FIELD NOTES 1965 - 1966
AND EXCAVATIONS AROUND OLD SPANISH FORT
LOCATION IN NORTH END OF CITY PARK
This Indian village was excavated by myself in 1930-31 and also with Dr. Frank M. Setzler of [the] Smithsonian and in 1932 with J. M. Woolsey of the Texas University. See full report on this excavation in Archeological Surveys in Victoria County by John Littlefield Jarratt. [Library note: there is no known publication by this name. Jarratt apparently had intentions of publishing his notes. One of the transcriptions in this collection is entitled Chapter 1.]
DRAWING: Map from intersection of Price Creek and
Guadalupe River (dam site) south to Mission Creek (North of City Park site).
DRAWING: Map from intersection of Mission Creek and Guadalupe River south to City Park site.
These field notes are a part of the same work done 35 years later at [the] same location with attention to the old Spanish building erected there between [the] years 1726 and 1749. In which year, (1749) the Spanish left the Guadalupe River and rebuilt on the San Antonio River at a place which later was to become Goliad Texas. This area (north end of the park along the river at a high bluff) was inhabited by a tribe of Indians which the Spanish named Toncahua and in early Anglo Colonial times this bluff was known as the Toncahua Bank.
This bank or bluff butts right up to the river. The elevation here was 95 feet. The river bottoms across the river - and on north side of ridge - on the east side. Also the bottoms lands on the south of ridge - east side of river - or 65 feet above sea level. This ridge which is partial land extends as a kind of a ridge and abuts the river forming this bluff. DRAWING
Excavations/ diggings were started on the old Spanish foundations to get a outline and size of building in Aug. 1965 - Starting at the N. West corner
9/11/65 - 3 Burials found today and one was exposed so much that it was taken up. This burial was approx. 60 feet south of old foundations. Found with burial was old iron and a peace [sic] of braid of the kind worn by a Spanish officer on his coat or from the vestments of a Spanish priest. [It is] about 1 inch and made of copper, silver & brass. Wit[nesses] to this excavation of burial was Police Capt. Kenneth Rosenquest, another policeman and a Mr. Herman Fishbeck. DRAWING
9/29/65 - A Mr. E. R. Voght, (a friend), came by site and looking over the excavation - found Indian pottery and also a small peace [sic] of majolica ware. He wanted me to take them but I did not need any more as I had lots of the same kind from the same place.
9/30/65 - Have been stop[p]ed from excavating for several days now (outside interference) and the exposed portion of the old foundations have been torn up by vandals.
10/1/65 - Permission granted to erect a fence around the old wall tell [sic] trouble with the 2 people who objected to me doing the excavations was settled one way or the other.
10/9/65 - Held a conference with Mr. Curtis Tunnell and County Judge Wayne Hartman in the Judge's office for about one hour.
Tunnell [,]who had just been appointed State Archeologist[,] came to Victoria at the request of County Judge Hartman. Tunnell did not ask me to show him over the site[,] though he and the Judge went over the location. The Judge had never seen the site - never knew of any old Spanish building or about the Toncahua Indians that had lived there prior to the coming of the white man. I am sure that Tunnell did not get a good picture of the location on this kind of inspection as the Judge did not know locations etc.
As the matter was now in the hands of the County Commissioner's Court, who only had the power to grant permission to excavate historical sites on public lands, I could not do anything but wait on the court.
10/11/65 - Application for permit to excavate made / I did make formal application for a permit to excavate to the court.
Note/ Mr. Tunnell never offered to help me but did state that it would be in spring sometime before he could send anyone down to excavate the site. [He] also stated that from what he saw (the old foundation) that the location was of historical value and should be preserved and that it would be a good thing for the park.
The Victoria people and others from as far away as El Paso who had read of my troubles here (and there was plenty [of] news about it) kept calling the local paper and I to know how I was coming out. One firm of 5 lawyers offered their services free to help me if I was stop[p]ed. I knew that when all the facts in this case was fully aired I would be permitted to proceed. As this was a purely historical research which I had been working on for approx. 30 years or more, [I knew] that I would win[,] so I went ahead with some things that I knew what had to be done to protect my work.
Area staked off to be fenced /10/16/65 - I staked off a 50 x 50 area that I want to excavate at this time. I was going to erect this fence myself and at my own expense but on the 20 Oct. 1965, the city moved in a crew of men and built a fence around the old foundation where I stated I wanted to excavate.
