The Project Gutenberg eBook of Colonial Expeditions to the Interior of California Central Valley, 1800-1820

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Title: Colonial Expeditions to the Interior of California Central Valley, 1800-1820

Author: Sherburne Friend Cook

Release date: June 12, 2011 [eBook #36387]

Language: English



E-text prepared by Colin Bell, René Anderson Benitz, Joseph Cooper,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team









Vol. 16, No. 6



Editors (Berkeley): J. H. Rowe, R. F. Heizer, R. F. Murphy, E. Norbeck

Volume 16, No. 6, pp. 239-292

Submitted by editors June 18, 1958
Issued May 27, 1960
Price, $1.50

University of California Press
Berkeley and Los Angeles

Cambridge University Press
London, England

Manufactured in the United States of America


  Introduction 239
I. Early expeditions, 1776-1803 241
  Excerpts from official correspondence 241
  Hermenegildo Sal’s expedition, 1796 241
II. Expeditions, 1804-1805 243
  Father Martin’s visit to Cholam, 1804 243
  Father Martin’s visit to Bubal, 1805 243
  Expedition of Second Lieutenant Luís Argüello, 1805 244
III. Expeditions by Zalvidea and Moraga, 1806-1807 245
  Father Zalvidea’s expedition, 1806 245
  Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga’s expedition, 1806 247
  Reminiscences of Mexican pioneers 254
IV. José Palomares’ expedition to the Tulares, 1808 256
V. Exploration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, 1810-1813 258
  Father Viader’s first trip 258
  Father Viader’s second trip 259
  Father Ramón Abella’s expedition, 1811 260
  José Argüello’s attack on an Indian village, 1813 265
VI. Expeditions, 1815-1820 267
  Ortega’s expedition to Kings River and Tulare Lake, 1815 267
  Father Martinez’ expedition 271
  Minor sorties 273
  Expedition to the delta, 1817 273
VII. Minor raids and forays, 1810-1820 280
  Notes 282
  Bibliography 291

- 239 -





The general anthropology and history of the California natives has been exhaustively studied, in particular their archaeology and ethnography. Much is also known concerning the vicissitudes of their existence since the coming of the white man. The mission experience has been thoroughly explored and is admirably documented. The period of the Mexican War and the gold rush has been the subject of hundreds of books and articles.

Students interested in problems of human biology, ecology, and sociology centering on the indigenous population of California have readily available certain important sources of information. First, there is a wealth of archaeological data—materials deposited in museums, many archaeological sites which are in their original position, reports, and monographs. Second should be mentioned the long series of ethnographic investigations carried on by various agencies over half a century and based primarily upon the word of living informants. Third are the general historical and mission records, which display the relation between the Spanish-Mexican civilization and the native. These merge into the fourth source of knowledge, the official documents, letters, memoirs, diaries, and contemporary newspaper accounts which give us an exceedingly detailed picture of the Indian during the period of first exploitation by the Americans. The fifth category includes the documentary records since approximately 1855: the reports of the Indian Service and of Army Officers, correspondence of all sorts among Federal and State functionaries, and investigations by Congressional or Legislative Committees. These documents, most of which are to be found in libraries and public archives, bring the student down to the present time.

In spite of this wide spectrum of source material there is one area which has been as yet relatively little explored but which merits attention on the part of those concerned with the human development of California. I refer to the contact between the Spanish-Mexican settlers and the aboriginal population, not through the medium of the missions but within the natural environment of the Indians. Over a period of more than fifty years, while converts were being drawn into the mission system, priests, soldiers, and ranchers were continually reaching out into the interior, opening up the country and thus impinging upon native life. A constant succession of expeditions, sorties, raids, and campaigns moved in from the coast, left their mark on the land and its inhabitants, then retreated to the missions and presidios. Most of these forays were undertaken without official sanction and left no record save in the memory of a few old men, who were interviewed by H. H. Bancroft many years after the event. A good many expeditions and military campaigns, however, were sponsored by the government or the church. Of these, diaries were kept and written reports made. A rather long series of such documents still exists.

The diaries, reports, letters, and reminiscences of the Ibero-American pioneers in California from 1770 to 1840 give us primary information for which there is no substitute. In the first place, they fill in the gap in our knowledge of the aboriginal peoples between what is deduced from purely archaeological evidence and what is learned from personal informants whose memories can reach back to a time only a little before the year 1850. Moreover we learn a good deal about the location and behavior of village or tribal groups which were entirely extinguished before the memory of modern survivors. In the second place, we see in detail the initial reaction of the Indian to the Spaniard in the wild environment and witness the subsequent struggle for survival on the part of the native population. In the third place, we obtain firsthand knowledge concerning the primitive environment of the interior, the condition of the land, the character and extent of vegetation, the location and capacity of rivers, swamps, and lakes. Such data antedate the memory and written descriptions of the earliest American observers and so are of great value in tracing the changes which have since occurred.

The body of literature under consideration is found in only a few places. Some documents are in the Mexican National Archive, with microfilm possibly available. The largest single collection is in the Bancroft Library at Berkeley, with smaller collections at the Huntington Library and elsewhere. A few of the important diaries are in the form of the original manuscripts or contemporary copies. The greater part of the material, however, consists of transcripts of the originals made at the order of H. H. Bancroft in the 1870’s. Despite the very sloppy work done by the paid copyists it is fortunate that the attempt was made, for the documents themselves were nearly all destroyed in the San Francisco fire of 1906.

Some effort has been made to bring before the scholarly world and the interested public certain of the outstanding accounts of expeditions and explorations. The period of 1765 to 1776 has been very adequately covered, particularly by the late Professor Herbert E. Bolton, who is remembered for his editing of the diaries of Crespi, Portola, Anza, and others. The later exploration has been the subject of a few works, such as Gayton’s translation of the Estudillo manuscripts. Both Herbert I. Priestley and Donald C. Cutter have contributed to our body of knowledge of the time. Priestley’s little book on the Franciscan explorations, finished after his death by Lillian E. Fisher, is a rather brief general description of the expeditions to the Central Valley. Cutter’s exhaustive thesis (1950) is a very satisfactory exposition of Central Valley exploration from the standpoint of the Spanish-Mexican colonial policy and missionization. Cutter, however, merely paraphrases and condenses the actual documents, thereby omitting much of the detail to be found in the original accounts. Neither- 240 - Priestley nor Cutter concerns himself with Indian relations or explorations in Southern California and on the Colorado River, nor do they carry their consideration of the Central Valley past 1820. For a complete picture, therefore, the student of the early nineteenth century must seek out the primary documents.

The written records within the area under discussion are deposited in a very few libraries and archives and, moreover, the documents, with the exceptions noted, are in handwritten Spanish. For these reasons a valuable body of information can be reached only with relative difficulty by students at large. Thus it seems worth while to assemble this material, translate it into English, and disseminate it in printed form among institutions of learning and research. At the same time a certain minimum amount of editorial organization is necessary, together with some explanation and commentary.

The present group of translations embodies all the pertinent documents I can find dealing with the Central Valley of California in the period from 1800 to 1820. Not all the possible correlated references are included. The emphasis is upon the actual progress of exploration and physical contact with the natives—from the point of view of the natives. Consequently, no attempt is made to include papers bearing solely on political background, personal biography of participants, detailed military or logistic preparations, controversies between military, civilian, and ecclesiastical interests, and matters of official policy. For the broad historical setting and the details of organization the works of Bancroft, Bolton, Priestley, and Cutter will be found entirely adequate.

All the important diaries are presented, with two exceptions. One is Argüello’s account of his expedition to the upper Sacramento and Trinity rivers in 1821. This manuscript is now being translated and annotated as a separate work by Professor Robert F. Heizer, of the University of California, and Professor Donald C. Cutter, of the University of Southern California. The other is the Estudillo expedition to the southern San Joaquin Valley in 1818. The Estudillo documents have already been translated and edited by Dr. Anna H. Gayton (1936) and can readily be obtained.

In addition to the well-known, formal reports to the Central Authority I have translated several excerpts from letters and memoirs. The contemporary correspondence occasionally discusses briefly or extensively expeditions of interest concerning which we have no other knowledge. For completeness, therefore, these accounts must be included. Concerning the memoirs some reservation is necessary. This type of document furnishes a great deal of material for the later period of 1820-1840. There are, however, a number of passages which refer quite clearly to events in the preceding decade. These are the reminiscences of old men, talking about campaigns and battles which occurred more than half a century earlier. The raconteurs were mostly rather ignorant, their memory faulty, their attitude boastful. Their command of fact is definitely unreliable, their personal viewpoint highly colored and biased. Their accounts are nevertheless valuable for the picture they give of the day-to-day personal contact between the white men and the natives, and for the many interesting sidelights on the life and the land of the Central Valley in its original condition.

The author wishes to acknowledge with thanks a grant made by the Institute of Social Sciences, of the University of California, for photocopying and clerical assistance.

- 241 -


During the initial period of settlement and exploration in California, from 1769 to 1776, several important and well-known expeditions entered the area, among them those of Portola, Anza, Fages, and Cañizares. As a result the coastal strip and the vicinity of San Francisco Bay became well known. The interior did not receive so much attention. Following Anza only two recorded expeditions went into the Central Valley, that of Moraga, described by Palóu (Bolton, 1926) and that of Fages, the account of which has been translated by Priestley (1913).

In the meantime, and during the first two decades of Spanish occupation of coastal California, individuals were slowly penetrating the interior. Most of these left no record or trace, except on the health and emotional outlook of the natives. Many of them were deserters from the army, whose enlisted ranks contained many from the lowest strata of Mexican society. Along the coast trouble with desertion began with the Portola expedition itself (see Crespi’s diary) and was commented upon by both military and clerical writers for many years thereafter. Most of the absconding soldiers stayed within the mission area but some reached the interior valley. The earliest clear examples are cited by Garcés in the diary of his famous trip in 1776. In the upper San Joaquin Valley, east of Bakersfield, he was told of two Spanish soldiers who had been killed by the Indians for molesting women (Coues, 1900, p. 288) and found a Spaniard married to an Indian woman (Coues, 1900, p. 295).


A number of letters in the official correspondence of the late eighteenth century refer to fugitive deserters. Of these several may be quoted, primarily by way of illustration since a complete presentation of such data would be very difficult. Documents cited are all in the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, unless otherwise stated.

It should be noted that the style in a great many of the transcripts is indirect. The copyist made a paraphrase of the original letter and prefaced his statement with the word “that.” Thus in the first letter below the copyist wishes it understood that the original letter said that Sebastian Albitre ran away ... and so on. In some documents the indirection is ignored and the text is translated directly. As a rule, however, it is preferable to retain the circumlocution employed by Bancroft’s transcriber.

Blotter of Governor Fages
November 7, 1785
(Cal. Arch., Prov. Rec., II: 348)

That Sebastian Albitre ran away and with him the soldier of the Presidio, Mariano Yepez; that after a few days the mistress of the latter disappeared from her mission at Santa Clara; that he sent out two parties to chase them as far as the Sierra Nevada; these parties returned because their horses were badly exhausted; the pursuit will be resumed in June.

Governor to Commandant at Santa Barbara
October 9, 1795
(Cal. Arch., Prov. Rec., IV: 302)

He should offer presents, or whatever they like, to the Indians, so that they will catch Avila, who, as is known, is running as a fugitive in the Tulare Valley with several Christians from San Juan Bautista. He should make every effort to catch this man.

Marcos Briones to Hermenegildo Sal
San Luis Obispo, January 8, 1797
(Cal. Arch., Prov. St. Pap., XVI: 239)

Says that the Father1 sent some Christian Indians in search of a Gentile woman in order that she might be married to a Christian who had been her husband when they were heathen. That on the return with the Indian woman they passed by a rancheria where an old Gentile, accompanied by his two sons, killed Toribio, one of those who had gone after the Gentile woman. The latter was suspected of having poisoned her Christian daughter who died in this mission. That today he is setting out with three soldiers and some Christian Indians to apprehend the culprits.

Marcos Briones to Sal
San Luis Obispo, January 14, 1797
(Cal. Arch., Prov. St. Pap., XVI: 238-239)

That on the 8th inst. he set out from this garrison in search of the malefactors, as the governor had ordered him and he could not find them. That in one rancheria, among those which he entered, an old Indian woman told him that the Gentiles of that vicinity had assembled opposite the Nacimiento [River] looking for the [road to the] Tulares. That he turned back on account of lack of provisions but intends to return [to the Tulares] on the 19th in order to pacify that gathering of Gentiles.

Marcos Briones to Sal
San Luis Obispo, January 8, 1797
(Cal. Arch., Prov. St. Pap., XVI: 239)

He says that on the 18th he set out to apprehend the Gentile Indians who had killed Toribio, the Christian Indian of this Mission. That he fell upon a rancheria at the edge of the Valley of the Tulares, where he knew was the chief of the malefactors, whom he succeeded in catching. He brought him in company with two others whom he (the malefactor) had forced to burn the corpse of the defunct Toribio. That he arrived at this mission the 23rd and asked the said criminal why he killed Toribio. He [the Indian] replied that it was because a Christian [Indian], one of those who accompanied the deceased, had come close to his house and had said: “Is the old robber2 here? If he is, why doesn’t he come out?” Whereupon he and his son chased the Christians as far as the place where they killed the said Toribio.


The first formally organized exploration, subsequent to Anza and Fages, was apparently carried out by an army officer, Hermenegildo Sal, in 1796. He was a lieutenant in command of the Monterey garrison and conducted a party into the Stockton area.- 242 - He left no personal diary but did write a letter to the Governor. It is the transcript, or rather paraphrase, of the letter by one of Bancroft’s workers which is here presented.

Report of Hermenegildo Sal
San Francisco, January 31, 1796
(Cal. Arch., Prov. St. Pap., XIV: 14-16)

Report in which Lieutenant Hermenegildo Sal sets forth what he has learned concerning various matters, in order to communicate it to the Governor of the Province.

That leaving the mission of Santa Clara or the town of San José, in a northerly direction, at about 15 leagues, one reaches the Río del Pescadero,3 which has good water, depth and current, and is so called because fishing is done in it for salmon. That at one-quarter league [farther on] is the Río de San Francisco Jabier, wider than the preceding and with more water, for the latter reaches to the bottom of the saddle pad. That at about two leagues [farther on] is the Río de San Miguel, larger than the two others, and deeper, for the water reaches to the back bow of the saddle. That the three have no trees where they cross the valley of the Tulares. That at about five leagues [farther on]4 is the Río de la Pasión, populated with ash, alder, and other trees, and with a very deep channel.

That between the two last rivers is a fine oak park, in the area toward the Sierra Madre which runs toward the north and is called Sierra Nevada.

That, going through the oak park and leaving on the left hand the tule swamps, there is a region of fresh-water lakes so spaced that there are pockets of solid ground in which are encountered rancherias inhabited by Gentiles. [These are] brave and strong, have small dragnets with stone sinkers, and make bread with flour from tule roots and from acorns like that which they presented to Captain Fernando de Rivera.5

That these four rivers run from east to west and discharge into the bay of the port of San Francisco. That when the tide rises salt water is carried into them far upstream.6

That the Sierra Madre is distant from the Río de la Pasión a matter of eight leagues. That the natives take two days to cross it. That all the countryside abounds with fresh grass, tule swamps, and lakes where deer breed. That before reaching the rivers, on the right hand lies the territory of San Juan,7 a short distance from the Sierra Nevada, and visible from the presidio.

That the names of the four rivers were given by Captain Fernando Rivera, commander of these presidios, when he passed by there during the month of December, 1776.

(Under the heading “Information secured ... from the Christian Indians of the Mission of San Francisco,” is the following report.)

That the first Indian told him that his people traded with a “nation of dark Indians” and that the latter have priests.8

(What follows is copied verbatim.)

The second [Indian] gave news of the nations Julpones,9 Quinenseat, Taunantoc, and Quisitoc: the first are on the shore of the estuary. The second are on the other side of the rivers; they are tall and blond. The third trade with glass beads like ours. The last are bald. He says the land is very hot and the Indians stay all day in the lakes, the water of which is boiling, and this is the reason why their hair falls out. The Indian reasserts that those people have heads like their hands, but they are born with hair like everyone else.

An Indian woman named Delfina told the mayor-domo, Diego Olbera, and his wife: “One day, having crossed the rivers and traveled five days, soldiers and priests are encountered who give the Indians pieces of cotton cloth, blankets, axes and knives.” That there are [i.e., they had] wheels and, as she stated, the latter were from carts or wagons, giving the appearance that this was their mode of travel.

That the above is the news which he has been able to secure and which he is transmitting [to the Governor].

- 243 -

II. EXPEDITIONS, 1804-1805

In 1804, and probably in 1805, there were various penetrations of the valley. Chief of these was the visit of Father Fray Juan Martin to the village of Bubal. Since this trip was entirely unauthorized, it was not described until 1815. This silence for ten years is significant, since it opens up the possibility that many other such informal expeditions occurred—without having been written up afterward.


Father Martin’s trip to Cholam did not actually reach the valley, but attained its borders. It is worth recording as showing the type of activity characteristic of the period.

José de la Guerra, Commandant, to Governor Arrillaga
Monterey, January 29, 1804
(Prov. St. Pap., Benicia, Military, XXXIV: 266-267)

Communicates that Father Juan Martin, minister of San Miguel, protected by one soldier, went to a village called Cholam and asked the chief of all the villages thereabouts, named Guchapa, to give him some children to baptize. This was refused by the chief, who told the Father and the soldier to get out immediately or it would go badly with them, for he “was not afraid of the soldiers, who were cowards, and he knew with certainty that they would die like everyone else.”

Commandant Guerra sent a sergeant, a corporal, and thirteen soldiers to take the chief, Guchapa, prisoner. The expedition set out December 22. It returned January 10 bringing as captives Chief Guchapa, his son, two other chieftains, and two Christians. (The commandant says he includes the report of the sergeant, but it is not to be found. He talks of “the heroic struggle of Guchapa and the good passage provided them by the Indian Cojapa.”)

The commandant continues saying that Guchapa made the proposition that he would bring out all the Christian Indians there were in his villages. This was accepted and he left his son as hostage. “I dismissed him with some presents which I gave him as a reward for his good behavior with the troops and waited a little while for his return. This was in order to grant them forgiveness together with the warning that in the future they should hold in respect the troops and the Fathers. This was the least which it seems to me should be done and said.”1


Fray Juan Martin to P. P. Fray José Señan
San Miguel, April 26, 1815
(Santa Barbara Arch., VI: 85-89)

My venerated Father President Fray José Señan: good health!

Under date of 4 April, this year, the Reverend Father Prefect requested us to inform Your Reverence concerning the state of the heathen Indians near this mission, particularly as pertains to their inclination to receive Holy Baptism.

In complying with my orders I will state with candor that the desire of the neighboring heathens is great, for twelve years have already passed during which they have manifested good will, now to the soldiers on the various occasions when the troops have gone out, now to the Fathers who have likewise gone, and now also to the neophytes on the very numerous occasions when they have gone visiting to the Tulares. Their favorable disposition will continue if the fugitives from the north do not set them against us. Thus the most recent mission Indians to return from leave, who came from one of the Valley villages called Tache, informed us that Indians had arrived on horseback from the north saying that the Fathers were simply going to kill the Indians. Satan will do his utmost to gain possession of more than 4,000 souls2 who will be started on the road to salvation if a mission is established in the nearby Tulare Valley. This I said in substance many times to Governor Don José Joaquin de Arrillaga, may he rest in peace.

Although I saw him to be inclined to establish missions on the rivers, and in spite of the high regard in which I held this gentleman, nevertheless on one occasion when he asked me what I thought about new foundations in the Tulare Valley, I spoke thus: “Sir, why do you wish to place missions where they are not wanted? And why do you neglect the villages of Bubal, Tache, Chuntache, Notonto, and Telame, which do want them? So that they may kill soldiers and priests and thus deprive us of the spiritual conquest? Aside from the primary reason that they are sons of God, if those who wish and beg for missions do not receive them, they will take up arms against all the soldiers who enter their territory.” Witnesses to this truth are Father Pedro Muñoz, Señor Moraga and in part I myself. In order that Your Reverence may fully understand this I shall set forth what I saw in the year 1804 in the village of Bubal where I went with no more protection than two soldiers.

Repeatedly I was informed by the neophytes who had been inhabitants of the villages of the Tulare Valley that the people of the region wanted to see me, that they were well disposed, and that they would give me their children to baptize. Finally they said that I might go without fear and I confess that I went with no permission from anyone.

So I left in the month of November in the year mentioned and at the end of the third day I arrived at the first suburb of the village Bubal, to which I gave the name La Salve. On first seeing us the heathen concealed their women in some little huts but as soon as they saw that we were coming in peace they brought the women out in order to make a fire and cook food for the Father.3 This they did, using sticks which had been brought for more than eight leagues for the purpose of farming the [Zª ..., meaning unintelligible] when they gathered with their neighbors for some ceremony. They did not burn these sticks although they knew it was certain to be very cold, because for many leagues around one cannot find even small brush.

In the evening the people from the main village came to invite me to the place where they lived, saying that where I was there were no people, nor children to give me, and therefore I should come without fail. I promised I would go the following day, and I did so. As soon as I arrived they presented- 244 - me with their little sons so that I might carry them away to be baptized. There were so many that the soldiers who accompanied me objected strongly, pointing out that there were no fewer than two hundred children, and that we must leave them. Seeing such a harvest, Your Reverence may well imagine how happy I was at the prospect of gaining so many infant souls for paradise. But Satan, always the fiend, brought it about that for the moment we did not gain a single one.

It happened that the chief was not at this place (which I called La Dolorosa). It was necessary for me to send for him for I did not venture to take them [the children] away without his sanction. There arrived a heathen, whom I took to be the chief. As the reason for my coming was made clear to him, which was to make them Sons of God, my request affected him very badly. He began to rail against the soldiers and their weapons in such a crazy fashion that the poor people who had given me their children, probably scared, fled in a body and I was left with no one. This man was one of those who with a bow in his hand fears nobody. His name is Chapé. The following day I condemned as vigorously as I could his wicked way of acting and was even tempted to order him punished. However, thank God, I satisfied myself with what I had done, in consideration of the fact that one of the soldiers was the commander of the garrison [at the mission] and that both priest and soldiers might expect a just reprimand if any injury resulted. I relaxed my determination not to return home without visiting the villages mentioned above and without taking with me as many small children as they would give me. Finally I went home quite disappointed at having lost, because of one villain, such a harvest for Heaven.

I may mention that the latter individual was taken to Monterey where I believe it is generally known that he was one of the first to receive the salutary waters of baptism. What I regret is that so many heathen are dying not only in continuous internal warfare but also from numerous diseases, especially syphilis. Therefore if a mission is not placed among them soon, when one is established there will remain no one to convert.

May God help them and keep Your Reverence safe for many years, together with your companion, Fray Marcos, as you desire.

Fray Juan Martin


José Argüello, Commandant, to Governor Arrillaga
San Francisco, June 25, 1805
(Prov. St. Pap., Benicia, Military, XXXIII: 251-252)

This letter is accompanied by the report of the expedition, a report made by Second Lieutenant Luís Argüello. The latter on his mission, which occupied him thirty-two days, traversed “all the ranges of San José and Santa Clara as far as opposite the sheep ranch, scouting all the rivers, plains and tule swamps without having found any sign of wild Indians....”4

Second Lieutenant Argüello set out on the expedition with twenty-two men and returned on the 15th of July bringing with him twenty-two Indian renegades (thirteen Christians and 9 heathen).

On the trip he visited the village of the celebrated Joscoui5 and captured everyone except this chieftain.6

Among the heathen captives there were six who were in part guilty of the murder of George the Christian.

Having been solicited, all the prisoners were baptized and distributed to the ministers of San José and Santa Clara. It was recommended that these Fathers moderate the punishment given to the six [mentioned above].

- 245 -


The year 1806 was notable for the important recorded expeditions of Zalvidea and Moraga. The report of the first of these is translated herewith.


Report of an expedition to the interior by Father José Maria de Zalvidea
From 19 July to 14 August of 1806
(Santa Barbara Arch., IV: 49-68)

Saturday, July 19, 1806. The expedition left Santa Barbara in order to carry out the orders of the Governor contained in his official letter of the 10th of this month.

On the morning of this day we left Santa Barbara and in the afternoon arrived at the mission of Santa Ynez.

July 20. This day, after Mass, we left Santa Ynez, going toward the north. At three leagues we reached the remains of the village called Jonatas; after another three leagues from this village there is the village of Saca whose Indians are Christians of Santa Ynez. At five leagues from this village we came upon another, called Olomosong, consisting of three houses. In this village there are living 2 old women and 4 young women with the chief. Here I baptized 2 old women, one of eighty years, the other of seventy. To the first I gave the name of Maria Dominga and to the second Maria Geronima.

July 21. This morning we left the village of Olomosong, going north, and at four leagues we came to a village of five houses inhabited by 4 men and 7 women. In this village, called Gecp, I baptized 2 old women of eighty to ninety years. The first I called Maria Josefa and the second Josefa Maria. Today my interpreter had to go back on account of illness and I was left with another from Mission San Fernando, who also asked to be relieved. All the road today has been through broken mountains, through which ran an insignificant arroyo. We slept in a valley in which there was a small stream of water.

July 22. Very early in the morning we set out toward the north. At the beginning of our journey we had to climb a mountain by a very bad path. Soon we came out upon some plains1 and at two leagues we reached the village of Talihuilimit where I baptized 3 old women, the first of sixty years, one of whose legs was paralyzed. To her I gave the name Maria Magdalena. This woman has a son at Santa Ynez. The second might have been sixty-five years old, and had been bitten in the hip by a bear. To her I gave the name Maria Marta. She has a Christian son at La Purisima. The third whom I baptized might have been over one hundred years old and I called her Maria Francisca. The village may contain 25 heathen Indians. In the afternoon we traveled toward the east and at six leagues found the village of Lisahua.2 This village consists of 28 heathens of whom I baptized 5: 4 extremely old women, and 1 old man. The women I named Maria Juana, Juana Maria, Maria Antonia, and Antonia Maria; the man I named Juan. Near this village flows a stream of water like that at Mission San Fernando. The land is arid and saline. There is no grass or timber.

July 23. This day at dawn we left the village of Lisahua, going toward the east, and at four leagues we found a village called Cuia, with nine houses and 14 men, 19 women, 8 children, all heathen. I baptized here 5 old women and 2 old men: the women I named Maria Ambrosia, Ambrosia Maria, Maria Antonia, Antonia Maria, Nicolosa, and the men Ambrosio and Nicolas. Near the village are three small springs which are of little consequence. The land is arid, saline, and without any timber in the vicinity.

Four leagues south of this village is the village of Siguecin. The latter has 10 men, 19 women, and a few children. I baptized here two old women, one of more than one hundred, the other of seventy, years of age. The first I called Anastacia and the second Rafaela. In these two last villages there are two little wells. The country is arid and alkaline and there are no trees in the neighborhood. We went back to sleep at the village of Lisahua.

July 24. Early in the morning we started out toward the east. At two leagues we came upon a salt marsh, a cross made of logs, and a wild horse. At four leagues we reached the village of Sgene.3 This village consists of 7 men, 16 women, and 3 children. I baptized 3 old women of seventy to eighty years old and one man of the same age. The names of the baptized were as follows: Maria Agustina, Agustina Maria, Maria Francisca, and Francisco Solano. Seven leagues east of this village we encountered the village called Malapoa,4 which has 29 men, 22 women, and 8 children. I baptized at this village an old woman of eighty years and named her Maria Rufina. The territory covered today is arid, without herbage or trees. In the afternoon of this day I went out with the Lieutenant and a few soldiers to a little settlement of Indians belonging to the village of Napolea, the settlement being three leagues from the village. There is a small spring one league from the village of Napolea and on the way from Napolea to the little settlement there are lands good for sowing crops. One can see mountains which have a few pine trees and in the near-by hills there is some pasturage. In the little ranch mentioned I baptized five old women and one old man, their names being respectively Maria Lucia, Lucia Maria, Maria Dominga, Dominga Maria, Fernandina, and Fernando. A league away from this settlement one sees a range of mountains on which pine forests are growing.

July 25. Today after Mass we took our way in a northerly direction and at eight leagues came to the village of Buenavista,5 consisting, according to the statement of the Indians, of 36 men, 144 women, and 38 children. This village is on the shore of a lake eight leagues long and five leagues wide. The Indians travel on rafts [balsas] on the lake. The source of the latter is a big river which divides into three branches, and then all these branches join again to form the lake. I baptized in the village of Buenavista one old woman of ninety years and named her Antonina. The Indians say that a day and a half journey from Buenavista is a crossing to the other side of the lake. We spent the night two leagues from Buenavista.

July 26. Today after Mass we traveled till noon to the east along the shore of the lake. After noon we went northward. The area covered in the morning consisted of extensive plains. In quality the land is alkaline. The shore of the lake is completely covered with a great deal of tule. Elsewhere, and in the hills bordering the plains, I saw neither pasturage nor watering places.

After noon we went north over wide plains and the- 246 - latter have a little grass. At dark we arrived at a village on the extremity of the lake called Sisupistu. We were accompanied by several Indians from Buenavista. As soon as the Indians of the village at the end of the lake saw the others coming they fled from their village to a tule swamp near by. At the same time their warriors caused an uproar by firing a spear at the chief of the Buenavista Indians. The cause of the excitement was the arrival of the Buenavista Indians, who were enemies of the others; of all this we were in ignorance. As soon as I discovered the reason for the riot I managed to talk to the chief of the village of Sisupistu and convince him that we came to be his friends and we did not know that the Indians of Buenavista were his enemies. I called together the two hostile chiefs and made them become friends and soon everything quieted down. We slept within sight of the village and the Buenavista Indians remained all night in our camp. In order that there might be no conflict among the natives I collected the bows and arrows carried by the Buenavista Indians. The night passed quietly and on the next day I returned the weapons. After having made presents to the Buenavista Indians I told them to go back to their village (which indeed they did) and exhorted them to keep peace between the two villages. Both chiefs gave their word that henceforth they would not fight with each other.

I saw in the village of Sisupistu from 50 to 60 men and a few women, but since at this season most of the Indians are away gathering their harvests it was not possible to determine the exact number of inhabitants of either village. Moreover, although they are questioned repeatedly, they usually do not tell the truth. I counted the houses of the Indians of this village [Sisupistu] and found 28, from which your Reverence may infer the approximate number of people.

July 27. In the morning, after Mass, we went to the village and there I baptized an old woman whom I named Maria Anna. At 8:30 in the morning we left the village and went eastward. After one league we came upon an old woman, in a little hut, who was at her last breath, destitute of all human assistance. After having labored very hard to revive her, so that I might make her a Christian, I finally attained my desire and named her Maria Gertrudis: two hours after baptism she surrendered her soul to its Creator. This morning we traveled about four leagues over arid, slightly grassy plains. Soon we entered a valley and after a further two leagues we established our camp6 with the intention of staying in it several days so as to explore the country, which merited some attention. In the afternoon we examined some of the valley. We discovered some large plains which have some grass. All this territory is similar in character to that around Mission San Gabriel. We saw a few little streams of water, and then returned to our camp.

[July 28]. This morning I went out with the Lieutenant and some soldiers to explore the lands and watercourses in the environs of the camp. A quarter of a league from the starting point we found a stream which carried a good quantity of water, substantially the same amount as the creek at Mission San Gabriel. A gunshot from the creek is a hill heavily covered with oaks and live oaks; the stream runs through land well suited to cultivation. A quarter of an hour from this creek is another one which has an equivalent amount of arable land. The latter stream could support two irrigation ditches. Half a league beyond it is still another which contains about twice as much water as the last one, but the water disappears at a distance of two gunshots. Going down this stream bed for two leagues one finds another creek [the fourth] which runs from between two hills and has no land fit for cultivation. In addition to the creeks mentioned there is another [the fifth] which has land good for crops and could support an irrigation ditch. There are also in the vicinity some swamps.

