Mardith Schuetz-Miller The following inventory of professionally trained artisans, gleaned from both archival and published sources, was compiled as a research tool to help identify the men who may have been involved in the construction of monumental buildings. It includes not only masons and Royal Engineers, who were most often identified as the architects of the period, but also carpenters, tile and brick makers, painters, and metal workers - both ordinary blacksmiths and armorers. Metal workers might strike some readers as an odd inclusion, until one realizes these men often made, sharpened, and repaired the tools used by the others, as well as manufactured building hardware. Long experience taught me that building artisans were not always identified by trade in various records and it is helpful to have a basic list to check against. Nevertheless, this one represents only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more archives to be mined. Included are civilian artisans: men, trained in the guilds of central Mexico, recruited as colonists; men brought to the frontier provinces under government or ecclesiastical contract to construct mission churches, for example, and to teach their trades to mission Indians; and younger colonists trained under the tutelage of these professionals. Also identified are a few reredos constructors who never set foot on the frontier, but whose products ended up in borderlands churches. Further included are professional artificers from specific governmental branches. Royal Engineers, highly trained in Spanish military and mathematical schools, specialized in the construction of forts and fortifications. However, their skills were frequently put to use in designing, and sometimes overseeing, the erection of churches, public buildings, bridges, and water projects involving dams and irrigation ditches. Each presidio attempted to number a mason a carpenter, and a blacksmith-armorer on its roster. These men, with the help of their fellow soldiers, were frequently responsible for the initial buildings of new colonies and were often loaned out to mission establishments to train neophytes and help with their construction projects. The same can be said of the shipyard artisans from San Blas and its subsidiary maestranza at Loreto who played major roles in monumental building in the Californias.
The entries record as much data as I could find on any given individual: their ethnic identity, origin, life span, parents, wife or wives, children, and professional engagements. Names are rendered with their variant spellings as used in the documents cited. At first blush, family relationships may seem trivial, but are useful in sorting out the artisans from men with the same name. They are also important because sons often followed their fathers, or a related, trade. Family relationships also point to considerable bonding through marriages of the artificer class. The entries are uneven since they reflect my particular involvement in the histories of Texas, Sonora, and the Californias. Nevertheless, it is my hope that this starter biofile may spur other researchers to the possibilities of identifying artisans engaged in monumental building by knowing who was where and when.
Texas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Nuevo Santander 158-204
A few of these California craftsmen were earlier named by the author in the Architecture of the Spanish Borderlands section of Charles Scribners Sons Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies, Vol.III (New York, 1993). Many of the biographies first appeared in the authors Building and Builders in Hispanic California 1769-1850 (Southwestern Mission Research Center, Tucson, Arizona and A Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, Presidio Research Publication, Santa Barbara, California, 1994). Excluded here from the last-named are most of the Indian artisans who could not be identified with the Spanish colonial mission structures and who, with rare exception, stayed within their own mission territory. Also excluded are most of the foreign craftsmen who could not be linked to colonial construction.
Aguila, José María, Sargeant and Painter
Parents: José Ygnacio Aguila and Ana Theresa Pérez
Wives: Quirina Carrillo, Francisca García-Lugo
May 16, 1829. Marriage at Mission San Carlos of José Aguila, sargento liceniado of Monterey, native of Celaya (son of José Ygnacio Aguila and Ana Theresa Pérez and widow of Quirina Carrillo) and Francisca García (daughter of Santiago García and Petra de Lugo and widow of Ygnacio Taforo).
1833 census of families at the "cuartel no.1, San Carlos de Monterey" lists José Aguila, a 43 year old painter, and wife Francisca García-Lugo (Temple VII, SBMAL).
1836 general census of the city of Monterey lists José Aguila, a 56 year old painter, native of Celaya, and wife Francisca García, 37, from Monterey (Temple VII, SBMAL).
Nov.11, 1839. Don José María Aguilar [sic] and Doña Francisca García were godparents to a baptism at San Antonio de Padua.
