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Manzano Grant


Governor Alberto Maynez had begun the effort to establish the town of Manzano in 1815. Several landowners in the Tomé area were interested in developing the eastern slope of the Manzanos. Among these was the Lucero family, led by Miguel and Juan Lucero. Their efforts met with success; Manzano was an established settlement by 1823, when the petition for the creation of the Casa Colorado grant, supported by the Luceros and other Manzano settlers, specifically mentioned the town.


By 1829, the Manzano settlers were obviously prospering in spite of the increasing Apache raids. Because the colonists depended on sheep ranching and subsistence farming, they did not settle in a simple nuclear town pattern, with the village in the center and fields and pastures surrounding it. Instead, the central fortified compounds of Manzano (called plazas), with their dependable spring-fed irrigation systems, attracted a number of families who depended largely on farming for subsistence, while the families whose principal interest was sheepherding formed loose settlements centered around other fortified compounds in outlying areas. The ruins of Abó and Quarai each attracted a group of these families. Both sites had enough water that the families could practice limited subsistence farming, but most activities centered around sheep. For the sheep-dependant families, Manzano was one of the market towns to which they carried their wool, woven goods, and mutton for sale or trade. All the settlers, however, thought of themselves as part of the Manzano colonization effort, whether they lived in town or at Quarai or Abó.

The town of Manzano was as spread out as the surrounding settlements. It consisted of at least two parts. One was called the Plaza de Apodaca, and was apparently the present main plaza of the town. This part of town clustered around the springs, reservoir, and headwaters of the irrigation system that watered the fields. Associated with the Plaza de Apodaca were two apple orchard enclosures owned by the Catholic Church.

The orchards were apparently present when the first settlers arrived to establish the town of Manzano. The available evidence implies that they were planted by the occupants of the Zalazar ranch, the ruins of which were incorporated into the new town. Local tradition, however, had forgotten the Zalazars and considered the ruins and the orchards to be the work of Franciscan missionaries, somehow associated with Quarai. Because of this tradition, the Catholic Church claimed the orchards.

The second part of the town was the Plaza de Ojitos, where, remarks the petition, most of the citizens of the town reside. Ojitos was approximately one mile southeast down the Arroyo de Manzano, and according to local tradition was on the site of an Indian pueblo. Adolph Bandelier visited Ojitos in 1882-83, looking for the supposed pueblo. He could find no traces of any large occupation. Wesley Hurt apparently saw the surviving traces of the Plaza de Ojitos "at the spring about a mile east of the present village of Manzano" in 1938-40, and was told that it was a very early settlement of the people of Manzano.

On September 22, 1829, the residents of the Manzano area petitioned the Territorial Deputation of Tomé for a community grant. The settlers requested a tract of land that included all the areas of their scattered settlement, from the mission of Abó on the southwest to the general area of present Torreon on the north, and from Jumanos Mesa on the east to the Manzano Mountains on the west, an area about twenty miles on a side. This was only a little larger than the community grant established for Tomé and indicated that the people of Manzano were ambitious and thought their settlement to be, potentially at least, the equivalent of Tomé. The Deputation considered the requested area to be too large, and instead granted a four square league tract out of the land originally requested on November 28, 1829. Jacinto Sanchez, in compliance with the order of the Deputation, surveyed and officially granted the four-league tract to the citizens of Manzano on December 24, 1829.

The tract formed a square centered on the town of Manzano, with sides 5.2 miles long. The ruins of Quarai fell just inside the boundary. A great deal of territory that the Manzano settlers were used to thinking of as theirs was left out, including the small settlement at Abó. This reduction of Manzano territory undoubtedly had an effect on the settlement of outlying areas such as Abó and Quarai, and may have induced some of the settlers to move closer to Manzano. The pressure of Indian raids encouraged such centralization of the settlement, with the result that during the 1830s Abó was abandoned and Quarai was greatly reduced in population.

On August 25, 1829, a month before they petitioned for their community grant, residents of the extended Manzano area filed a petition for the right to build a chapel with the advocation of Maria Santísima de los Dolores. Curate Don Francisco Ygnacio de Madariaga, the parish priest in Tomé, approved the petition on August 29, and on September 4 Bachiller Don Juan Rafael Rascon, the Ecclesiastical Governor of the territory of New Mexico, granted official permission for a church to be built in Manzano.

In the petition for the town grant, the citizens of the Manzano area indicated that they would construct their chapel in the main plaza of the settlement. At some time soon after September 22, 1829, a majority of the citizens changed their minds, electing instead to build the new chapel in a plaza of the pueblo of Quarai a short distance southwest of the old mission church.

The mission church still had its choir loft and most of its roof in the late 1820s, and was used for the burial of those among the local settlers who died or were killed by occasional Apache attack. By this time the building was probably so dilapidated that it was dangerous to use for any purpose, for fear of the roof collapsing onto visitors. In late 1829 or early 1830, an Apache raid struck at the settlement of Quarai, killing at least one person and burning out the surviving roofing, choir loft, and lintels of the church. Several other buildings were probably destroyed in the attack.

The decision to build the new chapel of Manzano at Quarai was probably intended to replace the old mission church. Whether this move was prompted by the deterioration of the building, or by its destruction, cannot be determined. The decision, however, caused a conflict between the residents of the town of Manzano and the other settlers on the Manzano grant. The Lucero family, influential members of the Manzano Grant citizenry, apparently lived at Quarai. The Luceros were undoubtedly responsible, at least in part, for the decision to build the new chapel at Quarai, rather than in Manzano proper.

In spite of the disagreement among the settlers, construction began on the chapel at its new site in the pueblo of Quarai. Opposition, however, continued to grow until on July 6, 1830, the citizens of Manzano petitioned the parish priest Don Francisco Madariaga for the privilege of moving the site of the chapel from Quarai to the town of Manzano. It was only just begun, they stated, and they were suffering "difficulties and inconveniences . . . because of having to build [it] in the Pueblo of Quarai . . . ." They insisted that it would be better to build the church in the Plaza de Apodaca at Manzano. The controversy was resolved when the alcalde of Tomé, José Manuel Apodaca, officially ordered on July 10 that the chapel be built "at the Casa de Apodaca" in Manzano. Bachillor Don Francisco Madariaga followed suit by giving his approval for the change on July 11. The parish priest assigned the income from one of the apple orchards near Apodaca Plaza to defray the expenses of services in the new chapel.

The settlement at Abó remained small. The failure of the attempt to include Abó and its adjacent settlement in the Manzano Land Grant, and the increase in Indian raids through the decade of the 1820s, appears to have led finally to the abandonment of the settlement about 1830. By the time the Cisneros family settled at Abó about 1865, the first settlers were forgotten. Little was left but the ruins of a few houses on top of the earlier Pueblo ruins, and scattered trash in the kitchen middens.

No one resettled at Las Humanas until the twentieth century. It was too distant from the occupied areas of New Mexico, had too little water, and was too exposed to the Plains Indians. Some families in Manzano and later settlers at Abó herded sheep in the area of the ruins, sometimes camping in the convento or building a small shack near the pueblo buildings. By 1872, José Ramon Espinosa had established a ranch about six miles north of Gran Quivira, and in the early years of the twentieth century the little town of Gran Quivira grew up at the foot of the hill northwest of the mission ruins.


Sources Used:

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Latitude: 3437
Longitude: 10619