East Texas Throwback: Nacogdoches reenactors prepare to mark city's 300th birthday

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - As the city of Nacogdoches prepares to mark a milestone -- their 300th birthday this weekend – a group of East Texans are also getting ready to bring history to life.

"It was the beginning stages of bringing Christianity to this area, to the friendly Tejas Indians," said Tony Jasso, playing Capitan Jose Domingo Ramon. "And, it happened three hundred years ago, the beginning of Nacogdoches as we see it today."

On Saturday the city of Nacogdoches will celebrate their tricentennial -- giving them designation 'the oldest town in Texas.'

"There should be about 20 to 30 Spanish soldados representing the Spanish army, so it'll be a lot of smoke and noise," said Jeff Opperman playing Sgt. Diego Ramon.

It's the moment of a lifetime -- to play the founders of the mission Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Nacogdoches.

"I'm a school teacher and I've always taken a great interest in Texas History. So, being to take part in local history and convey that to future generations is really beneficial," said Byron Davis playing Padre Benito Sanches.

According to Texas historians, the city began with Franciscan Father Antonio Margil de Jesus.

On July 9, 1716, Margil founded the mission de Guadalupe de Nacogdoches and soon after added three others in Deep East Texas.

The purpose?

"Their main goal when they first came to this area was to save souls and to build these missions to bring Christianity to the Indians here," explained Jasso.

While these first attempts to colonize this part of East Texas ended in abandonment -- the legacy remains in history books and people.

"Father Antonio Margil is considered to be a venerable that is just one stage below being a sainthood. The Vatican in Rome are putting together all the information, and, if he is canonized as a saint, he will be the first saint from this area, ever," said Jasso.

For these Nacogdoches teachers, businessmen and retirees -- the chance to reenact this important part of East Texas history for you -- is nothing but an honor.

"I hope that the East Texans will walk away from this dedication with a sense of pride of being the oldest town in Texas and being a rich and historic town. Three hundred years is a long time," said Jasso.

"I hope that everybody learns that, with a few people, everything is possible. It just takes the help of everybody around them," said Bill Davis playing Padre Javier de Cubillos.

The Nacogdoches Mission Guadalupe Rededication will take place Saturday, July 9th at Festival Park. It will feature a mass at 9 AM and rededication ceremony to follow.

For more details click here.

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