1830's. Aguila held a number of offices in Monterey: syndic 183l-1834, regidor and commissioner of police 1832-1833, member of the deputation in 1833, administrator at Soledad 1836, and clerk to the administrator of San Antonio 1838-1839 (Bancroft, l964: 28).
1844. Grantee of the Cañada de Nogales (Bancroft l964: 28).
Note: The painter from Monterey should not be confused with José María Aguilar, the bricklayer from Los Angeles. Their surnames were sometimes misspelled. José Vicente Aguila, a native of Agualulco, was also in northern California and was often recorded simply as "José Aguila". He was married to María Remigia Vásquez. And a final possible misidentity is José María Aguila y Fragosa who was sometimes recorded as José Aguila or Aguilar, although he was ordinarily identified by the name Fragosa.
Aguilar, Isidro, Master Mason
Ethnic Identity: Spaniard
Origin: Culiacán, Sinaloa
Dates: ? - 1802 or 1803
Nov.13,1796. Fr. Fuster requested permission of the governor to start building a church at San Juan Capistrano with "el albañil Aguilar" (Fuster to Borica, CMD 287, SBMAL).
Dec.9, 1796. The new church was to be started in the near future (Fuster to Borica, CMD 288, SBMAL).
1797. Aguilar was godfather at a baptism at San Juan Capistrano on Dec.3. In criminal charges brought against neophyte Aurelio Jujuvit of San Juan Capistrano for the murder of his wife, Master Mason Ysidro Aguilar testified that he and the corporal of the guard Pedro Poyorena had found the body of the victim about one-half league from the mission in March. Aguilar was also recorded as a maestro alarife (architect). Being illiterate, he signed his testimony with a cross (CA 65: 436-471).
Jan.20, 1799. The salary of "Maestro Albañil Isidro Aguilar" was brought up. He was identified as a native of Culiacán (Fuster and Santiago to Borica, CMD 423, SBMAL).
Feb.21, 1803. Lasuén wrote to the viceroy and his College of San Fernando that the master mason who had been brought from Mexico had died (Engelhardt, l922: 40).
.Aguilar, José María, Soldier and Bricklayer
Ethnic Identity: Spaniard
Origin: Culiacán, Sinaloa
Dates: ca.1785 to 1788 - after 1848
Wives: María Antonia López, María Ygnacia Lisalde
March 31, 1796. José María Aguilar, native of Culiacán and identified as de razon, was godfather to a baptism performed at Santa Gertrudis, Baja California (Temple VIII, SBMAL).
1801-1812. Enlisted as a soldier at San Diego on May 12, 1801 and was on active duty at least until the latter year at which time he was at San Gabriel with the military escort where he had been for two years. (CA 22: unnumbered ).
Feb.3, 1803. Marriage at San Diego of José María Aguilar, leather jacket soldier of the presidio, and María Antonia López, daughter of the deceased Juan José López and Feliciana Arbayo [This union made him a brother-in-law of Salvador Béjar, the younger, whose father was the carpenter].
March 1, 1809. José María Aguilar, of the presidio de San Diego, was a godfather to a baptism at San Juan Capistrano.
Feb.15, 1810. Marriage at San Gabriel of José María Aguilar, widower of María Antonia López, and Maria Ygnacia Lisalde (daughter of Pedro Lisalde and María Encarnación Pérez).
1810-1812. Aguilar and Lisalde were at San Gabriel with the military escort. Aguilar was witness to a marriage there on Aug.10, 1810 and Lisalde was godmother to a baptism on Oct. 23, 1812.
1814. Retired from the military, he was on a list of Los Angeles settlers drawn up Feb.4, 1816. José María Aguilar was identified as one who had received no lands, but had cultivated the pueblo commons since 1814 (Bancroft 1886a: 349-350 no.25).
July 7, 1814. Baptism at San Gabriel of José Christovál, son of Aguilar and Lisalde.
1821, 1825-l826. He served as regidor in the Pueblo de Los Angeles (Bancroft 1886b: 559-560 no.3).
1823 list of Los Angeles families who had contributed to the church project included José María Aguilar, his wife Ygnacia Lisalde, and son Christobál (Temple VIII, SBMAL).
