The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 3, July 1899 - April, 1900 Page: 59
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Route of Cabeza de Vaca in Texas.
With this granted, I will take up de Vaca's march west from the
Just before de Vaca escaped from the Indians and, with his three
companions, commenced his march westward, he was at one of the
summer stations where the Indians lived three months on the
prickly pear fruit. Consequently he was, as figured out in the
article above referred to, in the cactus region south of the line
drawn from Galveston to Eagle Pass, and probably not far from
the coast. Now of this country he says: "Cattle come as far as
here. Three times I have seen them and eaten of their flesh."
Then follows a clear description of the bison and its habits.
From the fact that he had seen the bison and eaten of it only
three times during the six or seven years that he had remained in
these parts we are led to conclude that the country from which he
started on his march westward was at the extreme southern or
southeastern limit of the range of the "buffalo," as it is commonly
called. De Vaca says, "Cattle come as far as here," as if they did
not go much, if any, farther. So, if we can determine what that
limit was in 1535 anywhere in the cactus region, we can determine
approximately de Vaca's position before commencing his western
The nearest record in point of time and locality of which I have
any knowledge is that left by La Salle's party. when they attempted
to settle at Fort St. Louis one hundred and fifty years afterwards.
According to Parkman, Fort St. Louis was situated on Lavaca
River, near Matagorda Bay. And the French were at this place in
the summer of 1685, when buffalo were so abundant as to be what
the Abbe Joutel called their "daily bread." So at that time the
southeastern limit of the buffalo range must have been at least as
far south as the Lavaca River. Now what difference is probable in
this limit to the buffalo range between de Vaca's time and, La
Salle's time, one hundred and fifty years apart?
Those limits must have been originally set by natural conditions
such as abundance or scarcity of grass and water, winter temper-
ature, etc., and, while subject to yearly fluctuations caused by
droughts, extensive fires, or severe winters, must have remained
practically the same for a long period of time, unless the numbers
of the buffalo had greatly increased or decreased. An increase in
the numbers of the buffalo would have tended to drive them fur-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 3, July 1899 - April, 1900, periodical, 1900; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101015/m1/67/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.