San Antonio History Matrix

A searchable bibliography of sources on the history of San Antonio from the early eighteenth century to the late twentieth century.

1718 - 1803 San Fernando

 

Almaráz, Félix D. Jr. “Harmony, Discord, and Compromise in Spanish Colonial Texas: The Rio San Antonio Experience, 1691-1741.” New Mexico Historical Review 67 (4) (1992): 329-56.
San Antonio took root in three eighteenth century communities: the five missions along the San Antonio River, the nearby Presidio San Antonio de Béxar, and the civilian settlement of San Fernando established by the Canary Islanders. Religious, military and civilian officials quarreled frequently but eventually developed an interdependent existence. One major point of contention was control of the Indian labor assigned to the missions. Religious officials relied on the military to help them round up more Indians for the missions after the devastation of the smallpox outbreak of 1739.

 

Buck, Samuel M. Yanaguana’s Successors: The Story of the Canary Islanders’ Immigration into Texas in the Eighteenth Century. San Antonio: 1949.
In an effort to populate Texas with loyal Spanish subjects, the government of King Philip V of Spain induced a small body of Canary Islanders to make the long and hazardous trip to San Antonio with the promise of land, supplies and even “hidalgo” -- or aristocratic status. When they arrived, the indolent settlers sought to realize their dreams of nobility by grabbing the better land cleared by the military settlers and demanding the mission settlements surrender to them their lands, cattle and Indian workforce.

 

Chabot, Frederick C. San Antonio and its Beginnings. San Antonio: 1931.
This short (130 page) history devotes separate sections to the Presidio and each of the missions. It includes a timeline, brief profiles of the original Canary Islanders, and the local indigenous population.

 

De la Teja, Jesús. “Indians, Soldiers and Canary Islanders: The Making of a Texas Frontier Community.” Locus 3 (1): (1990) 81 – 96.
Many accounts treat the arrival of the Canary Islanders in 1731 as the founding date for San Antonio. However, there was a sizeable community in place when the “Islenos” arrived. The soldiers stationed at the Presidio and the local mestizo population that supported them had been around since 1718 when the first missions were established. The essay focuses on this often overlooked community and its sometimes rocky relationship with the newcomers. In time, the distinctions between soldiers and settlers became less important and the two groups merged through intermarriage.

 

De la Teja, Jesús. San Antonio de Béxar, A Community on New Spain’s Northern Frontier. Albuquerque: 1995.
The book surveys the economic and community development of city’s Tejano population during the eighteenth century. De la Teja examines population growth, land and water distribution, farming and ranching, commercial activity, politics and local customs. The subsistence economy supported a largely united community with an emerging Tejano identity. [Based on author’s 1988 Ph. D. dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin, “Land and Society in Eighteenth Century San Antonio de Béxar: A Community on New Spain's Northern Frontier.”]

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. “A Spanish Borderlands Community: San Antonio.” OAH Magazine of History 14 (Summer 2000): 25 – 28.
A short summary of San Antonio history during the era of Spanish rule.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. (ed.) A Revolution Remembered, The Memoirs and Selected Correspondence of Juan N. Seguín. Austin: 1991.
The editor has a seventy page introduction that offers a biography of the Tejano rancher and soldier, as well as a profile of his locally prominent father, Erasmo (1782 – 1857). Juan N. Seguín (1806 – 1890) prepared his memoirs around 1858 to counter charges of treason. They cover his involvement with the Texas Revolution starting in 1834 and running to General Woll’s invasion in 1842. Seguín served with the Texian forces at the battle of San Jacinto, and led the first military unit to recapture San Antonio after the battle of the Alamo.

 

Fox, Anne A. The Archeology and History of Alamo Plaza. San Antonio: 1976.
This report details excavations of the Plaza undertaken by UTSA’s Center for Archeological Research during the summer of 1975. Includes several maps and numerous illustrations of artifacts and the trenches dug to unearth them. A chapter is devoted to a history of the Plaza as it evolved from a mission, to a military post, and thence to a commercial center.

 

Fox, Anne A. The Archeology and History of the Spanish Governor’s Palace Park. San Antonio: 1977.
Report on an excavation conducted in front of the Spanish Governor’s palace by UTSA’s Center for Archeological Research in 1976. It includes a short history of the building and site and its various uses over time. The building’s status as a governor’s residence was relatively short-lived; most of the time it merely housed the commander of the Presidio. The report details the various items unearthed from the excavations, including the grave of a child buried some time in the nineteenth century. Maps and illustrations.