Sept.9, 1824. Aguilar was witness to a marriage in the pueblo church of Los Angeles.
1829 list of eligible voters in Los Angeles included José María Aguilar, a 54 year old bricklayer (Temple VIII, SBMAL).
1836 census of Los Angeles identified Aguilar as a 48 year old farmer and native of Los Angeles [sic], his wife María Ygnacia Elizalde, 33, a native of Los Angeles. Still in the household was Cristobál Aguilar, 20, of the pueblo, employed as a sirviente and Rafaela Elizalde 6, also of the pueblo (Temple VIII,SBMAL). In the same year Aguilar appeared as a witness to a marriage at San Gabriel on July 1.
1839 census of Los Angeles listed him as a 54 year old bricklayer (Bancroft, l964: 28).
Oct.31, 1848. Marriage at the Los Angeles church of Cristobál, son of Juan María Aguila [sic] and María Ygnacia Lisalde, to Dolores Yorba.
Note: José María Aguilar, the bricklayer from Los Angeles, can easily be confused with José María Aguila, the painter from Monterey, since they were both soldiers and their surnames were sometimes misspelled. There was also in Los Angeles at the same time José María Avila who was married to María Andrea Yorba. To compound the problem of the two surnames sounding much the same, Cristobál Aguilar also married a Yorba. José Vicente Aguila, often recorded without his middle name, is another possible source of misidentity. He was a native of Agualulco and was married to María Remigia Vásquez. And a final possible mix-up can occur from José María Aguila y Fragosa, who, although ordinarily identified by the name Fragosa, was sometimes recorded as José Aguila or Aguilar.
Alvárez, José Leocadio. Shipwright, Presidio de Loreto
Ethnic Identity: unknown
July 23, 1805 (?) Began work at the Marine Dept. of Presidio de Loreto, replacing an unnamed carpenter who retired in March (Presidial Roster for 1805, CA 22: unnumbered).
Araiza, Miguel. Master Blacksmith, Presidio de Loreto
1803. Began work at the Marine Dept of Loreto on June 14 as a replacement for Francisco Xavier Morillo who retired on June 13. Araiza was on leave, with permission, from Oct. 26 to December (1803 roster, Presidio de Loreto, CA 22: unnumbered)
Arriola, José Faustino (also Arreola), Master Blacksmith and Armorer
Ethnic Identity: Spaniard
1797. Blacksmiths José Faustino Arreola and José Arroyo had been at the Arsenal at San Blas for fifteen days , working at the forge under the scrutiny of the Maestro Mayor who approved their craftsmanship. Contracted by the Commandant for two years work in Alta California at annual salaries of 360 pesos each, they were advanced 50 pesos against their salaries as travel expenses and ordered to sail on the first ship headed for California. (AGNb: 274, 276-285, 289,SBPRL; CA 74: unnumbered).
1797. Arriola and Arroyo embarked on the frigate Concepción Jan.11 and arrived at the port of San Francisco on April 14. Arriola was assigned to the Presidio de Monterey and was reported working there on Sept.12 (Borica to Branciforte, AGNb: 289-290; AGNa 4: 344-346,SBPRL; CA 6A: unnumbererd).
June 1, 1797. Arreola was listed among the artisans affiliated with the four presidios (AGNa 5: 790,SBPRL).
1798. Arriola was at Branciforte on Jan.1 (Sal report, CA 6A: unnumbered). He served as godfather at a baptism at Santa Cruz on March 11 and as a witness to a marriage on July 8. He was probably engaged in the construction of a new water-powered grist mill at the mission.
July 20, 1798. Borica ordered the Commisionado of Braciforte to furnish the smith, master mason (José María) Franco and an unnamed other with a guard on some unidentified project or trip (BPSD No.86).
Oct.25, 1798. Arriola petitioned Borica to return home to help his aged father, even though he lacked five months on completing his contract. His companion Arroyo joined him in the petition. Borica endorsed their request since they were no longer needed (CA 6A: unnumbered; CA 49: 380).
