Topic: Missions

History of San Gabriel Arcangel Mission

The fourth Franciscan mission established in California. It was founded Sept. 8, 1771, at a place called by the natives Sibagna 1or Tobiscagna, according to Taylor, Cal. Farmer, Feb. 22, 1860 , a fertile and well-wooded spot on a stream afterward known as San Gabriel River, in Los Angeles County. The party with supplies had been sent up from San Diego, and included 10 soldiers for the protection of the new mission. The natives were at first friendly, and assisted in bringing timber and in helping to construct the buildings and stockade. Friction soon arose with the Indians, however, probably due to the outrages of the soldiers, and one native chieftain was shot. Owing to these troubles with the natives the number of soldiers was increased. These seem to have been an unruly lot, and their actions appear to have hindered the early growth of the mission, the whole number baptized during the first two years being only 73. In Fr. Junípero Serra’s first annual report of 1773 he declared the native population in that region was larger than elsewhere, but that the various villages were hostile to one another, so that those near the mission, for example, could not go to the sea for fish. Situated as it was in a fertile region, the agricultural returns seem to have been very successful after the first year, so that...

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History of San Jose Mission

(Saint Joseph), The fourteenth Franciscan mission founded in California, and the first one of the five new missions established by Fr. Lasuen in 1797-98 to fill the gaps between the older ones. The site chosen was about 15 miles north of Santa Clara, and about 3 miles from the present town of Irvington, Alameda County. The native name of the site was Oroysom. The formal ceremonies of foundation were performed by Fr. Lasuen on June 11,1797, and by the end of that year there were 33 baptisms, and 286 by 1800. In 1810 there were 545, but 1,104 deaths were reported during the decade. In 1820 there were 1,754 neophytes. The highest number, 1,886, was reached in 1831. The mission was prosperous from the beginning and continued so long after many of the others declined. In 1820 there were 6,859 large stock and 1,200 small stock; in 1830, 13,300 and 13,030, respectively. The average crop for the decade ending 1820 was 6,020 bushels, and for that ending 1830, 5,409 bushels. The first church was a wooden structure with a grass roof, but in 1809 a new church was dedicated. Even before the founding of the mission the Indians of the neighborhood, especially to the eastward, were somewhat feared, and San Jose seems to have had more trouble with the Indians than any other in California. The rather forceful methods...

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History of San Carlos Mission

(Saint Charles). The second Franciscan mission founded in California. Even before the founding of San Diego an expedition started north under Portolá, in 1769, to explore the country and find the port of Monterey, previously described by Vizcaino (1602), where it was intended to establish the next mission . They reached the port, but did not recognize it, and returned, after setting up a cross on the shore of the bay. The following spring two expeditions started, one by land and one by sea. Both expeditions arrived safely, and the port was this time recognized beyond a doubt. The cross was found still standing, but surrounded and adorned with arrows, sticks, feathers, fish, meat, and clams, placed there by the natives, apparently as offerings. The bells were hung and the Mission of San Carlos Borromeo de Monterey was formally founded June 3, 1770. Some huts were built and a palisade erected, but for several days no natives appeared. Father Junípero Serra soon became dissatisfied with the site of the mission, and in December, after the necessary buildings had been constructed, it was removed to Carmelo valley. The mission was hence forth known as San Carlos Borromeo del Carmelo, sometimes in later days merely as Carmelo. The old site became the presidio of Monterey. The native name of the new site, according to Taylor (Cal. Farmer, Feb. 22,1860) was Eslenes....

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History of San Diego de Alaclá Mission

(Saint James). The first mission established within the present state of California. After the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, the Spanish authorities determined to found a number of military and missionary establishments in California. The mission work was placed in the hands of the Franciscans, and Father Junípero Serra, who was already president of the missions of Lower California, took charge. Two vessels and two land expeditions were dispatched northward from the settlements in Lower California, and reached the harbor of San Diego, named and described in 1602 by Vizcaino, in the early summer of 1760. Serra arrived with the last land division on July 1, and on July 16 he formally founded the mission, dedicating it to San Diego de Alcahá. The place chosen was at the present Old Town, on a hill near the bay, at or near the native village of Cosoy. The natives were by no means timid; indeed they soon became so bold in their thievish operations that they made a concerted attempt to plunder the settlement. In the conflict which followed, Aug. 15, 1769, one Spaniard and a number of Indians were killed. After this a stockade was built around the mission, and the natives became more respectful. The missionary work was at first without success, and it was a year or more before the first neophyte was enrolled, while for several...