 

Ivey, James E. “The Presidio of San Antonio de Béxar: Historical and Archeological Research.” Historical Archeology 38 (Fall 2004): 106-120.
Ivey reports on recent archeological excavations in downtown San Antonio in the area of its eighteenth century presidio or fort. Items unearthed included the foundations of early homes, the settlement’s original irrigation ditch (the “acequia madre”) and various ceramics.

 

Lanier, Sidney, “San Antonio de Béxar,” in Sidney Lanier: Florida and Miscellaneous Prose. Baltimore: 1945.
The writer arrived in San Antonio in 1872, one of many transplants drawn by its reputation for combating tuberculosis. He immersed himself in the Spanish Archives and produced this short, entertaining and illustrated narrative. The history devotes much of its attention to the city’s many violent episodes and ends abruptly around 1850. Lanier concludes with a walking tour of San Antonio’s more arresting tourist sites and with portraits of its diverse inhabitants.

 

MacMillan, Esther. (ed.) San Antonio in the Eighteenth Century. San Antonio: 1976.
A series of short essays by various specialists (Mardith K. Schuetz; Father Benedict Leuteneger; Carmen Perry; Ruth Cowie Buerkle; Esther McMillan; Del Weniger; and Robert K. Winn). Their thematic topics examine the indigenous peoples, the missions, the Presidio, the ranching and farming economy, and local art.

 

Oliphint, Julia Owens. “A Short History of Early San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis, U. of Oklahoma, 1925.
A very short (69 page) synopsis of the city’s history that concludes with the battle of the Alamo.

 

Poyo, Gerald E. and Gilberto M. Hinojosa. Tejano Origins in Eighteenth Century San Antonio. San Antonio, 1991.
Separate chapters are devoted to the different groups of San Antonio’s original settlers: the mission Indians, Canary Islanders, the independent Indians, the mestizo soldiers attached to the military garrison, and later migrants from northern New Spain. These diverse groups would meld into a Tejano culture during the eighteenth century in the face of their shared dangers and limited social and economic distinctions.

 

Poyo, Gerald E. and Gilberto M. Hinojosa. “Spanish Texas and Borderlands Historiography in Transition: Implications for United States History.” Journal of American History 75 (Sept. 1988): 393-416.
The story of the early Hispanic communities in the Southwest has often been treated as a record of failure residing outside of American history. While some historians, like Herbert Bolton, criticized the Northeastern orientation of American historians and offered a more favorable assessment of the Spanish settlements, their work did not integrate Hispanic communities into the national narrative. More recent scholarship has tied Texas history of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries with Northern Mexico. Newer research takes a more socio-economic (rather than institutional) approach to analyzing these frontier communities. They suggest Texas and its Spanish settlements enjoyed a period of expansion up to 1800, owing partly to expanded trade with Louisiana. This was followed by a period of decline (1800 – 1820) that may be attributed to the “Bourbon Reforms” and the depletion of the local cattle herds.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. “Why Urbano and Maria Trinidad Can’t Get Married: Social Relations in Late Colonial San Antonio.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 112 (Oct. 2008): 121-48.
A “thick description” of a legal case in 1781 that exposes local customs and attitudes with regards to race, caste, class and gender. Two soldiers from Los Adaes protested the pending marriage of their thirteen year old niece to a mission Indian. They fear a loss of family status, but their own status as españoles is put in question. The episode demonstrates how fluid and subjective racial and caste categories were at this time. Social status was determined by race, gender, occupation and origin. Teenage marriages were the norm for females, but they married propertied men who were appreciably older, helping to maintain a patriarchal order.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. “’Buena gana tenía de ir a jugar’: The Recreational World of Early San Antonio, Texas, 1718 – 1845.” International Journal of the History of Sport 26 (June 2009): 889 – 905.
Bexarños participated in many of the popular forms of entertainment of other Spanish communities in the new world. Bull fights were scheduled generally during the Christmas season. Many competitions involved equestrian skill, such as the watermelon race, and the town’s streets frequently served as dangerous race courses. The Tejano population was also responsible for introducing the rodeo. Dancing at fandangos was also popular, and government efforts to curb gambling at cards proved entirely unsuccessful.

