Mission Nicknames

While not official names, many of the California Missions have nicknames associated with them. The unofficial list is here… San Francisco Solano = [Unknown or None] San Rafael Arcángel = [Unknown or None] San Francisco de Asís = Mission Dolores [The Mission was located along the Dolores creek.] San José = [Unknown or None] Santa […]

Mission Industry – Candle Making

Candles at the Missions were made from one of two materials: tallow or beeswax. Tallow candles were more common since Missions ran large herds of cattle there was always an abundance of animal fat (also known as tallow) which was used to make the candles. One steer could easily produce up to 100 pounds of […]

Miscellaneous Links

I wasn’t planning on having a miscellaneous links page as all the relevant links served as references and are linked on the applicable page(s). But, then I attended an art show in Morro Bay and found an artist who had done a complete series on the missions. They were excellent and I wanted to give […]

Mariano Borja Painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe has a special place in the mission system. Because she appeared to natives in Mexico (9 and 12 December 1531; feast day 12 December) she was a model for the padres to hold up to the Indians. According to Msgr. Weber’s history the first church in all of California was dedicated […]

Mexican Governors of California

The Mexican era in California spanned 1821 through 1846. There were 12 different governors (15 periods of governance) in that period: 11 Apr-22 Nov 1822: Pablo Vicente de Sola Lifespan (1761-1826) 1822-1825: Luís Antonio Argüello Lifespan (21 June 1784 – 27 March 1830) **He is buried in the cemetery at the Mission in San Francisco. […]

How to Find Mission Plans

There are mission kits and some plans in various books but one source of plans often forgotten is the Library of Congress. Buried in their collections are plans for many (not all) of the California missions. I can’t give you links to each one of them because their site uses session IDs so you have […]


While there were many different Indians in California at the time of the missions; the Chumash were the most widespread. They numbered in the tens of thousands and their territory spread from present-day Malibu to present-day southern Monterey County. To the east they extended all the way to the Carrizo Plain of present-day Kern County. […]

What Happened to Mission Property?

The mission system thrived until the 1830s or so. By then more settlers were arriving and because the Church controlled much of the property. As part of the mission system these settlers could not own property until the mission system had completed its work and turned properties over to the now-civilized Indians. This pressure drove […]


The missions started as essentially Spanish colonies. But, with the decline of the Spanish empire and the arrival of non-Spanish trading ships the Spanish influence at the missions declined over time. This was not helped by the defection of major Spanish colonies from the Crown; particularly New Spain (Republic of Mexico) in 1810. The resulting […]

Spanish Governors of California

The Spanish era in California spanned 1769 through 1821. There were 12 different governors in that period: 1768-9 Jul 1770: Don Gaspar de Portolá Don Gaspar de Portolá (1723-?) was born in Balageur, Spain. He entered the military at 11, becoming an ensign in the dragoons. He served in battles in Italy and Portugal. He […]