10/22/65 - Permit to excavate granted/ Received permit from the Victoria County Commissioner's Court to continue my excavations today - with some restrictions which was not objectionable - and went out to repair the damage done by vandals and to start again running out the outline of the old sandstone building.
I wish to note here that in 1958 the Park Board bull-dozed off this hill or ridge to make a 14 foot fill on the north side for 3 Little League ball parks. The hill or ridge was lowered some 2 ½ to 3 feet. This top soil contained Indian kitchen midden and other artifacts. The old stone foundation, which when I first seen was 2 feet above the ground, was now only 6 inches below the surface. All other rock foundations was only a trace.
Felix De Leon / Land west of river - original grant to Don Patricio De Leon (old ranchero rock foundation of home still to be seen.
Silvestre De Leon / Land on east side of river - right opposite that of Don Patricio De Leon.
One historical ref[erence] was to Ben Cuellar Iximenes, Galant Out East, published by the Naylor Co. of San Antonio.
Left about 6 inches /Foundation was 2 feet wide [and] made out of limestone or sandstone rock. A layer of yellow sand was first put into trench excavated for foundations - Trench then was filled with river gravel and rock - the whole cemented into a solid mass - the building then erected on this. The daub type of laying rock was used and about 6 inches of this foundation was left - enough to trace out the old building - a good outline.
Size building/ The building was 40 feet long on the north side, and 42 feet long on the south side and 25 feet wide. [On] the west end - S. side - a[n] extension of 2 feet was made. The main door also was in the west end. The building was divided into two rooms - partition wall was also 2 feet in width - a fire place was in front room - at each corner a buttress was built. DRAWING
Charcoal, Flint and Indian pottery/ Burned rock, charcoal, majolic[a] ware potsherds and Indian potter[y] was found at the location of fireplace also. Some animal bones [and] Indian flint chipping were found all over this ridge. Indian beads made of bone were found in rear of east room near partition wall. DRAWING
11/18/1965/ KONO TV out of San Antonio down from San Antonio to make TV pictures while I was working on site.
Bones, ribs and old iron pot stolen/ 11/24/1965/ Found some human bones (ribs) south of rock wall. The remains of a iron pot 8 in. diam. - only rim could be saved and the bones and the pot was left over night inside fence but was stolen during the night.
12/28/1965/ Burials were found about 60 feet south of the rock foundation - all just under the surface.
2/22/66/ J. M. Morphie history/ In Refugio Texas - Checking History Of Texas by J. M. Morphie (1875) - Read in this history - He states that [in] 1691 the Spaniards had founded missions or settlements in 3 places in Texas - One on the Hondo, one on the Neches and one on the Guadalupe rivers - but were abandoned.
2/23/66/ Notes loaned to Mr. Stange and daughter - Daughter writing a historical paper on fort in City Park.
3/22/66/Old Fort St Louis/ Research on Clarence Ray Wharton's Texas Under Many Flags (1930), Vol.1 Note - Read in this work - Aguayo formed the Fort La Bahia and Espiritu Santos de Zuniga at site of M. La Salles old Fort St. Louis.
Aguayo/La Bahia/ 1726/ Moved 1749 to Goliad/ Mission & fort on Garcitas lasted only 4 or 5 years - Fort La Bahia & mission moved to the Guadalupe in 1726 and moved to the San Antonio River in 1749 - On Guadalupe 23 years.
DISTANCE TO LOCATIONS
Distances / Elevations - Toncahua Bank - to mission crest - 4 ½ miles - Toncahua Bank to old Mission Espiritu Santo - 7 miles - Elevation at Toncahua Bank 95 feet - Elevation at mission - 105 feet. Toncahua Bank highest point of land from mouth of Guadalupe. Elevation at old Spanish dam on the Guadalupe river 125 feet, which is 6 miles up stream from Mission Espiritu Santo. DRAWING
Budda Idol/ 4/10/1966 - At Goliad Texas, checking out a report that a[n] idol was found in a creek bank by a Mr. Hugh Whitfield - Idol was cleaned up and it turned out to be a Budda [sic] made of bronze - of very resent [sic] date. How it became imbedded in a creek bank in Goliad County is undetermined.
SPANISH DAM ON THE GUADALUPE RIVER
Above the Nursery-Mission Valley Road about 3 miles on the Tom Murphee place and on the west side of the river are the remains of a old Spanish dam - a diversion dam to turn water into a canal that ran along side of the river to the area below for irrigation of the lower valley. This irrigation system was made [by] and belonged to the Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga located about 6 miles below the dam [and] was made of limestone. A Mr. Pat Dunn of Cuero has charge of the property. Elevation at the dam [is] 125 feet and at the mission fields 100 feet. A drop of about 25 feet in 6 miles. Water would run good in the irrigation ditch along side of the river. DRAWING
Note - Elevation at the La Bahia site in Goliad is 188 feet. There was no way to irrigate land from the San Antonio River at any Spanish location in Goliad County.
