Mission San Francisco de la Espada, established in 1690, is the oldest of the east Texas missions. The Mission was moved several times, coming to rest in San Antonio in 1731. Frequent Apache and Comanche raids caused the Mission to be heavily fortified. James Bowie and James W. Fannin and 100 Texan recruits troops fought off two hundred Mexicans during the Texas Revolution of 1835.
The church I painted was begun in 1745 and completed 11 years later. In 1794 it was partially secularized and abandoned by 1824.
Hope came when a young French priest, Francois Bouchu, was sent to Espada in 1858. Finding the church in ruins, Bouchu rebuilt the walls, roof and made the furniture. He is credited with saving the Mission.