by Barbara J. Wood
MISSION DE LAS CABRAS
The legend of Mission de Las Cabras
... Back in 1879 one "Pedestrian" and a friend made a trip to the site of an old Mission. His letter follows:
"A few weeks ago, in Company with a friend, I made a visit to the Mission de Las Cabras.
"We thought it would be a pleasant way to spend a Sabbath afternoon. The weather was hot and dry, and a jaunt of eight miles on foot, is certainly getting knowledge under difficulties.
"Three miles below Floresville, we came to a succession of falls in the river, and the contrast from the dried and parched prairie to the cool and pleasant spot on the river was very much appreciated. We could not forgo the pleasure of a little rest in that shady retreat.
"Then we waded the river. The ascent to the Mission was next in order. After much scrambling through brush and undergrowth, we had before us the Mission itself.
"We had no guide; we knew not its history; before us was an immense pile of rocks, which was certainly never made by free labor. The wall must have originally enclosed more than an acre of land. The ravages of time were fast telling on the old ruins. The wall was in some places fifteen or twenty feet high; the roof had all fallen in. There was enough left, however, to make an interesting study.
"The portholes for cannon and guns were in good condition.
"It was a beautiful thought to Christianize and educate the wild savage.
"It was with a sad thought that I left the site of the old Mission, but it certainly repaid me for a visit there.
"The greed of man will not leave the old Mission alone. The ninety thousand dollars said to have been secreted there has been repeatedly looked for after, as there is abundance of evidence to show that the hoe and spade have been in use.
"There is a wild legend told by the Mexicans, and you shall have it as I heard it: When all the elements of nature seem to be at war, and the night is dark and dreary, if you should go alone to the old ruins, you will soon have the pleasure of hearing your teeth chatter. On such an occasion, an old spirit that inhabits the ruins will take its accustomed walk, and, mounting the top of the wall, will wave a light back and forth, as though he were signaling to someone in the distance. However, I did not remain to test the truth of the legend, as I am somewhat addicted to whistling when passing even a graveyard."
We include "Pedestrian's" letter for what it is worth. Someone at the University of Texas advised us she could not remember that such a mission was ever located in this vicinity. Maybe old "Pedestrian" just knew more than we did!
[This is part of an article or a letter compiled by Alfred E. Menn, which was found in the files of the Wilson County Historical Commission Archives and submitted by Gene Maeckel]
COURTESY / Wilson County News