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Anza Arrives In The Capital

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:25 pm    Post subject: Anza Arrives In The Capital Reply with quote

In the busy activities of cutting timbers, making adobes, building, plowing, setting out crops, cattle-tending, that filled the first years of pioneering at the Presidio, few thrills occurred beyond an occasional bull and bear fight on the Plaza, a wedding, a serenade, and the Sunday baile, most probably at the government headquarters near the temporary Customs House on the water. And always on the arrival and departure of ships.

But in April of 1774 (21st), from out of a cloud of dust, a group of soldiers rode into the Presidio, Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza at their head. A holiday for man and beast. Friend met friend with news from Mexico.

"A frontiersman by birth and training," says Dr. Bolton, of the astute commander of Tubac, to whom had been intrusted the supreme command of the colonists destined for San Francisco (soon to be founded), and of soldiers for the Monterey Presidio.

That their arrival had been looked for by the Padre Presidente and the garrison lessened not at all the thrill of their arrival from Sonora. Gifts and letters from loved ones left behind.

The Anza party had come in compliance with an order from Viceroy Bucareli that a land route be found from Sonora to Monterey, and that the recently dis¬covered port of San Francisco be occupied and fortified—that a suitable site for a Mission and a Presidio be found. Thus was Spain flinging her frontier farther to the north. Bucareli, like Galvez, was an outstanding statesman of his day. California must be protected. Anza's objects accomplished, he returned to Mexico to prepare for the expedition of occupation. The colonists would leave Sonora early the following year.

Never before had such careful preparations been made as for this enterprise. Fr. Palou writes (Engelbardt) : "His Excellency [viceroy] opened the royal treasure widely, inasmuch as he commanded that Senor Anza should be given whatever he might demand, as well for provisions as for clothing in behalf of the soldiers and their families, and also in behalf of the colonists. Anza was also to be allowed whatever he wanted, in order to purchase horses, mules, and a good herd of cattle; with orders, however, that the enlisted soldiers and settlers, and the live stock would have to remain in the new establishments. The viceroy futhermore decreed that whatever was expended to obtain clothing, weapons and rations for the troops and colonists was granted as a bounty; but that the wages began with the day of enlistment. Thus the expenses to the royal treasury in bounties alone amounted to $800 for each soldier and his family, besides his daily pay, which began with the day of enlistment." It later came out that Anza recommended that their pay be given in the form of clothing and outfit, because if paid in money, they would gamble it all away. Happy, easygoing people, who loved today better than tomorrow.

Rather a liberal allowance, as is pointed out by Fr. Engelhardt, the scholarly Franciscan historian, in contrast to the small allowance made for the Portola expeditions. But the Russian bear was pushing his way farther south into sunny California; and to stop him, an attractive proposition had to be offered to induce men and women to leave home and friends for the uncertainties and hardships of pioneering at the new port in the wilderness. Besides, it was a long trek from Sonora to Monterey, and then on to San Francisco.

The dramatic expedition set out from the Presidio of San Miguel, Sonora, on St. Michael's Day, September 29, 1775. As was the well-established custom, the entire company attended High Mass before setting out, invoking blessings upon the enterprise.

It was a gallant company that set out upon the long trail across the desert, into the "Land of Promise," the trail traversed over a number of years by Father Garces in his solitary marches, in his zeal for pagan souls. Garces was Anza's pathfinder until the Imperial Valley was reached. Soon rest, food, friendship, at San Gabriel Mission.

There was Juan Bautista de Anza, Colonel, riding at the head of the column. At his side, a young officer of whom we shall hear more in the years to come—Senor Don Jose Joachim Moraga, with the rank of lieutenant. Then came ten veterans, all leather-jackets, equipped for the rough service ahead. Now twenty recruits rode forward, to strengthen the thin garrison at Monterey, a better class of soldiers than the usual job-lot of California recruits. Then, in what can hardly be visualized as a formal cavalcade, came the wives and children, dogs and parrots of the recruits; lastly, thirty colonist families and their entourage—in all, two hundred and forty persons. Twenty muleteers were required to attend the pack-train, moving forward under the power of one hundred and twenty mules. And at the end, twenty mules lumbered along, carrying the baggage of the commander and his officers. These, together with the four hundred and ninety horses of the soldiers and colonists, made the total number of animals nearly six hundred, exclusive of the three hundred and fifty cattle annexed later. The cattle, "a good grade," were taken along, not only for subsistence on the march, but for breeding purposes in the new colonies. Monterey was now in her fifth year; San Francisco just about to start. Incidentally, the horses were nothing to boast of, as the Apaches had recently run off the best of them. Good Arabian stock, descendants of the horses brought to the New World by the conquistadores.