 

Kallison, Frances B. “100 years of Jewry in San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity University, 1977. 
Profiles religious and civic leaders and institutions from the arrival of the first adventurers in the Spanish era to early part of the twentieth century. After 1880 many Jews originated in Eastern Europe and were more “tradition oriented.” They were well integrated into the San Antonio community and enjoyed a prosperous existence while they sought to preserve their heritage. Based on oral interviews, city directories, and organization records. (136 pp.)

 

Meschke, Amy. “Women’s Lives Through Women’s Wills in the Spanish and Mexican Borderlands, 1750 – 1846.” Ph. D. diss.: Southern Methodist U., 2005.
Based in part on an analysis of 79 wills of men and women filed in San Antonio between 1764 and 1836. Other cities surveyed include El Paso, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Saltillo and San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala in Coahuila, Mexico. All the women were or had been widowed, and were relatively well off. Their wills reveal their fervent religious beliefs, their meager material possessions, their relationships with their children and other family dynamics, and the active role they played in the local economy. Frontier conditions enhanced the likelihood that women would become widows and therefore offered them more opportunities to step out of the often limited roles prescribed for them in Spanish culture.

 

Porter, Amy M. Their Lives, Women in the Borderlands, 1750 – 1846. Lubbock: TX: 2015.
The author focuses on the wills the women of property left behind in San Antonio as well as El Paso and Santa Fe, and includes Saltillo and San Esteban in Mexico. Her subjects are widows, a status most women would age into eventually. She uses these documents to explore women’s material possessions, religious attitudes, and role in the household and the overall economy.  Women in San Antonio and on the frontier enjoyed somewhat more freedom in their patriarchal societies. They donated to various charities, loaned money and supervised ranches.

 

Stuntz, Jean. “Spanish Laws for Texas Women: The Development of Marital Property Law to 1850.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (Apr. 2001): 542 – 559.
Stuntz examines the roots of the Texas legal system’s concept of “community property” through the evolution of Spanish laws regarding married women. Spanish law assigned women “a distinct legal status with defined rights and responsibilities” out of concern for “feminine weaknesses.” The essay draws on deeds and wills in San Antonio to document the full range of women’s rights. Spanish law proved more appropriate for frontier conditions, and for this reason much of it was retained after Texas achieved independence and was joined to the United States. [See also Jean Allison Stuntz, . “The Persistence of Castilian Law in Frontier Texas: The Legal Status of Women.” M. A. Thesis, U. of North Texas, 1995.]

 

Tjarks, Alicia V. “Comparative Demographic Analysis of Texas, 1777 – 1793.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 77 (Jan. 1974): 291 – 338.
Thirteen Spanish government censuses conducted in Texas at the end of the eighteenth century reveal information on the birthrate (legitimate and illegitimate), family composition, ethnicity, marriages and migration. Separate results presented for Bexar and other communities. Numerous statistical tables.

 

Troike, Rudolph C. “A Pawnee Visit to San Antonio.” Ethnohistory 11 (Autumn 1964): 380 – 93.
In 1795 a group of Pawnee, Wichita and Taovaya Indians arrived unexpectedly at the Spanish Governor’s palace to discuss an alliance with the Spanish. Both groups were threatened by growing intrusions by citizens of the U. S. on the Great Plains. The Indians did not return and the negotiations produced no accord. Most of the essay tries to decipher the identity of the various tribes cryptically referred to in the document, which is appended (in Spanish).

 

Cox, I Waynne.  The Spanish Acequias of San Antonio.  San Antonio, TX: 2010.
In this short volume (93 pages), a noted local archaeologist documents the network of irrigation ditches that provided vital water supplies to early farms associated with the Missions as well as San Antonio’s civilian settlement. Access to the water supply was vital to farmers in a semi-arid region. Numerous maps and images trace how the system followed the landscape and was controlled with a carefully laid out array of dams, sluices and aqueducts. Cox covers the construction of the acequias in the eighteenth century, their maintenance and eventual abandonment during the subsequent century, and their rediscovery in the twentieth.

 

De la Teja, Jesus F. “’A Fine Country with Broad Plains – The Most Beautiful in New Spain’: Colonial Views of Land and Nature.” In On the Border, An Environmental History of San Antonio. Ed. by Char Miller. 41 – 55. Pittsburgh, Penn.: 2001.
The accounts of early explorers and travelers to San Antonio detail an abundant local fauna and wildlife in the early Spanish era. The establishment of the city and its surrounding ranches had a profound impact on the area’s buffalo herds and timber resources. The Spanish attempted to protect the environment with regulations on the horse and cattle industries.

