William Ingraham Kip.

The early days of my episcopate online

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for Confirmation that I found my seeing them previous
to the rite was only a form. A large room, formerly used
as a Masonic Lodge, was hired, and converted into a pretty
chapel, with vestry room adjoining. The chancel was prop-
erly fitted with altar and other necessaries and the walls
were covered with oaked paper. In my Convention Ad-
dress, the following May, I make this mention of Major
Townsend's efforts: "Since my former visitation to this
place, a suitable room has been provided, and furnished in
a church-like manner. It will be remembered that no ser-
vices of the Church have been held here, except those of
the two Sundays I was able to spend in the place. Every-
thing else, — the Sunday services, the seeking children for
Baptism and preparation of candidates for Confirmation —
has been done by the lay reader. I cannot refrain, my
brethren of the laity, from calling your attention to this
little parish, thus organized and kept in existence by the
exertions of one of your own number, as an evidence of
how much can be effected by the laity when the lack of
clergy prevents their having the services of an ordained

On the 22nd of February, 1855, 1 made another visitation.
In the previous week the parish had been organized by the


name of St. Paul's Church. I went up on Friday evening
and after spending Saturday with the major, in visiting the
different families, on Sunday I held service in their new
chapel. In the morning I preached, and administered the
Holy Communion to twelve persons. In the afternoon, I
again read service and preached, baptizing after the second
lesson one adult and eight infants, and after sermon coo-
firming six persons.

In July I again visited them, and held service one Tues-
day evening, remaining for several days to visit the
families. On the following Friday, I went over to Vallejo
with the Major, and in the evening held the first service of
our Church in that place. It is about seven miles from
Benicia and separated by a narrow river from the Navy
Yard at Mare Island. The population of the place was then
about one thousand, many of whom are workmen employed
in the Navy Yard. A Methodist chapel had been erected
there, which was offered for our use, and notwithstanding
the notice of but a few hours before, there was a good at-
tendance, consisting of the officers and their families from
Mare Island and the people at Vallejo. I returned the
same evening to Benicia and the next day to San Francisco.

During the following January, 1856, we lost the aid of
Major Townsend, as he was ordered to Washington. A
more devoted and valuable laj^man I have never known;
not only regularly discharging the Sunday duties of lay
reader, but also the weekly and daily duties of "seeking for
Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad" and inducing
them once more to place themselves within the hallowing
influence of the services of the Church.

Providentially, at the time of Major Townsend's depart-


ure, I was able to supply the church by sending as Mis-
sionary, the Kev. David F. Macdonald, who had come to
me as a candidate for Orders, from the Bishop (Eden) of
Moray and Ross in Scotland, and had lately been ordained
Deacon. He usually officiated on Sunday morning at
Benicia, and in the afternoon at Martinez, on the opposite
side of the Carquinez Straits, and also held occasional ser-
vices at Vallejo.

During the next three years but little progress was made.
The officers and their families, on whom we chiefly de-
pended, were constantly changing, and after about six
months Mr. Macdonald removed to Coloma. Then there
was a succession of lay readers, Dr. Tripler, Capt. Gardiner
of the First Dragoons, Dr. Murray, U. S. A., and Lieut.
Julian McAllister of the Ordnance Corps.

During the winter of 1858-9, I frequently spent Sunday
there, having service in Benicia in the morning, and at Mar-
tinez in the afternoon. At tbe latter place the Methodist
chapel was always offered for our use. I generally had also
a third service at night. The Female Seminary, Miss Atkins
principal, contained at that time about sevent} r pupils,
the majority of whom attended the services at the chapel
and indeed took charge of the music. They collect here
from all parts of the State and in a year or two scatter to
their homes, to be the future mothers of our people. Feel-
ing how great an influence they might exert, I arranged for
a Sunday evening service whenever I should be in Benicia.
My service at the school was a familiar, extemporaneous
lecture, prefaced by singing and the reading of some col-
lects. During the last season (August, 1859), I held a
special Confirmation at the school the evening before the


term ended, to confirm two young ladies who were the next
day to leave for their homes.

