Nov 18 2014

For time whereof the memory of man ran not to the contrary it had been a chosen range for the buffalo, a favorite hunting ground for the tribes of wild Indians (illegible) ford where shade was abundant (illegible) stood in 1847 the (illegible) frames built of dogwood saplings over which the Indian squaws had stretched the skins of buffalo and deer as protection from the rains of summer and the cold of winter, and around these were scattered many arrowheads of flint and fragments of rude pottery were signs that told as plainly as words that here savage warriors had rested from the toil of hunting and the excitement of battle.

 
But as peaceful as the valley looked in 1847 and has since remained, there was an abundance of signs to prove that it had been the theater of many a fierce and/ sanguinary encounter between the Indians and white man, the Mexican and the American. At many places along the valley, now in the somber shade of mott or grove and again out in the open ground under the scorching heat of the sun lay the whitened bones of human beings -- the skulls so widely scattered that one’s horse frequently stumbled or shied at them, and the children of the first white settlers sometimes actually made playthings of them. To the negroes brought into the valley by their masters they were horrors to be given wide berth.
 
The stage stand mentioned above was, in 1847, the uppermost settlement on the Cibolo. It was kept by a gentleman of education and high standing, who because of a slight lameness, was generally known and referred to as “Limpy Brown”. Two or three years later he disposed of his holdings to Major------Perryman, and moved a few miles up the creek, established a home at which he was living at the close of the war between the States. Members of his family are said to be living in San Antonio. Below the stage stand, (illegible), the Carvajal Ranch at the crossing of the La Bahia or Goliad Road, the only evidence of any occupancy of the valley by civilized people was the red sandstone walls of a single story, two-roomed building which stood on the west bank of the creek directly opposite the large sulphur spring near present day Sutherland Springs.
 
The tradition of the day as voiced by the oldest Mexican inhabitants of San Antonio though silent as to the date of erection told that it was an outlying mission established by the same Franciscan Fathers under whose supervision the west bank of the San Antonio River was lined with missions from the city at its head down to Goliad. That it had been long abandoned by its founders was disclosed by the fact that although its walls and roof were in passable repair its only occupants for many long years had been the Mexican rancheros and their families from San Antonio River who had come to drink of and to bathe in the healing waters of the nearby spring. The larger room of the building had been used as a chapel and the massive iron key to the lock of its door was found by an old darkey, and is the possession of a member of his family.
 
About 1850 the walls tumbled down and the rock of which they were composed was hauled away and put into chimneys. Today two or three piles of pulverized sandstone are all that is left to identify the exact site of the old mission.
 
The first white people to settle on the Cibolo below the stage stand and above the Carvajal Ranch, were brothers, Daniel and William Brister and their respective families. Late in July 1847, they built shanties on the land just above the mouth of the Martinez, a little stream that runs into the Cibolo from the west. They remained only until 1854, when they moved across the San Antonio River on to the Atascosa and gave the place to Maj. R. W. Brahan. About the middle of September following the arrival of the Bristers on the Cibolo, Joseph H. Polley and his family made a settlement on a place twelve miles below the Bristers, and two miles above the Sulphur Springs opposite which stood the old mission building. Mr. Polley was one of seven adventurous spirits who, in1820 accompanied Moses Austin to San Antonio and thence back to Nacogdoches. In 1821 he came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin as one of the “original three hundred” colonists introduced by that empressario into the country, and settled in Brazoria County on the Brazos River. Although in full sympathy with the Republic of Texas in their struggle for independence from Mexican rule, he did not join the army, being, as President David G. Burnett said in a letter of instruction addressed to him, “one of the few able bodied men, possessed of sufficient courage to stay at home and protect the women and children of the land.”