The position of the area explored this morning is as follows. From north to south it is surrounded by hills which make a semicircle. It is seven leagues distant from the end of the lake and the plains are much larger than those of the Mission Santa Clara. All this territory is covered with a species of herb which has a little stem with a yellow flower, the stalk being no more than a quarter [of a yard] high. All the hills which encircle this area have also a little herbage such that, although the vegetation is not dense, the great extent of the plains will make it possible to maintain twelve thousand head of cattle. There is also in the vicinity of this site a mountain range covered with pine forest. The place where we established camp is called Tupai. To the north of this range are several Indian villages, according to what they say.

July 29. This morning I went out with the Sergeant, Corporal, and seven soldiers toward the village of Tacui,7 while the others stayed in camp. At three leagues we came to a stream of water which runs out of the canyon called the Grapevine. This watercourse discharges onto some plains which are similar in character to those of San Gabriel. On the plain itself the stream could supply two irrigation ditches. On the other side of Grapevine Canyon there is a mountain range which has much pine. At one league from the creek the village of Tacui lies in a valley. It consists of twenty-three souls. There I baptized two old men whom I named Fernando and Ramon. At sunset we returned to the camp.

July 30. This day we spent in camp so that the horses might recuperate, for they had been very badly used.

July 31. At four o’clock in the afternoon we went north and at four leagues we stopped for the night. These four leagues have been over pure plains with a little grass. But this night there was no water.

August 1. At dawn we started our journey northward. At five leagues we came upon the village of the rivers, or Yaguelame.8 These rivers, which we saw were two, are close to the village. The first is about 16 yards across and 1 yard deep. Very close is the other, which will measure 7 yards across and 1/3 of a yard deep. These rivers come from a big river which emerges from a range of mountains. The big river divides into the two branches described and another which goes by a different route, and this the Indians say is smaller, and at times dries up. From these rivers is formed the Lake of the Tulares, which I have described. Three leagues below this village the rivers reunite and form the lake. In the three leagues there is a great forest of cottonwood. All the territory covered this morning is alkaline, and with some grass. The cottonwood forest has considerable foliage and also grass. To the north of the village one can see nothing but bare hills.

At two days’ journey from this village is located the tribe of Bald Indians, consisting of thirteen villages, all to the north of this village [Yaguelame]. In the latter I counted 92 men from seven to forty years of age, from which I conclude that the village of the rivers contains at least 300 souls. All these villages volunteer themselves for baptism, provided that missions are founded in their territory. The chiefs promise to become the first Christians and some of them say to me: “Why do you not come without delay to establish missions in our lands?” They all appear to be good people and show themselves to be of excellent spirit. Several of the Indians accompanied us, showing us the trails and serving us in all ways asked of them. In all directions from the village of the rivers,- 247 - say the Indians, are other Indian villages.

August 2. This morning we left the village of the rivers, going south. After three leagues we stopped. The Indians relate that from a village called Majagua on the Colorado River other Indians continually come to trade with them. They take ten days to make the trip and on the road one finds no water.

August 3. At two o’clock in the afternoon we set out to the southward. A little later in the afternoon we passed the end of the lake9 and one league farther on we stopped for the night. All the land this afternoon has consisted of immense plains which have a little pasturage. Thus from the end of the lake to the rivers eight thousand head of cattle could be maintained.

August 4. In the morning of this day we went on southward. At four leagues we entered a canyon where some years ago the Indians killed two soldiers. At the entrance of this canyon a stream of water flows out, carrying a quantity equal to that of the San Gabriel River. Soon we came to a village of five houses, called Taslupi,10 but at present there are no Indians living on it. This stream emerges onto some flats, which are sandy and gravelly. The water is somewhat saline, but nevertheless not so seriously as to prevent its’ being potable. Part of both morning and afternoon we traveled through the above-mentioned canyon. It is five leagues distant from the village at the end of the lake, the same distance from Buenavista, and seven leagues from the rivers. Along the canyon there is a range of hills widely covered with a pine forest.

August 5. This morning I went out with the Lieutenant and some soldiers to investigate a watering place seen previously by the Lieutenant. All the morning and part of the afternoon we traveled along a pine-covered range over a very bad trail. Two o’clock in the afternoon arrived and the watering place was still far distant for we would have to traverse still another range of hills in order to reach it. The animals were exhausted. The weather was stormy, with thunder, hail, and rain. For these reasons we decided to return to the camp and abandon the search for the watering place.

August 6. At dawn of this day we began to go eastward through the entire length of the canyon. At the end of the afternoon we found a little bog with a small quantity of water. This whole canyon is surrounded on all sides by pine forest.

August 7. This morning I went out with the Sergeant and seven soldiers to the village of Casteque. We found no Indians for they were all away at their fields of Guata.

August 8. On the morning of this day we began our journey by going eastward and at five leagues came to a marsh which had near by some lands covered with a little pasturage. In the afternoon we arrived at a wide valley11 and went about seven leagues over level country. Eventually we stopped for the night in this valley, there being no water at all.

August 9. At dawn we covered the whole valley, going eastward. This valley is sixteen leagues long and in all this expanse there is no watering place to be found. Beyond the valley is the mountain range of San Gabriel.12 In the afternoon of this day we went two leagues and stopped to sleep near a gully with plenty of water. This creek has no land suitable for cultivation. Near it we saw two little huts in which six Indians were staying on account of their Guata crops.

August 10. After Mass we resumed our journey and went all day through hills adjacent to the San Gabriel Mts. At noon we saw the remains of a village and a few wells. One league farther on we came upon a stream full of water but without land for cultivation nor much pasturage in its vicinity. In the afternoon we traveled about six leagues through hilly country and in all this distance there was no watering place.

August 11. At dawn of this day we set out toward the east. At seven leagues we came to the village of Atongai; a league and a half from this village there is a swamp full of water. There are lands which, if watered, would yield grain. Around the village pine forests are visible. The village consists of 32 men, 36 women, and 15 children. At four leagues from this village is the village of Guapiabit in which we stayed for the night.

August 12. Today we rested at Guapiabit. The village has 19 men, 16 women, and 11 children. I baptized here 3 old women and 2 old men. I gave the names Juan and Antonio to the men and Juana, Antonia, and Clara to the women. Two leagues from this village there is a hill covered with pine forest, and near the village is a well filled with water and land moist enough to support crops. To the south, the other side of the mountains, there are villages of Indians. At the village of Atongai I baptized 2 old men and 3 old women, to whom I gave the names Maria Ignacia, Maria Ramona, Maria Dominga, Ignacio, and Ramon.

August 13. This morning we left Guapiabit, going toward the west, and at four leagues reached the village Moscopiabit, in which we saw 15 to 18 adult heathen and a few children. I baptized 2 old women whom I named Francisca and Ambrosia. At four leagues from this village we found a village of five houses which was uninhabited. Two leagues from the latter runs a big stream and, according to what I was told, this stream runs into the Santa Ana River. At a short distance from the creek we spent the night.

August 14. This morning we set out in the same direction as the previous day. At two leagues we came upon a very old Indian who could hardly walk. Having instructed him in everything necessary to baptism, and he having voluntarily accepted the Holy Rite I proceeded to baptize him on the trail where we found him. He did not know from what village he came. He said he lived with another Indian, and no more could we ascertain.

At four leagues from the place where we had slept the last night we came to a stream filled with water and well provided with lands for crops. Two leagues beyond we found another of the same sort and with the same amount of water as the last one. Near this watering place is the village of Guapiana. There we found several children from San Gabriel. I baptized an old woman and called her Gabriela. To the old man this morning I gave the name.... In the baptisms which I have performed I have undertaken to make a prior judgment with reference to the condition in which those to be baptized found themselves, so as to preserve consistently the significance of baptism. All those baptized embraced the ceremony voluntarily, after having been instructed in the dogmas of our Holy Faith and having previously made public and private avowal of the principal mysteries of our religion and the repudiation of their past sins.

This night we entered San Gabriel, and as attestation I sign.

Fray José Maria de Zalvidea


The Moraga expedition of 1806 was recorded by Father Fray Pedro Muñoz, who accompanied it as chaplain. His diary, or report, is translated below.

Concerning the background of and preparation for the expedition there is a great deal of correspondence,- 248 - a full exposition of which will be found in Cutter’s thesis (MS, chap. IV). Since the political and military details are irrelevant here, they are omitted.

Diary of Father Pedro Muñoz

Diary of the expedition made by Don Gabriel Moraga, Second Lieutenant of the Company of San Francisco to the new discoveries in the Tulare Valley: by order of the Governor Don José Joaquin de Arrillaga. The first day September 21, 1806. (Santa Barbara Arch., IV: 1-47.)

1st day and 21 [September]. On the morning of this day the troops were informed in a formal address of the purpose toward which God was guiding them in the present expedition and of the merit they would acquire if, following the Voice of God as transmitted through their chief, they fulfilled their duty. In resignation and accord we left the mission of San Juan Bautista at about two o’clock in the afternoon. We went more or less to the east for a league and a half in the afternoon, traversing a great plain, well covered with forage, to arrive at a stream called that of the Huzaymas. It is a creek well populated with alders, oaks, and other shrubs. It dries up in the summer and has water only in a few pools. It has a wide bed and could be of considerable importance in the rainy season. In this place we made camp for the following night, during which nothing particular occurred.13

2nd day and 22 [September]. At dawn the expedition got under way and experienced the labor of a bad road. Having traveled about eight leagues, a halt was made at the entrance of the Tulare plain at a spot discovered by the expedition which went out from the Presidio of San Francisco, and which is called San Luis Gonzaga because it was found on this day. This place has a fair spring, quite adequate for crops. This spring flows into a moderate-sized stream bed. It was found to be dry and could furnish a current only in the rainy season. The lands surrounding this place are saline. During the night the troops suffered the discomfort of three showers. This is all that is worth noting.14

3rd day and 23 [September]. On the morning of this day we set forth toward the east and having gone in this direction six or eight leagues we stopped at a spot, previously discovered, called Santa Rita. Here camp was established, so that in going out from it new discoveries could be made. Before reaching this point a big creek bed is encountered, which is quite deep in parts but contains water only in pools. This area is somewhat saline and very heavily covered with green vegetation at this season. In all this region there are very numerous bands of deer and antelope. This locality of Santa Rita is a stream which contains water only in the same manner as the previously mentioned place [i.e., San Luis Gonzaga], but in a much scantier quantity because of the very sandy soil. There are also great tule swamps in all this region and much black willow along this stream.15

4th day and 24 [September]. This morning the expedition went south (leaving the camp at the same spot) in search of a village which, according to information, was of 400 people. We had the misfortune to find no one in it and saw only signs of its’ having been inhabited. Not being able to ascertain whither the people had gone we turned eastward to investigate a large river, previously discovered by Second Lieutenant Don Gabriel and called by him the San Joaquin. The latter river is about two leagues distant from the camp at Santa Rita. In the rainy season this river and its adjacent land may be impassable, according to the vestiges left by immense overflows of water. On the route taken two large stream beds were encountered the waters of which supply the San Joaquin River. On all sides tremendous tule swamps present themselves, which can be very miry in wet years. From the river we returned to the camp, and this concluded the day.

5th day and 25 [September]. Today the camp was moved to the above-mentioned San Joaquin River. It has fine meadows of good land and excellent pasture toward the south, although there are some patches of alkali and salt. We pitched camp on the banks of the river. Beaver abound and also salmon, according to what was told us by the Indians native to this country.

In the afternoon of this day forty-two warriors came to our camp and showed themselves to be friendly. They presented us with a little fish. I made them acquainted with the purpose of our visit, showing them an image of our Lady of Sorrows. This they received with much satisfaction, appearing, according to their behavior, ready to enroll under the banner of the Divine Savior. Finally, taking advantage of our good faith and confidence, they remained in the camp all night, receiving also refreshment from us and admiring exceedingly our clothing and ornaments.16

6th day and 26 [September]. In the morning of this day we talked to the Indians, who were still with us, exhibiting a desire to visit them in their village. Soon they offered their company and guidance. With this assurance we set forth, and having traveled about three leagues we arrived at the village.17 It was situated on the other side of the river, hidden among some willow trees. It is called Nupchenche and may have about 250 souls, more or less, under their chief, called Choley. The reception they gave us was as follows. There came out a very old woman, who sprinkled us with seeds. Emerging at the same time, the chiefs led us to the interior of the village where between intertwined willow trees they had stretched out some mats and deerskins for our reception. On these they placed an abundance of their food, with two very white loaves of a seed which resembles our rice. Having made the effort to eat—for they are insulted if one slights the food—I went on to present the purpose of our visit. They all received my talk with pleasure and, having listened silently to the Divine Word, they begged to become Christians. I baptized 23 old women and 3 old men. The rest of the Indians regretted not being made Christians also. I explained the reasons why they must wait for a mission in order that they may reach Heaven. May Almighty God grant it to them. They wanted me to stay with them permanently, but since this could not be, I exhorted them always to seek baptism and forsake heathendom, especially when they found themselves in danger of death. All these lands are fine and well pastured. They abound in wild tomatoes.

7th day and 27 [September]. In the morning we crossed the river and, taking a northerly direction, we pushed through about a league of very high, thick tules, in the midst of which could be seen a few clearings well covered with grass. After traveling about three leagues, more or less, we stopped at a stream which runs from east to west.18 It has no running water, only a few pools, where we were forced to pitch camp. From the point where we left the tule swamps to this place the land is really miserable. Salt flats and alkali patches, with innumerable ground-squirrel burrows are all that one can see. There are at this spot about sixty oak trees and a few willows in the bed of the stream. The forage was extremely scanty, and that the country appeared to have been burned over by the Indians did not conceal the fact that the land is very poor. Consequently there is little pasturage. This place is called the Mariposas [“the butterflies”]- 249 - because of their great number, especially at night. In the morning they become extremely troublesome, for their aggressiveness reaches the point where they obscure the light of the sun. They came at us so hard that one of them flew into the ear of a corporal of the expedition. It caused him much discomfort and no little effort to get it out.

8th day and 28 [September]. This day, in spite of its being Sunday, the party was divided into three groups on account of the necessity of shifting camp. This in turn was due to the lack of water and grass. One group remained to guard the camp. Another turned north and the other east-northeast. Both these groups ran onto a fine river on the banks of which were many Indians. All these, however, began to run away as soon as they spied us. The Lieutenant was able to collect twelve by assuring them of our good will. The Sergeant, and I with him, going to the east-northeast, collected up to eighteen, but no matter how much he explained his good intentions, he could attract no one else. They were rendered deaf by their fear.

Lieutenant Don Gabriel received word of five other villages situated on the river at some distance from this one. In the latter were 250 souls, according to the information of the Indians. After having found some good spots for the horses and for a camp, they returned to the place on the Mariposa where they waited for the rest of the troops.

9th day and 29 [September]. The departure was arranged very early on this day, the direction east-northeast. Having traveled about three leagues, we encountered the river which was discovered the previous day. This river we call the Merced [Our Lady of Mercy]. It has fine meadows and is well populated with heathen Indians, as is attested by the many straight and wide footpaths which are found in all the meadows and along the banks of the river. We are hoping to find a place suitable for a foundation, for the entire river bottom possesses fine lands, well covered with grass and populated with oak trees. It all should be examined and everything as found should be recorded on the day it is inspected. The river has fine water, abundant in great measure for cattle, crops, etc. The borders of this river carry much willow, ash, poplar, and shrubbery.

We came upon two villages, but all the people had retreated to the mountains on account of the fear that beset them as soon as they detected our approach. In one of the villages we met an old woman who was not able to flee because she was completely incapacitated by age. As soon as we were able to approach her, she gathered strength in her decrepit bones and plunged into the river with a splash. One of the neophytes among the camp followers was forced to pull off his clothes in a great hurry and pull her out in spite of her attempt to surrender to the fury of the rough waves rather than come to us, even though we showed the greatest friendliness. Finally, having extricated her, we managed to calm her fright, by virtue of the kind treatment we gave her in accordance with our existing situation. As soon as she seemed to me to feel better I began to instruct her, setting before her the Kingdom of God and giving her as adequate a lesson as was permitted by the shortness of the time. I baptized her, she giving very clear evidence of the joy which filled her heart. Afterward, thoroughly exhausted, she was given a safe conduct, but even after she understood the meaning of this, she preferred to stay with us.19

10th day and 30 [September]. On this day one portion of the party went to the northwest and discovered another river similar to the Merced in its copious and Christian flow of water. But its banks are closer together. Another group went to the east, up the river. It found many heathen, without doubt from the five villages about which we had been given notice. At noon some heathen were seen among the willows along the river. They were hailed in the most friendly manner possible, but they showed themselves to be timid and did not dare to come out of their hiding places. Finally, convinced of our good faith and good intentions, three of them arrived at our camp. They were given something to eat and afterward a few presents were distributed among them, and then they were able to breathe freely. Then I told them how pleased I would be if they called their companions, and indeed they did so. In a short while they brought up to thirty persons, saying at the same time that the others were very much afraid and because of this did not wish to come. They entered the camp in this manner: on leaving the willow thicket along the river they laid down their weapons under a leafy oak tree and then in good order took the path to the encampment two by two, one of them in advance crying out in a loud voice. According to the interpreter, all he said consisted of a prayer for our friendship and of a demonstration of his good will. To this end it was decided to give them some food, and thereafter they went off very well content. They asked for a mission and baptism, after having been advised of the excellency of God and the benefit which would accrue to their souls. The Merced River is covered with wild vines and the Indians are bald and rather stupid. At this spot a cross was raised, which concluded the day.

11th day and 1 [October]. On this day the expedition continued in the same direction, toward the northwest, in search of the river discovered yesterday.20 Having traveled about seven or eight leagues we reached it. It is a big river, as previously written while we were on the Merced. Its banks are close together and it provides only small meadows and a shortage of pasturage, because of the saline soil. We named this river Our Lady of Sorrows [Dolores] on account of its’ having been discovered on Her day in September. No heathen Indians were found on the river but we did see signs of several villages. No doubt those from the previous river [Merced] had brought them word, as a result of which they had taken flight. This was confirmed by the wide, heavily used trails which were encountered.

12th day and 2 [October]. In the morning we continued in the same direction as the day before and at about a league we came upon a dry creek bed full of sand but no water.21 It could be a large river in the season of the rains or the melting snow. It has no border of oaks along its banks and few willows.

From this creek we perceived at a short distance an oak forest lying in the same direction, and after going about two leagues we entered it. According to the way it appeared to us it was without end but actually it reaches about four leagues in width. Its length we could not determine, for it is very extensive. There are in this forest various kinds of oak and live oak. The grass is very sparse because the soil is very poor. After going into the woods about a league and a half we came upon a river similar to the preceding ones in size and clearness of the water, although its bed is narrower than the others.22 The banks are covered with an infinity of wild grapevines, a little torote, and an abundance of ash trees. We pitched camp on this river, so as to use it as a base for further exploration. The river we named Our Lady of Guadalupe.

13th day and 3 [October]. In the morning the expedition went to the east along the margin of the river and, having traveled about six leagues, we came upon a village called Taulamne.23 This village is situated on some steep cliffs, inaccessible because of their- 250 - rough rocks. The Indians live in caves; they climb and descend by a feeble pole held by one of them while he who is descending slides down. It was impossible for us to get them to come down to a little flat spot beside the stream where we had assembled near a pool formed by the river. Tired of promising them everything they wanted and seeing that they still persisted in their negative attitude, we determined to ascend on foot to where they were. We asked their permission to do so. This having been obtained we began to climb but it was not possible for us to reach the point where they were. As a result some twelve or fifteen of them descended to a narrow shelf among the cliffs. There, even though they were so distrustful as to carry weapons in their hands, they were reassured of our good will and gave evidence of affability. We distributed presents to them, and some pinole. Their excuse for remaining obstinate and refusing to come down was that they were afraid because the soldiers killed and captured people. It was explained to them that the purpose of the expedition was to advance the Kingdom of God and to make friends with them so that their souls might be saved. They replied that they all wanted to become Christians and have a mission established for them. In spite of this, it was not possible to achieve a single baptism, although there were a great many old women to whom baptism might be administered, because they would not come down from their hiding places and it was too difficult for me to go up.

They told us that there were six villages above them on the river but they would not give us the names of either these villages or the chief of their own village. Such was their fear or malice. They are poor and very stupid. The village will contain about 200 souls, judging by the number we repeatedly noticed among the rocks and along the paths which run like balconies above the precipice.

From here we returned to the camp. The only incident was that we ran onto one heathen, who came along with us, and some others, who escaped in the river without being detected by the soldiers, whom they misled.24

14th day and 4 [October]. On this day the expedition took a course a little inclined toward the northwest and at about six leagues came upon the bed of a big stream which, however, was dry. It was heavily overgrown with ash trees and wild vines. It was named the San Francisco because it was discovered on the day of that Saint. We kept on in the same direction and after a matter of nine leagues from the Arroyo of San Francisco we reached a river of great volume, already discovered (according to reports) by an expedition which was searching for a route by land to Bodega. We met on this river many very affectionate and affable heathen. For lack of an interpreter no one was baptized, since the language is totally different from the one we left behind us. According to the few words they spoke which we could understand they want a mission and want to become Christians. This river has excellent land for agriculture and grazing and has a good oak forest. In the mountains there is pine. The river is called La Pasión, a name given by the first expedition to discover it. It has also much ash, willow, torote, and wild vines.

From this river the expedition turned back to the Guadalupe River, mentioned on the 12th day of the expedition (Oct. 2), where the camp was situated.25

15 day and 5 [October]. In the afternoon of this day about forty armed Indians suddenly appeared at the camp. They fired arrows into the air and, while skirmishing around, three of them separated from the rest, as ambassadors, carrying a flag which was a black ribbon of feathers with a red stripe in the middle. The camp was aroused, and the soldiers, with weapons in hand, prepared to receive them. The Indians, seeing that our forces and weapons were superior to their own, spoke in a more moderate tone than had been expected. In fact, they were subdued to the point of asking merely if we had come to kill them, for this was the rumor which they had received and which had caused in them all great fear. Assured by everyone that this was not possible, on account of our good will, and that our intentions were quite otherwise, one of them agreed to go and give the information to all the rest of the Indians who were waiting along the river. When he had brought the word to them, they came closer to the opposite bank but it was impossible to make any of them come as far as our position. Noting their obstinacy, we proposed that we come over to where they were. They assented, but as soon as we started on the path toward them they took flight and did not let themselves be seen again. The two who were still with us were treated with the greatest consideration and the following morning they were released.

16th day and 6 [October]. This day camp was lifted from the Guadalupe River and we traveled to the Dolores, mentioned on the 11th day. One part of the expedition set out for the mountains. It discovered many heathen Indians but no site for founding a mission offered itself, for the lands are poor, there is little pasturage, and the river bottom is narrow.

17th day and 7 [October]. This day the party crossed from the River Dolores to the Merced, mentioned on the 8th day. One section of the troops, which traveled toward the mountains, came upon many heathen at the river. It was not possible to determine the number because as soon as they saw the troops they vanished like vapor and not one could be caught because force could not be used. The remainder of the party, which set out for the plains and low foothills, encountered at the bank of the river about twenty children. Such was their preoccupation that they did not notice us until we got very close to them. They began to scream and throw themselves into the water to save themselves by flight but with such fear and haste that many of them fell down. There were some old women who acted likewise until the men came out with their weapons to defend them. We took no notice of their terror, but rather showed the greatest consideration, leaving them alone and continuing along the opposite bank to pitch camp in a fine meadow. As soon as we had dismounted seventy-nine warriors arrived in good order, attracted by the unusual occurrence, to make us a visit. They brought us seeds and fish. After making friends with us, they helped us with odd jobs and we gave them food. Finally, presents having been distributed to them, they returned to their village on the opposite side of the river.

18th day and 8 [October]. On the morning of this day, carrying the image of Holy Mary of Sorrows (who was our patron Saint) we started out to pay a visit to the village, on account of the attention they had paid us. We were received with great joy. They laid out their mats on the ground for us to sit down upon. This matter attended to, we set forth the reason for our coming. They replied in a very pleased manner that they all sought baptism and the establishment of a mission. I baptized six old women and one old man who were present. Most of the women had fled at our arrival, but according to the number of men the village must contain 200 souls. It is called Latelate. There is another village very close to it with substantially the same number of people called Lachio. This locality would be a good one in which to found a mission and a presidio. Its wide meadows with fine land are perfect for raising crops, grazing cattle, etc.

- 251 -

19th day and 9 [October]. In the morning of this day the expedition went to the east and, having gone eight leagues, reached a place covered with small willows, in a dry stream bed but with a few pools. This spot is situated at the foot of a hill the summit of which carries some small bush oak trees. The place is inconvenient because of its restricted pasturage. The whole trail today has been very rocky and for this reason very troublesome. About a league before reaching this spot we found a stream, also dry but with a large pool at the foot of a cliff. However, there was no firewood.

20th day and 10 [October]. The party followed the same course today and at about two leagues encountered a line of oaks and willows which contains the bed of a large stream. It may be very sizable in the rainy season but at present has only a few pools and patches of grass. At about five leagues in the same direction a river with two or three channels was encountered, but with water only in pools on account of the great expanse of sand. It has grass, willows, oaks, and ash. At this place we spent the night. A scouting party went into the mountains but found nothing worth noting. All the country traversed today has very poor grass and is very stony. Many pebbles are found, which are very brilliant and, from their beautiful appearance, are, or would seem to be, rock crystal. The first arroyo discovered in the morning is called Santo Domingo. That at which the camp is situated is [called] the Tecolote [owl] because of the great abundance of these birds.26

21st day and 11 [October]. This morning we kept on in the same direction, toward the east, and, having traveled about four leagues, we came upon an arroyo well populated with willow and some oak. It was found to be dry but had one huge pool. We called it the Santa Ana. It has low banks in that portion which trends toward the plain, or valley. We continued on the same course and after another four leagues, approximately, we reached the San Joaquin River, mentioned in the account of the 4th day of the expedition. All the country we observed between the Tecolote (mentioned yesterday) and the Santa Ana is worse than bad. From the Santa Ana to the San Joaquin there is a little pasturage, although it is sparse and spread out widely. Some other stream beds are seen but none merit consideration: they might carry some water in the winter. From the Santa Ana to the San Joaquin River the land is flat and free from stones or pebbles. The neighboring hills and the Sierra itself are covered with oaks.27

22nd day and 12 [October]. Today the expedition rested because it was Sunday and in order to give some rest to the horses which needed it badly.

23rd day and 13 [October]. In the morning of this day the party went to scout and explore the San Joaquin River. One section of the group went down the river and the other up the river toward the mountains. The latter discovered an abundance of pine and redwood but farther in the interior of the mountains, on the bank of the river they descried a village called Pizcache28 of about 200 souls, with a chief named Sujoyucomu. From this chief the following information was obtained, the testimony being from eyewitnesses. Other soldiers from the other side of the mountains—who we presume were from New Mexico—appeared about twenty years ago, according to the communication of the Indian. The heathen Indians having acted in a hostile manner, the soldiers began to fight and killed many of the Indians. The latter awaited with extreme apprehension the return of the soldiers a second time, but they saw that we did not come from the other side [of the mountains] but from this side and were amazed at the kindness shown them when they expected their annihilation. He [the chief] added that on the other side of the mountains toward the north—according to the way he pointed—was the sea, and that it took them ten days to go there. He said that toward the south there was no sea but that the land continued as low hills. The soldiers who had come previously did not differ at all from our own as far as concerns horses and clothing. This Indian had been present at the skirmish with the soldiers. He supported the fact that he had seen the ocean with all kinds of signs, having been there himself. For this reason, and also because the signs made by the Indian were very clear, we concluded that New Mexico is very close to the other side of the Sierra.29

In this village two old men and two old women were made Christians. In the middle of the mountain range is the source of a big river which separates into two branches, one to the other side of the range, the other being the San Joaquin. That portion of the expedition which went down the river found nothing but bad lands, with little grass and saline in places. It might be possible to found a mission on this river where there are good level areas and an abundance of timber, but it lacks firewood and grazing in this region. A cross was engraved on an oak tree at the bank of the river near the camp. This is all that could be discovered.

24th day and 14 [October]. Today the camp on the San Joaquin River was raised and we turned in the same direction as previously, toward the east. After traveling five leagues we came to the Kings River [Río de los Santos Reyes]30 already discovered31 in the preceding year of 1805. The country appeared to have moderately good pasturage, excellent in the river bottoms. All the meadows are well covered with oak, alder, cottonwood, and willow. The river abounds with beaver and fish. It is a location suitable for a mission, although there would also have to be a presidio. The land is fine for crops, etc. On this same day we came upon a small village but in it we found only two old women and one sick man. The rest of the people had gone to gather seeds. We did not stop, because the cloudy sky threatened us with rain. And indeed as soon as we had pitched camp and had thrown up a few small shelters the water poured down with great fury.

25th day and 15 [October]. Today the expedition could not go on because of the heavy rain and so we all remained inactive, waiting for clearing weather in order to continue with our explorations and discoveries.

26th day and 16 [October]. Today, the weather being better, and leaving enough men to guard the camp, we divided the party into two groups. One went up the river toward the mountains and the other followed down the river. The first group discovered a village of about 60 souls under the leadership of a chief named Achagua. Nine persons were made Christians, one old man and eight old women. All these people want a mission and wish to be baptized. Furthermore the same story was told as on the 23rd day about the coming of the soldiers and the existence of the sea. This village is called Ayquiche. In addition, word was obtained of six other villages situated on the bank of the river toward the mountains.32

The other group of the party, which went down the river, discovered three villages which all together might contain 400 souls. All three are close to each other in a wide, pleasant plain along the banks of the river. In the first one visited eleven persons were made Christians, two old men and the others old women. The chief is named Chaochay. In the second village only one old woman was baptized for, although it was a large village, as soon as they spied us in the first village, the people all fled to the willow thickets. The chief of the second village is called Chayalate. In the third village ten persons were baptized, all old women.- 252 - Here the chief is called Chatene. In the mountains there is pine and redwood timber. The streams make it easy to get out. All the Indian population has showed itself to be very docile and anxious to be baptized and have a mission.

28th day and 18 [October]. On this day a small group of soldiers was sent in search of water and grass. Having traveled some three or four leagues they found only a few pools in a great oak forest and even they were inadequate. Here it was decided to spend the following day.33

29th day and 19 [October]. This day the party moved toward the spot discovered yesterday. Having penetrated the oak forest a short distance, we halted at the pools previously discovered. The water was rather bad but since the day was nearly gone we were obliged to make camp until the following day. We went into a village which might contain 600 souls, where 22 persons were baptized. The chief is called Gucayte. Several other villages were encountered but all the people had disappeared at our arrival. The number of baptisms includes those of the other party.

30th day and 20 [October]. This day, seeing that the oak forest was full of arroyos without water, we went in search of their origin. After traveling a league we came upon a big village but all its people had hidden in the nearby willow thickets. From here we continued eastwardly and at about a league and a half we encountered another village, named Cohochs, its chief called Chumueu. We were received with much satisfaction by these poor people. All of them, after being instructed concerning God and the welfare of their souls, want to be baptized and have a mission. Following the direction of the mountains we came upon a fine river, already discovered by the other expedition made at the end of April in this same year. The great extent of sand which it has is damaging in its effect, for only at the time of the melting of the snow or in the rainy season does water fill copiously all the stream beds in the oak forest. Nevertheless it would be easy to get water if a mission were established. For this oak forest, which contains about 3,000 souls34 who want baptism and a mission, is the place most suitable for a mission of all that we have explored. There are fine lands for cultivation and great meadows in many parts of the oak forest which are green all the time. There are also good spots of saltpeter and alkali. The river is known as the San Gabriel. It divides into two branches, one of which we called the San Miguel, and the latter sends its water into several other branches. This mission, in case the King, our Lord, whom God protect, grants its establishment, could have available pine and redwood timber and fine lands for crops. After having explored all this area, we returned to the camp.