Every morning, just before setting out, the pilgrims would break into song—the Alabado, a liturgical song of the Church, or the Morning Hymn to the Virgin. Mass would be said, an early start made, for frequent rests were necessary, on account of the women and children. Incidentally, three children were born on the march.

On the first night out from Tubac, Senora Felix gave birth to a "fine boy." Though the commander saw that the best attention available was bestowed upon her—he turned over his own tent—the valiant soul laid down her life for her courage, faring forth on such a journey, at such a time. She must go with her man. Her brood of seven was mothered by the weeping senoras who had soothed her to sleep. With heavy hearts, the cavalcade set forth next day, Father Garces and four soldiers going ahead, bearing her body to Mission San Xavier del Bac, where they laid her to rest. Just another humble woman-hero, unhonored and unsung.

The chosen route, dramatically followed by Dr. Bolton in Anza's California Expeditions, was the result of the combined knowledge and experience of many minds, differing in some details from the route taken the previous year.

Over plains, across the Colorado, over mountains, through valleys, around and across vast sand-dunes, through Indian country of bloody repute, encountering snow, rain, and desert heat on the way. Anza brought his people joyfully at last to the foothills of the Sierras. Every colonist answered roll-call at sunrise — except poor Senora Felix. And there were the three youngsters born en route for good measure.

He entered the great range by way of the San Felipe Creek. Continuing up Coyote Canyon, he emerged through a rocky pass into Cahuilla Valley—"not Hemet Valley” Dr. Bolton adds in a footnote, "as is generally held.”

During the stops en route, the strain of the march was broken by the discovery of a fiddler among the soldiers, who—when opportunity offered—staged dances with the Indian girls. On the other side of the picture were the friars, Fathers Diaz, Eixarch, and Garces, trying to teach the natives something of the white man's God. The friars, it is said, encouraged the fiddlers, as a wholesome break in the grueling routine of the march. St. Francis was no long-faced religionist, nor were his followers.

Once the colonists had descended into California, the major dangers were behind them, for they were soon refreshed and befriended at Mission San Gabriel. A rest, then on to Mission San Luis Obispo, and another layover; and at Mission San Antonio de Padua, at the head of the Jolon Valley, the last stop before reaching Monterey—their first major objective.

On Sunday, March 10, 1776, the pioneers rode into the Presidio, the church bells at San Carlos ringing a welcome. Not since the founding had such excitement prevailed. News of neighbors and letters from loved ones.

Dr. Bolton tells us "they had been on the road one hundred and thirty days with eighty-eight days of actual traveling. They had covered about fourteen hundred miles, counting the detours to San Diego. Those who had come from Culiacan had come nearly two thousand miles." For some, they were at their journey's end. And for the rest, San Francisco was not far away.

They were a sorry looking lot, as they trooped through the gateway to the Presidio (facing the bay), wet to the skin. Not a drop of rain from Mission San Gabriel to Mission San Antonio, although it was the rainy season. But from San Antonio to Monterey they had encountered a constant downpour. "We did not have a dry garment," says Father Font. Volleys of artillery and firing of muskets by the soldiers echoed their welcome. The next day, Fathers Serra, Palou and the three friars waiting for the founding of the northern Missions came over the hill to embrace the weary wayfarers. Mass was sung in the Presidio chapel (the first chapel, of course) by Father Font, the other friars responding, "the troops of the Presidio and of the expedition assisting with repeated salvos and volleys of musketry, so that everybody broke forth in tears of joy."

