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History of San Juan Bautista Mission

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(Saint John the Baptist). The fifteenth Franciscan mission established in California. The site was chosen between San Carlos and Santa Clara, about 6 miles from the present town of Sargent, Santa Clara County. The native name was Popelout, or Popeloutchom. Here some buildings had already been erected by men from Monterey, and on June 24, 1797, President Lasuen founded the new mission. By the end of the year there had been 85 baptisms, and in 1800 the neophytes numbered 516. These increased to 702 in 1810, 843 in 1820, and 1,248 in 1823, after which the decline began. The stock and crops prospered from the beginning. In 1810 there were 6,175 large stock and 9,720 small stock; in 1820, 11,700 and 9,530 respectively. The average crop for the decade ending 1810 was 3,700 bushels; for that ending 1820, 3,300 bushels. In 1830 there was a considerable decrease in stock, but the crops remained good. For the first two or three years after its founding the mission had considerable trouble with the Ansaime, who lived in the mountains about 25 miles to the east. These were finally defeated and a number of captives brought to the mission.

A new mission church, begun in 1803, was dedicated in 1812. In 1832 there were 916 neophytes. The total number of baptisms from the time of its founding was 3,913, of whorl 2,015 were children. In 1835, 63 Indians were emancipated, but after that time there is no further record. A number of whites settled in the region, and the place became known as the pueblo of San Juan de Castro. In 1846 the orchard, all that remained of the land improvements, was sold. The buildings continued in possession of the Catholic Church, and are still in use. The Indians in the neighborhood of San Juan Bautista belonged to the Costanoan linguistic family. In its later years it drew many of its neophytes from San Joaquin valley, and the Yokuts were probably well represented. Garcia, according to Bancroft1 , speaks of an expedition to the Mariposas, the rancheria of Nopochinches being named, in which 300 Indians of all ages and sexes were brought to San Juan Bautista.

A list of the villages from which neophytes were drawn follows2 , although several of them also supplied neophytes to San Carlos: Absayme (Ansaimas, Ausaima, Ansaimes), Absayruc, Asystarca, Calendaruc (Kalindaruk), Chapana, Echantac, Giguay, Guachurrones (Wacharones), Iratae, Jasniga, Jeboaltae, Lithenca, Mitaldejama, Motssum (Mutsun), Onextaco, Onixaymas, Paisin (Pagosines or Paysines), Popelout, Pouxouoma, Poitokwis, Suricuama, Tamarox, Teboaltac (Jeboaltae), Thithirii, Tipisastac (Tipsistana, Tipsistaca), Trutca, Uñijaima, Utchuchu, Xisca (or Xixcaca), Xivirca, Yelmus.

Footnotes

  1. Bancroft, History of California, II, 339, 1886 

  2. Bancroft, op. cit., I, 557, 1886; Taylor in California Farmer, Nov. 25, 1860 


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