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Author: Subject: From Choral Pepper: The Lost Diaz Grave
David K
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[*] posted on 7-19-2011 at 02:19 PM
Melchior Diaz on Wikipedia


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Melchior Díaz was an early Spanish explorer of Western North America who "was a hard worker and skillful organizer and leader. He inspired confidence in his companions and followers, and always maintained the best of order and of diligence among those who were under his charge".[1] He was involved in three expeditions associated with the explorations of Francisco Vazquez de Coronado.[2]

He was placed in charge of the town of San Miguel de Culiacán by Nuño de Guzmán. When in 1539, Fray Marcos de Niza returned from Pimera Alta reporting he had seen the fabled cities of Cibola, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza sent Diaz as the leader of a small expedition preliminarily to determine if reports by Fray Marcos were true. Information he gained was to benefit Coronado's planned and much larger expedition. He departed on November 17, 1539.

When Diaz failed to return at the expected time, Coronado embarked without him in February 1540. Diaz and Coronado met en route, and Diaz joined Coronado's group. Coronado then sent him on his second expedition to locate and investigate some villages reported in the area. He found the villages and reported they did not live up to the grand descriptions that had been given. Diaz was then sent ahead by Coronado to secure feed for the expedition's livestock.

In July, 1540, Diaz was sent to take the now-mistrusted and hated Fray Marcos back to Mexico and (say some reports) to take over leadership of the outpost at San Geronimo (or Hieronimo) in the valley of Corazones and from there to attempt contact with the fleet of Hernando de Alarcon, which was to be the maritime arm of Coronado's expedition. In September, 1540, he began his third expedition, traveling overland to the head of the Gulf of California. Near the confluence of what is now the Colorado and Gila Rivers he learned from the natives that Alarcon had departed, but had left a cache of supplies and correspondence, which he located. The message basically stated that "Francisco de Alarcón reached this place in the year '40 with three ships, having been sent in search of Francisco Vazquez Coronado by the viceroy, D. Antonio de Mendoza; and after crossing the bar at the mouth of the river and waiting many days without obtaining any news, he was obliged to depart, because the ships were being eaten by worms".[3] Diaz crossed the Colorado River, becoming the first person of European background to do so, and named it Rio del Tizon ("River of Embers" or "Firebrand River") from the practice of the natives for keeping themselves warm. He was impressed with the physical strength of the natives of the area. He explored for four days west of the Colorado, perhaps as far as the Imperial Valley.

While on this expedition (reports vary, some saying it ended further exploration, others saying it occurred while on the return) Diaz accidentally suffered a mortal wound. He threw a lance at a dog that was attacking their sheep. The lance stuck into the ground and before he could stop, Diaz impaled his groin on the back end of the lance. He lingered for twenty days, but died en route in January, 1541.

Because of his untimely death, we do not have the kind of memoirs commonly written by other Spanish explorers. The reports that he made in the course of his expeditions, however, were quite detailed and contributed much to the knowledge of the area and the times for both contemporary and later readers. His name for the Colorado River was the accepted name for almost two centuries. He reported details of Native American culture. He discovered and reported geothermal hot springs, probably the ones near Calexico.

===============================================

Now, if we can accept that the hot mud springs Melchior found are those near Cerro Prieto (the volcano south of Mexicali) and not the ones by the Salton Sea... It helps place him on the peninsula...




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[*] posted on 7-19-2011 at 07:54 PM
L O S T


I'm down for this adventure, as it sounds as ridiculously sick as the Sta. Isabel excursion!





[Edited on 7-21-2011 by El Vergel]
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[*] posted on 7-19-2011 at 08:37 PM


lets go...this time I have i feeling we will find something...



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[*] posted on 7-20-2011 at 09:22 AM


Howling winds at night, blazing sun during the day can't keep members of the dirty eight from marching over rock strewn hills and sandy arroyos in search of another adventure across the desert of Baja. A rock pile covers the body of a long ago soldier of another era cut down in the prime of his life. His spirit wanders the hill tops and valley floors seeking help to build the monument he rightly deserves.

We will find it.
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[*] posted on 7-20-2011 at 09:40 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by TW
Howling winds at night, blazing sun during the day can't keep members of the dirty eight from marching over rock strewn hills and sandy arroyos in search of another adventure across the desert of Baja. A rock pile covers the body of a long ago soldier of another era cut down in the prime of his life. His spirit wanders the hill tops and valley floors seeking help to build the monument he rightly deserves.

We will find it.


That's the attitude we need!

Here we are on the last quest... The LOST Mission of Santa Isabel: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=52696




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[*] posted on 7-20-2011 at 10:16 AM


Have to be there for this one-----



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David K
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[*] posted on 12-25-2011 at 10:42 AM


Where are you Lou?



