MASSANET, DAMIÁN (?–?). Damián Massanet, founder of the first Spanish mission in East Texas, was born in Spain, most likely in Majorca. Information concerning his place of birth, family, and early life is not available. After ordination, Massanet was among twenty-four Franciscan priests who crossed the Atlantic in 1683 to help found the missionary College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro. By the late 1680s he had moved to the mining and cattle frontier of northern New Spain. Between Monclova and a mining camp known as Boca de Leones, Massanet had set up Mission San Bernardino de la Caldera near the border of Nuevo León. In 1689 he accompanied Gov. Alonso De León in the successful search for René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's Fort St. Louis, and the next year he assisted in the establishment of San Francisco de los Tejas mission. Massanet, although placed in charge of missionary work in East Texas, did not remain there.
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