San Elizario in El Paso County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
The First Thanksgiving
They reached the Río Conchos and after a needed rest, started out again on February 7. Marching on northward over the barren desert of Chihuahua for several weeks, the last four days without water, the expedition finally reached El Río del Norte (near the present-day San Elizario) on April 26, 1598. The poet-chronicler of the march Gasper Pérez de Villagrá, wrote that the river was a most welcome sight: "Horses approached the rolling stream and plunged headlong into it two of them drank so much that they burst their sides and died. Two others plunged so far into the stream that they were caught in its swift current and drowned." Some of the humans went almost as wild. The arrival was a "happy and joyous occasion," and all were in a thankful mood. Grateful for the completion of a perilous part of their journey, the abundance of water, and plenty of wild game along the river, the expedition set about preparations for a great celebration, The First Thanksgiving in what is now the United States of America, which took
The Great Colonizer, as Oñate has been called, thus brought the Spanish culture (and ultimately, that of Mexico) to what would become the Great Southwest shaping its growth and the development of the area for generations. These historic events preceded the English colonies on the Atlantic Seaboard, the French colonization of Canada, and the Dutch settlements in the Hudson River area by several years.
Erected 1989 by the El Paso Mission Trail Association, Inc., in recognition of the Oñate Expedition and dedicated by Manuel Gullon y Oñate, Conde de Tepa.
Location. 31° 35.118′ N, 106° 16.384′ W. Marker is in San Elizario, Texas, in El Paso County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of San Elizario Road and Church Street. Touch for map. Marker is located at the San Elizario Memorial Plaza. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1521 San Elizario Road, San Elizario TX 79849, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Camino Real (here, next to this marker); Salt War (here, next to this marker); San Elizario Memorial Plaza (here, next to this marker); Rodriguez-Chamuscado Expedition - 1581 San Elizario (here, next to this marker); Espejo Beltran Expedition - 1582-1583 (here, next to this marker); Juan de Onate Expedition - 1598 (here, next to this marker); Los Portales (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Elizario.
Also see . . . The First Thanksgiving?. “Oñate ordered a day of thanksgiving for the survival of the expedition. Included in the event was a feast, supplied with game by the Spaniards and with fish by the natives of the region. A mass was said by the Franciscan missionaries traveling with the expedition. And finally, Oñate read La Toma—The Taking—declaring the land drained by the Great River to be the possession of King Philip II of Spain.” (Submitted on November 19, 2016.)
Categories. • Exploration • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on November 15, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 965 times since then. Last updated on June 5, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 15, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. 3. submitted on November 19, 2016. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.