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 f ederal 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 felt 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 force 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
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.

If you have additional dates and events send a comment

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

History Medallions

36- A walk through modern history at Escuela Paulito Verjan …

History walk at Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The air is sweet with blossoms, night birds call, and ghosts walk.

TThe streets are empty. I will not see another person on this walk from
Calle Comercio to Escuela Paulito Verjan, a middle school and back,
but, I am not alone. I am with everyone that have traveled these
pathways throughout the years at night. My shoes land in their footprints.
There is rustling in flowering vines still wet from a summer rain.

Histoty walk Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Shadows are small as the sun nears its zenith. Medallions speak of other zeniths.

How many times as this man took this path to Álamos Centro? How many times has
he stopped to read a history medallion? How many times has he appreciated where
he is? How many times has he felt grateful this is where his family is? Some of
his grand children, at this moment, may be behind the school’s portales studying.

1684 history medallion, Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Álamos is now an official city as Spanish colonization continues north and west.

1684, sixteen-eighty-four, and Álamos is part of the new frontier. Thinking back
makes me wonder about the future. 2084, twenty- eighty-four, and what will one
see standing in this very spot? And, 2184, twentyone-eighty-four? and… Whoa!
Time to take a couple of deep breathes and enjoy being in the present.

A new catheral rises from the grounds of the town’s first small adobe church.

Construction began in 1786 on Bishop Reyes Cathedral also known as now
known as Parroquiade La Purísima Concepción. Official records indicate
that work on the church began in 1786. Álamos elected three town folk
to supervise work and manage the budget. The church was finished in 1803.
Ladies from the wealthy homes of Álamos were asked to contribute one
of their fine china to decorate the nearly completed cathedral

first printing press in sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Civilizations mature and expand with the introduction of printing presses.

History is the record of events occurring and needs being fulfilled.
It is easy to ask what came first. The answer, or better yet answers,
are part of a grand multiple causation continuum and are not that
easy to formulate. But we try, that is part of being human.

history medallion for first publication in Sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Being the first in Sonora meant being the first in the Californias.

This is another milestone in the development of Sonora and all
of western settlement. Here, it is easy to answer what came first.
First, there was a printing press and then there was a newspaper.
A short walk from Escuela Paulito Verjan are operational 100 year
old presses in a family run printing shop. It is the human way.
Álamos, Sonora, México has a long and literate history.

Álamos had become an important capital city on the frontier.

Here, at the foot of the Sierra de Álamos and at the end of
Calle Comercio decisions were being made that impacted many people
in the newly combined Sinoloa and Sonora – the state of Occidente.
Construction began in 1928 on Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola’s
new home and official residence on Calle Comerico.

The mint is opened for big business.

Making money with the silver coming from Aduana, seven miles to the
west, added to Álamos power and prestige. The first mint in Alamos was
established by D. Leonardo Santoyo, with a concession or grant, obtained
from the federal government,permitting him to coin only copper coins.  
Coinage was produced only in 1828 and 1829 since the copper coins were
not accepted by the people. 

Ramón Corral, publisher, writer, and government official.

Ramón Corral was born outside of Álamos January 10, 1854 on
Hacienda Las Mercedes where his father worked. He first gained
attention in 1872. For political reasons he founded the
newspapers El Fantasma (The phantom) and La Voz de Álamos 
(The voice of Álamos). In 1887 Corral was the General Secretary
of the Government of Sonora and interviewed the captured
Yaqui military leader Cajemé. Corral published biographical
notes about Cajemé In La Constitución (Periódico oficial del
gobierno del estado libre y soberano de Sonora),

A deadly day on Guadalupe Hill between the Plaza and Alameda.

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 force 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.

1866 – Sonora is restored to the Republic.

On January 7, 1886 General Angel Martinez successfully attacked
Colonel Jose Maria Tranquilino Almada’s led Imperialists on
the edge of Álamos into the Plaza. Álamos was plundered and the
Church’s meltable precious metals were stripped away. Almada attacked
Minas Nueva in on the last day of May and for a couple of weeks
regained Alamos. He was forced to give up the city on August 28.
The French garrison in Guaymas was abandoned after several defeats
in central Sonora. Sonora rejoined the Republic in September, 1886.

Álvaro Obregón Salido: General, elected President of México twice.

Obregón, born February 19, 1880, was a general in the Méxican Revolution
and was elected President in 1920 to 1924. He presidency was relatively
stable marked with eductaion reform and labor laws benefiting workers.
He was elected President again in 1928 but was assassinated
before he could start his term.

1889 – Another great person is born in Álamos.

Professor Othón Almada is one of many people born in Álamos who rose to
either regional, national or international recognition and influence.
Othón Alamada became Secretary of Public Education in the State of
Sonora. Many schools in Sonora are named after him. Today in the
Álamos school system there are many who may take leadership roles
in the future of Sonora, México or possibly the world.

Alfonzo Ortiz Tirado: doctor, opera singer, philanthropist.

Alfonso Ortiz Tirado was an opera singer and medical doctor born in 
Álamos, Sonora, January 24, 1893 . His musical talent was apparent early
in life, but he studied at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria and
university to become a doctor. He specialized in gynecology as well
as general medicine, and eventually became the personal physician of 
Frida Kahlo and performed surgery on Agustín Lara. As a musician,
he studied under José Pierson and soon afterward had a successful
international career as an opera singer, earning the label of
“tenor of the Americas.” He earned a large sum of money doing this,
and used it to establish a children’s hospital in Mexico City.
The Festival de Canto Operístico Tirado in the state of Sonora
was named after him.

laamos sonora mexico centro highschool.  photo by anders tomlinson

Other than electric lights how different can this be from years long ago?

Not faraway colorful parrots sleep high in Sierra de Álamos’ rocky canyons and
scattered forests. A dog barks at the same instant a radio is turned off.

middle school in downtown alamos sonora mexico, 1997, photo by anders tomlinson

These walls , on the edge of Centro Álamos, have endured and provided.

Everyday, history is in the making, it never stops. Escuela Paulito Verjan’s
70th anniversary is just around the corner and then it too will be history.
Think of what Álamos will be like in 2046?

Secondary School morning recess on a late 1997 Spring day

Summer approaches, soon the mountain and surrounding hills will turn green.

What better place to start than with the children of Álamos. Escuela Paulita Verjan,
grades 7 through 10, sits on the site that was the Alamos mint from 1864 -1869.
This photo opportunity was assisted by the young man waving at the camera in the
foreground. His english was flawless. He would impress anyone who saw him interacting
with peers and adults around town, working the front desk at the Hotel Los Portales
and speaking with passion in front of a huge crowd on Independence Day in the Plaza.

corner of middle school in Centr Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  phto by anders tomlinson. 1996.

It is a stately walk to school and back through colonial neighborhoods.

An introduction to a Short History of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540
as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the
opening chapter to “A Short History of Álamos” written, filmed and edited by
Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by SonicAtomics
and Estudiantina de Álamos.

Álamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the
Juan Batista de Anza arrived and departed from Álamos in the
spring of 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”,
including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later,
left Álamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold
in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the
forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape
the Álamos experience.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.