Jemez Pueblo

The village of Jemez is situated at the mouth of one of the most romantic, canyons of New Mexico. Just above, the northern boundary of the pueblo grant the walls of the mesa on either side rise suddenly to a height of 1,900 feet. The remains of the ancient pueblo of Jemez are still seen 13 miles above, and upon the mesas between that and Jemez appear the ruins or more recent pueblos, built by insurrectionary communities. Approaching from the terminus of the valley, which penetrates the mountains for many miles, we cross the Viaceta Creek, dry in sunnier, and 2.5 miles below this line the pueblo, inclosed on the northwest by numerous little orchards of apple, plum, mid apricot trees, emerges from beneath this deep tangle of green. On entering from this direction, the Presbyterian mission schoolhouse, corral, and dwelling, built of adobe, are passed, and shortly after a line of cedar corrals extending entirely along the east and south sides of the town. At the extreme end of these is a Catholic Church, and near it a 2-story frame building of the Catholic mission, its schoolroom below and dwelling apartments above.

The plaza of Jemez is irregular and unusually narrow. The houses, built closely about this, are 1 of 2 stories; On either side, north and south, are 2 other streets, upon which the houses have been less closely placed. There are 85 houses in the town, and surrounding it on both sides of the river are many little summer lodges. Southeast of the town are 9 thrashing floors, where, for almost 2 months, since the 9th of July, the slow processes of thrashing grain by horses, and winnowing it by moans of wooden shovels and the aid of the never failing southern breeze, have been in progress. About 1,100 acres are farmed, mostly on the west side of the river. The marks of an ancient irrigating ditch are seen on the east side, and an old Indian, who recently died, declared that it was used when he was a child. The Viaceta creek was then a small stream, By the increased size of its bed the acequia which crossed it, bearing water from the canyon at a higher level, was endangered and frequently broken. The ditch, and the land below which it commanded, were therefore abandoned. The Jemez Indians have a wide reputation for industry. With the exception of about 70 acres in scattered plots, all land to be reached by water is cultivated. There are 15 heads of families who own none and obtain subsistence by working on shares for their neighbors. The fields between river and town are surrounded by high mud walls. A door, with padlock and key; protects little plots of vegetables, fruit, and grapes. Of wine 40 barrels are made per year. Their dried peaches are excellent and command higher prices at Santa Fe than eastern fruit. This year Jemez will have 10,000 bushels of wheat and nearly as much corn. They are just beginning to fertilize their fields. An immense bank of manure, 9 feet deep and covering an acre, has been discovered, the site of former corrals. This the storekeeper has prevailed upon some of them to use. The same supplies are to be had at all pueblos, but little appreciation of the effects of fertilization is apparent. Their plowing 10 years ago was done by wooden plows and oxen. Since that time they have broken many horses to harness and are discarding oxen. According to some authorities they own 3,000 head of horses, according to others only 750. These are kept on all immense. range of unconfined pasture land 50 miles long by 12 wide, claimed jointly by Zia, Santa Ana, and Jemez, It is impossible to get at the correct number of either horses or cattle. The Indians do not know how many they own. The possession of horses is doubtful wealth, the Navajos having broken the market. The Indians areas willing to take a journey on foot as on horseback, and are able to cover as much ground by one means as the other. The above mentioned grant was given under Spanish authority for pasture purposes, that government reserving the right of pasture for cavalry in the valley of Spirito Santo. Lately valuable mineral deposits have been discovered upon the grant, especially on the Rio Perco and near Salisaro; A 15-foot vein of lignite coal, also copper, gold, and silver, have been discovered by prospectors. The Indians threaten all comers to this valley who carry picks and shovels; though they show no inclination to mine themselves. A confirmation by government of the original grant for the purposes just mentioned (pasture), and its opening for mining would be advisable.

Complaints are made that immense flocks of sheep range on the land. Stock from the adjoining Mexican village of San Ysidro frequently invades their corn and grain fields, The agency supplied them with wire for fencing, which was used for protection on this side. The fence has been broken, and there is much irritation in consequence. Some years ago the Mexicans obtained a foothold on the pueblo territory, and formed a settlement of 6 houses. Negotiations were entered into whereby exchange was made for an equivalent portion of land on the southern side of the grant. The Mexicans still held on to their houses and certain portions of land about them. A writ of ejectment was served, but the Indians seemed timid about using the land until their agent had the vacated houses destroyed.

In 1830 the pueblo of the Pecos, linguistically allied to Jemez, abandoned its land and joined this community. A Presbyterian school was started 10 years ago and secured a large attendance from the pueblo. The Catholic mission 3 years ago established a school at Jemez, which also receives aid from the government. The result of having 2 schools in the community is that the children rotate between both, and regularity of attendance at either is broken.

The grant of Jemez contains 17,510 acres, 3,500 of which can he made available for agriculture.

Department of the Interior. Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States, Except Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1894.

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