Notes and Documents
A Sketch history of Nacdoches
W. B. BATES*
ENTURIES before the advent of the Spanish and American
pioneer and the tilling of the red loam bottom lands, the
cutting of timber from the sandy hills, and the establish-
ment of permanent settlements, Indians made their homes and
had established a permanent village on the site of the beau-
tiful little city of Nacogdoches. This Indian village, located in
the path of natural movement between Texas and what is now
Louisiana and Arkansas, was visited by the early Spanish and
French explorers during a period of almost two centuries imme-
diately before the earliest permanent European settlement in
This village was inhabited by the Nacogdoches Indians, a tribe
which constituted a segment or part of the Indian group or fed-
eration called "Tejas" by the Spanish. Thus the name of the state
likewise traces its origin to this East Texas area.
Hernando de Soto's expedition perhaps visited this area after
his death in 1542, and more than a century later, in 1687, LaSalle
moved through this region in the opposite direction, looking
for an overland route to the Mississippi River from the Texas
Gulf Coast. It was the interest the.French showed in East Texas
that led to the establishment of the first Spanish settlements in
this area a few years later.
Franciscan friars built missions and forts in East Texas to secure
Texas from French infiltration. The Spanish installations were
closed in 1693, however, when the threat eased. Again in the
early 17oo's French pressure prompted the Spanish to exhibit
evidence of their claim to fertile and strategic East Texas.
It was in 1716 that Domingo Ram6n founded the mission of
Our Lady of Guadalupe on the site of the present city of Nacog-
doches, the first white settlement on this favorite location for
Indian villages. Two years later the renewed threat of a French
invasion caused the Spaniards to flee their newly established
*This paper, with minor changes, was read before a meeting of the Philosophical
Society of Texas in the Hotel Fredonia at Nacogdoches on December 3, 1955.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/. Accessed July 1, 2015.