Cabeza Creek Crossing on la Bahia - Bexar Road
Cabeza Creek Crossing on la Bahía – Bexar Road
The Cabeza Creek Crossing on la Bahía-Bexar Road, ½ mile off FM 2043, 6 miles west of Goliad, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The site is near the confluence of the creek and the San Antonio River. As a component of the San Antonio River Valley (West of Goliad) Rural Historic District of 77 sites, farms and ranches, it is located on land formerly belonging to Rafael Manchola. Twice elected the alcalde of la Bahía, Manchola initiated the proposal to change the name of the settlement of la Bahía to Goliad (an anagram of Hidalgo). In 2008, a THC historical marker was dedicated, making the crossing the first site on El Camino Real de los Tejas to receive both designations.
In 1749, Presidio de la Bahía and Mission Espíritu Santo relocated nearby and the residents needed a trade route. La Bahía-Bexar Road was first charted by Capitan Ramirez de la Piscina in 1777, and mapped by Gov. Domingo Cabello y Robles in 1780. By the mid-1830s, Stephen F. Austin had also mapped the route, as did French-Swiss naturalist, Jean Luis Berlandier, who noted an abandoned ranch on the eastern approach to the crossing where Spanish artifacts dating to 1790 were found in the 1990s.
Through the years, the road (also known as the Goliad-San Antonio Road, the San Antonio Road, and the Lower Road), and its crossing were used by travelers, military personnel, and Spanish, Mexican and Anglo traders and ranchers. The route was a vital supply line between the Gulf ports and Bexar. In the 1840s, German immigrants traveled the road, some settling in Goliad County, and others used the crossing and continued northwest. With the arrival of the railroads, the road fell into disuse, but the crossing and the road remain as an important part of Goliad’s history, and as a site on El Camino de los Tejas.
1780 Cabello map from Records of the Chief of Engineers, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.