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School History

Anthony Margil

Antonio Margil was a Spanish Missionary to Texas who founded Mission San Jose along the banks of the San Antonio River in 1720 and thereby helped to establish the city of San Antonio.

SAISD honored Margil by naming three different schools after him. School #24 was named after Margil in the 1910s before it was called Hillcrest and so was School #1 beginning in 1923. The Sam Houston name was later restored in 1936. The third Margil was established in 1936 in the school building which previously had housed Grant Elementary.

In 1972 a building was constructed on Morales Street and the students, staff, and principal were transferred there from Grant after that school was closed in compliance with the Office of Civil Rights' mandates for racially balanced schools. Another building was constructed in 2006 which faced Perez Street and the building on Morales Street was later demolished.

Antonio Margil was born in Valencia, Spain. After he joined the Franciscans and was ordained, he decided to become a missionary. When the missionary college of Santa Cruz in Querétaro, Mexico, was organized, Margil volunteered and was accepted. In 1683 he arrived in Vera Cruz and found that city had been devastated by a pirate attack. Life in the New World would not be easy.

Margil covered a wide territory in his 43 years in New Spain. He worked in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and Texas. After serving as superior in Querétaro for 13 years, he established missionary colleges in Guatemala City and in Zacatecas, Mexico.

Although Margil was used to self-denial, missionary life provided plenty of mortification. He walked thousands of miles and showed great courage among hostile Indians.

In 1716, missionaries from the Zacatecas college founded Misión Guadalupe in eastern Texas.  When war with Spain caused the French to invade east Texas in 1719, Margil and his confreres withdrew to Misión San Antonio (later known as the Alamo), which had been set up the previous year.  In 1720 Margil established Misión San José in San Antonio.

Margil died in Mexico City on August 6, 1726.  In 1836, he was declared venerable.


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