In the 1930's the Texas Historical Commission placed a granite historical marker at the abandoned Presidio County community of Ochoa. Ochoa is located about ten miles north of Presidio, Texas on F. M. 170. Historians have long postulated that this could be the approximate location of a Spanish mission known as San Francisco de los Julimes. Established in the seventeenth century, the mission was situated at a place the Spaniard Lieutenant General Juan Dom'nguez de Mendoza called La Navidad en las Cruces. Although the mission remained in operation for only a short time, some say less than a year, it is a place of considerable historical interest. Spanish records seem to indicate that the famed Mendoza expedition made its way downriver from Paso del Norte on the western side of Rio Grande before crossing the river into present day Texas about 1682 at a place then called Senora del Rosario. There is some historical evidence that Mendoza forded the river in the vicinity of today's Ruidosa, Texas.

After being bypassed by more modern road construction, the Ochoa marker sat forgotten for years hidden in the brush a few hundred feet west of the pavement. Recently, thanks to the efforts of several people including the Armendariz family and my friend Tom Mangrem, the marker was moved to the roadside where the public can now know of its existence. It should be noted that the location of the marker is not supported by any archaeological evidence that I know of. Perhaps, one day, the good folks at the Center For Big Bend Archaeological Studies will see fit to investigate the Ochoa site to see if it truly is Mendoza's La Navidad en las Cruces. For more information about Ochoa scroll down in the blog to OCHOA: FIRST SPANISH MISSION EAST OF THE RIO GRANDE? Also, Chapter 1 of my book "Little Known History of the Texas Big Bend: Documented Chronicles From Cabeza De Vaca To The Era Of Pancho Villa" addresses the topic more fully. Gj


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