31st day and 21 [October]. Today a scouting party went to the east and found a river already discovered by the expedition of the month of April, already mentioned. It was called the San Pedro.35 Because that portion which was examined was found to be without water we were forced to move the camp to the village of 600 souls mentioned above, called Telame, where water was scarce but good pasturage was obtainable. Here we pitched camp.

32nd day and 22 [October]. Today, having explored all the points of interest and villages of the oak forest the expedition remained at rest, meanwhile waiting for supplies which were to come from Mission San Miguel.

33rd day and 23 [October]. On the morning of this day I, together with the Commander, Don Gabriel Moraga, went to the aforementioned village of Telame. We had the luck to find there a little girl, who was wasted away and at the point of death. Her parents, as soon as I showed them the benefit which would come to their daughter when she died, gave her to me so that she might be baptized. And in fact I did baptize her, the parents being very happy with her good fortune, and we being pleased with having gained another soul. During the days which we spent at this place all the Indians showed themselves very much satisfied with having us in their midst, even to the extent of pointing out to us a spot appropriate for the establishment or foundation of a mission. All the people of the villages, even though on our arrival they had hidden themselves, came to visit us, bringing their small possessions and feeling insulted if they were not accepted.

34th day and 24 [October]. Today there is nothing in particular to note, other than that we received the provisions early in the evening.

35th day and 25 [October]. In the morning of this day the provisions were distributed to the troops and in the afternoon we set out. We traveled to the east, being guided by two heathen Indians, and at about two leagues we turned to the west. In another two leagues we came upon a very copious spring. This water is reached by taking a big stream bed, which is encountered to the east of the village, and following it to the west for about four leagues. At this point the water is discovered in the arroyo itself. We suppose that the water is the River San Gabriel, which has percolated through the immense stretches of sand along it. This place has much grass but the land is alkaline in most parts.

36th day and 26 [October]. In the afternoon of this day the camp was raised and we crossed over to where an oak park runs along the course of the San Pedro River, discovered by the expedition of last April, in 1806. We traveled about eight leagues, four of them in front of the oak forest and the other four into the forest toward the east. For we found the river to be without water on account of the extremely thick growth of willow, cottonwood, torote, and ash, together with the great quantity of sand. Following the river bed toward the mountains one encounters water quite sufficient for the foundation of a mission. This is a river with fine water, excellent lands for crops, pasturage, etc. There is much timber in the mountains, pine and redwood.36

37th day and 27 [October]. In the morning of this day, continuing upstream for a league, we came upon a small village which was part of another large one called Coyehete. The latter according to the information given by the Indians will have 400 people. There was no one in this village who could be baptized, because, although they wanted baptism and begged for a mission, they were all young people. From this village we took an easterly course and at about a league from the river we came upon an arroyo which we called San Cayetano, discovered at the same time as the river described previously.37 It was found to be dry, but has many large pools capable of supporting a great number of cattle. This stream is bordered by an abundance of trees, willows and some oaks, but the land is poor.

Continuing in the same easterly direction we reached after four leagues of travel another stream, large in the rainy season, but at present dry.38 It has a few willow trees. From this stream we followed a ravine without leaving it for most of the day, for it is very long, and at sunset reached a big creek bed with considerable willow and an immense area of sand.39 It now being very late, we made every effort to find water but were unable to do so. For this reason we began to dig and, having gone down about two yards, we finally found enough for the troops, although it was bad. The horses, which were quite thirsty, had not drunk since morning and were forced to abstain- 253 - until we should arrive at a river of great volume that had been found earlier this year by an expedition from the presidio of Santa Barbara. This we were going to search for. We spent the night in this valley with no other matter worth noting than that it was very cold.

38th day and 28 [October]. Very early in the morning the party set forth and having gone about three leagues encountered the river discovered by the expedition from Santa Barbara and mentioned yesterday.40 It is very full of water, even in the dry season. All the country which we have seen today is the most miserable noted in the entire expedition. Some brush and a large quantity of ground-squirrel holes is all the land contains. There is no green grass and even at the river all we found was willow thickets and saline and alkali flats. Going down the river in search of pasturage we discovered the traces of horses from the Santa Barbara expedition. After traveling a very long way we were obliged to stop, although there was great scarcity of pasturage in the enormous willow thickets along the river. This is the tree which most abounds, together with considerable cottonwood.

39th day and 29 [October]. Today, while searching for pasturage, we moved the camp about three leagues farther downstream and one league distant from the river. Here, although there was much saltpeter and underbrush, the country was well covered with grass. One group scouted to the end of the plain at the edge of the mountains and found nothing but salt and alkali and very poor land.

40th day and 30 [October]. Today everyone stayed quietly in camp in order to give some rest to the horses which were badly exhausted.

41st day and 31 [October]. Today we traveled south to find a sheltered spot in the mountains and to reach the line of exit to be taken by the expedition. On the way we found a village, about three leagues from the encampment. At this point we separated the most badly worn-out horses so that they might go by another road to a place where they could sooner recuperate. Nothing is said about this or the other village which we saw on the river because it is to be supposed that the Santa Barbara expedition will give a complete account of them. Just before sunset we came to the sheltered place mentioned above. We found it to have an abundance of running water in a little creek and many wild grapevines, these being almost the entire vegetation. Here we spent the night although there was a lack of grass for the horses.41

42nd day and 1 [November]. Today we set out from this oasis and after about two leagues we found the source of the stream. It is a marsh well covered with grass. The open area may be entered by a valley filled with oak trees. At the end of it one sees a lake which, however, is pure salt water. To the east is located a moderate-sized village, the Indians of which seemed to us altogether too cunning and crafty in trading. Guided by three Indians from this village we came to another of the same size but hidden among ravines and badlands. The number of inhabitants could not be determined because they were absent at a fiesta in another village near by. From here we set out in an easterly direction and late in the afternoon, at sunset, we reached a plain extending toward a valley which contained a small stream. The latter carried a little water, which was quite salty due to the great salinity of the land.

43rd day and last of the expedition. On this day, by following the valley, we reached the ranch of the Reverend Fathers of Mission San Fernando. The roughness of the mountains we went through this day is indescribable, but it pleased God that in the early evening we should see a light and by going toward it came upon the ranch. From here the following day we came to the mission.42

All that has been stated in this report represents exactly what I have seen myself. Together with a few others baptized on the expedition made at the end of April of this year 1806 we baptized on this expedition 141 persons. These were all baptized in extremis.

In witness hereof I signed on 2 November 1806.

Fray Pedro Muñoz


Number of villages scouted on this expedition and Christians made, together with those made on the expedition carried out in the last part of April of this year, 1806. The number of persons is given.

Nupchenche This village has about 250 souls. Twenty-eight Christians were made, 5 old men and 23 old women. 28
Chineguis Has the same number of people as the previous one. A single old woman was baptized. 1
Yunate According to a good calculation this village has the same number of persons as those preceding. One old man was baptized. 1
Chamuasi Has the same number of persons as those mentioned above. No one was baptized because everyone hid himself at our arrival.  
Latelate This village will have about 200 people. I baptized six old women. 6
Lachuo Is of the same size as the previous village. The same thing happened as at the village of Chamuasi, for which reason there was no one to whom Holy Baptism might be administered.  
Pizcache This village may contain about 200 people. Four were baptized, two old men and two old women. 4
Aycayche This village will have about 60 souls. Nine were made Christians, one old man and 8 old women. 9
  Here there are six other villages which could not be investigated. All of them, according to the reports of the inhabitants of this village are of about the same size as Pizcache.  
Ecsaa This village has about 100 souls. Fourteen were baptized, 2 men and 12 women, all old, and one of the women in articulo mortis. 14
Chiaja Has the same number as the previous village. One old woman baptized. 1
Xayuase Will have 100 souls, like the preceding. Nine old women were baptized. 9
Capatau- 254 - This is a very small village and subject to the chief of the previous village. It will have 9 or 10 people. One old woman was baptized. 1
Hualo, Vual This village will have about 400 souls. Two old women were baptized. Discovered on the first expedition. 2
Tuntache This village will have 250 souls. One sick old man was baptized. 1
Notonto 1st Eight old women and two dying children were baptized in this village on the first expedition. The two children were later found to have died. This village will have about 300 souls. 10
Notonto 2nd Will have 100 souls. Two old women were baptized. 2
Telame first This is the largest of all the villages which have been discovered. It will have, according to a fast count, 600 souls. It was entered by the first expedition and 11 old women and 1 sick man were baptized. He was found by this expedition to have died. On this expedition, the second one, 8 old women were baptized, together with 1 old man and 1 moribund infant. In all there are twenty-two. 22
Telame second It will have 200 souls. (This village was not seen by the other expedition.) I baptized 6 old women. 6
Uholasi This village will have 100 souls. It was discovered on the first expedition. I baptized 3 old women. [3]
Eaguea This village has about 300 souls and was discovered on the first expedition. Ten were baptized, 9 old women and 1 dying man. We found on this expedition that he had died. 10
Cohochs Will have 100 souls. Eleven old women were baptized. 11
Choynoque This is a village of 300 souls. No one was baptized for their terror caused them to flee. However, the warriors who were visible gave us reason to estimate their total number as 300 souls.  
Cutucho This village is close to that called Nupchenche. It will have 400 souls. It was scouted by the first expedition. No one was baptized for everyone had fled.  
Tahualamne This village will have 200 souls. No one was baptized because their fear did not permit them to come down from their rocky village as is described on the 13th day of this account.  
The total baptisms performed on the two expeditions amount to 141
Coyehete This is a village of about 400 souls according to the report of the Indians. We did not see it. In addition there are a great many villages which I do not mention because I did not examine them.  

Fray Pedro Muñoz


The two following selections are taken from reminiscences of old Mexican pioneers, obtained by Alexander S. Taylor in the early 1860’s. The first was published in an unidentified newspaper; the second is handwritten. Both purport to relate experiences of expeditions carried out in 1806 or 1807 (except the Ortega sortie of 1815 described by Olivera). The Olivera account follows the report of Moraga’s 1806 expedition in a general way but departs from the diary of Muñoz in many details. It is likely that the narrator was confusing this with other campaigns in which he was engaged. At any event little reliance should be placed upon his statements.

Both accounts give a lively picture of conditions in the valley at this period, and for such unofficial detail they are of some value.

Diego Olivera’s Account of Moraga’s 1806 Expedition

This account is given in a clipping from an unspecified newspaper, presumably of 1864. The piece has no title. It is included in Alexander S. Taylor’s collection, Discoverers, Founders and Pioneers of California (2:153).

My father, said he [i.e., Olivera],... was one of a company of sixty mounted men under the Alferez Gabriel Moraga, accompanied by the Padre Muñoz for chaplain, who left Monterey in August, 1806 ... and crossed over into the Tulares by the way of San Juan Bautista.... We traversed the whole of the country from where the San Joaquin comes out of the Sierra Nevada to a long way up north along the Sacramento River and found multitudes of Indians everywhere along the streams.43 We passed fifteen days at one camp on the Sacramento, whence we made trips up into the snowy mountains.... We were obliged to encounter great dangers in this trip and did not get back till November after being out over a hundred days,44 for, from the melting of the snows and the overflowing of the rivers and not knowing our whereabouts, we had to keep well on the lower hills and creep along by the eastern trail the best way we could until we found ourselves near the King’s River and the Big Lakes,45 and picked our way among great numbers of Indian rancherias, until we came to the passes called the Tejon and Las Ulvas, and so made our exit at the Mission of San Fernando....

There was also another expedition from Santa Barbara in the fall of 1815, which went over into the Tulares, where they met another party from Monterey who had come through the Estrella from San Miguel. That was commanded by Captain Juan Ortega, when Don Pablo Vicente de Sola was Governor. I was also along with it, but we did nothing particular, excepting to bring in a great many Indians for the reverend Padres to make Christians of. The pobre infelices lived like so many brutes in- 255 - dirt and filth, and were always fighting each other like so many wild cats and dogs, muy mestanjes. The girls among them used to run after the soldiers—pobrecitas—and the people gave us the orphan children, and in this way many of their souls were saved who would otherwise have been lost with the diablos.

Felipe Santiago García’s Account of Moraga’s 1807 Expedition

Pertinent passages have been selected from a manuscript entitled “Story of an Old Dragoon of Monterey,” in Alexander Taylor’s Discoverers, Founders and Pioneers of California (2:141-151).

In the year 1807 I went to the Buena Vista Lake46 as we called it, as a soldier in a company of Cavalry of twenty-five men under Alferez Gabriel Moraga. Each of us had eight horses and they made a big caballada. Miguel Espinosa was our serjeant and we had to keep constant watch that the Indians did not steal our horses; they were everywhere.... We went from Monterey to San Miguel Mission, and from there to the Laguna we called Buena Vista in one day and a half, and we went after the runaway neophytas [and] tried to bring in others for the Padres to make Christians; but did not get any. We went away into the Snowy Mountains, or near where the snow was, and the Indians stole one-half of our horses and killed two of our men. Where we went into the mountains there was a Portosuello [portezuelo, an opening or gap], called by our Captain “Salinas de Cortez” which had great quantities of nitre, quisas tequesquite.47 We crossed the San Joaquin River several times and everywhere there was Indians, and the Captain made up his mind to go back by the way of San José Mission where we arrived in good order.

I went several times to the Tulares and to the Sacramento, both on horseback and once in boats. In all the rivers we saw many beavers; bears were everywhere and very dangerous. Elk and antelope and deer used to run before us in bandados [bands] and we found plenty of mustangs, wild horses,48 in 1807 and afterwards many others with the mission brands, and lots and lots of the mission cattle, muy cimarones.

- 256 -


In 1808 there are two accounts of significance, Moraga’s trip to the Sacramento Valley (Cutter, 1957) and José Palomares’ expedition through the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley, probably in the same year.

Report on the Expedition to the Tulares
(Cal. Arch., Prov. St. Pap., Mis. and Col., I: 229-239)

On the 25th [of October]1 I left the Presidio with six men, and, taking another one from San Buenaventura, I went as far as Simi,2 where we spent the night. On the following day I went with one soldier toward San Fernando, leaving the other six at Simi awaiting further orders. Having arrived at this mission I talked to the Reverend Fathers and asked them where the fiesta was. They answered that they did not know and inquired of some Indians who told them that the fiesta was at a village called Quariniga and that the dancing had already begun. This being the situation I spent the 26th and 27th provisioning and on the latter day sent a soldier to Simi to tell the others to start out in the afternoon and arrive at the mission in the evening. This they did. At about nine o’clock at night, taking with me four men from this garrison, I set out with considerable secrecy for the rancho through which I passed at about one o’clock in the morning of the 28th. We went as far as a canyon, at a distance of about five leagues from the said rancho, arriving at dawn, or about eight o’clock. We had with us a list of the names of the Indian men and women fugitive from this mission [San Fernando] and also two interpreters, one Spanish, the other familiar with the language of all the Valley Indians. He also was well acquainted with the country. While we were at this place some Christian Indians arrived, who were on furlough and who had originated in this village. They told me that the people were beginning to arrive and that the dance was going to start on the night of the 29th. For this reason it seemed to me desirable to remain there till the 30th. The place was well arranged and isolated, with water and forage for the horses.

At about ten o’clock on the morning of the 30th I set forth through a very long canyon, and during the day and the following night I arrived within a league of the village. This was at about twelve o’clock midnight. At dawn of the 31st I started out and at daybreak I approached the village with ten men, having left two with the horses near by. Having got near the village I called to the chieftains and asked them for the Christians. They told me there was no more than one. The others, according to what they said, were ten in number, five men and five women, and were with Quipagui. Still others were at a village which they called Muscupian and one called Mavialla, both far to the east.3

Thus, finding myself in this place without having accomplished anything, I was told by a heathen Indian who knew the village of Quipagui that five heathen were there whom I was seeking. On the way there I encountered an Indian, named Macal, who was among those who had killed the soldiers,4 and whom it had not been possible to catch. I captured him, and with him the rest of the wild Indians. Thereafter I took him with me and retired from the village about two leagues where I remained until two o’clock in the afternoon. Then I set out, taking the valley of San Gabriel in a northerly direction.5 I crossed this valley and crossed the mountains and at about three o’clock in the morning I came to the Tulare Valley. Going along the slope of the mountains, I traveled as far as a protected spot, which was called by the expedition San José, arriving there at dawn. At about three o’clock in the afternoon I started out again, going along the edge of the mountains, and at about twelve o’clock midnight I reached a distance of two leagues from the village mentioned above. At about three o’clock the next morning, the 2nd of November, I set forth with my whole party, and, careful to reach the village just as day was breaking, I found it solitary. From dawn to eleven o’clock in the morning we were rained on hard. Leaving all the rest of my party together, I went off with three soldiers from this region, which was rather rocky, scouting for the Indians, who had concealed all their tracks. I saw an Indian—Christian or heathen—and noting this I retreated to within three hundred paces of the rest of the troops. Inasmuch as the heathen, who were near by on a hill, could have seen no more than four men they would have thought we were no greater than this in number. So the afore-mentioned Quipagui with six warriors allowed himself to approach. As soon as we saw them, I called out in a loud voice and the other six men joined us. We went out to encounter them [the Indians] on a small hill. Seeing us and those who were guarding the prisoners, the chief cried out to the other Indians and they all simultaneously discharged their arrows and rushed to where the soldiers held the prisoners.6 We went and joined the latter, and after everyone had arrived I accused him7 of concealing Christians. To this he replied that on the previous day when the news arrived [of our coming] he was not at the village but was hunting deer. In the afternoon when he returned he found only one Indian. The latter exclaimed that they should leave because the soldiers were coming against him. According to what the native Indians told him, the Christians had fled, some to the eastern mountains, others, with the one who had brought the news, down to the tule swamps. I pressed him to go with me to search for them but he replied that under the circumstances he could not because it was raining. If he could wait till it stopped raining, he would go to search. I could not remain, first, because I did not have provisions, and second, because there was no water for the horses. [I told him that] if he would gather them [the Christians] and take them to the Mission of San Fernando, the Reverend Fathers would pay him. I left him a rope with which to tie them up. This he promised to do at the end of the moon just past. All this he did not perform.

This Indian should be removed from that place with all his village for many reasons. The first is because he has killed many unconverted Indians and is still killing them. He is the most feared Indian in that entire country. The other reason is that he gives refuge to Christian fugitives, and they know that neither Christian nor heathen will go to look for them there on account of the terror which he inspires. I would have brought him back with his people but the weather did not permit me- 257 - to do so without running the risk of injury in capturing and securing them.

The same day at two o’clock I started to retire, and left the Tulare Valley by a road never before discovered by an expedition. It is the best way to get out of the valley, with good land, water, and pasturage.8 We stopped at two o’clock in the morning of the 3rd in the midst of this country and camped for the rest of the night. On the 3rd we set out and arrived at the mouth of the canyon at sunset. There was some water, left by the rain of the preceding night. The soldier Miguel Lugo, second in command, allowed the heathen prisoner, called Macal, whom he had with him, to escape. I think that if the Christian who was with him, had not cried out, the sentinel would not have known when he left. At the outcry he [the sentinel] chased him but could not catch him. We all went out through the brush surrounding this place but not having found him, we kept on retreating during the 4th and arrived at San Fernando in the evening.9

- 258 -


These four years are notable primarily for the exploration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, which previously had undergone no very intensive examination. We have accounts of the two trips by Father Fray José Viader in 1810 and that by Father Fray Ramón Abella in 1811. To these may be added the account of the rather disastrous punitive expedition by Sergeant Francisco Soto in 1813.


Viva Jesus.

Report or account of the trip which has just been made by order of the Governor and Father President with the purpose of searching for places or sites where missions might be established, from 15 to 28 August, 1810.

15 August 1810. At five-thirty o’clock in the afternoon of this day I departed from Mission San José with Second Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga, Cadet Raymundo Estrada, one corporal, three soldiers, and four neophytes of Mission Santa Clara. Having traveled about six leagues to the north we stopped alongside a pool of good water located in the western portion of the valley called San José. We did not stop to explore the place because it is so near and so well known to everyone. With no other special incident the next day dawned.

16 August. This day, following the same direction, northward, we went about six leagues before noon, and having killed two bears and one very big deer, we stopped for lunch at the source of a stream called Walnut Creek. This stream, although it has good water runs in very small amount. In the afternoon, having gone another six leagues in the same direction, having killed a deer and an antelope, and having seen good lands and groves of trees, all without water, we arrived by nightfall at the end of Walnut Creek and the beginning of some estuaries. These are on the northeast side of a fine plain which is well covered with trees (among others big walnuts).1

17th day [of August]. This day we spent, without moving our camp, in exploring the plain and surrounding hills. These lands belong to the Tarquines, most, or all, of whom are Christians at San Francisco. We saw the mouth of the rivers, of which there are two, one from the north, the other from the east. When they join, they enter one of the bays which border San Francisco. In all this region so well known for its good air, its fine land, its copious firewood, its walnut trees, the only water we found was two pools, one spoiled, the other good, although the water was stagnant. There is a little spring next to a willow thicket close to an inlet, where, it is said, was situated the village of the Tauquines. Because the area of Walnut Creek has very little water, it does not seem to me suitable for founding a mission. Throughout the day we killed three bears and eleven deer. With no other incident the night passed.

18th day [of August]. We left this place early and, going east, crossed the Mother Range. At seven leagues we came to the San Joaquin River, or, as it is called the River of the Tulares.2 It is about a quarter of a league wide, and apparently very deep. It is reached by the tides of the sea. Here we stopped for lunch between the river and a very large oak forest. It is said that this land belongs to the Tulpunes, whom we did not see. There were no indications of heathen Indians. This place would be good for a mission if there were water, or if water could be taken from the river, for there is good land and much wood from oaks and live oaks. Today in the afternoon we went two more leagues to the east, through the oak forest and over good country. However, there is no water except what is in the above-mentioned river. This place also belongs to the Tulpunes, who did not allow themselves to be seen.

19th day [of August]. We set out at dawn in a southeasterly direction and after having gone about ten leagues over bad ground and along the edge of the tule swamps we arrived at a lake in the middle of an oak grove where we could neither get to the river nor turn back. Here, in the village of the Cholvones, or Pescadero, we stayed all the rest of the day, and the night. We sent an interpreter to get in touch with the Cholvones. He returned with a heathen Indian called Guanats, together with a considerable quantity of fish. They say that the Christian fugitives from San José are on the opposite shore, between the river and a lake. All this country is good and has firewood, but the floods from the rivers submerge it from the beginning of the warm season until August.3

20th day [of August]. We started out and traveled south-southeast some distance from the river on account of the swamps. We passed opposite a village of heathen called Aupemis and, without stopping, came to another village, whose chief is called Tomchom, having traveled since morning about three leagues. Here we rested, and no wild Indian showed himself. In the afternoon, and after two and one-half leagues in the same direction we arrived at a village, whose chief is called Cuyens. The latter is well known to, and friendly with, the interpreter, who had gone ahead to call him. We met them, together with fifteen other Indians carrying a great deal of fish to give us. Here we stopped to make camp for the night. Four of the Indians wanted to remain with us while the others went away, saying they would return with more fish for tomorrow. This they did and were accompanied by even more natives. Nothing we have seen today is suitable for a mission, because the land is flooded, in places for more than a league.4

21st day [of August]. We set out and the Indians followed us as far as another village whose chief is called Maijem.5 This was at a distance of two and a half or three leagues in the same direction. Just before arriving there we came upon a dry stream bed, but with indications that in the rainy season it carries much water. Furthermore the land, or ground, is higher than anything we have seen thus far. The Indians of this village came [to us], although with great trepidation. After we had given them cigarettes and a few other presents they all disappeared—even those from Cuijens. In the afternoon after two more leagues in the same direction we halted opposite a village whose chief is called Bozenats.6 These Indians, who let themselves be seen on the other side of the river, refused to come near us, however much we called to them. On the other hand they yelled at us with much vigor, also saying that they had no fugitive Christians and finally that they would come over the next day. If the region traversed today had water, or water could be obtained from the San Joaquin River, it would not be bad for the establishment of a mission, for there is good land and no lack of firewood.

22nd day [of August]. The Indians who had said- 259 - they would come did not come and we went on in the same south-southeasterly direction. After we had gone about two leagues about thirty armed heathen appeared on the opposite bank of the river. Asked by our interpreter, they refused to come across. Furthermore, they said in a very threatening manner that we had better get out quickly and appeared anxious to fight. Here, according to their statements, are the fugitive Christians from Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. These natives are called the Apaglamenes.

Seeing that they refused to cross over, we pursued the same direction and after a league stopped at a village named Tationes.7 Here also they say there are Christian fugitives. A little while after we arrived for a rest period the heathen Apaglamenes, to whom I referred above, made an appearance, accompanied by the Tationes, all armed, painted, and bedecked with feathers. Some were on the other side of the river and six on our side, a gunshot away. These six were already shooting at the interpreter, who had gone to speak to them and pacify them. Also they fired on Corporal Berreyessa, who went to call back the interpreter. The Lieutenant, seeing this and noting that those on the other side of the river were talking with a great deal of insolence, ordered that they be told to be quiet and to go away. Otherwise they would be fired upon. The Indians having replied with still more insults, we fired in the air in order to make our intentions clear. Thereupon they began to fire at us and the soldiers at them. The fight did not last long, for the soldiers fired no more than twelve shots. According to a later count one Indian was hit, and perhaps more, for the shots went into a little thicket. The soldier Morales came into the skirmish with half his chin shaved and the other half covered with lather. On our part there were no other casualties. The territory covered today is also rather high in some places and has no lack of firewood but has no water.

In the afternoon we continued in the same direction. At the point of departure a few Indians were visible at a distance. After traveling three leagues we stopped near some lakes, apart from the river but near a willow grove.8 The area we covered in the afternoon has neither firewood nor good land.

23rd day [of August]. Today, after three and one-half leagues in the same direction and without being able to get near the river on account of the sloughs, flooded land, and swamps, we had to rest on an open plain without shade near a creek, or arm of the river.9 The great heat forced us to jump in for a swim. The water of the creek was lukewarm. After we had rested, we started out in the same direction more or less, and after four leagues, already at nightfall, without hope of meeting or reaching the river, we stopped beside a pond.10 There was no wood or brush to cook supper or even make chocolate. Everything we crossed today is low ground, tule swamps, and ponds and for this reason is not suitable for a mission.

24th day [of August]. Very early, before breakfast, thinking that we were opposite Soledad [Mission] and that the tule swamps and low, flooded territory continued as far as the vicinity of San Miguel, we decided to turn back. Taking now a westerly direction, after going four leagues we had chocolate in a patch of brush and then going on in the same direction for another six leagues we arrived at the place called San Luis Gonzaga. Here we halted for the afternoon and also the following morning, with the purpose of exploring this area, which at first sight appears to be a good one.

25th day [of August]. As a matter of fact, this place was examined and explored and no more water was found than a few pools and one short creek, all of which together would not be adequate for a mission. The pools are deep but the creek flows very little, although there are indications that in the rainy season it fills up considerably. Moreover, the wood supply is quite far removed and above all there are no heathen Indians in the whole region as far as the rivers.

26th day [of August]. We left this place in the morning and took a southwesterly course. After crossing a little plain for about a league we began to climb the mountains, which carried us some six leagues, including the plain just mentioned. We stopped at the foot of the range along a creek which had no more water than a few scattered pools. In just one of these we caught forty fish including six trout or little salmon. After the siesta we kept on in the same direction for three leagues and arrived at the stream called Ausaymas. This is already the plain of San Juan Bautista, and is suitable for at least a rancho because it has water, wood, and good land.

27th day [of August]. From here we set forth and, crossing the plain in the same southwesterly direction for five leagues, we arrived at Mission San Juan Bautista without difficulty, thank God, at about nine o’clock of the same day. Here with a good breakfast we brought the expedition to an end.

Fr. José Viader

San Juan Bautista,
August 28, 1810


Report of Father José Viader
From 19 to 27 October, 1810
Mission San José, October 19, 1810

Viva Jesus.

My esteemed Father President, I inform you that at about two o’clock this afternoon I left this mission in the company of Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga, 23 other soldiers, and about 50 armed Christian Indians. After going some six leagues to the northeast we halted to pass the night in the valley of San José near a willow grove which contains good water.

20th day. From the valley to Pescadero, or Cholvones, we traveled about nine leagues to the east-northeast11 and arrived very late so as not to be seen or heard. Soon we placed our people in position to attack a dance [being carried on] by heathen Indians and fugitive Christians.

21st day. Before dawn we assaulted a village on this side of the river and only one person escaped, a San José Christian named Bernardo. He, having gone to sleep at a distance from the village, jumped into the water and swam in great haste to warn those at the dance. For this reason we immediately fell upon the other village, which was on the opposite side of the river, and took it entire. The prisoners in all included 15 San José Christians, 18 heathen men, and 51 heathen women. The latter were released by the lieutenant and went away very happy.12

The remainder of the day we rested here and passed the time well with fresh salmon and wild grapes. Two of the Christian prisoners escaped, on the pretext of having to attend to a necessity, and also because of the negligence or overconfidence of the sentinel. All this place and its surroundings are inundated during the high water of the rivers, which is in the summer. At that time the wild Indians live on a few small elevations.13 For this reason there is no way to establish a mission here.

22nd day. This morning Corporal Pico, with seven soldiers and the neophytes, went with the Christian and heathen prisoners toward San José. The rest of us, with a heathen Indian called Guanats, went up the- 260 - river, southeasterly through oak groves, willow thickets, ponds, and lands flooded during the freshets. We also met four wild Indians gathering seeds, who were extremely glad to meet honest people. After having gone about two and one-half leagues we stopped to eat between two ponds, in front of the [village of] the Jusmites14 Indians. In the afternoon, having gone another two and one-half leagues we spent the night near the [village of] the Tugites Indians. All the country seen thus far has wood, with water in the river and lakes, but the land is low, flooded, and without stone.

23rd day. In the morning we resumed our march in the same direction, always upstream with the intention of crossing it. On the way, Indians whom we knew and who were friendly, from the village of Cuyens, came out to meet us, bearing as a gift three very big, red, salmon. They also have accompanied us to the village of Mayem, where we halted to eat, having gone four leagues since early morning. Having rewarded well our Indian benefactors and companions, we also gave something to those of Mayem. The latter people have just approached us with much fear and with a tendency to prevaricate. Although they know that they have in their village Christians from Santa Clara, they deny it and furthermore declare that they will never again admit any [Christian fugitives]. If it were not for the nuisance it would cause us, the Lieutenant says he would flog them, but on the return trip he will do so if things go as they have this time. In the afternoon, after having dismissed all the wild Indians, we set forth in the same direction, and traveled two leagues. At this point, opposite the village called or designated Taualames, we found a ford across the river. However it was very bad, being wide and deep and with poor approaches. We crossed it without untoward incident, thanks be to God, and soon halted for the night. I sent a boy to the village to carry a statement to the natives here of our purpose to call for Christian fugitives and offer them pardon. Six heathen Indians returned who, filled with apprehension, said that all the Christians had gone to the mission and would not be allowed to come back, but they were lying. Finally they said they would take us to their village and would come back in the morning to do this. So we sent them away. In all we have covered today we have not found any place suitable for establishing a mission.

