Correspondence Regarding Historical Marker
Letter from Kathryn Stoner O'Connor to John L. Jarratt, January 13, 1967
Route 1, Box 95
January 13, 1967
Mr. John L. Jarratt
Dear Mr. Jarratt:
You were quoted in an article in the Victoria Advocate this week as suggesting that a State marker be erected at Tonkawa Bank designating that place as the site of the second, or third, location of the Mission of Espiritu Santo, or of the Presidio of La Bahia.
I am sure that would be a mistake.
We do not want to make a claim that we cannot prove.
In all the records I can find of these two establishments they were moved only twice; that is from the Garcitas location to Mission Valley, and from Mission Valley to Goliad. If there had been another move it would have been recorded in the Spanish files now in Mexico and at the Texas State University. We find mention of such a move at neither place.
My research leads me to believe the spot you have so efficiently excavated is a camp, or visita, as it was called, where the Mission Indians, under the supervision of the Padres and Presidio guards, cared for, grazed, and tended the mission livestock - cattle, horses, sheep and goats. They most likely had a small chapel where the priests from the Mission held services for the families of the Christianized Indians who lived at the place. As a permanent station they also had a burial place there.
So, please, let us get a marker, if we can, designating the site as a visita, or station, or camp for the Tonkawa Indians who guarded the livestock belonging to the Mission of Espiritu Santo, of Mission Valley. The Christianized Indians lived here, even after the secularization of the Missions, and until driven out by the coming of the Anglo-Americans in 1835.
As a member of both the Historical Survey Committee and the Victoria County History Society I shall endorse any move for a marker at the site you have explored, provided it does not claim to be a site of Espiritu Santo Mission nor of the Presidio La Bahia.
I want to take this opportunity to express my admiration and gratitude for your work at the site. You have done a much needed, worthwhile and difficult work there, and I again congratulate you upon it.
Let us get behind a move to mark the Place as:
"Tonkawa Bank, site of a station or visita of the Indians from Espiritu Santo Mission of Mission Valley, between the years of 1726-1835. The Indians stationed here, under the supervision of the Missionary priests and Presidio guards tended the Mission livestock.
Exploration, excavations and marking through the efforts of John L. Jarratt"
Please let me hear from you about this. As I am now at our Refugio county ranch your might see Kemper Williams, Sr. about this and let him know your ideas. Or you may write to me, addressed to Route 1, Box 95, Refugio.
Thanking you, and assuring you of my admiration and approval of your interest in local history, I am
Kathryn S. O'Connor
(Mrs. Thomas O'Connor, Sr.)