 

De la Teja, Jesús F.”The Saltillo Fair and Its San Antonio Connections.” In Tejano Epic: Essays in Honor of Félix D. Almaréz, Jr. Ed. Arnaldo de Leon. Austin: 2005.
The annual commercial exchange in the northern Mexico city took place at end of September during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. San Antonio merchants and ranchers started on their journey in August, bringing cattle, cattle byproducts and hides and returning with flour, fashions, salt, utensils and other items. The fair served as the major economic and social destination for Bexarños; it reflected the close ties between the local economy and northern Mexico in the absence of a Texas port on the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Dobkins, Betty Eakle. The Spanish Element in Texas Water Law. Austin, Texas: 1959.
The irrigation system adopted by the Canary Islanders had its roots in Roman and Mideast practices. Most of this book focuses on the determinants of legal water rights.

 

Faulk, Odie. “Ranching in Spanish Texas.” Hispanic American Historical Review 45 (May 1965): 257 – 66.
Much of the ranching industry in Spanish Texas was based in San Antonio. Cattle in the area were driven to markets in Louisiana and Coahuila – often illegally. The mission friars and local ranchers disputed imperial authorities on the status of unbranded cattle. The crown claimed the loose cattle and wanted to charge ranchers for any they herded up. The locals insisted that the animals belonged to them, and complained that they had not been able to properly brand them in rodeos because of the presence of hostile Indians.

 

Fisher, Lewis F. River Walk: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River. San Antonio: 2006.
The San Antonio River has played a vital role in the community’s past – both good and bad. It has been the source of irrigation, floods and tourist dollars. Fisher looks at various technological innovations to control or exploit the river with dams, channels, businesses and beautified walkways.

 

Holmes, William Henry. “The Acequias of San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1962.
A historical study of how irrigating canals functioned during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Describes the construction of the acequias to service the missions. The water network was expanded to meet the needs of the Canary Islanders. The turmoil of the Texas Revolution allowed the system to fall into decay. Holmes reviews the city’s efforts to police the ditches during the nineteenth century when they were a source of drinking water. The need for the acequias diminished as residents drilled artesian wells and the San Antonio Water company was formed in 1877. They dried up and faded away rapidly after 1900 except on old mission properties south of the city. Numerous maps and poorly reproduced illustrations. (135 pp.)



Jackson, Jack, “The 1780 Cabello Map: New Evidence That There Were Two Mission Rosarios, and a Possible Correction on the Site of El Fuerte del Cibolo.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 107 (Oct. 2003): 202-16.
The essay reprints a map detailing the area between San Antonio and Goliad. It documents the location of area ranches, missions and forts.

 

Jackson, Jack. Los Mestenos: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721 – 1821. College Station: 1986. 
Jackson covers the early cattle industry of Texas noting the pioneering role of Mexican ranchers and cowboys in laying the groundwork for a ranching economy. While the work covers all of Texas, the bulk of the material concerns events in San Antonio. The early ranchers battled with the Comanche and eked out a living on a poor and isolated outpost. They were frequently at odds with Spanish authorities who sought to crack down on smuggling cattle and tobacco through Louisiana. The royalist regime also claimed unbranded cattle roaming the area for the crown, a usurpation that ranchers and the mission fathers vehemently disputed.

 

Meschke, Amy. “Women’s Lives Through Women’s Wills in the Spanish and Mexican Borderlands, 1750 – 1846.” Ph. D. diss.: Southern Methodist U., 2005.
Based in part on an analysis of 79 wills of men and women filed in San Antonio between 1764 and 1836. Other cities surveyed include El Paso, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Saltillo and San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala in Coahuila, Mexico. All the women were or had been widowed, and were relatively well off. Their wills reveal their fervent religious beliefs, their meager material possessions, their relationships with their children and other family dynamics, and the active role they played in the local economy. Frontier conditions enhanced the likelihood that women would become widows and therefore offered them more opportunities to step out of the often limited roles prescribed for them in Spanish culture.

 

Porter, Amy M. Their Lives, Women in the Borderlands, 1750 – 1846. Lubbock: TX: 2015.
The author focuses on the wills the women of property left behind in San Antonio as well as El Paso and Santa Fe, and includes Saltillo and San Esteban in Mexico. Her subjects are widows, a status most women would age into eventually. She uses these documents to explore women’s material possessions, religious attitudes, and role in the household and the overall economy.  Women in San Antonio and on the frontier enjoyed somewhat more freedom in their patriarchal societies. They donated to various charities, loaned money and supervised ranches.

