This inquiry record (official investigation with power to compel testimony) includes a series of autos (including the ruling on a motion, initial complaint, court orders, warrants and other documents) relating to a criminal case brought against Calesa and Maria Jacoba, who in 1678 were accused charged respectively of murder and accessory to murder.
Calesa, nephew of Chief Jabajica, a Timucuan chief of Acuera’s village of Alisa in the Potano region (present-day Gainesville), was instructed to commit the murders of “Christian Indians” in order to earn his status of noroco (from context, “valiant warrior”). Maria Jacoba, a Christianized Native from the village of San Francisco de Potano, was considered a cimarrona (literally “wild” or “unruly,” though referring to natives who had converted to Catholicism but abandoned settled village life). Prior to conversion, many Timucuas would abandon their permanent homes during the Winter to live in the woods, where they built palm-bough shelters and lived entirely on game, fish, wild berries, and nuts. This was how Maria Jacoba claims she lived, after staying put with her husband for six years. She would return to her village once a year to spend some time with him and to go to confession.
Maria’s encounter with Calesa occurred when she left her village, after being captured by Don Tomás Menéndez, owner of the La Chua Hacienda. She escaped with one of the Black slaves, but was followed by a native named Alonso, a servant of Menéndez. Maria told Alonso not to follow her, but he did, and she claims he was killed by Calesa and his brother Pequatanila, who were travelling with a troop of non-Christian Acueras. One member of this troop considered the ynija (second in command) protected Maria Jacoba from also getting murdered and brought her along in their travels. At some point, the ynija, according to Maria Jacoba, told her to turn in the brothers when they reached her village of San Francisco because they were evil men, and Calesa had killed two other Christians and one heathen. Penquatanila somehow remained in the woods and was not captured by authorities. By looking closer at Maria Jacoba’s story, we can see a glimpse into how a native Timucuan woman lived after her conversion and marriage to a Christianized native. She claims she did not murder Alonso, but she is still blamed for his death, and given a harsh punishment. John Hann, in his introduction of the translated text, mentions that this was due to “the relationship between Catholic ritual and the friars’ insistence on sedentism for their native converts and on the civil authorities’ enforcement of that sedentism.” Therefore, she was given the title of cimarrona, and her nomadic lifestyle in the woods was looked down upon even though she still adhered to some Catholic practices.
The collected documents provide a window into how Spanish authorities reacted to those following traditional customs–whether it involved murder for self-preservation or to gain status, or if it was simply living life in the woods instead of in a village. The case ends with an auto calling for the arrest of Chief Jabajica, implying that perhaps by convicting Calesa and Maria Jacoba, they were able to get one step closer to removing a native leader from his position. The severe punishment given to Maria Jacoba is indicative of other types of tribal dismantling that occurred by the late seventeenth century. Powerful Timucuan tribes were reduced to “peaceful missions,” as the Spanish enforcing sedentism, though clearly many Timucua negotiated their own path.
Edited by Mailyn Abreu Toribio, University of South Florida
Ehrmann, W. W. “The Timucua Indians of Sixteenth Century Florida.” Florida Historical Quarterly 18:3 (1940): 168–91.
“Criminal Case against Calesa” (1678). Translated by John H. Hann. P.K. Yonge Library, Library of Florida History, University of Florida, 1999.
Worth, John E. Timucuan Chiefdoms of Spanish Florida: vol. 1, Assimilation. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2020.
Alonso Días Mexía to Governor Pablo de Hita Salazar (on the apprehension of Calesa and María Jacoba)
I have come to this [village] of San Francisco at the call of the chieftainness of this village, who had apprehended that heathen Indian man and that Christian Indian woman, who wandered about absent [from their villages], causing great harm and many deaths, as your lordship will learn from the ones who are bringing them. Your lordship’s servant. August 12 of the 1678. Your servant, at your lordship’s service, who kisses your hand ….
Diego de Jaen to Pablo de Hita Salazar (Sent with the chief and Indians bringing Calesa and María Jacoba to St. Augustine under apprehension, summarizing the charges against them)
The bearer of this, who is a cacique, and three Indians from this place are bringing that heathen Indian and that Christian Indian woman to your lordship’s presence, whom the chieftainness of San Francisco sent to me. And she conveyed to me how he had caused six deaths, because, having followed the Indians from Cale, the captain, Don Tomas brought a Timuqua Indian and others who joined up with them, [whom] they met with the said faithful one. That as the Indian woman previously killed the two Timuquans and that that Indian woman confessed in addition that he killed two heathens. The said chieftainness sent word to me also that this heathen had committed another two murders, which he did in this place, Salamototo, during the time that the sergeant-major, don Nicolas, was governing. That these said deceased were an Indian man and woman, who were found murdered in Pupo which is directly opposite to geraca. And that the said heathen, whom I am sending to your lordship, has confessed to all this because of [my] wearing him down (por oprimirle). The said cacica also said that that heathen had entered San Francisco at midnight with a view to seeing whether he could kill some Christian and, on the way, carry off some women (gachines). And on the way back he was going to the abandoned site (hicapacha) of San Luis, where another five of his heathen companions were waiting on the lookout, to see if they could kill some cowboy from Lachua or any other Spaniard. I am also sending your lordship a xadote, which that heathen had on his head (traia ese infiel en la cabeza), which was where he was placing little strips of deerskin (gamuzitas cortadas) to indicate the killings that he had done. And from what the Indian woman said, he has four deaths indicated that he has caused. And when I questioned the said heathen, if it was true that he had killed some people, he replied to me that it was; that he had killed the two Timuquans at the order of his cacique. I have nothing else about which to inform your lorship. May our Lord protect you. Salomototo, August 17 of 1678. Your servant who kisses your hand, at the service of your lordship …..
