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© 2002- 2012, Steve Gibson, Bexar Genealogy, All Rights Reserved

The next Spanish entradas into Texas was led by Domingo Terán de los Ríos in 1691. He was accompanied by Father Massanet who was in charge of missionary activities, and a young boy named Jose de Urrutia who would later become part of the history of San Antonio. Terán's instructions, prepared by a Junta de Hacienda acting under suggestions by Damián Massanet, were to establish seven missions among the Tejas Indians; to investigate rumors of foreign settlements on the coast; and to keep records of geography, natives, and products. Terán's army of 63 soldiers and clairergy, crossed the Rio Grande in May and explored East Texas as far as the Caddo settlements on the Red River. By March 1692 Terán had returned to Matagorda Bay, where Juan Enríquez Barroto gave him instructions from the viceroy to explore the lower reaches of the Mississippi River. Bad weather caused Terán to abandon the project and return to Veracruz. He succeeded in founding no new missions, and the expedition added little new information about the region. After his return, Terán compiled a lengthy report, defending his actions and detailing the dismal situation in East Texas. Terán's mission proved to be a complete failure with one exception.  Terán and his entrada had reached the San Antonio River near where San Juan Capistrano Mission was later founded. They found a group of Payayas Indians living on the riverbanks. The Indians called their village “Yanaguana”, however, Father Massanet, renamed the site San Antonio de Padua in honor of Saint Anthony of Padua.

The next Spanish entrada was an expedition led by two Franciscans, fathers Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares and Isidro Félix de Espinosa, and a military officer, Pedro de Aguirre, the Espinosa-Olivares-Aguirre Expedition reached the San Antonio area in April 1709. Much impressed by the setting and the availability of water, they noted that the area might make a promising site for future settlement. In 1714 Louis Juchereau de St. Denis crossed the region on his way to San Juan Bautista.

The Founding of Béxar

Saint Anthony of Padua

On February 17, 1716, members of the Ramón Expedition, departed for the Rio Grande and began his formidable journey to the Province of Tejas.  The entourage, guided by St. Denis, included twelve priests or friars, three Frenchmen, and several dozen civilians.  Several of the soldiers were married and brought along their families; their wives the first recorded Spanish women in Texas.  The expedition, including equipment, supplies, and livestock, departed the Rio Grande on April 27, 1716.  

On May 14, near the San Antonio River area, the expedition reached “a spring” level with the ground, which they called Agua de San Pedro (San Pedro Springs).  The location of the springs would later determined the site of the villa of San Antonio de Béxar and the mission of San Antonio de Valero.  Ramón and his entourage remained at the springs and the surrounding area for two days before continuing on to east Texas.  By December of 1716, the mission San Antonio de Padua had been founded on the San Antonio river by Father Olivares.  Father Olivares had begun his missionary work on the banks of the San Antonio River in a jacal or thatched hut, with three or four converted Indians.  

In 1718, the Alarcon Expedition was sent into Texas to reinforce Spanish presents and to select a capital for the province and establish a villa on the banks of the San Antonio river. Alarcon was unable to bring the necessary families for the proposed villa due to the fact that the Rio Grande had risen and prevented the expedition from crossing, so they never arrived. However, Alarcon did eventually make it to the settlement on the San Antonio and discovered that ten families were already established there; these he considered sufficient for the founding of the villa, which he named Villa de Bejar.  He founded the Presidio de San Antonio de Béxar.  The original San Antonio de Padua mission which had been founded by father Olivares two years earlier had changed its name to San Antonio de Valero, in honor of the viceroy, the Marquis of Valero.  The entire group of settlements was called San Antonio de los Llanos.  

In 1731 the three East Texas missions, Concepción, San Francisco de la Espada and San Juan Capistrano, were transferred to the San Antonio area, that along with the arrival of the Canary Islanders and the establishment of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar most likely ensured the beginning of the Spanish occupation of Texas and what was to become the city of San Antonio.

Father Espinosa again visited the site in 1716 on his way to East Texas with the Domingo Ramón expedition and this time recommended San Pedro Springs as a mission site. Domingo Ramón, the son of Capitan Diego Ramón of the Presidio at San Juan Bautista on the Rio Grande, received appointment on September 30, 1715, as commander of a military unit that was to reestablish Spanish presence in East Texas. His mission was to counter French influence from Louisiana. Louis Juchereau de St. Denis was appointed commissary officer and guide for the Ramón expedition, which totaled seventy-five persons.

The Yanaguana Society was founded in San Antonio on September 11, 1933, by Frederick C. Chabot, Frost Woodhull, Harry Hertzburg, William Aubrey and Mary Frances Norton. The purpose of the society was to encourage historical research into the earliest records of San Antonio, especially those prior to 1855; to foster the preservation of manuscripts, documents, and relics; to encourage the publication of authentic and documental records of individual service of pioneers; to identify historic spots in San Antonio; and to encourage the publication of documentary records of the history of those landmarks.

With news of a French settlement on the Bay of Espíritu Santos (Bay of the Holy Spirit, now called Matagorda Bay and Lavaca Bay) Alonso De León made five land expeditions into Spanish Texas looking for the French colony of Fort Saint Louis.  In 1689, guided by Jean Jarry and accompanied by Father Damián Massanet, De León again crossed the Río Bravo, went to Matagorda Bay and found the remains of the La Salle colony.  The year after the discovery of the ruins of La Salle’s Texas Settlement, Fort Saint Louis, as a response to the French intrusion, De León established the first Spanish mission in the province of Téjas.  De León, once more accompanied by Father Damián Massanet, founded the Mission of “San Francisco de los Téjas” where mass was celebrated in the new church on June 1, 1690.