24th day. We got up early and without moving camp I went out with the Lieutenant and four soldiers to the north, with the intention of getting to the Río de Dolores [Tuolumne River] two or three leagues away. However on account of so many sloughs, swamps, and ponds we turned back. We could see only some high ground, not reached by the floods, which are as bad as, or worse than, those on this side, or the west side. We also went into the village and found only a dog and a tame deer. The boy went into the brush [to get the people] but they did not want to come out, so we went to eat lunch. In the afternoon we went ahead in the same south-southeasterly direction up the river. We passed in front of the Apelamenes and Tatives Indians, who had fought us on the former occasion, but did not enter the villages for we anticipated that we would find the houses empty and because of the extensive swamp and lake. After having gone six leagues and having noted that the high ground not covered by the river is very poor, is a long distance from the river and from a wood supply, and is useful for nothing, we arrived at another river, the Merced, which comes from the east and joins the San Joaquin.15 We crossed it, almost swimming the horses. Here is much wood on both banks of the river: oak, live oak, cottonwood, cypress, willow, etc. Nevertheless it was clear that the spring floods cover a great deal of these lands and that only the latter seem to be of value.

25th day. In the morning we left here going southwest with the intention of crossing the San Joaquin River, which was still to the west of where we slept. Shortly after our departure we came upon an old village on a height whose lands have a little grass but no rock, and moreover this place is between two large rivers. We reached the San Joaquin after one long league and crossed it. Thereafter we crossed several other swampy sloughs. From here southward there are no more trees, only tules and more tules.

The Merced River, it seems to me, cannot be dammed, not only because the soil is pure sand, but because it is now confined between very close banks. I can say the same of the other stream, the San Joaquin, and furthermore the bottom is so level that the current is very slow, even though the water is deep.

From here we turned back down the San Joaquin River and in two and one-half leagues we reached the scene of the battle, or shaving place, for at this point now, as previously, the soldiers shave themselves. Only one wild Indian was seen in the distance when we arrived. We left here a sick horse. This place is a little elevated, but only the flooded areas have grass and are without rocks in the entire three leagues to the western hills. In the afternoon we went forward in the same direction, downstream, and after a league we got to the arroyo of Orestimac [Orestimba Cr.], opposite the Apalamenes, the allies of the Tatives when the latter fought us. This creek, which comes from the hills, is not flowing nor does it contain water, but it is known that in the rainy season it fills up and even overflows. This spot is the least bad on this whole side of the river but even so it would not be suitable for a mission. It has only firewood, river water, and much good fish.

We kept on and in two more leagues we came to a point opposite the Taualames Indians. When called by the boy, their kinsman, they refused to come out, saying that they were afraid. They guessed right for they would have been taken captive. From this point, considering that the people of Mayem would also refuse to come out, and that it was not yet late, we turned west and after crossing three leagues of plain reached the arroyo of Corpus Christi, where we spent the night16 without water for the horses. We had to dig a well in the sand.

26th day. We started early toward the west and after six leagues of mountains and bad trails we reached a place formerly called El Toro, where we ate lunch, and we, with the horses, drank. In the afternoon, going in the same direction more or less for another six leagues of extremely bad trail, we arrived at dark at a little flat with some pools of good water. This place we called San Guillermo.

27th day. From San Guillermo we went six leagues in the same direction to stop for lunch at the old village of the Pateños. From here in the afternoon after five leagues to the northwest we reached this mission, in good condition, thanks be to God.

Fr. José Viader

Santa Clara Mission,
October 28, 1810


This manuscript of twenty-seven pages is entitled: “Diario de un registro de los ríos grandes, October 15-31, 1811.” The title page bears the note:

A copy in the handwriting of and signed by Gervasio Argüello.

Exploration of the Eastern Shores of upper San- 261 - Francisco Bay, San Pablo and Suisun Bays and of the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

The authorship of this document is something of a mystery. The copy in the Bancroft Library has the title given above but is in the handwriting of, and signed by, Gervasio Argüello, who was not a member of the expedition. If it is Father Abella’s actual diary, then how may one explain the references to “Father Ramón,” “the two priests,” etc.? Furthermore, the diction is confused and ungrammatical, unlike what one would expect of a literate priest. Certain passages give the impression of a third person who is involved. My own feeling is that Father Abella kept some sort of record but that these notes, plus a verbal account by Sergeant José Sanchez, the military commander of the expedition were worked over by Gervasio Argüello into a day-by-day account which has the semblance of a diary. Credit for the leadership of the expedition, of course, remains with Father Abella.

Exploration of the Eastern Shores of upper San Francisco Bay, San Pablo and Suisun Bays and of the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

15th day. At ten o’clock in the morning we set out from the wharf at the port and stopped at Angel Island because the tide was running out.17 At about four in the afternoon the tide turned and was favorable. We set out, arrived at the Point of the Huchiunes, and stopped on the south side of that point. We went during the entire day about five hours, all at the oar in a calm sea. Angel Island, the Point of the Huchiunes, and that of the Abastos form a bay equal in size to that of the Port.18 It contains eight islands, most of which are small. One of them, which has to be passed in navigating to the Point of the Huchiunes, has a sand bar, and it is necessary to pass a little away from it to the west. It is recognizable only when a bearing is taken. The west side [of the island] is covered with trees.

16th day. We set out from the above-mentioned Point of the Huchiunes, which we called Point San Pablo. Where we slept is a fairly good beach with water and firewood where one may stop. This Point San Pablo has opposite to it another point which we called San Pedro and halfway between are two little islands. From one point to the other will be about twice the distance as from the fort to the other shore.19 These two points enclose the bay which we have mentioned, and form another, much larger, which we estimated to extend four leagues. From the center to the periphery this bay is square. On the northern side and the western it has five villages, which are still heathen. On the western side is a cove, according to the Indians quite large, but Ensign Gabriel Moraga has twice reached its head in the expeditions he has carried out in these parts.

At one and a half leagues we encountered another point which we called San Andres.20 Between the latter and Point San Pablo, all of which is the mainland of San José,21 there is a cove which ends in a creek. The latter, according to those who have traveled past it, and according to the Indians, is like that of the town [San José] but runs very deep, and has a fair amount of trees. Between the points there are 4 varas of water, which drops to 2. This is while cruising some distance from the shore; farther in it deepens, the same as at the port [of San Francisco], because there is a channel which carries a considerable current. All the land of the Huchiunes is quite bare, although there are some oaks.

As far as Carquinez Strait, with what we covered yesterday and today, we will have consumed some eight hours all to the northeast, one-quarter north from the mission. Here, within the eight leagues,22 the bay proper ends. The strait is formed by an island23 and the mainland of San José. The island soon ends and mainland remains on each side. The strait runs southeast and makes a half-turn to the south and has a strong current, according to the rise and fall of the tide. This strait is about two and one-half leagues long and one-quarter of a league wide, although in some places rather wider, and ends in the land of the Chupunes, for there it opens out. At this place we stopped at eleven-thirty o’clock on a little beach, which at low tide remains dry and where the boats have to pull back about 200 varas so as not to run aground. At low tide there is visible a rock, which is covered by the water and could damage boats approaching the shore. However, a little farther down, toward the mountain, there is a kind of small stream which is good [for anchorage]. To this place we gave the name “La División.” It has a large pool of water and considerable firewood. Here we stopped for the night uneventfully. The shore opposite the mainland of San José on the strait called Carquinez is very bare country.24

17th day.25 We set forth at nine o’clock in the morning, and as soon as we emerged from the strait at the point which, as I have said, we called “La División,” we entered a large bay four or five leagues wide. Gradually from here the water becomes sweet. We cruised close to the coast of San José, and at five leagues26 the estuary begins to develop. We traveled the whole day as close as possible to the coast of San José. There are various islands covered with tule rushes and thickets. At fourteen leagues27 the rivers begin to form, with tule on the banks. It is sheer swamp, which prevents any landing on firm ground.

In this branch of the river, as in all the others which we have seen, we observed that when the tide rises, the water in some places comes up to a height of a vara and a half, and this is quite to be expected on account of the flatness of the land and the thrust of the sea through the Carquinez Strait. The channel of the river over which we traveled today has a width of a quarter of a league and in places somewhat more.

We cruised today somewhere near eight hours, four of them with a fresh breeze, and we measured about eighteen leagues, all to the east, with the river turning now and again to the northeast. We stopped at an island which has trees of some thickness but which is choked with underbrush, and it is evidently submerged during floods.

A little before reaching this island the river divides into two branches. From the mouth some alders are visible at half a league distance to the left. This is the entrance which should be taken at this island. The place where we stopped was recognized as a fishing location of the Ompines, for there were signs of campfires.28

18th day. We set out from this island at seven o’clock in the morning, and went back half a league so as to enter the previously mentioned river mouth (although it seems to me that it is not necessary to go back, but rather to follow the same entrance for we afterwards saw that they [the two river mouths] joined each other, a thing which even the guide had not yet noticed). We traveled about seven leagues to the east, with a fresh north wind. The river makes some turns at about one-quarter of the seven-league distance and forms another island with the opening29 where we slept. This is why I said that it is not necessary to turn back. Everything is tule swamp on each side, with an occasional bush. The channel, as has been stated, is about a quarter of a league wide. At noon we- 262 - [stopped and] landed in a swamp. Here the river widens considerably and there is another opening, which, although somewhat concealed, communicates with the River of the North.30 The latter goes up to the left and is the one we took on the 24th on the down trip.

We set out at two o’clock in the afternoon. At about half a league we took the opening to the right, which is the one carrying less water and with some small trees, leaving the one on the left, which is the main stream, for we always tried to stay as close as we could to the mainland of San José. But if others come after us, they should follow the main river, because all the other openings lead to branches which leave it [the main river] and return to it, forming an infinity of islands.31 We cruised to the south, but there are so many twists and windings that at times we circled the compass. The principal turns are south and southwest, and the course follows this way twice, but the banks are covered with nothing but tule, and so high that one sees nothing but sky, water, and tule. We kept on till eleven o’clock in the evening because there was no place to stop, and slept in the boats. There is land but it is flooded. [The stream] has a depth of 8 to 14 varas and a width of 80 varas, although in some places it widens, as at the turns and bends. At about nine o’clock at night the river divided into two parts, and that which we left goes on to join the big river [Río Grande] which we encountered on the 22nd. It carries more water than the one we followed, and the two join a little before the place where we set up the cross. We did not measure the distance we traveled on account of the bends and turns made by the river.32

19th day. We set forth at five o’clock in the morning and traveled until twelve o’clock noon. The river keeps on in the same way with its windings, covered with tules, but now one meets land that is a little higher but still bare of trees. We ran upon two or three village sites, the people from which have already been made Christians at the mission of San José.33 We set out again at two o’clock in the afternoon, and after a league’s travel found three heathen women seventy years of age, with one husband and one boy, who were San José Christians. They had quite a few fish. This place is known as being good for fishing, and here, as along all the river, are many signs of beaver, although I have never seen more than the signs. This afternoon, already, the river has turned to the east, with an occasional bend to the southwest. We went about three leagues and slept in the land of the Bolbones. Still there are ponds and tule swamps, although it is said that white men have pastured horses only about half a league away.34

20th day. We set out at sunrise with the intention of saying Mass at Pescadero in order to have dry land [for the service]. However after a mile from the start the boats ran aground. Here we sounded the river, which is seen clearly to be running and which appears to me to carry about as much water as the river at the ranch at Monterey.35 The depth which it had [i.e., we had observed] on the two preceding days was due to the low level of the land. From here to the mouth found on the 22nd, which will be about nine or ten leagues, can be traversed by boats only with much difficulty.

We turned back to the place from which we had set out, where we celebrated Mass. After four hours, when the water had risen due to the backing up caused by the reversal of the tide, we again undertook the same course. As I have said, the river contains very little water and there are numerous trees. We were desirous of following this pathway because the Indians said this river had two arms, one of which went on to join the Río Grande, which we left on the 18th. As has been said we did reach it on the 22nd.

We went about two leagues with some effort and halted at the village of Pescadero, called also of the Bolbones. The San José Christians who were there on a visit presented themselves. From the villages of the vicinity Father Fray Buenaventura36 baptized six ill and decrepit heathen women and the baby boy of a neophyte. In this spot, which is also an island, the day was passed. On the shore where we landed there are several oak trees on each side, and the land promises well for wheat, pasturage, or even corn by dry farming.37 There are certain trees which are said to be mangroves, but in time of high water the area will be impassable.38

21st day. We sent four guides on tule rafts to see whether the boats could get through. They encountered some difficulty, although they were optimistic that it was possible [to pass]. We set out at one o’clock at noon and cruised until nightfall in a direction northeast, one-quarter east. The stream bed is full of logs and the boats grounded two or three times. The stream is inadequate for travel by boat. We journeyed about three or four leagues and stopped at a high spot which had a number of oak trees but was entirely surrounded by tule swamps. A league from the starting point we passed out of the slough called Pescadero. We left it on the right hand and took the [channel] on the left hand, which trends to the northeast and [with] the opening which we left behind forms an island. For an Indian went past with a boat and turned off and met us in the big river [Braso Grande], he going upward and we downward. Although some of the soldiers said that it [the channel] emptied into White Lake [Laguna del Blanco]39 I conclude that this is not true, but that White Lake discharges into the Río Grande. Furthermore, from horseback, in the tules, one cannot see well, so I base my opinion on what an Indian said. The matter could not be settled because the boats ran aground.40

22nd day. We set out from the place of the oak trees at about seven o’clock in the evening. We went to the southeast with some turns to the east. We traveled four or five leagues, two of them still in low water. The river bank was populated with oaks and other trees, and once the boats ran aground. At the end of the two leagues the water increases threefold in volume and the river divides into two channels. One of these is that which we left behind in the evening of the 18th. [The other] is better because it carries much more water. [Both branches] go to unite with each other in the middle of the tule swamps, where we slept on the day mentioned.41 We kept on cruising up the river with the tripled volume of water. The water is clear and both banks are covered with oak trees. At three leagues we encountered the Río Grande. Here we observed the junction of the rivers; it has about 5 varas depth in the center and a width of about 100. The river water is pure, because it was low tide and it is known that the tide exercises little influence because the land is already high. This place lies about on the parallel of the Pueblo [San José], according to those who have come by land, and is distant from the Pueblo some 25 or 26 leagues from east to west, although it may be a little below this latitude. Here it is evident from the quantity of water that several rivers have united, for there is no ford and there would always be required a pontoon or boat to cross the stream. At this place there are many oak trees on the opposite, or eastern, shore. There is no tule, and only in great floods does the river overflow, for the western bank is the lower. Here it is necessary to take soundings in order to cross from one side to the other.

Four or five leagues higher up, where there is the village of Christians, the river unites with the water- 263 -course which we left behind yesterday.42 It seems to me that in this plain there are islands and that it would not be difficult to have the horses and cattle cross by swimming and the people by boats, because the river falls very gently. This would be much easier than at the Strait of Carquinez, which is the only other possible place we have seen. All the tule swamp is impassable.

Just here the river separates by way of two openings: one is that which we followed this morning; the other is closer to the mainland of the opposite shore. We are going to follow down the latter because it is the most direct. Here a cross was made with a chisel in an oak tree, about four inches wide and correspondingly long, about four varas high and in the point between the openings. Father Fray Ramón named the river San Juan Capistrano.43 If anyone comes back to explore, he should follow upstream. On the return trip he should not take the entrance to the left, which is the one we have just come from, because the river is full of logs. The other one, even if it contains no logs, runs in the middle of the tule swamps, and in that region nothing can be accomplished44 unless it be salmon fishing and beaver [trapping], although I have already said elsewhere that I saw only their traces.

Here we stopped to eat, and at one o’clock in the afternoon we turned back and went around the entrance which, as has been said, leads, isolated, through numerous islands, all of which we have traversed since the 17th. The largest of these are the most deeply submerged. We cruised to the northwest, one-quarter north, for some five leagues, for downstream the boats travel considerably faster, and came upon a village called “Los Coyboses.”45 Seventy persons of all ages and sexes presented themselves. The village may hold nearly 180 persons but a message had been sent to them that we were coming, and it was evident that the rest had hidden themselves. They seem to be docile people. Father Fray Buenaventura baptized a sick boy and two women, one of them decrepit, the other very ill, for there are already from here a few Christians in the mission of San José. The bank of the river still has some oak trees, but from here downward the tule swamps begin again. We halted a league below the village, on a high spot along the river, where we slept.

23rd day. We set out at about seven o’clock in the morning and traveled some three leagues to the northwest, ignoring the turns, where we came upon a village, which according to count could contain 900 persons, although they were segregated in three villages, each at some distance from the other.46 We saw only one of them, where about 150 persons presented themselves, of both sexes and all ages. They showed us their landing place, and the houses made it clear that twice as many people lived there. They had heard [about our arrival] the previous night and the majority fled. We gave them a few little presents and they responded in a like manner. It is an excellent place to fish for salmon.

We started out again about two o’clock in the afternoon and went about five leagues and at the halfway point we found a village which had no more than two persons. They said that the rest of the people had fled because they had heard that we were coming that way. They had taken up the houses, which are of straw, and all their personal belongings. The currents of the river downstream strike sharply against this village. The land is a little higher, the oaks can be seen from the opposite shore, and there is already dry land along the river we are following. So say the Indians. Farther down we came onto another village which had been completely removed at the same time. We even caught them going ashore, whereupon they threw away their possessions, abandoned their boats, and hid in the tule swamps. No matter how hard we tried we could not succeed in finding more than four persons and two dogs. They said they had done this on account of the fear which they had for us. Here again is land under water. On this day the Father from San José baptized some sick people and infants who had some connection with the neophytes of San José Mission. During the afternoon we cruised to the northwest, with some turns to the north. The river divides into two channels, but soon they join again forming an island.47

24th day. The previous night we slept in the tule swamp and the water reached our blankets at the turn of the tide. The whole area is this way for several leagues. The water rose about one and one-half varas. We observed that the people who had run away from the rancheria, as I have said, yelled a great deal, obviously to collect together all the inhabitants who had hidden by letting them know that we had already moved on.

We set out about six o’clock in the morning, following the direction of the river, which runs to the northwest, although it turns occasionally north and south. We traveled about seven leagues and came upon several openings which entered and left here and there, but all of little consequence. They all connect with the river which we are following. In the afternoon we started at one o’clock. The river widens wherever it shoals, and in some places becomes almost a bay, because the land is very low. After going three leagues from this afternoon’s starting point we came upon the entrance which we took on the 18th on the up-trip and the one of which I spoke on the 22nd. Here the waters of the river again unite.48 This entrance remains on the left hand going downstream. There are a few small trees, like brush, and on the opposite bank also a few other small trees. If people come up this way again, they should leave this entrance to their right hand and go directly up the river because this [route] is much better and shorter. We went on down the river. At half a league we took another channel on the right [going downstream] which is an arm of the Río de San Francisco [Sacramento] and which connects here with the San Juan Capistrano [San Joaquin]. This can be navigated only by pilots familiar with the terrain, such as performed the task for us. It seems small at first, but later widens considerably, and from here on travels northward. At the end of a league we encountered two other entrances, one of which leads north and the other east. That to the east we did not explore, for, according to the statements of the Indians, who said that it came to an end soon, it appeared to me to be one of the [branches of] the Río San Juan Capistrano which we saw this morning, and which breaks off to the right. I was not certain of this but it seemed likely, according to the direction and the opinion of the Indians. We took the branch to the north, as I said, and in a little while we stopped on a height in the midst of a thicket full of trees of considerable thickness, but which is nevertheless an island, as we saw in the following days. To the other side of this high ground everything is under water. The Indians today did not cease returning to see what course we were taking, but we could not catch them because everywhere they hide in the swamps.

25th day. We set out at seven o’clock in the morning. We cruised to the north, with a few turns to the east. I have already said that this is a branch of the Río de San Francisco. It is necessary to traverse it by day because it has several tree trunks crosswise in the channel, but it has depth and width. At about three leagues we suddenly ran onto three heathen Indians. At first they fled precipitately, but soon they halted, because one had just been on a visit to Mission- 264 - San José with the two other heathen and two neophytes of the same mission, San José. These we sent to the village so that we should not come upon it unexpectedly. The third [heathen] we took with us in the boat. At about two leagues we descried the village, which was in two sections, one on each side of the river.49 As soon as [the inhabitants] saw us there began a great uproar, in spite of which they told us by signs where the river was deepest. The two guides whom we carried with us managed to make them be quiet, and performed good services in this respect. We went ashore and only the priests and two soldiers stayed in the boat. The Indians went ahead with their chatter and finally they [the natives] calmed down. The village, as I have said already, is divided between the two banks of the river, which is perhaps 30 to 40 varas wide. Those on the left hand, which is to the west,50 were of evil disposition. However much those on the right bank tried, they could not induce more than half of the men [on the left bank] to cross to the other side. Finally they were half pacified, although it always seemed as if they were in a bad mood. They were given a few little presents, and they gave acorn mush to the neophytes. About 200 men presented themselves, for other villages had joined them. Already they had told us that they, the Tauquimenes, were going to fight.

There was a large population but only a few old women allowed themselves to be seen. The young women, boys, and girls had hidden, either in the brush or in the houses themselves. Soon after we had arrived there sixteen young men appeared, making a disturbance, as they are accustomed to do. One of the chiefs ran to meet them, as well as an elderly woman, and took their bows away from them. We ate with them, although it was rather uncomfortable because they never did quiet down entirely. They said they were behaving in this manner because they had been told that we had killed all the people at the village of the Coyboses, which is near Pescadero on one of the branches of the Río de San Juan Capistrano [San Joaquin]. Furthermore, I am sure that [the population] of several villages had come together in this restricted locality, because some of the Indians said they had come to gather acorns and there are extensive woods [here]. At last peace was established and we took our departure, although before we left we told them that if they wanted to fight, let them take up their arms. But they said no.

After traveling about a mile we entered the river, which here divides into two branches. It is a fine river and carries plenty of water; indeed the stream which we had been following contained no more than one-third as much. The river extends to the north, but from here we went down the branch to the west.51 The heathen now came out to accompany us and show us the way. This division of the stream is 28 to 30 leagues east of the mission of San Francisco.

Having gone down the river one league we came upon another village which had fourteen houses, and in this village there were already some of the men who had been in the previous one. They showed us the landing place and behaved in a very friendly fashion, but nevertheless we saw no more than two or three women of great age. So we went along, seeing other little hamlets of two or three houses, and it became evident that all [the inhabitants] had assembled in the large village previously mentioned.

In all this day we traveled about twelve leagues and the number of people may have reached some 1,200 souls. However there may have been more, for the first [village] could have contained about 2,000, according to the size of the houses here, which are 28 to 30 varas in circumference with a post in the center. Also it was said that a considerable number of people were higher up [the river] gathering acorns.

All that we have passed today is part of an island. Each branch [of the river] is covered with trees on both banks, of various kinds and very large. There are many walnut trees and wild grapes but the latter have stems so thick that those who have seen grapes in favorable countries say they have never seen such thick trunks. The land on both sides rises considerably. It is excellent for anything which one might wish to sow, in those areas not covered with underbrush.52

Higher up the river the heathen said there was another channel which is as large, or larger than, the one which we are following. This is true, for the next day we found where it joined with the latter and the [volume of] water is doubled.53 Therefore the river higher up must be little smaller than the San Juan Capistrano. We stopped and slept on an elevation covered with trees of the kinds described previously.

26th day. We set out at seven o’clock in the morning. The river spreads out considerably and in two places the boats ran aground because the tide was very low. However there is a [deeper] channel along the banks. After we had gone about a league and a half we reached the stream entrance which was mentioned yesterday and the water was doubled in quantity and the river now was about 7 varas deep and 400 wide. From here downward [the river] seems like an arm of the ocean, for the land becomes lower and at the meeting point of the sea and the other river the current is brought to a standstill. The two streams are from the Río de San Francisco and, with the stream which we left yesterday, constitute in all three channels and consequently form islands.54 Farther above, where all the water is united in a single stream, the river must be as large as it is down here, but nevertheless it will not be as large as the San Juan Capistrano.

Down here, where the two channels unite, there is a village of the Ompines. Some of the people have already been baptized at San José, because they [are accustomed to] pass over to the opposite shore. We traveled in the entire day some twelve leagues and stopped where the hills end which are opposite the high hill of the Bolbones and which are very bare, completely devoid of trees and shrubs. However, the deer run in herds, for there are some great plains with an occasional low hill.55 Those persons should come to this point who wish to sail up the Río de San Francisco, as we have heard it was formerly called, for it was here that the schooners turned around.56 We went on to the place where we slept on the 17th of this month and it seems to me that they [the former explorers] came this far and must have returned from here, that is, without ascending higher up the river, because there is not enough water for schooners.

The first six leagues which we covered today are populated, as I said before, with various kinds of trees, but the last six are very bare. This Río de San Francisco, which we are now leaving, is good for any kind of settlement and contains many people, but one cannot get to it except by boat. The narrowest passages are at the Port of San Francisco or at the Strait of Carquinez.

27th day. Holy Mass was celebrated at the hill of the Ompines. We set out at about eleven o’clock in the morning and went some twelve leagues, six of them to the north and the rest winding through a slough of fresh water close to the land of the opposite shore. We slept on a height about a league before arriving at the plain of the Suisunes. All that we have passed today is low, but very bare hills; in all this country- 265 - there is no running stream. Going from here to the Suisunes there must be at least a half-tide so that the boats will not run aground.57

28th day. Holy Mass was celebrated, the day being that of the Holy Apostles, St. Simon and St. Jude. We went about one league and stopped at the end of the slough of the Suisunes [Suisun Slough] at half a boat’s length from shore so that one could jump onto solid ground. It was on a big plain, with fine land, completely covered at a short distance with oaks and live oaks, finally becoming uneven and hilly. The Serro de los Bolbones [Mt. Diablo] lies about twelve leagues to the southwest.

We sent four neophytes from the San Francisco Mission, natives of this area, to locate their countrymen, and fifty men from two villages presented themselves, all unarmed. They brought us some of those things which they held in highest esteem and gave us their war decorations.58 We responded in the same manner by paying part of their value. The villages are called Malaca and Suisun. According to what the Indians said, the latter is divided into three parts. They claimed that it was quite close but according to the signs between here and the shore somewhat less than two leagues away; a short time ago they were living on the shore. That was where Second Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga struck them the blow.59 Thoroughly cowed the poor people have remained, for they are badly scared. There is another village called Ululato farther away. It had been told us that they wanted to fight but the exact opposite happened, because they did not dare to visit us. In terror they sent us some eighteen presents, which were not worth much, using a Suisun as messenger, and stated, as I have indicated, that they were afraid to approach us. The presents were paid for, by means of the Suisun, who was sent to tell them that they should not be afraid. But they did not appear. It is known that these people are all very tractable. The place is very good for the establishment of missions but there remains the difficulty of getting there except by boat through the narrow passages mentioned above.

29th day. We set out at two o’clock in the morning and arrived at Carquinez Strait by sunrise. The section which we traversed this morning is a large bay, and before arriving at the Strait the water is already salty. The Carquinez Hills also are bare.60 We stopped below the Strait about four hours and in the afternoon arrived at Angel Island opposite the Presidio. We sailed in the afternoon under a favorable wind and reversed the trip of the first two days by the same route. The two bays and their islands are discussed there [i.e., the entries for the first two days]. We could have reached the Presidio if we had not stopped so long, because on the down trip one goes at least twice as fast. This is because at least eight of the twelve hours from tide to tide are consumed by the outgoing tide, which flows very rapidly. There is a quite natural reason [for this phenomenon], for the water which enters must flow out again, having been held in the meantime by the rivers, plus that which the rivers themselves carry down. All this I have already heard from the Indians, and on that account those who are not very skillful, struggling to61...

30th day. We left Angel Island, opposite the Presidio at ten o’clock in the morning. Up till now the sea had been calm, but now a squall fell upon us, the sea arose, and we took shelter on the opposite shore, in front of the fort. The sea stayed in this condition all day. In the afternoon it seemed to certain persons that there was some improvement. Finally we crossed, although the sea was quite rough and we, the fifty-eight people, arrived at the Presidio. The only difficulty was the breaking of a rudder pintle of the mission boat on a log, but it was soon repaired.

Gervasio Argüello

Presidio of San Francisco,
31 October 1811


The excerpt below is apparently a direct quotation, although there are no quotation marks in the transcript.

José Argüello to Governor Arrillaga
San Francisco, October 31, 1813
(Prov. St. Pap., XIX: 334-348)

On the 22nd of the month now ending ten soldiers left this Presidio and embarked in one of the launches of the near-by mission of San Francisco in order to join Master Sergeant Francisco Soto. He left San José Mission the same day with two soldiers and 100 Indian auxiliaries for the purpose of capturing the fugitives from the above-mentioned mission of San José. Having united on the 25th with the troops which set sail from here the 22nd, he navigated the rivers all the night of the 25th, hiding as soon as day dawned on the 26th so as not to be detected.

The following night they continued and at dawn of the 27th they fell upon the village where the fugitives were located.62 This was on a quite large island, very brush and swamp. Nevertheless they were observed long before they arrived because the fugitive Indians, informed many days previously that the soldiers were going in search of them, gathered together the people of four villages throughout the area and sent out their spies and scouts in all directions from which they suspected they might be surprised. They segregated at the same time all the women and children who could act as a hindrance to them and held all the warriors to await the troops. As a result, when the troops arrived they encountered a stubborn resistance, for they were opposed on all sides by innumerable Indians who were waiting, fully prepared.

According to Soto’s estimate, there might have been over 1,000 warriors. The latter attacked with such fury that all the valor of the soldiers was necessary in order to repulse them. This was accomplished by heavy fire, the hostile Indians maintaining their offensive for a long time and holding their position on all sides without perceiving the damage which their obstinacy caused them. They were confident perhaps in their own great number and the small number of soldiers and Indian auxiliaries with whom they were contending, as well as the advantages provided them by the terrain. Soto for a while saw victory as uncertain, because of the large number of adversaries, and the multitude of arrows which flew at them, while at the same time the enemy showed only obstinate resistance. Finally the savages recognized that the resistance was merely a danger to themselves and decided to retreat. Then, although Soto pursued them in their flight for a long time he gained no decision because of the difficulties of the terrain, where it was necessary in places to walk in water up to the knees. The Indians were much favored by very close thickets in which they could hide. Although they were dislodged from that place, the river was very near and they all jumped in to swim, some crossing to- 266 - the opposite island, others hiding in the dense tule swamps where they could not be followed. For this reason it was not possible to capture anyone.

The enemy was left badly beaten and adequately punished for his boldness, for the battle was very costly, and in the action a considerable number were killed. On our part only one of the Indian auxiliaries died, a man named Julio, whom they seriously wounded but who got back without being captured by our opponents. This loss, compared with that suffered by the enemy and considered with reference to the very limited number who broke them and cut them to pieces, makes it reasonable to consider the outcome favorable, particularly in view of the poor chances attending a campaign with such unequal numbers and with such advantages in terrain for the savages. Thus the troops had to stand waiting for the enemy, and at the same time watch their footing on ground so muddy and swampy that in places the water came above their knees. This in turn made the savages more desperate in their attack because they encouraged each other by saying (as the Indian auxiliaries interpreted them) that the soldiers were worth nothing on foot, that they knew how to fight only on horseback. But they came out very disillusioned for they found that [the soldiers] fought on foot the same as on horseback and that their weapons were invincible, regardless of style.

