THE BUILDINGS AND CHURCHES
AUTHENTIC INFORMATION ON THE MISSION OF SANTA BARBARA,
FBOM ITS FOUNDATION TO THE PRESENT DAY.
Translated, written and compiled from the Register, reports, and other
documents in the Archives or the Mission.
BY REV. J. J. O'KEEFE, O. S. F.
Member of the -Community &• rhe Mission.
SANTA BARBARA, CAL.:
Independent Job Printing House.
l T « H NEWARK
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1886, by
REV. J. J. O'KEEFE, O. S. F.,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C-
AM. RIGHTS UKSEKVED.
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Much has been written on California in general,
and not a little on this county in particular, but
very little, so far, that can be relied upon as au-
thentic, has been written on the Mission of Santa
Barbara. Now, therefore, I shall endeavor in
these few pages to give what authentic information
I possess regarding the founding, buildings, the
several churches erected, and various other facts
connected with, and relating to this Mission, from,
its foundation to the present day.
Joseph J. O'Keefe, 0. S. F.
The joy of the great Father Junipero Serra can-
not be described, when he saw that everything
was prepared at last, to establish the projected
Missions of Santa Barbara Channel, an event for
which his soul had yearned so long. Accordingly
San Buenaventura, at the eastern extremity of the
Channel, was founded on March 31, 1782. A short
time after, or about the middle of April, Governor
Felipe de Neve, accompanied by Father Junipero
Serra, set out with sixty soldiers and their respec-
tive officers, to establish the Presidio and Mission
ol Santa Barbara.
The party marched along the shore, observing
with all attention, compatiblehvith the distance, the
islands that form the channel. Arriving at a place
they considered about nine leagues from the Mis-
SANTA BARBARA MISSION.
sion of San Buenaventura, a halt was ordered by
the Governor, who, in company with Father Jun-
ipero and a few soldiers, reconnoitered the neigh-
borhood with the object of selecting a good location
for the Presidio. They found this on a large ran-
cheria of many Indians, a short distance from the
shore, where it gracefully curves and forms a sort
of small bay, in which they judged good anchorage
would be found. Orders were immediately given
to march, occupy this place and encamp.
The Governor immediately began to make a
large cross, build a booth for a temporary chapel,
and a table for an altar; having finished these, the
place was blessed by Father Junipero, the cross
raised, Mass celebrated, at which the Governor
and troops assisted, Father Junipero preached, and
the ceremony concluded by taking possession of
the place, without the slightest contradiction or
opposition of the natives.
Thus the Presidio of Santa Barbara was found-
ed on the 23th of April, 1782.
The founding of the Mission, it seems, should
have followed immediately, and progressed simul-
taneously with the Presidio. The venerable
Father Junipero, believing this would be the case,
SANTA BARBARA MISSION.
consented to remain in the meantime, with the
Governor at the Presidio, for the benefit of the
soldiers and their families (for nearly all were
married). Seeing the Governor remained silent
on a matter of such importance, he finally urged
him to lend assistance in founding the Mission.
The Governor replied that he did not intend to
consent to the founding of the Mission until he
should have finished the Presidio. "Then your
excellency," replied Father Junipero, "as there is
nothing more for me to do here at present, I shall
return to Monterev, and meet the vessels that are
expected, but that so many people may not be
without a priest, I shall call one from San Juan
Capistrano;" which he did immediately, and then
started for his Mission of San Carlos at Monterey,
where he allowed himself a little rest, (all his
journeys were invariably made on foot). Then he
began his visitation to the other Missions, confirm-
ing in each, all the Indians who had been instruct-
ed and baptized. He continued to work up to the
month of August, 1784, when he was completely
prostrated, and immediately sent for Father Palou,
who left San Francisco and arrived at San Carlos
on the lSth of the same, remaining with Father
Junipero until his death, which occurred a little
before 2 o'clock p. in., on the 28th of August,
I do not intend to write the biography of the
8 SANTA BARBARA MISSION.
venerable Junipero Semi, nor is it necessary, as,
I understand, this has been ably done by Very
Rev. Joachim Adan, Vicar General of this Diocese,
but I judged it would be well, if not entirely neces-
sary, to give the few incidents above recorded, in
order to show the extent of his connection with,
and relation to, the Channel Missions, (so called
at that time,) more especially this of Santa Bar-
bara, which he was on the point of actually found-
ing, when delayed by the circumstances above
related, and thereby deprived of the pleasure - he
so ardentlv desired.
