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.
trusted as a man of integrity and as a business manager of great ability that the order of exile was never enforced.  The last years of his life were spent at the Mission of Our Lady of Solitude.  When devastation began and the temporal prosperity of the Mission quickly declined, this faithful pastor of a fast thinning flock refused to leave the few poverty-stricken Indians who still sought to prolong life in their old home.  One Sunday morning, while saying mass in the little church, the enfeebled and aged padre fell before the altar and immediately expired.  As it had been reported that he was “leading a hermit’s life and destitute of means,” it was commonly believed that this worthy and devoted missionary was exhausted from lack of proper food, and in reality died of starvation.

There were still a few Indians at Soledad in 1850, their scattered huts being all that remained of the once large rancherias that existed here.

The ruins of Soledad are about four miles from the station of the Southern Pacific of that name.  The church itself is at the southwest corner of a mass of ruins.  These are all of adobe, though the foundations are of rough rock.  Flint pebbles have been mixed with the adobe of the church walls.  They were originally about three feet thick, and plastered.  A little of the plaster still remains.

In 1904 there was but one circular arch remaining in all the ruins; everything else had fallen in.  The roof fell in thirty years ago.  At the eastern end, where the arch is, there are three or four rotten beams still in place; and on the south side of the ruins, where one line of corridors ran, a few poles still remain.  Heaps of ruined tiles lie here and there, just as they fell when the supporting poles rotted and gave way.

It is claimed by the Soberanes family in Soledad that the present ruins of the church are of the building erected about 1850 by their grandfather.  The family lived in a house just southwest of the Mission, and there this grandfather was born.  He was baptized, confirmed, and married in the old church, and when, after secularization, the Mission property was offered for sale, he purchased it.  As the church—­in the years of pitiful struggle for possession, of its temporalities—­had been allowed to go to ruin, this true son of the Church erected the building, the ruins of which now bring sadness to the hearts of all who care for the Missions.



There was a period of rest after the founding of Santa Cruz and La Soledad.  Padre Presidente Lasuen was making ready for a new and great effort.  Hitherto the Mission establishments had been isolated units of civilization, each one alone in its work save for the occasional visits of governor, inspector, or presidente.  Now they were to be linked together, by the founding of intermediate Missions, into one great chain, near enough for mutual help and encouragement,

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