Secular Life in the San Antonio Missions
square with a rampart which served as one wall for the houses.
In 1768 Fray Gaspar Jose de Solis described the pueblo at San
Jos6 by writing:
The structure consists of a perfect square of stone and lime, each
side is two hundred and twenty varas long and has a door, there are
towers in opposite corners, each one guarding its two sides. The
dwellings of the Indians are built against the wall from five to six
varas in length and four in width. Within each there is a little kitchen
of four varas in length, a chimney and loopholes which fall on the
outside for defense against the enemy; there is an arched granary of
stone and lime.12
In 1758 Governor Jacinto de Barrios y JAurequi reported that
San Jose had eighty-four apartments built of stone. Each con-
tained a metate (stone to grind corn), a pot, a comal (flat iron
or rock for cooking corn cakes), a water jar, a closet, pantry, bed,
and dresser. Solis added blankets, sheets, and buffalo hides.13
The apartments, the church, and the shops were built with
Indian labor, under the supervision of the padres and in some
cases soldiers. The earliest structures were jacales, houses made
of brush, mud, and straw. The Indians stuck poles at intervals,
added brush between them, and filled the cracks with mud. As
late as 1762 San Juan had houses of this nature. 4
More permanent buildings were composed of adobe, stone, and
concrete. To make adobe, Indians dug a pit, stacked the clay by
the side, and filled the pit with water. They added the clay to the
water, and sometimes straw and grass for binding. Then they
poured the clay mixture into wooden frames and allowed it to
dry. They laid the bricks with a mixture of.mud and covered the
outside surface with a thin layer of mud. Builders used adobe for
the least important structures such as Indian houses, garden walls,
and well heads.'5 Early buildings had adobe concrete, although
Concepci6n and other buildings after 1731 had domes of a mix-
ture similar to present-day concrete with pulverized stone and
12Margaret Kenney Kress (trans.), "Diary of a Visit of Inspection of the Texas
Missions Made by Fray Gaspar Josh de Solfs in the Years 1767-1768," Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, XXXV, 50.
lalbid., 52; Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage, IV, 1s.
14Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, 98.
1sBrooks, Texas Missions, 48-49.
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 July 8, 2015.