On the death of ! the venerable Father Junipero
Serra, Father Palou, his intimate friend, compan-
ion and biographer, was chosen President of the
Missions, although much against his will, because
he intended to depart shortly for Mexico, to super-
intend the publication of the "life and virtues"
of Father Junipero Serra, published in Mexico in
1787, and other works he had in print, but he
could not depart until August, 1785. During his
year of office his official acts were very few and of
little or no importance, and no mission was found-
ed during his term. I make this statement,
because ForbeSj in his ''California," page 80, men-
SANTA BARBARA MISSION. 9
tions that Father Patau's first act on becoming
President, was to found the Missions of Santa
Barbara and La Purisima, a manifest error, (which
has been copied by John Gilmary Shea, in his
"History of the Catholic Missions, among the
Indian Tribes of the United States,") as Father
Palou was 'not in California, when these Missions
Yearly, on the fourth day of December, the
Holy Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Santa
Barbara, Virgin and Martyr. On this day A. D.
178G, the holy cross was raised, nearly one mile
from the Presidio, on the Mission site, called in
Spanish "el pedragoso," in the native tongue,
"Taynayam," and from this day dates the found-
ing of the Mission. Very Rev. Father Fermin
Francisco de Lasuen, President of the Missions,
on the 15th of the same month, in a hut or booth
made for the occasion, with the boughs or branches
of trees, on the above mentioned site, celebrated
Mass and preached, at which the Governor (Pedro
Fages) accompanied by a few soldiers, assisted.
Father President Lasuen, named as first Minis-
ter of this Mission, the Rev. Antonio Paterna,
and as his associate, Rev. F. Christobal Oramas.
No buildings could be erected during the remain-
der of this year, on account of the heavy and
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The work of building commenced in 1787. The
first in order being a house for the Priests which
was 16x5 varas, a kitchen 6x5 varas, then the first
church or chapel 14x5 varas, a servant's room 6x5
varas, a granary 21x5, another house for the un-
married women, 12x5 varas. For brevity's sake,
in giving the dimensions of all the buildings in
the order of erection, I shall use the measurement
of the vara, as above; this measure is a little less
than our yard, or about 34 inches, universally used
in Spain and Mexico, and still heard in California,
particularly in real estate business. A carpenter's
shop was erected, 10x5 varas, and served, ad
interim, as a lodge for unmarried men, also four
more rooms, respectively, two 6x6, 5x6, 8x6.
Owing to the rain these could not be roofed in.
All the above named buildings, rooms, etc.,
were built of adobe walls one vara thick; the roof-
ing was of heavy rafters, across which long poles
or canes were tied, a layer of soft clay or mud was
spread over these, then finished or thatched with
straw. This stj'le of roofing was simply provision-
al till they could begin manufacturing tiles.
The number of Indians existing at the end of
this year, in the Mission is given at 183.
From January until the month of July, 1788,
no farther progress was made in building, owing
to the scarcity of provisions for the support of the
SANTA BARBARA MISSION. 11
Indians; during that month a supply was received
and work resumed. Tiles were now being manu-
factured and the work done from July till Decem-
ber 31 st of this year wag as follows, viz: The
four rooms mentioned were finished with tile roof;
also the apartments used by the women and girls.
The apartments of the men were also tiled
and used after for a granary; a new house was
erected for them 12x5 varas, with tile roof. The
Church was extended a little and roofed with tiles,
the walls of the extension were (£) half vara thick.
Indians existing in the Mission at the end of
July, 260; to end of December, 307.
The second Church of this Mission was erected
in 1789, adobe walls, dimensions 30x5 varas.
The first, considered much too small, was taken
down. A larger granary was also built 31x7;
adjoining this was erected an apartment 12x7, to
which the women were changed; also two rooms
5x4^, and one 9x5 for muleteers and their packs,
the walls of all the above were adobe, well plas-
tered and roofed with tiles.
Indians existing in the Mission on the last of
December this year, 425.
