|Less is known about the settlers of Los Adaes than the soldiers because archival records focus more on military issues. There are no censuses for the settlers of Los Adaes. Documents related to complaints against the various governors name some of the settlers, and here we can learn a little about them. The documents list the following occupations: tailor, cobbler, cattle rancher, mule driver, wet nurse, guitar player, violin player, sexton, gravedigger, barber, postman, and blacksmith. Archaeological excavations provide evidence of domestic buildings, activities, and artifacts at Los Adaes.|
|18th century colonial family||Scissors and Thimble ||Key||Fish Hook|
|Fork||Mano and metate|| |
The French traveler Pierre Marie François de Pagès gave an account of what it was like to live at Los Adaes for a few days in 1768. “About three o’clock in the morning . . . we arrived at the hut of a baptized Indian, who took us kindly under his roof. . . . I went to sleep in the corner of his house, which by the bye, scarcely deserved that name, for the roof was only supported by a sort of paling, the greatest part of which had fallen to the ground from negligence and length of time. As soon as it was morning, the family, who had slept in a bed close by the side of mine, saluted me and began to prepare our breakfast. . . . I gave him the choice of money or linen, in order to buy us provisions. The latter he thought would be most current in their market” (pages 48–49). Pagès found the situation to be the same in San Antonio: “At San Antonio, as at Adaes, money having little circulation, I chose to employ a part of my linens, which bears a higher and more convenient value with the Indians, for the payment of my debts, besides, I wished to be sparing of what money was in my possession knowing that the time was at no great distance when that article would resume its usual consequence” (Pagès, Pierre Marie François de, 1793, Travels Round the World, in the Years 1767, 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771. volumes 1–3. the second edition, cor. and enl. J. Murray, London, pages 104–105). The people at Los Adaes were experiencing hard times in the 1730s: “The clothing of the men consisted of rags, blankets, and buffalo hides, and women had so little to wear that many would not leave their huts. There were no shoes, hats, hose, or soap for the settlers, food was rationed, and the lieutenant governor even requested a pair of pants for himself. The stockade at the presidio fell apart, rains washed the earthworks away, and all the cannon were dismounted and unserviceable. In fact, the governor reported in 1737, the presidio looked more like a cattle pen than a military fortress” (James, Oakah L., 1979, Los Paisanos. Spanish Settlers on the Northern Frontier of New Spain, page 61. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman). Other descriptions of life at Los Adaes are less bleak. For example, in 1754, one of the first settlers at Los Adaes reported that “he had not seen it more secure or the company more splendidly and more completely equipped; that the vecinos [settlers] were not suffering any lack of clothing for their families had never been so well dressed; and that there could be no hunger since most of the vecinos had a few head of cattle, corn, chile, and the indispensable needs for human existence; and that it was rare to find a wife of either a soldier or a vecino who did not have one or two silk undershirts with silver braid and fringe; and that, as he had said, the families had never been as well-dressed as now” (Hunnicutt, Helen Mar, 1953 Béxar Archives Translations. Volume 27. The University of Texas, Austin, page 89). This glowing report is from an inquiry by the governor after he had been charged with various infractions. The testimony is undoubtedly from a loyal supporter of the governor, so some care must be taken in evaluating it.
|La Pierre, Yvette, Peg Ross, Jodi Evert, Laszlo Kubinyi, Jamie Young 1999 Welcome to Josefina's World 1824: Growing Up on America's Southwest Frontier (American Girls Collection). Pleasant Company Publications: Middleton, WI.|
Simons, Marc and Frank Turley 1980 Southwestern Colonial Ironwork. The Spanish Blacksmithing Tradition from Texas to California. Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico.