The Final Years: Evacuation and Resettlement
In February 1773 the Spanish viceroy in Mexico City expressed his eagerness to Governor Ripperdsÿ of Texas about executing the King's New Regulations of 1771, which ordered the abandonment of Presidio Los Adaes based upon Rub?'s recommendations as part of Spanish Bourbon reforms and the transfer of Louisiana from France to Spain during the French and Indian War. By April, Governor Ripperdsÿ informed Governor Unzaga of Spanish Louisiana about the pending closure of this fort and the "useless" East Texas missions. He specifically asked Unzaga to ensure the commandant at the Natchitoches post, Athanese de MZ¿zi?res, remain vigilant against any resistance and to make the Indians understand that the settlers of Louisiana were as much Spaniards as those at San Antonio de BZ¿xar.
Governor Ripperdsÿ arrived at Presidio Los Adaes in June 1773 to initiate removal, but stayed only eight days before returning to San Antonio de BZ¿xar and attending to Comanche troubles. He left Lt. Joseph Gonzales in charge of removal from Los Adaes and ordered the Adaese
By this time, Antonio Gil Ybarbo emerged as the most influential Adaese
On June 25, 1773 the Adaese
The ensuing march entailed more misery. The drought they encountered in the first stage of the journey was followed by heavy floods the rest of the way and more sickness among the Adaese
Barely a week after their arrival at San Antonio de BZ¿xar, the majority of Adaese
By December 1773, Governor Ripperdsÿ gave his permission to the Adaese
In February 1774, Ybarbo and Flores appeared in Mexico City with their petition to the viceroy, who handed it over to the Council of War and Estates for consideration. The viceroy and his advisors were indeed sympathetic to their plight as Ybarbo and his companion dramatized the removal. On March 17, the viceroy's council agreed that the Adaese
The site chosen by Governor Ripperdsÿ for the new settlement of Nuestra Se
By late August 1774 their second resettlement journey began, except this time their trek to the lower Trinity River was not as dreadful as removal from Los Adaes. Fewer Adaese
The temporary exemption from payment of royal taxes surely helped the struggling settlement at Bucareli, but the Adaese
A 1777 census of Bucareli revealed many Indian nations in all directions. Approximately 300 hombres comprised the Navadachos, Aynays, and Asynays, collectively known as the Tejas Caddos, who lived along the Camino Real to the Natchitoches post and the Neches and Angelina rivers. About twelve leagues (30 miles) above them along the same path on the Atoyaque River lived 300 men, more or less, of the Nacogdoches Caddos. Some twenty leagues (50 miles) north from Bucareli on the Trinity River lived about 40 armed men from the Cadohadacho nation. In between the ojos de agua (springs) of Lobanillo and Ais, were another twenty Nacogdoches Indians who survived the "previous epidemic," and lived together with a few Adais Indian families. The Bidais nation, located just two leagues below Bucareli, was reduced in size due to the same previous epidemic and numbered around 60 armed men like the Orcoquizas Indians, who were located near where Presidio San Agust?n stood and numbered around 30 armed men. In the same vicinity as the Orcoquizas on the lower Trinity River lived the Karankawas, who together with the Coojanes, numbered around 100 armed men and were declared enemies of the Spaniards.
Governor Ripperdsÿ also reported that approximately 5,000 Comanche men lived within five districts, four in New Mexico and the other in Texas about 80 leagues (200 miles) north of San Antonio de BZ¿xar. The latter band lived among 260 men of Taovayas, Tuacana, and Yscanis Indians and their families, referred to as the Nations of the North (or Norte
The 1777 census showed a disproportionate balance of power in favor of Southern Plains Indians. Approximately 740 armed men, mostly Caddos (Nacogdoches and Teja), were allies of the Spaniards. This figure paled in comparison to the 7,160 armed Indians, mainly Comanches, Wichitas, and Osages, who threatened Spanish Texas communities from the northwest out of New Mexico, to the north and northeast across the southern plains and to the Louisiana-Texas borderlands. The Caddos provided the only protection for the 347 Spanish men, women, and children at Bucareli. Meanwhile, the larger Spanish towns at San Antonio de BZ¿xar and La Bah?a had virtually no Indian allies and remained isolated fortresses.
Antonio Gil Ybarbo provided the governor with his own detailed report in January 1778 on the status of the Bucareli community. He reported upon the relatively small number of buildings and livestock, the moderate climate, and the communal farming of wheat and maize. Ybarbo particularly stressed the scarcity in arms and ammunition to defend against foreigners from the southern coast. Ybarbo also indicated that the land was fertile and had plenty of water for ranching and grazing to sustain big settlements, especially in the southern and northern directions with good woods of pine, cedar, oak, and more. Many wild mustangs roamed the countryside. There was also plenty of buffalo that provided sustanence and hides for the Indians. To the west were ganado vacuno (bovine cattle) that provided beef for the Bucareli settlement, while many deer, bears, wild turkeys, geese, ducks, and fish were found throughout its jurisdiction, and in such abundance as daily food for all the Indians. Despite the seemingly ideal physical environment that surrounded Bucareli for farming, ranching, and commerce, Ybarbo suspected it was not the safest place from encroaching microbes, Comanches, and English traders. Two months after Ybarbo's report, Commandant de MZ¿zi?res of the Natchitoches post gave a supporting favorable assessment of the Bucareli settlement adding strategic reasons like previous Spanish officials had stressed for its settlement.
The advantages that Bucareli's location offered were offset by the ever increasing threat from the Nations of the North and the Comanche, who were increasingly raiding farther to south and east. By November 1778 de MZ¿zi?res was back at Natchitoches and informed his superiors that Juan de Mora, an Adaese
In December 1778, Ybarbo wrote Governor Domingo Cabello, who succeeded Ripperdsÿ as governor of Texas, about disconcerting news of further Indian troubles looming at Bucareli. Ybarbo informed Governor Cabello that when the Comanche Nation first discovered Bucareli in May of the previous year  they had entered with thirty warriors and took part of the horse herd back with them across the Brazos River. Later, the Comanches returned on a second entrada, stealing around 270 bestias (livestock) and left sixty armed men to ambush any passing Spaniards.
Just two days before Christmas, Father Juan Garc?a Botello wrote Governor Cabello about the saddened state of affairs at Bucareli. Father Garc?a, a Franciscan friar from Mission Espada at San Antonio de BZ¿xar who had recently administered to the spiritual needs of Bucareli's citizens. He remarked upon the lack of harvests other than wheat, the ineffective gristmills, and the resident's general poverty. Father Garc?a also stated the need for reinforcement of troops to defend Bucareli against an enemy so "vigorous" as the Comanches. He referred also to the settlers' problems with wooden houses being combustible, and the weakened posts due to the instability of the land. Lastly, he told the governor that according to two or three friendly Indians, the Comanches had declared their intent to "destroy" the Bucareli population. To make matters worse, the settlers at Bucareli had endured a flood. Father Garc?a believed that there was greater security to the east at the former mission of Nacogdoches, or farther still at the former mission of Ais.
By February 1779 Governor Cabello had informed his superiors about this troubling news at Bucareli. In May 1779, de Croix, the Commandant General of the Interior Provinces in northern New Spain, a position created as part of the military reforms outlined in Rub?'s recommendations, wrote the governor acknowledging his communiquZ¿. de Croix emphasized to Governor Cabello that he pay attention "to economize," which was being done in many provinces under de Croix's command. Apparently, the Apache problem in Chihuahua where de Croix was headquartered commanded the general's immediate focus.
Meanwhile on April 30, Father Joseph Francisco Mariano de la Garza, who had relieved Father Garc?a during the winter from his temporary assignment at Bucareli, wrote Commandant General de Croix about the flight of settlers from hostilities of the Comanches. Father de la Garza said that the last of the Bucareli residents had decided on January 25, 1779 to re-settle at the "depopulated" mission of Nacogdoches for their families' safety. A flood on February 14 and another Comanche raid the following day upon Bucareli's horse herd were the last straws. The settlers could ill afford to wait for Spanish royal permission to abandon Bucareli. They also determined to avoid traveling westward across the Brazos, San Marcos, and Guadalupe rivers because these were the places of great ensenadas (coves, inlets) that served as the entry and exit points for Comanches expanding eastward.
By late May 1779, de MZ¿zi?res informed de Croix from the site of the former Presidio Los Adaes that even friendly Indian nations complained about Comanche hostility against Bucareli. In particular, the Tuacanas and Tancagues said that the Comanches blocked passage of "our merchants" to their villages which caused them great scarcity. As a result they intended to become allies of the Caddos, including the Tejas and Nacogdoches, the Bidais and other Indians for an attack upon the Comanches. De MZ¿zi?res dissuaded them from such an offensive because he felt it would only create senseless warfare. Instead, he wanted them to remain on the defensive. Apparently, Governor Cabello had approved the transport of supplies to de MZ¿zi?res as gifts for maintaining the friendship of these Indian allies.
Before Spanish officials decided whether or not Bucareli's settlers should remain at the former Nacogdoches mission, they considered Ybarbo's request to be relieved from duty as captain. In his petition the previous year, Ybarbo stated he was exhausted, having spent everything on the friendly Indians and "sacrificed his poverty" in service to His Majesty. Ybarbo provided "annual gifts at the dances to each [Indian] nation, without counting in particular what each [Indian captain] requests daily, being the means to maintain themselves by strength of gifts." Such obligation continued even on days when meat, maize, salt, pumpkins, and other things were delayed. Ybarbo noted that the province of Texas was not under the subordination of the Spaniards which made life difficult for the towns. Ybarbo wanted relief from his poverty after four years of sustaining Bucareli almost single-handedly.
Spanish royal officials deliberated the next several months about Ybarbo's petition and considered his service too important to allow his retirement. In addition to protecting Bucareli's residents and maintaining peace with friendly Indians, Ybarbo did a reconnaissance of the Gulf Coast along the Louisiana-Texas borderlands and made a map where the Trinity, Brazos, and Colorado rivers emptied into the sea. The Commandant General de Croix praised Ybarbo's good work on behalf of the Crown, but apparently Ybarbo still had not been paid his salary as captain.
Amidst official deliberations whether the settlers should remain at the former Nacogdoches mission or return to Bucareli, Ybarbo maintained a ranch near Attoyac on the lower Trinity River. Whether from Bucareli or Nacogdoches, Ybarbo perhaps had already considered contraband trade as the only means to counter impoverishment and to continue gifting the Indians which the Spanish governor was unable to sustain. Spanish officials in Mexico City suspected Ybarbo's business activities, but temporarily set aside the matter during this desperate time of Indian troubles in Spanish Texas.
An improvement in Spanish-Indian relations did not come soon enough for Ybarbo and his fellow settlers at the newly established town of Nuestra Se
Later that summer the Tejas Caddo visited Governor Cabello at San Antonio de BZ¿xar, revealing close ties between their nation and the former Adaese
Governor Cabello also happily reported that the Tejas Indian delegation held a favorable impression of him as "a good big captain." He told de Croix that as many as 1,000 Indians could arrive with de MZ¿zi?res to fight the Apaches along with another thirty-five to fifty men, all criollos or creoles from Natchitoches, including de MZ¿zi?res' son who was a captain. The governor invited El Texito and his companions to stay in San Antonio de BZ¿xar at a jacal, hut, with a servant to care for them. Cabello made certain that they were provided each day with meat, beans, corn, tortillas, and a small box of "cigars" for each one of them. He later entrusted Captain Texita to visit the Tahuacanas and Taboyavas in his behalf. Captain Texita then informed the governor that the Aguages, a name Cabello said he never heard before, were very fond of the Spaniards and were united as allies with the friendly Nations. The Aguages numbered around 500 armed warriors. Captain Texita also had insisted upon goods that traders lacked as did all the Indian nations. Governor Cabello realized the need for someone to act as his Indian agent in East Texas much like de MZ¿zi?res did at Natchitoches for the governor of Spanish Louisiana.
Governor Cabello again reported to de Croix about his trade overtures with the friendly Indian nations and Comanche hostilities against settlers from Bucareli. The governor dispatched Nicolsÿs de la Mathe in his behalf to the "Quiscatas, Tancahues, and Taguacanes" Indians and held a conference with their captains. De la Mathe, the same trade partner of Ybarbo, urged them to form a "pueblo" to stop being vagrants, and to visit the Spanish governor at San Antonio de BZ¿xar for further discussion. It seemed wise that such an Indian settlement could help form a barrier along with the Tejas Caddos against Comanche penetration deeper into the Louisiana-Texas borderlands. Otherwise, the Comanches could forge straight ahead to Natchitoches, Louisiana if not stopped somehow.
Cabello suggested that a piquete (picket) be established from the militia at royal expense for the safety of the residents at Nacogdoches. He hoped it would encourage the settlers to work more freely and openly on their harvests, and no longer need the subsidy they currently received. The militia organized at Nacogdoches was composed of the soldiers and citizens from the abandoned town of Bucareli. In essence, the Spanish settlers in East Texas were responsible for their own defense against future Comanche raids, besides whatever protection friendly Indians afforded.
Individuals like Ybarbo, de MZ¿zi?res, and El Texito, became powerful commercial, diplomatic, and cultural brokers indispensable to the survival of Spanish colonization in East Texas amidst perpetual warfare to the west. Governor Cabello needed these local and regional elites, which was why he recommended to de Croix that Ybarbo should not be allowed to retire from military service. Meanwhile, de MZ¿zi?res unfortunately passed away at San Antonio de BZ¿xar after he succumbed finally to the injuries from his riding accident in East Texas. Ybarbo was the Governor Cabello's logical choice to assume the preeminent role as Indian agent and principal trader on the Louisiana-Texas borderlands.
By October 1779, de Croix appointed Ybarbo as Lieutenant-Governor of Nacogdoches and was assigned an annual salary of 500 pesos. With this final act, Bolton argued, Spanish officials effectively "legalized" the new settlement at Nacogdoches. The strong ties that former Adaese