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[*] posted on 12-25-2011 at 10:53 AM
DAVID


feliz navadad,,I resecptfully would like to have beer with you///the beer is on me...you are a wealth of incredible info that should not be lost !!thank you !!
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[*] posted on 12-25-2011 at 10:57 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by captkw
feliz navadad,,I resecptfully would like to have beer with you///the beer is on me...you are a wealth of incredible info that should not be lost !!thank you !!


Same to you!!!

I am sharing as much as possible before it is my turn to go to the great Boojum Forest in the sky!

We can preserve the past with photos and maps... I know I sure appreciate the works of writers, map makers, and photographers of the past!

Baja is a land of wonder and adventure... been going there almost 50 years, and I still can't get enough!!




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David K
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[*] posted on 5-8-2012 at 11:24 PM


Next winter for this?



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[*] posted on 5-9-2012 at 12:04 PM


Next fall will not be so cold at night.
I might as well come - been up Arroyo Grande all the way to the rancho and over the race course several times. You all need supervision. :lol::lol::lol:




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[*] posted on 5-9-2012 at 06:48 PM


If "kneel" is in, me too! He as been avoiding me for years now. Going to catch up with you!

Haven't read this whole thread, but, have to thank DK for bulling me with my brocken back to go meet Choral. v(Aug. 2001)....what a great lady! She gave me a couple of her books, she was so grasious.................I wish I would have spent more than that one afternoon with her!

[Edited on 5-10-2012 by Debra]




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[*] posted on 5-9-2012 at 11:33 PM


Oh boy, we will have a good time, Deb. Remember your WiW number.

Uh, well, maybe not too good a time, my wife is married! :lol::lol::lol:




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[*] posted on 5-11-2012 at 09:57 PM


Okay... well, maybe next winter... Since Baja Lou wanted to do this, maybe it can become a Lou Wells Memorial Event: Nomads getting together exploring the desert near San Felipe?



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[*] posted on 12-23-2012 at 05:10 PM
L O S T


You have my attention! What if we find it?

Peaceful Happiness and the Merriest Wishes of Wellness to all this Holiday Season.



[Edited on 12-24-2012 by El Vergel]
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David K
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[*] posted on 1-30-2013 at 03:46 PM


Any excitement out there for this one? You know how to contact me!

Well gang, it is getting very clear that the years are slipping by without any of us trying more to find the 'rock-pile'... Odds are it has been found and whatever treasures (helmet, sword, shield, etc.) have been removed... (from Indiana Jones: "This belongs in a museum!")

Of course, it may not at all have been the grave Melchior Diaz, and he was buried in Sonora, as most history writers claim?

To Henderson, it was most certainly a man made rock pile, of significant size, and when he read of the burial site for Diaz, it matched what he saw down in Baja.

With a Nomad's help, I was able to find and confirm the location of Choral Pepper's 'lost mission' of Santa Maria Magdalena, discovered in 1966 with others on the Erle Stanley Gardner expedition ( http://vivabaja.com/109 ).

Locating the 'rock-pile' discovered by Walter Henderson, showing it to an archaeologist, and confirming it is indeed the grave of the first European explorer to walk into California, as Choral believes, would make it two for two!




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[*] posted on 1-31-2013 at 09:37 AM


San Felipe's Bruce Barber romped all over that area for years searching for
the grave. His 2003 book "...of sea and sand" covers his search and his conclusion.




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David K
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[*] posted on 1-31-2013 at 10:58 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by GregN
San Felipe's Bruce Barber romped all over that area for years searching for
the grave. His 2003 book "...of sea and sand" covers his search and his conclusion.



Yes indeed and sadly he had the wrong starting location. He wanted to meet with Choral but she died before Bruce and I began communicating. As mentioned, Choral left out details in her magazine story. I have mailed Bruce the correct data.
See the earlier posts... Bruce thought Walter Henderson started at La Ventana.

[here is what I posted a couple years ago:

Choral Pepper (perhaps intentionally) left out some details or changed some from this letter to write her chapter... If any of you get Bruce Barber's book ('... Of Sand and Sea'), you know he would have could found the rockpile with the intense energy and science he put into the search... but only IF he had the correct starting point! ]

Bruce started his search 20 miles away from where Henderson started his walk. That doomed his otherwise excellent attempts. He has been given the correct starting point, but may not have the energy so many years later from when he tried before.


[Edited on 1-31-2013 by David K]




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[*] posted on 6-10-2013 at 09:14 AM
Diaz Grave


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[*] posted on 6-10-2013 at 11:31 AM


There are some things Henderson said that either don't make sense or they are incorrect for the location. Use Google Earth and follow the arroyos westward and note the elevation. The ones that drain westward to A. Grande are to the north. The ones he speaks of drain to the east.
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