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Who was Juan Tabo?

Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

I just got back from a trip to Phoenix, where I saw probably the fourth or fifth "Juan Tabo Boulevard/Street/Avenue" I've seen in the United States' Southwest. Clearly Juan Tabo was somebody important to have all these streets named after him. But if you Google for "Juan Tabo", you get thousands of hits for stores with addresses on Juan Tabo Boulevard, and nothing for old Juan himself. If you Google for "Juan Tabo biography" or "Juan Tabo history", you don't do any better.

So, folks, you're my last hope. Anybody know who this fellow was?

[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Marilyn de Queiroz

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9059
The only thing I could find was not really very helpful --

.... I had to talk to the DJ since
she wanted to know who Juan Tabo was (the name of a large local street). I
actually spent weeks trying to figure this out when I moved here, finally
talking to the local historian at the Albuquerque Museum, who told me that
no one had any idea. Wierd.

Also the Albuquerque Journal said that the origin of the name is shrouded in mystery.
[ January 25, 2005: Message edited by: Marilyn de Queiroz ]

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why they call it the present." Eleanor Roosevelt
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

Thanks, Marilyn, this was extremely helpful. Knowing that nobody knows who he was is as good as (if not better than!) knowing who he was.
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
It looks like someone named his dog "Juan Tabo". This Juan fellow better be someone out of ordinary. I don't want to do all the searches just to find out that he was a public servant of some sort.
Peter Rooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 820

Maybe a cuban film director:

Inter Press Service English News Wire; November 30, 2000; STAFF
feature-length films: "Hacerse el Sueco" (Play Dumb), by Daniel Daz Torres, and "Lista de Espera" (Waiting List), by Juan Carlos Tabo.
Guevara said it is "nearly impossible" that Cuban filmmaker Orlando Rojas would finish "Las Noches de Constantinopla ... [from HighBeam]

I could of course be completely wrong!

[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: Peter Rooke ]Waiting List Film
[ January 26, 2005: Message edited by: Peter Rooke ]

Regards Pete
scooter mclellan

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 1
if juan tabo was a shepherd, i could see naming all kinds of things afer him. after all, there have been a few other famous shepherds.
Janeice DelVecchio
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Sep 14, 2009
Posts: 1789

If I were marrying a Juan Tabo, wouldn't change my name.....

When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
Bob Frost

Joined: Apr 28, 2012
Posts: 2
Who Was Juan Tabo

The legend of the shepherd haunts the scholars of Albuquerque.
No one knows who he was or how his stories came to be.
This is his little known tale born on the wings of truth.
Some had to be imagined by your humble sleuth.

Villagers could not hear the footsteps of his sandals.
In his pack were blankets, food and candles.

Above his head, near cloud high, he sees an eagle.
He would wish that good times would come for his people.

In 1756 Comanche Indians raided Tijeras canyon south of the Sandias.
His village was small, only sheep corrals and a few casitas.

In his early years as a boy in a small pueblo he didn’t have time to play
Juan had learned the Pueblo way and the Christian way

Of the two, he didn’t know which was right.
But, with a little bit of schooling, he learned to write.

He was Juan, son of Lupina a Taboso, Pueblo Indian basket maker.
It was his uncle on his father’s side that taught him to be a sheep herder.

Man and dog lead their sheep to high pasture.
He could direct the dog and sheep with a simple gesture.

His summer days with the sheep were long and quiet
Dried fruit and meat made up his simple diet.

He was Juan of Taboso. He wrote his name Juan Tabo.
Sometimes he would say it out loud in the canyon to hear it echo

In his early years of herding sheep to the mountains in summer
He would scratch his name on rocks and canyon walls so he could remember.

Coming back in the fall he could easily follow and find his way home.
He could take different trails. Juan Tabo loved to roam.

In the warm summer afternoons in Taboso he would tell stories
The children would gather and hear about the Conquistadores.

The Comanche raided villages they did some bad and some good.
Sometimes in the olden days it was hard to get enough food.

They learned of the great sickness when everyone washed with yucca soap;
Of planting seeds to harvest corn and squash and cantaloupe.

Juan lived for many years and told his stores to all who would listen.
The people loved him. He would smile and his tooth would glisten.

He was a simple man, a shepherd of sheep, a teller of tales
He left his name so he and we could follow his many trails.
And, so it was, in the life and times of Juan Tabo
We still find his name on the trails of New Mexico.

Bob Frost
Scottsdale Poet Laureate
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

And that, my friends, is that. Grácias!
Greg Charles

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2968

With a name like Bob Frost, I guess the pressure's really on to become a poet. Cowboy poetry isn't usually my favorite genre, but I really like this one. If it's not Juan Tabo's true origin story, it really ought to be. It makes me want to learn Spanish and move to the Southwest in the 18th Century.
Bob Frost

Joined: Apr 28, 2012
Posts: 2
Thanks. I like to do cowboy poetry, but I write in all styles and genre.
I agree. Here's the link:
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