San Teodoro

By: David Minor and Brian Hart

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1995

San Teodoro was the more southern of two eighteenth and nineteenth century Taovaya Indian settlements on either side of the Red River in extreme northern Montague County, near the site of present Spanish Fort. The other village, called San Bernardo, was on the Oklahoma side of the Red River. The village was in existence as an unnamed intertribal trading post at least as early as 1719. By the early 1700s it consisted of more than 120 grass houses, each sleeping from ten to twelve persons, spread out along both sides of the river. In 1719 Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe, a French explorer and trader, established friendly relations with the tribe. During the next two to three decades Spanish influence in the area conflicted with the Tawehash-influenced region. The Tawehashes (or Taovayas) attacked the Spanish settlement of San Sabá. In retaliation Capt. Diego Ortiz Parrilla received permission from Charles III to organize a retaliatory raid. The Spanish, joined by 300 Apaches, arrived at the Red River with 500 men and two cannons on October 7, 1759. Their forces were unprepared, however, for the 6,000 strong force of the Tawehashes protected by a well-built fortress flying the French flag. Over the next four hours the Tawehashes outmaneuvered and routed the Spanish force.

By 1770 no French or Spanish influence remained in the area. During that year, Athanase de Mézières, lieutenant governor of Spanish Louisiana, visited the Tawehash settlement and befriended the natives; on October 7, 1771, he negotiated a trade and friendship treaty with them. This treaty was one of several similar agreements negotiated by Mézières to win for Spain the allegiance of various Indian groups in north Texas. Mézières named the part of the village north of the Red River San Bernardo, in honor of Bernardo de Gálvez, governor of Louisiana. The part of the settlement located south of the river he called San Teodoro, in honor of Teodoro de Croix, commander general of the Provincias Internas. Together the two villages quickly became a popular trading location, although they never came under any Spanish missionary influence. By the early nineteenth century, the Tawehashes, decimated by smallpox, had largely abandoned San Teodoro. Thereafter, the village gradually decreased in size until it no longer existed, while San Teodoro was subsumed by the community of Spanish Fort.

Lathel F. Duffield, "The Taovayas Village of 1759: In Texas or Oklahoma?," Great Plains Journal 4 (Spring 1965). Llerena Friend, "Old Spanish Fort," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 16 (1940). Jeff S. Henderson, ed., One Hundred Years in Montague County, Texas (St. Jo, Texas: Ipta Printer, 1978).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

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

David Minor and Brian Hart, “San Teodoro,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

San Teodoro
Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: No
  • Is Incorporated: No
Belongs to
  • Montague County
Associated Names

Spanish Fort