A year after founding Mission San Diego in 1769, Father Junipero Serra, other missionary priests, and soldiers gathered at Monterey Bay to witness the formal ceremony to erect the Holy Cross near the earlier-established Monterey Presidio. This ceremony on June 3, 1770, marked the beginning of the second Franciscan mission, to be named Mission San Carlos de Monterey Borromeo. But because some of the soldiers at the Presidio were treating the native Indians badly, Father Serra moved the mission to its present location in Carmel on August 24, 1771, a site that was closer to fresh water and also had better land for growing crops. The early years were difficult, because the priests mostly depended on ships from Mexico for their supplies. The first church edifice and dwellings were made of wood and mud, later replaced with adobe structures. Father Junipero Serra died there in 1784, true to his vow of poverty: his only possessions were a cot, a blanket, one table, one chair, a chest, a candlestick, and a gourd. He is buried in the Mission sanctuary. His successor Father Fermin de Lasuen continued his work, building the stone church that stands today. Beginning in the 1930s, the mission structures were renovated or restored. The name San Carlos de Borromeo de Carmelo commemorates St. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan and Papal Secretary under Pius IV.
Two hundred and fifty years after Cortes claimed Mexico and the vast lands north of it for Spain, the Spanish Crown faced a crisis: Russian ships were aggressively nosing about its completely unsecured province of Alta California. King Carlos III financed a company of Franciscan priests, led by Father Junipero Serra, for Continue reading The California Missions: #1
New Yorker Billy Mulligan and his gang of young toughs came for the California Gold Rush, arriving in San Francisco by ship in late 1849. Aged 21, Billy was already a hard drinking, thrill-seeking gambler, an armed thug, a convicted burglar, and a paid ballot box stuffer. Almost immediately, the fashionably clad group rejected Continue reading Badman Billy Mulligan
At the opening of 1847 the little hamlet known as Yerba Buena sat perched on a sheltered cove in San Francisco Bay. For a hundred years sailors had agreed it was the greatest harbor on earth, capable of comfortably accommodating all of the assembled navies of all of the nations of the world. As things were, it rarely harbored Continue reading San Francisco is Born
German immigrant Peter Cadel arrived at Sutter’s Fort from San Rafael on July 14, 1847. Exactly where he first settled in the Sacramento Valley is unknown, but he was engaged in crop growing for which he hired John Sutter’s Indian employees Witash and Hipolito, and borrowed Sutter’s ploughs and other Continue reading Pioneer Brewer Peter Cadel