History, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in ON THE BORDERS OF LOVE AND POWER: FAMILIES AND KINSHIP IN THE INTERCULTURAL AMERICAN SOUTHWEST, ed. David W. Adams & Crista DeLuzio (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012), pp. 255-277.


Copyright 2012 by the Regents of the University of California. Used by permission.


Borderlands families have never had it easy, and the second half of the nineteenth century was no exception. In an act of love and power, American and Hispano families reached out to Indian women and children to ease their borderlands burdens. Lieutenant Colonel King S. Woolsey left his central Arizona ranch in 1864 to kill Apaches and claim land; he returned from his campaign with a ten-year-old Yaqui girl as his personal consort. Lucia Martinez bore the Colonel's children and harassment until his death in 1879. The territorial patriarch left his illegitimate children no inheritance, but he had indentured them, ironically making them eligible for $1,000 from his estate. Woolsey's compatriot Jack Swilling had brandished a gun to uphold slavery, claim Western lands, and make "good Indians," but when his Mexican, American, and O'odham friends staged the Camp Grant Massacre in the spring of 1871, he stayed home with his Mexican wife, four American children, and four Apache wards. Swilling indentured one of these Indian minors, but he most likely did so to protect him from his neighbors' anti-Apache sentiments. Josefina and Miguel Gonzales Roca indentured three-year-old Teutilla in 1869. Of elite families in Mexico and Chile, the Rocas had been nursed and cared for by criadas-mestizo servants-and they wanted the same for their children. When they indentured the Apache toddler, they both continued a longtime Hispanic tradition of dependence upon racially inferior domestics and secured a future of white privilege for their new family.

This chapter focuses on intercultural households to examine linkages between bonds of indenture and ties of affection, between exploitative labor and love, and between questionable paternity and patronage. Though Woolsey, Swilling, and Roca have been chronicled as Arizona's territorial fathers, the profiles offered here emphasize their participation in the indenture system and their roles as heads of hierarchical households. By constructing histories from the evidence that others have ignored or obscured, this chapter addresses not only territorial Arizonans' intimate dependence on racial others but also the legacies of those intimacies in the state's historiography.