First Spanish Mission in East Texas. Established in 1690 by Franciscan friars to convert the Tejas Indians. "Tejas", a Spanish rendition of the Indian word for "friend", was in time adopted as the state name.
The founding party was led by Capt. Alonso De Leon, a veteran explorer making his fifth journey into Texas. He was to see if the Tejas desired a mission and to find any remaining threat of the Frenchman La Salles' expedition of 1685. Finding none, DeLeon proceeded to this site. As the Tejas were willing to accept missionaries, he built a dwelling and church of rough-hewn logs near a brook. The church was dedicated on June 1, 1690. Leaving Father Damian Massanet in charge, De Leon departed on July 4.
Three years later, however, the mission was empty. Lack of sufficient defense, the isolated location, epidemics, and the insincerity of the Indians (who took the Spaniards' gifts but not their religion) contributed to its failure. In 1693 it was abandoned, although later twice re-established and renamed.
In spite of this, Spanish officials were inspired by the Tejas effort to make long-range plans for future expeditions, which marked the beginning of the Spanish mission and colonization movement in Texas.