San Bernard Mission
SAN BERNARDO MISSION. Mission San Bernardo, the third mission of the San Juan Bautista mission complex at the site of present-day Guerrero, Coahuila, was begun early in 1702. It was founded “two musket shots” north of San Juan Bautista Mission, which at that time formed the heart of the settlement that became Guerrero. Fray Alonso González, recently arrived from the missionary College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, assumed the ministry, gathering three rancherías of Coahuiltecan Indians of the Ocán, Pacuache, and Pacal groups to number 400. In the mission's early days, as many as forty children were presented for baptism at one time, with soldiers of Presidio de San Juan Bautista and their wives serving as godparents. Despite several proposals to move the mission, San Bernardo remained within a league of the site of its founding until final secularization in 1829. Ruins of the mission church begun in the 1760s but never finished still stand just north of Guerrero, virtually the only visible remains of the Rio Grande missions. Martín de Alarcón, governor of Coahuila, was the first to propose moving San Bernardo. After his inspection of 1706, he advocated transferring it to the Frio River in Texas. That same year a smallpox epidemic depopulated the missions. An expedition was made to the Nueces River the following year to seek new converts and to punish Indians responsible for recent raids. In 1715 the Indians of San Bernardo and San Juan Bautista rebelled over treatment by the presidial soldiers.