Heritage, Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 1994 Page: 15
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"The former site of (Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabd) is about three
and one-half miles below the..flourishing town of Menardville..."
and a similar medal was found in a grave at
Mission San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz
along the Nueces River in Real County.
Excavations began on January 10, and
by this time, renowned Spanish Colonial
specialists Anne Fox and Kathleen Gilmore
had joined our team. I had also brought four
talented students from Texas Tech to assist
us: Diane Kimbrell, Russ Shortes, Ellen
Mayo, and Stephen Troell. The objective
of our testing was to attempt to define the
limits of the site and to see what the deposits
contained in the way of artifacts and features.
Intact deposits representing the
Spanish Colonial period were found in a
narrow bank paralleling the fence along
the south side of the field. Test pits placed
along the fence went down into what must
have been one of the buildings within the
On out into the alfalfa field, our probes
revealed that the past century of farming
probably destroyed much of the original
ground containing remains of the mission.
However, this was the area where we had
found surface artifacts and where the metal
detector survey had turned up the majority
of metal artifacts, including the musket
balls and religious medal. In our test pits
out in the field, we identified two post
stains in the light-colored clay below the
plow zone. These stains are a good sign,
suggesting that cultivation had not destroyed
all traces of the ground plan of the
mission. Deeper features, such as trash pits
and graves, should also be preserved below
ground. What we would like to do in future
work at the site is begin to follow out the
patterns of the filled postholes in hopes of
discerning the mission's layout, orientation,
In retrospect, a couple of things are
especially remarkable about the site we
have found. The Spanish had said in their
documents that the mission was 1.5 leagues
from the presidio. Kathleen Gilmore, in
her study of the mission, had proposed that
a Spanish league was equivalent to 2.63
miles. Using this conversion factor, the
mission should have been 3.94 miles from
the presidio. Our site is 3.95 miles from the
presidio, a testament to the accuracy both
of the Spanish distance measurements and
of Kathleen's calculations. Secondly, John
Warren Hunter's pamphlet had been studied
by earlier mission searchers. Why had
they not taken his statement about the
mission's location more seriously? We suspect
it is because the great historian Herbert
Bolton was publicly critical of Hunter's
work. In the January 1906 issue of "Quarterly
of the Texas State Historical Association",
Bolton said of Hunter's San Saba
study that he seemed to have "access to a
number of rare works, some of them not
commonly known even to special students
of Texas history," and, what is more, that
Hunter was guilty of "failure at a number of
critical points, to cite his authorities." I
leave you to draw your own conclusions!
Grant D. Hall is assistant professor in the
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and
Social Work at Texas Tech University.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 1994, periodical, Spring 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45413/m1/15/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.