The Famous Missions of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 58 pages of information about The Famous Missions of California.
the patron-saint of the whole undertaking), was founded on the 11th June, 1797; San Juan Bautista thirteen days later; San Miguel Arcángel on the 25th July, and San Fernando Rey de España on the 8th September of the same year; and San Luis Rey de Francia (commonly called San Luis Rey to distinguish it from San Luis Obispo), on the 13th of the July following.  The delay which had not at all been anticipated in the establishment of this last-named mission, was due to some difficulties in regard to site.  With this ended - so far as fresh foundations were concerned — the pious labours of Lasuen as padre-presidente.  He now returned to San Carlos to devote himself during the remainder of his life to the arduous duties of supervision and administration.  There he died, in 1803, aged eighty-three years.

His successor, Father Estevan Tapis, fourth president of the Upper California missions, signalized his elevation to office by adding a nineteenth to the establishments under his charge.  Founded on the 17th September, 1804, on a spot, eighteen miles from La Purisima and twenty-two from Santa Barbara, to which Lasuen had already directed attention, this was dedicated to the virgin-martyr, Santa Inez.  It was felt that a settlement somewhere in this region was still needed for the completion of the mission system, since without it, a gap was left in the line between the two missions first-named, which were some forty miles apart.  With the planting of Santa Inez thorough spiritual occupation may be said to have been accomplished over the entire area between San Francisco and San Diego, and from the Coast Range to the ocean.  The nineteen missions had been so distributed over the vast country, that the Indians scattered through it could everywhere be reached; while the distance from mission to mission had, at the same time, been so reduced that it was in no case too great to be easily covered in a single day’s journey.  The fathers of each establishment could thus hold frequent intercourse with their next neighbors, and occasional travelers moving to and fro on business could from day to day be certain of finding a place for refreshment and repose[7].

[6] The original adobe church was injured by earthquakes in 1806 and 1812.  The present edifice was begun in 1815 and finished in 1820.

[7] The table given by the French traveler, De Mofras, in his authoritative Exploration du Territoire de L’Oregon, les Californies, etc., shows us that the distance between mission and mission nowhere exceeded nighteen leagues, and that it was often very much less.


Santa Inez carries us for the first time over into the nineteenth century, and its establishment may in a sense be regarded as marking the term of the period of expansion in California mission history.  A pause of more than a decade ensued, during which no effort was made towards the further spread of the general system; and then, with the planting of two relatively unimportant settlements in a district thentofore unoccupied the tally was brought to a close.

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The Famous Missions of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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