Arriola, Rafael, Soldier and Master Blacksmith
Ethnic Identity: Spaniard
Origin: Agualulco, Tepic, Nayarit
Dates: ? - 1827
Parents: Diego Arriola and Juana María García de León
Wives: Ana María Nuñez, Manuela Cañedo, Severiana Rosas
1796-1803 ?. Arriola arrived as a leather jacket cavalryman in San Francisco, probably in
1796 and was stationed there at least through 1802.
1797. From April 26 through Dec.31 he and was engaged in the construction of fortifications at San Joaquín and Yerbabuena from April 26 through Dec.31 (CA 53: unnumbered)
Arriola apparently arrived in California with his wife Ana María Nuñez and two (?) children. Three others were born in Alta California:
1.María Rafaela Arriola, born in Tepic, had an illigitimate son who was baptized at San Gabriel Jan.26, 1826. She was subsequently married to Luis Blanco Rosas [probably a son of the Master Mason Miguel Blanco and María Juana Rosas, daughter of the mason Basilio Rosas] when they served as godparents at the Presidio de San Diego in 1827 and at San Gabriel in 1832. In 1836 María Rafaela was married to Francisco Lugo when a daughter was baptized at San Gabriel.
2.Tomasa. Born Tepic? Served as godmother to a son born to Juana Arriola (Rafael's daughter by Manuela Cañedo) and Felipe Aguilar and baptized at San Gabriel in 1838.
3.Josef Rafael Bartolomé. Baptized San Francisco Aug.25, 1799.
4.Antonio Fermin. Baptized San Francisco July 7, 1801, son of Rafael Arriola of Agualulco and Ana María Nuñez of Aguacatlán.
5.Juana Rosa. Baptized by Manuel Ortega on Aug.30 and recorded at San Francisco Sept.5, 1802. She was identified as the daughter of the Leather Jacket Soldier Rafael and Ana María Nuñez.
Dec.16, 1803 to Sept.14, 1804. Rafael Arriola, soldier from the presidial company of San Francisco, was the scribe in the criminal trial held at the Presidio de Monterey against Mariano Duarte for disobeying orders and striking a guard (P.I.16, Exp.9: 114-163).
Oct.17, 1804. Rafael Arriola, "native of Guadalajara," was witness to a marriage at San Carlos.
May 5, 1806. Governor José Joaquín Arillaga wrote the viceroy that the soldier of "these presidial companies Rafael Arriola" had completed [his contract] and desired to continue his trade at the Marina de San Blas. He seconded the request (De la Guerra Folder 62, SBMAL).
March 22, 1808. Burial at San Gabriel of Ana María Nuñez, native of the Pueblo de Aguacatlán, Nayarit, wife of Rafael Arriola, native of Agualulco, Tepic, neighbors of Los Angeles.
Aug. 16, 1808. Marriage at San Gabriel of Rafael Arriola, from Tepic, widower of Ana María Nuñez, to María Cañedo, widow of Francisco Sánchez, native of the Mission of Rosario [Baja California], daughter of Ygnacio Cañedo and Angela Leyba, now deceased. Arriola and Cañedo had two children:
1.Januaria Rafaela. Baptized San Gabriel Sept.21, 1809.
2.Juana Ladislao. Baptized San Fernando June 28, 1811. Was married to Felipe Aguilar when a son was born to them in 1838 and baptized at San Gabriel. And on Nov.4, 1840 she was remarried in Los Angeles to Santiago Féliz, at which time she was identified as the daughter of Arriola and Manuela Cañedo.
Aug.17, 1812. Burial at San Fernando of Manuela Cañedo, wife of "Señor Rafael Arriola, Master Blacksmith."
June 16,1813. Marriage at San Fernando of Rafael Arriola, widower of Manuela Cañedo, resident of San Fernando (son of Diego Arriola and Juana María García de León), native of Agualulco, Bishopric of Guadalajara, and Severiana Josefa Rosas, widow of Juan Ygnacio Cañedo and daughter of Carlos Rosas [son of the mason Basilio] and María Dolores, native of Los Angeles.
