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Native Americans & The Missions
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Last Updated: Mar 5th, 2009 - 00:04:56

Santa Ines  

Mission Santa Ines
By Anne Brooksher
Mar 3, 2009, 11:56 PST

Father Estevan Tapis, third Father-Presidente of the Alta California Mission Chain, founded the Mission Santa Ines on September 17th, 1804. It was the 19th of California's 21 missions, and it was built to minister to the mountain Indian tribes.

Photographed by Henry F. Withey September 1936 WEST CLOISTER OF MONASTERY LOOKING NORTH - HABS

Father Tapis named the mission for St. Agnes, a 13-year-old martyr who was executed for refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods.

The church was originally constructed in 1804, and although several major earthquakes hit, it survived them. The mission church was badly damaged during the 1812 earthquake, but repairs were made. With multiple restoration efforts, Santa Ynez's original adobe chapel still stands in the quadrangle today.

The mission was so remote at the time of its construction that it received very few visitors. Visitors were so rare, in fact, that when one was spotted approaching, the missionaries and Indians gathered at the church to meet them and the chapel bells were rung.

Like most California missions, the Mission Santa Ines supported itself and the Native inhabitants of the area by growing crops of wheat and corn. They also raised herds of horses and cattle, and cultivated grapes in a vineyard. The local Indians were extremely cooperative in working for the mission; learning well trades like herding and farming. Santa Ines was never as prosperous as the padres had hoped, but it managed to support itself and its few visitors.

Despite the ongoing functionality of the mission, Santa Ynez did not always operate smoothly. After the Spanish stopped funding the mission, soldiers stationed without pay at the mission became hostile toward the Indians. On February 21, 1824, a soldier needlessly beat a Native woman. The Indians, infuriated, revolted, enlisting help from Native Americans at Missions Santa Barbara and La Purisima. The conflict caused many Indians to leave the mission to join tribes in the mountains; only a few remained at Santa Ynez.

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