Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Four Years After California’s Largest Dam Removal

The destruction of the San Clemente Dam, which had blocked the river since 1921, remains the largest dam removal project in California history.  The river is becoming wilder, and struggling fish populations are rebounding. So far this year, 123 Steelhead Trout have traveled upriver.

At the Carmel River other species, such as lampreys, an eel-like fish, are coming back, and tributaries are showing more wildlife.

Photo by Vern Fisher

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Papal Bull Inter Caetera Started the European Colonization of the New World

In 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull Inter Caetera, which started the European colonization of the New World. 

"Among other works well pleasing to the Divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest, that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself...We...assign to you and your heirs and successors, Kings of Castile and Leon...all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line from...the south...the said line to be distant one hundred leagues towards the west and south from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde…"

From: Church Militant

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Cahoon Ranch

The Cahoon family built the original ranch house at Hastings Natural History Reservation in the 1890s, which is still there. They were some of the original homesteaders in the area and played a key role in Carmel Valley’s history.

The Cahoon Ranch dates back to the 1850’s when it was founded by the Finch family. At one time it included 1,500 acres. Two brothers, Charles and Burritt Cahoon, migrated from Ohio to California sometime after the Civil War. Each married a daughter of James Finch. Together the brothers owned what became known as the Cahoon Ranch.

Cahoon Summit is named in honor of the family’s legacy. The summit marks the highest point on the road from Carmel to Greenfield.

From: The Pinecone
Picture from: Realtor

Friday, April 5, 2019

All of the Indians Had to be Exterminated

California presents the clearest case of genocide in the history of the American frontier. There was no attempt to conceal what was done to the Indians in California. “A massacre, a lynching or a whole killing campaign—these things were hidden in plain sight.”

It was a widely held belief in 19th-century California that all of the Indians had to be exterminated. Reported the Daily Alta California, “Whites are becoming impressed with the belief that it will be absolutely necessary to exterminate the savages before they can labor much longer in the mines with security.”

From: Newsweek

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Cross of Caravaca

As the terrified priest began to celebrate the Mass, he realized that the cross was missing and he faltered and stopped. Suddenly a brilliant light flooded the chamber and two Angels appeared bearing a two armed cross which they placed on the altar. The grateful priest continued with the celebration of Mass, and at the moment of consecration in place of the host, the king saw a beautiful baby which gazed at him with such tenderness and compassion that he fell to his knees and declared his intention to convert to Christianity.

The Cross of Caravaca

On May 3, 1232 the Moorish King Zeyt Abu-Zeyt ordered that the prisoners languishing in the dungeons be brought before him so he could decide their fate. Among them was a missionary priest named Don Gines Perez Chirios de Cuenca whose profession and religious beliefs piqued the curiosity of the king. The Muslim king was particularly fascinated by the Eucharist and demanded that the priest perform this sacrament for him upon pain of death.

The Cross of Caravaca

The Cross of Caravaca
The region of Murcia in southeastern Spain takes its name from the Latin word “Morus” meaning mulberry. The region was a thriving area of silk production for centuries. By the 13th century its territory was under the rule of the last Muslim Empire to rule in Southern Spain – the North African based Almohades
King Ferdinand III reclaimed the territory from the Moors in the name of Christianity in the 15th century.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"The open grave was blessed and incensed, then the body of the Father-President of all the California missions was lowered into the sanctuary floor. The lamenting cries mixed with the prayers and chanting of the rite, as all in attendance knew that a Saint had passed from their midst."

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Carmel River at Schulte Bridge

From: Monterey Peninsula Water Management District

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

California’s First Mass Incarceration System

From Benjamin Madley's essay "California’s First Mass Incarceration System: Franciscan Missions, California Indians, and Penal Servitude, 1769–1836," in Pacific Historical Review 88, no. 1 (Winter 2019): 14-47.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

The sandstone for the church was quarried by Indian laborers. The walls are five feet thick at the base. The entire façade, especially the bell towers and the window over the main door, displays a distinct Moorish design influence.

