The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928 Page: 150
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150 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE TEJAS OR ASINAI INDIANS,
TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH BY
MATTIE AUSTIN HATCHER
FRAY ISIDRO FELIS DE ESPINOSA- ON THE ASINAI AND THEIR ALLIES
[Entry of the Missionaries]2
All the measures taken by the priests of this college to return
to the poor, deserted lands of Texas were without results and only
aroused in their apostolic hearts regrets and disappoint-
lIn addition to chronicling the work of the Franciscans in Texas, Fray
Isidro F6lis de Espinosa shared in the toils and hardships of the work
on this exposed frontier. According to his biographer, Dr. Nicolas
Le6n, he was born in Queretaro in 1769. He early showed an inclina-
tion toward the monastic life and took the habit of the Franciscans at
the College of Santa Cruz de Quer6taro in March, 1696, when only eix-
teen years of age. In 1709 he was. appointed priest for the mission of
San Juan Bautista de Rio Grande. From this point he took part in
the second entrada of the Queretarans in their attempt to achieve the
spiritual and temporal conquest of Texas; but lacking the necessities
of life, he was soon compelled to return to his mission.
In 1715 he aided in the organization of a new expedition to Texas
and was named as the president of the priests who were designated for
this duty. He selected the site for the mission of La Purissima Concep-
ci6n and, with his own hands, aided in the work of constructing tem-
porary structures of puncheons with thatched roofs to serve as a church
and dwelling for the ministers. He founded additional missions, de-
voted himself to the task of learning the dialect of the Tejas Indians,
and was instrumental in catechizing, baptizing, and comforting in
death two of the leading casiques. He shared in the sufferings of the
years 1717 and 1718 when there was an extended drouth. His troubles
were greatly increased by the war between France and Spain, which soon
forced the missionaries to retire to San Antonio.
Being determined that the toil and suffering of the priests should not
be in vain, he visited Queretaro and Mexico City and returned to Texas
in 1721 with Marques de San Miguel de Aguayo. He re-established the
mission of Concepci6n and blessed the church of Nuestra Senora de
Guadalupe. However, at this juncture, he was appointed guardian of
his College and never again served in the Texas missions, dying in 1755
after a long period of service in other fields. The difficulties he met in
his efforts to convert the Tejas Indians during his long residence among
them are graphically described in his Cr6nica. Espinosa, Fr. Isidro
Felix, "Cr6nica de la Provincia Franciscana de los Ap6stoles San Pedro
de Michoacdn (Dr. Nicolas Leon, Editor), pp. 1-18.
'An extract from Chapter VII, r6nica.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928, periodical, 1928; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101088/m1/162/?rotate=90: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.