Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Here we are in Goliad Texas State Park, one of my very favorite spots. It was only about 60 miles from Goose Island and we arrived about 11:30AM. This state park is unique in that there is an old Mission, the Mission Espiritu Santo, right on the premesis. In fact it is a 3 minute walk from our campsite. Here are a couple photos of our new campsite here...

The mission was moved here from Matagorda Island in 1749 to protect the Camino La Bahia (the major Spanish trade route to the North and East.) The chapel and grounds were maintained by the native american indians of this area and they also lived here. The idea of the Roman Catholic church at that time was to bring the indians to Christianity. The mission was run by the Franciscan fathers, and the indians branded cattle, tilled the soil, made pottery, spun wool for clothing and harvested crops. Unfortunately, mission life proved destructive to the native's traditional way of life and the result over time was the gradual erosion and eventual destruction of their traditional tribal culture...In other words, converting them into Christians destroyed them...go figure. Here is a photo of the mission as it stands today..
Here is a picture of the inside of the mission..
It is really cool, because we can visit it any time we want for free and it costs people who are NOT camping here $3.00 each.
There is another really great historic spot, the Presidio La Bahia, an old fort which stand just outside of town. Another plus for us here is that we can walk there without going on the busy road it happens to be on. This state park road extends UNDER the highway, with a walkway going up on the other side and coming out right at the presidio..about a 1 mile walk for us.
The Presidio La Bahia,(bahia meaning "bay" in Spanish). This is a fort , not a mission and was moved here also in 1749. It's former location being near present day Lavaca Bay. The soldiers from this fort assisted the Spanish army fighting the British along the Gulf Coast during the American Revolution. Here is a picture of it.. There is a chapel which was erected in the quadrangle of this fort, call Our Lady of Loretto, and is the oldest building in the compound in continuous use since the 1700's. They still hold church services there on Sundays. Here is the chapel...

Here is a photo of the altar and the fresco behind it... This presidio is really famous for one of the most disastrous defeats of the Texas struggle for independence, the Battle of Coleto Creek. The men of Col. James W. Fannin's command , troops numbering 400, occupied Presidio La Bahia in March of 1836. Col. Fannin renamed the presidio Fort Defiance. When the Alamo fell, he was ordered by Gen. Sam Houston to retreat and join him. Col. Fannin's slow moving column of men fought off attacks by Mexican cavalry and artillary day and night..they could not hold out. Expecting to be "prisoners of war" they surrendered the next morning on March 20th. Ten Texans and all horses and oxen were killed, and 50 including Fannin, were wounded. The survivors were marched back to Fort Defiance,(Presidio La Bahia), and imprisoned. A week later, Palm Sunday, they were marched out of the fort and executed as pirates who had borne arms against the Mexican government. There was TWICE as much loss at Goliad as there was at the Battle of the Alamo, which not many (except Texans) know. Down here the motto is "Remember Goliad!".
We toured the Presidio La Bahia (Fort Defiance) and it makes you feel really sad at what happened there. We also went out to the Fannin Battleground, about 9 miles East of Goliad, where they surrendered after the Coleto Creek battle. There is a monument there, too.

So now you have had you Texas history lesson for the day. Can you tell what a history "nut" I am??? For fear of boring you further, I will save the historical town square, Courthouse and "Hanging Tree" for another blog. Actually there they have a Goliad Market Days the 2nd Saturday of each month it happens to be this Saturday, so guess where we are going?? I failed to mention that this state park has a walkway through the trees, down along the river and right into town..a 2 mile walkway...I will blog about it, trust me...Later...

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