Father Serra - Missionary

Father Serra - Missionary
Always forward, never back

Monday, March 13, 2017


(As a good internet friend pointed out to me, I forgot to post this chapter)

This does not show the ruin of the time frame of this chapter

1825 – New Mexican Arrivals in Monte Rey

Who were the passengers of the Morelos that landed yesterday at Monte Rey?”

It carried a very strange and somewhat daunting group,” the Alférez responded. “One is Alférez Estrada commanding a group of forty infantry from a battalion Fijo de Hidalgo. But, the most important is a civilian named José Maria Herrera, who is the comisario subaltern hacienda appointed to administer the territorial finances. He relieved Mariano Herrera and brought with him goods worth $22,379, and $8,220 in silver.”

Why that is excellent news. Perhaps the soldiers will finally receive their back pay.”

Felipe shrugged. “He was asked about that and responded that he has no instructions to do so.”

All knew that meant he would do nothing until told otherwise.

After a pause, Felipe continued. “The Morelos also brought Lieutenant Miguel Gonzalez in command of a detachment of artillerymen. He immediately became a captain and comandante de armas at Monte Rey by virtue of that rank. There were also three more Alférez'; Antonio Nieto, Rodrigo del Pliego, and José Perez del Campo. Nieto commands a small body of infantry sent as a guard to eighteen convicts condemned to presidio life in California for various offenses.”


Felipe shrugged. “How better for the Mexican government to rid itself of undesirables? They are supposed to be put to hard labor to make vital repairs to the presidio.”

Felipe also added, “Don Miguel inspected the garrison and spent most of the time complaining about how poorly the soldiers were dressed and the condition of the buildings.”

And what did he expect?” Timothy grumbled at Felipe's words. “They have not been paid for more than three years and almost no supplies have arrived from Mexico. The soldiers barely have time between their military duties and trying to survive to work on the buildings. And, with no way to pay them, the few Esselen who work there cannot be expected to do more than they already do.”

Captain Salamanca tried his best to explain the situation, but the new captain ignored him. He grudgingly spent the night in the commandant's house inside the presidio, also complaining about its condition. Captain Argüello quickly moved his things to his son's house in the pueblo and heard none of the complaining until he returned to the headquarters'.”

It took eight days for Father Prefect Durán to arrive, going directly to Misión San Carlos after having sent one of his escorts to the presidio to announce his arrival.

He did not go to the presidio?”

Felipe shook his head. “No, concuño and the captain was most angry. He considered it a serious breach of protocol. He even sent two of his escort to the mission to summon Father Prefect Durán.”


The Father Prefect sent the soldiers back with the message that he was occupied with mission activities.”

All stared in awe that the Father Prefect would flout the authority of the new Mexican officer in that manner.

Why, reverend father? Why would the Father Prefect do such a thing?”

Father Suria shook his head. “All he said to us was that he had received no instructions from the archbishop or guardian of the apostolic college in regards to the new government of Mexico. As such, he said our only allegiance is to His Holiness Pope Pius the Ninth and to Our Lord Jesus.”

The captain rode over the hill into the Carmel Valley at nine of the clock the next morning. Instead of going to the mission, he rode into the village and pulled up in the central plaza. “Where is el Alcalde?” he demanded. All noticed his voice was equal to his physical mien, not loud or as authoritative as others had been.

Doctor Manuel Gutiérrez de Quijano walked up to the captain and said, “We do not have a mayor at this time. The last completed his term and nobody has stepped forward to seek election in his place.”

Then who is responsible for the administration of this village, ah...”

The doctor quickly identified himself. “At the moment, I believe I am as I am one of the very few here to read and write. Most of the inhabitants are Esselen. The few literate inhabitants belong to The Family, those who live in that big compound over there.”

The Englishman and his Indian brother?”

Yes, your honor. The one known as The Sailor and the other The Carpenter.”

The captain was about to send a soldier to the compound when Timothy came out.

I am Timothy Beadle, Señor. This is my son, James, and my other children and grandchildren.”

And your Indian brother?”

He is in his shop at the mission overseeing those he has taught his skills. How may I be of assistance?”

