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The Nacogdoche Tribe and the Mission of Guadalupe
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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 of modern Nacogdoches with his band of refugees from the Trinity River settlement of Bucareli, he found the Nacogdoches mission buildings still standing, settled his colony near them, and apparently reoccupied some of them.3 Hence it is clear that the city of Nacogdoches represents very closely, perhaps exactly, the site of the main village of the Nacogdoche tribe at the opening of the eighteenth century. If more evidence were necessary, the presence within the city of Nacogdoches till recent times of four ancient Indian mounds would strengthen the conclusion.4 With this as a starting point, it is not difficult to indicate the approximate location of the most prominent of the remaining tribes. Starting with the Nacogdoche involves the disadvantage of reading the diaries backwards, it is true, but has the great advantage of enabling us to proceed from a well-established point.
Derrotero, original in the Archive General y Pãblico, Mexico. The copy in Mem. de Nueva España, Vol. XXVII, is very corrupt. At this point a generous addition is made by the copist. See folio 158. ↩
Peña, Diario, op. cit., XXVIII, 40, 43, 44. ↩
Antonio Gil Ybarbo to Croix, May 13, 1779, MS. See Bolton in The Quarterly, IX, No. 2, for the story of the beginning of modern Nacogdoches. ↩
Information furnished in 1907 by Dr. J. E. Mayfield, of Nacogdoches. He writes: “Four similar mounds once existed at Nacogdoches, located upon a beautiful site about three hundred yards northeast of the old stone fort or stone house that has recently been removed from the main city plaza. These have been razed and almost obliterated. To the east of them is a hole or excavation from which the earth may have been taken for the construction of these mounds.” ↩
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