 

Roth, Jeffery Edwin. “Long Lots in New Mexico and Texas: The French Connection, 1693 – 1731.” Ph. D. diss.: U. of Oklahoma, 2005.
Agricultural land holdings in San Antonio took the form of long, rectangular plots that allowed more farmers access to rivers and irrigation channels. Such access was vital in a semi-arid environment. These “long lots” are not a characteristic of Spanish agriculture. This pattern of land holding is found in France and in its American colonies. Circumstantial evidence suggests it made its way to San Antonio and New Mexico though a process of cultural diffusion.

 

Stuntz, Jean. “Spanish Laws for Texas Women: The Development of Marital Property Law to 1850.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (Apr. 2001): 542 – 559.
Stuntz examines the roots of the Texas legal system’s concept of “community property” through the evolution of Spanish laws regarding married women. Spanish law assigned women “a distinct legal status with defined rights and responsibilities” out of concern for “feminine weaknesses.” The essay draws on deeds and wills in San Antonio to document the full range of women’s rights. Spanish law proved more appropriate for frontier conditions, and for this reason much of it was retained after Texas achieved independence and was joined to the United States.

 

Swaney, Eugene L. “The Cattle Industry in San Antonio, Texas, 1718 – 1961.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1961.
This extensive survey covers the introduction of cattle under the Spanish, local ranches and dairies, the nineteenth century trail drives, the impact of the railroad, the opening of the Union stockyards in 1889, and, in the twentieth century, the establishment of the Stock Show and rodeo and the consolidation of the cattle industry. Numerous profiles of prominent cattlemen and cowboys. Sources mostly published records and accounts. (287 pp.)

 

Wills, Frederick H. “San Antonio’s Acequias: A Brief Review.” Journal of South Texas History 17 (Fall 2004): 39-50.
A system of seven irrigation ditches (acequia) were built by Native Americans under supervision of the Spanish between 1718 and 1778. Two are functioning still. The irrigation made farming possible in a drought prone environment. Their utility declined in the late nineteenth century as residents drilled artesian and irrigation wells and the city dug channels in the river. The ditches became a health hazard as the populace dumped garbage into them. A table records when each acequia was started, finished and abandoned – as well as its length and the number of acres it irrigated.

 

Austin, Mattie Alice. “Municipal Govt. of San Fernando de Béxar, 1730 – 1800.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 8 (April 1905): 277 – 352.
This long essay describes the structure of government put in place by Spanish authorities when the Canary Islanders arrived in 1731. The viceroy decreed that a six person city council (the “cabildo” later known as the “ayuntamiento”) be appointed by the local military authority. Assisting the council were a number of other officials who served as mayor (“alguacil mayor”), clerk or secretary (“escribano de consejo y publico”), and attorney/treasurer (“mayordomo de los bienes y propios”). The cabildo appointed two alcaldes who functioned as sheriffs and numerous lesser officials who supervised the market and looked after public health. The members of the original cabildo, most of them illiterate, were appointed for life, but in later years the positions were elective. Municipal ordinances from Goliad suggest how local governmental authorities functioned in the eighteenth century.

 

Cruz, Gilberto Rafael. “A Cabildo in Texas Under the Spanish Bourbons: The Origins and Development of Municipal Life at the Villa de San Fernando, San Antonio, Texas, 1731 – 1800.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1970.
Cruz covers the role and evolution of the town council during the Eighteenth century following its formation with the arrival of the Canary Islanders. He traces the roots of the institution to the Iberian Peninsula where it helped preserve the peace and represented a “rough democracy.” The body issued local ordinances and assumed many administrative and judicial functions. The cabildo offered an alternative political framework from the more authoritarian military rule of the Presidio nearby. It accomplished little in the way of promoting social welfare or education, but it did protect property rights and maintained order on a violent frontier. (164 pp.)

 

Harper, Elizabeth Ann. “The Taovayas Indians in Frontier Trade and Diplomacy, 1769-1779. Southwestern Historical Quarterly 57 (Oct. 1953): 181 – 201.
The diplomatic mission of Athanase De Méziéres promoted trade and peace among the warring Texas tribes in the Natchitoches area. Many of the important negotiations and councils took place in San Antonio.

