On Sunday, September 25, Sugert, an Indian chief of the neighborhood, assured by the priests and soldiers that no harm should come to him or his people by the noise of exploding gunpowder, came to the formal founding. Mass was said, a Te Deum chanted, and Don Hermenegildo Sol, Commandant of San Francisco, took possession of the place, thus completing the foundation. To-day nothing but a memory remains of the Mission of the Holy Cross, it having fallen into ruins and totally disappeared.
Lasuen’s fourth Mission was founded in this same year, 1791. He had chosen a site, called by the Indians Chuttusgelis, and always known to the Spaniards as Soledad, since their first occupation of the country. Here, on October 9, Lasuen, accompanied by Padres Sitjar and Garcia, in the presence of Lieutenant Jose Argueello, the guard, and a few natives, raised the cross, blessed the site, said mass, and formally established the Mission of “Nuestra Senyora de la Soledad.”
One interesting entry in the Mission books is worthy of mention. In September, 1787, two vessels belonging to the newly founded United States sailed from Boston. The smaller of these was the “Lady Washington,” under command of Captain Gray. In the Soledad Mission register of baptisms, it is written that on May 19, 1793, there was baptized a Nootka Indian, twenty years of age, “Inquina, son of a gentile father, named Taguasmiki, who in the year 1789 was killed by the American Gert [undoubtedly Gray], Captain of the vessel called ‘Washington,’ belonging to the Congress of Boston.”
For six years no new Missions were founded: then, in 1797, four were established, and one in 1798. These, long contemplated, were delayed for a variety of reasons. It was the purpose of the Fathers to have the new Missions farther inland than those already established, that they might reach more of the natives: those who lived in the valleys and on the slopes of the foothills. Besides this, it had always been the intent of the Spanish government that further explorations of the interior country should take place, so that, as the Missions became strong enough to support themselves, the Indians there might be brought under the influence of the Church. Governor Neve’s regulations say:
“It is made imperative to increase the number of Reductions (stations for converting the Indians) in proportion to the vastness of the country occupied, and although this must be carried out in the succession and order aforesaid, as fast as the older establishments shall be fully secure, etc.,” and earlier, “while the breadth of the country is unknown (it) is presumed to be as great as the length, or greater (200 leagues), since its greatest breadth is counted by thousands of leagues.”
Various investigations were made by the nearest priests in order to select the best locations for the proposed Missions, and, in 1796, Lasuen reported the results to the new governor, Borica, who in turn communicated them to the Viceroy in Mexico. Approval was given and orders issued for the establishment of the five new Missions.