Álamos 1850 – 1899

The 1800’s were turbulent time for Mexico, Sonora and Álamos.
The faded heydays of Álamos silver and trading wealth were in the past.
Confrontation was at the forefront along the northern frontier.

Governor's mansion on Calle Comercio. alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Time marches on as haciendas’ portals and the Cathedral’s belfry stand tall.

Hermosilo connected to the port of Guaymas.

Military colonies and settlements are encouraged on the northern border to help stop marauding Apaches. Free border land was offered to Mexicans and anyone else except for Americans and Indians. These plans were not successful. The government also was offering a bounty for Apache scalps.

1850 – 1880
Population estimates of 5,000.

December – “Tratado (Treaty) de Mesilla”, the Gadsen purchase was signed between Mexico and the United States. Sonora was paid ten million dollars for land including having its northern boundary cut back to its present border. This allowed the United States to build a southern transcontinental route.

The Gadsen purchase is ratified by Mexico and The United States.

Charles D. Poston, was shipwrecked in the Gulf of california and visited Álamos. He would become known as the “Father of Arizona.” He recalled his visit in an account told to J. Ross Browne: “In about a week from the time of leaving the seacoast we reached the old city of Alamos, famous in Spanish times for its wealth and commercial enterprise. The cathedral is very fine, and yet bears the Royal Arms of Spain over the grand entrance. The merchants of Alamos used to import directly from China, and had a large trade with the smaller towns of Sinola and Sonora, but its principal source of wealth was the rich silver mines in the spur of the Sierra Madre, which were worked with great profit when cheap labor could be obtained from the native Indians under the system of peonage adopted and endorsed by the Spanish government.”
Álamos seemed like ” a quiet old town” to Mr. Poston.

The Centralist’s reign came to an end with the fall of dictator Santa Anna. “Church against State” remains a political contention in Álamos.

The school Seminario Angol-Español changed it name to Liceo de Sonora.

1855 – 1861
“The War of Reform” was a civil war against the “Ley (Law) Juarez” and other reform laws initiated by Benito Juarez and supported by Liberals, reform party members, that took land and power away from the church. The reforms were opposed by the Conservatives – church party members. War took place in across Sonora and into Sinaloa, Álamos was in the middle of many events.
The Conservatives were led by Don Jesus Gandara. The Liberals were led by general Ignacio Pesqueira and were attempting to uphold the new federal laws.

August – General Pesqueria becomes Sonora’s Governor.

Late in the year Gandara led an southern attack along with the Yaquis that was met by troops from Álamos. Gandara was defeated and retreated to the Yaqui river. From here he continued attacks in the north.

Pesqueria stops in Álamos on his way south to help the Liberals in Sinola. Pesqueria gives Álamos special authority in case of emergencies. He also recruits men in Álamos and El Fuerte to join his cause.

Apaches from the north reached the Álamos district. Haciendas and villages are left in ruin.

Álamos mayor, Manuel Salazar, bargains a peace treaty with the Indians and there is an ensuing calm for a short period.

Álamos floods.

Professor Gregorio Almada leaves Liceo de Sonora for Mazatlan and the school is closed.

August – Conservatives under the command of Don Antonio Esteves advance from El Fuerte on the El Camino Real and defeat National Guard troops and armed citizens from Álamos some of whom join the Conservatives. The conservatives march untested in a welcoming Álamos. Don Toribio Almada, the 21 year old son of Don Jose Maria joins up with Don Antonio Esteves, becomes second-in-command, and vow to defeat Ignacio Pesqueira.

October 15 – Pesquiera defeats Esteves / Alamda in Hermosilo.
Pesquierq and General Placido Vega punish Álamos citizens supporting the Conservatives. Vincente Almada, a son of Don Jose Maria was put to death. Toribio Almada escapes to Chihuahua.

Álamos is retaken by Liberal General Plácido Vega.
Governor Pesquiera returns to meet with Vega in Álamos. Pesquiera feel many Álamos citizens were major supporters of the Conservatives and he takes their property as punishment. He has a captured Toribio Almada returned to Álamos to be executed in the cemetery by firing squad.