Nov.19, 1815. Father Muñoz at San Fernando wrote to José de la Guerra with the suggestion that the latter ask the governor to provide either the master blacksmith Felipe [García y Romero] or [Rafael] Arriola and the mission, in turn, would provide four aides to make the requested lances, since his Indians were incapable of making them (De la Guerra 695, SBMAL).
Jan.14, 1816. Father Gil y Taboada at Mission Santa Bárbara wrote to José de la Guerra that [Rafael] Arriola and [Mathias?] Higuera had concluded their work there - apparently making lance heads (De la Guerra 325, SBMAL).
1823-1825. Rafael Arriola was acting as apodero defensor (authorized defender) of the suit brought against the majordomo of San Juan Capistrano by Juan José Nieto and the Rancho de Santa Gertrudis de Cevocit, or "los Nietos." He had been appointed by the governor, Don Pablo Vicente de Solá, and approved by the ayuntamiento of Los Angeles (CMD 2443 dated June 17, 1823 and CMD 2835 dated 1825, SBMAL).
April 10, 1827. Burial in Los Angeles of Rafael Arriola, native of Tepic and husband of Seferina [sic].
Arroyo, José Deciderio, Master Blacksmith and Armorer
Ethnic Identity: Spaniard
1797. Blacksmiths José Arroyo and José Faustino Arreola had been at the arsenal at San Blas for fifteen days  working at the forge under the scrutiny of the Maestro Mayor, who approved their craftsmanship. Contracted by the Commandant for two years work in Alta California at annual salaries of 360 pesos each, they were advanced 50 pesos apiece against their salaries for travel expenses and ordered to sail on the first ship headed for California. (AGNb: 274, 276-285, 289,SBPRL; CA 74: unnumbered). They embarked on the frigate Concepción on Jan.11 and arrived at San Francisco on April 14. Arroyo was assigned to the Presidio de Santa Bárbara to repair arms (Borica to Branciforte, AGNb: 289-290; AGNa 4: 344-346,SBPRL; CA 6A: unnumbered).
May 20, 1797. Josef Arroyo, blacksmith at San Antonio de Padua, was a witness to the marriage there of the blacksmith Pablo Antonio Cibrián.
June 1, 1797. Arroyo was listed among the artisans affiliated with the four presidios (AGNa 5: 790,SBPRL).
1798. Arroyo was at the Presidio de Monterey on Jan.1 (Sal report, CA 6A: unnumbered). On Dec.25 José Deciderio Arroyo and José Arriolo petitioned Borica to return home, even though they were lacking five months on completing their contracts. Borica endorsed their dismissal as they were no longer needed (CA 6A: unnumbered; CA 49: 38).
Arroyo, Joseph Manuel, Master Blacksmith
Ethnic Identity: Spaniard
Origin: Tepic, Nayarit
Dates: ? - l775
July 25, 1774. Manuel Arroyo, blacksmith from Tepic, appeared as a witness for a woman from Tepic who had petitioned to marry at San Carlos (Marriages, San Carlos).
March 14, 1775. Josef Manuel Arroyo was listed as a blacksmith on the roster of the Presidio de San Diego (CA l5: 25-27,SBPRL; Temple Vol. VII,SBMAL).
March 29, 1775. José Arroyo was at Santa Cruz where he served as a godfather to a baptism.
Nov.4, 1775 . Arroyo was murdered by Indians during the attack on San Diego mission.
Nov.6, 1775. Burial of the "master blacksmith Joseph Arroyo, native of Tepic", in the church of the Presidio de San Diego by Fr. Fuster (Burials, San Diego; Serra to Viceroy, Dec.15, 1775, Serra II: 1101).
Oct.27, 1776. Name of blacksmith slain on Nov.4, 1775 Indian attack on San Diego mission entered into the baptismal register of the mission.
Augustín Alejandro. Assistant Caulker, Presidio de Loreto
Ethnic Identity: presumed Indian
1773. Listed as first assistant (of three) to chief caulker Salvador Márquez at Presidio de Loreto with a salary of 192 pesos and two rations (AGN CA.80: 19-25).
