San Gregorio de Abo
National Park Service - Salinas Pueblo Missions
The Sisneros Family has an intrinsic connection to the Salinas Pueblo Missions. Although the two cultures never crossed in person, due to the differences in in the times they existed here, each family member knows that this monument marks a significant place in our own history.
The Abó Unit of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument sits west of the town of Mountainair, New Mexico, and contains approximately 370 acres. The number and size of unexcavated pueblo mounds suggest that when the Spanish arrived in 1581 they would have found a thriving community. In 1622, Fray Francisco Fonte was assigned to the Abó Mission. Working with the Puebloans, Fonte established the use of rooms in one of the pueblos for an early convento. An early smaller Abó Church and Convento were built starting in 1623. Similar to Quarai, the convento for this church curiously contained a Circular Kiva. This Puebloan religious structure probably aided in early conversions. Construction on this earlier church and convento was completed by 1628. In 1629, a second missionary, Fray Francisco Acevedo, was assigned to Abó. In 1640, Acevedo began to renovate the Abó church and convento. This renovation increased the size of the church and included many improvements. This new, larger church was built around the smaller church, allowing services to continue until the smaller church needed to be dismantled and removed. Renovations to the church and convento were complete by 1658. Like Gran Quivira, a combination of disease, drought, famine, and Apache raiding led to the abandonment of Abó in 1673.
For over 100 years Abó was quiet. In 1815 Spanish sheep herders attempted to return to the area, but were pushed out by Apaches in 1830. Settlers would permanently return in 1865.