Where can we talk, Englishman? I do not see a government palace.”

Excuse me, but I am no longer an Englishman. I gave up my allegiance to that country many years ago when Reverend Father Serra baptized me. I now consider myself a Californian like all these around you.”

Timothy invited the officer to the compound where the ladies provide hot tea and some sweets. The children showed the escort where to take the horses for some hay and water.

You have a most substantial home here, Mister Beadle.”

Thank you. Please call me Timothy, I do not like titles.”

Then you may call me Don Miguel.”

Timothy did not fail to heed the stress on this honorific.

The officer thanked the ladies for the refreshments and asked pointed questions, listening intently as Timothy indicated the various features of the valley. “The fishing fleet is still out. They should return within the hour. I believe one of the boats is unloading its catch for the garrisons at this moment.”

You have quite an enterprise here, Don Timoteo. You must have a great deal of wealth.”

I am afraid not. I have been granted permission to use land to raise some crops and livestock, but this compound is all we claim. The fishing boats belong to the family, but we accept no payment – or credit – for the fish we bring in. We consider it to be our role in making this and other places livable.”

And your brother?”

Jaime is like the rest of us. His skills as an artisan have been used for the mission and its disciples. We are here because of Reverend Father Serra and do our best to follow his principles.”

They talked for an hour and Timothy noted the officer had a sharp mind for details of the construction of the homes and other buildings of the village. He was most interested when the fishing fleet arrived, walking down to the pier with Timothy. He watched as the boats were unloaded and the fish sorted. Padre Suria arrived with two disciples for the two barrels of fish allotted to the mission.

Gonzalez crossed himself when the friar blessed him. “Reverend Father, is the Father Prefect at the mission?” Hearing a positive, he said, “When you return, please advise him we will attend noon prayers. After that, I wish to have a meeting with him.”

Padre Suria assured he would do as asked and smiled at Timothy before departing.

James was introduced to the officer and both noticed how Don Miguel showed no interest in acknowledging the Indian members of the crews. And, when invited to share the noon meal with The Family, none were surprised when he excused himself. “I will sup with my escort. It ensures their loyalty to me.”

He is very aloof about los Indios y Mestizos, Jaime noted.

Everything about him says pure Spanish blood making him a Criollo. Even then, it makes no sense that he does not acknowledge those who shed their blood to create an independent Mexico.”

It will be most interesting to see his interaction with Father Prefect Durán who is a Peninsulare” Timothy said. “I have heard stories how the congress is considering a law to expel all those born in Spain from Mexico.”

I wonder what Father Prefect Sarria thinks of all this.”

Nobody answered.

The captain's escort stood along the back wall while he sat in the front pew on the side of the chapel closest to the statue of The Virgin of Guadalupe. As there were no Criollos in the pueblo, the leading Mestizos sat in their customary places. Timothy, Jaime, and James, along with their wives, sat in the front row on the other side of the aisle.

As it was not a Mass, there would be no homily and Father Prefect Durán did not participate, kneeling in the alcove dedicated to San José, baring his back and whipping himself for the sins he believed he had committed. Father Prefect Sarria also did not take part, kneeling in the opposite alcove, punishing himself as always.

With the holy rite concluded, everyone departed the chapel – except for the captain. His escort found a shady tree and waited outside.

The captain and the fathers prefect spent the entire afternoon in discussion with no one else present.


The governor will not be coming here to Monte Rey.”

All stopped rocking and turned to Felipe.

Captain Gonzalez returned from the meeting with the Fathers Prefect as angry as I have ever seen any human being. He stormed into his office, his secretary right behind him. He wrote a number of documents and had them sealed. They will be sent off by courier first thing in the morning. He also called together the officers and told us that he has a missive from the governor directing the Father Prefect to travel south at the earliest possible moment to meet with him.”

The Father Prefect was as calm as I have seen. He conducted the evening prayers as if nothing unusual had occurred. He joined the disciples for the evening meal and even enjoyed the evening music.”

James nodded. He and Teresa Marta had gone with a number of their children and grandchildren. “I even heard him humming some of the tunes.”

