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The Nasoni Tribe and the Mission of San Jose
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Above the Hainai, on the waters of the Angelina, were the Nasoni. Joutel, in 1687, reached their village after going from the Nabedache twelve leagues eastward, plus an un-estimated distance north. Terán, in 1691, found it twelve leagues northeast of the Neche crossing below the Nabedache village.1 The founding, in 1716, of a mission for this tribe and the Nadaco gives us more definite data for its location. The missionaries who took part in the expedition, in their joint report, called the distance from the Hainai to the Nacogdoche eight leagues east-southeast, and that from the Hainai to the Nasoni mission seven northeast. Pena, who called the former distance nine leagues east-northeast, estimated this as eight north. Espinosa put it at seven northeast.2 Thirty years later Espinosa said that the mission was founded in the Nasoni tribe and ten leagues from mission Concepción.3 This increase in his estimate of the distance may be due to lapse of time and his long absence from the country.
The direction of the Nasoni mission from that of Concepción was, therefore, evidently northeast, and the distance about the same, perhaps a trifle less, than that to the Nacogdoche village.
Espinosa, who in 1716 went over the route from the Hainai to the Nasoni to establish the mission of San Jose recorded in his diary that on the way there were many Indian houses (ranchos), and that the mission was situated “on an arroyo with plentiful water running north.” We must look, therefore, for a point some fifteen or more miles northeast of the Hainai on a stream running northward. These conditions would be satisfied only by one of the southern tributaries of Shawnee Creek, near the north line of Nacogdoches County. In this vicinity, clearly, was the Nasoni settlement in 1716. It seems not to have changed its location essentially since it had been visited by Joutel and Terán, a quarter of a century before, and it remained in the same vicinity another third of a century, for in 1752 De Soto Vermudez found the Nasoni ‘village eleven leagues northward from the Nacogdoches mission.4 The mission of San Jose remained near the Nasoni until 1729, when, like those of San Francisco, at the Neche village, and Concepción, at the Hainai village, it was removed to San Antonio.
Joutel, Relation, in Margry, Découvertes III, 337-340; Terán, Descripción, in Mem. de Nueva Espana, XXVII, 47-48. ↩
Padres Missioneros, Representación, 1716, in Mem. de Nueva Espana, XXVII, 163; Peña, Diario, 1721, Ibid., XXVIII, 44; Espinosa, Diario, 1716, entry for July 10. ↩
Crómea Apostólica, 418. ↩
Investigation, 1752, MS. ↩
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