 

Hoffmann, Fritz Leo. “The First Three Years of the Administration of Juan Maria, Baron de Ripperdá, Governor of Texas, 1770-78.” M. A. Thesis, University of Texas, 1930.
Much of the governor’s attentions focused in relations with often hostile Indians and foreign encroachments. During his term the capital of Texas was transferred from Los Adaes to San Antonio.

 

Ivey, James E. “A Reconsideration of the Survey of the Villa de San Fernando de Béxar in 1731.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 111(Jan008): 251 – 81.
When the Canary Islanders arrived, the captain of the presidio, Juan Antonio Pérez to Almazán, was directed to survey the settlement to lay out streets, lots and plazas. The Spanish viceroy provided him with a general plan or template for the villa’s physical layout, which Almazán claimed to have followed. The Spanish template, however, failed to take account of physical obstacles, such as the river, and the presence of the mission lands. It was quickly abandoned. Instead, the city was built up following the pattern established by the earlier residents of the presidio. Maps.

 

Lipscomb, Carol A. “Burying the War Hatchet: Spanish-Comanche Relations in Colonial Texas, 1743 – 1821.” Ph. D. diss.: U. of North Texas, 2002.
The dissertation offers a balanced account of European-Indian encounters in Texas. After years of trying to convert and conquer the Comanche, the Spanish negotiated a peace treaty in 1785. Keeping the peace proved a major challenge for both sides, but it largely held in place until the end of Spanish rule. The garrison was too small to adequately patrol the frontier and Spain could not furnish enough trade or gifts to satisfy the Indian’s demand for western material goods. The highly decentralized and nomadic character of Comanche society made it difficult to enforce the terms of the treaty.

 

Miller, Margaret. “A Survey of the Civil Government of San Antonio, Texas, 1731 – 1948.” M. A. Thesis, St. Mary’s University, 1948.
There is no historical analysis here, only outlines of the structure of the government under different regimes based on government documents. It begins with a description of the local political establishment under Spanish rule. Little changed locally when Mexico achieved its independence. The governor appointed a “political chief” to run the city. Miller devotes a mere 8 pages to the aldermanic form of government in place between 1837 and 1915, mostly listing the city’s major offices and their duties. Most of the analysis is given over to an outline of the commission form of government established in 1915. Includes several diagrams outlining the structure of government under the commission format. (91 pp.)



Spell, Lota M. “The Grant and First Survey of the City of San Antonio.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 66 (July 1962): 73-89.
Directives from Spanish authorities specified how the city was to be laid out upon the arrival of the Canary Islanders in the early 1730s. San Fernando Cathedral occupied the center of the territory, with the fields for crops and livestock surrounding it. 3 Maps.

 

Stuntz, Jean. “Spanish Laws for Texas Women: The Development of Marital Property Law to 1850.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (Apr. 2001): 542 – 559.
Stuntz examines the roots of the Texas legal system’s concept of “community property” through the evolution of Spanish laws regarding married women. Spanish law assigned women “a distinct legal status with defined rights and responsibilities” out of concern for “feminine weaknesses.” The essay draws on deeds and wills in San Antonio to document the full range of women’s rights. Spanish law proved more appropriate for frontier conditions, and for this reason much of it was retained after Texas achieved independence and was joined to the United States. [See also Jean Allison Stuntz, . “The Persistence of Castilian Law in Frontier Texas: The Legal Status of Women.” M. A. Thesis, U. of North Texas, 1995.]

 

Benavides, Adan. “Sacred Space, Profane Reality: The Politics of Building a Church in Eighteenth Century Texas.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 107 (July 2003): 1-33.
Many challenges confronted the newly arrived Canary Islanders as they sought to establish what would become San Fernando Cathedral and the community around it. They tangled with local Spanish authorities as well as the priests assigned to the missions. These difficulties and controversies set the stage for decades of distrust between the Islenos and the missionaries and their Indian charges. The essay includes sketches of the early architectural plans for the church.

 

Berger, Max. “Education in Texas During the Spanish and Mexican Periods.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 51 (July 1947): 41-53.
Berger devotes a few pages to the semi-public school established in San Antonio. The city’s schools during the Mexican era were inadequately funded and reached only a minority of young people, and yet they were the best in the state.

