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The Nacachau, Nechaui and Nacono Tribes

Across the Neches from the Nabedache, only a few leagues away, and adjoining the Neche tribe on the north, was the relatively little known tribe called by Jesus Maria the Nacachau, and by Hidalgo the Nacachao. We have seen that Jesus Maria described the Neche tribe as being separated from the Nabedache only by the Neches River. Later he says, “Toward the north, where the above-mentioned Necha tribe ends, is that called the Nacachau.” The Neche and Nacachau villages were thus close together. Near them the second mission of San Francisco was founded in 1716. Ramon says that the mission was founded in the village of the Naiches, and the “Padres Missioneros” say that it was for the “Naicha, Nabeitdâche, Nocono, and Nacâchao.”1 Southeast of the Neche and the Nabedache villages, according to Jesus Maria, were two villages half a league apart, called the Nechaui and the Nacono. Of the Nechaui we do not hear again, but from Pena (1721) we learn that the Nacono village, which he called El Macono, was five leagues below the Neches crossing. This would put the Nechaui and the Nacono villages five leagues down the Neches River, perhaps one on each side.2FootnotesJesus Maria, Relación, 1691, 107-108; Ramón, Derrotero (1716), in Mem. de Nueva Espana, XXVII, 158; Padres Missioneros, Representa-ción (1716), Ibid., 163; Peña, Diario (1721), Ibid., XXVIII, 38-41; Rivera, Diario (1727), leg., 2140; Bonilla, Breve Compendia, 1772, in THE QUARTERLY, VIII, 35, 38. As I have indicated above, the Memorias copy of Ram6n’s itinerary states that the mission was founded in the village of the “Nacoches,” a miscopy for “Naiches.” The map on...

The Nabedache Tribe and the Mission of San Francisco

The westernmost tribe of the group was the Nabedache. The main village was a short distance perhaps six miles west of the Neches River, above the crossing, near a stream that early became known as San Pedro, and at a site that took the name San Pedro de los Nabedachos. It is this name San Pedro, in part, that has caused some persons to think, groundlessly, that the first mission of San Francisco was founded at San Antonio. The exact point at which the main Nabedache village stood I can not say, not having examined the locality in person, but certain data enable us to approximate its location pretty closely. First is the testimony of the diaries and other early documents. De Leon reported in his itinerary (1690) that from the camp half a league from the Nabedache chief’s house to the Neches River, going northeast, it was three leagues.1 The site examined on the river at this point was deemed unsuitable for the mission be-cause it was so far out of the way of the Indians”; consequently the mission was established close to the camp “in the middle” of the village.2 In their reports to the home government Massanet and De León seem to have stated that the mission was some two leagues from the Neches;3 while Terán in 1691 reported it to be only a league and a half from the Mission of Santíssimo Nombre de Maria, which was evidently close to the Neches. Jesus Maria and Espinosa said that the village was about three leagues from this river, the former adding that it was right across...

The Neche Tribe and the Mission of San Francisco

Southwest of the Hainai village, nearly straight west of the Nacogdoche, was the Neche village, near the east bank of the Neches River, and near the crossing of the Camino Real. The diaries usually represent the distance from the Neche to the Hainai as about the same as that from the Hainai to the Nacogdoche some eight or nine leagues.1 The air line distance was evidently somewhat less in the former case than in the latter, but the route was less direct, since between the Neches and the Angelina Rivers the road bowed quite decidedly to the north. The usual crossing of this highway at the Neches, as now identified, was at Williams’s Ferry, below the mouth of San Pedro Creek.2 Archaeological remains help us to identify this crossing and give certainty to the approximate correctness of our conclusions. These remains are the Indian mounds east of the Neches River. The first mention of them that I have seen is that by Mezières, in 1779. His record is important. Passing along the Camino Real on his way to the Nabedache, he noted the large mound near the Neches River, raised, he said, by the ancestors of the natives of the locality “in order to build on its top a temple, which overlooked the pueblo near by, and in which they worshiped their gods a monument rather to their great numbers than to the industry of their individuals.”3 This mound and its two less conspicuous companions still stand in Cherokee County about a mile and a half from the river and five miles southwest of Alto, in a plain known to some as...

