The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938 Page: 155
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The Builders of San Xavier Del Bac
bastro, particularly an excellent memorial written by him in 1788,6
from which we learn that Reyes's reports are not correct in every
detail. It is this document which contains a definite statement
regarding the builders of the present mission church of San Xavier
del Bac, near Tucson, Arizona.
But even if there were no other report besides that of Father
Reyes in 1772, it would suffice to establish the fact that in that year,
four years after the arrival of the Franciscans, the present church of
San Xavier del Bac had not as yet been erected. Speaking of all
the missions in Pimeria Alta, Father Reyes observes:
The churches and dwellings of the missionaries are all built of
adobe and covered with wood, straw, and earth. The pueblos are
close to the churches, but consist of scattered huts and badly con-
structed shelters. To please the missionaries some Indians build
houses of adobe, covered with straw and earth, and they till a very
little ground. It is precisely for the cultivation and exploitation
of their individual fields that the father missionary supplies them
with seeds, hatches, hoes, and all necessary tools; and when these
are lacking, they do not sow. . . . It is a certain and well known
fact that all these missions are very poor, and only the two mis-
sions of Tubutama and Caborca have some cattle and horses.7
Of the mission of San Xavier del Bac in particular, Father Reyes
has the following to say:
The mission of Bac, with a pueblo de visita, is situated on a wide
plain. To the east is unknown territory occupied by the nomadic
and warlike Apache nation. To the west dwell a large number of
pagan Indians, meek and docile, who occupy the land as far as
the Gulf of California, a little more than a hundred leagues dis-
tant. To the south at a distance of eighteen and twenty leagues
lie the two missions of Guevavi and Suamnca, and the presidios
of Tubac and Terrenate.8 To the north is unknown territory as
far as the Gila River, forty leagues distant, more or less.
The pueblo of San Xavier del Bac is situated on level ground,
abounding in water and good soil, where the Indians cultivate
6Exped.te promovido por el P.e fr. Fran.co Ant.o Barbastro Gov.or de
la Custodia de San Carlos de Sonora sobre imposibilidad de q.e permanezea
este establecimiento. Afio de 1788. Archivo General, Mexico City, Misiones,
Tomo 14, fol. 232-257. Copy in Bancroft Library, U. C.
7Report of Reyes, 1772, loo. cit., fol. 123v-124.
sSuamnca (Suamca) and Terrenate lay just south of the present interna-
tional boundary line. The mission of Guevavi was in Arizona; it had three
visitas, TumacAcori, Calabazas, and Sonoitac. Just north of Tumacacori
was the presidio of Tubac.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938, periodical, 1938; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101103/m1/171/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.