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

In 1961 Pope John XXIII designated the church as a Minor Basilica.
From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

The resident pastor in Monterey, decided to open the tombs in the sanctuary to quiet the persistent rumors that Fr. Serra’s body had been removed. After the remains were identified and the tombs resealed.

In 1943, the body of Father Serra was again examined in preparation for his possible canonization, which finally occurred in 2015.
From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"Fr. Lasuen was named Father-President in 1785, and he direct the construction of the present stone church, which was built by the Indians and dedicated in 1797.  During these years the mission reached the height of its prosperity, as the population of baptized natives reached nearly one thousand.  "

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"The open grave was blessed and incensed, then the body of the Father-President of all the California missions was lowered into the sanctuary floor. The lamenting cries mixed with the prayers and chanting of the rite, as all in attendance knew that a Saint had passed form their midst."

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Los Padre Dam Site 1947

Map of Los Padre Dam Site 1947

From: 1947 Original Topography

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"In the afternoon, a procession was formed, and the officers carried the remains of Padre Serra on their shoulders around the courtyard of the mission.  The procession the reentered the church, and the coffin was placed at the foot of the altar. "

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"Fr. Palou told the Indians to ring the doble de campana with the mission bells to announce the parting of Fr Serra. The vigil was kept and the Requiem Mass was offered the next day. The Indian choir provided the music, and hundreds of Indians from every Rancheria in the area of Carmel were among the mourners. "

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"On the day before his death, Father Serra asked his dear friend Father Palou to stay with him and assist his dying. Serra asked Palou for the Viaticum, the final reception of Holy Communion before death. Serra insisted on going to the church for this ritual. He had also called for the presidio carpenter to prepare his coffin. The Father-President spent his last night on earth in his cell, deep in prayer."

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"The pathetic ruin at Carmel is a shattered monument above a grave that will become a world's shrine of pilgrimage in honor of one of humanity's heroes.  The patient that here laid down its burden will not be forgotten. The memory of the brave heart that was here consumed with love for mankind will live through the ages. And, in a sense, the work of these missions is not dead-their very ruins still preach the lesson of service and of sacrifice."

John F. Davis, California Romantic and Resourceful, 1914

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"To get hold of gaudily colored cloth or any kind of rags, the Natives will jump out of their skins or take any risk. What I would like to imprint deep in their hearts is this: "Induimini Dominum Jesum Christum" May this be granted them by our most generous Lord and Father who clothes the birds with feathers and the hillsides with grass."

-Junipero Serra, Diary of the Expedition, 1769

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"Our arrival was greeted by the joyful sound of the bells suspended from the branches of the Oak tree. Kneeling down with all the men toward the altar, I intoned the hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus, at the conclusion of which I blessed the salt and the water. Then we all made our way to a gigantic Cross which was all in readiness and lying on the ground. With everyone lending a hand we set it in an upright position. I sang the prayers for its blessing. We set it in the ground and then, with all the tenderness of our hearts, we venerated it. I sprinkled with Holy Water all the fields around.

And thus, after raising aloft the standard of the King of Heaven, we unfurled the flag of our Catholic Monarch likewise. As we raised each one of them, we shouted at the top of our voices: "Long Live the Faith! Long  Live the King!" All the time the bells were ringing and our rifles were being fired and from the boat came the thunder of the big guns."

-Letter to Juan Andres, from Monterey, 1770

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

"I, Fray Junipero Serra, vow and promise to Almighty God, to the ever blessed Virgin Mary, to Blessed Father Francis, to all the saints, and to you, Father, to observe for the whole span of my life the rule of the Friars minor confirmed by His Holiness, Pope Honorius III, by living in obedience, without property, and in chastity."
-Profession as a Franciscan, 1731

From: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

Abalone Shells
 May they be honored, and may we be reminded of their long term presence, their rich culture and humanity and the importance that they hold for their descendants today.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

Abalone Shells
These symbolic grave sites, adorned with abalone shells, represent the many hundreds of indigenous people buried in this graveyard and beyond.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

The Grave of Old Gabriel
Baptized by Father Serra in 1780, Old Gabriel claimed he was present in 1770 when Father Serra said the first Mission mass on June 3rd, after landing in Monterey. Although the tombstone records him to be 151 years of age, his age is not factually known.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

In memory of the Christian Indians and Spaniards who were interred in this cemetery between the years 1771 - 1833

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

Cork Oak, Carmel Mission

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

After abandonment of the Carmel Mission in 1843, the roof collapsed circa 1852.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

His remains rest under the Carmel Mission Basilica’s main altar. 

