William Corner.

San Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history online

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Antonio de Minoir, who discovered New Mexico in 1()83, never penetrated east
of that province or the Rio Bravo. It was the French who first made alliances
with the savage tribes in this region, and it is natural to conclude that a river
that flows into the Mississippi and the lands it waters belong to the King my
master. If you will do me the pleasure to come into this quarter I will convince
you I hold a post I know how to defend. I have the honor, etc.,

De La Harpe.
'■'Nassonite, fuly 8ili, 1719.''

For several years after the permanent location round the Military Plaza no
important events seem to be recorded as happening in San Antonio ; but the
quiet work of Post and Mission goes on, and the probable talk on the Plaza is of
the three new Missions which De Aguayo establishes on the San Antonio River,
below the town, under the protection of its garrison ; or of the tales which come
slowly floating from the northward concerning the dreadful fate of a Spanish
expedition which has been sent to attack the French settlements on the Upper
Mi.ssissippi, and which, mistaking the hostile Missouris on the way for friendly
Osages, distributes fifteen hundred muskets, together with sabres and pistols, to
the said Missouris to be used against the French, whereupon the Missouris next
morning at daybreak, fall upon the unsuspecting Spaniards, butcher them all
(save the priest, whom they keep for a "magpie." as they call him, to laugh at),
and march off" into the French fort arrayed in great spoils, their chief wearing
the chasuble and bearing the paten before him for a breastplate ; or of Governor
De Aguaj'o's recommendation to the home government to send colonists in.stead
of soldiers if it would help the friars to win the Indians ; or of the appointment
of a separate Governor for Texas in 1727 ; or of the withdrawal of ten soldiers in
1729, leaving only forty-three in garrison at San Antonio. About 17ol,
however, an important addition is made to the town. Under the auspices of the
home government — which seems to have accepted De Aguayo's ideas — thirteen
families and two single men arri\e. pure Spaniards from the Canary Islands,
also some Tlascalans, and a party from Monterey. These set to work around a
Plaza (the " Plaza of the Constitution." or " Main Plaza") just eastward of and

•I.astekas, /. ,•. I.as Tckas : 7V.V(;\. Tin- l'"r' to be there to defend it against the Apaches;
guilty of irregular book-keeping, though through memoranda it is found that there
is a balance in his favor of thirteen hundred dollars; not guilty of stealing the mis-
sionary money. Upon the French matter Vedoya will not decide without further
e\-idence. With poor Sandoval it is paj' again; he is fined five hundred dollars for
his "guilt." Meantime, some months afterward an order is made that testimony
be taken in Texas with regard to the French affair, said testimony to embrace an
account of pretty much everything in, about, and concerning Texas. The testi-
mony being taken and returned, the Attorney- General, in November 1741, entirely
acquits Sandoval. But alas for the stout old soldier! this is in Mexico, where from
of old, if one is asked who rules now, one must reply with the circumspection of
that Georgia judge who, being asked the politics of his son, made answer that
he knew not^ not having seen the creature since breakfast. \'izarron has gone out;
the Duke de la Conquista has come into the Viceroyalty; and Sandoval has hardly
had time to taste his hard-earned triumph before, through machinations of Fran-
(luis. he finds himself in ])ris()n by order of the new X'iceroy. Finally, however, tlie
rule works the other way: in December, 174;!, anew X'iceroy, Count Inienclara,
getsholdofthepapersintheca.se, acquits Sandoval, and enjoins hVancjuis from
proceeding further in the matter.

It was in the course of this litigation — a copy of the proceedings in which,
"filling thirty volumes of manu.script," was transmitted to Spain — that the old doc-
ument hereinbefore referred to as \\nttcstimoniodeunPareccr\\'A.(\.\\.':^oxV^\\\. In
this paper San Antonio is called San Antonio de Vejar o I'alero: \'ejar being the
S])anish orthography of the Mexican Bexar (pronounced \'ay-har. ) This name
vSan Antonio de Bexar, seems to have attached itself particularly to the military
post, or presidio; its origin is not known. The town of San I'ernando was still so
called at this time; and the town and mission of San .\nlonio de Valero bore that
name. In 1744 this latter extended itself to the eastward, or rather the extension
had probably gone on before that time and was only evidenced then. At any rate,


oil the Sth of May, 1711, the first stone of tlie ])reseiit Church of tlie Alamo was
laid and blessed. The site of this ehnivh is nearl\- a (inarter of a mile to the east-
ward of the Mililar\- ])la/a, where the mission to which it belonged had been
located in IT'J-. Prom an old record-book purportiiii^ to contain the baptisms in
"the Parish of the Pueblo n^ Saji /osc del Alamo,"' it would seem that there must
have been also a settlement of that name. ,Saii Antonio de Bexar, therefore —
the modern city — seems to be a consolidation of the />r^.y/a'z

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Online LibraryWilliam CornerSan Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history → online text (page 11 of 22)