Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was the beginning of European settlement in East Texas
Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was the beginning of European settlement in East Texas. When Spanish explorers encountered the native people they were met with the greeting "Tejas," meaning friend. The heavily wooded area where the mission once stood became a state park in 1957.
The Hasinai people are a member of the Caddoan confederation and had lived in East Texas for centuries. The Spanish established the mission just north of present-day Crockett, Texas, because of the friendly reception and to thwart the French from Louisiana. The missionaries soon wore out their welcome and the settlement was abandoned in 1693, having lasted only three years. A second attempt to establish a mission to the Hasinai in 1716 also was short-lived.
The Hasinai were eventually forced from their homeland in 1839, and resettled in Oklahoma, where they continue to maintain their tribal customs.
For the Texas centennial in 1935, the citizens of Houston County purchased 118 acres near the site of Mission Tejas. A unit of the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the park, including an inexact replica of the mission church.
Mission Tejas State Park is 21 miles northeast of Crockett on TX 21 near Weches. The park offers camping, fishing in a small pond, and the only section of the actual Old San Antonio Road open to the public. For more information, call 936/687-2394 or go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us.
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