The buildings erected in 1790 were, two houses
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each 10x6 varas and divided into two rooms, for
the Priests' use; another house 00x6 varas, divided
into eight rooms, for dining room, kitchen, hall,
store room, fuel room, lockup, flour and meal room,
and a room for the women and girls; one 12x7
was built for a granary. All these were of adobe
walls, well plastered with mortar to better protect
them against the rain, and roof of tiles.
Number existing at the end of this year in
Mission, 407; plus from Presidio, 22.
A guard house was erected in 1791, 10x6; a
carpenter shop, and two other rooms, for housing
tools and agricultural implements.
Number of persons existing at the end of this
Two large corrals were made in 1792, with
stone walls, one for black cattle, the other for
sheep. The former 90x75 varas, the latter 75x50
Indians existing at Mission, 500.
The third Church of this Mission was commenc-
ed in 1793, of adobe, size 45x9i, Sacristy 9ix5
varas, a brick portico in front of Church, wall well
plastered with mortar and all roofed with tiles.
Number of Indians existing at the end of year,
The large adobe Church, containing six chapels,
was finished in 1794. A granary 26x7 and a
weaving room 18x7 were built also.
SANTA BARB AH A MISSION. 13
The report of this year records the death of Rev.
Fr. Antonio Paterna, the founder and first Minis-
ter of this Mission.
Indians existing at the end of this year, 549.
The principal branch of industry, is the carding
and weaving of wool into blankets and cloth for
the Indians. The crops of this year were a com-
plete failure, the Ministers had to have recourse
to the Missions of La Purisima and San Luis,
whence they received wheat and corn.
During: 1795 the roof of two sides and one-
half of the square of this Mission was reno-
vated. The old beams and rafters of sycamore
and poplar, being completely rotten, were replaced
by teams and rafters of pine; and four small rooms
of stone, brick and mortar were added to the
Indians existing in Mission at the end of this
The remaining part of the square, was roofed
anew in 1796. So all the buildings were renovat-
ed, beams and rafters of good pine having been
used to replace the old of sycamore and poplar.
A corridor was built in front of the side facing
the Presidio, roof of tiles and pillars of brick and
mortar, dimensions 45x3 varas. This is a great
protection to the walls, from the rain which beats
in from the south and southeast. In the weavers'
courtyard a corridor was also made, pillars of
14 SANTA BARBARA MISSION".
adobe, dimensions 18x3, two small rooms, one at
each end, 6x3 varas.
Indians existing at end of this year, 646.
A new square and courtyard was marked in
1797, and three granaries built, each 25x6 varas,
a room 6x6, another 10x6 for leather, and one of
9x6 for a blacksmith's forge, another of same size
for general use or for lowls. All these are adobe
walls, well rjlastered inside and outside with mor-
tar. Although they form a distinct courtyard yet,
there is an entrance to it, from the old one of the
Total of existing Indians at the Mission at the
end of this year, 782.
As the Indians were now increasing rapidly, it
became necessary to form a village, and give to
each family a separate house; land was then set
aside adjoining the Mission, and in 1798 nineteen
houses were erected to contain that number of
families; the rooms were 6L\4 varas, roofed with
tile, plastered and whitewashed, both inside and
out. Moreover a piece of land was inclosed by a
wall 1200 varas long by 3 varas high, to be culti-
vated as a kitchen garden, vineyard and orchard,
the wall was adobe capped with tile to throw off
SAIs'TA BARBARA MISSION. 1J
the rain. During this year the Church was adorn-
ed with six large oil paintings, one in each chapel.
At the end of this year the Indians existing at
this Mission were 796.
A granary 45xG£ varas was built in 1799,
plastered in and outside and tile roof. This was
all the building done this year. Thirty-two new
houses were erected in 1800 to accommodate that
number of families, making with those erected in
? 98. in all fifty-one. These houses are being built
to form streets, crossing at right angles, when the
required number shall have been erected. Corri-
dors were built inside the courtyard, on three
sides of the Mission square, flooring and pillars of
brick and mortar, roof of tile.
Number of Indians actually in the Mission, 864.
Thirty-one houses for the same number of
families were built in 1801, equal in every respect
to the fifty-one already reported. Another house
21x6 varas was built, divided into bedroom, hall,
and kitchen; a corridor was built with it. This
house for the use of head gardener and family.
Number actually existing in Mission, 1022.
