The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 472
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
one compares the material therein with that in another account of
the Mexican Northwest, that written by Juan Fernandez de Retana in
17oo, a document found in the Parral Archive and as yet unpublished.
Both documents are indispensable for a more correct mapping of loca-
tions of Indian peoples such as the Apache, Pima Bajo, Tarahumar,
Tepehuin, Opata, and Varohio in or about the high Sierras during
the eighteenth century. The Morfi document gives data on location
of people somewhat removed from the Sierras, the Seri, Papago, and
Pima Alto, and is particularly important because it outlines the locale
of the border warfare between Apache and Spaniard in the late eight-
eenth century, and is thus analogous to Retana's account of the last
fierce stand of the Tarahumar against the Spaniards. Morfi's account
is particularly valuable because it suggests the presence of far more
indios puros in late eighteenth-century northern Mexico than is gen-
erally indicated in recent accounts of that area. But whereas the Retana
document is almost totally lacking in perceptive comments about the
physical and cultural landscape, the Morfi account glows with spritely
comments about almost everything that came into the priest's purview.
The range of matters considered by Morfi was immense, from mat-
ters of state importance to the northern frontier of the Mexican
Northwest, such as census data from New Mexico and a statement
about secularization of the eight missions in Pima Bajo country, to a
delightful comment concerning a slightly singed chicken-the sole
casualty of an afternoon storm-during which a lightning bolt caused
confusion inside and outside of a house in which Morfi was stopping.
Morfi made comments about how humankind was utilizing the
landscape. He made notes about the use of water for irrigation, and
suggested where new settlements might be located. Of especial inter-
est are his remarks concerning animal life; he repeatedly mentions
berrendos and clearly establishes a portion of the eighteenth-century
range of the Pronghorn Antelope so rare in northern Mexico today.
The plant world is not neglected, particularly plants that served for
medicinal purposes. This reviewer commends the editors for not
making the mistake so often made by editors of early documents, that
of equating the common name for a mentioned plant with the botani-
cal name of the plant as it is known today. Like most educated Span-
iards of his time Morfi was concerned with mineral formations and
frequently wrote about them. His comments about the terrain are so
accurate that one might easily trace the route followed by "His Lord-
ship's" coach across northern Chihuahua and Sonora.
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/306/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.