At the end of the attack, which lasted for three hours, retirement was accomplished from this place on the afternoon of the same day, the 27th. Again all the people were embarked and, after landing on the mainland of San José, the Indian auxiliaries took up their march toward that mission under the care of two soldiers. Soto continued his journey by water with the remaining troops and the Indian oarsmen as far as the Presidio, where he arrived on the evening of the 28th....63

... Worthy of praise, as Soto himself declared to me, are the Indian auxiliaries who accompanied him by virtue of their obedience and the valor with which they threw themselves into the most dangerous parts of the battle—without showing any cowardice.64

- 267 -

VI. EXPEDITIONS, 1815-1820

In 1815 a joint expedition consisting of two or more parties traversed the valley. Two full accounts remain, those of Ortega and of Pico. In 1816 Father Luís Antonio Martinez circulated in the Tulare Lake region, some of his exploits generating a lively controversy with other friars. The delta was again visited in 1817 by Father Narciso Duran, who left an extensive diary. With him was Lieutenant Luís Argüello, who also submitted a report. All these documents are presented herewith.

The last important expedition of the pioneering period was that of Estudillo in 1819, but, as explained previously, this diary has already been translated and published. Subsequent to 1820 numerous incursions were made into the valley and even well into the Sierra Nevada. They were, however, not exploratory in character but were outright military raids and campaigns. They should therefore not be included in the present group of expeditions.


Juan Ortega’s Diary

Copy, made by Sergeant Ortega at Mission San Juan Bautista with covering letter, of diary, November 4-15, 1815, of expedition from Mission San Miguel, accompanied by Father Juan Cabot and soldiers, in search of runaway Indians. Report on the lower Kings River and “Tulare Lake” area.

Diary written by Master Sergeant Don Juan de Ortega with reference to the localities which, by order of the Governor, I was directed to survey, reckoning from November 4 up to the day when junction was made with Sergeant José Dolores Pico on Kings River.

4th day. At about ten o’clock in the evening I arrived at San Miguel Mission with a party of fifteen men. At one and one-half leagues from the mission we joined that night another party of the same number which came from Monterey.

5th day. This day I left the said mission, accompanied by Reverend Father Fray Juan Cabot and, together with the party, moved camp for the night at the place called Cholam.1

6th day. We stayed all day in this place organizing the horses.

7th [and 8th] day. At dawn we started out and camped for the night at Chenem. Here I remained all day of the 8th until sundown. Then we traveled all night so as not to be seen by the Indians. Because we were now in the Plain of the Tulares and because it is a land without trails the guide and all of us lost our direction and did not know where we were. However, having sent out Corporal Juan Arroyo, a soldier, and the guide to explore, they returned after a long time with the report that we were near Kings River. I immediately ordered haste to be made, but even so we could not reach the crossing of the river before dawn.

9th day. Realizing that it was useless to fall upon the village of Tache2 in the daytime, for the sun was already up, I decided to remain hidden all day in a low area formed by a bend in the river. We managed to catch two old Indians who were coming to fish who, before they went back to their village of Tache, told us its correct location. At sunset, the same afternoon, I decided to post two men with horses hidden at the river crossing to prevent Indians from getting to the village. After they had been there a little while two Indians appeared on horseback going through the meadow toward the village mentioned, with four animals ahead of them, one loaded with fish. However, seeing themselves overtaken by the soldiers, they abandoned horses and saddle and crossed the river by swimming. In the darkness of the night, along the river and in the tule swamps and thickets it was impossible to catch them. By the saddle the soldier Martin Olivera recognized the Indian Antonio, a fugitive from Soledad Mission.

10th day. At dawn I attacked the village of Tache although considerably discouraged by my suspicion that the two Indian fugitives had given word during the night of our arrival. As a matter of fact, I found the village deserted. I followed through the tule swamp and after going a little way I met three armed Indians at a distance of about one hundred long varas. We talked to them through the interpreter. The reply they gave us was that they were afraid; whereupon they plunged into the marshy lake. I waited here until nearly nine o’clock in the morning, together with the Father, calling to them. Finally some eight or nine of them showed themselves, unarmed, but buried deep in the swamp. We urged them to come out, but with no effect. They said that all the people were scared and were hiding in the lake because the fugitive Indians and other Christian runaways from Soledad had told them we were coming to kill them at the point of the lance. Here were found three horses, one from San Miguel and two from Soledad, formerly in possession of the fugitives. These Indians informed us that the Indian Antonio and his companions the previous night had started in the direction of the village of Notonto.3 With a view to seeing if we could catch them I decided to visit the latter village. But all was in vain, for we arrived at the town a little before sunset and were received by the Indian inhabitants with much affection. Indeed, two of them came out to meet us on the road, giving us their poor presents and imparting the information that no fugitives had appeared there. After the Father, with some of the soldiers, had dismounted and after they had inspected the entire village, we retired to camp for the night at a distance of one and a half gunshots. The Indians came there to serve the troops by bringing water and firewood.

11th day. At dawn the Indians returned to bid us farewell with much rejoicing. We took the direction of the village of Telame,4 where we arrived at sunset. The people of this big village we found to be totally dispersed on account of the heavy mortality and great famine which they had been suffering. However, we were received with much affability and were given presents. The Father succeeded in baptizing four very old women and one man who was dying.

12th day. We set out in search of the village of Choynoct,5 spending almost all the day looking for it. We found it in the same manner as the previous one [Telame] and in the same condition. From there we went to pass the night higher up on the San Gabriel River.

13th day. We went on and spent the night at the crossing of this river.

14th day. We took the direction of the village of- 268 - Sumtache.6 After having gone about a league and a half into the tule swamp along a narrow trail we found the village on the other side of an arm of the lake, with some twenty armed men in front of it. However, after we had talked to them and stated the purpose of our visit, several of them laid down their weapons and came to where we were. Reproached for having received the troops in such a manner, they said they were scared because the fugitive Indians from Soledad had told them the soldiers were coming to kill them all. Asked by the Father where were the four Indians of his mission who were fugitives in this village, they replied that two had gone to the village of Bubal to join the Christians who were there with license to travel (as actually was the case) and that the other two had gone the previous week to the village of Tulamne, toward the south. After instructing them, according to the Governor’s orders, that they should accept no fugitives in the future we took the path toward the village of Bubal. We did not arrive until about eleven o’clock in the evening because its location had been changed and the guide could not find it. Here we were received with more affability than at the previous places.

15th day. At dawn we followed our course toward a junction with the party of Sergeant José Dolores Pico, a junction which we actually effected at about seven o’clock in the afternoon. In all the journey described no slaughter of horses has been observed and no adverse sentiment on the part of the Indians excepting only the fear inspired among them at the village of Tache and Sumtache by the fugitives from Soledad. I may note that at the village of Tache the Father baptized the only man discovered there, a man incapacitated, covered with leprosy [lepra], and debilitated by illness.

As far as the remainder of the expedition is concerned, up to the 2nd of December, I refer to the account written by Sergeant José Dolores Pico, since I have no additions or changes to make in it. The foregoing is what I have to communicate to your Excellency, in compliance with my obligations.

Juan de Ortega

Mission San Juan Bautista,
December 2, 1815

José Dolores Pico’s Diary, 1815

Copy of a diary, November 3-December 3, 1815, signed by Pico at Mission San Juan Bautista, as a report to Governor Pablo Vicente de Sola, of an expedition, including Fr. Jaime Escude and soldiers, in search of runaway Indians. Starting from Mission San Juan Bautista, the expedition proceeded eastward to the valley of the San Joaquin, joined the expedition led by Sergeant Juan de Ortega, and returned with them.

Diary written by Sergeant José Dolores Pico by order of Governor Don Pablo Vicente de Sola from the 3rd day of November, 1815.

3rd day [of November]. I left the Presidio [of Monterey] and went as far as the Royal Treasury, where all the troops under my command were mobilized. This day there were no events worth recording.

4th day. On this day I inspected the troops, the ammunition, and the weapons, and at about five o’clock in the afternoon continued my march toward the place called Ansaimas [Paraje de los Ansaimas].7 Near seven o’clock in the evening I arrived with one soldier at Mission San Juan, where I met Reverend Father Fray Jaime Escude. After reviewing the troops who were to go with me from the mission, we started on our way, the Father being with us, at quarter past twelve at night. At about one o’clock in the morning we met the rest of the troops at the Arroyo of San Benito. All well.

5th day. We continued our march to the place mentioned [Ansaimas], where we met citizens Cornelio Lucas Altimirano, Manuel Pinto, and Quintin Ortega, all with weapons and horses. Here I remained the rest of the day waiting for the equipage of the Father, which had not yet arrived.

6th day. We left this place at about five o’clock in the morning, taking an easterly direction, and at about seven o’clock in the evening we arrived at the place called San Luis Gonzaga, which is situated at the foot of the Sierra on the border of the Tulare Valley. Here we passed the night without incident.

7th day. In the morning I again inspected the troops and the munitions and at about nine o’clock in the evening we started out, going toward the east. At twelve o’clock midnight we reached the Tulares at the arroyo called San José.8 Here we passed the remainder of the night up to the hour of attacking the village of the Cheneches.9

8th day. At three o’clock in the morning we left this place and fell upon the said village at four o’clock. Sixty-six souls were captured, between Christians and heathen, women and men. I released four men and twelve old women, who were crippled. The majority of the people escaped because this village is in a bad location. Here were found seven live horses and five recently dead. The Father baptized an infant girl on the point of death, to whom he gave the name Severa. These heathen told me that at a distance of four leagues up the River San Joaquin from this village there was another village called Nopchenches, which had many horses, and at which were to be found the Christian fugitives Justo, Damian, Severo, and Pedro Pablo. I sent Corporal Juarez with fourteen men to arrest the said Christians and heathen, and bring back the horses which they said were to be found there.

Reaching the village, he entered it, but no people remained except the chief and four of his companions. The corporal charged him with [concealing] the Christians and the horses which had been there. To this he replied that the Christians, together with all his people, as soon as they heard the noise of the troops going to the other village, had fled to the swamps and that he and the others with him alone remained. He also said that at the edge of the swamp there were two more and that he would go and get them. This he did and on his return the corporal told him to call to his people (with the idea of catching them) to help him capture the Christians. He said he was going to bring them and went off with the others who were already with him. They did not return, although he [the Corporal] remained waiting a long time. Seeing that they were not coming back, he retired and reported to me. We then directed our course back to the place called San José. Here I consulted with the corporals and decided not to attack the village of Malim, for the Tulares were very much stirred up and it did not seem wise to do so until our return. No other news.

9th day. This morning I ordered Corporal Castillo with eight men to escort 54 Indians, heathen and Christians, to the Presidio. After having set him on his way I took a southerly direction and emerged from the tule swamp. Having traveled about eight leagues from the said swamp I turned in an easterly direction toward the San Joaquin River. On arriving at this river at about six o’clock in the afternoon I was told that some armed heathen were crossing to the opposite bank. Immediately Corporal Juarez went over with some men to investigate them. The heathen, seeing that the soldiers were crossing the river, gathered in- 269 - a village near by and began to shoot at them without further delay. The corporal ordered [his men] to fire, killing two, and at that moment I arrived with the rest of the troops. The enemy retired some distance into the thickets. Thereupon I ordered all the troops to bring up the horses and remount, but after consulting briefly with the corporals, we decided it was better to retire a distance of two leagues and wait till the next day because night had already fallen.

10th day. At three o’clock in the morning of this day I was informed by Soldier Mariano Soberanes (who was on duty as sentinel) that a light was to be seen in a thicket near the camp. I ordered Soldier Archuleta to reconnoitre and he returned saying that the illumination was a gunshot away and that it could be the heathen of the previous day intending to attack us at dawn. I ordered the sentinels to be on the alert.

At five o’clock in the morning I told two men to investigate the exposed fire. As soon as they got close they encountered the heathen Indians, who were already coming to attack the camp, and fired on the first of them. As soon as we heard the uproar which resulted I came up with the troops to oppose them. Having formed a line of battle, I told the interpreter to ask them what they wanted and they answered, to fight. Even after we had said to them that the officer in charge did not wish to do them any harm, they gave no heed, but began to fight. Seeing this I ordered them to be fired upon. They then retreated to the interior of the underbrush. The troops dismounted at my command and fell upon them, killing three and capturing one alive. Of the dead, one was found to be a Christian of Mission San Juan and a leader in stealing horses. Of those who escaped some were seen to be wounded, and, according to the quantity of blood visible along the river, I consider that most of them must have died. The action having ceased, I ordered Corporal Juarez with ten men to make a reconnaissance of the rancheria, which was called Copicha, to see if there were any horses. They brought out one, together with two Indians. The latter were among those who had been in the battle and, along with the other [captured as described above], confessed that they had followed us to this place with the purpose of killing us, the dead Christian being the one most determined to do this. During the night they [the Indians] shot a few arrows but did us no damage. During the engagement the only casualty was Soldier Juan Espinoza who received a dart between his coat and his skin, but it did not hurt him.

At eleven o’clock in the morning we set out in a direction south and a little east and at a distance of eight leagues we came upon eleven animals belonging to the village of Tape, which was in a wood along the same river bottom. These we gathered up, leaving the village for the return trip because it was already afternoon. At about four leagues we reached the junction of the San Joaquin and the San José rivers where we camped. We left behind one horse, exhausted and unable to travel. Here we spent the night without incident.

11th day. At five o’clock in the morning we continued in the same direction as on the previous day, going along the River San José. At about 4 leagues we crossed it and traveled to the east in order to avoid bad traveling. After a league we resumed the former direction and at a distance of nine leagues we camped for the night on the bank of the same [river]. There had fallen by the wayside one exhausted and useless horse and one more of those which we had recovered from the Indians. Here we passed the night without incident.

12th day. At five o’clock in the morning we set out in the same direction and at about ten leagues we encountered a conflagration, at which there were some heathen Indians. As soon as we saw them I made arrangements to catch them, but as soon as they saw us, they presented themselves without any apprehension. They gave us the news that they had seen the troops accompanying Don Juan Ortega the previous day on Kings River. They told me they would take me there, which they did. On the way we came upon two villages of these same people, called Gumilchis,10 who all showed themselves to be very agreeable. I informed them that the high chief who governed us wished them all well and was pleased at the good journey which they made possible for the troops. I said that they should not admit Christians or horses in their villages because the said chief requested it. We crossed the river, where we came upon the trail of the troops mentioned. We followed this trail for a league and camped for the night without incident.

13th day. At dawn of this day Soldier Juan Martinez was sick in his stomach, and about seven o’clock in the morning we started out in a southerly direction. At four leagues we camped without further trouble.

14th day. This day we remained in the same place awaiting the troops brought by Don Juan Ortega, and the soldier Martinez recovered without difficulty.

15th day. At about six o’clock in the afternoon the troops which we were expecting arrived, with their horses used very roughly, for three leagues back they had abandoned seven exhausted animals. Otherwise all was well.

16th day. The seven worn-out animals were brought in. We agreed upon what should be done, but the departure was postponed until the following day. No other news.

17th day. At three o’clock in the afternoon we left this place, moving back by the same road and visiting, as we passed, the village of Notonoto. Here we were received with much affection and made the same speech as to the Gumilchis. At a distance of two leagues, going west, we crossed the river and there spent the night without incident.

18th day. This day we took the same direction,11 a little to the northwest. We wanted to pass by the villages which we had seen before. The inhabitants of these, on seeing the troops, took to the brush, and no matter how much we called to them, through the interpreter, they did not come. We followed our course, coming finally to sleep at a lake at the edge of the tule swamp. To this we gave the name of San Pablo and spent the night there without incident.

19th day. We left this place at two o’clock in the afternoon in order to attack a village which the guides said was to be found in the meadow along the San Joaquin River. When it appeared to us that we were near it, we stopped to await the dawn in order to attack. Meanwhile we recovered the two horses which previously had fallen exhausted in the same locality. No other incident.

20th day. At about three o’clock in the afternoon we went to the above-mentioned river in search of the village which the guide talked about. Having arrived at the spot the guide was asked where the village was. He said it was so far away that we would get there only at sunset. We asked him why he had deceived us and he answered because he felt cold. We asked him again and he said that the village of Tape was the one which was to be found in that direction. However, since it was afternoon we decided to wait for the horses, which had been left with ten soldiers and two cowboys. They crossed the river without our knowing where. We asked the guide the location of the ford so that we could join the other soldiers with the horses but we failed to do so because the guide misled us. We slept at the junction of the San José and San Joaquin rivers, one league apart, with no other incident.

- 270 -

21st day. At nine o’clock in the morning we joined the troops with the horses, killing on the way two deer to supply the troops, who were without provisions. The day passed by and we decided to attack the village mentioned previously at four o’clock the next morning. But we did not carry out this plan because of a great stampede of the horses at about ten o’clock in the evening. Even though all the troops were mounted it was not possible to contain the stampede, because many animals had scattered in numerous groups. At this misfortune the Christian Indian from Santa Cruz, who had accompanied us through Kings River, deserted us. He had seemed so devoted that we had released him from his bonds so that he could better bear the hardships of the road.

22nd day. This morning the horses were counted and sixty-five animals were missing. Corporals Francisco Juarez, Antonio Olivera, Juan Arroyo, and Encargado José Villavicencio, taking ten men [each] and Rivera with four were ordered to go out in different directions. Juarez, going to the east, found thirty-eight animals and had to kill one horse because it was exhausted. Arroyo, who went to the south, brought the news that the tracks led to the trail toward Soledad, but because it was late he turned back. Villavicencio, who went to the north, reported that at a distance of a league and a half there was a village. Near it was a mule, one of those we had lost during the preceding night, and Villavicencio had seen tracks of horses going down to drink. He saw some old Indians coming toward the woods in which he was hidden, so he did not leave the woods and did not catch the mule, in order to avoid being seen by the old people. Olivera brought back no information. It was decided to attack the village at dawn in case some of the inhabitants had remained there. Nothing else to report.

23rd day. This day we set out for the village mentioned, which, according to information taken from Indian prisoners, we know to be Tapee. After surrounding it on both sides of the river, we caught three old Indian men, one Christian from Santa Cruz, together with eight old women. Here we came upon two hundred and thirty-eight recently killed animals, a great deal of meat quartered and dried, and sixteen live animals, mares and riding horses, some shot with arrows and others very badly treated. Most of these horses belong to Mission San Juan. The heathen mentioned previously were asked where were the people of this village. [The reply was that] first they had waited for us down the river with three others who claimed that we were coming in search of them, and then they had gone to the hills. A few of the people were opposite the village in the woods. The troops went on foot to hunt for them but found no one.

The Christian was held captive and the old men, after being chastised, were let loose. It was then decided that Corporal Arroyo should go right away to follow the trail which he had abandoned the day before, taking ten men with two mounts each. He was to return the following day with or without the lost horses. Here the troops were provided with some dried fish (although bad) and wild rice, with which they managed to pass the two days we were in this locality. No other incident.

24th day. Corporal Arroyo arrived about four o’clock in the afternoon with the information that the horses had gone toward San Luis Gonzaga. We decided to follow on our way. No other news.

25th day. Today we continued with our expedition and at about seven o’clock in the morning we arrived at the village of Cupicha, which we found without inhabitants. (This village is in the meadow along the river where the San Joaquin joins the Tecolote.) We inquired of the heathen Indians whom we had with us and they told us the people had moved to the mountains.

We went westward and crossed the river. At this point Corporal Arroyo was sent to follow up the tracks which he had relinquished the previous day, and the place was specified where we were to meet. He took with him four soldiers and two cowboys, who were to go to San Luis Gonzaga for provisions. He also had orders that, if he found the trail going in that direction, he should turn it over to Manuel Butron and that the latter should continue on to the place mentioned and send back a sack of pinole, which we had left in storage there, and two belonging to the Father. At about seven o’clock in the evening Arroyo returned with the information that he had turned over the trail to the said Butron. In the morning three soldiers were incapacitated, Atenacio Mendoza, José Soberanes, and José Espinoza, the first with a head-ache, the second with a stomach-ache, and the third with a bad foot due to a fall from a horse. Today six deer were caught, which were supplied to the troops. During the night, which we spent on the arroyo San José, it rained on us. No other incident.

26th day. Early this morning soldiers Gabriel Espinoza and José Arellanes were sick but those who were ill yesterday had recovered. Three deer were taken. At about seven o’clock in the evening the party arrived with the provisions. There was a fanega [of pinole] and it was distributed among the troops. Butron reported that he followed the tracks of the horses as far as the summit [of the coast range].

At about eight o’clock in the evening, soldier Joaquin Juarez being the sentinel in the camp and Arroyo corporal of the guard, one of the heathen Indian prisoners broke the rope with which he was tied and ran away. Corporal [sic] Juarez yelled that the prisoner had escaped. The troops converged upon the spot, a little tule swamp opposite us, but were not able to find him. For this offense the corporal and the soldier were placed under arrest among the horses until further orders. No other incident.

27th day. It was decided to attack the village of Malim. Leaving fifteen soldiers, two corporals, and ten cowboys with the horses we set out in the rain at one o’clock in the afternoon. We pursued a northerly course. Arriving at the San Joaquin River we entered the village Cheneche and found it without inhabitants. We kept on down the river and at about three leagues we came upon foot tracks at the edge of a thicket. A corporal with four soldiers went to examine the place and in the middle [of the thicket] they found a blind old man and an old woman. They [the soldiers] returned to report and were ordered to bring them [the Indians] back for questioning; but they could not find the latter. Here we passed the night with considerable discomfort on account of the rain which had fallen on us during the afternoon. No other news.

28th day. The morning of this day we continued in the same direction. At about half a league we came upon the village of Cheneches,12 where two old women were found. It was clear that the other inhabitants had gone on ahead of us, slipping into the thickets and swamps. In any case, we were able to find no one. After about two leagues we arrived at the junction of Mariposa Creek and the river. The guide whom we took with us, who was from that village, had previously told us that he was familiar with the village of Malim, but when he got there he said he did not know where it was; but he did know that this was his country and we were hunting for his village. I ordered him given ten lashes. While this was being done, the soldiers spied some heathen who were coming up Mariposa Creek. By scattering out in various directions- 271 - the troops succeeded in catching two Christians from Santa Cruz and three heathen. The latter were to take us to the village but previously we encountered one of their little ranchos. The inhabitants all fled to the swamps without our being able to seize a single one. The village was located at a distance of three leagues west. However, after we had passed it by about a quarter of a league, they [the Indians] said it was behind us. On arriving [at the village] we found by our trail that we had missed it by no more than a gunshot. From this it was obvious that the captives had acted with malice, giving opportunity to the others [their countrymen] to escape. Here two horses and a very few tracks were discovered. (According to the signs observed this village does not have many horses, yet the region where it is known that the heathen have done terrible damage is from Tappee, inclusive, to Cheneches. We found in those places more than 500 dead animals.)13 From here we retired to Arroyo de Santa Rita where Corporal Juarez was sent with six soldiers to join the other troops who were escorting the horses and proceed the following day to San Luis Gonzaga.14 Here it rained. No other incident.

29th day. We set out for San Luis Gonzaga, arriving about two o’clock in the afternoon. Corporal Juarez got there about five o’clock, having killed and left behind fourteen worn-out horses from among those picked up in the swamps. The sick soldiers continued to recover. No other news.

30th day. We set out from this place at about six o’clock in the morning and arrived at Ausaymas at about five in the afternoon, leaving in the vicinity seventy-eight used-up animals. Most of these had been recovered from the Tulares and were killed. The others were brought to this place with some difficulty at eight o’clock in the evening. Nothing else of importance occurred.

1st day of December. We stayed in the place previously mentioned in order to rest the horses. Nothing else of importance.

2nd day. We arrived at Mission San Juan with ten soldiers ill with stomach ailments. No other news.

3rd day. By morning the soldiers had recovered and we continued our march to the Presidio, taking nine prisoners and sending the soldiers of the guard to their respective garrisons. One soldier accompanied Father Escude to his mission and another accompanied Father Cabot.

Dolores Pico

Mission San Juan Bautista,
3 December 1815


The following five documents, all in the Bancroft Library, show clearly the confusion in the valley following the repeated expeditions of the preceding years, particularly those of 1815. The first, second, and third concern the Martinez sortie into the southern valley and include in full the original account by Father Martinez and the drastic criticism of his behavior by Father Cabot. The reader may form his own opinion with respect to the merits of the controversy.

The last two excerpts relate to minor and otherwise unrecorded incidents.

Father Martinez’ Report

Fr. Luís Antonio Martinez’ to Prefect Sarria
San Luis Obispo, May 29, 1816
(Alexander S. Taylor Papers. Archbishop’s Office,
San Francisco. Doc. 489.)

My venerated Prelate and Sir:

I have just arrived from an ecclesiastical journey with good fortune, although not so much as I was expecting. The people through whose lands I have gone are not yet capable of reason, and prefer their state of misery to all the benefits available to them far from their rude and wretched dwellings.

In all the villages I saw I gave something to eat to everyone who presented himself; one, two, or even three ladles full of atole. I gave them presents. I treated them with as much loving-kindness as I could so as to mould them to my ultimate purpose, which was simply their own best interest.

The names of the villages are:15 Lucluc, 28 leagues distant from the mission, at the edge of the plain; from here I went to Thuohuala, about 9 leagues; from here to Gelecto, about 9; from here to Lihuahilame, about 19; and from there to Quihuame, about 7. At this point we could not cross a big river (the source of which we did not see) which runs from north to south, and south to north. It makes a bend in the plain some 7 leagues from Telame. Its speed and the dense brush along its banks prevented our passage. It fills the lakes of Buenavista, of Gelecto, and of Thuohuala. In all our trip we did not see a good tree, nor wood enough to cook a meal, nor a stone, nor even grass enough for the horses, more than bunch grass, or what grows in the swamps. This big river ends as such in Buenavista Lake or loses itself in ponds and swamps. Along all the border of the plain [i.e., along the river] there is a great meadow a league wide, very heavily overgrown with brush. However, the lands through which the river runs are pure sand, without grass and utterly useless for any good purpose.

In the first village, Lucluc, we found about fifty Indians with their women and children. In this place they offered to bring me a small boy, after much begging and persuasion, and after I had given his parents two blankets, some ornaments, meat, etc. In the night the Indians sent a message for the following day, and in the morning we met the Indian Gabriel, as he was called by the soldiers, for he had gone with them on all the previous expeditions. He, with six other heathen Indians, accompanied us to the village of Thuohuala, which we found deserted except for one old woman on a mat, and a paralytic, whom they could not carry into the swamps. I was here three days, sending my Indians on sorties through the tule swamps. They brought me back about ten families, together with a sick man. The latter I ordered to be taken by my Indians to his house, covered with a wrap. I gave the others atole, making it clear that they should have no fear, that my trip was only for the purpose of visiting them and offering them the facilities of San Luís Mission together with the knowledge of the True God, without which no one can live well or enjoy any good fortune. I told them they should have no fear.

With my arguments I was able to acquire some seventy men, all warriors, but noticed that those whom I had taken out of the swamp during the night had gone elsewhere. Of the seventy whom I gathered with the help of the Indian Gabriel, no one ran away again. They ate and even slept with us in our camp. I knew where the women and the others were and I expressed the displeasure caused by seeing a friendly village run away from us. They unanimously maintained that a certain Chape and other old men were to blame for having spread the rumor that we wanted to kill them all. Nevertheless he himself [i.e., Chape] gave me and the corporal a little basket and we gave him some fish. During the time I was there, I gave him, in addition to the food, some beads. After this transaction I decided to continue my journey toward the village of- 272 - Gelecto, where we found no trace of people except the cemetery, because they had destroyed the village in their wars. After spending the night here I went on to Telamni. This consumed the whole day (without anyone having a meal). Furthermore I had to endure showers falling on my back four times during this period.

Since we did not try to hide ourselves, the train of horses stirred up a great dust visible for several leagues. As soon as I arrived at Telamni, they observed us from Lihuahilami the Great. At that place there had been a big riot the day previously, as a result of which some eight men had been killed, among them the grandson of Quipagueces. For this reason they were very much worried for fear the father would come to avenge the murders. The chief sent me a message to inform me of this occurrence and I answered that he should not be concerned for I did not come to do harm to anyone nor [would I] permit anyone else to hurt them. I wanted only to see them and offer them the services of the mission. This chief had me summoned to request that I place the camp close to his village, which would contain about three hundred married men. The next day I went into it and everyone received us with pleasure. I talked to them of religious matters and they said to me that [illegible]16 they were made Christians, but that it had to be there. Three of them who wanted to go with me presented themselves and they started out very happy. When we reached the village of Quihuama, the chief, who already knew I was coming, had hidden the people in the brush. While I was dismounting, he had caused them to drop their clothing and flee to the thickets. In consequence I was not able to speak to anyone.

I was now about six leagues from Telamé and was hemmed in by a big river, which afforded no transit anywhere. It runs along the northern side of the valley and forms a lake and swamps where the plain obstructs its flow. I decided to turn back, for to persist in going on to Telamé would mean a long detour. So I went back, accomplishing the operation without any event worth mentioning, as far as the village of our friends at Thuohuala, called, in the language of San Miguel, Hubal. There we found that the village had moved. Since on my first visit I had departed on such good terms with these people, I was the more astonished at their fickleness. I decided to send some Indians to let them know I was there and that I would like to see them all together. They received these poor fellows with arrows and, if the latter had not carried with them their leather shields to defend themselves, not a one would have got back to the camp (they were below Hubal at a village called Pusas). They quickly sent word to me at the camp. The corporal and six men went out but found no one there. My Indians did not use weapons against anyone and made no more resistance than to seize arrows and take bows out of the hands of those who were offending. They took three prisoners, two women and a man, who, according to the story, were all yelling “Kill the Playanos!” [Playanos, people from the coast.] The next day the village was burned and everything in it destroyed because the people in it had taken up arms against those who had treated them well. One Indian was slightly wounded in the head; two horses were hit by arrows, one rather seriously, and another stolen with the saddle, together with all those from which the riders had dismounted in order to deliver my message.17 This village deserves severe punishment.

In all the land we have covered there is neither good water to drink nor stones nor firewood, even enough to cook a meal, except in the river bottom. The latter is overgrown with cottonwoods and willows but there is no land fit for sowing crops because everywhere is sand.

The foregoing, my respected Prelate, is the information I have to give you concerning my journey. I cannot forget that in all the time I was away there was nothing but a miserable supper at night and chocolate in the morning, that in the day I was weak and tired with traveling and in the night, no matter what protection I used, I was soaking wet till after my prayers. Nevertheless, may this all be for the greater honor and glory of God, our Lord, who, with all these labors ... [illegible] ... arrived at San Luis....

May your health..., etc.

Fr. L. de Martinez

This is a copy

Father Cabot’s Report

Fr. Juan Cabot to Prefect
San Miguel, June 1, 1816
(Archbishop’s Arch., III (1): 213-216)

He says18 that when Father Luís [Martinez] was returning from the village of Bubas he encountered six vaqueros whom he [i.e., Cabot] was sending to the village mentioned to locate the cattle which had reached there and to visit the heathen Indians. The said Father [Martinez] told them to go back, for otherwise the Indians would kill them. The vaqueros however kept on their way for “he who fears nothing, owes nothing” [el que nada teme, nada debe]. They were very well received and slept among them [the Indians] without trouble. While [they were] there the Indians related to them that the vaqueros of San Luís [i.e., those accompanying the Martinez party] prior to arriving at the village, suddenly broke out in violence along the edge of the tule swamps. They tried to stop the people from escaping but, since that was not possible, they dragged out all they could with lassos and ropes and drove them to the village. In terror, many people, principally women and children, tried to jump into the water. These were then held back with clubs and the infants were thrown either into the water or onto the ground. One youth they tied up and whipped and he still has the wounds on his back. In spite of this the Indians undertook no reprisals. Then one of them escaped into the swamp, whereupon he was followed on foot and on horseback in an attempt to catch him.

