1853 Indian Village Site (SLP-S-1)

Author: George Hruby

(Click on picture to enlarge)

The SPBSLP has identified site SLP-S-1 as the 1853 village site of the San Pasqual Indians. This comes from two primary sources. The first are from the field notes of the assigned government surveyor in 1853 who establishes this site as where he observed the Village of the San Pasqual Indians to be. The second source is from the archaeological survey and works of Archaeologist Malcolm Rogers, associated with the San Diego Museum of Man. He also confirmed this site in the early 1900's as a former San Pasqual Indian Site.

The SPBSLP found issue with this site when again, Leland Bibb identified the site as the location of the San Pasqual Indian Village in December of 1846.

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Leland Bibb's annotated topographic map


The first indicator that this identified village site was not the one involved in the Battle of San Pasqual was Emory's sketch.


As you can see, Emory clearly shows the American Soldiers coming right off of San Pasqual Hill, riding forward towards the “point” (Where the San Pasqual Monument Park is located on Highway 78 at Santa Ysabel Creek Road) and passing by the village.

Also, note the large, detailed “Circular Hill” that Emory shows the soldiers passing by as they come off the hill. They then cross the river bed and into their first engagement with the Mexican forces. Now, if you apply the Bibb Theory that the 1853 village site is the same as the 1846 site, you would have to look at Emory's Circular Hill and understand that Bibb's proposed village site lies nearly three-quarters of a mile on the other side of that Circular Hill, due northeast.

Despite that this village is noted by numerous soldiers involved in this conflict, and that American forces actually at one point, sweep the village by searching individual huts, Emory does not show one depiction, not one hut at all, northeast, or on the other side of this Circular Hill. Not one.


The SPBSLP quickly discovered that Bibb's proposed site of the San Pasqual Indian Village during the Battle of San Pasqual, was not fitting the distances described by the soldiers involved in this engagement. It also didn't fit with the military tactics that were being employed and described by the soldiers in this battle. This is covered in more detail in “1st Engagement Site – Theory 1”.


An account by a witness of the Battle of San Pasqual also makes Bibb's 1853 Indian Village Site as inprobable because there would be no way that the individual could have witnessed the battle from Bibb's location. When the Californios rode out from the Indian Village to engage the American soldiers, the San Pasqual Indians fled from the village, up the mountain behind the village, and from behind rocks, witnessed the battle, most of which occurs just off of the point. One of these Indians was Felicita, the daughter of the Chief. She was a very young girl when she witnessed this event. This is part of her description of the battle:

… one morning we heard the sound of voices shouting on the mountain side towards Santa Maria. Clouds hung low so at first we could see nothing but some figures of men like shadows came riding down the mountain. They were soldiers wearing coats of blue … The Mexican soldiers were sitting on their horses holding their long lances in their hands. They now rode swiftly to meet the soldiers in blue and soon there came the sound of battle. The Indians in great fear fled to the mountains. We hid behind brush and rocks and watched. One of our men who had lived at the Mission told us that the strange soldiers from the hills were Americans and that they were fighting to take the land away from the Mexicans. The Mexicans had not been good to the Indians so we were not sorry to see the new soldiers come against them. At first there were only a few of the American soldiers who came down the mountain and there were many Mexicans so the battle went hard. Some of the Americans were killed and some wounded. Then more of their men came from the mountain and the Mexicans were driven away. We saw them ride down the valley and wait behind a hill. Soon we saw the Americans moving down the valley. When they came near the place where the Mexicans were hiding there was more fighting and we trembled as we watched. The Americans did not shoot their gun many times. Perhaps rain had made the powder wet. They struck with their guns and used the sword while the Mexicans used the long lances and their reatas. The mules that the Americans rode were frightened and ran all through the willows by the river. After them rode the Mexicans on their swift horses, striking with the lances and lassooing with the reata. It was a very terrible thing. As the hours passed we crept nearer and nearer to the valley. There was little shooting so we were not afraid of the bullets… Towards evening another company of Americans that must have been far behind came to the fighting place [probably the rear guard with the baggage train]. Then the Mexicans rode away and the American soldiers had time to look for their dead and wounded.

For Felicita to have witnessed such sights, sounds, and actions, she could only have done it from SLP-TS-2. It would have been impossible for Felicita to have witnessed these things from Bibb's proposed site of SLP-S-1.


New photographic and archaeological evidence discovered by the SPBSLP, now supports a different location for the San Pasqual Indian Village of 1846. This site has been identified as SLP-TS-2. In addition, the newly discovered site fits the depiction shown on Emory's map as well as specific details stated by the soldiers themselves, including both distances and tactics. For more, see 1846 Indian Village Site.

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