Mission San Gregorio de Abo
Mission San Gregorio de Abo (1621-1673) - A Spanish mission established in 1621 by Fray Francisco Fonte near present-day Mountain Air, Torrance County, New Mexico. Abandoned in 1673, only ruins remain today.
Juan de Onate officially established the name New Mexico when he was appointed the first governor of the new Province in 1598. Onate extended the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, "Royal Road of the Interior," from Santa Barbara, Chihuahua into New Mexico opening it up for settlers and missionaries. The indigenous people of the new province were the Pueblo peoples and groups of Navajo, Apache and Utes. The villages of these people became known to the Spanish as Pueblos. The early missionaries sought to establish missions at each of the major pueblos and attempt to form the indigenous peoples into european like communities bring them into the catholic religion.
The Mission San Gregorio de Abo was founded about 1621 by Fray Francisco Fonte as one of the twenty-one Spanish missions founded in New Mexico. The large San Gregorio de Abo Church and Convento were completed by 1629.
To illustrate the situation Friar Juan Bernal wrote on 1 Apr 1669:
"...this kingdom is ...nearly exhausted...the whole land is at War with the...heathen Apaches who kill all the Christian Indians they can find...no road is safe: everyone travels at risk of his life, for the heathen patrol them all. ... for three years no crops have been harvested. last year a great many Christian Indians starved, left dead along the roads, in the ravines, and in their huts. There were towns like Las Humanas where more than 450 starved. Now the same calamity still prevails in the whole kingdom there is not a bushel basket of corn nor of wheat to be had at any price..."
Now part of the Abo Unit of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument containing some 370 acres. Access to the site of the ruins and the pueblo is through the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, which offers interpreted tours and self-guided walks. It is now possible to walk directly around and within the old walls of the Abo mission church and the surrounding unexcavated pueblo structures.
Visited: 14 Apr 2015