1861 – 1862
December – January – French troops land on the coast of Vera Cruz. Mexico taxes the country to raise money to fight the French. Most of mexico was against the French invaders but some Conservatives became French allies. Governor Pesquiera prepares to defend Sonora from the French by building his National Guard. he also had to fight the Apaches who were now stronger because American troops in the southwest were now involved with the American Civil War.

May – A club is formed in Álamos to raise money for the federalists to defeat the French. At the same time there are those with 1mperialistic leanings in support of the French. news from the south was of interest to all of Álamos.

Apaches reach the edge of Álamos and kill people and ruin property.

June – Mexico City falls to the French.

Maximilian is made Emperor of Mexico.

Another mint opens in Alamos which produced silver and gold coins and closed in 1895. (Note, a later statement contradicts the 1864 date and uses 1861.  1861 probably is correct since there was a failure of Alamos to report to Mexico City during the days of Maximillian by most of the mints in Mexico. (Information from ‘The Mexican Mints of Alamos and Hermosillo’, by A.F.’Pradeau, 1934)

Early – French troops land in Guaymas.

August 28 – French troops from Guaymas take over the plaza in Álamos. Colonel Jose Tranquilino Almada was put in command and had an additional 1500 Yaquis and Mayos join his forces. Álamos saw an increase in wealth as several mines were operating again and there was a business boom. But this would not last for long. During the French reign Sonora was divided
into three Imperial Departments with capitals in Altar, Urea and Álamos.

September 22 – General Antonio Rosales, with less than 500 troops, leaves El Fuerte to recapture Álamos from the French Imperialists. Rosales forces met Colonel Almada’s larger forces
in a three hour battle on Guadalupe Hill. Rosales and many of his men, possibly a third, were killed. Rosales was buried in the Álamos cemetery. His body was later moved to Mexico City.

Emperor Maximilian declares Álamos capital of the department of Álamos.

January 7 – Álamos is attacked by General Angel Martinez. Colonel Jose Maria Tranquilino Almada leads the Imperialist and retreats to the plaza where he is defeated and escapes to the mayo River. Second-in-command Antonio Anselmo Alamda is one of many Imperialists to die in the battle. General Angel Martinez, a ruthless veteran of wars, plunders all the precious metals in the church and wreaks havoc on the town taking what he wanted and leaving little behind except for strong troops to hold the town.

Don Jose Maria Almada dies. He was married twice and had at least 31 children.

May 31 – Colonel Almada attacks Colonel Adolfo Palecio troops in Minas Nueva. Colonel Almada is defeated.

August 28 – After holding Álamos for a couple of weeks Colonel Almada is forced to abandon city by Colonel Adolfo Palecio.

September 14 -15 – The French garrison on Guaymas is abandoned after several defeats in central Sonora. Governor Ignacio Pesqueira, low on money, Indians and enemies on the attack and floods, now had to attempt to unify Sonora.

September – Sonora returns to the republic of Mexico.

February – French troops leave Mexico.

June – Emperor Maximilian is executed.

July – Mexico is again independent. President Juarez returns to mass celebrations in Mexico City.

October – 50 people died and over 100 homes in the Alameda section were destroyed by floods at daybreak. All of southern Sonora were effected by the Yaqui, Mayo and El Fuerte rivers overflowing their banks. (There are other accounts that indicate the flood was in 1868.)

1870’s – 1880’s
Yaqui Cajeme, ( Jose Maria Leyva), leads Indian raids and highway robberies.

“Plan de la Noria” proclaimers occupy Álamos. They were opposed to President Juarez and favored Porfirio Diaz. They collected $45,000 peso and recruited troops to join them as they headed north. They would lose.

Early – Governor Pesqueira’s troops visit Álamos enroute to Sinoloa. As most advancing forces did, whether headed north or south, Pesqueira demanded, and received money to fund his campaign, in this case he withheld funds intended for Álamos.

