This Week in Texas Methodist History Feb. 5
Chuncey Richardson Reports on Visit to San Antonio, Feb. 1850
When traveling with non-Texans, I am often asked, “If I want to visit Texas, and can only go to one destination, where should I go?”
That’s an easy question, and I don’t hesitate, “San Antonio.”
San Antonio is the most popular tourist destination in Texas, and no wonder! It has arts, history, culture, food, scenery---and a touch of exoticism—going all the way back to its early 18th century founding.
19th century Methodists found it a hard city to evangelize. Their prejudice against Roman Catholicism blinded them to many of the city’s attractions.
Annexation to the United States brought U. S. Army posts, provisioning companies, and other commercial enterprises. Many of the new residents were immigrants from the older states of the Union, and therefore more amenable to Methodist ministrations that the older population.
Chauncey Richardson, editor of the Texas Wesleyan Banner visited San Antonio and naturally wrote a travel account. Like countless other visitors, he marveled at the beautiful architecture of Mission San Jose, the scenic San Antonio River, the plazas, and the irrigation system which he called “asequias”.
He enjoyed the military band practicing its music, and made the acquaintance of the post Chaplain, the Rev. John Fish, an Episcopal priest who had arrived at the post the previous July. Richardson closed his travel account by reporting on a conversation with Rev. Fish:
“Well, I saw you at the church today, trampling Roman Catholicism beneath your feet. A bold move, truly, but quite characteristic of Methodist ministers.” We thanked him for the compliment, and a mutually pleasant conversation ensued.”