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.

[Illustration:  MISSION SANTA INES.]

[Illustration:  MISSION SAN RAFAEL ARCANGEL.  From an old painting.]


The water supply was brought from the mountains several miles distant, flumed where necessary, and then conveyed underground in cement pipes made and laid by the Indians under the direction of the padres.  The water-right is now lost to the Mission, being owned by private parties.

The earthquake of 1906 caused considerable damage at Santa Ines, and it has not yet been completely repaired, funds for the purpose not having been forthcoming.



The Mission of the Archangel, San Rafael, was founded to give a health resort to a number of neophytes who were sick in San Francisco.  The native name for the site was Nanaguani.  The date of founding was December 14, 1817.  There were about 140 neophytes transferred at first, and by the end of 1820 the number had increased to 590.  In 1818 a composite building, including church, priest’s house, and all the apartments required, was erected.  It was of adobe, 87 feet long, 42 feet wide, and 18 feet high, and had a corridor of tules.  In 1818, when Presidente Payeras visited the Mission, he was not very pleased with the site, and after making a somewhat careful survey of the country around recommended several other sites as preferable.

In 1824 a determined effort was made to capture a renegade neophyte of San Francisco, a native of the San Rafael region, named Pomponio, who for several years had terrorized the country at intervals as far south as Santa Cruz.  He would rob, outrage, and murder, confining most of his attacks, however, upon the Indians.  He had slain one soldier, Manuel Varela, and therefore a determined effort was made for his capture.  Lieutenant Martinez, a corporal, and two men found him in the Canyada de Novato, above San Rafael.  He was sent to Monterey, tried by a court-martial on the 6th of February, and finally shot the following September.  This same Martinez also had some conflicts about the same time with chieftains of hostile tribes, north of the bay, named Marin and Quentin, both of whom have left names, one to a county and the other to a point on the bay.

When San Francisco Solano was founded, 92 neophytes were sent there from San Rafael.  In spite of this, the population of San Rafael increased until it numbered 1140 in 1828.

In 1824 Kotzebue visited the Mission and spoke enthusiastically of its natural advantages, though he made but brief reference to its improvements.  On his way to Sonoma, Duhaut-Cilly did not deem it of sufficient importance to more than mention.  Yet it was a position of great importance.  Governor Echeandia became alarmed about the activity of the Russians at Fort Ross, and accused them of bad faith, claiming that they enticed neophytes away from San Rafael, etc.  The Mexican government, in replying to his fears, urged the foundation of a fort, but nothing was done, owing to the political complications at the time, which made no man’s tenure of office certain.

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