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Spanish Explorers : Garces - Crossing the Mojave

Sierra Pinta-Arroyo de Los Martires

P 238
canada, since the footing was firm. Here there was grass, but no water.

Mar. 8. I went six leagues westsouthwest, in part through the canada and in part through the medano. I arrived at some very abundant wells which I named Pozos de San Juan de Dios,10 and there is sufficient grass. Here begins the Beneme nation.11

Mar. 9. I went 5 leagues [west] ^ westsouthwest, and arrived at a gap in the sierra that I named (Sierra) Pinta for the veins that run in it of various colors. Here I encountered an arroyo of saltish water that I named (Arroyo) de los Martires.12 There is good grass.



10 For note on the Pozos de San Juan de Dios see p. 258.

u Beneme. These are doubtless the Panamint Indians, of Sho- shoean stock, after whom the valley and range west of Death valley (their present habitat) were named. Formerly they occupied the region mentioned (in Inyo county, Cal.), and the adjacent desert stretches. As late as 1883 they numbered about 150; ten years later their number did not exceed 50. These Indians live mainly on herbs and roots, and therefore have been popularly known, with other tribes, as " Root Diggers," or " Diggers."F. W. H.

The above text of Garces is evidently the basis of Cortes in Whipple's Report, p. 124: "Journeying from the nation of the Tamajabs [sic] to the west quarter northwest, at the end of 20 leagues begins the nation of the Beneme."

11 Mar. 9 is the memorable day on which Garces discovers Mojave river, never before seen by a white man. He has reached the sink of the river, modern Soda lake, and names it

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"Tamajabs" - Jamajabs, or more appropriately, the Mojave.

The "Beneme" (Vanyume) are probably more closely related to the Serrano.


(Sierra) Pinta - Afton Canyon

ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
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