Texas Almanac, 1952-1953 Page: 39
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BRIEF HISTORY OF TEXAS.
donment of the early East Texas missions,
the government in Mexico City had little
occasion to worry about their Trans-Rio
Grande possessions until 1714, when they
were jolted by the sudden appearance of the
French explorer and trader Louis Juchereau
de Saint Denis, at Sa n Juan Bautista on the
Rio Grande near present-day Eagle Pass.
The Frenchman, who had traversed Texas
without attracting the attention of Spanish
authorities, protested innocence of any design
other than establishing a friendly line of
commerce with the French in Louisiana.
However, he was placed under arrest and
sent to Mexico City to explain his intentions
to the viceroy. The result of the conversation
%kas the decision of the viceroy to send an
expedition into Texas to establish missions
and settlements. The offer of St. Denis to
act as guide for the expedition was accepted.
This interesting outcome was probably partly
because of the salesmanship of the French
trader (combined with the fact that he had
married the cousin of Capt. Domingo Ramon
at San Juan Bautista), and partly because of
the residue of distrust still lingering in the
minds of the Spanish authorities.
An expedition under the command of Capt.
Domingo Ramon was sent out from San Juan
Bautista. It went into East Texas, establish-
ing the first definite route of travel in this
state. Later it came to be known as the
Camino Real (King's Highway) and still later
was familiar to Texans as the Old San
Antonio Road. It extended from San Juan
Bautista (near present Eagle Pass) through
San Antonio to Nacogdoches and eastward.
Most of this route is incorporated in the state
highway system today.
Later East Texas Missions.
The expedition of Captain Ramon was ac-
companied by Father Francisco Hidalgo, who,
with Father Massanet, had been untiring in
his efforts to have missions established
among the Texas Indians. At a place a few
miles from the old San Francisco de los Tejas
mission, a new mission called San Francisco
de los Neches was established. This was in
1716. Nuestra Senora de la Guadalupe was
established at the present site of Nacog-
doches, and the Mission Nuestra Senora de
los Dolores was placed near the site of pres-
ent San Augustine. Two other missions, La
Purisma Concepcien and San Jose de los
Nazones, were located in this vicinity, and
still another mission, San Miguel de Linares,
was located across the Sabine in Louisiana.
The East Texas missions, unlike those later
constructed near San Antonio, were built of
timbers and hence soon decayed without
leaving a trace. Consequently, the exact loca-
tion of some of these early missions is not
Founding of San Antonio.-The Alamo.
In 1718 the viceroy, wishing a halfway post
between 'the East Texas missions and the
Spanish presidios in northern Mexico, estab-
lished a mission and presidio at San Pedro
Springs, laying the foundation for the pres-
ent city of San Antonio. This mission was
called San Antonio de Valero and the accom-
panying presidio was called San Antonio de
Bexar. The mission San Antonio de Valero
is usually accepted as the predecessor of the
Alamo; however, the present structure of the
Alamo was not erected until about 1754, nor
was the- original de Valero on the present
site of the Alamo. In fact, the present Alamo
was not a mission building itself, but a
chapel attached to San Antonio de Valero
and possibly to other missions in the vicinity.
The early history is shrouded in obscurity,
including the name. The word, Alamoo,"
means poplar, or cottonwood. There is one
legend that the name of the Alamo came
from a grove of cottonwoods near by. Anoth-
er story relates that it took its name from a
company of soldiers bearing this name, that
was quartered there.
Other San Antonio Missions.
In 1720 the Mission San Jose de Aguayo
was established and in succession came the
founding of the missions La Purisma Con-
cepcion de Acuna, San Juan Capistrano and
San Francisco de I'Espada. Three of these
missions at San Antonio were really re-estab-
lishments of the older East Texas missions
which had been abandoned. They were San
Francisco, Concepcion and San Juan Capis-
trano, the latter succeeding San Jose of the
Neches, the name' being changed because of
the prior founding at San Antonio of San
Jose de Aguayo. The heavy stone walls of
several of these early mission buildings.
particularly the Alamo and to less extent
San Jose and Concepcion, played an impo-
tant part in the later history of Texas.
First Governor of Texas.
This era of mission building, which had
been brought about because of the activity
of the French on the aRiviere Rouge (Red
River) and the journey of Saint Denis, marks
also the beginning of Texas statehood. It had
ben officially declared a Spanish dominion
and Domingo Teran de los Rios had been
named Governor in 1691. However, after an
expedition across Texas by De los Rios, po-
litical authority was relaxed and little atten-
tion was given Texas until the administration
of Martin de Alarcon, Governor of Coahuila-
Texas, who founded the mission of San An-
tonio de Valero and the presidio of San
Antonio de Bexar in 1718. In 1721-22 the
dominion of Spain was definitely established
between the Rio Grande and the Red
River by the expedition of Marquis de
Aguayo, who established new missions and
presidios and strengthened old ones. At the
site of the Mission San Miguel de Linares.
established a few years earlier, he estab-
lished the presidio of Los Adaes as his head-
quarters. This place, where the present-day
town of Robeline, La., stands, was the Span-
ish capital of Texas until the seat of govern-
ment was removed to San Antonio in 1772.
To further strengthen Spanish authority a
scheme of colonizing Texas with Spaniards
was hit upon. One result of the project was
the establishment of fifteen families from the
Canary Islands at San Antonio. From the
standpoint of immediate results the project
was not very successful, but the Canary
Island families and their descendants played
a large part in subsequent Texas history.
Three missions were established 'about 1746
on the San Xavier River, a stream which
for many years of modern research defied
identity, but is now assumed to be the San
Gabriel of Central Texas. They were the San
Francisco Xavier, San Ildefonso and the
Candelaria. They soon were abandoned. Site
of these missions is in present-day Milam or
Williamson County. The San Xavier Missions
were later removed to locations in present
Mission La Bahia del Espiritu Santo was
established at the present site of its ruins
at Goliad in 1749. It had earlier been estab-
lished near the site of old Fort Saint Louis
on Espiritu Santo Bay and was removed 'once
or twice before being permanently located
At the request of the Lipan Apaches, just
then sorely pressed by the Comanches, a
mission and a presidio were established on
*The Red River carried the French name on
some maps as late as the middle of last century.
Nearly all of the rivers of Central. Southern and
Southwestern Texas have retained their Spanish
names as monuments of early Spanish explora-
tion. Anglicizing of the name of the Red River
has erased a corresponding reminder of the early
French activities in that region.
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Texas Almanac, 1952-1953, book, 1951; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117137/m1/41/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.