Padre Suria arrived, apologizing for not being there sooner. “The Father Prefect called us and the escolta to the garden and told us that, when asked, he refrained from pledging his allegiance to the new United Mexican States.”

Why in the name of The Lord did he do that?” Timothy asked, shocked.

He wrote a letter to the governor, the guardian of the apostolic college, and the archbishop defending his action. He explained to us that the obligation to the king of Spain was the ground on which he based his refusal, with special reference to the fact that the new constitution required him to take up arms and resist invasion by a foreign power, including Spain. Thus, he might have to resist the king himself at the head of his army, in a province which was justly a part of his dominion, which would be to disobey the divine law and teachings of the saints. He foresaw the objection that his previous oath to independence under Iturbide had required the same opposition to Spain; but he answered it by claiming that before, Spain was not under her primitive government, the king was deprived of liberty, and religion was threatened; that under the plan of Iguala, Fernando the Seventh was to be called to the throne, with some chance of Spanish approval; and moreover, that the previous oath had not only been ordered by his diocesan, but had been formally decided on by a majority of the friars, including the prefect.”

After a pause, Padre Suria continued. “He made it very clear that taking the oath of allegiance was a matter for each of us.”

And you, reverend father?” James asked.

Padre Suria smiled. “I and all the others here and at the presidio chapel swore the oath of allegiance when ex-Governor Argüello asked us to.”

What will Father Prefect Sarria's action bring about?”

Padre Suria shrugged. “I do not know. There is nothing in the old reglamentos and we have yet to receive anything to replace them from Mexico. Perhaps the new governor will seek to have the Father Prefect expelled from California – and Mexico.”

Well, that is not all, my children. The Father Prefect has indicated he plans to move his headquarters from Misión San José to Misión Santa Bárbara.”

That certainly shocked everyone and, as hard as he tried, Padre Suria could not explain what was behind Father Prefect Durán's decision.

It appears the time is approaching that we need to consider ways to retain what we have amassed,” Timothy mused.


Jaime nodded, as did Butterfly, Apolonia, James, and Teresa Marta. Timothy had gathered the core of The Family to hold the delicate discussion.

Comisario Herrera has said nothing directly, but I saw in his eyes his search for way to bring revenues to his coffers. He is going to start taxing anyone he feels able to pay. I sense that one of his aides will be the one to levy and collect.”

Yes, the one with shifty eyes. I believe his name is Ramon de Vilar.”

Most certainly,” Butterfly softly said. “He and his wife are both Criollos and I could see the looks they gave to us Mestizos y los Indios.”

I thought the entire purpose of the rebellion was to erase the differences among us. To give all equal rights.”

Yes, equal rights to all who felt snubbed by los Peninsulares. The rest of us,” Jaime sneered, “are but to be their servants.”

So, father and uncle, what do we do?”

Sea Lion Cove can take a dozen head of cattle, an equal number of horse, for or five mules and some donkeys. The swine there are already multiplying as are the chickens and geese. George says two more families can live there.”

Who do we decide to send?”

Well, young James, I think we owe it to Mateo to send one of his sons with his family. We will leave it up to him to decide which.”

All agreed with Jaime.

I would like to see us offer the chance to Timoteo Tomas as we can send them in a boat he and Pablo can maintain and use for fishing.”

All smiled at Butterfly's idea. It made sense for them to support themselves.

George and Pablo have been exploring and say there are two other hidden inlets where more livestock can safely graze.”

They had no doubt that the governor would attempt to seize either the Santana or the Queen, claiming it needful for California. Knowing there was no safe place to moor the Santana south of Carmel, they decided to send the Queen to Sea Lion Cove where it could be hauled ashore and covered with a tarpaulin and kelp.

And our other valuables?”

All knew what Apolonia referred to. The gold, silver, and gems they had found at various places during their travels. In addition, there were a number of valuable items from various traders over the years.

I have fashioned a strong wooden chest with locks to contain the items. We can send that to Sea Lion Cove and bury it somewhere that only we will know.”

All understood that hiding it in such a manner was not a criticism of the others, but a safety for those living in the cove. Just in case a member of the new government happened upon it.

The proposition was put to Mateo and his son, Ramon, eagerly accepted. The same held for Pablo and his family. Fortunately, both men were more than familiar with the Queen, so no other crew was needed to sail her.

