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History of Santa Ines Mission

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In California,Native American | No Comments

(Saint Agnes). The nineteenth Franciscan mission established in California; founded Sept. 17, 1804, at a place called by the natives Alajulapu, about 25 miles from Santa Barbara, and nearly as far from Purísima. A large number of neophytes from Santa Barbara and Purisima attended the opening ceremony, and many remained at the new mission. On the same day 27 children were baptized. By the end of the first year there were 225 neophytes, in 1810 there were 628, while the highest number, 768, was reached in 1816.

In material things the mission prospered, having 7,720 head of large stock in 1820, 5,100 of small stock, and an average annual crop for the preceding decade of 4,340 bushels. The stock increased and the crops continued good for another decade, between 1822 and 1827 supplies to the value of $10,767 being furnished the presidio at Santa Barbara. The first church was seriously injured by an earthquake in 1812, and a new one of adobe lined with brick, which still stands, was completed in 1817.

In 1824 there was a revolt of the neophytes at Santa Inés, and a conflict between them and the soldiers, a large part of the mission buildings being burned, and the hostile Indians fleeing, apparently to Purísima (q. v.). In 1830 there were 408 neophytes, but the number decreased to 344 in 1834. Up to that time 1,323 natives had been baptized, of whom 757 were children.

In 1840 there were still about 300 Indians in the neighborhood, and the affairs of the mission were generally prosperous. In 1844 Santa Inés was reported to have had 264 neophytes, with sufficient resources for their support. After this the property of the mission rapidly declined, and in 1846 the land was sold for $7,000, but the building and church property remained in the charge of the padre.

In 1844 an ecclesiastical college was opened at Santa Inés, but it was abandoned 6 years later.

The Indians in the neighborhood of the mission belonged to the Chumashan linguistic family, to which most of its neophytes probably belonged. Many came from the Channel islands, especially Santa Rosa. Some of the neophytes were skilled workers in silver and carved leather, and their work and productions were and still are highly prized for their excellence and artistic merit.


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