EIGHTEENTH CENTURY SPANISH PRESIDIO'S
MISSIONS AND RANCHO SITES
For Victoria County Historical Society
John L. Jarratt, Sr
Map of Spanish Sites in Victoria County
SITE NO 1
LOCATION... West Side, Garcitas Creek, John Keeran Ranch Victoria Co. established in 1722. Prof. Bolton has suggested this site also possible location of French Fort St Louis (founded in 1685 by Monsieur De La Salle). However, nothing found there as yet has indicated French occupancy.
SITE NO 2
LOCATION...East side, Garcitas Creek, J. J. Valeck Farm[,] Jackson Co. First site of Mission Senora del Espiritu Santos de Zuniga established in 1722. This Mission location is one League (2 7/10 miles) up the Creek on the east side, one hundred and fifty yards down stream from the entrance to Bennetts Park. La Bahia and the mission being one league apart. Evidence of Spanish and Indian habitation found on the site.
SITE NO 3
LOCATION...Victoria Riverside Park, Victoria. Second site of Mission Senora del Espiritu Santos de Zuniga. Franciscan Friar's abandoning the site on the east side of the Garcitas Creek, (1725) came to the Guadalupe River one mile below the junction of Spring Creek and begin the construction of a irrigation ditch, and a mission building, gathering the local Indians to this site. Nuestra Senora de Loreto La Bahia followed them to the Guadalupe the following year (1726).
SITE NO 4
LOCATION...The S. J. Schlein farm, west side of Guadalupe River. A Indian camp site and Spanish Rancho. Much evidence of Indian contact with the Spanish on this site, suggesting one of the Spanish Ranchos attached to the Mission Senora del Espiritu Santos de Zuniga. The Mission being the first cattle ranch on a large scale in Texas.
SITE NO 5
LOCATION...East side of Guadalupe River, M. H. Williams Ranch. The site, possible location of the Presidio Nuestra Senora de Loreto. La Bahia, as of now, classed as a Spanish Rancho. However, excavation and document[ary] research on this site now in progress.
SITE NO 6
LOCATION...Two hundred yards east of the Lower Mission Valley Road on the Dr. E. Phillips Farm. Spanish dam on Mission Creek. There are 38 feet of this old rock dam still to be seen. Built of limestone rock, the irrigation ditch which led from this dam followed the meandering creek to the fields below. The dam and the irrigated fields belonged to the Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santos de Zuniga. DRAWING
SITE NO 7
LOCATION...West side of the Guadalupe River, eight and three tenths miles above Victoria (Toncahua Bank) on the W. H. Noble Horse Farm. This site is the third location for the Mission Neustra Senora del Espiritu Santos de Zuniga. The second on the Guadalupe, it having first been established on the Garcitas Creek (1722), moved to the Victoria City Park Site No 3 (1725) and later possibly (1728) moved to site No 7 up the river, where it remained tell [sic] 1749 when it was moved to the San Antonio, present Goliad State Park. The sites No 3,4,5 and 7 were never completely abandoned by the Mission Indians and Spanish overseers. For as late as 1788, the Mission still had 5000 head of cattle on the Guadalupe. There are still to be seen at this site much of the Mission ruins. The site has been cleaned up once in 1936. No excavation has been done here. Only surface inspection and documentary evidence has proved it as Spanish.
SITE NO 8
LOCATION...West side of the Guadalupe River, 13 3/10 miles up the river from the Toncahua Bank in the Riverside Park in Victoria on the property owned by the Central Power & Light Company. The site is that of the old limestone rock dam built by the Spanish to irrigate the valley below (Mission Valley). There are 80 feet of this dam still to be seen from the west side of the river. The construction of this dam begin [sic] in 1728 and was discontinued in 1735. An Indian encampment was located on the east side across from the dam site. DRAWING
NOTES...The Guadalupe River traveres [sic] Victoria County from a North to
South direction. All measurements start from the Toncahua Bank in the Riverside
Park at Victoria and are run in a strieght [sic] line North to North-West and
are given first in miles, then in Spanish Leagues.
From...The Toncahua Bank to Site No 8, Spanish Dam on the Guadalupe River, 13 3/10 miles about 5 ½ leagues.
From...The Toncahua Bank to Site No 7, Mission ruins on the W. H. Noble Farm, 8 3/10 miles - about 3 1/4 leagues.
From...The Toncahua Bank to Site No 5, Spanish ruins, old rock foundations on M. H. Williams Ranch, 5 3/4/miles - 2 leagues.
From...The Toncahua Bank to the mouth of Mission Creek 5 3/4 miles - 2 leagues.
From...The old Mission ruins Site No 7 on the W. H. Noble farm to Site No 8 old Spanish Dam on the Guadalupe River 5 1/4 miles - 2 leagues.
From...The Site No 5 on the M. H. Williams Ranch to Site No 7 the old Mission ruins 2 ½ miles - 1 league.
From...The Toncahua Bank to Site No 1, La Bahia on the west side of the Garcitas Creek 23 miles - 9 leagues.
In regard to the Riverside Park Site No 3 in Victoria, the Site Investigating Committee of the Old Texas Missions Restoration Society has found eight Spanish documents that seem to suggest and point to Site No 3 as the second site of the Presidio Nuestra Senora de Loreta, La Bahia. However, this same committee has also found two documents that seem to contradict the eight documents mentioned. The search for the site of La Bahia on the Guadalupe still goes on into 1968, both in the field and in the Archives, Austin, Washington, Mexico and Spain.
John L. Jarrett
Feb 20, 1968