It was impossible to hide the absence of the queen of the fishing fleet, but nobody in Carmel questioned it. Only Padre Suria made a comment and appeared to accept the not too reasonable explanation for her disappearance.

Felipe, however, told them that her absence had been noted at the presidio. “As none of the crew are missing, they believe she was lost upon the rocks somewhere.”

Has anyone questioned the crew?”

Felipe chuckled. “Yes, and the crew gave a heroic tale of escaping doom and swimming to safety. I could see how proud of themselves they were.”

The crew missed going to sea to fish, but found themselves tilling their own plots of land, working with their children they had not been able to spend much time with before.


Señor, I must seek passage from you to Monte Rey.”

The request surprised James. Never before had a soldier requested passage on his or the other fishing boats. “Of course, Corporal Valdez. I am gladly at your service. We will depart as soon as we have finished unloading the mission's portion of our catch.”

The corporal boarded the Santana and found a place to stand aft behind the helm, all the while moving nervously from foot to foot.

He fears sailing? James wondered.

Once they had lifted anchor and set sail from Misión Santa Cruz, it was clear the soldier thought little of being on the ocean's bosom. He held a scroll and kept smacking it into the palm of his hand.

Bad news, corporal?”

Valdez nodded. Si, Señor. There has been an uprising of the Indians at Misión San Francisco Solano. They threatened el Padre and then set fire to the chapel, burning all the religious artifacts.”

Padre Altimira? Was he harmed?”

The corporal shrugged. “I do not know, Señor. The couriers just told me the seriousness of the news and how it was urgent to take it south.”

They barely tied up to the pier at Monte Rey when the corporal leaped ashore and ran off into the presidio.

Within a few minutes, an Alférez and two soldiers rushed to the pier and leapt into a rowboat, pulling heartily to the San Carlos lying at anchor. James grimaced and shook his head when an officer in naval uniform came on deck and passed orders to the crew. The new commandant had removed Captain Pedro and replaced him with the ensign who served at el Castillo and had never served as a ship's officer. Surprisingly, either less biased against los Indios or realizing his shortcomings, Alférez Sanchez let Pedro run the ship as soon as the captain departed.

As they pulled away from the pier, the San Carlos hailed them and James had the boat nestle against the side of the schooner.

I must sail south, Señor Beadle. I do not know to read the charts and, as you know, Pedro does not read at all. What can you tell me?”

Trust Pedro, ensign. He may not read, but he has become an expert sailor and will take you safely to your destination.”

Standing behind the ensign, Pedro broke into a huge grin at the praise.

The Santana had already passed the Point of Pines before the San Carlos got underway and had almost completed unloading when she passed, sailing south.

Felipe gave them the news that evening during dinner.

The neophytes at Misión San Francisco Solano finally could no longer accept Padre Altimira's treatment of them. The interior Miwok have never come to the friars as peacefully as those at Dolores y San Rafael and their Yokut cousins even less so. The constant floggings and imprisonment became too much. That and his continual harassment of their customs. A large group of them attacked the mission. After looting and burning the buildings, they drug Padre Altimira from the chapel and then threw him to the ground.”

What about the escolta?” Timothy asked.

They stood by their residences to protect their families and the Indians left them alone as the soldiers did not raise their weapons against them.”

And what of Padre Altimira? Was he harmed?”

Only his ego,” Felipe replied. “Realizing he could no longer stay there, he gathered his small bundle and departed afoot. His assistant would not go with him. And the soldiers refused to accompany him, claiming it was their duty to protect the chapel that was left unharmed.”

Silence ensued as all wondered what would happen to the Indians.

There is more,” Felipe said. “The padre reached Misión San Rafael and learned he was most unwelcome there. He crossed to the presidio and was referred to the mission, where it was made clear that he was not welcome there either.” Felipe took a sip from his tankard of Sumac tea and continued. “A British trader was moored at the mission and Padre Altimira begged passage. It was granted and nobody knows where he went.”

It appears that his departure is most welcome.”

All agreed and turned to finishing their evening meal.

No comments:

Post a Comment