Pablo de Hita Salazar (Summary Auto of Accusation and Inquiry, for the first accusation)
In the City of St. Augustine, provinces of Florida, on the twenty-second day of the month of August of the year sixteen hundred and seventy-eight, the señor Sergeant-major don Pablo de Hita Salasar, governor and captain general of this said city and its provinces by his majesty, stated that as Alonsso Días Mexía, one of the soldiers stationed in the Province of Timuqua on garrison duty, informed him by a note dated on the twelfth of August of this present year about how he was called by the chieftainness of San Francisco so that she might hand over to him a Christian Indian woman and a heathen Indian man, who were wandering through those woods, committing murders and other harm. And after they had been brought to the village of Solomototo (sic) through the agency of the said Alonsso Días Mexía, Diego de Jaen, whom his lordship has placed as squad leader for the said village, sent them on to this presidio as prisoners and under close guard. And on the seventeenth of the said month and year he apprized him by means of a note about the murders and atrocities that the said heathen Indian has committed, as is apparent and manifest from the said note. And as it is a matter of such gravity and one that demands punishment corresponding to the nature and importance of the [crimes], which it is evident the said heathen Indian has committed, and so that it may serve as an example and warning that they must live in peace, equity and justice, his lordship orders the holding of a summary inquiry, examining the witnesses in accord with the tenor of this auto and the other questions that may be appropriate, and that the papers cited be attached to these autos. And by this his auto, his honor so provided, ordered and signed ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar and Alonsso Garsía Delavera, Aug. 22, 1678 (Witness Statement of Diego, Native of San Francisco de Potano)
The señor sergeant-major don Pablo de Hita Salaçar …summoned to appear before his honor an Indian native from the village of San Francisco de Potano in the Province of Timuqua, who was one of those who brought to this presidio the Christian Indian woman and a heathen man contained in the auto that is at the head of this case. Before me, notary, in the presence of his honor, and through the medium of Juan Bautista de la Cruz and Alonso Garsía, interpreters nominated by his honor, the oath was received from him and he made it to God and a sign of the cross in the form of the law. And after being given to understand the seriousness of the oath through the said interpreters, he promised to tell the truth. And on being questioned in accord with the tenor of the said auto and head of the process, this witness said that in the village of San Francisco Potano the chieftainness of the said village and the one from Santa Ana delivered to him a Christian Indian woman named Maria Jacoba and a heathen Indian man to bring them to this presidio and hand them over to the señor governor, which he has done. And after having delivered [them], he was asked whether he knows or has reports that the said heathen Indian man and the said Indian woman have committed any murders. This witness said that he has heard the said heathen Indian man say, with reference to an Indian who died from two wounds to the head on the Hacienda of Lachua belonging to Captain don Thomás Menéndez, that it was the said heathen Indian man who gave them to him. And, similarly, the said María Jacoba had told this witness that, after having left and gone out from this presidio and after having brought a Christian Indian with her to the place of Piriaco, the said heathen Indian had killed him and the said María Jacoba strove to bring him to a Christian village so that they might apprehend him, as was done. He was asked whether he knows or has other news that they have committed other murders. This witness said to this [question] that he does not know anything else other than what he has stated. And after his statement had been read to him and explained to him through the said interpreters, he said it was the truth and what he knows under the oath that he has taken and that he reaffirms and ratifies it. And he said that he was thirty years of age more or less. And one of the interpreters signed it together with his honor, the said señor governor.
