History of San Antonio de Padua Mission

The third Franciscan mission established in California. The place was chosen by Father Junípero Serra in the well-wooded valley of the stream now known as San Antonio River, about 6 miles from the present town of Jolon, Monterey County. The native name of the place was Texhaya, or Teshaya. Here the mission was founded by Serra with great enthusiasm on July 14, 1771, though only one native was present. The Indians, however, proved friendly; they brought food and helped in the work of constructing the church and other necessary buildings. The first native was baptized a month later, and by the end of 1772, 158 baptisms were reported. In 1780 the neophytes numbered 585, while by 1790 they had reached 1,076, making it the largest mission community at that time in California. By 1800 there was a slight increase to 1,118, while the greatest number in the history of the mission, 1,124, was reached in 1805. The wealth of the mission was not so great as that of some others. The land was reported as rather sterile and difficult to irrigate, although the average crop for the decade ending 1810 was 3,780 bushels. In the year last named there were 3,700 cattle, 700 horses, and more than 8,000 sheep. Though the number of the neophytes gradually decreased, reaching 878 in 1820 and 681 in 1830, the mission live stock continued to multiply and the crops were nearly as good as before. In 1830 Robinson (Life in California, 81, 1846) reported that everything at the mission was in the most perfect order, and the Indians cleanly and well dressed. Beyond an attack on the mission converts by some outside natives in 1774, in which one Indian only was wounded, there does not seem to have been any trouble with the natives in this region. By 1830 there were said to be no more gentiles within 75 m. Up to 1834 the total number of Indians baptized was 4,348, of whom 2,587 were children. The earlier buildings of the mission were of adobe, but a new and larger church with arched corridors and a brick front was begun about 1809, and completed within the next ten years. The mission was formally secularized in 1835, and during the next few years declined rapidly, losing a large part of its stock. There was much friction between Padre Mercado and the civil administrator, and many of the Indians deserted because of bad treatment. As with the other missions, the control was restored to the padres in 1843, but too late to accomplish much good. There seems to be no record of the sale of the mission. Padre Doroteo Ambris remained there for several years, and at his death the mission was deserted, except for an occasional service by a visiting priest from San Miguel. The place remained in ruins until 1904, when the Landmarks Club of California undertook its preservation. The Indians in the neighborhood of the San Antonio mission belonged to the Salinan linguistic stock, but the mission also had neophytes from the San Joaquin valley, probably Yokuts.

The following names of villages have been taken from the old mission books 1 : Atnel, Chacomex; Chitama, Cholucyte, Chunapatama, Chuquilin (San Miguelita ), Chuzach, Cinnisel, Ejmal, Ginace, Iolon, Lamaca, Lima, Quina (Quinada), Sapaywis, Seama, Steloglamo, Subazama, Tecolom, Teshaya, Tetachoya (Ojitos), Texja, Tsilacomap, Zassalete, Zumblito. The rancherias, it is said, were generally named after their chiefs.


  1. Taylor, California Farmer, Apr. 27, 1860[]

History, Missions,

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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