Michael White on the Mission Fathers

We’ve left poor Michael White up to his waist in a flooded house in Compton, which is probably giving him a lot of time to think about his life. Maybe too much time, for he’s about to do some traveling. Taken out of order in his narrative, and just a little late in terms of his life’s path, are his thoughts on the mission fathers, who were his main support from the 1820s-early 30s, and whose passing was probably why he got out of ship building and started a store. 

Here’s what he had to say about his favorite padres: During my life in California I was intimately acquainted with Fathers Zalvidea, Sanchez of San Diego, and Narciso Duran.

Zalvidea was a tall, rawboned, stout man, very industrious and intelligent, constantly at his work, spiritual, but also in developing the resources of San Gabriel mission and subsequently of San Juan Capistrano. He was in the full sense of the word a saint. He planted fruit trees in the ravines and in many places distant from the missions, for the benefit of the bronco Indians.

Father Sanchez of San Diego was an uncle of the Father Sanchez of San Gabriel; he told me so himself.

He was a very old man, doubled up a great deal (in 1832). He was of a very nice, affable manner, very attentive to his duties. He died in San Diego.

Father Duran died at Santa Barbara. He stood 5 feet 8 or maybe a little more, quite stout when I made his acquaintance (in 1829). He was extremely fond of a joke, and was constantly letting off jokes. He was a man of fine education and intelligence, amiable to everybody, and constantly attending to his ministerial duties.


~ by ravenjake on January 5, 2010.

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