 

Castañeda, Carlos E. A Report on the Spanish Archives in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio: 1937.
Castaneda organized the roughly 175,000 documents that constitute the Bexar Archives after they were transferred to the University of Texas. The report organizes the records into their constituent parts as wills, deeds, land records, protocols and miscellaneous items. Castañeda prepared a U. of Texas Master’s Thesis on this subject in 1923.

 

Cox, I. J. “Educational Efforts in San Fernando de Béxar.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 6 (July, 1902): 27 – 63.
The essay covers the earliest efforts of the ayuntamiento (or city council) to provide for education under Spanish and later Mexican rule. Documents in the appendix describe the operation of the schools.

 

Janert, Edwinna Kirkpatrick. “San Pedro Springs.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity University, 1968. 
Irrigation ditches attached to the springs serviced the fields of Mission San Antonio de Valero. Janert relates the many public purposes of the surrounding park area from prehistoric times to the present. Spanish authorities designated the site a public space in 1729. The park catered to various forms of popular entertainment, which in the nineteenth century included cockfights, bullfights, picnics, rodeos and zoo. After restoration in the early twentieth century it sported a library and various sports facilities for swimming, tennis and even ice skating. (111 pages.)

 

Matovina, Timothy M. “Sacred Place and Collective Memory: San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas,” U. S. Catholic Historian 13 (Winter 1997): 33 – 50.
Based on interviews with laity at the Church, the study seeks to understand this sacred site’s role in fostering a collective memory binding a religious community. It covers the eighteenth century to the present. As the size and influence of the Tejano population shrank, the church became the repository for Mexican culture. It lost some of its Mexican character when the church was elevated to a cathedral in 1874, but parishioners carry on many public rituals to preserve its Mexican heritage. The congregation’s biggest religious festival is still Our Lady of Guadalupe, as it was in colonial times.

 

McLean, Malcolm D. “Racing the Royal Mail.” Texana 3 (2) (1965): 115 – 18.
Monthly mail service between San Antonio and Saltillo was established in 1720. In 1735 a private named Ximénez at the Presidio planned to race with the official courtier carrying documents to Mexico City. The purpose of his mission was to alert certain parties in Mexico City of important news from San Antonio ahead of time. “The official correspondence had been carried by a royal courier dressed in a blue uniform trimmed in red who rode into the sleepy frontier villages sounding a hunting horn as a signal for the settlers to come down and get their mail.” Spanish authorities learned of the plot and promptly put Ximénez in the stocks, but he escaped and disappeared.

 

Porter, Amy M. Their Lives, Women in the Borderlands, 1750 – 1846. Lubbock: TX: 2015.
The author focuses on the wills the women of property left behind in San Antonio as well as El Paso and Santa Fe, and includes Saltillo and San Esteban in Mexico. Her subjects are widows, a status most women would age into eventually. She uses these documents to explore women’s material possessions, religious attitudes, and role in the household and the overall economy.  Women in San Antonio and on the frontier enjoyed somewhat more freedom in their patriarchal societies. They donated to various charities, loaned money and supervised ranches.

 

Smith, Blanche Baker. “Legends and Old Tales of San Antonio and Vicinity.” M. A. Thesis, Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College, 1943.
Smith recites the various legends associated with the local flora and wildlife. She also considers stories passed down by various ethnic groups.

 

Speiser, Adel. “The Story of the Theater in San Antonio.” M. A. Thesis: St. Mary’s U., 1948.
An overview of a wide range of theatrical entertainment beginning with Los Pastores in Spanish times. Speiser describes fandangos, medicine shows in Military Plaza, the dance hall in the Harris Theatre, minstrel shows and grand opera. The Germans played a major role in promoting musical and theatrical productions at their Casino Hall and through the Turn Verein. Many of the most successful theaters in the city, like the Grand Opera House that opened in 1886, were managed by Ernest Rische. The decline of the national theater industry with the introduction of movies opened the way for the “little theater movement” in the twentieth century. The city built San Pedro playhouse in 1930 to house locally produced plays with local talent. The local government also built the Sunken Garden in 1937 as a setting for civic opera. Draws mostly on published sources and the newspapers. (112 pp.)

 

De la Teja, Jesús F. “To the Last Drop of Our Blood: Defending King and Empire in San Antonio.” in Faces of Béxar, Early San Antonio & Texas.  Ed. Jesús F.de la Teja.  College Station, TX: 2016.
Profiles the “mission-military complex” that linked San Antonio’s missions to the nearby Presidio during era of Spanish rule.  The institutions learned to cooperate from earlier joint settlements in Northern Mexico. The garrison was frequently understaffed in their on and off again wars first with the Apaches and later with the Comanches. Spanish authorities introduced various administrative changes in an effort to control costs and provide. The Presido was vital to the survival of the civilian settlement by providing protection and supplies and scarce civilian settlers once the soldiers retired.