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History of San Fernando Mission

(Saint Ferdinand). A Franciscan mission, founded Sept. 8, 1797, in Los Angeles co., Cal. The site chosen is said to have been that of a native rancheria called Pasecgna, but the place had already been occupied as a private ranch, with a house which the missionaries appropriated for their dwelling. Bancroft says that the name of the site was Achois Comihavit. The new mission was dedicated by Father Lasuen to San Fernando, Rev de España, the ceremonies being witnessed by a large gathering of natives. On the first day 10 children were baptized. By the close of the year there were 55 neophytes, and 310 in 1800. In 1806 an adobe church with tiled roof was consecrated. The number of neophytes reached 955 in 1810, while the death rate was lower than at most of the missions. The mission seems to have been some what cramped for lands, at least numerous protests were made against the granting of neighboring ranches to private individuals. Nevertheless the mission was prosperous, the average crop for the decade ending 1810 being 5,220 bushels. The greatest number of neophytes, 1,080, was reached in 1819. After this there was a decided decline in both population and prosperity. In 1834 the natives numbered 792. Up to this time there had been baptized 2,784 Indians, of whom 1,367 were children. The effect of secularization was not so...

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History of San Francisco Solano

The last Franciscan mission established in California. The removal of the sick Indians to San Rafael had proved so beneficial that the proposal was made to move the San Francisco (Dolores) mission to some more favored spot on the north shore of the bay. The country was explored and the Sonoma valley favorably reported. The cross was first planted July 4, 1823, but work did not begin until Aug. 25, when a party arrived from San Francisco. Objections were raised to the transfer, however, and it was finally compromised by founding a new mission, the old ones not being disturbed. Neophytes were to be allowed to go to the new mission from San Francisco, San Rafael, and San Jose, provided they originally came from the Sonoma region, and new converts might come from anywhere, but no force was to be used. The mission church, 24 by 105 feet, was dedicated, Apr. 4, 1824, to San Francisco Solano. To avoid confusion it was commonly called Solano, and later Sonoma. At the close of 1824 there were 693 neophytes, of whom 322 had come from San Francisco, 153 from San Jose, 92 from San Rafael, and 96 were baptized at the new mission. In 1830 there were only 760 neophytes, though 650 had been baptized, and as only 375 had been buried, many must have run away. The highest number, 996,...

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History of San Buenaventura Mission

San Buenaventura Mission is the ninth Franciscan mission founded in California, and the last by Father Junípero Serra. The site was chosen within the limits of the present Ventura, Ventura County, near the beach and adjoining one of the native villages, and the usual founding ceremonies took place Mar. 31, 1782. The natives seemed pleased with the prospect and readily aided in the construction of the new buildings. The increase in the number of neophytes was not so rapid as at some of the missions. In 1790 there were 385; in 1800, 715; in 1810, 1,297; while the highest number, 1,328, was reached in 1816. In other respects the mission was very successful; it had more cattle (10,013 head) and raised more grain (9,400 bushels) in 1800 than any other place in California. Vancouver visited the mission in Nov. 1793, and remarked on the quantity, variety, and general excellence of its vegetables and fruits. The buildings also were excellent, though the new stone church was not completed and dedicated until 1809. During the first decade of the 19th century the mission continued the most prosperous in California. In 1810 there were 21,221 cattle, 3,276 horses and mules, and 8,543 small stock, with an average crop for the decade of 6,400 bushels. Though losing some what by 1820, the mission still retained first place. The earthquake of 1812, which destroyed...

