About José López Naranjo
Jose Naranjo born c. 1662 died August 13, 1720
Pueblo Indian/mulatto, the grandson of a black onetime slave and an Indian woman, and son of Domingo Naranjo whom historian Fray Angelico Chavez suspects may have instigated the great Pueblo Revolt of 1680 in New Mexico. Jose was nicknamed el Mulato or el Negro. Captured by Antonio de Otermin, governor of Sante Fe, in 1681, Jose did not reveal his tribe when he was questioned and Otermin sought to take him back to Guadalupe del Paso but on January 8 he escaped and fled back to the northern pueblos, perhaps rejoining his father at Taos. Here the army of Governor Diego de Vargas found him on Oct. 7, 1692. Jose quickly ingratiated himself with the official and from that moment "cast his lot for good with the Spaniards." Jose probably accompanied Vargas and his officers on various sorties and either witnessed or took part in battles coincident with the reoccupation of New Mexico by the Spanish. He settled at Santa Cruz. June 13, 1696, he learned that his brother, Lucas Naranjo was a power behind a new insurrection against the Spanish, informed the whites of activities of the rebels and eventually killed his brother and presented his head to Vargas. From then on his rise among the Spainiards was swift. In 1700 he was alcalde of Zuni and Acoma. Ordered to accompany several priests to the fierce Hopis, he defended the missionaries at the risk of his own life and no doubt saved theirs. When the Indians of Santa Clara showed signs of surrender, Jose, against the advice of the padres, entered their stronghold and brought their leaders to Santa Fe; again he talked the warlike Tano Indians into making peace with the Spanish. At great risk Jose went to Taos and persuaded the Indians there to again accept a Spanish missionary, even to build a church. For all his services Jose Naranjo eventually received the title of chief war captain of all pueblo auxiliary troops from the Duke of Linares, Viceroy of Mexico (1711-1716), Jose being the first Indian so honored in New Mexico. He had been in command of Indian scouts at Bernalillo in 1704 during the Apache campaign on which Vargas died. Accomplished in the Apache language through his onetime relationship with an Apache woman, he sometimes acted as a go-between or perhaps interpreter between the Spanish and Apaches. In July 1707, Naranjo accompanied the expedition of Juan de Ulibarri northeast of Santa Fe to El Cuartelejo in eastern Colorado, to bring back Picuris Pueblo Indians who had fled during the turmoil of the late 1690s from their New Mexico pueblo and settled at El Cuartelejo. A watering place in Colorado was named for him by Ulibarri. In 1707 he was reported married to a woman named Catalina and father of seven children; the name of his oldest son and heir was Jose Antonio Naranjo. He several times led his auxiliaries on expeditions against the Navaho and in 1719 urged the governor to send a force against the Utes. The next year he accompanied the ill-fated expedition of Pedro de Villasur, Lieutenant governor of New Mexico as chief scout and head of 70 Indian auxiliaries. The party was to seek out Frenchmen reportedly living with Plains tribes; it went to eastern Colorado, then eastward, "farther into the interior than anyone from Spanish America had ever gone before," reaching the Platte River perhaps near it's confluence with the Loup (or at the junction of North and South Platte rivers; the location is disputed by excellent authorities). There the expedition was surprised bat dawn by Indians, probably Pawnees but perhaps with others. Forty-six of the Spanish party, including Naranjo, Villasur and others were killed, while sixty-three escaped.