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.

It was as an adjunct to this Mission that Padre Peyri, in 1816, founded the chapel of San Antonio de Pala, twenty miles east from San Luis Rey:  to which place were removed the Palatingwas, or Agua Calientes, evicted a few years ago from Warner’s Ranch.  This chapel has the picturesque campanile, or small detached belfry, the pictures of which are known throughout the world.

With the founding of San Luis Rey this branch of the work of President Lasuen terminated.  Bancroft regards him as a greater man than Serra, and one whose life and work entitle him to the highest praise.  He died at San Carlos on June 26, 1803, and was buried by the side of Serra.



Estevan Tapis now became president of the Missions, and under his direction was founded the nineteenth Mission, that of Santa Ines, virgin and martyr.  Tapis himself conducted the ceremonies, preaching a sermon to a large congregation, including Commandant Carrillo, on September 17, 1804.

With Lasuen, the Mission work of California reached its maximum power.  Under his immediate successors it began to decline.  Doubtless the fact that the original chain was completed was an influence in the decrease of activity.  For thirteen years there was no extension.  A few minor attempts were made to explore the interior country, and many of the names now used for rivers and locations in the San Joaquin Valley were given at this time.  Nothing further, however, was done, until in 1817, when such a wide-spread mortality affected the Indians at the San Francisco Mission, that Governor Sola suggested that the afflicted neophytes be removed to a new and healthful location on the north shore of the San Francisco Bay.  A few were taken to what is now San Rafael, and while some recovered, many died.  These latter, not having received the last rites of religion, were subjects of great solicitude on the part of some of the priests, and, at last, Father Taboada, who had formerly been the priest at La Purisima Concepcion, consented to take charge of this branch Mission.  The native name of the site was Nanaguani.  On December 14, Padre Sarria, assisted by several other priests, conducted the ceremony of dedication to San Rafael Arcangel.  It was originally intended to be an asistencia of San Francisco, but although there is no record that it was ever formally raised to the dignity of an independent Mission, it is called and enumerated as such from the year 1823 in all the reports of the Fathers.  To-day, not a brick of its walls remains; the only evidence of its existence being the few old pear trees planted early in its history.

There are those who contend that San Rafael was founded as a direct check to the southward aggressions of the Russians, who in 1812 had established Fort Ross, but sixty-five miles north of San Francisco.  There seems, however, to be no recorded authority for this belief, although it may easily be understood how anxious this close proximity of the Russians made the Spanish authorities.

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