The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 3, July 1899 - April, 1900 Page: 60
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Texas Historical Association, Quarterly.
ther south in their winter journey in order to procure food. But
as they did not get as far south as the Rio Grande, according to de
Vaca's experience after he crossed the Pecos River, and as in the
time of the later Spanish explorers they do not seem to have crossed
the Rio Grande, it is highly probable that the southern limit of
their annual migrations was the same during the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth centuries. So I set down the southern and south-
eastern limits of the buffalo range in de Vaca's time as being the
same as in La Salle's time, and as being most certainly south of
the Lavaca River.
De Vaca then must have set out from a point south of the Lavaca
River. I conclude also that this point must have been north of the
Rio Grande. If he started from a point south of that river, it is
difficult to believe that he could have crossed any "great river com-
ing from the North," and such as he is afterward described as cross-
ing, unless such crossing refers to the Rio Grande itself, which
comes from the northwest and in parts even from the southwest
until a point as far west as El Paso is reached.
With this granted, the next consideration is the line of travel.
After making their escape from the Indians here the Spaniards
marched a short distance to another tribe and concluded to win-
ter there. They remained with them eight months until the
mesquite bean ripened, when they took up their travels westward.
The general course aimed at was toward the setting sun. This
course could not be followed closely all day. Then too the Span-
iards planned to travel from village to village, depending upon
these villages for guides and food. This would certainly have made
their course more or less erratic. I make their direction for several
hundred miles to have been a little north of west, in spite of their
determination to lay a course toward the setting sun. Had their
course lain to the west or south of west, it would have carried them
across the Rio Grande at a point where the river has a consider-
able volume, and I think they would have made an unmistakable
record of the crossing. Two of their number were unable to swim
and would have found trouble in crossing. Afterward when they
came to a river-probably the same river much higher up, accord-
ing to the general belief, and nothing like so large as in its lower
stretches-which they forded, the water coming up to their arm-
pits, that river de Vaca calls a "very great river."
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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/m1/68/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.