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.

In August of 1774 occurred the first trouble.  The gentile Indians, angered at the progress of the Mission and the gathering in of so many of their people, attacked the Mission and wounded an Indian about to be baptized.  When the news reached Rivera at Monterey, he sent a squad of soldiers, who captured the culprits, gave them a flogging, and imprisoned them.  Later they were flogged again, and, after a few days in the stocks, they were released.

In 1779 an alcalde and regidore were chosen from the natives to assist in the administration of justice.  In 1800 the report shows that the neophyte population was 1118, with 767 baptisms and 656 deaths.  The cattle and horses had decreased from 2232 of the last report to 2217, but small stock had slightly increased.  In 1787 the church was regarded as the best in California, though it was much improved later, for in 1797 it is stated that it was of adobes with a tiled roof.  In 1793 the large adobe block, eighty varas long and one vara wide, was constructed for friars’ houses, church and storehouse, and it was doubtless this church that was tiled four years later.

In 1805 it gained its highest population, there being 1296 Indians under its control.  The lands of the Mission were found to be barren, necessitating frequent changes in cultivated fields and stock ranges.

In 1808 the venerable Buenaventura Sitjar, one of the founders of the Mission, and who had toiled there continuously for thirty-seven years, passed to his reward, and was buried in sight of the hills he had loved so long.  The following year, or in 1810, work was begun on a newer and larger church of adobes, and this is doubtless the building whose ruins now remain.  Though we have no record of its dedication, there is no question but that it took place prior to 1820, and in 1830 references are made to its arched corridors, etc., built of brick.  Robinson, who visited it in this year, says the whole Mission is built of brick, but in this he is in error.  The fachada is of brick, but the main part of the building is of adobe.  Robinson speaks thus of the Mission and its friar:  “Padre Pedro Cabot, the present missionary director, I found to be a fine, noble-looking man, whose manner and whole deportment would have led one to suppose he had been bred in the courts of Europe, rather than in the cloister.  Everything was in the most perfect order:  the Indians cleanly and well dressed, the apartments tidy, the workshops, granaries, and storehouses comfortable and in good keeping.”


[Illustration:  DUTTON HOTEL, JOLON.  On the old stage route between San Francisco and Los Angeles, near Mission San Antonio de Padua.]


In 1834 Cabot retired to give place to Padre Jesus Maria Vasquez del Mercado, one of the newly arrived Franciscans from Zacatecas.  In this year the neophyte population had dwindled to 567, and five years later Visitador Hartwell found only 270 living at the Mission and its adjoining ranches.  It is possible, however, that there were fully as many more living at a distance of whom he gained no knowledge, as the official report for 1840 gives 500 neophytes.

Project Gutenberg
The Old Franciscan Missions Of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook