In the year 1693, a lumbering cart caravan covered with several months of trail dust rolled into the village of El Paso from the south. With it were soldiers, friars and several dozen families. They had come to help resettle upper New Mexico following its reconquest by Gen. Diego de Vargas.
Among the arrivals was a 9-year-old boy named Bernardino de Sena. Described in the documents of the time as having a round, dark face, large eyes and a thick nose, the lad was traveling with his foster parents, who had adopted him as an orphan in Mexico City. Within the year, the family had settled on a ranch north of Santa Fe, and there young Bernardino grew to manhood.