Pablo de Hita Salazar, Aug. 23 1678 (Auto for the Suspension of this Case)
Pablo de Hita Salasar stated that as to the case lodged officially in the royal justice against a heathen Indian man and a Christian Indian woman held in the fort of this presidio in virture of the deaths they are charged with having caused and that are established from two letters that are attached to this process, one from Alonsso Díaz Mexía, resident in the Province of Timucua, and the other from the ensign, Diego de Jaen, squad leader for the village of Solomototo (sic), and statement of Diego, native of the village of San Francisco de Potano, and, as there are no witnesses in this said presidio with whom to hold the summary inquiry for the verification and proof of the said crimes, for the latter his honor has sent to the caciques of San Francisco Potano and Santa Ana of the Province of Timuqua, which was the area where they apprehended the said defendants and remitted them before his honor, so that with all speed and diligence they may send to this presidio the Indians by whom [the accused] were brought to the village of Solomototo or those who know with more certitude about the atrocities and murders that the said heathen man and the Christian Indian woman committed. And in the meantime his honor was suspending and suspended this case for the purpose of resuming it as soon as the said Indians come to this said presidio. And I, notary, notified Captain don Gerónimo de Hita Salasar, lieutenant of the said fort of this presidio, that he should hold the heathen Indian man and Christian Indian woman imprisoned and well guarded in order to deliver them whenever they are asked for by his honor, the said señor governor, because this is what is appropriate for the administration of royal justice. And by this his auto his honor so provided, ordered, and signed.
Pablo de Hita Salazar, Oct. 6, 1678 (Auto in Which the Process is Reopened)
Pablo de Hita Salasar stated that, whereas by an auto of the twenty-third day of the past month of August of this present year his honor suspended this case, which was being prosecuted officially in the royal justice against a heathen Indian man and a Christian Indian woman detained in the fort of this presidio for crimes with which they are charged, as is evident from it, because of there not being witnesses in this said presidio with whom to provide full proof of them, and, having sent orders to the province of Timuqua to the chiefs of San Francisco de Potano and Santa Ana, which was the locale where they were apprehended, so that they might send before his honor the Indians by whom the said defendants were brought to the village of Salamototo or those who might know with more certitude about the crimes that they committed. And, because he heard on the said day that two Indians arrived in this presidio from the said village of San Francisco Potano, his honor was ordering and ordered that this case should go forward and that they should be questioned in accord with the tenor of the auto that is at the head of this process, and any other persons whatsoever, if it should be necessary. And his honor so provided, ordered, and signed ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar and Alonsso Garsia Delavera, Oct. 6, 1678 (Witness Statement of Marselo, Native of San Francisco Potano)
Pablo de Hita Salasar, for proof and verification of this case, summoned Marselo to appear before him, a native of the village of San Francisco de Potano. On being questioned in accord with the tenor of the auto that is at the head of this process, he said that he knew the Christian Indian woman, who was named María Jacoba, and who for the time of three years more or less has wandered through the woods as a runaway (fugitiba) and two months ago more or less she was apprehended in the company of a heathen Indian in his said village of San Francisco de Potano. Its cacica and the cacica of Santa Ana questioned the said heathen, asking him about the murders that he had committed. And he replied to them that on various occasions he had killed four Christian Indians and one heathen. That at the time that the said chiefs handed him over imprisoned in the company of the said María Jacoba, in order to deliver them to the corporal for the village of Solomototo, they said it to this witness; that he did not hear it said. And that, even though they put other questions to him, he said that he did not know anything more than what he had said and stated. And that under the burden of the oath that he has taken, it is the truth and what he knows. And this statement having been explained to him by the said interpreters, he said that he reaffirmed and ratified it because of its being the truth. He did not know how to tell his age. From his looks he appeared to be forty years old more or less. And he did not sign because of not knowing how. One interpreter signed it together with his honor ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar and Alonsso Garsia Delavera, Oct. 6, 1678 (Witness Statement of Martín, Native of San Francisco de Potano)
For more proof and justification of this case, his honor the said señor governor ordered Martín to appear before him. He stated that he knew the Christian Indian woman who was named María Jacoba and who is a native of San Francisco de Potano, who has been a runaway through the woods for a long time (que a much tiempo que anda simarrona por los montes). And similarly, he knows the heathen Indian man who is named Calesa, a very evil name. That last year, while this witness was in the province of Apalache, he heard it said that the said Calesa had killed a kinsman (pariente) of his. And as soon as he learned of it, he returned to his said home and found it to be true. And a few days later, while he was at the ranch (ato) of Captain don Tomás Menéndez named la Chua in the company of Diego Jiriba, slave of the said captain, and of an Indian woman, wife (mujer) of the said Diego, this witness and the aforementioned found a badly wounded Christian Indian. When they questioned him about who had put him in that state, he said Calesa. And he died from the wounds a short time later. He was asked whether he knows or has reports that the said Calesa has committed other murders. He said that while Calesa was being held a prisoner in the said village of San Francisco in the company of the said María Jacoba about two months ago more or less, the cacique of the said village and the cacica of Santa Ana and other leading persons (principales) asked the said Calesa how many murders he had committed. And he replied to them in the presence of this witness, who heard him and understood that four Christians and one heathen were those whom he had killed on various occasions. And at once the said caciques handed him over imprisoned along with María Jacoba and ordered this witness to bring them to the squad leader of the village of Salamototo and deliver them to him, as he did. And that under the burden of the oath that he has taken, this is the truth and what he knows. And when this his statement was read to him and explained to him by the said interpreters, he said that he reaffirmed and ratified it. He did not know how to tell his age. From his looks he appears to be forty-six years of age more or less. And he did not sign because of not knowing how. One of the interpreters signed it together with his honor the said señor governor.
