The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 324
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
About one hundred feet from the road the ditch terminates in a
natural arroyo or gully, which leads eastward into the river about
two hundred yards away. South of the road the ditch leads into
cultivated fields, where it is soon lost; but forty rods to the south-
east, where it crosses an unplowed lane, it is again distinct, and
eighty rods farther away it can still be faintly traced across
In the bed of the river two hundred yards below the mouth of
the arroyo the remains of the old "Rock Dam" are pointed out.
They now consist of only a heap of large stones, stretching across
the stream. A man fishing up the river at low water would cer-
tainly notice the stones, though he might not suspect that they
are the remains of a dam. But the inhabitants of the neighbor-
hood claim to remember when both ditch and dam were quite
distinct-a claim fully supported by the long and commonly used
names, "Rock Dam" and "Ditch Valley Farm." In the fields the
"acequia" has been filled in by the plow; while most of the stones
of the dam, I am told, have been hauled away and used for build-
ing purposes. Besides the ditch and the dam, tradition tells of
the remains of old buildings of pre-American origin, once standing
on Kolb's Hill, below Ditch Valley Farm. Tradition ascribes the
ditch, the dam, and the old buildings to the Spaniards, and neigh-
borhood belief in the tradition is evidenced by perennial digging
about the locality of the dam for pots of Spanish gold. But few
or none have guessed, what is now established beyond question,
that these archaeological remains are the vestiges of what were
known in their day as the San Xavier missions.
I. THE DAWN OF HISTORY IN CENTRAL TEXAS
1. The obscurity of the history hitherto.-The story of these
missions is a little known chapter in the history of the labors of
the Franciscan Fathers among the Indians northeast of the Rio
Grande. Writing a few years ago on "Some Obscure Points in the
Mission Period" of the history of Texas, Dr. W. F.. McCaleb said,
with essential truth, "Though little is known of most of the
eastern [Texas] missions, still less is known of some others. In-
deed, as to the three missions on the San Xavier River, no his-
torian, so far as the writer's information goes, save Bancroft, has
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914, periodical, 1914; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/m1/328/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.