Frenchmen, led by Joseph Blancpain and engaged in fur and hide trading with the tribes, had operated in the area near the mouth of the Trinity River in the early 18th century even though the area was claimed by the Spanish. Alarmed by this the Spanish drove out the French and in 1756 established a presidio known as San Augustín de Ahumada at the El Orcoquisac site. Within the presidio a Roman Catholic mission known as Nuestra Señora de la Luz was also established. The Spanish post was never as successful in fur trading as Blancpain's operation. The presidio and mission were moved and gradually abandoned in the later 18th century.
The site was rediscovered by amateur historian John V. Clay in 1965 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.