The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 69
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The Journey of a Jacket
In those days it was customary for the captains of the presidios
to operate a general store of their own in connection with the
military establishment, and to sell the soldiers merchandise on
credit against their annual wages. Because of the sparsely-settled
condition of the frontier, these stores frequently enjoyed a virtual
monopoly upon the trade of the community in which they were
located. Shipments of new merchandise arrived at rare, widely-
spaced intervals. Meanwhile, once the supply of a particular com-
modity had been exhausted, the settlers did without until a new
It is not surprising, therefore, that when Joseph Miguel reached
La Bahia he immediately began looking for any scarce items
which Captain Costales might have in his store that were not
available in San Antonio. Strangely enough, the choice articles
two centuries ago were the same ones that are still much in
demand today. He found two pairs of ladies' shoes and some
women's silk hose that he wanted more than anything else in
the world, but he had no money, a situation which was not
unusual, since soldiers were paid only once a year.
"I haven't a peso in my pocket," he remarked ruefully to
Costales, the storekeeper, "but I'd give my shirt off my back for
"Your shirt, no," Costales meditated, "but how about that fine
leather jacket? Perhaps I could allow you something on it." His
questioning eyebrows awaited a reply.
The jacket, of course, really did not belong to Joseph Miguel,
but he lost no time in making up his mind: he would trade it
for something that was his.
The value of the jacket, as assessed by the canny storekeeper,
did not quite cover the value of the shoes and hose, but Costales
gave him credit for it on the bill and charged the rest. Joseph
Miguel was happy because he had been able to get what he
wanted without any money changing hands.
Joseph Miguel borrowed a rawhide-covered case containing
1,220 three-ounce cakes of soap and soon set out on the return
trip to San Antonio. In the meantime Captain Costales had given
the newly-acquired jacket to Francisco Diego de Miranda, one of
the soldiers in his garrison, and Miranda had decided to accom-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/87/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.