The Hainai Tribe and the Mission of Conce’pión

On the east bank of the Angelina River, a little north of a direct west line from the Nacogdoche village, was that of the Hainai. 1 This tribe, whose lands lay on both sides of the Angelina, 2 was the head of the Hasinai confederacy, and for that reason was sometimes called Hasinai. It is to this tribe, also, that the name Texas was usually applied when it was restricted to a single one. Within its territory was the chief temple of the group, presided over by the great Xinesi, or high priest. 3 At its main village the mission of La Puríssima Conce’pión was founded in 1716.

After the Relación of Jesus Maria, our first sources of specific information on the location of this village are the diaries. Ramon tells us that he entered the “Pueblo de los Ainai” just east of the Angelina River, and that nine leagues east-south-east of this village he reached the “Pueblo de los Nacogdoches.” 4 The missionary fathers who accompanied Ramon, in their Representation made at the same time reported the distance as eight leagues east-south-east. Pena (1721) says the distance was eight leagues east-north-east from the presidio founded near the mission, and nine from the mission. Rivera (1727) found the mission just east of the “Rio de los Aynays,” or the Angelina, and nine leagues west of the Nacogdoches mission. 5 These witnesses tally in the main with each other and also, be it noted, with the testimony of the San Antonio Road, as its route is now identified in the old surveys. According to the best information obtainable it ran from Nacogdoches a little north of west to the Angelina, passing it about at Linwood Crossing. 6 Espinosa tells us that he founded the mission of Concepción a mile or two east of the place where the highway crossed the Angelina, near two springs, in the middle of the Hainai village. This site could not have been far from Linwood Crossing. 7

This Hainai tribe, as has been stated, was evidently the one which Jesus Maria called the Cachaé or Cataye. He said that between the Nacachau and the Nacogdoche, about midway, was the lodge of the Great Xinesi, and if we get his meaning here that immediately northeast of this lodge was the Cachaé tribe. From other data we learn that the Xinesi’s house was within or on the borders of the Hainai territory, about three leagues from the Concepción mission, and apparently west of the Angelina. 8 The Cachaé thus correspond, in location and relations, to the Hainai, while, moreover, the latter are the only tribe that appear in this locality after 1716. Considering with these facts the probability that Jesus Maria would hardly have left the head tribe un-mentioned in so formal a description as is his, and the fact that the Hainai is clearly the head tribe, it seems reasonably certain that the Cachaé and the Hainai were identical.Citations:

  1. I follow the spelling of Mooney which has been adopted by the Bureau of American Ethnology. The more common Spanish forms were Aynay and Ainai. English writers frequently spell it Ioni.[]
  2. Espinosa, Crónica Apostólica, 425; Diario, 1716; MS. entry for July 12; Mezières, Carta, Mem. de Nueva España, XXVIII, 241.[]
  3. Jesus Maria, Relación; Espinosa, Crónica Apostólica, 423.[]
  4. Derrotero, entries for July 7 and 8. Original in the Archive General y Pãblico, Mexico. The copy in Memorias de Nueva España (XXVII, 157-8) changes “Ainai” to “Asinay” and “Nacogdoches” to “Nacodoches.” It is such errors as the former, evidently, that gave rise to the idea that there was an Asinay tribe. Similarly, the Memorias copy of the Repre-sentaci6n of the “Padres Misioneros”‘ dated July 22, 1716 (Vol. XXVII, 163) states that the mission of Concepci6n was founded for the “Asinays,” whereas the original of that document, as of Espinosa’s diary, reads “Ainai.” This error has been copied and popularized.[]
  5. Ramtin, Derrotero, in Memorias de Nueva España, XXVII, 158; the “Padres Misioneros,” Representaci6n, Ibid., 163; Peña, Diario, Ibid., XXVIII, 43-44; Rivera, Diario, leg. 2142.[]
  6. Maps of Cherokee and Nacogdoches counties (1879), by I. C. Walsh, Commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas, compiled from official data.[]
  7. Espinosa, Diario, entries for July 6 and 7; Ramón, Derrotero, op. cit.[]
  8. Espinosa, Crónica Apost6Hca, 424; Morff , Mem. Hist. Texas, Bk. II, MS.[]


Bolton, Herbert E. The Native Tribes About The East Texas Mission's, Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, April 1908.

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