Bonilla's Brief Compendium.
there he had continued his course to the Roxo [Red] River, forty
leagues farther to the north; that eighty leagues to the west he had
disembarked among the Nachitoches, a nation that for fourteen
years had been trading with the French.'
From this point he had followed on foot the route to the Texas,
where he and his party were well received. When San Denis' in-
tention of coming to our frontiers became known to the Indians,
they charged him straitly to ask in their name that missionaries be
sent to them, and among these the Padre Fray Francisco Hidalgo
de la Cruz of Queretaro, and a Viscayan named Captain Urrutia,
whom they had known since the establishment of the old, abandoned
missions, [both of whom] were most acceptable to them.2
to the distance. The Fort of San Juan, therefore, would seem to have
been on the Mississippi, about where Saint John the Baptist, Louisiana,
is situated today. Pdnicaut, however, distinctly states that Saint-Denis
was living at Biloxi at the time Cadillac gave him this commission. There
is a confusion in the several contemporary accounts of the voyage from
Mobile to the mouth of the Red River, which has not yet, to my knowl-
edge, been satisfactorily explained away.
1The Nachitoches [Natchitoches] and the Cadodachos [Caddo] Indians
had first become acquainted with the French about 1700, when Saint-
Denis and Bienville, then in command of a fort on the Mississippi, eight-
een leagues above its mouth, had made a voyage of exploration up the
Red River. About 1708, some of the Natchitoches Indians had taken
refuge with Saint-Denis at his fort, and had been placed by him with a
tribe living on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. (This fort, it may be
stated in passing, was abandoned soon afterward. Saint-Denis then re-
turned to Mobile, afterward to Biloxi, where P6nicaut says he was living
when Cadilloc called him to Mobile in 1713.) This detachment of the
Natchitoches tribe returned with Saint Denis to their old home on the
Red River in 1713, joining him at Biloxi, where he waited for them "some
days" on his way from Mobile to the Mississippi.
'Mr. Clark, "Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis and the Re-establishment
of the Tejas Missions" (THE QUARTERLY, VI 1), remarks that in the
course of the return of the missionaries and soldiers from Texas in 1693,
Captain Urrutia with three other soldiers had deserted and had gone
back to live with the Indians. He was among them seven years. "Fray
Hidalgo also returned later to live among the Asinais [Texas], where he
continued his missionary work for several years, contemporary with Cap-
tain Urrutia's stay." Both these Spaniards had thus greatly endeared
themselves to the Indians.
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101033/. Accessed August 30, 2014.