Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo

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Franciscan missionary and martyr; b. Morata del Conde, Spain, April 12, 1738; d. on the banks of the Colorado River, July 19, 1781. As a child he was taught by an uncle who was a priest. In 1753 he entered the Franciscan province of Aragon. Upon his ordination in 1763, he asked for mission work and was sent to the Missionary College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro the same year. In 1767 he was assigned to the missions in Sonora and went with other friars to Tepique to await transportation. After months of delay there followed by a stormy voyage, he arrived at San Xavier del Bac (near modern Tucson, Arizona) on June 30, 1768. He went on four entradas : to the Gila River in 1768 and again in 1770; to the Gila and the Colorado in 1771; and over the same territory and on to the Mission of San Gabriel in California in 1774. He did missionary work among the Pápagos, Pimas, Yumas, and Apaches. His missionary travels took him many milesin one 11-month period he covered about 3,600 miles through hostile territory. In August 1779, when the rebellion broke out among the Yuma people, he returned to the Pueblo de la Concepción on the Colorado River to try to pacify them. There he was martyred by the Yuma. He wrote Diario y Derrotero, dated 1777, which has been translated into English.

Bibliography: e. coues, ed., On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer: The Diary and Itinerary of Francisco Garcés, 2 v. (New York 1900)

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Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo

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