Thirty-one houses were built in 1802, for that
number of families, similar to the 82 built during
the preceding years, making a total of 11,') houses.
A wall three varas high has been made on three
sides of this square, leaving plenty of space for the
houses yet to be erected. A house of adobe 20x6
SANTA BARBARA MISSION.
varas, and three tanks of brick and mortar, were
built for a tannery. Adjoining the tannery, a
house was built for the Majordomo 18x6 varas,
with corridor, kitchen, hall, and bedrooms. More-
over, five other rooms were erected, for various
uses, in the Mission, the whole length 40x6 varas.
This year Dec. 31st, a tabular statement of all the
Missions was made by the President, Fr. Lasuen,
from the time of each foundation to date, when he
gave up charge.
Statement both spiritual and temporal of the
Mission of Santa Barbara, from its founding Dec.
4th, 1786, to Dec. 31st, 1802:
83 yk. Oxen.
No. of Mares ! No. of
and Foals. Tame Horses,
Forty-eight new houses were erected in 1803,
for same number of families, making in all 101.
In order to attend better to the necessities of the
Indians, and facilitate their attendance at Mass
SANTA BARBARA MISSION. I J
and instructions, a station was selected and a
Church built on a large rancheria called "Sagsh-
pileel," ever after called San Miguel, under whose
patronage the Church was dedicated, about two
leagues west of this Mission, near a laguna (the
ruins of this chapel may yet be seen, near the old
house of Daniel Hill, at the "Patera"). The di-
mensions of this Church, 22x9, including walls,
Number of Indians existing at the end of this
Thirty seven new houses were erected in 1804,
to accommodate that number of families. A mud
wall was also built making a large yard for the
use of the Indians. The number of Indians exist-
ing at the end of this year were 1783. The reason
for the decrease in the number, was the founding
on Sept. 17, of the Mission of Santa Ynez, which
was nearer to the rancherias of several families
baptized from Santa Barbara, who were enrolled
in that Mission after above date; the number thus
enrolled in Santa Ynez was 112 persons, 27 fam-
ilies, who otherwise would have been counted vvith
This year a new corral was made at Tecolote,
on the 28th, 29th and 30th of July. 1084 head of
sheep were marked and exchanged at the Mission
of San Buenaventura, for another band of same
number, this band was sent to stock Tecolote.
San Miguel ranch had 2710 hea'd sheep, Canada
l8 SANTA BARBARA MISSION.
de las Armas 22 v 0. and 2520 head black cattle
divided among these places. The Mission owned
this year 11,500 head sheep and 35O0 head black
cattle, mares and foals 540, tame horses 238 head.
The ranch of "Mistwaghehewaug," or San Marcos,
was stocked this year from the above, besides
large vineyard was planted, and several houses
built, one for Majordomo, the others for various
vises of the ranch, and particularly as store rooms
for vineyard. (The ruins of these houses can yet
be seen on the ranch.)
All the ranchos east of Santa Ynez river, includ-
ing San Marcos, belonged to the Mission of Santa
Barbara, and the property extended to the "Rin-
con." All, or nearly all had now been stocked
with various kinds of animals, such as black cattle.
horses^ sheep, goats, e f c. and the best of the arable
land was sown to wheat, corn, barley and various
kinds of beans, peas, etc. The principal ranch
for wheat and corn, were:
San Pedro y San Pablo or Dos Pueblos, called
by the Indians "Mekeguwe."
San Estevan, in the native tongue. "Tokeene."
and San Miguel, in the native tongue c *Sagspileel"
Corn, beans, etc., were sown also in San Jose or
Abajo, in San Juan Bautista or the Sauzal, this is
at present a part of the Hope ranch, its location is
east of and bordering on the Arroyo del Burro.
SANTA BARBARA MISSION. ly
the Modoc road absorbs a part of it nd runs
through it as far as the bridge.
Tokeene or San Estevan is all that land north
of the present stage road, beginning west of the
Arrovo "Pedragoso" at the new bridge, and eon-
tinning to the Arroyo del Burro This plain was
very fertile. The foundation of a large stone wall
may vet be seen a little beyond the bridge west of
Pedragoso. This was a huge corral for various
purposes, principally for tame horses. A spring
of splendid water flows near Mr. Dixie Thompson's
Thirty-six houses, for that number of families,
were built in 1805. Two lar_ granaries and a
house of the same size as granaries for lumber.
