Gonzalez, Joseph Antonio (unknown–1728)

By: Marion A. Habig, O.F.M.

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: December 4, 2019

Joseph Antonio González, a Franciscan missionary, served at various missions in Texas and Coahuila in the early eighteenth century. He seems to have been assigned to the San Juan Bautista missions until 1721, when he was appointed assistant to Father Francisco Hidalgo at San Antonio de Valero Mission in San Antonio. At the latter mission he also served San Francisco Xavier de Náxara Mission, established in 1722 on or near the site of the later Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña Mission. In December 1723 Father González came into conflict with Nicolás Flores de Valdés, captain of San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, over the imprisonment of a group of Apaches whom González wanted released. González wrote a memorial to the viceroy on March 18, 1724, asking that Flores be removed and that Mateo Pérez, a soldier at San Juan Bautista, be appointed in his place. On April 6 a viceregal decree was issued making Pérez captain of the San Antonio presidio. González had gone to Mexico City to present his complaints to the viceroy. He returned to San Antonio de Valero on June 17, in the company of Pérez, who took command of the presidio. Flores, however, appealed his case to the viceroy, and on May 31, 1725, obtained a viceregal decree reinstating him as captain of the presidio. The viceroy also asked the father guardian of the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro to give González another assignment. It appears that González was stationed elsewhere from the summer of 1725 to the fall of 1726. Before leaving, however, he supervised the removal of San Antonio de Valero to its third and present site. This move followed the destruction of the mission buildings (except for the stone chapel) by a hurricane, probably in the fall of 1724. González returned to San Antonio de Valero in the fall of 1726 and was there until at least February 8, 1727. He later went to the Rio Grande missions. In early 1728 he was commissioned by the governor of Coahuila, Blas María de la Garza Falcón, to investigate some Indian complaints at the Arroyo de Castaño, two leagues from the San Juan Bautista presidio. On August 28, 1728, Miguel Sevillano de Paredes, father president of the Coahuila missions, reported the death of González while on a journey in connection with the Rio Grande missions. It seems most probable that González did not return to San Antonio de Valero after leaving in 1727 and that he died while working in the San Juan Bautista missions. The wording of Sevillano's letter suggests that his death was a result of natural causes. Father Isidro Espinosa, founder of three missions in East Texas and father guardian from 1722 to 1724), noted in his history of the missionary colleges that González had been a "famous missionary."

Joseph Antonio González must be distinguished from several other Franciscans who bore similar names and served in Texas and Coahuila in the eighteenth century: (1) Brother Joseph González, a lay brother of the College of Querétaro, was at San Francisco Solano Mission near San Juan Bautista (Guerrero, Coahuila) in 1707. (2) Father Joseph Alonso González served at Santa María de los Dolores de la Punta (Lampazos, Nuevo León) and the San Juan Bautista missions and as father president of the Rio Grande missions. (3) Father Juan Joseph (José) González supervised Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga Mission from 1747 until his death in 1756. (4) Father Joseph Manuel González served at Concepción Mission in 1775 and 1777 and at San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission in 1786 and died at San Juan Capistrano Mission on April 6, 1787.

Robert F. Carter, The Tarnished Halo: The Story of Padre Francisco Hidalgo (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1973). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Isidro Félix de Espinosa, Chrónica apostólica y seráphica de todos los colegios de propaganda fide de esta Nueva España, parte primera (Mexico, 1746; new ed., Crónica de los colegios de propaganda fide de la Nueva España, ed. Lino G. Caneda, Washington: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1964). Marion A. Habig, The Alamo Mission: San Antonio de Valero, 1718–1793 (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1977). Marion A. Habig, ed., Nothingness Itself: Selected Writings of Ven. Fr. Antonio Margil, 1690–1724, trans. Benedict Leutenegger (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1976). Benedict Leutenegger and Marion A. Habig, The Zacatecan Missionaries in Texas, 1716–1834 (Austin: Texas Historical Survey Committee, 1973). Miguel Sevillano, Representación, August 28, 1728 (MS, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Dunn Transcripts, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin).

  • Religion
  • Catholic
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Marion A. Habig, O.F.M., “Gonzalez, Joseph Antonio,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/gonzalez-joseph-antonio.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995
December 4, 2019

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: