|Birth: ||Jan. 26, 1846|
|Death: ||May 11, 1939|
From: Pioneer Families of the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson:
"Maria Policarpia Martinez was born on 26 January 1846 in Arizona, daughter of José María Martinez and Felipe Yrigoyen. María was married prior to September 1866 to
Manuel Smith in Mexico–his origins are unknown. They had one son. Manuel died on 10 April 1869. On 17 July 1869, Charles Meyer was named administrator of Smith's estate, although the order was revoked four days later after the Judge of Probate decided that María could handle the liquidation of the estate and the payment of creditors. The estate was valued at $1,800, with $1,600 of that personal property.
María was married on 19 June 1869 at San Xavier to
José María Tasos. He died soon afterwards; he died on 17 July 1869 and was buried at San Xavier del Bac on 18 July 1869. On 18 June 1870, María was working as a seamstress in Tucson taking care of her son Manuel.
María was married on 11 March 1878 in Tucson by Father Salpointe to John M. Berger. Berger was born in April 1839 in Germany or Switzerland, son of John Berger and María (–?–). Heimmigrated to the United States in 1865 and was a Naturalized United States citizen. John worked as a jeweler in the late 1870s and early 1880s in Tucson. It was reported
that: Mr. J. M. Berger is now the pioneer in this line of business, he has added to his business the manufacture
of filagree work in gold an d silver and has the finest Mexican jewelry always on hand which is generally
liberally purchased by those visiting Arizona. Mr. Berger
is also the resident agent for Sherman, Hyde &
Co.'s great music house of San Francisco. He furnishes the finest class of instruments on short notice at San Francisco prices, with freight added, either for cash or on the installment plan
María and J. M. Berger lived on the family ranch at San Xavier. Berger had planted a vineyard with 5,000
vines, 500 fruit trees, and 70 acres of barley in the wint
er of 1884-1885. According to a survey conducted by John
Wasson, U.S. Surveyor-General of Arizona, the land contained 74.17 acres with a "dwelling house, out-houses,
barns, sheds and buildings". John and María cultivated 12 acres of land, growing fruit trees and vines. On 20 January 1885, the Indian Agent Roswell G. Wheeler and sub-agent F.
J. Hart, assisted by United States soldiers, forcibly evicted María from the ranch, which had become part of the Papago [today Tohono O'odham]Reservation as a result of the United States setting aside a large tract of land in 1874.
Wheeler claimed that the he "removed said Berger & his family, furniture and provisions from the said Reservation...and took possession of the tract of land... and of the houses and improvements. María later claimed that:"under the orders of the agent, the Indians had thrown
everything out of house, even to the tearing up of the carpets. In doing this the Indians had broken and stolen many things, including her watch and other pieces of jewelry. She refused to leave the house, and had, in consequence, been violently and forcibly expelled, two Indians having seized her by the hands and dragged her out. There is, she said, a man by the name of Troil living on the reservation with a Papago woman, who together with agent Wheeler had long been trying to bring the present condition of affairs about. He was present at the ransacking of her house and so obnoxiously manifested his pleasure that in her anger she seized a bootjack and dealt him a blow with it." John and María filed a suit against Roswell Wheeler an d F. J. Hart in the District Court of the 1st Judicial District of the Territory of Arizona. They claimedthat the land had been taken from them improperly, that the president of the United States did not have the authority to establish the Papago Reservation and include the property that María had inherited from her father. María won the court case, it being established that she had a clear title to the property and that the United States could not take land away arbitrarily . The land was returned to her, with the agents fired. It took years to pay off the damages caused by the eviction.
On 29 June 1900, John, María, and Manuel were living at San Xavier. John was listed as a farmer in the United States Indian Service. Manuel was attending school. John was the census taker for San Xavier that year. In 1902, John's position as sub-agent was terminated and Henry Granjon, a priest at the Mission of San Xavier, wrote a letter asking that he be re-instated. Granjon noted that María could speak Papago, that "Mr. Berger is not a Catholic, but in view of the immense good accomplished by our Sisters' school at San Xaviers' (115 pupils), he has always
endeavored to further the usefulness of this school."
John died on 22 August 1911 from a brain hemorrhage at 135 Simpson Street in Tucson and was buried the following day in Holy Hope Cemetery."
The Arizona Daily Star reported:
J. M. BERGER PIONEER GOES TO HIS REWARD. Well Known Tucsonan Passes Away at the Ripe Age of 73 Years.
One by one the old pioneers are going out: J. M. Berger is the last of these to close his eyes in eternal sleep. He died yesterday morning at four o''clock at his home in this city. He was one of the old pioneers to this country coming in 1876. He was 73 years of age. In the early days Berger ran a jewelry store on Congress Street in the old wedge. In 1878 he married Mrs. María Martinez. Five years later he took up a ranch near the San Xavier mission. In a short
time after this he received his appointment as Indian agent which position he held up to a few months ago. The deceased is survived by a stepson and eight grandchildren. The funeral arrangements were made by the Reilly Undertaking Company and the service will be held this morning from the cathedral and interment will be in Holy Hope cemetery
Later that year María sold the ranch. On 8 January 1920, María lived by herself at 135 Convent Street. María died on 11 May 1939 at 1019 Rubio Avenue in Tucson from a gall bladder problem. She was buried in HolyHope Cemetery.
The Arizona Daily Star announced:
BERGER FUNERAL SCHEDULED TODAY Mrs. Marie M. Berger, 93, a widow of a San Xavier reservation Indian agent and for 91 years a resident of Tucson, died yesterday in her home at 1019 South Ruby Avenue.Funeral services will be held in Santa Cruz church at 9 a.m. today, with burial in the family plot of Holy Hope cemetery. Mrs. Berger was a native of Tubac. Her father, José Martinez, was a rancher who died in the sixties from wounds received in an Indian attack. Her husband, John M. Berger, was San Xavier agent for a
quarter of a century before his death, in 1911. A son, Manuel Smith, survives. Manuel Smith and María Policarpia Martinez were the parents of one child: José Manuel Smith
was born on 13 August 1863.
Holy Hope Cemetery & Mausoleum
Created by: Carolyn Gray
Record added: Aug 10, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 115238196