Avila, Antonio Ygnacio, Blacksmith
Parents: Antonio Cornelio Avila and María Isabel Urquídez
Wife: Rosa María Ruiz
1783. Avila arrived in Los Angeles as a child (Bancroft 1964: 45).
1798-1799. Presidial lists for Monterey include the blacksmith Avila. He is erroneously named Josef Antonio Dávila on the earlier roster. Company of Monterey salary adjustments for Sept.7, 1799 listed the blacksmith Antonio Avila earning 180 pesos a year (AGNa 4: 696; Prov.St.Paps.Ben.Mil.II, SBPR; Temple VIII, SBMAL; CA 6A: unnumbered).
Feb.6, 1803. Marriage at Santa Bárbara of Antonio Ygnacio Abila, single, native of Villa del Fuerte (son of Cornelio Abila and María Ysabel Urquídez, both deceased), neighbor of Los Angeles and Rosa María Ruiz, single, from San Buenaventura (daughter of Efigenio Ruiz, deceased, and Rosa López of Los Angeles).
1803-1858. The family of Avila and Ruiz was resident in Los Angeles area when their children were born. They were so identified when María was buried in 1805.
1.María. Baptized San Gabriel Jan.9, 1805; buried San Gabriel March 25, 1805.
2.María Francisca de Paula. Baptized San Gabriel April 12, 1807; married José Antonio Sepúlveda at San Gabriel June 24, 1825.
3.María de la Asumpsión. Baptized San Gabriel Aug.16, 1809; María Ascención [probably same] married Pedro Antonio José Sánchez at San Gabriel June 24, 1825; buried Los Angeles March 10, 1847.
4.Juan. Baptized San Gabriel March 9, 1812; married María Soledad Thomasa Capistrano Yorba Sept.,1832 (Northrop I:54).
5.José Martín. Baptized San Gabriel Feb.1, 1815; married María Ygnacia Simona Féliz Nov.10, 1838; married María del Pilar Villa (Northrop I; 54).
6. María Rafaela. Baptized ca. 1818; married José Emidio Véjar (Northrop I: 54). This made her the daughter-in-law of the carpenter Salvador Béjar; buried San Juan
8.Pedro. Baptized San Gabriel June 29, 1821. Father identified as native of Villa del Fuerte, mother from San Buenaventura. His paternal uncle Bruno Avila was his
godfather [there is another entry for Anastacio Avila from "Fuerte, Bishopric of Sonora," who was probably a third brother]. Pedro married in Los Angeles to Nepomucena
Altamirano, Nov.11, 1841.
9.Pedro Antonio. Baptized San Gabriel Jan.20, 1824; was probably the Antonio Avila who married Ramona Verdugo Duarte in Los Angeles Nov.29, 1856, even though his age was recorded as 42 instead of 32; married María Ballesteros Dec.1, 1868 in Los Angeles.
10.María Marta. Baptized San Gabriel July 29, 1825; married Juan Nepomuceno Padilla Feb.14, 1851 at Los Angeles.
11.Demesio del Pilar. Baptized Los Angeles Oct.12, 1829. Antonio Ygnacio Avila's parents were identified as Antonio Cornelio Avila and María Isabel Urquídez of del
Fuerte. Ruiz' parents were identified as Eugenio Valdes and Rosa López, deceased, of del Fuerte [?].
12.Higenio. Baptized Los Angeles Nov.5, 1838.
1822.Grantee of Sauzal Redondo (Bancroft 1964: 45).
1829.Antonio Avila, age 55, a farmer, was listed among those eligible to vote in the Departmental Assembly (Temple VIII, SBMAL).
1809-1824. Avila and/or his wife served as godparents to baptisms at San Gabriel or Los Angeles church: June 16, 1809; Feb.1, Oct.20, 1810; April 14, 1811; June 2, 1814; June 6, 1824.
1820's-1840's. Avila held public office: regidor in 1820-21 and juez de campo most of the time from 1835-48. He also played an active role in the pursuit of horse thieves (Bancroft 1964: 45).
Sept.28, 1858. Burial in Los Angeles of Antonio Ygnacio Avila, 78 years old.