Texas Almanac, 1992-1993 Page: 34
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
34 TEXAS ALMANAC 1992-1993
land close to the missions, the only pastures available to
the newcomers were to the west and north, making
them particularly vulnerable to raids. Some relief came
in 1749, when the Apaches, feeling pressure from the
encroaching Comanches, made peace with the Span-
iards. A formal ceremony held on August 16 included
Roman Catholic rites (Mass was celebrated in the San
Fernando church) and American Indian ceremony (a
live horse was buried, along with a tomahawk, a lance
and six arrows).
Still, the missions' populations continued to shrink.
By 1785, the Valero mission contained only 52 Indians;
Concepcion, 71; San Jose, 138; San Juan, 58; and Espada,
57. And the numbers continued to decline. In 1793, Vale-
ro was the first San Antonio mission to be secularized.
The others were closed one after the other, with the last,
San Jose, shutting its doors for the last time in 1824.
Central Texas was also home, though briefly, to
three missions and their accompanying presidio on the
San Gabriel (San Xavier) River. Remnants of several
bands of Tonkawas and related tribes lived there dur-
ing the first half of the 18th century. Franciscan mis-
sionaries established the San Xavier missions in 1749 in
response to a request by four chiefs.
Because of internal discord and unfavorable condi-
tions, the San Xavier missions were moved in 1755. San
Francisco Xavier de Horcasitas was renamed Nuestra
Senora de Guadalupe and temporarily moved to the
Guadalupe River, while the other two - Nuestra Senora
de la Candelaria and San Ildefonso - and the presidio
were sent temporarily to the San Marcos River. In 1757,
the properties of the San Xavier missions were trans-
ferred to the authority of Fray Alonso Giraldo de Terre-
ros for use in a mission that was established on the San
Saba River in present Menard County by June of that
year. When a horde of Comanches and their allies de-
scended on the San Saba mission in March 1758, killing
many of the inhabitants, looting the buildings and burn-
ing what they could not carry away, Spanish expansion
in Texas virtually ceased.
In 1762, France ceded Louisiana to Spain as compen-
sation for helping in the Seven Years War in Europe,
easing Spain's fears about the threat on her eastern
But not all of Spain's troubles were French in origin;
internal troubles in New Spain (Mexico) were increas-
ing. Realizing that drastic measures were necessary,
the Bourbon king, Charles III, sent the Marques de Rubi
to the New World in 1766 to survey frontier defenses
from the Gulf of California to Louisiana. He reported
that the widely separated Texas missions could not be
adequately maintained with the resources available.
The royal order that resulted, on Sept. 10, 1772,
called for abandoning settlements in Texas except La
Bahia, near Goliad in Southeast Texas, and San
Antonio; moving settlers from East Texas and what is
now west Louisiana to San Antonio; and a new Indian
policy calling for extermination of the Apaches and
friendly relations with the northern tribes, to be ce-
mented by periodic gift-giving.
The Baron de Ripperda came to Texas as governor
in 1770. He appointed as lieutenant governor Athanase
de Mezieres, a Frenchman with years of service in
Louisiana as soldier, planter and Indian trader, and as-
signed him to deal with the Indians. Mezieres estab-
lished friendly relations with some of the tribes. By 1771,
he had reached agreements with the Taovayas on the
Red River and with other Wichitas. He visited the Tawa-
koni villages near present-day Waco, continuing up the
Brazos for 100 miles and returning to San Antonio.
But the Comanches made life miserable for most of
the Texas settlements, and Mezieres was never able to
pacify them. The campaign against the Apaches was
With fewer than 200 troops scattered among three or
four presidios to furnish escorts for travelers and to
supply guards for the missions, there were never
enough to go around. Ripperda asked for more troops.
A few were sent, but never enough. And he discovered
that giving gifts to the Indians did not stop their raids.
In 1777, San Antonio and its missions had a popula-
tion of 2,060 (excluding Indians) and La Bahia had 696.
By this time, there were also scattered ranches along
the San Antonio River from San Antonio to La Bahia.