The Hainai Tribe and the Mission of Conce’pión

On the east bank of the Angelina River, a little north of a direct west line from the Nacogdoche village, was that of the Hainai.1 This tribe, whose lands lay on both sides of the Angelina,2 was the head of the Hasinai confederacy, and for that reason was sometimes called Hasinai. It is to this tribe, also, that the name Texas was usually applied when it was restricted to a single one. Within its territory was the chief temple of the group, presided over by the great Xinesi, or high priest.3 At its main village the mission of La Puríssima Conce’pión was founded in 1716. After the Relación of Jesus Maria, our first sources of specific information on the location of this village are the diaries. Ramon tells us that he entered the “Pueblo de los Ainai” just east of the Angelina River, and that nine leagues east-south-east of this village he reached the “Pueblo de los Nacogdoches.”4 The missionary fathers who accompanied Ramon, in their Representation made at the same time reported the distance as eight leagues east-south-east. Pena (1721) says the distance was eight leagues east-north-east from the presidio founded near the mission, and nine from the mission. Rivera (1727) found the mission just east of the “Rio de los Aynays,” or the Angelina, and nine leagues west of the Nacogdoches mission.5 These witnesses tally in the main with each other and also, be it noted, with the testimony of the San Antonio Road, as its route is now identified in the old surveys. According to the best information obtainable it ran from Nacogdoches a little north...

The Nacogdoche Tribe and the Mission of Guadalupe

A starting point or base from which to determine the location of most of the tribes is the founding of the mission of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe at the main village of the Nacogdoches in 1716, for it can be shown that this mission remained on the same site until it was abandoned in 1773; that the modern city of Nacogdoches was built at the old mission site; and, therefore, that the location of this city represents the location of the principal Nacogdoche village. The evidence briefly stated is as follows: Ramon, whose expedition founded this mission, wrote in has Derrotero that nine leagues east-southeast of the principal Hasinai village (the Hainai), on the Angelina River, he arrived at the “village of the Nacogdoches,” and that on the next day he “set out from this mission,” implying clearly that the mission was located where he was writing, at the Nacogdoche village.1 As is well known, all of the missions of this section were abandoned in 1719 because of fear of a French invasion. Pena reports in his diary of the Aguayo expedition of 1721 that Aguayo, who rebuilt the abandoned missions, entered “the place where stood the mission of N. S. de Guadalupe de Nacodoches,” and rebuilt the church. The inference is that the site was the old one, more especially since in one instance in the same connection where a mission site was changed Peña mentions the fact.2 This mission was continued without any known change till 1773, when it was abandoned. But when in 1779 (not 1778, as is commonly stated) Antonio Gil Ybarbo laid the foundations...

The Locations of the Hasinai Confederacy

For determining the location of these tribes our chief materials are the Journal of Joutel (1687), the Relación of Francisco de Jesus Maria Casañas (1691), De Leon’s diary of the expedition of 1690, Terán’s for that of 1691-2, those of Ramon and Espinosa for the expedition of 1716, Pena’s for that of Aguayo (1721), Rivera’s for his visita of 1727, Solis’s for that made by him in 1767-8, and Mezières accounts of his tours among the Indians in 1772, 1778, and 1779. Two only of these are in print, while two of them have not before been used.1 Besides these and numerous supplementing documentary sources, there are: The early surveys showing the Camino Real, or Old San Antonio Road, whose windings in eastern Texas were determined mainly by the location of the principal Indian villages where the Spaniards had settlements, Certain unmistakable topographical features, such as the principal rivers and the Neche Indian mounds, and Geographical names that have come down to us from the period of Spanish occupation. It will be interesting, before studying the location of each one of the tribes separately, to read the general description of the group given by Jesus Maria in 1691. Speaking of the Great Xinesi, he said, “To him are subject all of these nine tribes: The Nabadacho, which, for another name, is called Yneci. Within this tribe are founded the mission of Nuestro Padre San Francisco and the one which I have founded in Your Excellency’s name, that of El Santíssimo Nombre de Maria. The second tribe is that of the Necha. It is separated from the former by the...

Neches-Angelina Confederacy

Since Indian political organization was at best but loose and shifting and was strongly dominated by ideas of independence, and since writers were frequently indefinite in their use of terms, it would not be easy to determine with strict accuracy the constituent elements of this Neches-Angelina confederacy at different times. However, a few of the leading tribes those of greatest historical interest stand out with distinctness and can be followed for considerable periods of time. De Leon learned in 1689 from the chief of the Nabedache tribe, the westernmost of the group, that his people had nine settlements.1 Francisco de Jesus Maria Casañas, writing in 1691 near the Nabedache village after fifteen months’ residence there, reported that the “province of Aseney” comprised nine tribes (Naciones) living in the Neches-Angelina valleys within a district about thirty-five leagues long. It would seem altogether probable that these reports referred to the same nine tribes. Those named by Jesus Maria, giving his different spellings, were: Nabadacho or Yneci (Nabaydacho) Necha (Neita) Nechaui Nacono Nacachau Nazadachotzi Cachaé (Cataye) Nabiti Nasayaya (Nasayaha) The location of these tribes Jesus Maria points out with some definiteness, and six of them at least we are able to identify in later times without question. Moreover, his description of their governmental organization is so minute that one feels that he must have had pretty accurate information. The testimony of a number of other witnesses who wrote between 1687 and 1692 in the main corroborates that of Jesus Maria, particularly in the important matter of not including the Nasoni tribe within the Hasinai.2 It so happens that after 1692 we get...

