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Army officer charged with murders at Franciscan mission

May
11
1752

On this day in 1752, in a notorious example of bad civil-military relations, carpenter Juan Ceballos and Father Juan José de Ganzabal were murdered at Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Mission, near the site of modern Rockdale, Texas. Suspicion fell on the post commander, Felipe de Rábago y Terán. Assigned to establish a presidio to protect several nearby missions in March of 1750, Rábago fell out with the Franciscans over where to build the fort. He further alienated the padres by chasing after both Indian and Hispanic women, and by carrying on an affair with the carpenter's wife. After spending eight years in prison awaiting trial for the double murder, Rábago was exonerated of all charges in 1760.

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