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:  STATUE OF SAN BUENAVENTURA.  Now at Dominican Convent, Mission San Jose.]


At midnight they halted, and a special messenger overtook them with news which led the governor to return at once to San Gabriel with his ten soldiers.  He ordered the procession to proceed, however, found the San Buenaventura Mission, and there await his arrival.  Serra accordingly went forward, and on the twenty-ninth arrived at “Assumpta.”  Here, the next day, on the feast of Easter, they pitched their tents, “erected a large cross, and prepared an altar under a shade of evergreens,” where the venerable Serra, now soon to close his life-work, blessed the cross and the place, solemnized mass, preached a sermon to the soldiers on the Resurrection of Christ, and formally dedicated the Mission to God, and placed it under the patronage of St. Joseph.

In the earlier part of the last century the Mission began to grow rapidly.  Padres Francisco Dumetz and Vicente de Santa Maria, who had been placed in charge of the Mission from the first, were gladdened by many accessions, and the Mission flocks and herds also increased rapidly.  Indeed, we are told that “in 1802 San Buenaventura possessed finer herds of cattle and richer fields of grain than any of her contemporaries, and her gardens and orchards were visions of wealth and beauty.”

On his second visit to the California coast, Vancouver, when anchored off Santa Barbara, traded with Padre Santa Maria of San Buenaventura for a flock of sheep and as many vegetables as twenty mules could carry.

It is to Vancouver, on this voyage, that we owe the names of a number of points on the California coast, as, for instance, Points Sal, Argueello Felipe, Vicente, Dumetz, Fermin, and Lasuen.

In 1795 there was a fight between the neophyte and gentile Indians, the former killing two chiefs and taking captive several of the latter.  The leaders on both sides were punished, the neophyte Domingo even being sentenced to work in chains.

In 1806 the venerable Santa Maria, one of the Mission founders, died.  His remains were ultimately placed in the new church.

In 1800 the largest population in its history was reached, with 1297 souls.  Cattle and horses prospered, and the crops were reported as among the best in California.

The earthquake of 1812-1813 did considerable damage at San Buenaventura.  Afraid lest the sea would swallow them up, the people fled to San Joaquin y Santa Ana for three months, where a temporary jacal church was erected.  The tower and a part of the fachada had to be torn down and rebuilt, and this was done by 1818, with a new chapel dedicated to San Miguel in addition.

That San Buenaventura was prosperous is shown by the fact that in June, 1820, the government owed it $27,385 for supplies, $6200 in stipends, and $1585 for a cargo of hemp,—­a total of $35,170, which, says Bancroft, “there was not the slightest chance of it ever receiving.”

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