Beginning in the sixteenth century, Spanish Missionaries began establishing Missions throughout the southwest in an area they called New Spain. The area was made up of the northern part Mexico and large portions of the southwest, including Arizona and New Mexico. Over 20 Missions were founded, including Mission San Jose de Tumacacori.
Mission San Jose de Tumacacori is a historic Spanish mission. Originally Mission San Cayetano del Tumacacori was established by Jesuits in 1691 on the east side of the Santa Cruz River in Southern Arizona. After the O’Odham rebellion of 1751, it was relocated to the west side of the river and renamed Mission San Jose de Tumacacori.
Father Kino established the original mission in 1691. it is the oldest mission site in Arizona. It lies “seven leagues to the south of Guevavi and one league from Tubac.” It had a church and a a house for Missionary. In July of 1772 there were 22 married couples, 12 widowers, 10 orphans and 27 others for a total of 93 people.
The Mission has a five-foot thick cobblestone foundation that was begun in 1800, but finance caused a set back. In 1821 work resumed because Father Juan Batista Estelric sold 4,000 head of cattle to a local rancher, Don Ignacio Perez. Father Estelric used the first payment to hire a master and pushed the work ahead. Walls were raised from the foundation to a height of fourteen feet, but the rancher stalled on his payments and work ceased again.