Pablo de Hita Salazar and Thomas Menendez Marquez, Oct. 8, 1678 (Witness Statement of Captain Don Tomás Menéndez)
Pablo de Hita Salasar summoned Captain don Tomás Menéndez, a resident of this city, to appear before his honor. He said that it was four months ago, while he was on his hacienda in Lachua, that such is its name, a very badly wounded Indian arrived. And as owner of the said hacienda, he sought to learn who had wounded him. And he replied that [it was] a heathen Indian. If he mentioned his name, he did not grasp it. And he died three or four days from then. That he does not know who it was who killed him. And this was his reply. He was asked whether he knew María Jacoba, an Indian woman, a native of the village of San Francisco de Potano. And this witness stated that he knows for more than fourteen or fifteen years that she wanders through the woods as a runaway (fugitiba) and that a slave brought her to the woods and kept her with him for some days. And this witness having captured her, he sent her to this presidio and he had her in his house. And an Indian in his service, who was named Alonsso, brought her to the woods from it. He heard it said that a heathen Indian had killed him. And, although they addressed other questions to him, he said that he did not know anything more than what he has said and stated under the burden of the oath that he has taken, which he reaffirmed and ratified. And that he is thirty-five years of age. And he signed it along with the governor ….
Juan de Pueyo (Acceptance and Oath-taking as Judicial Defender)
I the present notary, made the nomination as judicial defender in this case known to Captain don Juan del Pueyo in person. And having heard it, he said that, in order to do a good job for the prisoners, Calesa and María Jacoba, who are being prosecuted, he will come to their assistance as defender of their persons to the extent that he is able to and capable of in this matter. And to fulfill it, he swore to God and a sign of the cross in the form of the law to make the defences that he was capable of well and faithfully to the best of his knowledge and understanding. And that, if for some reason or cause the said Calesa and María Jacoba should become defenceless, it is to be understood that it is not to be laid to his account, keeping in mind that he does not understand their language and this is not his profession. And under this understanding, he accepted it, took the oath, and signed ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar, Joan de Pueyo, Alonsso Garsia Delavera, Oct. 10, 1678 (Confession of María Jacoba)
Pablo de Hita Salasar summoned an imprisoned Indian woman to appear before his honor for this case. In the presence of his honor and of Captain don Juan del Pueyo, her defender named by the said señor governor, and before me, notary, and through the medium of Juan Bautista de la Cruz and Alonsso Garsía, interpreters named for this case, the oath by God and a sign of the cross was received from her in the form of the law. And having taken it well and faultlessly and having explained to her the solemnity and gravity of the oath through the medium of the said interpreters, she promised to tell the truth. And the following questions were addressed to her through the aforementioned. She was asked what her name was, where she was a native of, and what age, and what manner of life she led. She said that she was named María Jacoba and that she is native to the village of San Francisco de Potano, a vassal of the cacica of Santa Ana. She did not know how to tell her age. From her looks she appears to be thirty-five years old more or less. That she was married and lived with her husband for six years and then she went to the woods, from whence she came every year to go to confession at the proper time and she lived with her husband for some days while he was alive and then she went back and forth to and from the woods. That this has been her style of living (su modo de bibir) up until now. And this was her response. She was questioned about the whereabouts of the Indian named Alonso, whom she carried off from this presidio while she was in the house of Captain don Thomás Menéndez. She said that she had not carried off the said Alonso, but rather, on various occasions he was ready for them to go off to the woods together and she had dissuaded him because of not wanting to take him with her. And after this witness had fled alone from the said house of Captain don Thomás Menéndez and carried off an axe (acha) and taken the trail of San Nicolás, she found herself with the said Indian Alonso, who was following her. And both together built a raft (balsa) and crossed the river of Salamototo. While they were camped on the other side for four days near an arroyo, on the last of them the said Alonso, having heard the noise of birds (pájaros), went out, thinking there were deer, and plunged into a field of very thick tall grass (pajonal). And she grabbed a stick (palo) for pulling out ache. And on going in search of it, she found a thicket (mata) 16 of the said ache and she stopped to pull it out (asacarla). And the said Alonso followed the trail he was taking. And this witness, hearing the noise of people and turning around, saw a troop of men. And one of them came up to her and put his hands on her shoulders. And the other two men of the said troop, [who were] brothers, one named Calesa and the other Pequata nalis went up to the said Alonso and they killed him in the sight of this witness. And they left him there and turned to her. And those of the said troop, all of whom were heathens, carried her off among all of them to where they were camped. And while making arrangements for killing her, for which