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One year after Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús left the failed missions in East Texas, he founded what would become the largest and best known of the Texas missions. Viewed as the model among the Texas missions, San José gained a reputation as a major social and cultural center.
So rich an enterprise was a natural target for mounted Apache and Comanche raiders. Although San José residents could not prevent raids on their livestock the mission itself was almost impregnable. In his journal, Fray Juan Agustin Morfi attested to the character of Mission San José: “It is, in truth, the first mission in America... in point of beauty, plan, and strength... there is not a presidio along the entire frontier line that can compare with it.”