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Santa Ana Pueblo

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One leaves Zia to follow the Jemez River directly east toward the Sandia range of mountains. The soil from this point rapidly becomes sandy and untillable, and at Santa Ana, 9 miles below, it is entirely unproductive. The inhabitants of this town have long since abandoned it as a place of slimmer abode, and use it only for autumn and winter residence. The town is built upon 2 streets running parallel with the river, and out its bank a single cottonwood tree is the only one seen in a range of many miles. Half a mile back of the town, to the north, the mesa rises to a height of 1,200 feet. On the top of this the cattle find scant pasture. They roam without herders, returning by a trail down its precipitous side every 2 days for water. They remain in the river for several hours, and then return to other dry tablelands. To the south, beyond the river, as far as the eye can reach, lie undulating plains of wind-swept sands, clotted by stunted cedars growing at intervals, and often forming the nucleus of new mounds during wind storms. This tract is given over to coyotes and rattlesnakes. The trail through it to Bernalillo is almost obliterated by the shifting of the surface. While the tribe is farming its ranches on the Rio Grande below, 1 man, together with a messenger, is deputed by the governor to guard the pueblo. They occupy their time in making thread and moccasins. The thread from cow tendon is made by splitting the tendon carefully with the thumb nail and rolling it in a little spittle on the knee.

The town is built on 2 streets running parallel with the river. On the outskirts are numerous cedar corrals, and hear these a guesthouse, the most comfortable lodge in the village. Here strangers are entertained and, on the occasion of private feasts or dances, imprisoned. The church is a sizable structure with some pretense to architecture, and the bell on it bears the date of 1710. The dwellings are well built, generally of 2 stories, but at this time are deserted. The 2 I entered had fireplaces running the width of the house and having a draught from two chimneys. A complete removal is made in March. Furniture, cooking utensils, mural ornaments, as well as the eagles, dogs, and live stock necessary to farming, are taken to summer quarters 8 miles below. The cats alone remain, prowling like gaunt specters over the roofs and. through the deserted streets.

At the ranches of Santa Aim are 2 small villages half a mile apart. Each is surrounded by orchards of poach, apple, and plum trees fund small vineyards. The corn crop is one of the fluent to be seen on the Rio Grande. It is grown in several sections, located apart, the boundaries of individual owners being indicated along one side, My guide pointed out his own portion, 80 feet in width by 400 yards long; others have sown more. About 750 acres have been cultivated. More land than is necessary is used for pasture. This is irrigated. The river divides above Santa Ana and meagerly occupies the 2 broad bottoms. By a boom construction in the river one bed could be made to accommodate all of its water, allowing the land lying in and contiguous to the other to be reclaimed. The grant of the ranches touches the town of Bernalillo on the south. Nine years ago the first Mexican house was built upon this land; there are now 11; inclosing 85 acres. The Indians are well supplied with stock, most of which is herded on the large grant, used also by Zia and Jemez. They count about 600 horses and 2,000 cattle, besides 30 yoke of work oxen and 150 burros, On the way from this pueblo to the river I passed 8 wagons, drawn by 4 and 6 oxen, carrying half a ton of grain each. Most of the crop is stored and ground by hand during the winter.

Santa Ana has a grant of 17,361 acres.


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