Mateo Naranjo
(Bef 1598-)
María López
Domingo Naranjo
(-Bef 1696)
Santa Clara Woman
José Lopéz Naranjo
(Abt 1670-1720)


Family Links

1. María Catrina Luján

José Lopéz Naranjo

  • Born: Abt 1670, Santa Clara Pueblo, Nuevo Méjico, Nueva España
  • Marriage: María Catrina Luján 252
  • Died: 1720, Nebraska about age 50

bullet  Noted events in his life were:

• Background Information:
"Trail Dust: Part-Indian was loyal to Spanish cause
Related " by Marc Simmons For The Santa Fe New Mexican, September 2009

"Long known to historians of colonial New Mexico is the name of José López Naranjo. In the years after 1700, he played a key role in defending the province from hostile Indians. Details of his career are thin, but the scraps of information we do have suggest that he was a multitalented individual.

'The late Fray Angelico Chavez indicated that José's father was Domingo Naranjo, an Indian from Mexico, probably an Aztec or Tlaxcalan. The mother is not identified, but Fray Angelico said that records classify José as a lobo, or person of mixed ancestry.

'Oddly, writers of history have usually identified Naranjo as a native of Santa Clara Pueblo, perhaps because that surname is not uncommon there. In fact, his residence as early as 1696 was in the newly established town of Santa Cruz de la Cañada, a short distance east of Santa Clara.

'Not long ago, while visiting Belen, I met his direct descendant, Orlando A. Naranjo. He's an ardent genealogist and generously shared with me data from his family tree. The way he expressed it, José López Naranjo was predominantly Indian, but "he led the life of a Spaniard among Spaniards." Dr. Rick Hendricks of Las Cruces has said of José Naranjo something similar. 'He looked and acted the part (of a Spaniard).'

"What we seem to have here is an Indian who successfully assimilated into Hispano culture. We know that happened fairly often in the 18th century. The remarkable thing in this case is the list of achievements compiled by José Naranjo.

"In late March of 1704, he is listed as a capitán mayor de guerra, that is, war captain and chief of scouts for a body of 120 Pueblo auxiliaries, or Indian militia. They had been called up by Governor Diego de Vargas to accompany his troops on an expedition against Apaches in the Sandia Mountains. Naranjo with 30 Pueblos was detached and sent ahead to scout the Apache position. They fought a brief skirmish, but then withdrew upon receiving word that Vargas was seriously ill. The governor died at Bernalillo on April 8, 1704.

"Thereafter, José Naranjo would play a similar role in at least five large-scale expeditions against hostile Indians. Rather quickly, the viceroy in Mexico City confirmed his formal appointment as capitán mayor de guerra, a measure of the value the central government placed on his service. When in the field, Naranjo was called upon as a guide to select the travel routes and appeared always to know where water and grazing for the horses could be found. Further, he was much in demand as an interpreter. Besides Spanish, he spoke several Pueblo languages and was said to be well-versed in the he Apache tongue. How he acquired these useful skills remains a mystery.

"Withal Naranjo was illiterate, not then rare, even among army officers. Upon being summoned to Santa Fe in 1719 to give advice at a war council dealing with a proposal to punish raiding Utes, he did not sign the official copy of his testimony. Governor Antonio Valverde certified that José did not know how.

"The following year, the governor had alarming news that Frenchmen were on the Great Plains making alliances with the Indians and threatening New Mexico. He assembled an armed force and sent it out to investigate. Lt. Gen. Pedro de Villasur commanded the troops that included 42 men from the Santa Fe presidio, 70 Pueblo Indian auxiliaries under Naranjo, three private citizens and an army chaplain, Fray Juan Minguez.

"Another participant was Juan de Archibeque, a survivor of the ill-fated French colonizing venture under La Salle. He went along to serve as interpreter should any of his fellow countrymen be encountered. Naranjo and Archibeque had served together on previous expeditions and were probably good friends. This expedition struck out in a northeasterly direction. In a matter of weeks, it reached the Platte River in Nebraska.

"Downstream, Villasur went into camp amid thick grass. Nearby was a village of Pawnees, rumored to have several Frenchmen in it, trading weapons to the Indians. Near dawn, Naranjo's Pueblo sentinels were surprised as a whooping horde of Pawnee warriors rushed the encampment. Commander Villasur and José Naranjo were killed in the first wave. Then the leaderless army was engulfed and shattered. Archibeque and Father Minguez perished as did 33 presidial soldiers and 11 Pueblo allies. It was an out-and-out disaster.

"When José López died on the banks of the far away Platte, he was approximately 44 years old. The hardy frontiersman left behind a wife, Catalina, and at least one son, José Antonio. What he did not leave was a dictated memoir of his adventurous life, during which he gave loyal and unwavering support to the Spanish cause."

Historian Marc Simmons is author of numerous books on New Mexico and the Southwest.

• Web Reference: Rocks and Roads
José López Naranjo married María Catarina Luján, the illegitimate daughter of Matías Luján of Santa Cruz, who might have been the son of Juan Luján and brother of Juan Luis. The latter had the land north of that claimed by Salazar. Matías had married Francisca Romero, but had a daughter by a native servant. However, Chávez said, there was another Matías Luján in the area married to Catalina Verala, so nothing can be known absolutely.

• Background Information: 252
José López Naranjo, it appears, had joined the forces of Vargas before 1696, possibly when the First Expedition visited the Pueblos in 1692. For he appeared as a marriage witness for some Tiguas at Guadalupe del Paso in that year, when he gave his age as twenty-two. During the Pueblo uprising of 1696, he was referred to as a Spaniard by Roque de Madrid, when Naranjo was rendering valuable services to Vargas through his Indian contacts. In 1702, he was Alcalde Mayor of Zuñi, and very hopeful about pacifying the Moqui Pueblos. He was Captain of thirty Indian scouts in the Sandia Apache campaign, when Vargas died, in 1704. In 1715 he commanded the Pueblo Indian forces in the Navajo campaign of that year. He left his name on Inscription Rock during one of his Zuñi and Moqui excursions.

José married a bastard daughter of a Matías Lujan of Santa Cruz. He acquired lands across the Rio del Norte from Santa Cruz, south of those owned by an Antonio Salazar. One known son of his was José Antonio.

Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period, Kindle Locations 10720-10734

José married María Catrina Luján, daughter of Matías Luján and Native American Woman.70


© Nancy Lucía López

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This Web Page was Updated 17 Aug 2017