Later in the day, Father Font and Colonel Anza, with a few soldiers, accompanied Fr. Serra over the hill to the Mission, because "there was no fit place to stay at Monterey. At Carmelo, the seven friars welcomed the visitors with peals of bells; the soldiers replied with a salvo . . . and [they] entered the church in a procession, intoning the Te Deam, and shedding tears of joy for their safe arrival."

Fr. Font's picture of Monterey as he found it is graphic enough. The acting capital of the empire was not yet six years old, and, from the friar's point of view, looked it. "Its buildings form a square, on one side of which is the house of the commander and the storehouse in which the storekeeper lives. On the opposite side are a little chapel and the quarters or barracks for the soldiers, and on the other sides there are some huts or small houses of the families and people who live there. All are built of logs and mud, with some adobe; and the square, or plaza of the Presidio, which is not large, is enclosed by a stockade or wall of logs." Dr. Bolton comments that "such a place afforded but poor hospitality for the wayfarers, and since they were expected soon to pass on to San Francisco, no special accommodations had been made for them." Says Font: "The commander, indeed, had to lodge in the storehouses and I in a dirty little room full of lime, while the rest of the people accommodated themselves in the plaza with their tents as best they could." Carmelo, however, pleased him better, approving of "its site, its buildings, its four hundred Indians, its fish, Father Palou's fine vegetable garden, and the fields of wheat, barley and other crops. In short, although the rest of the Missions are very good, this one seemed to me the best of all.”

The contingent for Monterey had soon settled into place and the time had come for the column to march on to San Francisco. Colonel Anza had been ill for some weeks, under the care of Fr. Serra, at Carmel Mission, but had now fully recovered. But a snag was encountered in the bellicose person of Captain Francisco de Rivera, military commander of the territory, who had issued an order that the Mission and Presidio at San Francisco should not at that time be established. This in direct opposition to the orders of the viceroy. But Rivera was safely distant from the seat of the Supreme Government, and enjoyed the exercise of his autocratic authority.

A man of action, Anza sent a courier to San Diego to inform Rivera that the soldiers and colonists who had come for the specific purpose of occupying San Francisco were chafing under the long wait at Monterey, and that he (Anza) would proceed soon to survey the land at the Port of San Francisco; and, if a suitable site was discovered, he would assemble his people and proceed to found both Mission and Presidio, Besides. four Franciscans had come, with orders to establish new Missions. The latter fact was probably the chief cause of Rivera's belligerent attitude, as he had already acquired a reputation for opposing everything the friars proposed, even though their proposals were in complete accord with the entire plans and demands of the government. The beginning of the difficulties between the military heads and the presidentes of the Missions.

During the enforced delay, orders of Rivera confined the colonists (Father Font's diary) to the boundaries of the Presidio, with little or no good drinking water available; no soap with which to cleanse themselves and their clothing—although it was only a matter of browsing over the Monterey hills to find amole, the vegetable ball used by the Indians for their ablutions. Moreover, he had ordered the cattle and horses pastured at Point Pinos, where grazing was poor, while grass was plentiful on the uplands of the pueblo. Rivera had made himself thoroughly unpopular on all sides. Some thought him insane.

Good as his word, Anza moved out of the Presidio on the 22nd of March. He was accompanied by Lieutenant Moraga; Father Font, diarist; eleven soldiers, two of whom were from the Monterey garrison, who had covered the ground in the earlier marches to the Port of San Francisco; and the needed muleteers and servants.

The route covered pretty closely that followed by Rivera and Fr. Palou in 1774, both Crespi's and Palou's diaries in their hands. They arrived at the northern port March 27th, where, with a great enthusiasm for its physical advantages, the sites for the Presidio and Mission were duly selected—the Mission of San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores, named from the rivulet near by, Arroyo de los Dolores, because of the day of its discovery) and the Presidio of San Francisco de Asis. The simple beginnings of the great metropolis. The City of San Francisco thus was cradled.