The entire number of family houses for Indians
was now 2o-i.
A reservoir of stone and mortar was built in
1806, to collect water for the gardens, orchard, etc.
Dimensions 40 varas square by 2\ varas deep.
This reservoir exists in a perfect state and is used
by the water company to collect water to supply
the City of Santa Barbara.
In ISO" a very strong dam was built across the
"Pedragoso" creek, about a mile and one-half
from the Mission, at a point high enough to allow
water to flow in an open aqueduct into the mill
rvoir. This mill and reservoir were built at
the same time, behind the one used at present by
20 SANTA BARBARA MISSION.
the City Water Co. The mill is in ruins, and a
small part of its reservoir near the liill has fallen
in, but could be of service with a little repairing.
The Indian village was enlarged this year by 18
more houses for families, total 252. Four more
houses were erected for the soldiers, in front of the
Church, distant in a straight line 150 varas.
In 1808 buildings were erected for manufactur-
ing and baking pottery, water pipes, etc. An
ornamental stone fountain and lavatory were built
in front of the Mission. In 1809 the Priests'
dwelling facing the Presidio, was enlarged by
erecting another building of stone and mortar in
front, with flat polished concrete roof. This work
was continued through 1810 to 1811, when the
new' house was finished oil with a heavy stone
arched corridor, after which work commenced on
the frontispiece of the Church, intending to im-
prove and embellish it as much as possible, con-
cerning which an account will be given when
finished. (There was never any account given, as
this Church building had to be taken down a few
years after.) On the 21st, 22d, and several days
after, of December, 1812, several severe earthquake
shocks were felt; these shocks were so severe, that
all the Mission buildings were badly injured, the
Church in particular was so badly damaged that
it was judged more expedient to take it down and
build a new one, than to repair it.
SANTA BARBARA MISSION. 21
The years 1813-14 were spent in repairing
some of the buildings and taking down the old
Church. The new stone Church was commenced
in 1815, the work was pushed rapidly while the
Mission buildings were being repaired at the same
time. In 1817 the flat roof was removed from
the principal house of the Mission, all the wood
work completely renovated, then covered with a
tiled gable roof.
The dimensions of the new Church are: Length,
including walls, 60 varas; width, including walls,
14 varas; from floor to ceiling, 10 varas. Work
was carried on during the years 1818 and 19 with
such effect that on the tenth day of Sept., 1820,
the Church was finished and blessed. The walls
are of large cubes of cut sandstone, and nearly six
feet through, nevertheless thev were further
strengthened by heavy solid stone buttresses at
each angle, and at sections along the sides. With-
out doubt it is the strongest Mission Church build-
ing in California. One tower of two stories held
six bells, three of which were stationary, the others
with yoke. In a niche in the frontispiece, sup-
ported by .six columns, is a statue of our Patroness
Santa Barbara, cut from the best stone found here
and painted. The apex and angles of the frontis-
piece are adorned with stone statues, representing
respectively the three theological virtues, Faith,
Hope and Charity. The interior is neatly finished,
22 SANTA BARBARA MISSION.
the walls all plastered, the columns and cornice
frescoed, the ceiling lathed, hard finished, and
ornamented with designs from Vitruvius, cut from
cedar and painted. The floor of red cement made
from oil and lime, is hard and finely polished.
The altars are neatlv ornamented with fine crnci-
fixes and statues in wood. Over the high altar
on a bracket in the wall, stands a statue in wood
of Santa Barbara; on each side of Santa Barbara
is a painting on the canvas wall piece of St.
Joachim and St. Ann. Directly under these are
the statues in wood of the Blessed Virgin and Si.
Joseph on brackets. Small wooden statues of St.
Dominic and St. Francis, may be seen, one on
each side of the high altar on pillars. The walls
of the sanctuary are adorned, one side with a paint-
ing of the "Infierrio" and Day of Judgment, a poor
copy of Murillo in the "Escorial" in Spain.
Facing this is a good painting of Our Lady of the
Scapular. Outside the sanctuary, on the wall,
hangs a large painting of the Assumption and
Coronation ot the Blessed Virgin, and facing it-
one of the same size of the Crucifixion. All the
above works of art were brought from Mexico for
this .Mission in 1798, together with the fourteen