Threats to Spain's claims to her Texas territory came
from a new source shortly after the beginning of the
19th century. In the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800, Na-
poleon persuaded Spain to cede Louisiana back to
France. Three years later, Napoleon sold the Louisiana
territory to the United States. The United States quickly
planted settlers in Louisiana and looked longingly into
Of all of Spain's attempts to pacify and convert the
Indians and to populate the Texas area, San Antonio
was its greatest success. But Spain's traditional admin-
istrative methods, which worked well among the highly
civilized, settled Indians of the Valley of Mexico, were
not particularly effective among the mobile, frag-
mented tribes of Texas. The Spanish government's
shifting colonial policy and priorities also affected its
Spain's attempts to preserve and exploit her New
World territories were finally ended in 1821 with Mexi-
co's successful fight for independence.
Spain was a physical presence in Texas for about
three hundred years. Spain was the first European cul-
ture to establish a presence in Texas, and our language
and customs still bear her mark. Spain's influence,
which is mingled with Mexico's, is still seen in our many
Spanish place names; in the cattle industry and the use
of horses; in the law, particularly pertaining to property
rights for women and to mineral rights; and in some re-
maining examples of elegant Spanish architecture.
The Mexican Period
The ferment in Mexico against the Spanish govern-
ment was brought to a head on Sept. 16, 1810. That day,
Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his followers,
intent at the time on reform, not revolution, began an
uprising at the Mexican town of Dolores.
Mexico's battle for independence spilled over into
Central Texas several times. Filibusters, Anglo-Ameri-
can adventurers who were attempting to take control of
the colonial government, were very busy during this
uneasy time. One of the earliest was Philip Nolan, an
Irish native and sometime horse trader. Known in
Texas by 1791, Nolan, with Spanish permission, rounded
up horses and took them out of the country on more
than one occasion. But when he returned in the fall of
1800 with 17 armed followers, the Spanish tried to arrest
him. In a fight near present-day Waco, Nolan was killed,
and most of his followers were arrested.
In early 1812, Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, dip-
lomatic agent of the Mexican revolutionaries, initiated
a filibustering expedition in Nachitoches, La., with the
help of U.S. agents. With 130 men, Gutierrez selected
West Point graduate Augustus W. Magee as command-
er. Magee led Gutierrez's Republican Army of the
North across the Sabine into Texas on Aug. 8, 1812. The
insurgents easily took Nacogdoches; La Bahia fell to
them in November. When Magee died on Feb. 6, 1813,
Samuel Kemper of Virginia assumed command.
Advancing on San Antonio, Kemper and about 800 fil-
ibusters defeated about 1,200 royalists at the Battle of
Rosalis, and Gov. Manuel Maria de Salcedo surren-
dered San Antonio on April 1. Raising the Green Flag of
the Republican Army of the North, sometimes called
the seventh flag over Texas, Gutierrez and his followers
declared the first Republic of Texas. Two days later,
Gutierrez permitted the execution of 14 Spanish offi-
cers, including Salcedo. A disgusted Kemper led more
than 100 troops back to Louisiana. Gutierrez,
undaunted, set up a provisional government - a seven-
man iunta with himself as chairman - and, by April 17,
drafted a constitution.
Royalist Col. Ignacio Elizondo besieged San Antonio
with about 990 men. Reuben Ross, successor to Kemper,
advised retreat and left, but the others refused to follow.
Henry Perry, taking Ross' place, defeated Elizondo's
troops in the Battle of Alazan on June 20, 1813. The in-
creasing hostility of his own troops prompted Gutierrez
to return to Louisiana. On Aug. 18, 1813, the remaining
filibusters were ambushed and thoroughly defeated by
about 4,000 men led by Gen. Joaquin de Arredondo in the
Battle of Medina River, about 14 miles south of San Anto-
nio. About 300 of the filibusters were taken prisoner
Here’s what’s next.
This book can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Book.
Kingston, Mike. Texas Almanac, 1992-1993, book, 1991; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth279642/m1/38/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.