Hernán Martín Serrano, II
|Also Known As:||"Hernan "the Elder" Martin Serrano"|
|Birthplace:||Zacatecas, Nueva Galicia, Reino de Nueva España|
|Death:||Died in Santa Cruz de la Cañada, Rio Arriba, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España|
Son of Hernando Serrano, I and (Unknown)
|Occupation:||1598 Onate Conquistador, Sargento Mayor, Capitan, Captain, Spanish Soldier, * La Canda, NM|
|Managed by:||Ric Dickinson|
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About Hernán Martín Serrano, II
Hernán Martín Serrano and his wife, Ynés were one of the first families of Santa Fé.
Born about 1548 in the mining town of Zacatecas, Mexico, Hernán was among the
earliest Spaniards born in that silver-mining boomtown where rich ore deposits were
discovered by Cristóbal de Oñate and his peers in 1540. This amazing discovery
brought a rush of men to the frontier, men set on making their fortune, including
Hernán’s father, also named Hernán Martín Serrano. However, fortune did not smile on
all men in that harsh and dangerous frontier. As an adult, Hernán must have followed
the general affairs of the wealthiest family of the region, the Oñate-Zaldívar clan. When
Juan de Oñate successfully acquired a royal contract in September 1695 to establish a
Spanish settlement in the far northern land known as La Nueva México, Hernán’s
decision to join the endeavor came quickly.
By February 1596 he was already part of Oñate’s group of soldier-adventurers,
holding the rank of sergeant by the following year. The muster rolls (list made of military personnel going on an expedition) describe Hernan Martin Serrano as the sargento of the expedition, tall, sparse bearded, and pock-marked, 40 years of age, son of Hernan Martin Serrano, with complete armor for himself and horse. He is taking his wife and family. With him came his wife, Juana
Rodríguez, and their family, indicating that this couple had at least one if not
As one of about 131 soldiers who followed Oñate into New Mexico, Hernán eventually
settled at the Pueblo of Okay Owingeh, christened San Juan de los Caballeros by the
Spaniards, and then at the nearby settlement of San Gabriel in 1599. During the difficult
and challenging years ahead, Hernán and his family persevered. However, in the late
summer of 1601 he seriously considered abandoning New Mexico with other soldiersettlers
who viewed New Mexico as a lost cause, with scant hope for any quick riches
and little promise of making a suitable living. However, he changed his mind and
remained loyal to keeping New Mexico as a Spanish outpost.
As a cuadrillero (squadron leader) in October 1601, Hernán described how some
of the soldiers had become farmers and that each year the harvest increased, in particular
wheat and Castilian vegetables, thus allowing them to rely less on the Pueblo
Indians. He affirmed the positive relations between the Spaniards and many of the
Pueblo Indians, having been told by some of them that before the Spaniards arrived
“they had many wars among themselves.”
Except for two “wars,” one at Ácoma and the other in the region of the Jumanas,
the presence of the Spaniards brought peace among many of the diverse Pueblo tribes,
with various bands of Apaches as common enemies. Hernán himself was godfather
to three Tewa Indian boys, attesting to the development of friendly relations. Without
the political alliance with Pueblo Indian leaders, the Spaniards could not have
remained in New Mexico—despite their advanced military technology, they were
far outnumbered by Pueblo Indians.
Between 1601 and 1609, the lack of significant discoveries of precious metals
caused more soldiers to leave in discouragement, reducing the number
of soldier-settlers to 30 by the time Pedro de Peralta was appointed governor in
early 1609. Hernán was among the few unfaltering settlers.
Pueblo Indian leaders encouraged the remaining Spaniards to stay. In particular,
the names of three leaders, referred to as “amigos de los españoles,” “friends of the
Spaniards,” were documented in 1613: Cañasola, captain of the Pueblo of Pecos;
Anda, captain of the Pueblo of San Cristóbal, and Don Lorenzo, captain of the Pueblo of
Pojoaque. These leaders helped to negotiate alliances with the more distant communities,
such as Taos Pueblo.
About 1606–1607, Hernán fathered a son by a Tano Indian woman named Doña Inés.
Due to lack of records, it is not certain if Hernán remarried after the death of his first
wife or if his relations with Doña Inés were outside of marriage. In either case, Doña Inés
apparently resided at the camp of Santa Fe when she gave birth to Hernán Martín
Serrano, el mozo (the younger), who gave his birthplace as Santa Fe in later years.
It appears that Doña Inés was the same Tano Indian woman who was taken as a
young girl from the Tano Pueblo of San Cristóbal in 1591 when the Spaniards of the
Castaño de Sosa expedition left New Mexico. Raised among Spaniards, she became
acculturated and accustomed to the ways of Spanish society. Returning to New Mexico
as a member of Oñate’s expedition, Doña Ines was expected to serve in a role similar
to that of La Malinche, the Indian interpreter who aided Hernán Cortés 80 years earlier.
Doña Inés became so well-assimilated that she lived among the Spaniards in the camp
of Santa Fe, becoming the mother of one of the first individuals born of mixed Spanish
and Pueblo Indian parentage. Hernán, the younger, was distinctively
nuevomejicano. From his paternal heritage he acquired Spanish customs and language
as well as the Roman Catholic faith and the tradition of honor in service to the Crown.
From his maternal heritage he acquired a knack for Indian languages and familiarity
with a region that his maternal ancestors had occupied for centuries. He may very well
have had relatives among the Tano Indians of the Pueblo of San Cristóbal with whom
he interacted. Not surprisingly, Hernán remained a resident of his birthplace for
many decades, until August 1680.
