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- October 9, 1791, Mission of our Lady of Solitude was founded by Father Fermen Lauren.
- This was the 13th mission.
- The site selected was at an Esselen Indian Village and has borne the name Soledad (solitude) ever since the first exploration of the country.
- The location was 30 miles northeast of San Carlos de Monterey.
- The Salinas River at this point in the Valley was generally too low to use for irrigation purposes. Crops were irrigated from the Arroyo Seco about four leagues to the South and eat of the mission.
- La Soledad, by which name it was generally known, was unfortunate in its early missionaries. One of them Padre Garcia, was supposed to be insane and the other, Padre Rubi, was very immoral. Rubi was later expelled fro his college for licentiousness.
- In Soledad, in 1791, an irrigation system was built by diverting water 15 miles from the Arroyo Seco River.
- At the close of the 18th century, the mission had become fairly prosperous, but in 1802 an epidemic broke out and five or six deaths occurred daily. The Indians fled the mission in alarm.
- Guinn documents the neophyte population as follows:
- 1805 The largest population of the mission was 725;
- At the time of secularization, its population had decreased to 300.
- The total number of baptisms during it existence was 2,222 and the number of deaths 1,803.
- After Mexican Independence, the missions were inventoried in 1827. The missions extensive holdings stretched from La Laguna de los Palos on the South to Chualar on the North. The mission owned over 4,000 sheep, 4,000 head of cattle and 800 horses. (Breschini).
- The secularization inventory in 1836 included a vineyard of 5,000 vines, 3 ranchos at San Lorenzo, San Vicente and San Fernando, 3,246 cattle, 2,400 sheep, and 32 horses. (Breschini)
- In 1839, all that remained were 78 neophytes, with 45 cattle, 685 sheep, 25 horses, 2 mules, and 260 bushels fo barley. (Breschini)
- When the mission grounds and one league of land were sold to Feliciano Soberanes in 1845, the mission buildings, furniture, gardens, and fruit trees. (Breschini)
Books and References
Anderson, Burton. The Salinas Valley: A History of America’s Salad Bowl. Monterey County Historical Society. 2000.
Breschini, Gary, S., Ph.D. Mission Soledad. Monterey County Historical Society. http://mchsmuseum.com/missionsol.html
Guinn, J. M. The History of the State of California and Biographical Reciord of the San Joquine Valley, California, An Historical Story of the State’s Marvelous Growth from Its Earlierst Settlement to the Present Time. The Chapman Publishing Company. 1905. https://books.google.com/books?id=4O41AQAAMAAJ&lpg=PA607&ots=vNfwulJ_vv&dq=MOnterey%20County%20History%20Irrigation%20Canals&pg=PA57#v=onepage&q=MOnterey%20County%20History%20Irrigation%20Canals&f=false