 

Dunn, William Edward. “Apache Relations in Texas, 1718-1750. Southwestern Historical Quarterly 14 (Jan. 1911): 198 – 269.
In 1718 the Marqués de Aguayo initiated a military campaign against the Apaches in the San Antonio Area. The article discusses the subsequent peace negotiations and the defense of the presidio. The essay also takes note of the divisions between local military authorities and the missionaries.

 

Faulk, Odie B. “The Comanche Invasion of Texas, 1743 – 1836.” Great Plains Journal 9 (Fall 1969): 10 – 50.
As the Comanche moved deeper into Texas during the early part of the eighteenth century, they pushed their longtime enemies, the Apache, closer to San Antonio. The Spanish first tried allying with one tribe to help crush the other. They later turned to a policy of appeasement offering presents and trade. But Indian depredations only worsened in the last couple of decades of Spanish rule. The Comanche conducted several raids on San Antonio from their hide outs in the hills of the Balcones Escarpment. The Indians stole horses which they later used to trade with the Americans in Louisiana and East Texas. The pressure the Comanche exerted on San Antonio undermined the city’s prospects for prosperity or population growth.

 

Folmer, Henri. “Report on Louis de Saint Denis’ Intended Raid on San Antonio in 1721.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (July 1948): 83-88.
A document prepared by anonymous French authorities weighed the risks and benefits of assisting Saint Denis’s proposed raid on the newly established village of San Antonio. He proposed to collect livestock and harass Spanish incursions on the frontier that were meant to block further French settlements. Peace between Spain and France intervened before the raid was ever carried out.

 

Hackett, Charles W. “The Marquis of San Miguel de Aguayo and His Recovery of Texas from the French.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 49 (Oct. 1945): 193 – 214.
Aguayo became governor of Texas and Coahuila in 1719. Drawing on his own personal fortune, he helped reinforce San Antonio as a bastion to further French expansion into Texas from Louisiana.

 

Jackson, Jack, “The 1780 Cabello Map: New Evidence That There Were Two Mission Rosarios, and a Possible Correction on the Site of El Fuerte del Cibolo.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 107 (Oct. 2003): 202-16.
The essay reprints a map detailing the area between San Antonio and Goliad. It documents the location of area ranches, missions and forts.

 

John, Elizabeth A. H. “Governing Texas, 1779: The Karankawa Aspect.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 104 (Apr. 2001): 560 – 576.
A letter from the Spanish governor of Texas, residing in San Antonio, to his superior outlines his goals and frustrations in dealing with marauding Indian tribes located nearer the coast. Indian attacks on San Antonio residents and their crops and livestock were a chronic problem during Spanish rule. The Karankawa Indians, who resided between San Antonio and coast, were an especially warlike tribe. A shortage of military manpower and resources severely limited the governor’s range of actions.

 

Lanier, Sidney, “San Antonio de Béxar.” In Sidney Lanier: Florida and Miscellaneous Prose Baltimore: 1945.
The writer arrived in San Antonio in 1872, one of many transplants drawn by its reputation for combating tuberculosis. He immersed himself in the Spanish Archives and produced this short, entertaining and illustrated narrative. The history devotes much of its attention to the city’s many violent episodes and ends abruptly around 1850. Lanier concludes with a walking tour of San Antonio’s more arresting tourist sites and with portraits of its diverse inhabitants.

 

Reeve, Frank D. “The Apache Indians in Texas.” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50 187 – 219.
Reeve covers the period spanning from early Spanish colonization up to the late nineteenth century. The Lipan and Hispanic populations frequently met in or near San Antonio, on friendly or unfriendly terms.

 

Rogers, Will Chapel, III. “A History of the Military Plaza to 1937.” M. A. Thesis, Trinity University, 1968. 
The plaza was first laid out to protect the early settlement. By the mid nineteenth century its military role was overtaken by its commercial one as it became the locale of the city market, the chili queens and various forms of popular entertainment, gambling, and public events – including hangings. The study ends when city health inspectors closed down many of the market’s commercial establishments in the name of sanitation. Mainly drawn from newspaper accounts. (105 pages.)

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