getrudes then stated that on this particular occasion she had fled from where they were, and as she fled Reymundo Baca Valencia grabbed her by her clothes and tore her dress.
Another time when her mother sent her to take some food to the house of Pablo Villapando, she met her step-father near a cornfield as she was walking to deliver the food. He once again propositioned her, and she told him that she did not want to comply with his wishes and that upon returning home she asked her mother to place her in an honorable home. Her mother decided to do just that and placed her into the home of Thomas Mora, at Ojo Caliente, where she had been living up to the present. Garcia Pareja then asked her if she had anything else to say and she said that no, that was the end of her statement. She said that she was seventeen years old.
On March 24th, Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja, assisted by two witnesses, took the statement of the other daughter, Margarita Martin. In her statement Margarita said that one night when her mother had gone to Ojo Caliente on some business and perhaps to visit her daughter, she was left alone in the house and under the care of her step-father. While they were each in their separate beds, he propositioned her, telling her that he would take care of her and would give her everything she would ever need. Margarita Martin said that she believed what her step-father was telling her, conceded to his wishes, and had sex with him. She added that he had promised to dress her decently. This was the extent of her statement which she ratified, and added that she was twenty years of age.
Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja then proceeded to take the statement of Petrona Martin, the wife of Pedro Gomez. Petrona was a midwife who had examined Margarita Martin to see if she was no longer a virgin. Petrona was asked to do this by Antonia Martin, Margarita’s mother, to make sure that no false accusations had been made by Margarita. As Petrona examined Margarita, Margarita told her that she had no reason to bring up false accusations against her step-father, nor was she willing to forgive him for forcing himself upon her. The results of the examination of Margarita proved that she was no longer a virgin and possibly pregnant.
Having taken all of relevant the statements, Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja then proceeded to submit them to Governor and Captain General Thomas Velez Cachupin for his decision. Upon reviewing the proceedings, Governor Velez Cachupin, who was about to leave on his general inspection of the kingdom, turned the case over to his Lieutenant Governor, Nicolas Ortiz, to continue the investigation.
On April 17th, Lieutenant Governor Ortiz proceeded to the Real Cuerpo de Guardia (jailhouse), to take the statement of Reymundo Baca Valencia. He was asked if he had propositioned Getrudis Martin to have sex with him and take her virginity. Baca Valencia stated that he had never intended to do such a thing. Asked if he had taken Margarita Martin’s virginity, Baca Valencia stated that he had done no such thing. Valencia then stated that he had nothing else to say and ratified his statement, but added that he was forty-eight years of age.
After hearing the statements made by Reymundo Baca Valencia, Lieutenant Governor Ortiz returned the proceedings to Alcalde Mayor of Santa Cruz de la Canada, Manuel Garcia Pareja, to have the complainant, Antonia Martin and her two daughters, read and ratify or amend their statements. Proceeding to the Puesto de Nuestra Senora de la Soledad del Rio Arriba, Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja, on April 25th, made appear before him Antonia Martin and her two daughters, to whom he read the response given by Reymundo Baca Valencia. The three women were then asked to either ratify or amend their statements. All three ratified their previous statements. Alcalde Mayor Garcia Pareja then resubmitted the proceedings to Lieutenant Governor Nicolas Ortiz at Santa Fe.
On the 13th of May, 1765, Lieutenant Governor Ortiz ordered Baca Valencia to appear before him and informed him that the three women had ratified their previous statements and did not agree with his denial of their accusations. Ortiz then proceeded to personally take the prisoner’s statement. He asked Baca Valencia where he was from originally. Baca Valencia responded that he was from El Paso del Rio del Norte, of Spanish origin, and that he was a farmer. Asked if tried to convince his step-daughter, Getrudes, to have sex with him, Baca Valencia responded that he had never violated her in any way. Asked if he had violated his other step-daughter Margarita, by promising to give her everything she would ever need, he stated that he had never violated her in any way. Baca Valencia claimed the accusations raised against him were made because he had tried to have his step daughters live a more settled life, and then stated that he had never been able to accomplish this. He said that he had never offended God by doing what he was accused of, and that he had never committed such a crime. Asked if he had anything to add or delete, he stated that he did not.
The following day Lieutenant Governor Nicolas Ortiz continued the investigation by bringing the women face-to-face (a step in the proceedings called the careo) with their step-father, the prisoner Reymundo Baca Valencia, so that the truth could be determined. Antonia Martin, the wife of Reymundo Baca Valencia, was the first to appear before her husband and stated that everything she had brought forth against him was true. She stated that due to the problems between her daughter, Getrudes, and her husband, she had taken her to Ojo Caliente where she placed Getrudes into the house of Thomas Mora. Baca Valencia stated that he had never offended God in any way.
Getrudes Martin then appeared face-to-face with her step-father, and stated that everything that she had declared was the truth and that she had no reason to lie about anything, which she ratified. Baca Valencia responded saying that the testimony given by Getrudes was false, and he had nothing to add.
Margarita Martin then came face-to-face with her step-father and stated that everything she had said was true, and that her step-father had sex with her as she stated before. Reymundo Baca Valencia said that everything she said was false and that he had never done such a thing.
On May 23, 1765, Governor Thomas Velez Cachupin reviewed the proceedings and noted that Antonia Martin had stated in her testimony that she had taken her daughter Getrudes to live in the house of Thomas Mora at Ojo Caliente to keep her husband away from her. The Governor ordered Lieutenant Governor Nicolas Ortiz to have Mora appear before him in order to take his statement.
On May 30th, Thomas Mora reported to Lieutenant Governor Nicolas Ortiz at Santa Fe to give his statement regarding the placement of Getrudes Martin within his home at Ojo Caliente. He declared that she had been placed within his home. He stated that he was out of the kingdom when Antonia Martin took her daughter to his home, but that when he returned home, his wife had told him that Getrudes Martin had been placed with them because of the problems with her step-father Reymundo Baca Valencia. He further stated that if her step-father tried to remove her from their home, he was not to allow Baca Valencia to take Getrudes from them. He then stated that this was his declaration and ratified his statement. His age was given as thirty. Upon completing these proceedings, Lieutenant Governor Ortiz submitted them to Governor Thomas Velez Cachupin for his final determination.
On October 8, 1765, Governor and Captain General Thomas Velez Cachupin gave his final decision on the case. He found that the accusations brought forth by Reymundo Baca Valencia’s wife, Antonia Martin, were true, and that Baca Valencia had indeed taken Margarita Martin’s virginity. He also found that the charges brought forth by the other step-daughter, Getrudes, were true, and that the denials given by Baca Valencia were lies. The sentence handed down by Governor Velez Cachupin resulted in Baca Valencia banishment for six years to the Real Presidio and Pueblo of El Paso, where he was originally from. He was not to return to the interior of the kingdom during that time. Baca Valencia and Antonia Martin were not to be reunited together as long as the daughters were still living with their mother. If Baca Valencia and Antonia Martin did get together, they would have to live outside of the kingdom and the daughters, if not married, would be separated from them.
Governor Velez Cachupin then ordered Alcalde Mayor Francisco Guerrero to summon Antonia Martin to Santa Fe and notify her of his final decision and then to proceed to the jail and notify the prisoner, Reymundo Baca Valencia, of his sentence. Baca Valencia was to be released from prison and escorted to the Presidio of El Paso.
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