The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

Secular Life in the San Antonio Missions

of civilization, the Indian had to be divorced from his wandering
ways and established in a pueblo. Conversion often occurred in
the winter when the Texas Indians were existing on a diet of
weeds, worms, and roots. Protection from the weather and abun-
dant food made civilized life seem irresistible. The priests realized
that the goods were powerful inducements; one remarked that
newly converted Indians "learn the faith through the mouth
rather than through their ears."'7 Those who accepted the village
life were called Indios reducidos, as opposed to the hostile Indians,
Indios bravos.
The missions were only one of the three types of Spanish set-
tlements; there were also military and civil groups. Ecclesiastical
matters were referred to the archbishop of Guadalajara, while
civil and military affairs were subject to the viceroy and audiencia
of Mexico. The Texas missions were usually conducted by two
missionary colleges, de Progaganda Fide in Queretaro and Zaca-
tecas. Presidents, who headed smaller groups of missions, super-
vised local matters.8
Five missions around San Antonio achieved enough material
success to make them worthy of consideration as a part of the
civilizing scheme. San Antonio de Valero, a Queretaran mission,
was established in 1718. San Jos6 y San Miguel de Aguayo was
founded by the college of Zacatecas in 172o. Three East Texas
Querdtaran missions, Nuestra Sefiora de la Purisima Concepci6n
de Acufia, San Juan Capistrano, and San Francisco de la Espada,
were moved to San Antonio in 1731.
The government bore the expense of founding the missions;
the missions were supposed to become self-supporting as soon as
possible. They were designed as temporary frontier organiza-
tions; in ten years each mission was to be turned over to the
secular clergy and its lands and goods distributed to the Indians.
The time limit had been the result of experiences with the In-
dians of Mexico. Missionaries soon found that they would need
longer in Texas. The priests received a sinodo of 450 pesos paid
from the royal treasurer and drawn by the apostolic treasurer.
7Dabbs, "Texas Missions in 1785," Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic
Historical Society, III, 24.
8Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, 6-7, 12-13; Garrison, Texas, 54.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed May 28, 2015.