The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 23
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Forerunners of De Leon's Expedition to Texas
under instruction in the Christian doctrine, and to settle in
After marching four leagues, presumably in a more northwest-
erly direction," they came to a river called Ona which, the Indians
said, meant salty.18 "This place," the diary records, "has many
groves of oak and mesquite; there are many buffalo; the country
has fine pastures; and there are many fish in the river which I
found unoccupied and uninhabited." Hearing of the arrival of
the Spaniards, four chiefs came with their people to see them.
All told, there were eleven hundred and seventy-two Indians.
None had so far been baptized. In fact, as the chiefs told Bosque,
they had never seen Spaniards. As to becoming Christians and
living in towns, they asked this on behalf of their women and the
young members of their tribes; but they themselves on account of
their advanced years would prefer to remain heathen. We can
imagine what the missionaries thought and felt at this naive sug-
gestion. Bosque took formal possession of the place and named it
San Isidro. Very probably because the Indians were so numerous
at this place,57 it was proposed to establish them here in a settle-
ment. To this the chiefs agreed; whereupon, to quote the diary,
"their people approached, and both men and women devotedly
kissed the sleeves of the habits of the Fathers . .. Juan
Larios and . .. Dionisio de San Buenaventura; and they asked
permission to give them as alms something of what they possessed,
as a mark of gratitude to God for having opened to them the way
to the truth. And at once they began throwing things upon the
ground, some a piece of tallow, others hides or skins of animals,
of the kind with which they clothe themselves or cover themselves,
and in which they sleep."
On the following day, Thursday, May 16, "was erected in said
post [of San Isidro] a portable altar"'8 and "prepared to say
"'Having crossed the Rio Grande and traveled four leagues northward,
the expedition, in order to avoid the arid and barren wastes of what is to-
day eastern Kinney County, continued in a more northwesterly direction
and for a time kept close to the Rfo Grande.
"5Very probably this is one of the creeks between Eagle Pass and Del
Rio. The expedition was still east of Del Rio.
"If the Indians whom he met since crossing the Rio Grande joined his
company, Bosque was now surrounded by more than thirteen hundred
"8A "portable altar," sometimes called altar stone, is a stone slab which
contains a small repository with relies of Saints. Where this slab does not
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/m1/31/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.