Mexican Whiskey: Industrial Distilling and Inter-Ethnic Dynamics in Old New Mexico
In January of 1847, only six months after the conquest of the Mexican far north by the United States, the Hispanos and Indians of northern New Mexico’s Taos Valley rose together in rebellion, killing the American-appointed governor and destroying a substantial adobe distillery complex known as Turley’s Mill. This presentation centers on the ruin of Turley’s Mill, discussing the cultural factors that may have led to its destruction. Related historiography reflects bewilderment as to the distillery’s end due to the reputation of its owner, Simeon Turley, for fair dealing. Some historians have suggested that the coalition that destroyed Turley’s Mill was a mindless mob bent on pillage. The insurgents left behind materials of value in considerable volume, however, suggesting that looting was not a driving factor. Dr. Gonzalez’s NSF-funded research project addresses the question of insurgent motivation, treating the site as an outpost of the ever-expanding American industrial frontier. His presentation situates northern New Mexico’s Indigenous and Mexican populations in the context of the industrial-era world system using a combination of archaeological, experimental, and historical methods.
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