The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
THE BEGINNINGS OF MISSION NUESTRA SENORA DEL
HERBERT E. BOLTON
A short time ago Professor Barker, of the University of Texas,
kindly sent me the following extract from the Lamar Papers, in-
forming me that it was written by James Kerr, surveyor for
DeWitt's Colony, probably between 1837 and 1839:
First Settlements on Matagorda Bay
On the west bank of the Garcites Creek,-and is called to this
day old La Bahia and about one and half league above its mouth
are to be seen the ruins of a fort and village, said to be the first
settlement of La Salle, and is that settlement no doubt which some
have represented as founded on the Lavaca river or river of Cows-
La Salle or the Jesuits who. came with him built a Mission on
the margin of the bay del espiritu Santo and about 800 yards
from the mouth of the Guadalupe river-some of the posts and
other ruins are remaining to this day.'
It will be seen that the first statement by Kerr confirms the
identification which I have recently made of the location of La
Salle's colony.2 In his second statement, however, Kerr is evi-
dently in error. The ruins to which he refers, I conjecture, were
those of Mission Nuestra Sefiora del Refugio, at its first site,
before its removal to Copano Bay. Apropos of Kerr's note, and
since the fact that this mission once existed near the lower Guad-
alupe seems never to have been recorded in history, I submit the
following brief and tentative sketch of the beginnings of the estab-
lishment. It was written some two years ago in answer to an
inquiry by a friend, and makes no pretense at completeness or
finality. It is based on considerable manuscript material in my
possession. I have not had opportunity as yet to fully digest all
of this material, but since it may be some time before I can give
the matter further attention, I offer the note to QUARTERLY readers
with the hope that it may justify the space assigned it.
"Lamar Papers, No. 1642, Miss West's Calendar, Anonymous notes.
2Austin American, July 19, 1914; Mississippi Valley Historical Review,
II, 165-182, September, 1915.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/. Accessed January 25, 2015.