Fossils, and One Way of Utilising Them—Temosachic—The First Tarahumares—Ploughs with Wooden Shares—Visit to the Southern Pimas—Aboriginal Hat Factories—Pinos Altos—The Waterfall near Jesus Maria—An Adventure with Ladrones.
About thirty miles from the village of Temosachic (in the Tarahumare tongue Remosachic means Stone Heap) we entered the plain of Yepomera, and came upon an entirely different formation, limestone appearing in an almost horizontal layer some thirty feet deep. In this bed the Mexicans frequently find fossils, and at one place four large fossil bones have been utilised as the corner posts of a corral or inclosure. We were told that teeth and bones were accidentally found at a depth of from twenty to thirty feet and some bones were crystallised inside. This formation, which stretches itself out toward the east of Temosachic, but lies mainly to the north of this place, has an extent of about fifteen miles from north to south, and from three to four miles from east to west.
Fossils picked up by Mr. Meeds in the cutting of a creek near Yepomera consisted of some fragmentary teeth and pieces of bones from some small animal. They were found in the hard clay that underlies the lime-stone. Large fossil bones also are said to have been gathered near the town of Guerrero, Chihuahua, quite recently. It seems to be a custom with the common people to make a concoction of these “giants’ bones” as a strengthening medicine; we heard of a woman who, being weak after childbirth, used it as an invigorating tonic.
Here in Temosachic we were joined by Mr. Hartman, who had brought part of our baggage from San Diego by wagon in order to enable us to travel as unencumbered as possible.
From now on, until as far as the southern border of the State of Chihuahua, the country is occupied by the large Indian tribe of the Tarahumares. They are now confined to the Sierra Madre, but in former times they also occupied the entire plain of Chihuahua, as far west as the present capital of that State, and in a narrow strip they may have reached as far as 100 miles north of Temosachic. They were the main tribe found in possession of the vast country which is now the State of Chihuahua, and although there are still some 25,000 left, the greater part of them have become Mexicanised, adopting the language and the customs of the whites, together with their dress and religion. Father Ribas, in the seventeenth century, speaks of them as very docile and easily converted to Christianity.