they held her tied up, another troop of heathens came along. And after they had managed to join up with them, they suspended her execution and went off, while this witness remained alone with an ynija who had come in the second troop, who had grieved over what had happened. Because he told them not to kill her, they let her live. And he untied her and brought her with him. And she was asked, if the ynija brought her to his place with him how, was she captured in the village of San Francisco with the said Calesa? She stated that the said ynija brought her along, as she has said, and that the said Calesa and Pecuata nali mentioned earlier followed along after them. And the aforesaid ynija said to them that they were to go with her and bring her to her place and that they were not to leave her until she was safe. And the said ynija told this witness secretly that on reaching her place, she should give an account of things to its caciques so that they might apprehend them on account of being evil men. And after all three of them had traveled together to the said village of San Francisco, the said Pecuatanali turned back. And this witness and the said Calesa entered into the said village of San Francisco. And as soon as she arrived, she told the tale so that they might apprehend him, as they did. She was asked if a heathen Indian named Calesa, imprisoned together with her, whom they brought from the said village of San Francisco, is the agressor who killed the said Indian Alonsso and if she knows him. She said yes, that he is the very one who killed him with a hatchet (achuela) in her presence and that she knows him very well. She was asked if she knows or has reports that the said Calesa has committed other murders. She stated that the said ynija who freed her from death, as she has testified, told her in secret that the said Calesa and Pecuata nali were treacherouss and evil men and that Calesa alone had killed two Christians and one heathen at the urging or order of his chief. That she should make this known in her place as a reason for his imprisonment and that that is what she did. For that reason they apprehended him. She asked if she knows the name of the chief who ordered the said Calesa that he should go about killing men and where he is. She said that he was called Yabajica and that he is heathen and that he is in a little place (lugarcillo) close to (cercana a) Piriaco called Biro Zebano. And that there are up to six people with the said cacique, all kinsmen (parientes), and the said Calesa one of them. And they are all commanded and have orders from the said Chief Yabajica to kill people. And when this her statement was explained to her through the said interpreters, she said it was the truth and what she knows under the burden of the oath that she has taken, which she reaffirms and ratifies. And she did not sign because of not knowing how. Her defender signed and one of the interpreters together with his honor the said señor governor ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar, Joan de Pueyo, Alonsso Garsia Delavera, Oct. 10, 1678 (Confession of Calesa, Heathen)
Pablo de Hita Salasar summoned a heathen Indian imprisoned for this case to appear before him. Because the latter was not a Christian, the oath was not received from him. And in the presence of Captain don Juan del Pueyo, his defender, before me, notary, and through the medium of Juan Bautista de la Cruz and Alonsso Garsía, nominated interpreters, he was admonished to tell the truth concerning what he was questioned about. And having done so, he promised to do it. He was asked what his name is, where he is a native of, how old he is, and what occupation he has. He said that in his childhood they named him Calesa and now that he is a man, Yazah. He did not know how to tell his age. From his looks he appears to be twenty-five to thirty years old. And that he is a native of the village of Alisa in the Province of Acuera. And that his occupation has been hunter and that he is a vassal and nephew of Cacique Yabajica. He was asked whether, on the other side of the River of Salamototo close to (junto a) an arroyo, he killed a Christian Indian named Alonsso, who was in the company of an Indian woman, María Jacoba, imprisoned for this case. He said that it is true that he killed him at the order of his said chief, Yabajica, even though this witness sought to dissuade him [the chief], saying to him that he did not wish to kill him because he was a Christian and that if they were to capture him some time, they would punish him. To this the said cacique responded to this witness that the said Alonsso had wanted to kill him and accordingly, that he should kill him. And if he did not, then he would kill him. And then this witness [went] to Santa Fée and killed him with a hatchet. He was asked if he has committed other murders. He said that he took a Christian Indian named Lorenzo, who arrived at his place, out to the woods of la Chua to hunt ciamanes (alligators). And he hit him with a hatchet when the opportunity arose. And he returned to his place, leaving him for dead. And in it within his own house, he killed another Indian, a heathen of his own nation. And he has not killed any others. He was asked that, as he [now] says that he has not killed any more than three men, if he said in the council house of San Francisco de Potano, when he was imprisoned by the caciques of the said village and they asked him how many murders he had done that he had killed four Christians and one heathen. He stated that he has not wounded or killed more than three he has spoken of and confessed to. And so that he might be believed, this confessant made the sign of the cross, saying by it that he has not