In May, 1859, the Rev. E. W. Hager became Missionary
here, officiating on alternate Sundays at this place and
Napa. As, however, he returned to the East in September,
but little was effected.

During the following autumn, a lot was procured and
subscriptions made for building the church edifice. The
project was carried through, and a neat wooden church of
Gothic architecture erected at a cost of about fifteen hundred
dollars. It was consecrated in January, 1860. The day was
beautiful and balmy, and the services were admirably con-
ducted. The Rev. Messrs. Thrall and MacAllister of this
city took part in the service. The Rev. Messrs. Ewer and
Chittenden intended to be present, but, having trusted to
the Suisun boat of that morning, arrived too late. Tbus the
parish is established on a firm basis and will be supplied
by services from this city until it can procure a permanent



I. Los Angeles.

I had several times had urgent requests from the few
Americans at Los Angeles, to pay them a visit; and also let-
ters from Captain Gardiner, our Lay Reader at Fort Tejon
in the south-eastern part of the State, expressing the same
desire. He reads service on Sunday, but they wished to
have the Holy Communion administered and some children
baptized. He offered, as travelling is unsafe in that part of
the country, to send an escort of Dragoons down to Los An-
geles to accompany us on our return. I had therefore made
arrangements to take the journey. At Los Angeles we were
to be joined by the Hon. Edward Stanly (late of North
Carolina), who went down by the previous steamer.

I had been prevented during the whole of the past
year from visiting the southern part of the State, as it
is infested by the worst class of whites and Mexicans,
who often rob in large parties, and render it unsafe to
travel, except with a party thoroughly armed. Major
E. D. Townsend, U. S. A. (whom I have already men-
tioned as our lay reader at Benicia), having been or-



dered to inspect Forts Tejon and Miller, had to pass
through the country, and I availed myself of the opportuni-
ty to go with him. Some other friends had offered to join
us, for the purpose of seeing the country, so that we expect-
ed to be strong enough in numbers to dispense with Cap-
tain Gardiner's Dragoons. Besides Mr. Stanly and Major
Townsend, tbe party consisted of my youngest son, Willie,
and myself, James E. Calhoun, (son of the late Vice-Presi-
dent, John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina) and Jas. T. Smith*
of San Francisco.

My objects were, to spend a Sunday at Los Angeles, where
the services of the Church had never been held, for I was
the first clergyman of our Church in Southern California,
except Mr. Reynolds at San Diego— another Sunday at
Fort Tejon, — another at Fort Miller, where there had never
been a service, — and generally, to see what is the charac-
ter of the southern half of the State, with reference to the
future prospects of the Church.

October 1st, 1855. At four p. m. we were on board of the
steamer Republic for San Diego. The last time Captain
Baby and I voyaged together, he was mate of the Golden
Gate when we were wrecked at San Diego, and I found
therefore that he looked rather suspiciously at me. The
clergy, in such cases, are regarded by sailors as Jonahs.
We had about fifty passengers. The fog was rolling in
when we sailed, and no sooner had we passed the Heads
and struck the swell of the ocean, than we plunged into a
dense bank, in which it was impossible to see for twenty
feet. The Captain says, he never went out in so thick a fog.

* Afterwards Rev. J. Tuttle Smith of New York.


At intervals, all night, the bell was kept ringing, and at
about three in the morning, we were, as the Captain sup-
posed, off Monterey. We therefore came to, and as the sea
was heavy, we were left rolling in its trough for the rest of
the night. At daybreak the fog still continued, but we kept
slowly drawing in to laud until about ten o'clock, when it
lifted and we saw the coast, so that we could find the mouth
of the harbor.

We anchored at the usual place in the bay, when the
boats came off and took us to shore. Monterey is un-
changed since I had service here in August of last year.
Everything is as quiet and beautiful as formerly — a perfect
Spanish town. Major Townsend and I went to see Mrs.
Boston's family, (with whom I stayed on my last visit), and
then took a walk through town, and visited Oolton Hall and
the old Church.

