The Parrilla Expedition to the Red River
THE PARRILLA EXPEDITION TO THE RED RIVER
HENRY EASTON ALLEN
The documentary material used in the preparation of this paper is
from transcripts in the personal collection of Dr. H. E. Bolton. The three
expedientes cited are in the Archivo General de Indias, 92-6-22, at Sevilla.
Their abbreviated titles are: Autos sobre el Asalto, Autos sobre el Auwilio,
and Autos sobre la Campaiea, respectively referred to in the notes as
Asalto, Aumilio, and Camparea.
Among the graphic episodes during the Spanish period in Texas
history, one of the most notable is the attempt to reduce the eastern
Apaches to mission life. Dr. W. E. Dunn has told the story of
early Spanish relations with the Apaches and the founding of the
San SabA mission, with its subsequent destruction by northern
tribes. This attack marked the beginning of a new phase of
It is the purpose of this article to give an account of the first
attempt of the Spaniards to solve the new problem. The story of
the Parrilla expedition and its failure not only forms the sequel
to Dr. Dunn's study referred to above but provides one angle of
introduction to the study of the work of Athanase de M zieres,
who, after the acquisition of Louisiana by the Spaniards, success-
fully carried out the task of pacifying the Indians of northern
The incident is not only interesting for its own sake, but the
material on the official actions affords ample opportunity to observe
the workings of Spanish colonial administration on the frontier.
About the middle of the eighteenth century there was a current
of expansion in the Spanish province of Texas. The motives were
1Dunn, W. E., "Apache relations in Texas, 1718-1750," in Texas State
Historical Association, Quarterly, XIV, pp. 198-274; "Missionary activ-
ities among the eastern Apaches," in the same Quarterly, Vol. XV, pp.
186-200; "The Apache mission on the San Saba river," in Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, XVII, pp. 379-414.
2Bolton, H. E., Athanase de Mzibres and the Louisiana-Texas frontier,
1768-1780, Cleveland, 1914.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/. Accessed April 30, 2016.