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

“Always go Forward, and Never Turn Back” – Saint Junipero Serra

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

In honor of Serra’s evangelism and the dignity he held for the native peoples he loved, Fray Junipero Serra is now Saint Junipero Serra

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

Junipero Serra’s dedication and sustaining faith allowed him to overcome tremendous adversity. This devoted and selfless missionary died at the Carmel Mission on August 28, 1784, at the age of 70. His remains rest under the Carmel Mission Basilica’s main altar. 

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo

Between 1769 and 1782, Fray Serra established nine missions. The remaining Alta California missions, ultimately numbers 21 were founded under the guidance of Fray Fermin Francisco De Lasuen and his successors.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo (The Carmel Mission), became the first headquarters for the California mission system.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

The first restoration of the Carmel Mission by Fr. Casanova prevented further deterioration, circa 1884.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

In 1770, the padres set out for Monterey Bay where the second mission was temporarily located. 
Serra moved the mission in 1771, to the Carmel River six miles to the south, in order to better protect the baptized native peoples, called neophytes, and to take advantage of better water and agricultural conditions. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Vast numbers of souls had lived and died before the coming of the missionaries

But after the discovery of the New World, where apparently vast numbers of souls had lived and died before the coming of Columbus and the missionaries, some theologians proposed that these souls since they lived in invincible ignorance of the true faith, could have been saved without an explicit belief in Christ and the Trinity.


Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

The Carmel Mission embodies the living historical record of the Alta California mission system and the subsequent founding of the State of California. The Mission’s founder, Saint Junipero Serra is interred beneath the altar in the Basilica.

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

The 246 year old Carmel Mission has more than 1,500 priceless artifacts within 11 historic buildings on the 22 acre complex. The adobe walls are deteriorating, structures are over-stressed, and life-safety issues challenge continued enjoyment by the public. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Lorenzo Asisara's 1890 Interview

Lorenzo Asisara's 1890 Interview:
"The capture the wild Indian, first were taken the children, and then the parents followed. The padres would erect a hut, and light the candles to say Mass, and the Indians, attracted by the light-thinking they were stars- would approach, and soon be taken. These would bring in others, such as their relatives."

From: A Gathering of Voices
Picture: Carmel Mission in 1794

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Monterey County Pictograph Sites Are Numerous

Monterey County pictograph sites are numerous. The majority of the sites are located in the Vaqueros sandstone caves of the Santa Lucia Range and consist of red painted elements placed on smoke-blackened walls. Some caves are decorated with polychrome designs in red, black, and white. Elements represented in these caves range from geometric shapes, grids, cross-hatches, and lattice designs, to a few stick figures and animal shapes.

Also represented are concentric circle elements depicted in bands of red, white and slate blue. Several caves in Monterey County contain numerous hand prints executed in white paint. One of these, known as the Cave of the Hands, contains more than 200 of the hand print elements.

The most studied and documented cave in the area is La Cueva Pintada on the Hunter Liggett Army Base. This pictograph site contains hundreds of images and some of the best preserved rock paintings in central California.

From: A Gathering of Voices
Picture from:  Monterey County, California rock art

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


KENSHA:NEL is the Salinan word for Creator.
Salinan elder Susan Latta prayed "Kensha:nel" at Mass at the Mission San Antonio De Padua.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Ohlone expressed their distaste for the mission by running away

The Ohlone of the north expressed their distaste for the mission environment by running away, often to the east, where they joined Yokuts groups and engaged in horse raiding.