done any more than the three murders that he has admitted. As he denies having killed more persons than he stated, he was asked if he had stated in the said council house of San Francisco that he had killed an Indian man and woman within the limits of the village of Salamototo in a spot called Pupo. He said that he has not killed more than the three and that if there were more, he would say so. That this confessant heard that said while he was in his place, but he did not do it. He was asked if he knows that his cacique has commanded his vassals to kill people. He said, yes, that he knows it. He was asked if in those environs of his place there are other injurious Indians who go about doing harm. He said that he is not aware of it. And this his confession having been explained to him through the said interpreters, he said that it was the truth and what he has stated, which he reaffirmed and ratified. He did not sign because of not knowing how. His defender and one of the interpreters signed it together with his honor, the señor governor and his defender confessing everything is valid and that he was in the company of an Indian woman, María Jacoba, imprisoned for this case. It is valid ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar (Auto of Guilt and Responsibility)
In the city of St. Augustine, provinces of Florida, on the nineteenth day of the month of October of the year sixteen hundred and seventy-eight, the señor sergeant-major don Pablo de Hita Salasar, governor and captain general of this said city and its provinces by his majesty, having seen these autos and confessions of Calesa, a heathen Indian from the village of Alisa in the Province of Acuera, and of María Jacoba, a Christian Indian woman, a native of the village of San Francisco de Potano in the province of Timuqua, and the guilt that accrues against the aforementioned, stated that he was making and made the charge of it and was receiving and received the case in proof with a deadline of first six days as (segun) counted from this notification [in which] they may furnish their plea and reason for acquittal and allege what is appropriate for them and their defender in their name. And by this his auto, he so provided, ordered, and signed ….
Juan de Pueyo (Request of the Criminal Autos)
The captain, don Juan de Pueyo, nominated defender in the case that is lodged officially in Royal Justice against María Jacoba and Calessa (sic), Indians imprisoned in the fort for the said case, I appear before your lordship in the best way that is appropriate to my rights and theirs. I state that whereas my said parties have been notified about the auto of guilt and responsibility with a deadline of six days within which to present their defense and make a presentation in their favor and, being their defender, in order to do so, I beg and petition your lordship in the name of my clients that he order the present notary to give me the criminal autos so that, in view of them, I may present arguments appropriate for them. That the giving of that order will be the justice I seek for what is necessary ….
Juan de Pueyo (Brief in Response to the Charges Against Maria Jacoba and Calesa)
I, Captain don Juan de Pueyo, nominated defender for María Jacoba and Calessa, Indians imprisoned for this case, appear before your lordship in name of the aforementioned in the best form that is appropriate to my rights and I state that, after having seen the auto of guilt and responsibility that your lordship lodged against my said clients, taking their statements into account and what is favorable that appears in them, your lordship must and should revoke the two [autos] and annul the guilt that is attributed to them for all the following general reasons that there are in their favor. One is that, even though your lordship, in the said auto, charge the said María Jacova with the death of Alonsso, a Timuquan Indian who went away with her, your lordship should and must take note of her statement in which, as is evident, she many times dissuaded him from going away with her because he was in the service of his employer (amo) and that, after having gone off alone, he followed her and came out on the trail to meet her, and, even though she urged him on it [the trail] to return home, it is certain that it was his persistence that won out over the pressing arguments that she made to him as a woman. And he followed her violently; for when she set out from here, she had no intention of bringing anyone else with her, but rather, [went] alone. And the said Alonsso, in having followed her, it is certain that, as a man, he would do what he was disposed to do, to stop and set up camp or to keep traveling. And the two having set up camp and stayed there for four days, his murder occurred. That my said client’s fleeing by herself would not have stopped so long [in such a place] until she reached a place she was acquainted with and felt secure in, for she lived by fleeing. And it is recognized that it was at the orders of the said Indian [Alonso] that they tarried there. And that when he set out in search of something to eat, his enemies caught and killed him. That even if they had caught the said María there alone, as she did not owe them anything, they would have continued their trip and would have left her alone. But, in having found her in his company, because of him she was condemned to death as she said. Another is that, even though she may be charged with having lived in the woods as a runaway (zimarrona), while she was in them she was not harmful to anyone and during the time that she lived there, she came to confess at the proper time as a good Christian and to spend some time with her husband. And, being an inhabitant of