THE OLD MUMBRANER RANCH
Located one mile west of the Coleto Creek on the right side of hwy from Mission Valley to Meyersville - called the Mumbraner Hill - Old rock foundation of a 3 room (with a underground cellar) early day ranch house - Place had a dug well lined with limestone rock and about 50 feet deep - Mumbraner was a rich batchlor [sic] and raised cattle and was known to keep his money around the place. He was robbed and murdered one night. Mr. Mumbraner was [the] first burial in the Noll Cemetery a few hundred yards from [the] ranch house. His remains were moved to the Mission Valley Cemetery when the road was widen[ed] and paved. There [is] no marker at his grave. A Mrs. Gilser at Mission Valley knows [the] location of the grave. (A Mr. Dennis Ohrt now owns the Mumbraner place).
Dam Road/10-31-1965 - Trip was made to locate a road to old Spanish dam on Guadalupe River on west side of river.
WILLIAMS LOCATION SITE # 7 (TESTING ONLY DONE)
A site that looked very promising was found on the Manley Williams Ranch about 4-5 miles up the Guadalupe River. DRAWING This location is about one mile from present river bed and 300 yards from an old river bed on a high limestone bluff. With me was a Mr. J. R. McSpadden[,] 3202 Linda Dr.[,] Victoria.
A test hole was made among some burned limestone rock in a thicket and a button with a blue stone set was found 18 inch[e]s deep among [the] burned rocks and charcoal. There was a great quantity of small stones here that were brought to this location from the limestone bluff 300 yards away. This refuse - burned rock - charcoal extended down 18 to 24 inch[e]s below the surface. This button was identified as a early 18th Century Spanish Officers coat button. [The] mounting was brass. This test hole was made [on] 3/8/1965. No other work has been done.
About 4 miles down stream from the Mission Espiritu Santos is a very old river crossing. This crossing has a bottom made of old limestone flat rocks and is about 10 feet wide. The De Leon family states that this crossing was made by the Spaniards when they were on the Guadalupe. [DRAWING] The crossing was found years ago by Alfonso Uresti, a relative of the De Leon family. Alfonso De Leon Uresti lives on the old Felix De Leon Ranch.
Note/ It was just below this crossing that the Spanish spur was found in 1930 by Mr. Louis Volkmer while catching bait to fish with.
Note/ Alfred De Leon, son of Felix, was drownded [sic] at the crossing at the old mission. This crossing was on a rock ledge and caused a swift rapid. Young De Leon's horse was swept off this rock ledge into the deep water. De Leon was a good swimmer but it was found that he had a deep cut on his head and it is thought that his horse kicked him while he and [the] horse was floundering around in the water.
1965-1966 - My main helper on the excavation of the old foundations in the city park - and a good one - was a 15 year old colored high school student, George Hobbs of 3305 N. Vine Street, Victoria. I paid him every evening one dollar that he came to help me after he got out of school.
More help - A Mr. Ray Tittle, 705 E. Mistletoe Street[,] phone # HI-5-4085 wants to help in the excavation work - have not worked him.
May 11- 1966 / Went to Austin - was driven there by John Jr. and carried the burial and other artifacts found at the old ruins on the Toncahua Bank in 1965-66 to the archeological laboratory for evaluation - Report on same in about 3 months - The burial was a[n] Indian and a Christian burial.
May 27, 1966/ Started removal of 2nd Indian burial today, 5/27/66 - Burial was exposed and had to be taken up. Photos was taken of burial before removal from earth. Found were two amber glass beads and some 3 pink chalk beads - Some small parts of nails along side of remains about 10-12 inches apart. Beads were near neck. Body was straight, hand[s] folded across breast[,] one hand on top of the other - Burial faces east and was in a coffin as indicated by bits of nails and the rusty streaks where nails were found - Burial was a Christian burial and was originally about 2 ½ or 3 feet deep.
June 14/66/ A detailed report with photos of burial was sent into Mr. Curtis Tunnell at Austin Texas[,] our State Archeologist.
This road can be traced from the Mission Espiritu Santos de Zuniga - Lower end of Mission Valley for a distance of several hundred yards west along the N - west side of a ridge - across Mr. Morek's farm. DRAWING