La Cordillera Newsletter, Issue #7

The 17th Annual International Conference of the Anza Society
By Joe Myers


The Anza Society at Guevavi, courtesy Hale Sargent/NPS

The Anza Society meets once each year and traces it’s origins to Arizpe, Mexico.  The late Don Garate and companion Ron Kessler traveled there in 1995 and discussed the organization of an Anza World Conference.  The next two years (1996-1997) conferences were held in Arizpe, organized by Don. The 1998 conference was held in Monte Vista, Colorado near the home of Ron Kessler.  A conference was held in San Francisco in 2000. Our last one in March, 2012 was held in southern Arizona.  A special thanks to the staff at Tumacacori Mission and Tubac Presidio, plus volunteers that showed up in costume. Don Garate always played the role of Anza, and now that mantle has been picked up by William Islas.

The next meeting is scheduled for the 2nd weekend in March, 2013 in Monterey, California. The conferences have evolved into a traditional pattern: a reception on Thursday night, historic talks all day Friday followed by a banquet and invited speaker, tours to historic sites on Saturday, and then a local walking tour on Sunday morning after the annual board meeting. The concept for the Anza Society was to have a forum where persons interested in Spanish Colonial History could get together once a year and talk with other like-minded persons, with a special focus on the life and times of Juan Bautista de Anza.

There were ten presentations on March 9, 2012.  Phil Valdez Jr is the new president (hosting, with his committee, the next conference in Monterey).  Phil talked about his research on the route of Anza and campsites in the Anza Valley, California.  Dr. Ron Quinn is the secretary and spoke about Alejandro Malaspina and his Pacific Voyage of Discovery.  Dr. Julianne Burton-Caraval described the works of painter Will Sparks and his pictures as they relate to the Anza Trail.  Dr Richard Stoffle just completed a study on the Anza expedition and presented the interesting conclusions of the study. Dr. Michael Weber described trade and commerce in Sonora and Arizona in the 1700s.  Stella Cardoza raised our awareness of the only death on the Anza expedition, Manuela Ygnacia Lopez Penulas, who died in childbirth virtually right across the interstate from our conference location. Hector Soza researched and presented his findings on his own ancestor that served at the Tucson presidio under Anza just before Anza died in Arizpe. Jeremy Moss is park archaeologist at Tumacacori National Historic Park and described some of his recent work.  Steven Ross is an Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and updated us on their activities.  Dr Joseph Myers wrapped up the session with a talk about the Pima uprising in 1751, borrowing heavily on information provided by Don Garate. Our banquet speaker was James Turner, historian for a decade at the Arizona Historical Society.  He presented an enlightening talk on the history of our region and tied it into the movement of presidios in the mid-late 1700s.

On Saturday, March 10, Tumacacori National Park personnel hosted a visit to the ruins of two missions (Calabazas and Guevavi) before having lunch at the Hacienda Corona de Guevavi.  A ranch here was at one time owned by the Anza’s (father and son).  For the next two hours the society had a guided tour of the Tubac presidio where Anza was commander, and then another tour at nearby Tumacacori mission before being entertained by a local choir from Tubac, singing their interpretation of Spanish Colonial Songs in the restored church.  A special treat was a presentation at the mission by Grant Hildon, about the 1767 expulsion of the Jesuits and Anza’s role in it. The walking tour on Sunday was in Tubac.

Plan to attend next years 18th Annual International Conference in Monterey, CA. And join up; we are a small fun loving society, and broaden our knowledge of Spanish Colonial History with each conference. Stella Cardoza is already working on the 19th International Conference in Banamichi (in Sonora, Mexico, a village about twenty five miles south of Arizpe). And check out our web site at Anza Society, Inc.