"Abó is perhaps best remembered as the birthplace and home of an Indian we now know as Esteban Clemente. That name was given him by the Spaniards when he was baptized in the mission of San Gregorio.
The friars stationed there seemed to have realized fairly early that Esteban was an exceptionally bright and eager learner.
As he grew older, Clemente drew ever closer to the Hispanic New Mexicans. Gradually, he built himself a tidy little mercantile empire by imitating their business practices. Professor John Kessell describes him as "the most Hispanicized, notable, and trusted Indian in all the kingdom." So lofty was his status that he proudly added the honorific title of "don" to his name, a privilege sometimes granted to allied Indian leaders, says Kessell.
Notwithstanding his success, a dark cloud loomed in Don Esteban's future, as it loomed over all New Mexico.
Beginning in 1666, a great drought descended upon the land, and by 1669, famine ravaged the ranks of Pueblos and Hispano settlers alike. In addition, the Apaches stepped up their raiding in search of food.
In their misery, the Pueblos blamed the Spaniards, and especially the missionaries, for disrupting traditional ceremonies that brought rain. Don Esteban was foremost among the disillusioned ones. In despair, he recanted his conversion to Christianity and renounced his allegiance to the king's flag.
His new anger ran deep, and he began secretly to organize a rebellion. As its leader, he issued orders to followers that everywhere they should rustle the horse herds and drive them into the mountains, leaving their enemies afoot. "
Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Esteban Clemente was trader, diplomat
(The Santa Fe New Mexican 8/2)