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Old Gabriel

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:19 pm    Post subject: Old Gabriel Reply with quote

(Monterey Democrat, 1888)
"Old Gabriel is an Indian, and an inmate of the County Hospital of Monterey County. His name is Gabriel, and he is between one hundred and forty-five, and one hundred and fifty years old. Unfortunately, the exact date of his birth is unknown, but sufficient evidence has been adduced to prove the truth of the above figures.

"Father Sorrentine, the parish priest of Salinas, and Mrs. W. S. Johnson, furnished the editor of the Monterey Democrat with the following facts:

"It is well authenticated that at the landing of Junipero Serra at Monterey in 1770, he was a grandfather, and when the first chapel was built at the site of the present Carmelo Mission, in 1771-72, he was present and assisted in erecting the adobe walls.

As the Indians did not marry until they were at least fifteen years of age, he would necessarily be thirty-two years or more before he could possibly be a grandfather. He is a native of Tulare County, but came to Carmelo when quite young.

"Under the instructions of Junipero Serra he learned to cut and lay stone, so that he was one of the principal workmen at the building of Soledad and San Antonio Missions. When it came to the erection of the Carmelo Mission he was so well skilled in the use of the tools of that day that he often now speaks of his ability as a stone-cutter during that work. At the time of the building of the Soledad Mission (1791) he had his second wife, and in this connection, Father Sorrentine states that in 1845, when Bishop Amat and himself arrived at Monterey, they were met by a large number of the native population, the oldest of whom was Gabriel, reputed as then having his sixth wife, but this wife has been dead about thirty years. In conversation with the oldest inhabitants at that time they all agreed that Gabriel was more than one hundred and ten years of age.

"Ex-Tax Collector Manuel Castro's mother died about four years ago, aged ninety-five years, and the old lady often spoke of knowing Gabriel, when she was a child, and that he was then called "Old Gabriel," and his grandchildren were older than she herself. An old lame Indian, who died years ago, aged one hundred and ten years, once asked by the Rev. Father how much older he was than Gabriel, laughed heartily and said: 'Gabriel was an old man when I was a child.'"
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