At this the chief could no longer keep in check the anger of the Indians and they began to shoot arrows at those from San Luís, not with the object of killing them but to make them retreat. In this they succeeded, and the others began a wild flight, some on horses, some on foot, even to one who “pulled off his pants so he could run faster.” They left their horses and harnesses. They [the villagers] did not want to kill anyone. A prisoner whom they captured was set free with the statement: “Go with your comrades for we do not want to kill you.” Afterward they carried out of the swamp all the material they had captured so that the other group could pick it up when they returned, as indeed they did the following day. There were lost only two horses, one shield, a hat, spurs, reins, and a pair of trousers; the latter was found after the troops had gone. All these items were turned over to the vaqueros [of Father Cabot] so that they might deliver them to the people of San Luís. Nevertheless the Indians said that the troops had burned their village, scattered their grain, and smashed their jars and grinding stones. On account of all this they were in a state of the greatest misery and fear lest the troops come back and kill them. Unless they were told what to do within a week, they would have to leave their village to go and die at the hands of other wild Indians.

- 273 -

He [Father Cabot] states that tomorrow he is going to send an alcalde to them to tell them not to be afraid and to trust the pious efforts of the Governor. He thinks those heathen are not at all to blame, judging by the docility, hospitality, kindness, and affection with which they treat the white men. His mission converts visit them without any harm and they also are accustomed to go to the mission, where he is then successful in baptizing some of them. The heathen say that if a mission were to be established for them, in the Tulare Valley, not only they but also many of their neighbors would have themselves made Christians. Finally, if the wild Indians shot arrows, it was in the exercise of their rights, for they were defending themselves against the annoyances perpetrated upon them. He [Father Cabot] believes that unless the Governor “is made acquainted with the truth, he may order them chastised, and for that very reason he begs that the matter be brought speedily to his attention.”

Father Martinez’ Rebuttal

Fr. Luís Antonio Martinez to the Governor
San Luis Obispo, June 10, 1816
(Archbishop’s Archive, III (1): 218-220)

This is an answer to the charges raised by Father Juan Cabot concerning the affair at Bubal. There are no new facts introduced, merely a polemic against his unjust accusers and a reiteration that he proceeded correctly and that the heathen were full of malice.


Fr. Antonio Jaime to Governor Sola
La Soledad, March 30, 1816
(Archbishop’s Archive, III (1): 190-191)

... telling him that last night Regidor Socio arrived from the Tulare Valley.19 He brought back the missing Christians with the exception of three women and their husbands, one because she had just given birth to a child and the other two because their children were sick. Three others are still missing, named Marcos, Pastor, and Justo. These are at the village of Cuonam where there are numerous horses run off by Sebero and Pedro Pablo from the herd of San Juan. These same individuals in the night ran off twenty horses of the herd recovered by Socio and the Capilar Tapé. Three capilares arrived, one Tapé of the village Cutuchu, another Thizac of Taché, and the other Qucurlac of Culache.20 The heathen are in all thirty-three. The capilares want to go on to Monterey with the heathen Indians to talk to the Governor.

After Easter the latter will return with them. They brought back ten horses lost on the expedition and turned them over to Corporal Sebastian.

Fr. Marcelino Marquinez to Governor Sola
Santa Cruz, December 13, 1816
(Archbishop’s Archive, III (1): 264-265)

... notifying him [the Governor] of the pleasure he had, yesterday and day before yesterday, because some forty sons of his mission who had run away returned. They are natives of the villages of Malime,21 Chaneh, and Lucham. With them came others, heathen (men and women) of Malime. That village has now been abandoned permanently, for they have “left neither old men nor old women, nor blind, nor deaf, nor dogs,” nor is there anything to cause them to return. Some of them went to the village of Tasnil looking for a Christian boy whose relatives had previously taken him there. The searchers were told that he was in a village farther on. There now began a lively battle in which the Christians killed four heathen and took away from them two horses, one from Rancho Carmel and one from the town.

The pleasure of Father Jaime is great but his happiness has not been complete because there are still missing many Christians from the village of Notoalh who have withdrawn far into the mountains, fearing a surprise attack by the troops, among whom is Egidio, the accomplice of Chivero....


There follow herewith the two documents relating to the joint expedition to the delta in 1817. This was the final purely exploratory effort in the area. By 1820 most of the channels and landmarks were well known and river navigation offered few obstacles. By this time the Indians, except those along the eastern margin from Sacramento to Stockton, had been converted or driven out and little remained to interest the white man.

Father Narciso Duran’s Diary. 1817

This manuscript of six pages is entitled “Diario de la expedición de reconocimiento hecha ... en los ... ríos del Sacramento y San Joaquin.” It is the diary of exploration of the delta region by Fr. Narciso Duran and Lieutenant Luís Argüello. The two explorers started out together but later separated and still later reunited. Each kept an account, this one being that of Father Narciso. It should be studied in conjunction with that of Lieutenant Argüello. There are many points of disagreement which cannot be discussed in detail.

It is to be noted that Father Fray Ramón Abella accompanied Father Duran on this expedition.

Diary of the expedition of reconnaissance made to the rivers Sacramento and San Joaquin.

Viva Jesus.

Diary of the expedition of exploration made in the month of May of 1817 by the Commandant of the Royal Presidio of our Father San Francisco, Lieutenant Don Luís Argüello, with his launch San Rafael, alias “The Fine One,” and by the Fathers Fray Ramón Abella, minister of the Mission of Our Father of San Francisco, and Fray Narciso Duran, minister of San José, with the launch named San José, alias “The Fisherman,” in the only two rivers which enter the Port of Our Father San Francisco, called the Sacramento and the San Joaquin.

13th day of May. We left the beach at the Presidio at ten o’clock in the morning of this day with a fresh wind, which lasted until we had crossed the entrance of the port. By rowing we arrived at twelve o’clock at the big island of Los Angeles [Angel Island], where we ate lunch. At five o’clock in the afternoon we left the island, and having passed Point San Pablo, which is on the side of the mainland of San José, we stopped at eight o’clock in the evening, having gone in the entire day six leagues toward the northeast.

14th day. We set out at six o’clock in the morning, and with a light wind we arrived at noon at the end of the strait of the Chupcanes [i.e., Carquinez Strait]. The village of this name is Christian, part at San- 274 - José, part at San Francisco. It is fourteen leagues distant from the latter and seventeen leagues north-northeast of the former.

After lunch we set out with a fresh wind, which became strong by the middle of the afternoon, in the direction of the Ompines toward the east. In this area one recognizes the mouths of the only two rivers which flow through this strait to the Port: one comes from the north and northeast and is called the Sacramento, the other from the east and southeast and is called the San Joaquin. I say they are the only two rivers, for it seems that the many openings and branches which form so many islands of brush and tulares, as well also as some other rivers which are found here, all come to discharge their water into the two rivers mentioned. Thus although the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada form certain rivers, as has been stated, nevertheless all of them lose their identity and are lost in the two principal rivers just described.

In the meantime, night having approached and the boat of the Commandant having gone ahead, he stopped on the mainland of San José at the mouth of the San Joaquin. We two Fathers in the other boat followed the route agreed upon, and took the mouth of the Sacramento so as to reach the opposite shore in the land of the Ompines. However, although we passed near the other boat and saw their fire, it was not possible to go back on account of the high wind. We landed on an island of tule which was flooded when the tide rose and had to take refuge in a bramble patch to protect ourselves against the water until it went down. We spent a very difficult night, although cheerfully, and a no better one was passed by the Commandant, for, although with us it was water without fire, with him it was wind without shelter.

All this day we went twelve leagues northeast and east.

15th day. The storm lasted all night. At five o’clock in the morning the Commandant arrived to join us. He got here with the main mast broken but, the Lord be thanked, without greater misfortune. It seems almost a miracle that when it fell it did not break someone’s head or kill someone. We set out soon to search for a place suitable for saying Mass, for this was the day of the Ascension. Having gone five or six leagues up the Sacramento ahead of the same wind, we landed on dry land, where Mass was said. But because this place was very exposed and cold we set forth after lunch, in the middle of the afternoon, and arrived by dark at the end of the hills of the Ompines, the latter serving us as a shelter from the storm.22 This place is called “Los Ciervos.” About a league before getting there the launch San José struck a submerged log, which scared us. However, on later examination, no damage was found, thank God! We went in this day eight leagues east and northeast.23

16th day. The storm from the northwest continued all night and at dawn left the sky covered with heavy clouds and almost raining. We left under a light breeze at eight o’clock in the morning, going northeast. At the end of a league we came to an opening to the starboard, which led to the east. This is said to be a bend in the main river. If that were true, then we would know that this river is the one which encircles the Island of the Quenemsias. We followed a branch which runs toward the north and northwest, with the intention of investigating the village of the Chucumnes. At the end of another league we encountered another opening, or arm, to port, which at first seemed to us to lead to the village mentioned. Nevertheless we left this opening and continued along the branch we had been following. We saw during this morning some boats with people and some houses empty of people, because at the noise of the launches they cleared out. At six leagues we reached another opening to the starboard, running northeast. Either the latter or the one previously mentioned is that which forms the main Sacramento River. We passed by the latter and kept along the same one we had been navigating. The whole river is made a great grove by the number and luxuriance of the trees, although only with difficulty can one get to shore. Everything is flooded owing to the rise in the rivers caused by the melting of the snow pack [in the mountains]. We stopped at six o’clock in the afternoon, having rowed eight leagues to the north, northeast, and occasionally northwest.24

17th day. All night the wind blew hard. We set out at six o’clock in the morning. After one league we came upon the opening which we passed yesterday on our left hand. A little while afterward we found the village of the Chucumnes, although it was deserted. We counted 35 houses, some 20, 40, or 50 paces in circumference, a fact which indicates a large number of people. We called to the heathen but no one appeared. This village is in a place where the river subdivides into three other branches. One goes to the south, which is the one I say we passed yesterday on the left, another goes to the west but we do not know where it ends, although it is supposed that, making a turn to the southwest, it goes to join the southerly branch. The other goes north.

Having eaten we started again at two o’clock in the afternoon and took the branch to the north. The great meadow of yesterday still continues and both banks are flooded. At six o’clock we stopped opposite a slough which is said to lead to the village of the Ylamnes. We went during the entire day no more than four leagues, because the river flows with a strong current. The direction today has been northwest, north, and northeast.25

18th day. After having said Mass, since it was Sunday, we set out in the same direction upstream, northeast. At the end of a league (which cost us much labor to cover on account of the great force of the current) we entered the main Sacramento River which runs from north to south. It is the same one we left on the 6th to the right hand, or starboard, although I cannot decide which of the two channels it was, whether the first or the last. We kept on up the river, which is very wide and of great depth, and at half a league we stopped to eat. Hardly had we finished eating when suddenly our people became very much excited, saying that the heathen Indians were coming to annoy us. But no one appeared. We started out again at two o’clock in the afternoon. After going a league we found an opening to the right which makes a turn and joins the river again two leagues upstream.26 About five o’clock we descried the well-known Sierra Nevada to the northeast through a clearing in the trees which border the river. The whiteness of the mountains seemed to everyone to be snow, although the range contains also (as is said) a kind of white rock which resembles the latter [i.e., snow]. We kept on a little farther up and stopped at sunset, having gone in the day some five leagues northeast, north, and northwest.27

19th day. We started at seven o’clock in the morning and continued upstream. After going one league we came upon a village called Chuppumne on the east bank, the inhabitants of which fled at the sound of the boats, leaving only two old women more than sixty years old. After catechizing these, I baptized them because it seemed to us that they were likely to die before Divine Providence could provide another occasion upon which they might be baptized in a mission. We left this village at ten o’clock and stopped to eat- 275 - at noon. We started out again at two o’clock in the afternoon and in the distance saw two villages with people and another, for some time abandoned and covered with water. The river is very high and so flooded on both sides that one can scarcely get ashore. We stopped at sunset having during the day traveled ten leagues north and northwest.28

20th day. We started up the river at six o’clock in the morning with the intention of finding an open spot where a cross might be set up, and where we might cease our ascent of the river, turn around, and retreat downstream. After three leagues, when the launches were close to the western shore, some rafts were noticed in a near-by tule swamp. On going to investigate these some [of our Indian] converts came upon a village of heathen, who fell upon them with weapons and with the ferocious screams to which they are accustomed. Quickly the Commandant went with the troops and the other converts to talk to them. They were pacified and explained themselves, saying that they had taken up arms thinking that we were enemies. They presented us with torous, which is a kind of roasted soap root, and came in peace, telling us that a little higher up was their village and that there they would wait for us in order to give us fish. We had our meal and then set out, going a league higher up. But we did not encounter or see a village or a heathen Indian except a poor old man, sleeping under a tree, who had not yet heard our boats. We gave him some pinole and sent him on his way. Seeing that no one was coming, we made a cross on an oak tree. The cross having been consecrated and worshiped by our company, served to mark the limit of our upward journey. At this place it appears to be possible to approach by land in the dry season, because although in the immediate vicinity tules are to be seen, nevertheless probably everything is dry by October for there is no water other than the overflow from the river. It is therefore to be supposed that from here on it is better to follow the course of the river by land than by water. In this manner the immense expanse of land may be explored which extends to the end of the Sierra Nevada and which likely is inhabited by innumerable heathen. Once the entrance to the Sierra is discovered, which the end seems to offer as a probability, it would be possible to test the truth of the story which the Indians have told for many years that on the other side of the Sierra Nevada there are people like our soldiers. We have never been able to decide definitely whether they are Spaniards from New Mexico, Englishmen from the Columbia, or Russians from Bodega.

From here we could make out at about ten leagues northwest the very high hill called Jesus Maria by the troops who have passed near its slopes. It is entirely covered with snow.29 It is said that near by flows a large river of the same name which enters the Sacramento River, and it is to be suspected that it is a branch of the Columbia. This I heard from some soldier, and it may be true. We went upstream today four leagues north and northwest.

At four o’clock in the afternoon we began to descend, and at sunset we stopped on the west bank opposite the place where we stopped on the 18th, having gone fourteen leagues in three or four hours on account of the great force of the current. The direction is south and southeast.30

21st day. We set out at seven o’clock in the morning and in a little while encountered on the right hand the slough through which on the 18th we entered the main river. Leaving the latter and following the former [i.e., the main river, to the left], after one league we came to a rancheria called that of the Ochejamnes, which had forty houses but no people. A little while thereafter we passed the head of the Island of the Quenemsias.31 Here we left the main Sacramento River, which runs to the southwest, on the right hand and took a channel to the southeast at the entrance to which in the year ... the heathen Indians murdered Julio, the alcalde of San José. The launches got through with effort on account of the many logs in the channel. At six leagues we came upon the village of the Guaypens, with a few people, where we baptized seven souls, all aged, invalids, or children. Here we had lunch and, having started again at three o’clock in the afternoon, we stopped at the place called “Las Cruces.” It was our intention on the next day to reach the San Joaquin River and ascend it as far as the village of the Passasimas. We went in all today fifteen leagues, south and southeast.32

22nd day. We set out at seven o’clock in the morning and, shortly after reaching the end of the branch, or slough, in which we were traveling yesterday, we found another coming in from the northeast on the left side. We passed this and followed south and southeast through a very broad channel which leads to the San Joaquin River. Here the launches separated. That of the Commandant directed its way to the west and northwest in order to reconnoitre two or three islands in which are living hidden some fugitives from San José. We with the other launch, took a south and southeasterly direction, ascending the San Joaquin River, with the intention of scouting the villages of the tule swamps. At four o’clock we halted in a very muddy spot on account of the extreme heat, which was exhausting the oarsmen. We started out again at six o’clock with the idea of traveling all night.

23rd day. We went all night, except for a while during which we stopped in the boat itself, and at eight o’clock [in the morning] we arrived near the village of the Passasimas. During the night we passed on our right the village of the Nototemnes, who are already Christians in San José and who were living almost in the middle of the tule swamps. On the left hand we passed the Tauquimnes and Yatchicomnes and on the same side live the Passasimas previously mentioned. A little to the northeast of these are the Mokelumnes. Some of the Passasimas came out to greet us in peace. This is not strange because they have been many times in the mission [San José] and several of them have been baptized. After breakfast we went on foot to visit some of their houses, where I baptized four heathen sixty or seventy years of age. Then, having commended them to God and having pointed out the necessity that they consider being made Christians, we returned to the boat, accompanied by the Indians. Here they told us again the story of how, on the other side of the Sierra Nevada (from which we were perhaps ten leagues distant) there were white men. But no definite conclusions could be reached, as was set forth on May 20.

At four o’clock in the afternoon we embarked, returning by the same way we had come. In a short distance 113 heathen Indians were waiting for us, Yatchicomnes and Mokelumnes. Half of them were painted and armed as for war. We approached, and after we had talked to them they put down their weapons and begged for peace. These heathen live mostly on solid ground and they could be visited on horseback if this became necessary. They penetrate to the slopes of the Sierra Nevada and state that the whiteness one sees is rock and not snow. However, it is most probable that the Sierra has both snow and white rock which resembles it. At six o’clock we bade them farewell, giving them some wheat, etc. They promised us that they would come and make a visit to the mission. During yesterday and the previous night we must have covered eleven or twelve leagues toward the south- 276 - and southeast. We traveled hard all night, going north and northwest.33

24th day. At dawn we found ourselves on approximately the same parallel as that where we were at the start of the trip of the 22nd. At eight o’clock we arrived at the place called “Los Meganos”34 opposite the Julpunes. Here we ate breakfast. At noon we started out to meet the Commandant in the Strait of the Chupcanes [Carquinez Strait], which we reached at six o’clock in the afternoon. There we met the gentleman mentioned, he having got there in the morning. The region traversed this afternoon is the mouth of the San Joaquin, and it must be crossed at high tide because it contains a shoal on which boats run aground. The difference noticed between the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin is that the latter carries a smaller volume of water, although in some places it is wider. All that we have passed is nothing but pure tule swamp, without a tree under which the wanderer will find shade or a stick of wood with which to warm himself. On the other hand, the Sacramento, when it is not flooded, has dry land on both banks, with groves of trees as before described, and seems to carry a greater volume of water. We covered during the preceding night and during the day twenty leagues north, northwest, and west.

25th day. At dawn of this day of the Pentecost Mass was sung and thereafter again the Praefacio so that during the next two days Mass should not be lacking. We set out at nine o’clock with a headwind. It was quite hard navigating through the whole strait, which will be about two leagues long and one half, more or less, wide. After leaving the strait the sea was fair and at three o’clock in the afternoon we arrived at a place called Olegario Point near Angel Island. Here we stopped after having traveled some ten leagues toward the southwest.

26th day. At two o’clock in the morning, before the tide had finished going out, we passed the narrow entrance of the harbor, arriving almost by dawn at the beach of the Presidio. After having said Mass at the latter place we returned to the Mission of Our Father San Francisco with all good fortune, thanks to the Lord, to whom be the Glory forever and ever, Amen.

Fr. Narciso Duran

Luís Argüello’s Report

The second report of the expedition to the delta is a document whose title page states that it is a letter to the Governor, Don Pablo Vicente de Sola, and “incorporates” a diary of the expedition, which was “in company with Frays Narciso Duran and Ramón Abella.” The account is signed by Luís Antonio Argüello and was undoubtedly written by him. The style indicates that the letter incorporates a revision or abstract of Argüello’s diary rather than an actual copy of it (see the introduction to the letter).

The existence of two accounts of the same expedition is unusual—indeed, unique. Despite personal controversies the two narratives complement each other. Each brings out detail omitted by the other.

Luís Antonio Argüello to Governor Pablo Vicente de Sola
San Francisco, May 26, 1817

Consequent upon the orders which I received officially from you on April 11, ultimo, I accompanied the Reverend Father Fray Narciso Duran on the expedition which at the request of the said Reverend Father Duran you authorized, and which was carried out. His diary, although I have abstracted it in brief form so that you may take into consideration all the distance we have covered, you will nevertheless use, as appears most convenient to you for the purposes you have in mind. We explored these, and other lands which up till the present have been considered unknown, swarming with heathen who are overwhelmed with error and who are without the least knowledge of God, who has placed us under the conquering banner of the most Catholic and pious monarch of all those who rule in our universe, our dearly beloved sovereign and Lord, Ferdinand the Seventh. This is with the sole object of propagating our holy religion and for which pious purpose I am ready to sacrifice my comfort and my life and all the power of my mind.

With regard to this expedition which has just been completed, although you intended, as I understood according to the content of your eminent official letter, that outstanding results were to be expected, nevertheless in my opinion although the outcome was in no way unfavorable, neither was it of much value. Despite the fact that I had wished at least to make a careful survey and compile a detailed account I found myself completely prevented from accomplishing this. The reason was that I soon saw myself unable to direct my own going and coming. In consequence, since I was not able to operate according to my own wishes so as to give Your Excellency an exact account of all those lands and heathen tribes, I declined to formulate a document which could at any time be protested as defective for lack of exact and fully detailed examination of the country. I did nothing else but go where the Reverend Father Fray Narciso Duran wanted to go, and since my orders specified only that I should accompany him it seemed to me, in order to maintain harmonious relations, that I had to follow the desires of the Reverend Father mentioned. I felt that this was your intention and wish, for the expedition was organized upon the request of the said Reverend Father Duran. Thus, although I curbed my propensity to explore, it seemed to me proper to compose a day-by-day account, of which I make an exact copy.35

We started out, then, on the 13th day of the present month, between eleven and twelve o’clock in the morning and traveled to the north for twenty-one miles. We anchored for the night at Point San Pablo at eight o’clock. After an hour the launch “Josefina” of our convoy joined us, carrying the Reverend Fathers Fray Ramón Abella and Fray Narciso Duran.

The following day, the 14th, we set sail at six o’clock in the morning to the north and after going through Carquinez Strait we pointed east, one quarter northeast. The wind freshened considerably as the sun went down and the launch “Josefina” of our convoy fell behind so that it became necessary for me to shorten sail. Since even this did not permit them to catch up, we had to anchor at the strait which separates the bays of Suisun and of the Ompines and wait until the launch “Josefina” came up much later. As soon as it joined us we set out again. I ordered sail shortened as much as I could, but the wind freshened considerably so that soon the other launch fell behind again. Our launch suddenly ran aground on a shoal half a mile distant from the mainland on the side of Mission San José. However, we started again soon and by sounding we came upon the channel, which had sufficient water and which followed closely the same shore. While engaged in this operation, we were joined again by the “Josefina” which, according to the signs they made, had been heading toward the shore. We followed along the shore and by dark we saw that the launch “San José” had again fallen far behind. The night fell and the wind was quite strong, with consequently considerable swell. I held closer to the shore- 277 - in order to search for some kind of shelter. This we found and anchored at half-past eight in the evening. Immediately I caused signals to be made to the other launch so that it might join us but without success. So, without much regard to comfort, I maintained my position until three o’clock in the morning of the following day. In this day we traveled sixty miles.36

At three o’clock in the morning of the 15th, as I have said, in spite of the strong wind I made arrangements to start out in search of the launch “San José” and, after we had traveled toward the north with a quite strong southwesterly gale and in a heavy sea, a gust of wind came so strong that it broke off the mainmast. It carried the sail and all the gear into the water. At the same time the sheets of the foremast were lost. However, by a sharp maneuver we made fast the sheets of the foremast and recovered the mainsail, which had gone into the water with a piece of the mast. We continued navigating with the foremast alone toward the north. There was no other misfortune than that just described of a broken mainmast, and [the loss of] the hat of a soldier which in the flurry fell into the water and could not be recovered on account of the high wind and waves.

At six o’clock in the morning we caught sight of the launch “San José,” which had taken shelter at a very swampy island full of water. Half an hour after we descried them we joined them and found the Reverend Fathers and the soldiers who were embarked with them. They were in a very sad and pitiful situation for all night they had been unable to find a hand’s breadth of land on which to lie down. After they had related the miseries and fatigues of the preceding night, both Fathers transferred to my boat. We then turned northeast, close to the coast of the Ompines, in search of another and better shelter where we might anchor and land in order to say Mass. The wind did not abate its fury and in this fashion we sailed eighteen miles. Having taken an entrance to the main Sacramento River, we stopped in the land of the Ompines at ten-thirty in the morning and constructed a chapel, where Mass was sung in all solemnity. Reverend Father Fray Ramón Abella celebrated Mass and Reverend Father Fray Narciso Duran officiated with appropriate music, the troops all being under arms.

At half-past five in the afternoon of this day we embarked, going toward the north, with a few turns to the northeast, according to the bends of the river. We may have traveled eleven miles when we anchored at half-past eight at the point where the land of the Ompines ends, having skirted its shore all day.37

At seven o’clock in the morning of the 16th we set forth up the river always in a northerly direction with a few turns east-northeast and northwest. At five miles we passed a mouth, or arm, of the river which came from the northeast and joined that along which we were traveling, which runs north and south. Three miles farther on we descried some rafts of Indians, who immediately concealed themselves in the bushes along the riverbank. Right away we attacked them and jumped ashore to see if we could catch some, but the underbrush hindered us, for everything is covered with water and we could not follow them. They threw away all their equipment and belongings, but none of it was of value. We soon reëmbarked and followed upstream. At two miles we saw another river, which united with that which we were pursuing and which came from the northwest. We wanted to enter and explore it, but the Reverend Fathers did not wish to do this, so we continued following the same stream and halted at six o’clock in the afternoon. In the entire day we navigated fifteen miles without incident.

At six-thirty in the morning of the 17th we started up the river and at three miles we found an opening which separated from the river we were following and ran to the northwest. Suddenly we came upon a village on the west bank of the river. We thought it might contain some people and with great care we went ashore. However, we found it empty of its inhabitants, for all without doubt had fled as soon as they saw us. This village consists of thirty-six houses or huts of tule matting. After making some inquiries as to whether we might be able to catch and talk to any of the heathen, and being unsuccessful, we set sail. We followed a bend of the river to the northeast, passing by the mouth of the other channel, which separates here and runs to the northwest; the latter seems to me to be the one which we left behind us yesterday and which turns so as again to unite with the main stream of the river. We stopped at seven o’clock in the evening at a ruined village, at the end of the northeasterly bend of the river which from this point trends toward the east. We will have traveled during the whole day no more than seven miles. The current flows very rapidly because of the quantity of water carried by the river, which is at a very high level.

At ten-thirty in the morning of the 18th, after having heard Mass celebrated by the Reverend Father Fray Narciso Duran, we set out, following the bend of the river to the east, and at two miles we observed that the river on which we are traveling is a branch of the main Sacramento River, which here separates and takes a northwesterly direction. It gives off the opening, or slough, which we left behind yesterday and continues northwest, as I have said. The channel which we pursued makes a turn to the south and thus goes on to unite with the other channel and flow into the Bay of the Ompines.

At the bend and at the point where we rejoin the main Sacramento River, as stated, it contained a much greater quantity of water and has greater width. It here flows north and south. Here we saw two little rafts, which fled downstream at full speed, and we could not see where they went because our view was cut off by the bend of the river we were following. We went on northward and two miles beyond, where we joined the main channel of the Sacramento River, we stopped at twelve o’clock noon. While I was having lunch here with the Reverend Fathers, I was told that many armed heathen were coming to meet us and were ready to attack us. I immediately ordered the troops to prepare for them but they did not arrive, nor could I see them. So it seemed to me to be an exaggeration on the part of the Indian sailors, who, with their little courage and in terror at seeing themselves in a land swarming with so many heathen Indians, thought we must be ambushed since we were so exposed. I ordered sentinels to be sent on ahead in all directions to advise me of any advance on the part of the heathen, for the terrain was very favorable to them. This was because of the very dense thickets and the immense tule swamps, all submerged and covered with water, which have extended as far as we have come.

We stayed here until four o’clock, after which we started out and continued up the river until dark when we stopped. We may have covered this day sixteen miles, without incident.

At six o’clock on the morning of the 19th we started up the river toward the north, with an occasional turn east, northeast, or northwest. At eight o’clock in the morning, having gone about three miles, we descried several little rafts, which by rowing hid themselves along the northwest bank of the river. Suddenly we noticed a village to the east, some three hundred paces from the riverbank. We landed with every precaution,- 278 - for we perceived that there were people there. Although we were held up by a slough which branches from the river itself and passes between the latter and the village, we got across on the shoulders of the Indian sailors. When we reached the village, its inhabitants had already escaped into the underbrush and the tule swamps. Only two old and very feeble women were to be found, who, after being preached to, were baptized by the Reverend Father Fray Narciso Duran. After giving them a few beans and peas, I instructed them to tell their chiefs and other people of the village that on their return they should wait for us there. I said that they should not desert their houses, that we would make them gifts, and that we would visit them without doing any harm to them. Having thus convinced them [the old women], we left them in the village. Following our course, we noticed that the heathen were appearing in crowds along the riverbank, without doubt at the news of our boats. We stopped at seven o’clock in the evening, having sailed during this entire day about twenty-eight miles.

At six o’clock in the morning of the 20th we set out up the river, no doubt at the insistence of the Reverend Father Fray Ramón Abella, for already on the afternoon of the previous day, the Reverend Father Fray Narciso wanted to turn back. Although I regretted it, I did not find it advisable to continue farther upstream. Although we were already seeing the Sierra Nevada and my desire was to reach it, carefully examine the river in the interior of the range, discover the direction it has at its exit, and at least get acquainted with the lands and heathen population which would be encountered before reaching the mountains, nevertheless I supported the request of the said Reverend Father Duran in order not to oppose his desire to return.

We sailed on up the river five miles to the north. With the intention of setting up a cross the said Reverend Father Fray Ramón went ashore here with a corporal and four soldiers and went to hunt a place suitable for placing it. I stayed in the boat, but in a little while I was told that some heathen Indians had been descried. I immediately ordered them to be followed to see if a few could not be caught and brought back without hurting them. However, soon a second message was returned to me that the heathen were coming in considerable numbers to attack us. I quickly landed, leaving four soldiers in charge of the boats. I, with the rest, went toward them [the Indians] and reached the point where the corporal and soldiers were who had gone with Father Ramón. They were awaiting the Indians, who were approaching under arms. As soon as we had all reassembled, we advanced on them, but they had not the courage to attack us or even to maintain the position they were holding, because immediately they retreated to find shelter in a thicket at their rear. As for ourselves, we halted because we were held up by the deep water in a slough that intersects with the river itself. The heathen did not cease to hurl their insults. Then I sent the interpreters to approach a little closer but so that the heathen would not be offended and fire at them, having previously instructed the interpreters what they should say.

Seeing that nothing could be accomplished [in this manner], I resolved to go closer myself and, with Sergeant Soto, I left the rest of the troops in the position they occupied with instructions that if we were attacked, they were to advance. We went toward the Indians, I and Soto, and, carried on the shoulders of the Christian Indians, we got within fifty paces of them. Although I wanted to get closer, the deep water at that point prevented us. Nevertheless, I continued talking to them through interpreters, saying that it was my intention not to do them harm unless they did something first. They apologized but did not lay down their arms.

Thus I stayed for an hour. After a lot of yelling and insults we decided that we would wait for them in their village and that they would not abandon it. It was found to be a matter of two miles by boat from where we had left them to the place where their village was situated. I quickly went back and embarked. Having gone upstream, we reached the parallel of the village, which was situated about four hundred paces northwest of the bank, and did not encounter its inhabitants, for they had all run away. Nor could we reach it on account of the great amount of water in the intervening space, for the river was flowing at a very high level. I sent some Indians but they brought back only a decrepit old man, who had hidden himself because he could not follow the others in their flight. He was given a present and sent off.

I wanted much to stay here until the following day but the irritation shown by the Reverend Father Fray Narciso Duran, who wanted to turn around, determined me to accede to his wishes and retreat, although with inward misgivings. The Reverend Father Fray Ramón Abella improved the time by constructing a cross, which he blessed with solemnity and which we worshiped with much devotion. This place was given the name of San Bernardino, whose day our Holy Mother Church was celebrating. At five o’clock in the afternoon of this day we turned around and took a southerly direction downstream. The boats traveled with great speed with the current. We stopped to camp for the night without having noticed anything of particular interest.

This river, as measured in its narrowest part, is 200 varas wide and 7, 8, and 10 brazas deep.