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Indian Missions of New England

The earliest New England mission was attempted by the French Jesuit Father Peter Biard among the Abnaki on Mt Desert Island, Maine, in 1613, in connection with a French post, but both were destroyed by an English fleet almost before the buildings were completed. In the next 70 years other Jesuits, chief among whom was Father Gabriel Druillettes (1646-57), spent much time in the Abnaki villages and drew off so many converts to the Algonkin mission of Sillery as to make it practically an Abnaki mission. In 1683 the mission of St Francis de Sales was founded at the Falls of the Chaudière, Quebec, and two years later Sillery was finally abandoned for the new site. Among those gathered at St Francis were many refugees from the southern New England tribes, driven out by King Philip’s war, the Pennacook and southern Abnaki being especially numerous. In 1700 the mission was removed to its present location, and during the colonial period continued to be recruited by refugees from the New England tribes. About 1685 missions were established among the Penobscot and the Passamaquoddy, and in 1695 the celebrated Jesuit Father Sebastian Râle (Rasle, Rasles) began at the Abnaki mission at Norridgewock on the Kennebec (the present Indian Old Point, Me.) the work which is so inseparably connected with his name. He was not, however, the founder of the mission, as...

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History of San Antonio de Padua Mission

The third Franciscan mission established in California. The place was chosen by Father Junípero Serra in the well-wooded valley of the stream now known as San Antonio River, about 6 miles from the present town of Jolon, Monterey County. The native name of the place was Texhaya, or Teshaya. Here the mission was founded by Serra with great enthusiasm on July 14, 1771, though only one native was present. The Indians, however, proved friendly; they brought food and helped in the work of constructing the church and other necessary buildings. The first native was baptized a month later, and by the end of 1772, 158 baptisms were reported. In 1780 the neophytes numbered 585, while by 1790 they had reached 1,076, making it the largest mission community at that time in California. By 1800 there was a slight increase to 1,118, while the greatest number in the history of the mission, 1,124, was reached in 1805. The wealth of the mission was not so great as that of some others. The land was reported as rather sterile and difficult to irrigate, although the average crop for the decade ending 1810 was 3,780 bushels. In the year last named there were 3,700 cattle, 700 horses, and more than 8,000 sheep. Though the number of the neophytes gradually decreased, reaching 878 in 1820 and 681 in 1830, the mission live stock...

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Indian Missions of the Middle Atlantic States

The earliest mission establishment within this territory was that founded by a company of 8 Spanish Jesuits and lay brothers with a number of educated Indian boys, under Father Juan Bautista Segura, at “Axacan,” in Virginia, in 1570. The exact location is uncertain, but. it seems to have been on or near the lower James or Pamunkey River. It was of brief existence. Hardly had the bark chapel been erected when the party was attacked by the Indians, led by a treacherous native interpreter, and the entire company massacred, with the exception of a single boy. The massacre was avenged by Menendez two years later, but the mission effort was not renewed. The next undertaking was that of the English Jesuits who accompanied the Maryland colony in 1633. The work was chiefly among the Conoy and Patuxent of Maryland, with incidental attention to the Virginia tribes. Several stations were established and their work, with the exception of a short period of warfare in 1639, was very successful, the principal chiefs being numbered among the converts, until the proscription of the Catholic religion by the Cromwell party in 1649. The leader of the Maryland mission was Father Andrew White, author of the often quoted “Relatio” and of a grammar and dictionary of the Piscataway (?) language. The New York mission began in 1642, among the Mohawk, with the ministration of...

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Indian Missions of the Interior States

The whole interior region of the United States, stretching from the English seaboard colonies to the main divide of the Rocky Mountains, was included under the French rule in the two provinces of Canada and Louisiana, and with one or two exceptions the mission was in charge of French Jesuits from the first occupancy up into the American period. The very first mission worker, however, within this great region was the heroic Spanish Franciscan, Father Juan de Padilla, who gave up his life for souls on the Kansas prairies, as narrated elsewhere, nearly as early as 1542 (see New Mexico, Arizona, and California). The first mission west of the Huron country was established in 1660, probably on Keweenaw Bay, Mich., by the veteran Huron missionary, the Jesuit René Menard, in response to repeated requests of visiting Chippewa and Ottawa. In the next year, while attempting to reach a colony of fugitive Hurons who had called him from Green Bay, he was lost in the forest and is believed to have been murdered by the Indians. In 1665 Father Claude Allouez established the mission of Sainct Esprit on the south shore of Lake Superior, at La Pointe – Chegoimegon (Shaugwaumikong), now Bayfield, Wis. Besides working here among the Ottawa and Huron refugees from the older missions destroyed by the Iroquois, he visited all the other tribes of  the upper lake...