the woods by nature, she lived in them without harm to anyone. And if she were a source of harm, it is certain that during one of the times that she returned to her place, her chiefs would have punished her for it. And being without any guilt, she came from the place of the enija to her own to hand over the Indians that he gave her and to present the accusation that they did it, being free and in the woods, she would remain in them, as did the said Pequata nali, who, recognizing that he was guilty, fled the punishment. And the said María, as an innocent one, came to her place to hand him over; that she would not have done so if she had done something over which they could build a case against her. And as she came to serve justice there, she is one who should be protected, with the innocence that accompanied her. And as to the guilt and responsibility that attaches to the said Calessa for the deaths of the said Alonsso and Lorenço, and a heathen, your lordship should and must take note that my said client is a heathen, who does not recognize any other authority or superior in his land other than his uncle, the chief, Jabahica. And as his vassal he and the rest were doing what he ordered them [to do], (as they had the obligation to). And in the killing of the said Alonsso, it is established by his statement, he objected to it three times, and as a vassal and inferior, fearing the punishment from the said cacique, he carried out what he had ordered him [to do]. And as a result of the order that he had given to his [people] in their land, he killed the other two. And it being the general rule, as it is among the heathen and the Christian Indians, [that] their greatest exploit (valentia) and trophy is to kill their enemies to obtain the name of noroco, in virtue of the said order he and the rest killed those whom they were able to both for the said [status] and to serve their chief. And as savages (Barbaros) ignorant of the evil that they were doing, if they knew that they would be punished for it, they would not have done it. Neither would my said client have come to hand himself over to justice, being able to flee as did his companion. But, like a barbarian, and ignorant thus of what he did as [he was], about what they would do [to him], he came to the place of San Francisco, where they apprehended him. And this barbarism and ignorance can be perceived in his confession and statement. For, whereas he spoke of those whom he killed as a brave exploit, among us it would be the general rule to deny the crime and to confess to it only on the occasion of torture, while he said it plainly and clearly. And an assurance accompanies this ignorance, which he has because he did not do it on his own initiative, but rather at the order of and obliged to [it] by his lord and chief, whom he was obeying as were the rest. And the guilt that there could be in this belongs to the said chief and not to my said client, who was commanded [to do it] and had an order for it like the rest, as is established from his own statement and from that of the said Indian woman. Because of all this, which is here by allegation, and what he does and is able to do in my favor, I ask and beg your lordship to deign to order that my clients be adjudged to be free, because, as I have said, no guilt nor any responsibility is established against them because the woman is innocent and the other one is saved by ignorance and by being ordered [to do] it. That ordering it thus will be the justice that I seek and strive for ….
This brief is accepted as presented and let it be placed with the other autos and let them be considered for providing what is justice.
Pablo de Hita Salazar (Resolution of the Two Cases)
In the litigation and criminal case that has been prosecuted officially in the royal justice against Calesa, heathen Indian native to the village of Alisa in the Province of Acuera, concerning the murders that he has done in the woods of two Christian Indians and one heathen and against María Jacoba, a Christian Indian woman (illegible word) fugitive, having seen the autos and their merits and the rest that there was to be seen I find that I must condemn and I do condemn the said Calesa to be taken from the prison in which he is with a rope around his neck in the form of justice and that he be brought through the public and customary streets with the town crier so that he may publish his crimes; and that he be brought to the gallows, where it is customary to do justice, and that he be garroted at its foot until he dies naturally and he be hung from the said gallows afterwards. He is not to be removed from them without my permission as a notice and example for all. And because of the guilt that is established in the said autos against María Jacoba, Christian Indian woman, native to the village of San Francisco de Potano in the Province of Timuqua, because of wandering through the woods as a fugitive without paying attention to the divine precept, being the cause of murders and atrocities, I condemn her to perpetual exile for all her life in the City of Havana and let her not dare to come back to these provinces under the penalty of death. And, likewise, I condemn her to be taken in form of justice from the prison where she is and marched through the public streets with the town crier, who will publish her crime, and that she be given one hundred lashes as a notice and example to all and that she be returned to the prison where she is until there is a vessel going to the said city of Havana, where she is to serve her exile. And by this my sentence I pronounce and give orders accordingly, judging definitively, without condemning the accused for the costs because of the notoriety of the proof.
