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Second Mission Period 1587 - 1616

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This mission was one of the centers of the Guale-Tolomato chiefdom, was located on the mainland to the north of Asao-Talaxe. Lanning attributed its foundation to Fray Pedro Ruiz in 1595, but gives no citation for that statement. As has been noted earlier, Tolomato may have received attention from the first Franciscans of 1573 Pedro Corpa was the friar who perished at Tolomato, where the revolt began in 1597. There is a possibility that he, rather than Ruiz, was the mission's founder. Although Tolomato does not appear on Geiger's 1587 convent list, it is worthy of note that Corpa arrived in 1587 and that an Indian from Tolomato whom Governor Méndez de Canzo interrogated in 1597 stated that he had known Corpa for a long time. As the mission where the revolt began and the one whose leader and people remained recalcitrant, many of its inhabitants probably perished in the en counter with the forces raised by the newly loyal mico of Asao to attack the rebels in their hinterland refuge. Tolomato was not mentioned during Governor Ibana's 1604 visitation or during that by Bishop Altamirano in 1606. In the following confusing passage Lanning posited Tolomato's resurrection in 1605. When the Tolomato mission was destroyed in 1597, it was not reconstructed and rededicated until eight years later, and then it was built in the village of Espogache. Both Tolomato and Espogache are therefore proper designations. Here again, as Lanning gave no source for that statement, one is left to wonder why it should not be called simply Espogache. That some Tolomatans survived somewhere and returned to obedience to the Spanish authorities is indicated by the creation of a new Tolomato mission during the mid-1620's that was located only three leagues north of St. Augustine. The new mission was designed to serve as a way station providing ferry service to San Juan del Puerto and other points to the north.' In view of the proximity of the Guale-Tolomato and the Tupiqui-Espogache chiefdoms to one another, a number of potential sites for Tolomato have been found by archaeologists, but none of the sites are indicated definitively as that of Tolomato. With less reserve the historian Lanning wrote, The ruins associated with the Tolomato mission, founded by Pedro Ruiz in 1595 and rebuilt under the direction of Fray Diego Delgado ten years later, with various additions between 1605 and 1680, are to be found on the 'Mansfield Place,' or 'The Thicket,' on the property of Lewis Crum, five miles northeast of Darien, on Pease Creek, in McIntosh County There seems to be an obvious contradiction between this affirmation that the ruins of both the 1595 Tolomato mission and its reincarnation in 1605 are to be found on the same site and the passage cited above that in 1605 the Tolomato mission was rebuilt in Espogache.

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© Copyright. John P. Walsh. April 24, 2002