SAN MIGUEL, ARCANGEL
Lasuen’s third Mission, of 1797, was San Miguel, located near a large rancheria named Sagshpileel, and on the site called Vahia. One reason for the selection of the location is given in the fact that there was plenty of water at Santa Isabel and San Marcos for the irrigation of three hundred fanegas of seed. To this day the springs of Santa Isabel are a joy and delight to all who know them, and the remains of the old irrigating canals and dams, dug and built by the padres, are still to be seen.
On the day of the founding, Lasuen’s heart was made glad by the presentation of fifteen children for baptism. At the end of 1800 there were 362 neophytes, 372 horses and cattle, and 1582 smaller animals. The crop of 1800 was 1900 bushels.
Padre Antonio de la Concepcion Horra, who was shortly after deported as insane, and who gave Presidente Lasuen considerable trouble by preferring serious charges against the Missions, was one of the first ministers.
In February of 1801 the two padres were attacked with violent pains in the stomach and they feared the neophytes had poisoned them, but they soon recovered. Padre Pujol, who came from Monterey to aid them, did not fare so well for he was taken sick in a similar manner and died. Three Indians were arrested, but it was never decided whether poison had been used or not. The Indians escaped when being taken north to the presidio, and eventually the padres pleaded for their release, asking however that they be flogged in the presence of their families for having boasted that they had poisoned the padres.
In August, 1806, a disastrous fire occurred, destroying all the manufacturing part of the establishment as well as a large quantity of wool, hides, cloth, and 6000 bushels of wheat. The roof of the church was also partially burned. At the end of the decade San Miguel had a population of 973, and in the number of its sheep it was excelled only by San Juan Capistrano.
In 1818 a new church was reported as ready for roofing, and this was possibly built to replace the one partially destroyed by fire in 1806. In 1814 the Mission registered its largest population in 1076 neophytes, and in live-stock it showed satisfactory increase at the end of the decade, though in agriculture it had not been so successful.
Ten years later it had to report a great diminution in its flocks and herds and its neophytes. The soil and pasture were also found to be poor, though vines flourished and timber was plentiful. Robinson, who visited San Miguel at this time, reports it as a poor establishment and tells a large story about the heat suffocating the fleas. Padre Martin died in 1824.