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.
the boundary of one practically the boundary of the next one, both north and south.  The two new foundations of Santa Cruz and Soledad were a step in this direction, but now the plan was to be completed.  With the viceroy’s approval, Governor Borica authorized Lasuen to have the regions between the old Missions carefully explored for new sites.  Accordingly the padres and their guards were sent out, and simultaneously such a work of investigation began as was never before known.  Reports were sent in, and finally, after a careful study of the whole situation, it was concluded that five new Missions could be established and a great annual saving thereby made in future yearly expenses.  Governor Borica’s idea was that the new Missions would convert all the gentile Indians west of the Coast Range.  This done, the guards could be reduced at an annual saving of $15,000.  This showing pleased the viceroy, and he agreed to provide the $1000 needed for each new establishment on the condition that no added military force be called for.  The guardian of San Fernando College was so notified August 19, 1796; and on September 29 he in turn announced to the viceroy that the required ten missionaries were ready, but begged that no reduction be made in the guards at the Missions already established.  Lasuen felt that it would create large demands upon the old Missions to found so many new ones all at once, as they must help with cattle, horses, sheep, neophyte laborers, etc.; yet, to obtain the Missions, he was willing to do his very best, and felt sure his brave associates would further his efforts in every possible way.  Thus it was that San Jose was founded, as before related, on June 11, 1797.  The same day all returned to Santa Clara, and five days elapsed ere the guards and laborers were sent to begin work.  Timbers were cut and water brought to the location, and soon the temporary buildings were ready for occupancy.  By the end of the year there were 33 converts, and in 1800, 286.  A wooden structure with a grass roof served as a church.

In 1809, April 23, the new church was completed, and Presidente Tapis came and blessed it.  The following day he preached, and Padre Arroyo de la Cuesta said mass before a large congregation, including other priests, several of the military, and people from the pueblo and Santa Clara, and various neophytes.  The following July the cemetery was blessed with the usual solemnities.

In 1811 Padre Fortuni accompanied Padre Abella on a journey of exploration to the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.  They were gone fifteen days, found the Indians very timid, and thought the shores of the Sacramento offered a favorable site for a new Mission.

In 1817 Sergeant Soto, with one hundred San Jose neophytes, met twelve soldiers from San Francisco, and proceeded, by boat, to pursue some fugitives.  They went up a river, possibly the San Joaquin, to a marshy island where, according to Soto’s report, a thousand hostiles were assembled, who immediately fell upon their pursuers and fought them for three hours.  So desperately did they fight, relying upon their superior numbers, that Soto was doubtful as to the result; but eventually they broke and fled, swimming to places of safety, leaving many dead and wounded but no captives.  Only one neophyte warrior was killed.

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