Thomas N. Campbell

PAYUGUAN INDIANS. In the years 1690–93, when first clearly recorded in Spanish documents, the Payuguan Indians were found to be living southwest of San Antonio, mainly between the Nueces and Frio rivers, in an area now embraced by Zavala, Dimmit, La Salle, and Frio counties. This area they shared with other Indian groups, and at that time all of these Indians were being pressured by Apaches, who had obtained firm control of the Edwards Plateau area immediately to the north. Earlier but less reliable documents suggest that prior to 1690 the Payuguans may have lived somewhat farther west and northwest. Although some of the Payuguan Indians remained in Texas until 1708, others crossed the Rio Grande to live in northeastern Coahuila and northern Nuevo León. Between the years 1698 and 1713 remnants of the Payuguans entered one mission in northern Nuevo León (Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de la Punta at Lampazos) and five missions in eastern and northeastern Coahuila (El Dulce Nombre de Jesús de Peyotes near Villa Unión, San Bernardino de la Candela at Candela, and San Bernardo, San Francisco Solano, and San Juan Bautista, all near the Rio Grande in the vicinity of Guerrero). Later some of the Payuguan Indians also entered San Antonio de Valero Mission at San Antonio. The Valero baptismal, marriage, and burial registers contain the names of ten Payuguan individuals who lived at the mission between 1720 and 1745. After being displaced from their Texas homeland, the Payuguans evidently were dispersed and eventually lost their ethnic identity in the various Spanish missions they entered. As the Payuguans were recorded in so many mission-related documents, their name was rendered in numerous ways (over forty name variants have thus far been collected). No population figures were recorded for the Payuguan Indians prior to their various mission entries, and just how many Payuguans entered each of the seven missions cannot be determined. Indirect evidence seems to indicate that the Payuguans spoke a dialect of the Coahuilteco language. Virtually nothing is known about Payuguan culture. They were hunters and gatherers, and some of their foods were recorded: rats, prickly-pear fruit, and unspecified roots and fruits.

Thomas N. Campbell, Ethnohistoric Notes on Indian Groups Associated with Three Spanish Missions at Guerrero, Coahuila (Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1979). Lino Gómez Canedo, ed., Primeras exploraciones y poblamiento de Texas, 1686–1694 (Monterrey: Publicaciones del Instituto Technológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, 1968). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). P. Otto Maas, ed., Viajes de Misioneros Franciscanos a la conquista del Nuevo México (Seville: Imprenta de San Antonio, 1915). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas N. Campbell, "PAYUGUAN INDIANS," accessed July 24, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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