We may here diverge a bit to quote from Father Font, describing the planting of a large cross by Anza, marking the Presidio site, on the edge of Cantil Blanco —now Fort Point: ''From this table-land [mesa] one enjoys a delicious view; from there one observes a good part of the bay and its islands. I have seen very good places and beautiful lands, but I have yet seen none that pleased me as much as this. I do believe, that if it could be populated, as in Europe, there would be nothing more beautiful in the world; for this place has the best accommodations for founding on it a noble city, inasmuch as the desirable facilities exist on the land as well as on the sea, the port being exceptional, and capacious for dockyards, docks and whatever would be wanted.” Not a bad prophet, this humble Franciscan diarist. Incidentally, the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge rests above historic Cantil Blanco.

The weary party returned to Monterey on Easter Monday, preparatory to starting the impatient colonists for the Port of San Francisco.

"While Anza and his followers rested at San Carlos," says Engelhardt, "Fr. Font seized the opportunity of preparing and perfecting his maps, which pictured the whole journey made from Monterey to San Francisco, going and returning, with the route marked out by dots.”

As yet no reply from arbitrary Don Fernando Rivera at San Diego. So Colonel Anza, Father Font, and the guards prepared to return to Mexico, their particular tasks concluded.

Anza turned his command over to Lieutenant Moraga at Monterey, and on April 14th, with a company of twenty-nine, set out for Mexico, Thus Anza was not present at the founding of the San Francisco Presidio (September 17th) and the Mission (October 9th). But for his part in the project, who will challenge his right to be numbered among their founders? However, to acclaim him "The Founder of San Francisco” as is stated by Zoeth Eldridge in his Beginnings of San Francisco, is a curious distortion of recorded facts.

Incidentally, Rivera's ugly moments wrought well for Monterey. When the viceroy heard the story, the comandante promptly lost his job, and Monterey went down on the new maps as capital of the Californias. Rivera was ordered forthwith to Loreto (Baja California), former capital of the Californias, demoted to lieutenant-governor. And Felipe de Neve was appointed governor, with headquarters at Monterey. Thus in 1776, the Mission-Presidio town became the capital of the Pacific Empire—though Don Felipe de Neve did not arrive until February, 1777. From 1776 to the end of 1849, Monterey remained the capital, the center of social and political life of the vast territory.

The time was ripe now for Lieutenant Moraga to march his command out of the Monterey Presidio (June 17, 1776). They reached San Francisco Bay at the end of the month.

A fortnight before, the transport San Carlos had sailed into Monterey, with orders from the viceroy to convey all the property of the soldiers and colonist, church goods, house furniture, and farm implements to the Port of St. Francis. The frigate, however, lay in port to await the return of a courier sent to Rivera at San Diego, to obtain permission for the removal of two cannon from the Presidio, as directed by the viceroy. Anza would have taken them. But Anza was no longer in the country.

Incidentally, it was the San Carlos, Captain Ayala, that had, the previous year, picked its way through the unknown waters of the Golden Gate, into the bay of San Francisco. Monterey's oak groves had furnished the commander with material for a lancha, that was to precede the frigate on its way through the narrow passage the first white man's vessel to sail upon its waters (August 5, 1775). Monterey had a hand in that, too.

Moraga's company consisted of Sergeant Pablo Grijalva, two corporals, sixteen soldiers and seven colonists, their wives and children. On Father Serra's recommendation, only married men had been sent from Mexico. Five Indians were in charge of the pack-mules and the two hundred cattle.

With the commander rode the two friars, Francisco Palou and Benito Cambon. These two Franciscans, with Lieutenant Jose Joachim Moraga, became the factual founders of the City of St. Francis. But to the honor-roll must be added Colonel Juan Bautista Anza, who, though for many months in Mexico, had played so noble a part in bringing the enterprise to a successful completion. Likewise, the far-seeing Fr. Font, diarist of the expedition.

Was Fr. Serra present at the founding? Physically he was not. His eyes did not rest upon the long-desired Mission and Presidio at the Port of St. Francis until the following year (1777). A grievous disappointment to the little Padre Presidente, but it was enough that, notwithstanding the obstacles interposed by the erratic Rivera, the objective of Don Jose Galvez had at last been accomplished. The Spanish frontier had been pushed on to the newly-discovered Bay of St. Francis. To epitomize: The Founders of San Francisco, then, were Fathers Francisco Palou and Benito Cambon, and Lieutenant Moraga; Colonel de Anza and Fr. Font by courtesy—both out of the country for many months.
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