Juan de Pueyo (Defender’s Appeal of the Sentence)
I, Captain don Juan de Pueyo, say that the present notary made the sentence of death known to me which your lordship has decreed against the said Calessa for the murders that he has committed. And because of having presented for his defense what is contained in my petition, which I ratify and present anew, your lordship ought and must deign to look at this case mercifully and revoke the said death sentence commuting it to another punishment, such as exile from these provinces or to be a slave for his majesty, keeping in mind the necessity for them that exists for the royal works because the aforementioned acted under orders from his chief and because all the guilt belongs to the latter. Also in the sentence of whipping and exile that your lordship pronounced at the same time against the said María Jacoba for being a runaway and not attending to her obligations as a Christian, it is established by her statement that she went to confession every year, for which reason and because of being a woman and because she came in as an innocent party, your lordship must deign to revoke the punishment of whipping because of her being very ill and debilitated from the long stay in prison that she has had and that awaits her and because of what I have presented earlier in her favor, to which I refer. If what I am asking for by this my plea is not granted, speaking in their name with all due respect, from this moment I appeal both sentences to his Majesty and to the lords of his Royal Council so that with attention to the said autos prepared for this case, they may provide a sentence that is appropriate. For this let me be given the necessary depositions and affidavits. I ask for justice and what is necessary ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar, Nov. 18, 1678 (Governor’s Response)
Pablo de Hita Salasar, having seen the plea presented on the part of Captain don Juan del Pueyo as defender of Calesa and of María Jacoba, imprisoned and sentenced because of the merits of the said case, concerning which he asks that the sentence of death pronounced against the said Calesa be lifted. And similarly that the said María Jacoba be free from the whipping, commuting the said sentence to exile, I say that the sentence that was lately pronounced on the fifteenth day of the present month should be maintained and fulfilled notwithstanding the appeal that has been interposed, not leaving way in the suspensive and restorable, his honor declares that he be given copies that he asks for so that he may seek recourse for the rights of his clients where it is most appropriate. And his honor provided, ordered, and signed this ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar, Nov. 18, 1678 (Governor’s Order for Apprehension of Chief Jabajica)
Pablo de Hita Salasar said that whereas his honor has proceeded officially in royal justice against Calesa, heathen Indian for three murders that he committed treacherously and likewise against María Jacoba, their introductor and principal cause, and, whereas from their statements it has become apparent that a cacique named Jabajica, who lives with few vassals in the area they call Alisa, had given orders to his subjects that they should kill all the Christian Indians whom they came across however they might be able to, and, because so serious a crime is worthy of a remedy, chastisement, and punishment, not only for the elimination of such atrocious crimes and so detestable an order, but also so that the Christian natives who are subject to the Evangelical Law and who have given obedience to his majesty may be able to travel through the trails, valleys, and woods with full security without fear that such enormous crimes can be committed against them, it has appeared to be very appropriate to his honor that every possible effort be made to apprehend and punish the said Chief Jabajica. And to achieve what is of such importance for both majesties, he is entrusting the execution of it and considers it as having been entrusted to don Tomás de Medina, Cacique of the doctrina and place of Santa Fée so that, as the most prestigious defender of the Evangelical Law and of all those things that pertain to the service of his majesty, so that, as soon as he may receive a copy of this auto, he may set out with the vassals under his jurisdiction who appear to him to be adequate for the area where he has reports the said Chief Jabajica may be, attempting to capture him and for that purpose making all the appropriate and necessary efforts until he achieves it. And as soon as he has him captured, he will be brought to this presidio with shackles under full and good security with all of his vassals who can be had, with the said Chief don Thomás de Medina personally bringing them for greater security. And his honor so provided, ordered and signed.
Pablo de Hita Salazar (Governor’s Order for the Execution of His Sentences)
Don Pablo de Hita Salasar, Governor and Captain General of this city and presidio of St. Augustine of Florida and of its provinces by his majesty: By the present I order and command the adjutant, Juan Antonio de Aiala, who is sergeant-major of the companies of this presidio, that on the Monday that is reckoned to be the twenty-eighth of this present month of November at nine in the morning, to take out from the fort of this presidio, where they are imprisoned, Calesa, heathen Indian, and likewise, María Jacoba, Christian Indian woman, and in accord with the sentence that the aforementioned have pronounced against them, and he will have them pass through the usual public streets. And in the course of that passage he will have one hundred lashes given to the said María Jacoba and then redeliver her to the said fort. He will have the said Calesa brought to the foot of the gallows, where he is to be garroted until he dies naturally. And afterward he is to be hung from the said gallows. And under this order I command Captain don Gerónimo de Hita Salasar, lieutenant of the said fort, that he deliver the aforementioned to the said adjutant, Juan Antonio de Aiala, for the purpose alluded to and that he again receive the said María Jacoba as a prisoner in accord with it. Issued in St. Augustine of Florida on the nineteenth day of the month of November of the year sixteen hundred and seventy-eight ….
Pablo de Hita Salazar, Nov. 20, 1678 (Verification, Commute of Calesa’s Sentence to Perpetual Exile)
Pablo de Hita Salasar said that although his honor has given sentence definitively against Calesa, native Indian of the province of Acuera, so that he would die naturally and afterward be hanged, and, similarly, against María Jacoba, Christian Indian woman, that she was to be whipped and exiled from these provinces for the crimes that are established by the autos, he was calling up the said sentence relative to the death pronounced against the said Calesa and he was ordering that he should be placed publicly at the foot of the gallows to carry out the said death sentence to set an example so that the natives of these provinces would be dissuaded from committing scandalous crimes. And he was commuting the said sentence so that he would be exiled for all the days of his life, serving at forced labor as a slave of his majesty in the Castillo del Morro of the city of Havana. This sentence is to be carried out and executed with the first vessel that leaves this presidio by sending a copy of this auto to the señor don Francisco de Ledesma, knight of the order of Santiago, governor and captain general of the said city. And by this his auto his honor so provided, ordered, and signed. I certify this ….