On the following day, the 21st, we started out on the same route downstream. A few isolated villages were encountered, their inhabitants gone, which the soldiers reconnoitred. I did not see them, nor did I want to go ashore, but in the village where the two old women who had been baptized were left, the soldiers were told that it had been abandoned by the natives, after they had destroyed the houses. Such is the fear that fills the breasts of these unfortunate heathen. At ten-thirty o’clock in the morning we left the main stream of the Sacramento, which makes a turn here and runs to the northwest, and took a branch which here cuts off from the big river and runs southward. After having sailed along this branch for five miles, we suddenly came upon a village of the heathen, situated on the east bank of the branch, or slough. All the Indians ran away, hiding themselves in the brush and tule swamps. It was possible to gather up only a few women and children of both sexes and nine buck Indians. This was with much effort, for the troops had to wade through the water at places up to their waist, and passage was entirely prevented by the mud. The reverend fathers occupied themselves by baptizing some feeble old women and another woman, who was seen to be seriously ill. As soon as the reverend fathers had finished I made a short speech to the Indians and left them in their village. We continued sailing until six o’clock in the afternoon when we stopped at the confluence of this slough and the River San Joaquin. The latter comes down from the southeast and joins the River of the Holy Sacrament so as to form the bays of the Tulpunes, Ompines, and Chupucanes. From here the two rivers, in one body, discharge through the Strait of the Karquines so as to empty into the Bay of San Francisco.

On the 22nd the Reverend Father Fray Narciso decided to ascend the San Joaquin River in order to visit a rancheria called Pasasimes. Together with Sergeant Soto I obtained information concerning the- 279 - situation of this village and the condition of the Indians living in it, with the purpose of going in another direction in case there was no fear of an attack by the heathen. The said Soto told me that in the region in which this village is situated there was no cause for apprehension, that the Indians of this village went often to Mission San José and that they were very docile. Nevertheless I gave the necessary orders and instructions for him, with seven soldiers, to accompany the Reverend Father Duran while I with the corporal and four soldiers separated from them with the idea of returning to the southwest and northwest of the Island of the Quenemsias, where the runaway Christians of San José were hiding.

We in the two boats then set out together but after having sailed four miles the launch “Josefina” took a southerly course up the San Joaquin while I kept on to the northwest. I soon put about to the north, taking a channel which, according to the Indian pilot, was an arm of the river which connected with the Sacramento. We sailed up this channel and at five miles descried a crowd of Indians in the tules at the edge of the river. Immediately I had all the Indian sailors jump ashore to see if they could catch a few [of the natives], whom they quickly reported to be the Christian fugitives. We could not get out of the boat because everywhere was a swamp. The sailors pursued them a good stretch but, since the fugitives had a great advantage, they [the sailors] could not catch anyone. However, they captured good booty, because the Christian fugitives, in order better to escape, abandoned everything. The sailors, very happy with the putian (which is what they call pillage in their language), reëmbarked and we continued our voyage.

Going on upstream we observed that the river narrowed a great deal, so much indeed that when I tried to turn around, we found ourselves in such a narrow spot, with the current so rapid and strong, that I resolved to go back, even with great effort, as soon as I could. But we had to sail once more for about seven miles to the north. Then, taking a northwesterly direction through another slough which we encountered, we sailed about ten miles, at the end of which we turned north and entered the main stream of the Sacramento River. At seven o’clock in the evening we halted for the night on the same island.38

At six o’clock in the morning of the following day, the 23rd, we started out to the north and at five miles bore east, following the bend of the river. We sailed on about seven miles and stopped around eleven o’clock on account of the excessive heat and because we wanted to cut a pole to provide a mast for the boat and replace the mainmast which broke off on the 15th. All this island is covered with an abundance of wood and we were entirely without any.

Since all the island was found to be flooded owing to the very high water in the river, I sent the Indian sailors with an axe to cut a tree while I and the soldiers were eating lunch. They got so far away from us that they unexpectedly ran onto the Christian fugitives from San José and attacked them. As soon as word of this reached me, while we were eating, I and the five men immediately broke off our meal, but although we pushed about a quarter of a league through the swamp, we could get no farther forward on account of the deep water. Thereupon I ordered the Indian who had brought the message to tell the sailors that they should make their retreat and that we would wait for them on the spot to see if the runaway Indians pursued them. Soon they arrived, telling the story that they had got away and crossed a branch of the river by swimming. Each side shot a few arrows at the other but no damage was done except to one San José Christian, who was wounded in the leg. We embarked and continued upstream in pursuit of the fugitive Indians. We found the village but it was without inhabitants. Although we landed and traveled through the thickets, which are extremely dense, it was very difficult to catch any of them unless by surprise. So at about five o’clock we went back on board the boat and sailed some five miles to the northwest, where we stopped with the intention of cutting a tree. But since we could not find one suitable for the mast of the launch, at eight o’clock in the evening I decided to go back. Having sailed all night, at six o’clock in the morning of the 24th, we anchored in the bay of the Chupucanes, there to await and join the launch “Josefina” and pass through Carquinez Strait.39

She arrived at six o’clock in the afternoon of this day. Here we remained until the following day, the 25th, when Mass was celebrated at nine o’clock in the morning. At ten-thirty o’clock we set sail and navigated until four o’clock in the afternoon. With the aid of the high tide we anchored off Point San Pablo. The launch “Josefina” did not stop but kept on to the Island of Los Angeles, five miles north of the Presidio. At eight o’clock in the evening we departed from Point San Pablo and at ten o’clock rejoined the launch “Josefina.” At twelve o’clock the latter started to cross to the Port. I waited until one o’clock in the morning, at which time we made the crossing to the port and anchored without incident at two o’clock in the morning of the 26th at the wharf. The launch “Josefina” went by another course and arrived safely shortly after we did.

This is in substance all that I can give your Excellency as official information. I still entertain regret that I have not been able to secure more exact information, as I had wished, for the reasons which I outlined at the beginning.

May God preserve many years the life of your Excellency.

Luís Argüello

San Francisco, May 26, 1817

- 280 -


Apart from the records of major expeditions given in the previous chapters a few scattered items from the Bancroft Library documents are worth presenting. The first six below refer to various informal forays and raids and give an idea of the character of these in the period near 1820. The last two are excerpts from recollections of early Spanish and Mexican pioneers as recounted to Hubert Howe Bancroft’s assistants in 1877 or 1878. The historical accuracy of these last is low, since they refer to events which occurred sixty-five years before the telling. Nevertheless, the personal flavor is worth preserving, including the unabashed boastfulness. No detailed comment is required.

Fr. Juan Cabot to Captain de la Guerra
San Miguel, May 23, 1818
(De la Guerra Docs., VII: 88-89)

In the village of Tulame there are at present thirty-three Christians from several missions; as a rule, this is the place of refuge ... from the direction of Santa Barbara there is no access because everything is surrounded by water, but by way of Bubal there is access.

Before getting to Telame there are five villages, among them Quiuamine, where they killed the Christian of San Buenaventura. The Santa Barbara soldiers could stop them from escaping by water. In Yulumne there are some [fugitives] also.

If the other villages are treated in a friendly manner, without our giving any indication of our intentions, and the first blow is struck, I doubt if there will be any more trouble.

Regarding Telame, he says that he was there twice in different years. The first year he did not see the people “because they were almost entirely dispersed and debilitated from starvation.” The second time the people were there. The village is situated opposite the mission, a league from the Sierra Nevada, in an immense oak forest—many Indians, docile and friendly, who do not admit fugitives to their village. A little farther toward Santa Barbara is Choimoc, of the same type and character, but not as large. “None of these villages has a fixed position, but the variation is less than half a league.”

[Governor] to Captain Luís Argüello
Rancho de Real Hacienda, September 14, 1819
(Cal. Arch., St. Pap., Sacramento, II: 241-242)

He says that the time has come to make the expedition at San José. The primary object is to recover the fugitives from that mission and chastise the heathen Indians who are sheltering them, as well as to take away from them the horses which, according to what Father Narciso Duran has told him, are in their possession. He considers that Sergeant José Sanchez is competent to lead the expedition, but only because he [Argüello] feels himself indisposed. For this purpose he is sending forty men who have arrived from San Blas. He [Argüello] will instruct them day and night in the operation of their weapons.

[Governor] to Captain Luís Argüello
Rancho Rey, October 13, 1819
(Cal. Arch., St. Pap., Sacramento, II: 243-244)

He thinks the expedition must have started to the outskirts of San José for the purpose of recapturing the horses from the wild Indians, and he has given orders that Lieutenant Estudillo, with Sergeant Pico and thirty men, set out to make a campaign.

[Governor] to Captain Luís Argüello
Monterey, November 3, 1819
(Cal. Arch., St. Pap., Sacramento, II: 244)

He will bring to the attention of the viceroy the success of the campaign made against the village of the Muquelenis.

Father Juan Martinez to Governor Sola
San Miguel, November 6, 1820
(Archbishop’s Arch., IV (1): 174)

Says that it is necessary, in compliance with his duty, to go to the villages of the Valley, Bubal, Telame, and Notonto, to confess and instruct....

He asks that he be furnished a guard for the trip so that it may be successful, both going and coming.

Father Esteban Tapis to Governor Sola
San Juan Bautista, January 22, 1821
(Archbishop’s Arch., IV (1): 199)

Last night, to his pleasure, he was visited by thirty-three heathen recently arrived from the Tulare Valley in search of baptism. Seven of them were married to seven female converts. Three brought their women who are heathen. Thirteen are single young persons or adults from nine to forty years of age. Six are infants.

They are from the villages of Hualquem, or Hualquemne, Notvolitch, Huohual, and Quisats.

José Canuto Boronda, “Notas Históricas sobre California,” 1878

The first campaign on which I went was to Kings River, which comes from the slopes of the mountains and enters Tulare Lake; from there it goes to the junction with the San Joaquin River.

At that place there were several Indian villages which had given shelter to fugitive Christian Indians from the missions. They brought out the Christian Indians they had with them and promised in the future to shelter no more runaways. The custom was, if they defaulted on that promise or committed acts of hostility, to fall upon them with military power and capture them all, taking them by force to the missions in order to baptize them. [Pp. 2-3.]...

When I was a recruit we went on a campaign to the village of Tachi. While there, I saw one of our Indian auxiliaries from San Miguel seize an old Indian woman with completely white hair. The Indian was going to kill her when I stopped him. But the Indian had already fired an arrow at close range, which perforated her skin on one side but did not enter her body. The arrows were raining around me and I had to pay attention to warding them off. When I was able to turn around again, I saw that an Indian had covered up the poor old woman with firewood and had ignited it so as to burn her alive. I ran to her and with my spear had begun to remove- 281 - the burning sticks when an arrow split the crown of my hat. Sergeant Espinosa, our Commander, yelled to me to leave the old woman and look after my own safety—but I pulled the fire away from the unfortunate Indian woman—although Father Juan Cabot himself said to me that this was no occasion suitable for a show of charity and neglect of my own interest. The Indians jumped into the lake and crossed into the swamps where it was not possible for us to follow them. These and other Indians used to have underground chambers from which they shot arrows. In some places everything would seem smooth and even, but on going across the top, horse and all would go to the bottom. These falls were extremely dangerous because the Indians would finish off the horse before he could get up. [Pp. 13-15.]

Inocente García, “Hechos Históricos de California,” 1878

After a few months I was selected to go on a campaign with five other men—Antasio Mendoza, Manuel Butron, José de las Llagas García, Dámaso Soto, and Ramón Martinez—under the orders of Sergeant José Dolores Pico.1 We accompanied Father Arroyo de la Cuesta to the other side of Santa Rita to the villages of Jayaya and Tapé (Mission San Juan Bautista) in search of young girls [monjas] whom the chiefs of these villages had offered us [i.e., for baptism].

Father Arroyo had arranged with chief Jayaya that we should come and get the girls—I already knew a little of the language of that place. Sergeant Pico took thirty armed Indians from the mission to go with us. We traveled to Jayaya and Tapé, in which there were numerous Indians. Chief Tapé had gone to La Soledad, and Father Arroyo was under the impression that he had returned to his village. Consequently the Indians did not know of the arrangements made at the mission and on our arrival we met the warriors armed and ready to fight us. The sergeant ordered our Indian auxiliaries to march straight on the village. I saw clearly that the enemy were going to overwhelm us with arrows if we did not proceed carefully, and said so to my comrades. The guide who was directing us said to the Father that the only approach was a thousand yards higher up. We went that way in order to protect our auxiliaries, who were already fighting. Two of our Indians were already dead, but we did not know it, when the auxiliaries began to run with the enemy after them.

The situation was bad, and confused, for we could not give way a step so as not to abandon our missionary. I said to Dámaso Soto, who was with me ahead of the others, that he should take out his shield, for the Indians had been putting me under heavy fire, while I covered him with mine. While Soto was getting out his shield, an arrow went through it from the back, and he started running to join the others who were with the Father. I found myself alone. So I made my adversaries think that I was going to shoot them with my musket, although I only pointed it at them. When they ducked, I began to retreat, moving backward little by little until I knew I was far enough away. Then I jumped on my horse and ran to join the others.

There I saw that Father Arroyo was talking to the Indians in their language and that they were paying no heed to him. Arrows were hailing around the Father and the soldiers and one struck the knee of my horse. I jumped to the ground and cried: “In the name of the King, everybody fire!” That I said because the Sergeant had warned us not to fire. The Father, the Sergeant, and Dámaso Soto began to run. I and the rest of my companions stayed fighting the enemy until we managed to bring down their chief, who was all adorned with feathers. This caused them to cease attacking us. Already the Indians had gained possession of the spare horses, the provisions, etc. Then I said to Manuel Butron that, since he was the senior man, he should assume command and we would all obey him, so as to aid our Indians to recover the horses from the enemy, etc. We succeeded in this, saving everything and recapturing our two [dead] auxiliaries and five live ones who were hidden in the arroyo of Santa Rita where the tules were high.

We loaded the two dead men and went to catch up with Father Arroyo, the Sergeant, and Dámaso Soto. They were about three leagues away on the slope of the hills at the place they call Baños del Padre Arroyo. The Father asked us to go to La Soledad, where the Governor was, and send the dead to San Juan. [Pp. 10-13.]

- 282 -


(pp. 241-242)

1 The Father—the missionary in charge of San Luis Obispo Mission.

2 “Capeador,” from “capear.” Literally “to steal the cape”—a bullfighting expression. By extension, to divert with lies and subterfuge. May be translated as “liar,” “cheat,” or a similar term.

3 According to the topography, the Río del Pescadero is Old River, in the delta area, Río de San Francisco Jabier is Middle River, and Río de San Miguel is the main channel of the San Joaquin. Río de la Pasión is the Calaveras.

4 The route taken by Sal can be determined with reasonable accuracy. Fifteen leagues, or 40 mi., from San José would have brought him to the vicinity of Tracy. He probably crossed Old River somewhere to the north of the present town, then, bearing northeast, crossed Middle River, traversed Roberts I., and crossed the main San Joaquin R. somewhere to the southwest of French Camp. From this point “about five leagues” would put him on the Calaveras just west of Waterloo. The entire distance would have been through oak park, as indicated by Sal.

5 In late 1776 two small expeditions penetrated the valley and crossed the San Joaquin R. The primary, and probably the only first-hand account, we have of them is contained in Palóu’s New California (H. Bolton, 1926, IV: 127-131; 155-156). In September, 1776, Fernando Quiros and José Joaquin Moraga made a joint attempt to explore the tulares. Quiros was to go by water and Moraga by land, the two parties to meet near Antioch. The plan miscarried. Quiros returned to San Francisco, but Moraga kept on for three days up the river, crossing finally somewhere near Merced (Bolton says “past the site of Modesto”). No details of what he saw or did, remain to us, however, except the statement that the east side of the river consisted of a great plain.

On November 29 (cf. Bolton, 1926, IV: 155) Don Fernando Rivera y Moncada tried it again. Palóu says: “After dinner they started.... They continued their journey by the same road that the lieutenant [Moraga] had taken and crossed the great river by the same ford. But although they traveled through the plain for some distance on the other side, they did not venture to examine the other rivers, in order not to expose themselves to the contingency that the great river might rise and cut off the ford. For this reason they did not go up as far as in the preceding examination. So they set out for home....”

There is some discrepancy between the statements of Palóu and Sal. If the latter is correct, Rivera reached (and named) the Calaveras, or Río de la Pasión. If, as Palóu says, he followed in Moraga’s footsteps, he could have gone no farther north than Modesto, and indeed would not have crossed the branches of the San Joaquin in the delta, as Sal seems to have done. It is unfortunate that no direct report of these expeditions exists.

6 According to all modern observation the rivers show no salinity detectable by taste above Antioch and certainly not above Rio Vista. If this is “muy adentro,” then Sal was correct.

7 San Juan Bautista Mission. The geography is somewhat distorted. The west side of the valley as far south as Pacheco Pass, east of San Juan Bautista, is by no means a “short distance” from the Sierra Nevada, nor is this region visible from San Francisco. In his ignorance of the actual terrain Sal foreshortened his distances considerably.

8 These references to white men and priests are intriguing. There is no evidence that Spaniards crossed the high Sierra Nevada before this date, or that they had reached the eastern flank of the mountains in western Nevada. The tales here recounted could well have been derived from contact, in trading or exploration, of the New Mexico and Sonora Spaniards with the Yokuts of the upper San Joaquin V., directly, or indirectly through the Colorado R. tribes.

9 The Julpones (or Julpunes) lived on the south shore of Suisun Bay. Quinenseat refers no doubt to the Quenemsias, who inhabited Grand Island, in the upper delta. Taunantoc and Quisitoc refer probably to other groups on the lower Sacramento or, in fact, may be merely names of persons. The words are at present impossible to identify.

(pp. 243-244)

1 The account is incomplete and there are discrepancies. Evidently there was some untoward incident, since the expedition returned with only two Christians in addition to Guchapa and his son. Furthermore when did the “heroic struggle” occur? And why did an expedition to a not far distant point like Cholam consume twenty days?

2 This figure seems to establish Martin’s estimate of the population of the Tulare L. area.

3 This statement is important since it demonstrates the previous experience of the Indian women with the Mexican soldiers.

4 Argüello must have gone into the valley, otherwise there is no sense to the mention of rivers, tule swamps, etc. Furthermore, 32 days is a long trip, hardly to be spent in the coast ranges.

5 Probably Joscolo, a prominent Indian rebel and bandit, later captured and beheaded in Santa Cruz Co. Perhaps he was not a bandit. Perhaps he was an Indian patriot. Would it be subversion to suggest the idea?

6 No women and children were found. This alone proves the utter disruption of native society, even at this early date.

(pp. 245-255)

1 On July 20 the party went from Santa Ynez Mission- 283 - north to Jonatas, at Las Olivas, then to Saca on Alamo Pintado Cr. The next village, Olomosong, was probably on the Sisquoc R. near the 120th meridian. After 4 leagues further travel they reached Gecp, apparently on the south slope of the Sierra Madre range, because after climbing a mountain they came out onto plains, no doubt the Cuyama V., in approximately T 10 N, R 28 W (San Bernardino base line). Two leagues to the east was Talihuilimit.

2 Lisahua was probably in lower Salisbury Canyon in T 9 N, R 26 W. Cuia may have been in lower Santa Barbara Canyon, T 9 N, R 25 W. Siguecin would then have been 12-15 mi. up the canyon to the south.

3 The party evidently bore more to the north and found Sgene somewhere in lower Cuyama V., T 10 N, R 25 W.

4 Malapoa is located by Gifford and Schenck (1926) as on Bitterwater Cr. It is identified by them with Hoschiu of the Yokuts tribe, Tulamni. All the preceding villages were Tokya Chumash (see Kroeber, 1925, pl. 47). Nopalea can have been on either Bitterwater or Santiago Cr.

5 Buenavista can have been 8 leagues north of either Bitterwater or Santiago Cr. It is identified by Gifford and Schenck as Tilamniu, which Kroeber (1925, pl. 47) puts on the western or northwestern end of the lake. Sisupistu is considered to be Pohalin Tinliu at the southeast corner of Kern L. The big river is of course the Kern.

6 Six leagues from Sisupistu would have brought Zalvidea to the mouth of either Tejon or El Paso Cr. at the edge of the foothills. In the reconnaissance of July 28 the group explored the lower courses of El Paso, Tejon, and Pastoria creeks. Tupai is placed doubtfully by Gifford and Schenck at Tejon Ranch on El Paso Cr.

7 The party apparently doubled back west past Grapevine Cr. to Tacui which was undoubtedly Tecuya on Tecuya Cr.

8 Nine leagues north of Tecuya, on the Kern R. was Yaguelame, which Gifford and Schenck think was either Loasau or Woilo. My preference is the latter since Loasau was on Kern L. rather than the river and since Woilo is very close to 9 leagues from Tecuya.

9 The eastern end of Kern L. in T 32 S, R 28 E (Mt. Diablo base line).

10 Gifford and Schenck place Taslupi on Tejon Cr. This conforms with the distances given. However it is more likely to have been Pastoria on Grapevine Cr. since the party arrived at Castaic, at the head of Grapevine Cr., on August 7.

11 Antelope V.

12 The San Gabriel Mts. The party crossed the mountains and went southwest to San Gabriel Mission. Several villages of the Serrano Indians were seen but the area concerned is well beyond the limits of the San Joaquin V.

13 Camp was on San Benito R., 1 1/2 leagues from San Juan Bautista, not on Pacheco Cr., as stated by Cutter (MS, p. 100).

14 Camp was approximately at San Luis Ranch, where Highway 152 crosses San Luis Cr.

15 The camp at Santa Rita was 15 to 20 mi. east of San Luis Gonzaga and 5 or 6 mi. west of the main San Joaquin R. (see account of the 4th day). According to distances this point would be on Salt Slough or Paso Slough, a few miles northeast of Los Baños. The course of the sloughs and the channels of the San Joaquin are difficult to locate with precision on a modern map because of the drainage and reclamation operations of the past century.

16 Camp on the San Joaquin may be assumed to lie in T 8 S, R 11 E.

17 This village may be placed on the east bank of the river in T 11 S, R 14 E. It was one of the several villages along the lower San Joaquin which had been effaced so thoroughly that modern informants gave ethnographers no indication that they had ever existed.

18 Cutter (MS, p. 104) thinks this was Bear Cr., rather than Mariposa Cr., since it is approximately 3 leagues south of the Merced R. I see no reason to disagree with him.

19 The party which went north reached the Merced R. somewhere west of Livingston in T 6 S, R 11 E. The other party, which must have gone north-northeast, probably reached it east of Cressey at the crossing of Highway 99. The village where the old woman was baptized was Chineguis, according to the list at the end of the diary. Near by were Yunate, Chamuasi, Latelate, and Lachuo, some of which were seen on the return trip. On September 29 Muñoz saw Chineguis, and the other party found 5 other villages. Within the area, therefore, was a minimum of 6 villages. The average population was about 225 souls, according to the village list, or a minimum total of 1,350 persons. Very possibly the number of villages was greater, particularly if it be assumed that Moraga’s 5, seen on the 29th, are in addition to the 5 listed for the Merced by Muñoz. Certainly the total number of inhabitants between the San Joaquin R. and the foothills must have been fully 2,000.

20 The Tuolumne, according to the direction, near Modesto. The presence of several villages, although deserted, indicates a fairly heavy Indian population.

21 Undoubtedly Dry Cr. The description is valid even today.

22 The Stanislaus. The party, if it continued in a northwesterly direction from near Modesto would have reached the river at, or east of, Ripon. The remnants of the oak forest can still be seen. It extended perhaps a mile each side of the river at this point and ran parallel to the stream continuously from the junction with the San Joaquin eastward to beyond Oakdale. Here the valley oak park merges with the general foothill forest and chaparral.

23 This spot is difficult to locate according to the description. However, 6 leagues upstream from the vicinity of Ripon or Riverbank barely reaches the limestone bluffs just below Knights Ferry. Certainly no place lower on the river could possibly provide the physical characteristics demanded by the account. These bluffs are not very high but are unquestionably precipitous. Without heavy equipment an invader would be hard put to scale them. As an alternative one must go far into the foothills beyond the Calaveras-Stanislaus County line. Not only is this distance greater than is indicated by Muñoz but also the description- 284 - lacks any indication that the party had really entered the mountains. The best guess is the vicinity of Knights Ferry.

24 There is some controversy concerning the ethnographic affinity of the natives living in this area. Kroeber thinks they were Yokuts. He mentions as Yokuts groups (Handbook, p. 485) “the Tawalimni, presumably on Tuolumne River, which appears to be named from them; the Lakisamni ... rancheria at Dent’s or Knights Ferry on the Stanislaus....” Schenck (1926, p. 141) says, under the caption Taulamne: “The villages Taulamne and Taualames are both definitely placed, the former on an inaccessible rock on the Stanislaus river in the foothills, the latter at the ford of the San Joaquin just below the mouth of the Tuolumne river.... This seems to establish the region between the lower Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers as Taulamne territory.” Kroeber on his map of the region (Handbook, pl. 37) draws the line between Miwok and Yokuts at the county boundary, near which the village of Taulamne seems to have been situated. Hence the inhabitants may have been either Miwok or Yokuts. The villages higher up the river mentioned by Muñoz must have been Central Miwok.

It is noteworthy that Muñoz makes no mention of villages on the lower Stanislaus within the very favorable environment created by the oak forest. Villages were seen on the Tuolumne but were deserted. It is highly probable that a similar series existed on the Stanislaus but by 1806 had been abandoned. The only village mentioned by name in the supplementary list is Tahualamne.

25 Cutter (MS, p. 107) concludes that the first stream (Río San Francisco) was the Calaveras, and the second (Río de la Pasión) the Cosumnes. There is little reason to disagree. The distances are right, and the linguistic border between the Miwok and the Maidu runs along the Cosumnes. On the other hand, it is difficult to explain the failure of the diarist to mention the Mokelumne, an all-year stream. Moreover a round trip of 30 leagues, or about 75 mi., is incredible, even for an accomplished group of horsemen traveling without baggage. Another guess would be that Muñoz meant the first river was 6 leagues from the starting point on the Stanislaus and the second 9 leagues from the Stanislaus, rather than 9 leagues additional. This would end the trip at the Mokelumne and satisfy the criterion of distance but would not explain the linguistic change.

26 Cutter (MS, pp. 109-110) identifies the Santo Domingo with Mariposa Cr. and the Tecolote with the Chowchilla.

27 The Santa Ana was the Fresno R. Throughout the journey from the Merced to the San Joaquin Moraga’s party stayed close to the eastern edge of the valley. On the seasonal streams found in this area there was a distinct absence of permanent Indian settlements. Pizcache, on the San Joaquin, is listed in the appendix directly following Lachuo, on the Merced. On the San Joaquin, Moraga probably halted approximately north of Fresno, below Le Grand.

28 There is a discrepancy here. Moraga, or Muñoz, says that this village was in the mountains or at least the foothills. But Kroeber (Handbook, p. 484) says that the Pitkachi “held the south side of the San Joaquin, living at Kohuou, near Herndon or Sycamore; at Weshiu, on a slough; and at Gewachiu, still farther downstream.” Gayton (1948, p. 5) says: “After getting aid Derby’s party reached the bend of the San Joaquin River, country attributed to the Pitkachi, on May 24.” It appears as if this group moved downstream between 1806 and 1850.

29 For comment on the New Mexico legend see Cutter (MS, pp. 110-111).

30 Kings R. was reached near Sanger or Centerville.

31 No record exists of this expedition.

32 The village list at the end of the report mentions by name Aycayche and 4 other villages which can be ascribed to the Kings R. basin. The text mentions Ayquiche plus 6 others upstream and 3 downstream, a total of 9. Evidently the village list does not include all those which were actually seen.

33 The entry for the 27th day (17 Oct.) is missing. However it is clear that on the 28th day the scouts reached the great oak forest along the Kaweah delta at or above Visalia. To this area the main party moved on the 29th day (19 October). The water evidently was very low—somewhat unusual for this region, even in October. The large village of 600 souls, at which 22 persons were baptized was Telame, according to the statements under dates 19, 21, and 23 October, and also the description in the village list. These are the Telamni of the ethnographers, and are repeatedly mentioned by the early explorers.

34 The tremendous aboriginal population of the lower Kaweah drainage is attested by several lines of evidence. It probably reached a much higher figure than the 3,000 mentioned by Muñoz.

35 The Tule R.

36 After a winding course for two days, the party camped on the Tule R. near the foothills, probably not far from Porterville.

37 Probably Deer Cr.

38 Probably White R.

39 No distances are given, but from the description the most likely stream is Poso Cr.

40 The Kern R., probably some miles above Bakersfield. A “long trip” downstream would have brought them into the slough country south of Bakersfield. From the entire absence of any mention of Buenavista L. farther to the west it is clear that Moraga did not get within sight of it.

41 Grapevine Canyon. As Muñoz predicted, Father Zalvidea left an account of the villages in this area (see his report for the expedition of Aug., 1806).

42 On the last three days the party left the valley by way of Grapevine Canyon, over Tejon Pass, across the Tehachapi Mts. (Cutter says the Santa Susanna Range) to San Fernando Mission.

43 Olivera may be thinking of Moraga’s expedition of 1808, which went north into the Sacramento V.

44 No recorded expedition remained in the field for any such length of time.

45 Here the reference is clearly to the 1806 expedition.

46 This expedition of 1807 is otherwise unrecorded.

- 285 -

47 Possibly the entrance to the Gorge of the Kern R., east of Bakersfield.

48 The abundance of wild horses and cattle testifies to the early date at which these animals escaped from the range country of the coast and overran the plains of the valley. The effect on native economy and living habits was very great.

(pp. 256-257)

1 Cutter (MS, p. 143) places this expedition in approximately 1808 and cites evidence to support the presumption.

2 A former Chumash village in the valley of Calleguas Cr., north of the Santa Susanna Mts.

3 According to Cutter, Muscupian was the same as Moscopiabit of Zalvidea, in the vicinity of Cajon Pass. Mavialla may have been as far east as the San Bernardino Mts.

4 Referring to some incident not recorded in the official documents.

5 Cutter (MS, p. 146) says that this was Antelope V. I see no reason to disagree with him.

6 This encounter probably took place somewhere in the southeastern corner of the San Joaquin V. It was in the foothills, not near Buenavista L. or as far north as the Kern R., since neither the lake nor the river are mentioned.

The entire passage is obscure and the translation has to be very free.

7 Here apparently Palomares is talking to the chief Quipagui, who has either been defeated in the skirmish or who has consented to negotiate.

8 Cutter (MS, p. 147) thinks this may have been Grapevine Canyon and Pass. There is no evidence one way or another.

9 The party stayed at San Fernando until November 10th, when they started out again. This time they went eastward into the Mojave Desert and the area of Cajon Pass. Hence the account from this point on concerns southern California rather than the San Joaquin V.

It is probable that in the account just rendered Palomares describes encounters with mountain, rather than valley, tribes. Hence Quipagui and his cohorts were more likely Shoshonean (Kitanemuk? Alliklik?) than Yokuts. Indeed, it is not certain that Palomares ever actually reached the floor of the valley.

(pp. 258-266)

1 The route ran from Mission San José to Suñol, Dublin, Walnut Creek, and to the northeast edge of the plain between Martinez and Port Chicago. Viader’s leagues are short. By modern road—which follows very close to the old horse trail—the distance is close to 38 mi. Viader allows a total of 18 leagues for the two days, or an average of 2.1 mi. per league.

2 At or near Antioch, as is indicated by the 7 leagues covered before lunch. The large oak forest (inhabited by the Tulpunes—or rather Julpunes) extends from just east of Antioch to the vicinity of Brentwood. The halt for the night was near Oakley.

