MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: Folio, 11 1/4 x 8 inches
COMPONENTS: 195 manuscript leaves plus decorative title page, with a few related manuscript letters tipped or laid in.
CONDITION: Disbound, lacking boards and backstrip; tape repairs to front flyleaf and title page.
ITEM ID: 4713
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Ledger of Burials

DATE
Decade: 1840s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)
Notes: 1841-49

Ledger of burials for the town of Chimalhuacán.

These burial records from the Chimalhuacán area date from fairly early in Mexico’s independence. They were primarily written and signed by two parish priests of Chimalhuacán, José Joaquín Sánchez Mendevil and José Antonio Bourges. Each record gives the date and place of burial (most were made in the cemeteries of Chimalhuacán and Tepetlixpa), and the names, age, and cause of death of those buried. Many of the dead were very small children; a common cause of death was “viruelas” (smallpox), but a wide variety of maladies and mishaps are listed. Included are a few letters from priests outside of Chimalhuacán who had found the corpses of some of the town’s former residents in their own communities, and requested permission to send the corpse home for burial. These letters yield further interesting details regarding the registered burials. One drunkard drowned in a temazcal (traditional indigenous sweat bath); his still-warm body was found the next morning. Another letter dated 24 March 1847 tells of 3 men who drew the suspicion of an army unit making its way to Morelos, and were executed under a bridge by a firing squad. In another unfortunate example, a priest explains that a man visiting his town was heading back home on a particularly starry night, when a gang ambushed and mortally wounded him.