The Old Franciscan Missions Of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about The Old Franciscan Missions Of California.

The distance from Santa Barbara was about thirty-five miles, over a rough road, hardly more than a trail, winding in and out among the foothills, and gradually climbing up into the mountains in the midst of most charming and romantic scenery.  The quaint procession, consisting of Padre Presidente Tapis and three other priests, Commandant Carrillo, and the soldiers, and a large number of neophytes from Santa Barbara, slowly marched over this mountainous road, into the woody recesses where nestled the future home of the Mission of Santa Ines, and where the usual ceremonies of foundation took place September 17, 1804.  Padres Calzada, Gutierrez, and Cipres assisted Presidente Tapis, and the two former remained as the missionaries in charge.

The first result of the founding of this Mission was the immediate baptism of twenty-seven children, a scene worthy of the canvas of a genius, could any modern painter conceive of the real picture,—­the group of dusky little ones with somber, wondering eyes, and the long-gowned priests, with the soldiers on guard and the watchful Indians in native costume in the background,—­all in the temple of nature’s creating.

The first church erected was not elaborate, but it was roofed with tiles, and was ample in size for all needful purposes.  In 1812 an earthquake caused a partial collapse of this structure.  The corner of the church fell, roofs were ruined, walls cracked, and many buildings near the Mission were destroyed.  This was a serious calamity, but the padres never seemed daunted by adverse circumstances.  They held the usual services in a granary, temporarily, and in 1817 completed the building of a new church constructed of brick and adobe, which still remains.  In 1829 the Mission property was said to resemble that at Santa Barbara.  On one side were gardens and orchards, on the other houses and Indian huts, and in front was a large enclosure, built of brick and used for bathing and washing purposes.

When Governor Chico came up to assume his office in 1835 he claimed to have been insulted by a poor reception from Padre Jimeno at Santa Ines.  The padre said he had had no notice of the governor’s coming, and therefore did the best he could.  But Presidente Duran took the bold position of informing the governor, in reply to a query, that the government had no claim whatever upon the hospitality of unsecularized Missions.  Chico reported the whole matter to the assembly, who sided with the governor, rebuked the presidente and the padres, and confirmed an order issued for the immediate secularization of Santa Ines and San Buenaventura (Duran’s own Mission).  J.M.  Ramirez was appointed comisionado at Santa Ines.  At this time the Mission was prosperous.  The inventory showed property valued at $46,186, besides the church and its equipment.  The general statistics from the foundation, 1804 to 1834, show 1372 baptisms, 409 marriages, and 1271 deaths.  The largest number of cattle was 7300 in 1831, 800 horses in 1816, and 6000 sheep in 1821.  After secularization horses were taken for the troops, and while, for a time, the cattle increased, it was not long before decline set in.

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The Old Franciscan Missions Of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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