With the official designation of Santa Fe as a villa in early 1610, the main task was
allotment of land for houses and farming, and the construction of new dwellings
around the Plaza, such as the church and the Franciscan convento. The original Plaza
apparently stretched from its present location, in front of what is known today
as the Palace of the Governors, all the way to the area now occupied by the Basilica of
St. Francis and Cathedral Park. It is believed that the church and convento were originally
located on the site of the Basilica and park. In these early years Santa Fe was referred
to as La Villa de Santa Fe y Real Campo de los Españoles (the Villa of Santa Fe and Royal
Camp of the Spaniards). The patron saint of the Franciscan convento was Nuestra
Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción (Our Lady of Immaculate Conception), and in this
form of veneration Santa María most likely also doubled as the patron saint of the
church. It was not until the late 1690s or early 1700s that San Francisco was named
as patron saint of the church and convent of the Villa de Santa Fe.
The number of soldier-settlers in New Mexico remained small, hovering at about
30 to 50 men, many with families, between 1610 and 1640. Hernán Martín Serrano, the
elder, continued to reside in the Villa de Santa Fe and to serve as a loyal soldier of
the king, attaining the rank of captain and reaching the advanced age of about 70 years.
The last recorded account of Hernán comes from the year 1626. He apparently had died
by September 1628, when records indicate that Doña Inés was married to Francisco
“Pancho” Balón, an indio mexicano and a blacksmith of the Villa de Santa Fe. Doña
Inés still resided in Santa Fe in the 1630s and was respectfully regarded.
The two known children of Hernán, the elder, were the younger Hernán, born circa
1606–1607, and Luis Martín Serrano, whose year of birth is not known. It is unclear
which woman was the mother of Luis. Was it Juana Rodríguez or Doña Inés, or possibly
another woman? It is known that both sons were mestizos, part European and part
Indian. Both continued in the same career as their father, serving the king as soldiers
in defending Pueblo and Spanish settlements from constant attacks by raiding bands of
nomadic Indians while striving to make a living for their families.
Like all soldiers of New Mexico, the Martín Serrano brothers received no regular
salary from the Crown. Instead they strove to prove their merit and quality as men
worthy of special privileges granted by the governor in the name of the King of Spain.
Hernán attained the rank of captain and was granted a Pueblo Indian encomienda, with the
right to accept tribute from the assigned pueblo in return for his military service.
In 1650 Capt. Martín Serrano and Capt. Diego del Castillo led a small troop of soldiers
with a large number of Pueblo Indian warriors on an exploratory expedition to the region of
modern-day Texas, following the Concho River of south-central Texas, where the
Jumano Indians lived. He also served as an interpreter of Indian languages, and one of
these languages was that of the Jumanos.
As one of the earliest businessmen of the Villa de Santa Fe, Hernán owned and
operated an obraje, a textile manufacturing shop. In all likelihood, wool was the primary
material woven into textile products such as stockings, pants and shirts. These items
were either sold to local residents or sent on wagons for trade in towns of New Spain.
Some of the wool probably came from sheep raised by his brother, Luis, at the family
estancia located in the area of Chimayó known as La Cañada. Indications are that
Indians worked for Hernán and were paid for their services, as required by law.
Hernán resided in Santa Fe until the Pueblo Indians uprising of August 1680
forced him, his wife, children and grandchildren to flee the homeland of
his maternal ancestors for safety at El Paso. His last known recorded testimony occurred
in October 1685. During his lifetime Hernán married at least three women. By his first wife, Isabel de Monuera, he had a daughter, María, and apparently two sons, Juan and José. María
Martín Monuera married Bartolomé de Ledesma. A widower by 1664, Hernán then
married María de Madrid. It is not certain if they had any children. At an advanced age,
Hernán married Josefa de la Asención González, with whom he had as many as
eight children: Matéo, Andrés, Tomasa, María, Ana, Margarita, Manuela and
Gertrudis. Several of these children returned to New Mexico after it was restored through
negotiations between Diego de Vargas and Pueblo Indian leaders in 1692.
Capt. Luís Martín Serrano, a literate man, served as “alcalde mayor y capitán de Guerra
de la jurisdicción de los Teguas” (chief magistrate and war captain of the Tewa
jurisdiction), basically encompassing the area from Pojoaque Pueblo to Picurís Pueblo to
the Pueblo of Okay Owingeh. In addition to raising livestock on the lands of his estancia,
he apparently grew crops of corn and wheat, some of which he sold to others.
Luis died in November 1661, leaving his widow, Catalina de Salazar, and at least three
sons, Domingo, Pedro and Luis. It was through these sons and as many as 35
grandchildren that the Martín Serrano clan became one of the largest families northern
In the 1700s the descendants of the Martín Serrano family shortened their surname to
Martín, and in the 1800s the members of this family eventually assumed the variation of
Hernán Martín Serrano, II's Timeline
Zacatecas, Nueva Galicia, Reino de Nueva España
Zacatecas, Reino de Nueva Vizcaya, Reino de Nueva España
Ciudad de México, Reino de México, Reino de Nueva España
Zacatecas, Reino de Nueva Vizcaya, Reino de Nueva España
Ciudad de México, Reino de México, Reino de Nueva España
San Gabriel del Yungue, Rio Arriba, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España
Santa Cruz de la Cañada, Rio Arriba, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España