History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-30-2020


Although numerically few, Presbyterian Hispanos constitute a persistent presence in the predominately Catholic religious landscape of New Mexico. Despite their resilience, they have been largely invisible in historical scholarship. This study foregrounds the Protestant Hispano identity through the experience of the first Hispano ordained as a Presbyterian pastor, José Ynéz Perea. Using Perea’s correspondence, U.S. government documents, contemporary newspapers, Presbyterian serials, and Catholic oppositional writings, this study locates Perea’s experience in the wider context of the Gilded Age, both in New Mexico and in the United States. Perea’s religious identity made tenuous his place in Hispano society. Although he found peace and meaning in the doctrines of Presbyterian Christianity, he struggled to prompt similar conversion in other Hispanos. Even so, Perea’s work and example carved out a space for Hispano Presbyterianism that remained even as the modernizing Presbyterian Church abandoned missionary efforts in the region.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. L. Durwood Ball

Second Committee Member

Dr. David Prior

Third Committee Member

Dr. Samuel Truett




History of Religion, Presbyterianism, New Mexico, Gilded Age, Conversion, Missionary Outreach

Project Sponsors

Center for the Southwest

Document Type