Mr. Calhoun and Willie in their walk saw a characteris-
tic California scene. Two men who had been quarrelling,
proposed settling the dispute on the spot by the duello. So
they drew pistols and prepared to take their ground. It
was just in front of a house, the owner of which came out
and objected to their selecting that spot for the fight.
This brought on a kind of triangular contest, when the last
comer seeing a magistrate leaning against the fence a short
distance off, appealed to him to stop them. Instead, how-
ever, of doing so, he threatened to arrest the pacificator for
interfering. The quarrel had now diffused itself and got
into other hands; and perhaps the hot blood had time to
cool, so the difficulty was made up.

The last half hour on shore was passed with the Hon. Mr.
Wall, collector of the port.


Three weeks afterward, bis dead body pierced by seven
balls, was found on the road a few miles from Monterey, and
at a short distance from it the body of a gentleman, his
companion. They had been attacked by a party of five
mounted Senorians. Later, in attempting to capture these
men, Mr. Layton, another of our Churchmen here, was
killed with two others. I mention this to show the ne-
cessity for my armed escort in travelling in this southern

At three p. m. we sailed, but the sea proved to be rough, and
most of us were soon in our state-rooms. The rest of the
day, and through the night, we were pitching about in a
dreamy, uncomfortable state of being, afraid to move for
fear of consequences.

Wednesday, Oct. 3rd. The sea smoother, but the fog still
dense. In the morning the Captain found he had run too
close in shore, and was near the spot where, last year, the
unfortunate Yankee Blade was lost with many passengers.
During the morning the fog cleared off, and we got on our
true course. At one p. m. we anchored opposite to Santa Bar-
bara, and went ashore in the steamer's boat, generally a
difficult feat on account of the heavy surf. As there is no
wharf, the boat has to be run up on shore, while the passen-
gers watch their chances, and jump before the wave re-

Santa Barbara has its old California population, and there
seem to be few Americans settled there. Everything, there-
fore, is primitive and quiet. The houses are all open, as if
they people lived out of doors; and the agricultural imple-
ments, scattered about, are of the same clumsy patterns their
fathers used in Mexico a hundred years ago. The town is


about half a mile from the bay, and is said to contain twelve
hundred inhabitants.

A mile and a half back, on the rising ground at the base
of the hills, stands the old Mission of Santa Barbara. We
walked out to it; and found the same evidences of decay and
dilapidation which characterize all the California Missions.
There is, as usual, an extensive range of buildings, once oc-
cupied by the priests, and terminated at one end by a large
church. Around were the remains of their vineyards and
gardens, with a few slight houses, about which some Indians
were lounging in the sun, the relics of their once numerous
bands of converts.

As we found there was a solitary priest still residing here
and keeping up the services of the Church, we knocked at
his door and brought him out, — an old man in the coarse
gray Franciscan dress. Calling an Indian boy, he sent him
to unlock the church for us. It was like all the other Mis-
sion churches, with little to recommend it but its size, and
having, at the entrance, the usual horrible pictures of Pur-
gatory and Paradise. In front of the building was a circu-
lar reservoir with a carved stone fountain. It is now dry
and dusty. We found there was a series of these reservoirs
on the mountain side, on successively rising planes, and
connected by canals. In this way water was brought four-
teen miles from its source in the mountains. Now, how-
ever, most of them are dry, their stone ornaments are
broken in pieces, and the surrounding country, which
the old Padres thus irrigated and made like a garden, is
fast relapsing into its former wildness. It is a lovely spot,
however, commanding a wide view of the country and bay,
and was selected with the usual good taste of the friars.


We walked back again to the shore. The Ewing, U. S.
surveying vessel, had just come in. Her Lieutenant took us
off to our steamer, in his boat, and at seven p. m. we were
again under way.

Thursday, Oct. 4th. At about seven a. m. we anchored
opposite to San Pedro, four hundred and twenty miles from
San Francisco, and the end of our voyage. Here we leave
the steamer, which goes on to San Diego. At the edge of
the water is a high bank, and from this the plain extends
far as we can see. There are three adobe houses on the
bank, and everything looks just as it did when Dana
described it in his " Two Years before the Mast," more
than twenty years ago. We landed in the steamer's boats,
and after an unsavory breakfast at one of the houses,
a wagon was produced, to which four half-broken California
horses were harnessed. The men hung on to their heads,
swayed about, and at times raised themselves off their
feet as the animals struggled, till the signal for starting
was given, when they sprang off, simultaneously, and the
released animals dashed away at full speed. The driver
occasionally looked in to ask us, on which side we wished
to fall when we upset. This seemed to be his standing
joke, and one which I thought it not improbable might be-
come a serious question with us.

