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
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
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.