Mission San Antonio de Padua



  • Mission San Antonio de Padua was the third mission founded in California.
  • It was founded by Junipero Serra in the San Antonio Valley at a place noted by the Portola mission. Here on the 14th of June 1771, in La Canada de los Robles, the canon of oaks beneath a shelter of branches, Father Serra performed the services of founding. It was located about 25 leagues from Monterey. 
  • Note: the original founding site was about 1.5 south of its present location but it was abandoned because of drought. The present location is on the East bank of Mission Creek. 
  • The construction of the new facilities was of adobe for the church and the padre, wooden and wattle buildings for the soldiers and tule and pole structures for the neophytes. An aqueduct had been constructed, too. 
  • The Indians seem to have been more tractable than those of San Diego or Monterey and this was one of the most successful missions. As early as 1773, over 158 Salinan Indians had been baptized. 
  • The first convert was baptized one month after the establishment of the mission.
  • Guinn reported populations at the mission as follows: 
    • San Antonio attained the highest limit of its neophyte population in 1805, when it had 1,296 souls within its fold.
    • In 1831, there were 661 Indians at or near the mission.
    • In 1834, the date of secularization, there were 56.
  • Construction and development reflected the neophyte populations. At the peak, the compound possessed a grist mill, tanery, winery, numerous storehouses and manufactories, gardens, corrals, wells, and an extensive network of stone lined irrigation ditches that provided water to the grist mill and XXXX number of acres. 
  • Breschini notes that the mission had several outposts to support ranching and animal husbandry. When inventoried in 1835 by the government, there were as many as 10 associated ranchos: San Carpoforo, San Bartolome (El Pleito), El Tule (Sitio) San Lucas (Sitio), San Benito, San Bernabe, San Miguelito, Los Ojitos, San Timoteo, and San Lorenzo (Sitio).
  • Improvements of the mission continued even after Mexican Independence.
  • After secularization and rancho grants, the property of the mission was quickly squandered through inefficient administrators. The buildings cam to ruin.  

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 San Antonio de Padua. Monterey County Historical Society. http://mchsmuseum.com/missionsant.html

Guinn, J.M. History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, A History of the Story of the State’s Marvelous Growth from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. Chapman Publishing Co. Chicago. 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