California’s third governor was a Pennsylvania native and self-educated lawyer who came west in 1849 with thousands of others during the Gold Rush. John Bigler settled in Sacramento, where his kindness and selfless aid to sufferers during the 1850 cholera epidemic was widely applauded. Until 1863, when the term limit was changed to four years, California governors served two-year terms. John Bigler was the only nineteenth century governor to be elected for two terms, 1852 to 1856. During his tenure a jewel-like, alpine lake in the high Sierra was named Lake Bigler in his honor. Bigler advocated restriction of Chinese immigration, a sentiment echoed in many quarters, but his administration was plagued with activities by pro-slavery extremists and charges of fiscal extravagance. By the early 1860s public opinion held that Bigler had failed to distinguish himself, and Lake Bigler was renamed Lake Tahoe. However, he did effect one major change. On February 25, 1854, Governor Bigler signed into law a provision that made Sacramento, his adopted city, the permanent site of California’s capital. He died in Sacramento in 1871.
Twenty-first—and last—of the California missions, San Francisco Solano was founded on July 4, 1823, by Father Jose Altamira. He christened it in honor of St. Francis Solano, a 17th century Franciscan missionary in Peru. It was the only mission Continue reading The Missions: Number 21
In ceremonies conducted by Father Prefecto Sarria, San Rafael Arcángel in Marin County was founded December 14, 1817, to commemorate the Archangel St. Raphael. It is the 20th Franciscan mission, gaining full mission status in 1822, five years after having been built as a branch or asistencia Continue reading The Missions: Number 20
During the Mission Period in California (1769-1833), when Catholic priests of the Franciscan order established 21 religious outposts which were meant to expand the influence of the Spanish Empire—and through the 27 years when the Republic of Mexico owned California—Good Friday and Easter were observed Continue reading Good Friday
The 19th of the California missions, Santa Ines Virgen y Martir was founded September 17, 1804, and named for Saint Agnes of Assisi, a 13 year old Roman girl who was martyred in A.D. 304. It is one of few inland missions, built on a site chosen as a midway point between Mission Santa Barbara and Mission La Purisima, and also as a buffer against a hostile Indian group, the Tulares, Continue reading The Missions: Number 19