The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 487
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Report on the San Antonio Missions in 1792
Translated by BENEDICT LEUTENEGGER, O.F.M., with introduction and
notes by MARION A. HABIG, O.F.M.*
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OF THE OLD SPANISH MISSIONS ESTABLISHED
for the Indians in Texas were those in the San Antonio area. During
the greater part of the eighteenth century these establishments formed a
chain of five missions, only two or two and a half miles apart. The first was
San Antonio de Valero, founded in 1718. Then, in 1720, Father Antonio
Margil founded San Jos6 y San Miguel de Aguayo. In 1731 three more were
added when missions which had been founded in eastern Texas in 1716 were
relocated on the San Antonio River. They were Nuestra Sefiora de la Pu-
risima Concepci6n de Acuia, halfway between the two mentioned above,
and San Juan Capistrano and San Francisco de la Espada, south of San
Jose. All of these missions except San Jose were in the care of missionaries
from the College of Queretaro in Mexico until 1772-1773, when they were
surrendered to the missionaries from the College of Zacatecas in Mexico,
who had been at San Jos6 from the beginning.2
At San Antonio, as elsewhere, the beginnings were difficult, but by the
middle of the century all of the missions had constructed permanent build-
*Father Leutenegger, a member of the Academy of American Franciscan History, is
the translator of Life of Fray Antonio Margil, O.F.M. Father Habig is the author of a
number of historical studies, including Heroes of the Cross: An American Martyrology
and Man of Greatness: Father Junipero Serra.
1Theoretically and officially Mission San Antonio de Valero was a transfer of Mission
San Francisco Solano, one of the San Juan Bautista missions near present Guerrero,
Mexico, to the banks of the San Antonio River. San Francisco Solano was founded in
1700, moved to the Valle de San Ildefonso in 1703, and thence to a place called San Jose
in I708. The eighty-nine years of which Father L6pez speaks in the report that follows
begin in I703, the year when extant church records began to be kept. Marion A. Habig,
The Alamo Chain of Missions (Chicago, 1968), 31-33; Robert S. Weddle, San Juan
Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin, 1968), 31-33, 55, 91, 173-174.
2Testimonio de possessi6n y misi6n de San Jos6 en el Rio de San Antonio, December
26, 1719, January 22, 1720, March 13, 1720, Archivo General de Indias, Audiencia de
Guadalajara (AGI transcript 23; Archives, University of Texas Library, Austin) 67-3-11;
Libro de Casamientos de Esta Misi6n de la Purisima Concepci6n Pueblo de Acufia, Fun-
dado de el Afio de mill Setecientos Treinta y Uno en la margen de este Rio de San An-
tonio (Archives, San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio; hereafter cited as ACSF); Fr.
President Joseph Saenz Gumiel, Inventario de la Misi6n de la Purisima Concepci6n en la
Provincia de Texas quando entregaron los PP. de la Cruz, December 16, 1772, Archives
of the College of Queretaro, Mexico, legajo M. num. 96 (microfilm; Spanish Missions
Historical Research Library, San Jos6 Mission, San Antonio; hereafter cited as RLSJ).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/549/?rotate=90: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.