The plains were covered with thousands of cattle and
horses, quite reminding us of the descriptions of old Cali-
fornia times. In the twenty -five miles of our journey, there
were but two or three shanties, erected by squatters who
were raising cattle, and not a fence or enclosure, except the
corrals about them. We reached Los Angeles in about two
hours and a half, having changed horses once on the way.


As we approached the town there was a marked change from
the treeless sterility of the plains. We found ourselves
winding through the midst of vineyards and gardens, and on
all sides saw workmen engaged in the manufacture of wine.

Friday, Oct. 5th. Los Angeles has airthe characteristics of
an old Spanish town. It contains about five thousand in-
habitants, two thousand of whom may be Americans or Eng-
lish. The houses ar3 almost invariably one story high, — a
style of building which an occasional earthquake has ren-
dered advisable. All around it is a perfect garden, luxuri-
ant with every kind of fruit. We visited one vineyard, which,
besides a profusion of other fruits, contained fifty thousand
vines of a large blue grape. Part of these grapes are each
week sent to San Francisco by the return steamer from San
Diego, and part are manufactured into wine.

Saturday, Oct. 6. Availing ourselves of this day to see some-
thing of the surrounding country, we drove out about
eleven miles to the San Gabriel Mission. It stands in a
most lovely country, but like all the others I have visited,
is now in a state of decay. The single priest remaining
here, — a Frenchman speaking no English, — took us into
the sacristy and showed us the rich fabrics, heavy with
gold embroidery, — remains of their former glory, — and
probably brought originally from Spain. We entered the
large church, once filled with their Indian converts, but now
of a size entirely useless. Several children were on their
knees before the chancel, who went on with their devotions
without seeming to notice our party. The eldest was read-
ing aloud from some devotional book, while the others re-
sponded at intervals. The heavy stone walls of the church
were hung with the usual pictures.


Around the Mission is a country unsurpassed for fertility.
It is well irrigated by little streams from the mountains,
that have been led through the fields by the labor of the
old Padres. The only settlers, however, are the lowest
class of Spanish Californians or Indians, whose little huts
are scattered about, among which the children were running
around in a state of entire nudity. In the hands of our
Eastern farmers, this country, with its perpetual summer,
would become a perfect Eden.

About a mile from the Mission is a rich tract of wooded
country, called the Monte, and celebrated for the luxuriance
of its crops. Corn grows here to a height which seems fab-
ulous to strangers. It is peopled by a wild class of settlers
from our Western States, whose only religious instruction
is derived from an occasional Methodist camp-meeting.

On our way home we stopped at the vineyard of a gen-
tleman, (Hon. Mr. Wilson, who is one of those most inter-
ested, in Los Angeles, in the establishment of the Church,)
and I describe it to show what Providence has done for this
country. It is about seven miles from town. The house
stands on rising ground, and from the front of it there
is a view of many miles of rich landscape, much of it dotted
with oak trees. His men were all busy in the manufac-
ture of wine; and while some of them were bringing in
the grapes in baskets, others, standing in the vats with
their naked feet, were literally " treading the wine press."
The proprietor receives eight thousand dollars a year from
the sale of his wine alone.

In the vineyard, besides the grapes, we found a collec-
tion of fruit which I had never seen equalled in any part of
the world. There were melons of all kinds, figs just burst-


ing, delicious peaches, pomegranates, tunas, (the cactus
fruit,) pears and Madeira nuts. Strawberries are raised
throughout the year.

Sunday, Oct. 7th. Until within the last six months, there
had been no religious service of any kind in Los Angeles, ex-
cept that of the Roman Church. As the preaching there
was in Spanish, the Americans never went to it, and were
without anything to niai'k the coming of Sunday. At that
time the Presbyterians sent a minister here who officiated in
one of the public court rooms, while the Methodists erected
a small building and commenced their services. The lat-
ter place had been offered to us for our services on this day.

