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MESQUITE INDIANS. The name Mesquite (Mesquita, Mesquitte, Mezquite) was applied by the Spanish to Indian groups in both southern and western Texas, but there is no indication that the Mesquite Indians of these areas were related to each other. Other Mesquite Indians lived in Tamaulipas, but these were not involved in the Texas area, at least not under that particular name. The Mesquite Indians of southern Texas ranged over a territory that extended from the Medina River near the site of San Antonio northeastward to the Brazos River in the vicinity of modern Milam County, where, along with other Coahuiltecans, they lived for a time in the Tonkawa-dominated settlements known collectively as Ranchería Grande. Along the Medina River the Mesquite Indians were in close association with the Aguastayas and Payayas. Mesquite Indians were listed among the Coahuiltecan bands for which the San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission was founded in 1720 at San Antonio, and some were also at nearby San Antonio de Valero Mission. In western Texas Mesquite Indians were reported as early as 1693 in a document which lists fifty "nations" that lived north of the Rio Grande and "between Texas and New Mexico." These were evidently the same as the Mesquites of the early eighteenth century who lived along the lower Conchos River of northern Chihuahua and which some writers identify as a division of the Concho Indians.


Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Charles W. Hackett, ed., Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, Nueva Vizcaya, and Approaches Thereto, to 1773 (3 vols., Washington: Carnegie Institution, 1923–37). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). J. Charles Kelley, "The Historic Indian Pueblos of La Junta de Los Rios," New Mexico Historical Review 27, 28 (October 1952, January 1953). Carl Sauer, The Distribution of Aboriginal Tribes and Languages in Northwestern Mexico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1934). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1968).

Thomas N. Campbell


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

Thomas N. Campbell, "MESQUITE INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 26, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.