San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 22
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SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR.
Parts of the ramparts or enclosing walls of this Mission are pretty well pre-
served, others are in total ruins, but the foundations of the limits can be clearly
made out all around except at points facing the banks of the River. The Square is
of irregular shape as will be seen by the plan furnished. In the southeast corner is
an object of much interest. Projecting from the angle of the walls outwardly, is a
small round tower of quite a feudal character. It is in a state of fine preservation
and its three dressed stone round cannon holes near the base, and its seven
musket holes about eight feet from the ground, lend it quite a menacing presence.
The interior of it is in equally good repair, and one cannot refrain from conjuring
up vivid scenes of fights with Indians in those early days of the Mission struggles
with the red man-of women handing out the loaded muskets from the secure
chambers to the right and left rear, of the unerring marksmen making it very hot
for the attacking hostile, with an occasional lull in which is run out a small brass
swivel gun* to the dimunitive embrasure, which makes the Apache or Comanche
wish he were safe home in his fastness among the hills of Bandera. And it
might have been that the recent remembrance of the total destruction of the San
Saba Mission and the massacre of its inmates in 1758 lent some zest to these en-
counters. For while these old Missionary pioneers were ever anxious to deal ten-
derly with any hostile, yet unfortunately there were occasions when sternness
" That they might feel
The velvet scabbard held a sword of steel."
There was another of these " baluartes " or bastions on the south wall by the
road, west of this one, but no trace of it is to be found. The chambers to the west
of the existing "baluarte" have, looking out upon the square, alternate doors and
arches, and one of the wide arched entrances still exists. The rooms to the north
have been fitted up for a school house by Rev. Father Bouchu, who is wonder-
fully active and persevering. He knows something of many subjects, which he
has practically proved here at the Mission. " Padre Francisco " is Priest, law-
yer, bricklayer, stone mason, photographer, historian, printer. His little pamph-
lets in Spanish would be a credit to an office of much larger pretensions. He has
lived in this community for many years and is well versed in information pertain-
ing to the history of the Missions, and being himself one of those Priests who join
with their vocation a knowledge of practical handicraft, he enters into the spirit of
the founders with more than ordinary keenness. He is simple, unaffected, and
garrulous, and meets the wants of the little settlement. He has built with his
own hands upon the ruin of the old Convent and arcade a comfortable Priest
house. Under his rule the Mission Chapel has been almost entirely renewed, the
front only retaining a portion of its ancient work. The Chapel is in the form of
a cross. The front is the belfry tower and is that portion that is supposed to
represent the likeness to a sword-perhaps it bore more of that resemblance be-
fore its restoration. Its three bells clang out three times a day, and would be
startling on the still country air to one who was ignorant of the vicinity of the
Mission. It is said that some of the Mission bells were cast in San Antonio in its
earliest days, so there is no knowing what these old Missionaries did not come
SMr. Albert Maverick has one of these little Spanish brass guns as an ornament or curiosity in his
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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/m1/58/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.