We had service morning and evening, — the first time our
solemn liturgy was ever heard in this section of the country.
At the morning service there were about eighty present, and
a much larger number in the evening. The next day, just
before leaving the place, I baptized the four children of a
gentleman, whose family, at the East, had been attached to
the Church.

I found several such families in this place, whom I sought
out and visited. They are literally "Christ's sheep dis-
persed abroad in this naughty world." Before leaving,
I had an opportunity of conferring with a number of the
inhabitants. They told me, the persons present had been
much impressed with the dignity and solemnity of our ser-
vice, — that neither Presbyterianism nor Methodism could
exert any influence on this population, — but they had no
doubt the Church could be established under very favorable
circumstances. They wanted something which did not
preach Nebraska or Kansas, slavery or anti-slavery, and
that was not identified with any of the isms of the day.


I have no doubt they are right, and that they would
be able to support a clergyman, as they professed to be
ready to do so as soon as the right man could be sent. This
work, however, calls for a man of zeal and energy, with con-
siderable ability as a preacher and knowledge of the world
as well.

Our Church people at the East, residing all their lives in
a settled state of society, have no idea of the difficulty of
forming a congregation from a population who have not
heard the gospel preached for years, who are living under
no religious restraints, and among whom the religious ele-
ment is yet to be created. It is a work of faith, and time,
and patience.

Yet to how many of our energetic young men this should
present a noble field ! Here they would be the first her-
alds of the Church; and instead of wearing out their lives
in a severe and changing climate, they might make a home
in one of the healthiest places in the world. A perpetual
summer reigns; and for this reason, perhaps, the early Span-
iards named it th-a City of Los Angeles, (the City of the An-
gels). I certainly have never seen a country which more fully
realizes Bishop Heber's description —

" every prospect pleases,

And only man is vile."

II. Fort Tejon.

Monday, Oct. 8. Captain Gardiner had sent down from
Fort Tejon (about a hundred miles distant,) a large, heavy
ambulance wagon, for no other is adapted to the mountain
passes through which our road leads. It was drawn by


four mules, and had Bell, a dragoon, as driver, who was
well acquainted with the country.

Bell was well armed, and all the gentlemen with me had
their rifles and revolvers. I was the only one of the party
without any weapon. As the party was so strong, Captain
Gardiner had not thought it necessary to send any escort,
as he had intended, believing that we were able to take
care of ourselves.

It may seem strange to an Eastern reader to hear of a
Bishop's visitation made with such accompaniments, but
here there is no help for it. The country through which
we are to pass is infested with California and Mexican
outlaws, whose trade is robbery, and who will often
shoot down a traveller for the sake of the horse on
which he is mounted. Our friends in Los Angeles warned
us, when we left the vehicle to walk, as we were often
obliged to do for miles at a time, not to straggle off, but to
keep together. Sometimes these banditti attack in troops,
as in the murder of Mr. Wall at Monterey, which I have
mentioned. At other times a single Mexican on horse-
back dashes by the unsuspecting traveller. As he passes
within twenty feet, suddenly the lariat, which he carries
coiled up at his saddle bow, is whirled round his head, and
ere the traveller can put himself on his defence, its circle
descends with unerring precision, and he is hurled sense-
less from his horse. Then, too, in camping out at night,
our rest may be invaded by a grizzly bear, as they abound
in these mountains. They often exceed sixteen hundred
pounds in weight, and are so tenacious of life that an en-
counter with them is more dangerous than with an African


We left at eleven o'clock and had hardly got out on the
plains, about two miles from Los Angeles, when, in de-
scending a gulch, part of the harness broke, the mules
whirled around, and we were saved from an overturn only
by the snapping off of the pole. Nothing could be done
where we were, so Bell had to take a couple of mules, re-
turn to town and have a new pole made. We were there-
fore left for some hours with the wagon and the other mules.
I read, or looked out over the apparently interminable
plains, while my companions practiced rifle shooting.

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Online LibraryWilliam Ingraham KipThe early days of my episcopate → online text (page 14 of 19)