Sunday, January 10, 2016
Gertrudis Lugarda de Quintana
Weather: So far all we’ve seen of El Niño is atmosphere. Over the past week, when snow fell nearly every night, the total accumulation was about half an inch.
What’s still green: Juniper, arborvitae, other evergreens; leaves on yuccas, grape hyacinth, garlic, vinca, hollyhock, winecup mallow, pink evening primrose, snapdragon, anthemis, golden hairy asters, most low or buried; June, pampas, and cheat grasses.
What’s blue-green or gray: Leaves on Apache plumes, four-winged saltbushes, pinks.
What’s red or purple: Stems on roses, young peaches, sandbar willows; leaves on coral beard tongues.
What’s yellow or brown: Stems of weeping willows.
What’s blooming inside: Zonal geraniums.
Animal sightings: Rabbits, small birds.
Friday around noon, the snow had melted but some remained on the gravel in the drive. A flock of small birds was busy. Maybe the moisture loosened or softened seeds.
Weekly update: Miguel de Quintana died in 1748. His daughter Lugarda died the following June at age 50. She had married Asecncio Archuleta, who was the grandson of Juan de Archuleta and Isabel González through Andrés de Archuleta and Josefa Martín Serrano. When she was dictating her will in May she said her "husband is absent and I do not know where."
They had three children: Cristóbal, Nicolás Marcos, and Juana Josefa. One family genealogist said Cristóbal was born in 1720, another said that was the year Nicolás was born. Juana was born around 1725, and married in 1745. A Marcos Archuleta, who may have been her son, married in 1751, after she died. María Rosa was a witness.
Lugarda didn’t mention owning any captives, but she and Archuleta probably were responsible for the Apache girl, María Josepha, they baptized in 1743. In 1732 Lugarda and her brother were godparents for the son of María Rosa and in 1734 she and her husband sponsored the baptism of María Olaia, who had no known parents. Lugarda also mentioned a niece, who may have been living with her in 1749.
The details in her will give enough information to reconstruct much of her diet. The house where she lived and its land had belonged to her husband’s father, but the title was still in probate. Separately she had purchased half an acre from her husband’s uncle, Luis de Archuleta, that reached to the main acequia.
Acreage is hard to determine. The Spanish used a vara, which was roughly equivalent to a yard. More often, they used a fanega, meaning the amount of land a fanega of seed would plant. It varied in size for corn or wheat. Her half acre probably produced enough corn to support one person for one year, with little saved for seed. She mentioned no surplus left after spring planting.
Her husband’s land must have been greater then hers. She owned "four lead oxen and two bull oxen," along with three plow shares. From this one can assume she was raising corn or wheat.
She did leave a "wooden dough bowl" and a guitar. The translators believed that should have read guijarra, which was "a small stone from a river bed that could have been used as a pestle." It may be what was used to grind the corn or wheat.
More important for her diet, she said, within her husband’s land, she had built a "garden 10 varas long of which I claim only the walls and roof," the "paredes y techo." She also left two shovel picks or coas, one smaller than the other, which probably were used to break ground. She had "two old hoes," which probably were used for leveling and weeding.
We know, from what I quoted last week, she grew peppers in her huerto, but what else is a guess. This may be where beans and squash were grown. Those were the conventional plants of the time. There’s nothing to signify she grew other greens, vegetables or herbs. No dried remains were mentioned, and it was too early in the season to mention her current crops.
In addition to the land, she owned "a cow for breeding and a two-year-old calf," along with "three hens and two roosters." That means she had eggs, and probably milk. Her white mesh cloth used for a sieve may have been used to make simple cheese.
She probably did not get protein from meat very often, though she did own a spit. She did say she had four cowhides. Since they were usable as trade items, they may have accumulated since her husband or her representative last went to Chihuahua.
She had inherited "110 head of goats and cattle" from her father, but she can’t have had them long enough to have used much of their milk. He only died the previous year. There’s no indication where she grazed them; perhaps they were on land owned by a sibling.
She said she had traded eight goats for sheep and appears to have been using some of the other animals as a source of income. She had leant some out to others. She didn’t give the terms, but they probably owned her some of the young.
She may not have been able to grow enough to sustain herself and the others in her household, and definitely may not have had enough to eat the winter before she died. 1748 was the beginning of a decade long drought with more forest fires than usual. She just said she was "enferma en cama de la emfermedad," translated as "sick in bed with the illness."
In such bad times, the animals could have been eaten or used in barter. In addition, she did have her children, her siblings, and her husband’s family for support, although they too would have had seen reduced crops in 1748. Her brother-in-law, Pedro Sánchez, was her executor. Another brother-in-law, Hilario Archuleta, transcribed her will.
The one surprising thing she mentioned was a "jar of sugar-paste candies." One would guess they came from Chihuahua. At this time, men made annual trips there to trade animals, hides and fleeces. Merchants there were loathe to give them cash in return. Candy might have been offered as a high-value, compact item, much as it is today.
She didn’t mention the real luxuries of the time, sugar and chocolate. Her father, apparently, was paid occasionally with them for his work writing documents for others. He speculated, when he was writing a coloquio, maybe they "will give you a reward of sugar and some pieces of chocolate."
Ancestry genealogical website. Anonymous entry on Nicolás Marcos Archuleta.
Chávez, Angélico. Origins of New Mexico Families, 1992 revised edition.
Lomelí, Francisco A. and Clark A. Colahan. Defying the Inquisition in Colonial New Mexico, 2006.
Mestas, Orlando Ricardo. Entries on Gertrudis Lugarda de Quintana and two of her children on Geni genealogical website, 20 November 2014.
New Mexico Genealogical Society. New Mexico Baptisms, Santa Cruz de la Cañada Church, Volume I, 1710 to 1794, transcribed by Virginia Langham Olmstead and compiled by Margaret Leonard Windham and Evelyn Luján Baca, 1994.
_____. 100 Years of Marriages, 1726-1826, Santa Cruz de la Cañada, New Mexico, extracted and compiled by Henrietta Martinez Christmas and Patricia Sánchez Rau.
Quintana, Gertrudis Lugarda de. Will, 12 May 1749; original in Ralph Emerson Twitchell, Spanish Archives of New Mexico, volume 1, 1914; English and Spanish versions in Lomelí.
Quintana, Miguel de. Coloquio, 1732; English and Spanish versions in Lomelí.
Scurlock, Dan. From the Rio to the Sierra: An Environmental History of the Middle Rio Grande Basin, 1998.
To calculate the yield on her land:
Rowlett, Ross. "How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measure," 2001, website. He says, "one fanega of land grows one fanega of corn seed." It was standardized to 1.59 acres in 1801, or .75 acres for a half fanega. Half an acre would then be one third of a fanega.
Gibson, Charles. The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, 1964. He calculates the corn yield in a good year would have been 75 to 125 fanegas for one sown, with 11 fanega or 17 bushels an acre. That would mean half an acre would produce 8.5 bushels.
Fat Knowledge. "How Many People Can the Earth Support?, 30 November 2008 blog posting. He calculates a "bushel of corn can support a person for 52 days at 2,400 kcal/day with 25.4kg/bushel)," or 7 bushels a year. I reduced that number, since nutritional values may be greater today.
Photographs: All taken yesterday after cold temperatures and daily snow blankets had taken their toll.
1. Unknown green seedlings in gravel driveway.
2. Moss phlox leaves still green.
3. Green leaves low on a snapdragon.
4. Young green leaves hidden at base of hollyhock.