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History of Dolores Mission

A Spanish Franciscan mission established in California within the site of the city of San Francisco on Oct. 9, 1776. When Gov. Portola, in searching for Monterey, came to the bay of San Francisco, that had remained hidden to all previous explorers, Father Junipero Serra regarded it as a miraculous discovery, for the visitador-general in naming the missions to be established at the havens of the coast had said to the mission president, who was disappointed because the name of the founder of the order was omitted, that if St Francis de sired a mission he must show his port. The missionaries impatiently brooked the obstacles that delayed planting a mission at the port that their patron saint had revealed. The site was beside the lagoon of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores, hence the mission of San Francisco de Assisi came to be known as Dolores mission. There were no natives present when the mission was opened. The inhabitants, the Romonan, had been driven from the peninsula by a hostile tribe who burned their rancherias and killed all who did not escape on rafts. When the fugitives returned to find their home occupied by the Spaniards they were disposed to contend for its possession. In the first fight the soldiers fired in the air, in the next they shot a native, upon which the savages begged for peace, but...

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History of Indian Missions in the United States

From the very discovery of America the spiritual welfare of the native tribes was a subject of concern to the various colonizing nations, particularly Spain and France, with whom the Christianization and civilization of the Indians were made a regular part of the governmental scheme, and the missionary was frequently the pioneer explorer and diplomatic ambassador. In the English colonization, on the other hand, the work was usually left to the zeal of the individual philanthropist or of voluntary organizations. First in chronological order, historic importance, number of establishments, and population come the Catholic missions, conducted in the earlier period chiefly by Jesuits among the French and by Franciscans among the Spanish colonies. The earliest mission establishments within the present United States were those begun by the Spanish Franciscan Fathers, Padilla, Juan de In Cruz, and Descalona of the Coronado expedition, among the Quivira (Wichita), Pecos, and Tigua in 1542. Three years later the work was begun among the Texas tribes by Father Olmos. A century thereafter the first Protestant mission (Congregational) were founded by Mayhew and Eliot in Massachusetts. From that period the work was carried on both North and South until almost every denomination was represented, including Orthodox Russian in Alaska and the Mormons in Utah. Indian Missions of the Southern States Middle Atlantic States New England States Interior States The Columbia Region New Mexico/Arizona California Alaska...

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California Indian Missions

As in other parts of Spanish America, the Catholics were the sole mission workers in California until within a very recent period. The most noted of all the Spanish missions were the Franciscan missions of California, whose story is so closely interwoven with the history and romance of the Pacific coast, and whose ruins still stand as the most picturesque landmarks of the region. Their story has been told so often that we need not here go into details. The first one was established in 1769 at San Diego, near the south boundary, by Father Junípero Serra (to whose memory a monument was erected at Monterey in 1891), who advanced slowly along the coast and passed the work on to his successors, until in 1828 there was a chain of 21 prosperous missions extending northward to beyond San Francisco bay. The full list, in the order of their establishment, with the names of the founders or superiors in charge of the California mission district at the time, is as follows: 1. San Diego de Alcalá (Serra, 1769) 2. San Carlos Borromeo de Monterey, alias Carmel (Serra, 1770) 3. San Antonio de Pádua (Serra, 1771, July) 4. San Gabriel Arcangel (Serra, 1771, Sept.) 5. San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (Serra, 1772) 6. San Francisco de Asis, alias Dolores (Serra, 1776, Oct.) 7. San Juan Capistrano (Serra, 1776, Nov.) 8. Santa...

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