San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 17
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MISSION SAN JOSE.
south forming a wing easterly are other buildings probably the sacristy,
superior's vestries and quarters, these have two stories, the upper being ap-
proached by a stone stair-case. The square of the Mission at this date, can
very hardly be defined, but that the Mission was situated in the southeastern
corner of a ramparted square is without doubt. The Mission Square enclosed
about four acres. The brothers of the Mission formerly owning about 100 acres.
On April 10th, 1794, the lands of Mission Concepcion were partitioned in a simi-
lar manner to those of the Alamo Mission, among its Indian dependents, setting
aside certain portions of the land for the payment of Government taxes. This
was done by an order of the Viceroy dated 1786. The names of the recipients
may be found in a document among our County Records. There were 38 souls at
that time in the Mission community, namely 16 men, 12 married women, 1 boy, 6
girls and 3 widows. In 1805 a census showed 41 souls.
The name of the Mission refers first to the doctrine of the Immaculate Con-
ception of the Virgin which was a new and burning religious question of the
day. Acufia it derives from the name of the Marquess Casa de Fuerte, Viceroy
of Mexico at the time of the Mission's foundation.
The Mission San Jose.
Mission San Jose de Aguayo or Second Mission as it is familiarly called, is
dedicated to St. Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary, and was "erected" or
founded in the year 1720, when Marquis San Miguel de Aguayo came to be Gov-
ernor of Texas; hence the name San Jose de Aguayo. It was probably begun
shortly after, during this man's Governorship, for it was the first to be finished
and the day of its completion was made the occasion of locating and beginning
the Concepcion, San Juan and San Francisco Missions, March 5, 1731. San Jose
Mission is the most beautiful of all, and its carving is surely "a joy forever."
The hand that chiseled the wonderful facade at the main entrance of the Church,
the doorway, window, and pillar capitals of the smaller Chapel, that now goes by
the name of the Baptistry, was one of marvelous cunning. The facade is rich to
repletion with the most exquisite carving. Figures of Virgins and Saints with
drapery that looks like drapery, cherubs' heads, sacred hearts, ornate pedestals
and recesses with their conch-like canopies, and cornices wonderful. The door
way, pillar and arch, is daring in its unique ornamentation-showing in its com-
bination of form the impression of Moorish outlines. Otherwise the whole facade
is rich Rennaissance-figures and hearts alone with anything realistic about
them. All other ornamentation is conventional; but with nothing stiff, every
curve showing a free hand. The window above the archway is a simple wreath
of such acanthus-like curves and conchoids of surpassing workmanship.
The south window of the Baptistry is considered by good judges the finest gem of
architectural ornamentation existing in America to-day. Its curves and propor-
tions are a perpetual delight to the eye, and often as the writer has seen and ex-
amined it, it is of that kind of art which does not satiate, but ever reveals some
fresh beauty in line or curve. And to think that men can be found who can
ruthlessly deface these for the sake of possessing a piece of the material. Was it
not that the sculptor saw the perfect statue in the stone ? Surely here the fool
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Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, book, 1890; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143549/m1/51/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.