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

Secular Life in the San Antonio Missions

constant danger of Apache attacks, and raids took a heavy toll in
cattle and human lives. During 1736 and 1737 the Apache killed
two Indian women from San Juan, two women from Concepci6n,
and carried off two mission boys. They stole from forty to fifty
horses from the Espada herd and raided the settlement and
presidio.65 In some places neophytes refused to go out of the
pueblo to herd the cattle for fear of the hostile Indians. The
Apache caused a reversal of the Indian policy. The Marquis de
Rubi's report suggested a war of extermination against the Apache,
as he felt they could no longer be trusted and could not be dealt
with by the missions." The peace policy was abandoned and "the
Spanish undertook the destruction of the Plains Indian before
his soul had been saved."''7 Some contend that the adoption of a
partial military policy was an admission that the mission system
had failed.68
At times epidemics of smallpox, measles, and buboes ("a
leprous venereal disease") swept the San Antonio missions.69 In
1739 smallpox and measles hit the San Antonio missions. Indians
viewed smallpox with alarm and felt safe only in flight. Hence
many abandoned the missions. Many who remained could not
work because of the disease; others played sick to avoid work.
At the end of the year San Jose had only forty-nine Indians. From
300 Valero was reduced to 184, Concepci6n went from 250 to
12o, and Espada from 118 to 66.70
Human elements outside the missions often presented a handi-
cap in San Antonio. Continual bickering occurred between the
governmental officials and the missionaries, the villa citizens and
the missionaries. Recriminations were so violent that it is diffi-
cult to fasten blame on one side. Part of the difficulties arose
from the loosely defined spheres of activity in the administrative
65Proceedings Concerning Infidelity of the Apaches, June 25, 1738-February 18,
1739 (MSS., Bexar Archives Translations, Archives Collection, University of Texas),
XI, 24-25, 28, 32.
66Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage, V, 1; Garrison, Texas, 91.
67Webb, The Great Plains, 118.
68Ibid., 125.
69Dabbs, "Texas Missions in 1785," Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic
Historical Society, III, 21; Chabot, Morfi Excerpts, 61.
70Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, 15; Castafieda, Our Catholic
Heritage, III, 71.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 3, 2016.

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