Monday, June 2, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Mission Santa Clara padrón, 1839

John Howell Books identified this 1839 padrón (census) of Mission Santa Clara as a Zamorano printing unknown to bibliographers:

Mission Santa Clara padrón, 1839 December 31, Vault B-101, courtesy, California Historical Society, Vault_B-101.jpg.
Entered and signed by Father Jesús María Vásquez del Mercado, it records baptisms, marriages, confessions, communions, and deaths at the mission for the year, and baptisms, marriages, and deaths since the mission's founding, providing a demographic snapshot of mission life in the post-secularization era.

Father Vásquez del Mercado appears to have been a violent character: according to Hittell, the padre was accused of murdering a group of unarmed Indians in cold blood, and Governor Figueroa (in an unprecedented move) demanded that he be prosecuted for the crimes in secular courts. According to Bancroft, Vásquez del Mercado instigated an uprising at Mission San Antonio de Padua two years later, in 1835. These acts, and the civil government's response, point to escalating tensions between Church and State around the time of secularization.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian
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