Ignacio Pesqueira is reelected Governor of Sonora. álamos, which for the most part did not like Ignacio Pesqueira stage civil unrest – “the Plan of the Promontorios”.

1872 – 1873
There are hostilities between Sonoran legislative and executive branches over the new state constitution. Álamos District has many citizens opposed to Governor Pesqueira.

November – Carlos Conant, leading the “the Plan of the Promontorios”, with 400 men and opposed to Governor Pesqueira, takes over Álamos. He receives $36,000 pesos from local merchants. He creates problems for Sonora for couple of months.

Álamos leads Independents in revolt against Pesqueira.

Colonel Jose J. Pesqueira, nephew of Don Ignacio, was elected Governor of Sonora in a controversial election where ballots from districts that voted against Pesqueira were discarded by the legislature. Several areas of the state, along with Álamos, revolted and a civil war started.

February 8 – Governor Jose Pesqueira occupies Álamos. He demands $72,000 pesos and creates harsh laws and demanded loans from wealthy citizens, loans he had no intention of repaying. Many citizens fled for safety in Sinaloa. Pesqueira jailed people who did not obey his wishes. Travel in and out of Álamos now required passports. People were upset and rebelled.

March 1 – The Federal government had General Vicente Mariscal land troops in Guaymas to restore order. He arrived in Álamos to confer with Governor Jose Pesqueira in the Plaza de las Armas. Pesqueira left Álamos on March first and returns to Hermosillo.

April – More controversy in the Sonora legislature: Governor Mariscal and Vice-Governor Francisco Serna are in opposition to each other. each has their own factions.

February – Francisco Serna, in opposition to Mariscal, invades and controls Álamos. Serna, while in Álamos, is declared Governor by his faction in the legislature. Mariscal, deciding against more civil war in Sonora leaves Hermosillo before Serna returns.

Primary education became compulsory where schools existed.

Mayos are on the attack. They are joined by Yaquis. Navajo is deserted with many leaving for protection in Álamos. Navajo is now a military outpost. The National Guard arrived to fortify Navajoa.

There was a major battle outside Navjoa at nearby Rancho Capetmaya. The battle was a stalement with the Indians retreating to the hills and rivers and the National Guard seeking protection in Álamos and surrounding towns.

Railway connects Nogales with Guaymas. The State of Sonora is raising money to benefit public education.

Álamos is preparing for Indian attacks. Álamos merchants ask that more federal troops be stationed in Navajoa for protection.

13 mining firms are operating 15 mines which employ 750 workers.
Many old mines are shut down and others are in bad repair.

1885 – 1886
Cajeme leads 3,000 to 4,000 Yaquis and Mayo warriors.

Telegraph is connected to Álamos. A new city jail is built on Loma de Guadalupe and the Plaza de las Armas is renovated.

April – Cajeme is captured and executed.

A hospital for the poor is donated to Álamos by Justina Almada de Urrea. It will continue to operate until 1946.

Sonora is improving mining and agricultural districts roads. Estacion Baramotal near Guaymas is connected by stage line to Álamos and the old stage line from Álamos to El Fuerte.

Vice- Governor Ramon Corral, born in the Álamos district, comes to Álamos for a monthand appoints a public education committee of 15 and provides provide state money for Álamos public education.

December – Governor Ramon Corral attends the opening of the new Álamos water system. The city now has access to running water.

Early May – A peace settlement between The Indians and non-Indians was negotiated and agreed to. The peace treaty signing was a festive event.

The peace settlement between Indians and “Yoris”, whites, was broken by the Yaquis. Mexico’s President Diaz had federal troops push back at the Indians to allow the State of Sonora to function with more peaceful times. Yaguis villages were burned and the federal troops kept pressure on the Yaguis and drove many across the border into Arizona. less fortunate Yaguis were sent to Yucatan slave camps.

More to come…

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

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This is a work in progress.

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©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.