Ethnological Relations: Historical Importance

The Hasinai belonged to the Caddoan linguistic stock. This family, which was a large one, was divided into three principal geographic groups of tribes: the northern, represented by the Arikara in North Dakota; the middle, comprising the Pawnee confederacy, formerly living on the Platte River, Nebraska, and to the west and southwest thereof; and the southern, including most of the tribes of eastern Texas, together with many of those of western Louisiana and of southern Oklahoma.1 Of this southern group the tribes about the Querétaran missions were one of the most important subdivisions. They, together with the related Caddo tribes to the north, represented the highest form of native society between the Red and the upper Rio Grande rivers, a stretch of nearly a thousand miles. This fact gave them from the outset a relatively large political importance. While it has been clearly shown by writers that the immediate motive to planting the first Spanish establishment within this area was French encroachment, little note has been made of the fame and the relative advancement of the Hasinai Indians as factors in deter-mining the choice of the location. LaSalle’s colony, which first brought the Spaniards to Texas to settle, was established on the Gulf coast; and had the natives of this region been as well organized and as influential among the tribes as the Hasinai, and, therefore, as likely to become the theater of another French intrusion, the logical procedure for the Spaniards would have been to establish themselves on the ground where the first intrusion had occurred, and within relatively easy reach from Mexico both by water and by...

The Names “Texas” and “Hasinai”

The tribes in question commonly have been called the Texas, but more properly the Hasinai. Concerning the meaning and usage of these terms I shall only present here somewhat dogmatically part of the results of a rather extended study which I have made of these points and which I hope soon to publish.1 The testimony of the sources warrants the conclusion that before the coming of the Spaniards the word Texas, variously spelled by the early writers, had wide currency among the tribes of eastern Texas and perhaps over a larger area; that its usual meaning was “friends,” or more technically, “allies”; and that it was used by the tribes about the early missions, at least, to whom especially it later became attached as a group name, to designate a large number of tribes who were customarily allied against the Apaches. In this sense, the Texas included tribes who spoke different languages and who were as widely separated as the Red River and the Rio Grande. It seems that the Neches-Angelina tribes designated did not apply the term restrictively to themselves as a name, but that they did use it in a very unethical way as a form of greeting, like “hello, friend,” with which they even saluted Spaniards after their advent. I may say, in this connection, that the meanings “land of flowers,” “tiled roofs,” “paradise,” etc., sometimes given for the name Texas, I have never seen even suggested by early observers, or by anyone on the basis of trustworthy evidence. The name Texas has been variously applied by writers, but it was most commonly used by the...

Biography of Dr. W. S. Brown

W. S. Brown was born in Preble county, Ohio, September 16, 1824. His parents, Solomon and Lydia Brown, were both natives of New York, and when the subject of this sketch was but an infant they moved to Henry county, Indiana, where he was reared upon a farm and educated in the common schools. In the spring of 1847 he came to Missouri and settled in Harrison county on the 7th of May of the same year. He was appointed and served as the first postmaster at Bethany. While living in Bethany he engaged in mercantile business. In 1848 he came to this county and moved his stock of goods to Cravensville, but in 1851 abandoned the mercantile business and began the practice of medicine, which profession he had been studying for several years, and has made that his principal business since, together with farming. In 1858 he went to Texas, and after a stay there of eighteen months returned to this “county. He was elected justice of the peace in 1860. October 1, 1861, he enlisted in the six month service and was a lieutenant of the company commanded by Captain Bromfield. At the expiration of his time he again enlisted, this time in Company Thirty-third Regiment Enrolled State Militia, and was elected first lieutenant, and soon after was recommended and commissioned by the governor as colonel of the regiment, September 15, 1862, and was with the regiment when in service until the close of the war. In 1866 he was again elected justice of the peace, which place he filled four years, and has since held a...
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