3 From Oakley to Bethany, the site of Pescadero and the home of the Bolbones, is 21 mi., which agrees with Viader’s estimate of 10 leagues. The lakes mentioned have long since vanished.

4 According to the distances given, Tomchom was north of Tracy, and Cuyens was on the left bank of the river about 3 mi. above the highway bridge. Aupemis was passed before Tomchom was reached and hence cannot be identical with Pitemis as Schenck (1926, p. 141) assumes.

With respect to the journey from Pescadero (Bethany) to San Luis Gonzaga it should be noted that, if one applies Viader’s value of 2.1 mi. per league, the distances reconcile very exactly.

5 About 2 mi. north-northeast of Vernalis.

6 On the right bank of the river east of Vernalis.

7 About 2 mi. southeast of Grayson. The skirmish described represents one of the earliest recorded armed conflicts between the Spaniards and the valley natives. It is clear that from this time forward expeditions of the white man into the interior could no longer preserve the semblance of altruism or religious motivation.

8 Probably east of Patterson.

9 Orestimba Cr., east of Crows Landing.

10 Probably 3 or 4 mi. north or northeast of Gustine, in the open treeless plain. From this point it is close to 21 mi. (10 leagues) to San Luis Gonzaga.

11 Here, as in the previous account, Viader uses a league of approximately 2.1 mi. From Mission San José to the river near Bethany is just about 32 mi., a distance Viader calls 15 leagues.

12 Two villages of the Bolbones were concerned, one on the west bank of Old River, the other on the opposite bank, on Union I. The frankly military and aggressive character of this expedition is readily apparent.

13 These elevations were of two types: (1) small, scattered mounds formed of residual calcareous sand (the so-called “sand mounds”) on the summits of which the Indians established their villages; (2) true habitation mounds, perhaps originally situated on a slight elevation, but built up by midden deposit to a height of several feet.

14 The itinerary of the 22nd and 23rd seems fairly clear. The party kept closer to the river than the expedition of August and thus apparently saw Jusmites and Tugites (or Fugites), which were not mentioned by name in the account of the previous trip. According to the present diary, Mayem was 9 leagues from Pescadero, as compared with the estimated 8 1/2 leagues in August.

Two leagues beyond Mayem in August the village under the chief Bozenats was encountered. The present record gives the name of the village, or tribe, Taualames. The identity is clear.

15 From the crossing of the San Joaquin the distances- 286 - and directions cannot be reconciled with the apparent locations. Thus the village of the Taualames would appear to lie on the east bank between the Stanislaus and the Tuolumne (Dolores), and Schenck so places it. Yet Viader says the Tuolumne R. was 2 or 3 leagues north of the village and the Merced about 6 leagues southeast. Elsewhere (on the 25th) he says that Taualames is 2 leagues below the mouth of Orestimba Cr. If so, it would be 8 or more leagues south of Mayem.

The most probable route would follow up the west bank of the San Joaquin to the vicinity of the Tuolumne, then across and up the east bank to the Merced. Having crossed the Merced and back to the west bank of the San Joaquin, the group retraced their steps downstream, past Orestimba Cr. to the starting point opposite Taualames.

16 Turning west the expedition crossed three leagues of plain and came upon Arroyo Corpus Christi, at present Del Puerto Cr. This identification is additional evidence that Taualames was about 3 leagues south of the Tuolumne R., as Viader implies. On the 26th and 27th the trail led up Del Puerto Cr. to its headwaters, past San Antonio V., and through the hills northeast of Mt. Hamilton to Mission San José. The total distance is given as 23 leagues, or about 48 mi. according to Viader’s reckoning. This is reasonably close to the actual airline distance.

17 Although the first three days of the journey concern San Francisco Bay rather than the Central Valley, it seems preferable to present a translation of the whole diary. To attempt to segregate those entries pertaining solely to the delta area would save but little space and would destroy the continuity of the narrative.

18 The body of water south of Pts. San Pablo and San Pedro and generally north and northeast of Angel I.

19 The distance, that is, will be about twice that across the Golden Gate.

20 Pt. Pinole.

21 “Tierra firme de San José.” This expression referred by convention to the entire East Bay area, including the Coast Ranges from Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay south to Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties.

22 It is clear from this statement that Abella considered 8 hours’ rowing time as equivalent to 8 leagues. A league on land was usually measured in practice by an hour on foot or horseback, and this system was based upon the usual steady progress of a horse or man throughout a day. Oarsmen in still water, and with moderate effort, could approximate the same rate. But here the boats traveled with or against tidal and stream currents, subject to drift in the winds, or traversed the sloughs, where movement might or might not be restricted. From these considerations it follows that the transposition directly of hours of travel into leagues of distance has no meaning whatever. Indeed, when the narrative states leagues, the expression should be interpreted as hours.

In the present instance the distance from the Embarcadero in San Francisco to Angel I., to Pt. San Pablo, to the entrance of Carquinez Strait, assuming straight-line navigation, is about 24 mi. This means 3 mi., or slightly less per league, according to Abella’s calculation, somewhat in excess of the usual value for the league, of 2.6 mi. But Abella states that he waited for the incoming tide, which of course would have increased his speed with reference to the shore. Hence his leagues here are long.

23 Mare I., on the north side of the channel.

24 This sentence reads: “la contra costa es la tierra de San José del Estrecho Yamado de los Carquinez es tierra muy Pelada.” To render it “the opposite shore is the mainland of San José” makes no sense since the party stopped on the south side and the north side is bare of trees.

25 From this point the journey takes Abella and his party into the actual delta. Thereafter progress is almost impossible to follow, except in broad outline. The party wandered almost at random through the tules, finally touching at spots which can be identified. This is evident from the account of Abella, who substantially admits that he was lost for days at a time. Another difficulty lies in the changes which have taken place during the past century. River channels have been leveed, new canals or channels have been excavated, great areas have been drained entirely, with complete change of vegetation. Therefore an attempt to trace Abella’s course in detail through the delta as it exists today is doomed to failure in advance. As a matter of fact the route outlined by Bancroft 80 years ago (1884-1890, II: 321-323) is likely to be reasonably close to the truth.

Even though the precise pathway cannot be reconstructed the diary is of interest both in giving a vivid impression of the great tule swamps in their pristine condition and in presenting information regarding the natives of those regions.

26 As suggested in n. 22 above, Abella’s distances in leagues are completely unreliable and should be entirely disregarded.

27 Fourteen leagues, or a minimum of 35 mi. from near Martinez to near Antioch, a truly preposterous figure.

28 The passage is obscure. It is probable that the island, and the branching of the rivers, refers to the western end of Sherman I. where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers merge. The Ompines were a tribe living on the north shore of Suisun Bay but it is quite likely that they had a fishing station on Sherman I. or some other island close to the south shore.

29 “Boca.” The word denotes the mouth or entrance of a stream or river. Here, quite evidently it is used with reference to the many openings among the islands and swamps where sloughs intersect each other or meet the rivers. From a small boat on the water only the break in the tules can be seen. Rarely is there any indication of how far, or where, the lateral channel runs. These mouths, or openings, usually resemble each other in appearance so closely that a stranger like Abella can never be sure of differentiating between them or of recognizing one the second time he passes it, unless there is some very distinctive landmark.

30 “Río del Norte,” the Sacramento. The party appears now to have been somewhere in the Big Break region off the northwest shore of Jersey I. The channel to the left cannot be identified on modern maps.

31 From the context it is clear that at this point the party entered False River, as they could not fail to do if they went upstream past Antioch, took the channel on their right, and held close to the south shore.

32 The party may have been at the foot of Mandeville- 287 - I., where Old River and the main San Joaquin unite, or at the foot of Bacon I. If the latter theory is correct, then the channel running to the left (Abella was pointing south) might have been Connection Slough, which joins Middle River a few miles to the southeast.

33 The expedition is now proceeding up Old River past Palm, Orwood, and Byron tracts, on which are still the remains of aboriginal habitation sites.

34 The long trip south, the appearance of Indians and villages on the shore, the short swing of the river to the east, and the proximity of dry land at the stopping place, all indicate arrival in the vicinity of present Highway 4, near the western tip of Union I., 3 or 4 mi. northwest of Bethany. The Bolbones, probably a Yokuts tribelet, had been converted at San José during the preceding decade.

35 Referring to Carmel R.

36 Abella makes little reference to the fact that he was accompanied by Fr. Buenaventura Sitjar and that the expedition was actually under the military command of Sergeant José Sanchez.

37 “Mais de umedad”: corn planted and dependent upon rain for moisture, as opposed to corn dependent upon irrigation.

38 The village of Pescadero is known to have been situated on the southwestern side of Union I., somewhere near White House Landing, a mile or two northeast of Bethany. The site itself is lost, the river bounded by levees, the land under cultivation. Some of the old oaks, however, still stand along the river, behind the levees.

39 This body of water is mentioned by several explorers of this period. It no longer exists, nor does it appear on any modern map. It probably was a shallow backwater in the vicinity of Tracy.

40 The most probable location for the stopping place is approximately north of Tracy where there are oaks which easily could have been surrounded by swamp. The fork in the river at just about this point would be that in which Salmon Slough runs northeast to join Middle River and the main San Joaquin and in which Tom Paine Slough runs southeast to meet the main river near Lathrop. Abella’s group would have gone down Salmon Slough.

41 The passage is obscure but evidently refers to the junction of Middle River with the main stream of Old River as it passes through what is now Salmon Slough. The ultimate reunion of the two streams can be considered to take place at the foot of Bacon I., as suggested in n. 32. This interpretation of locality is strongly supported by Abella’s statement that he next proceeded upstream and at 3 leagues came into the Río Grande, or the main branch of the San Joaquin R. about 2 mi. west of Lathrop.

42 The junction of Tom Paine Slough with the San Joaquin near the railroad and highway crossing east of Tracy.

43 The name never was accepted. The river has always been known as the San Joaquin.

44 Abella evidently refers to Old River as the opening (“boca”) on the left and to Middle River as that on the right.

45 Schenck (1926) places Coybos on the right bank of the San Joaquin not more than a mile or two below the junction of Middle River. It is probable, from Abella’s account, that the village was farther down, nearer the mouth of French Camp Slough. Abella, furthermore, gives no indication on which side of the river the village was situated.

46 It is probable that the rancherias here described, and indeed the whole day’s journey, was in the area just west of the present city of Stockton.

47 The first split in the river going downstream is west of Stockton, with the formation of Rough and Ready I. It is probable that the party was in this area.

48 The party apparently had reached the junction of the main stream—now the Stockton ship channel—and Old River, north of Mandeville I. The distance is about 15 mi. from Rough and Ready I., near Stockton, where the previous halt was made. The entrance to Old River is passed on the left going downstream.

49 The location of these villages cannot be ascertained with certainty. According to the text the party traveled about 1 1/2 leagues on the 24th and 6 leagues on the 25th, making 7 1/2, or perhaps 18, mi., if we can believe Abella’s distances.

There is very great question as to the route taken after the party reached the junction of the main river and Old River. Bancroft (1884-1890, II: 323, fn.) says the route passed through the sloughs just north of Sherman I. so as to enter the Sacramento R. This would imply the use of Threemile Slough, 3 mi. long, as its name implies. One alternative is Sevenmile Slough, which passes from the San Joaquin R., with Andrus and Brannan islands on the right and Twitchell I. on the left, to the Sacramento. Still another possibility is that Abella entered the Mokelumne R., just below the junction of the main river and Old River. If so, progress would have been necessary through the sloughs of Tyler and Andrus islands. None of these possibilities conforms in all respects to the account in the text.

50 They were still going north along a waterway not more than 100 ft. wide.

51 At this point the party evidently entered the main stream of the Sacramento.

52 This passage shows clearly that the party was traveling the Sacramento relatively far above Suisun Bay and that therefore the entrance to the river could not have been by way of Threemile Slough above the head of Sherman I. Accounts by many later voyagers, as well as the existing condition of the terrain, indicate unequivocally that the oak trees begin, on ascending the river, no more than a mile or two below Rio Vista. The heavy oak stand with dense undergrowth and grapevines appears near the foot of Grand I. and continues thence up the river. Hence it is most probable that Abella entered the Sacramento R. at or near Tyler I., no farther downstream than Isleton. The population described in the text is much heavier than has been generally ascribed to these islands by modern students (cf. Schenck, 1926).

53 Foot of Grand I., where Steamboat Slough joins the main river.

54 He refers to the main stream of the Sacramento and Steamboat Slough plus the slough or channel which- 288 - we cannot identify and through which he reached his present position below the foot of Grand I. The party was now not far from the site of Rio Vista.

55 The description fits the north bank of the river below Rio Vista: the bare rolling hills are the Montezuma Hills, the high hill of the Bolbones is Mt. Diablo, the plain is the flat area stretching north from Sherman I. all the way to Fairfield. The distance traveled was far less than 12 leagues but it is true that at about the halfway point the oaks and other river bank shrubbery fade out and the land becomes pure grassy pasture land.

56 Probably referring to the exploratory expedition of Ayala and Cañizares in 1776. Cañizares reached the vicinity of lower Sherman I., when he repeatedly ran aground and was forced to turn back.

57 The exact course of the expedition on the 27th and 28th is difficult to trace but in outline it is fairly clear. Priestley (1946, p. 108) says: “From the Ompines the navigators went through Nurse Slough and Montezuma Creek to a point one league east of Suisun.” This is unlikely because one must navigate several miles of Montezuma Slough before arriving at Nurse Slough. The head of the latter is fully 8 mi. from Suisun. Furthermore, Abella says the “Yano de los Suisunes” (the plain of the Suisunes), not the town of Suisun.

Leaving the main bay and river near Collinsville, the party evidently went north through Montezuma Slough, with the low Montezuma Hills to the east and the Potrero Hills to the north. Then they followed the meanders of Montezuma Slough and probably some of its branches, camping on high ground perhaps in the Potrero Hills. The following day they must have entered Suisun Slough and gone north to dry ground (only 1 league). Here they found the oak groves and the low hills of the inner Coast Range. Subsequently, they went generally south into Suisun Bay and thence to Carquinez Strait. Mt. Diablo (“Serro de los Bolbones”) was slightly east of south, not southwest, as Abella thought.

58 “Los Plumajes de sus Peleas”: the costumes, made of feathers, or otherwise, which they were accustomed to wear in battle.

59 Not long previously Moraga had led a military expedition north of Suisun Bay and had chastised, with several casualties, the recalcitrant natives living in southern Solano Co.

60 “Las Lomas de los Carquines”: meaning apparently the hills along the north shore of the Strait.

61 The sentence ends without completion and, as it stands, does not make sense. It is probable that the person who made the copy in the Bancroft Library failed to finish the entry for October 29. The omitted portion cannot be reconstructed from the fragment available.

62 Argüello’s letter does not specify the location of the Indian village attacked. Father Narciso Duran, however, in the report of his journey in 1817, placed it as among or near the Unsumnes (i.e., Cosumnes), along the northeastern edge of the delta. (See Schenck, 1926, pp. 128-129.)

63 Section omitted by Bancroft’s transcriber.

64 This is the first real battle in Central California of which we have record. The advantage to the Indians in numbers and terrain was offset by the Spanish superiority in weapons and discipline. Furthermore, 100 Indian auxiliaries were an adequate compensation for the hostile natives’ excess in numbers.

The soldiers won a tactical victory, for they drove the Indians from the field. But the Indians could point to strategic gains: (1) they demonstrated that under the right circumstances they could stand up in a fair fight against a strong force of whites; and (2) they prevented the attainment of the objective of the campaign, i.e., the recapture of the fugitives.

(pp. 267-279)

1 Ortega gives no distances and the route appears to have been very devious. Hence it is possible to locate the expedition at those points only which are specifically named. Cholam is still a small village in the southwest corner of T 25 S, R 16 E.

2 The Yokuts subtribe Tachi occupied the area to the west of L. Tulare and its outlet sloughs as far as the coast ranges (see Kroeber, 1925, p. 484). However, since Ortega speaks of operating along the Kings R., the village he attacked must have been one of those not far west of Lemoore. The records of the Calif. Archaeol. Survey show from 10 to 15 habitation sites in this area, a fact which indicates in a general way a heavy population.

3 The Nutunutu. This tribe extended along the south bank of the Kings R. from Lemoore nearly to Kingsburg.

4 The chief center of the Telamni, who inhabited the oak forest of the Kaweah delta at and below Visalia. This had originally been a very large village but the disturbances caused by the Spanish expeditions had substantially destroyed it. The heavy mortality and great famine mentioned by Ortega were undoubtedly due to the continuous state of fugitivism, severe exposure to the weather, and inability to gather and store the customary stocks of food such as acorns and fish. No specific epidemic was recorded, such as is implied by Cutter (Ms, p. 213) on the basis of certain statements of the Father President, Mariano Payeras. However, no fulminating epidemic was necessary to produce the mortality. Starvation, exposure, and respiratory diseases would be quite adequate.

5 The Choinok, who lived along Deep Cr., in the Kaweah delta, near and northeast of Tulare. The San Gabriel R. was the Kaweah.

6 Sumtache (Tuntache, Chuntache). This was probably the principal village of the Chunut, on the northeast shore of L. Tulare. Bubal, mentioned frequently in the early accounts, was the village of the Wowol (see discussion in Kroeber, 1925, pp. 483-484 and Cook, 1955, pp. 44-45).

7 The party followed the usual route over Pacheco Pass to San Luis Gonzaga and east into the valley.

8 The stopping place may have been somewhere near Dos Palos, which is 20 mi. from San Luis Gonzaga. The expedition could scarcely have reached Mendota as stated by Cutter (Ms, p. 218) since the latter is nearly 50 mi. from the starting point and the ride was only 3 hours long.

9 The villages along the San Joaquin R. from the- 289 - great bend above Mendota to the vicinity of Newman had so completely disappeared in the early years of the nineteenth century that the Yokuts informants of Kroeber, Gifford, Gayton, and other modern ethnographers preserved no memory of them. Yet it is clear from the accounts of Pico and of other explorers and soldiers that they were relatively numerous and populous. The inhabitants seem to have been unusually disposed to the stealing of horses. Moreover, their habitat was on the west bank of the river and wide open to attack from the coast. For these or other reasons, they appear to have been completely obliterated.

The existence of 6 villages can be established with reasonable certainty (see discussion in Cook, 1955, pp. 51-52). From north to south they are: Cheneches, Malim, Nupchenches, Cutucho, Copicha, Tape. The first, Cheneches, was probably near the mouth of Mariposa Cr., north of Los Baños. The southernmost, Tape, was, according to Estudillo in 1819, 24 leagues south of, or upstream from, Cheneches. This would place Tape south of the great bend of the San Joaquin, roughly 20 mi. west of Fresno. Copicha was at the mouth of the Chowchilla.

10 The general course of Pico’s party was southeastward along the connecting sloughs between Tulare L. and the San Joaquin R. On the 12th they reached the lower Kings R. in the territory of the Wimilchi (Gumilchis). At or near this point the junction was made with Ortega’s division.

11 The route for the next several days is confused. The joint expedition moved back northwestward from the Kings R. to the San Joaquin area, where Pico had been previously operating.

12 An error, since the party had just left Cheneches.

13 The huge number of dead animals found in these villages is testimony to their great significance as an item in the diet of the natives. The Nupchenches group evidently had undergone a profound alteration from a sedentary, principally vegetarian people to active, hard-riding, meat-eating raiders.

14 From the 16th to the 28th of December the Pico-Ortega expedition was pursued by miserable fortune and turned in a really pathetic performance. Not lacking in competent leadership, it nevertheless floundered for nearly two weeks through rain and mud, lost its horses, was led on repeated wild-goose chases by native guides, and accomplished nothing in the military sense. On the other hand, it contributed to the rapid economic and physical disintegration which was being undergone by the valley tribes. The Spaniards could return to the coast and organize a new expedition. The natives could not recover from the damage they suffered.

15 The geography of this trip is very confusing and has never been cleared up satisfactorily. Despite the fact that Father Martinez gives distances with a great air of exactness, these distances cannot be tied to recognizable points. It is clear that Thuohuala is Bubal, of the Wowol, very probably on the western side of Tulare L. The river mentioned, which ends in Buenavista L., Goose L., and Tulare L., may have been Kern, since, moreover, it is the only unfordable stream in the southern valley. However, Telamé refers to the village of the Telamni, west of Visalia. The only river 20 mi. (7 leagues) from Telamé would be the Tule R. which, to be sure, flows into Tulare L. but is 100 mi. from Buenavista L. Gelecto may have been at or near Goose L., but if so, where was Lihuahilame, 19 leagues away?

It may have been that Martinez actually stayed in the southwestern areas of the valley and never crossed the line of the lakes and sloughs at all. If so, when he mentioned “Telamé” he was talking about the subtribe Tulamni west of Buenavista L., not the Telamni in the Kaweah delta. In favor of such an hypothesis is his statement that “in all our trip we did not see a tree.” This could scarcely have been true, had he reached the lower Kaweah R. The big river was very probably the Kern.

16 The photocopy in the Bancroft Library is poorly executed. Several words close to the binding of the original book are impossible to decipher.

17 For another version of this fight see the account by Father Cabot.

18 The personal pronouns in this excerpt are somewhat confusing. However, the reader need only bear in mind that this is a transcript of a letter, not the original. Hence the first two words may be rendered: “Father Cabot says....” The entire letter is, of course, condensed and paraphrased in the transcript.

19 Here is a clear instance of mission Indians going by themselves on a raid to the valley. They were, of course, authorized to do so by the missionary himself (Father Fray Antonio Jaime). How many such forays took place we have no means of knowing. As a rule, only when the expedition got into trouble was notice taken of it in the official correspondence or in the reports of the friars. It is probable that, in addition to these trips, which might be called “semiofficial,” a vast number of Mission Indians came and went without permission. The disturbing influence of such small parties in the valley was not as great as that of the major, full-scale military enterprises, but in the aggregate must have been considerable.

20 These villages are in the general region of Tulare L.

21 These villages are all along the San Joaquin R. from Mendota to Patterson—in the Nupchenches group. Notice the final extinction of the village of Malime and the emigration of the inhabitants of Notoalh to the Sierra Nevada. By 1820 this area was probably completely denuded of Indians.

22 The eastern end of the Montezuma Hills, just southwest of Rio Vista.

23 Like those of other river explorers, Duran’s leagues are not to be taken literally.

24 The day’s trip can be followed with reasonable assurance. A league from the stopping point at the eastern end of the Montezuma Hills near Rio Vista would bring the party to the foot of Grand I. [Isla de los Quenemsias]. The opening to the starboard was the main channel of the Sacramento. Following to the left, they soon encountered the entrance to Cache Slough to port. This they passed by and therefore must have entered Steamboat Slough. At 6 leagues (actually much less) they saw the fork of Steamboat Slough and Sutter Slough and followed the latter, which appears to continue straight ahead whereas Steamboat Slough seems to bear northeast. Both sloughs in fact lead back again to the main channel of the Sacramento. The description of the oak groves conforms to those of other early navigators of the Sacramento Basin.

- 290 -

25 The opening or slough encountered at the end of one league was probably Miner Slough—although clearly it was not the one passed on the preceding day. The village of the Chucumnes was probably on Sutter I. near this point. Here also must be the place where the river “subdivides” into three branches; north, west, and south, Miner Slough being the western branch and Sutter Slough both the northern and southern arms. The afternoon voyage carried the party very slowly up Sutter Slough to a point near the head of Sutter I. where they stopped apparently on the west bank. The 18th they crossed the top of Sutter I. by way of the short connecting slough and entered the main stream of the Sacramento half a mile above Paintersville.

26 Probably the slough which runs around Randall I. to the southeast.

27 The halt was made probably somewhere near Richland.

28 Since the distances in leagues are unreliable, it is impossible to specify exactly where Duran’s party stopped on the night of May 19 or where they set up the cross and turned around on May 20. At the latter point they were above the last of the important sloughs, Elkhorn Slough, for the ground appeared as if it would be dry in the fall of the year and Duran thought that an approach by land would be better than one by water. The best guess is that the cross was set up somewhere near Freeport, and in any case below the junction of the American R. at Sacramento.

29 It is doubtful that this “hill” was the Marysville, or Sutter, Buttes because not only are these heights much more than 10 leagues distant, but also because in the month of May there is no snow on them. It is more likely that Duran saw some of the higher summits of the Coast Range in Napa or Lake counties.

30 Again somewhere near Richland, probably on Merritt I.

31 This statement places the party definitely at the head of Grand I. The following sentence is misleading. They left Steamboat Slough on the right and took the main river which runs to the left. There is no other waterway fitting the description in this area.

32 The party probably reached the vicinity of Walnut Grove on the afternoon of the 21st. From this time to the morning of the 24th it is impossible to reconstruct Duran’s exact route. However, in general he seems to have run south, perhaps through the Mokelumne system, as far as the region northwest of Stockton, and thence westward to Suisun Bay.

33 If, as Fr. Duran said, he bore east as close as possible to the dry land, then the most probable course was through Snodgrass Slough, past Deadhorse I. into the South Fork of the Mokelumne. He must have followed this stream downward to Potato Slough and perhaps Little Connection Slough to a junction with the main San Joaquin R. There is no continuous waterway farther east. Farther west the only feasible pathway is directly down the Mokelumne R., a course which does not fit the description given. The Nototemnes (to the right) may have lived on Staten I., or conceivably Bouldin I. The others—Yatchicomnes, Passasimas, and Mokelumnes—were on solid ground, east of the sloughs. Their habitat probably extended inland from the delta for some distance. We know that the Mokelumnes inhabited the river of that name for many miles upstream.

34 The sand dunes between Antioch and Oakley, extending some distance up Marsh Cr. The name is still current as applied to the land grant made to John Marsh.

35 The reader will observe immediately that the point of view of a soldier is very different from that of a priest. He will also note the irritation inspired in the soldier by the priest. Despite the lengthy apologies the soldier does not conceal his exasperation that he is subordinate to the priest and that he is not permitted to go where he wishes and explore as he sees fit. The criticism of Fr. Duran by Argüello must be viewed in this light.

36 Duran says merely that the Commandante (Argüello) had “gone ahead” and stopped at the mouth of the San Joaquin. He followed the “route agreed upon” and stopped at the mouth of the Sacramento.

37 From the 15th to the 22nd the account of Argüello agrees within reasonable limits with that of Duran. Differences in detail and emphasis are to be expected and do not reflect upon the veracity of either writer. For discussion of the route, reference may be made to the notes (22-34 above) to Father Duran’s manuscript.

38 The route followed by Argüello cannot be traced in detail. He seems to have followed sloughs in a generally northwest direction until he came upon the main stream of the Sacramento somewhere east of Grand I. (Isla de los Quenemsias), perhaps near Isleton. The skirmish with the Christian fugitives must have occurred in the Walnut Grove area.

39 According to Duran the meeting took place at the eastern entrance to the Strait, near Martinez.

(pp. 280-281)

1 Bancroft, in his Pioneer Register (1884-1890, IV: 777), says that José Dolores Pico was sergeant of his company from 1811, and was wounded on an expedition in 1815. In the Pioneer Register (ibid., III: 752-753) he also says that Inocente García was born in 1791 and was a soldier from 1807-1813. Evidently, therefore, the events recounted here took place somewhere from 1810-1813.

- 291 -



Bancroft, H. H.
History of California. 7 vols. San Francisco.
Bolton, H. E.
1926. Historical Memoirs of New California, by Fray Francisco Palóu. Trans. from the manuscript in the Archives of Mexico. 4 vols. Berkeley, Calif.
1927. Fray Juan Crespi, Missionary Explorer on the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774. Diaries and letters relating to expeditions of Portolá, Fages, and Pérez. Berkeley, Calif.
Cook, S. F.
1955. The Aboriginal Population of the San Joaquin Valley, California. Univ. Calif. Anthro. Rec., 16 (1): 31-80.
Coues, Elliott, ed.
1900. On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer. [The diary of Francisco Garcés.] New York.
Cutter, Donald C.
MS. The Spanish Exploration of California’s Central Valley. Ph.D. diss. (1950). University of California, Berkeley.
1957. The Diary of Ensign Gabriel Moraga’s Expedition of Discovery in the Sacramento Valley, 1808. Los Angeles.
Gayton, A. H.
1948. Yokuts and Western Mono Ethnography. Univ. Calif. Anthro. Rec., Vol. 10. Berkeley, Calif.
1936. Estudillo among the Yokuts: 1819. In Essays in Anthropology in Honor of Alfred Louis Kroeber, pp. 67-85. Berkeley, Calif.
Gifford, E. W., and W. E. Schenck
1926. Archaeology of the Southern San Joaquin Valley, California. Univ. Calif. Am. Arch. and Ethn., 23: 1-122.
Kroeber, A. L.
1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 78.
Priestley, H. I.
1913. The Colorado River Campaign, 1781-1782: Diary of Pedro Fages. Publs. of the Academy of Pacific Coast History. Berkeley, Calif.
1937. A Historical, Political, and Natural Description of California, by Pedro Fages, Soldier of Spain. Berkeley.
1946. Franciscan Explorations in California. Ed. by Lillian Estelle Fisher. Glendale, Calif.
Schenck, W. E.
1926. Historic Aboriginal Groups of the California Delta Region. Univ. Calif. Publ. Am. Arch. and Ethn., 25 (2): 123-146.


Unless otherwise stated, all manuscripts are in the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, California.

Archives of California (Cal. Arch.)

Provincial Records, Vols. II, IV

Provincial State Papers, Vols. XIV, XVI

Provincial State Papers..., Benicia, Military, Vols. XIV, XXXIII, XXXIV

State Papers (Sacramento), Vol. II.

Archivo del Arzobispado, San Francisco (Archbishop’s Arch.), Vol. III

Archivo de la Misión de Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara Arch.), Vols. IV, VI

De la Guerra Documentos

Abella, Fr. Ramón

Diario de un registro de los Ríos Grandes, October 15-31, 1811, San Francisco. Santa Barbara Arch., IV: 101-134.

Argüello, Luís Antonio

Letter to Governor Pablo Vicente de Sola, San Francisco, May 26, 1817.

Boronda, José Canuto

Notas históricas sobre California. 1878.

Duran, Fr. Narciso

Diario de la expedición de reconocimiento hecha en el mes de Mayo de 1817....

García, Felipe Santiago

Story of an Old Dragoon of Monterey. In Alexander S. Taylor, Discoverers, Founders and Pioneers of California, 2: 141-151.

Martinez, Fr. Luís Antonio

Letter to Prefect Sarria, San Luis Obispo,- 292 - May 29, 1816. In Alexander S. Taylor Papers. Archbishop’s Office, San Francisco. Doc. 489. Photocopy in Bancroft Library.

Moraga, Gabriel

Diary, September 25-October 23, 1808. Enclosed in letter from Luís Argüello to Governor Arrillaga, San Francisco, November 12, 1808.

Olivera, Diego

No title. Clipping from an unidentified newspaper dated, according to a penciled note, 1864. In Alexander S. Taylor, Discoverers, Founders and Pioneers of California 2: 153.

Ortega, Juan

Diary, November 4-December 3, 1815.

Palomares, José

Report on the Expedition to the Tulares. Arch. Prov. St. Pap., Mis. and Col., I: 229-239.

Pico, José Dolores

Diary, November 4-15, 1815. Mission San Juan Bautista, December 3, 1815.

Taylor, Alexander S.

Discoverers, Founders and Pioneers of California. Manuscripts with clippings, pamphlets, maps, and pictures. 2 vols.

Viader, Fr. José

Report, August 15-28, 1810.

Report, October 19-27, 1810.

Zalvidea, Fr. José María de

Diario de una expedición tierra adentro, 1806. Santa Barbara Arch., IV: 49-68.

Transcriber’s Note: Inconsistent spelling in the original work has been retained.