The southernmost Ohlone, the Rumsen in the Sarhentaruc area, perhaps unable to move east, moved south into Esselen territory instead.

And the Excelen, in the upper Carmel Valley, moved quietly back into the rugged mountains and passed from the historic record. However, rumors of their survival lasted into the twentieth century.

From: A Gathering of Voices

Monday, January 14, 2019

Phelipe de Neve First Governor of the Californias: 1777-1782

Nowhere else in the northern frontier did New Spain face such a concentrated Indian population as in California. And the Indians were far from submissive.

Governer Phelipe de Neve was awarded the Cross of Carlos III in 1783 for meritorious service and advanced to the rank of brigadier.The duties and requirements of the Cross of Carlos III were specified: they needed to have "pure and noble blood" up to their great-grandparents, as was regulated by the Old Book of Territorial Laws of Castilla and the other valid laws. 

Those received by the Order took an oath for loyalty towards the king, his family, and the protection of the goods of the Royal House, recognizing him as Great Master, live and die in faith catholic, accepting as indisputable the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception, and attending and receiving communion at mass at least once a year.

From: Military  Museum

and Wikipedia

Friday, January 11, 2019

"Wild" Indians

With clear evidence for Indian occupation of the mountainous portions of Esselen territory at least into the mid-1820's, it becomes likely that a few individuals survived long enough to bypass the mission system entirely.  As the missions disbanded, it would have been possible for Indians to return to their original homelands.
Professor Clem Meighan noted that "wild" Indians are reported to have occupied the Esselen territory until 1850 or later.
Anthropologist Arnold Piling heard the same story when he worked in the Carmel area in the late 1940's, noting that there were persistent rumors of a group of Indians still hiding in the hills.
This rumor, echoing down the years, may reflect back to the time a hundred years earlier in the 1840's when there were actually were Indians hiding in these mountains.

From: From: A Gathering of Voices
Picture from: Leor Pantilat's Adventures

Thursday, January 10, 2019

They could not stand up to the weapons of the Spanish

Many of the Esselen baptized during 1776 were children.  After baptism, children were permitted to live with their parents in their native villages until they reached the age of reason, approximately nine years old at which point the missionaries forced the children to the mission.
Large numbers of Esselen joined the mission during the following months- seeing that they could not stand up to the weapons of the Spanish, they simply wanted to be reunited with their children. By 1798 the majority of baptisms had occurred, and it is likely that only a few dozen individuals were left in the mountains of Excelen.

From: A Gathering of Voices
Picture from: California Military History

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Carmel River near Paso Hondo Road

Four major floods boosted the Carmel River’s natural processes and improved the spawning habitat for steelhead trout since the dam removal in 2015.

The river structure has become more complex, mainly due to large wood and coarse gravel that has drifted from upstream.
The steelhead were not the only ones who managed to swim up. Pacific lamprey have appeared upstream for the first time in 20 years. But non-native species have also flourished upstream, like the striped bass that eat the young steelhead.

From Monterey Herald
Picture by Vern FisherThe Carmel River near Paso Hondo Road in Carmel Valley

Pach-hepas, chief of the Excelen

The first documented meeting between the Spanish and the Esselen comes from Carmel baptismal entry number 350, dated May 9, 1775.  On that day, Junipero Serra baptized a 40-year-old man, named Pach-hepas, who was described as the chief of the territory of the Excelen and its rancherias. The baptism took place in the village of Xasauan. The modern name of Cachagua, a small community in the upper Carmel River drainage is dervied from this Essalen village name.

From: A Gathering of Voices 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Rumsen

The Rumsen of the lower Carmel Valley and the Monterey Peninsula were the first Monterey Bay area triblet to be completely absorbed into a Spanish Mission.
A total of 436 of them were baptized at Mission San Carlos between 1770 and 1784.
At baptism, there were identified according to home village name, Achasta at the mouth of the Carmel River, Tucutnut about three miles inland on the Carmel, Socorronda in the Carmel Valley area, Echilat at the high flat south of the Carmel River Valley and Ichxenta, location unknown.