U. S. Mission Trail / The Mission Trail Today - The Spanish Missions in California
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Mission Asistencias and Estancias

Many of the California Missions had outlying Estancias (ranchos) and Asistencias (extension or sub-missions) that provided for the agricultural needs of the Mother Mission and to spread Christianity further inland. At one time, there was a plan to establish a second chain of missions, further inland from the first coastal chain. This chain never developed, but a broken chain of Asistencias was established. Fr. Zephyrin Engelhardt, the father of mission history, defined an asistencia as "a mission on a small scale with all the requisites for a mission, and with Divine service held regularly on days of obligation, except that it lacked a resident priest." Today, little remains of these asistencias and estancias and researching them is difficult. The best preserved is the still active San Antonio de Pala. A note, I have seen Assistencia as an alternative spelling many times. (Google has 22 million listings with one S and 5 million with two.)

Following is a brief description of several mission outposts of which I have found some reference. In some cases, it was only a few words in passing that only hint of an asistencia or estancia. I intend to research these further. This list is geographic, south to north.

(1-4) I have read reports of "four asistencias in the San Diego District." Santa Ysabel was attached to San Diego de Alcala. Mission San Luis Rey de Francia had two asistencias San Antonio de Pala and Las Flores. I am still researching what the fourth asistencia might be. Mission Pala and Santa Ysabel also had outlying chapels that I am researching.

(5) Diego Sepulveda Adobe Estancia. Possible Estancia, or rancho, to Mission Capistrano. Est. c 1820, California State Historic Landmark 227; Costa Mesa's oldest structure.

(6) Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles. An asistencia to Mission San Gabriel in El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, now known as the Plaza Church at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.

(7) Mission San Gabriel Arcangel had Estancia San Bernardino in modern day Redlands. This was not a sub-mission but a rancho, so it is properly referred to as an Estancia, although this designation is disputed.

Mention of possible other sites around San Bernardino. San Jacinto and a number of identified estancias such as San Bernardino.

(8) The Estancia de San Francisco Xavier, 1804, was a ranching out-station, and probably a religious outpost, of Mission San Fernando. The estancia may have been upgraded to an asistencia, but this is disputed. I was once told that Mission San Fernando had other Asistencias, but can find nothing more on them.

(9) Asistencia Santa Paula, On August 11, 1769, the Portola Expedition Camped here. Later an Asistencia to San Buenaventura was established.

(10) Rancho San Marcos was established by the Santa Barbara Mission as an outpost and it is now the location of a golf club.

(11) Santa Margarita de Cortona was an asistencia of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Established about 1787, what little remains is incorporated into the structure of a ranch barn on private land. The ranch house also incorporates parts of the original structures.

(12)San Miguel had several ranchos.

(13) San Pedro & San PabloMission Dolores Asistencia at San Mateo. Asistencia of Mission San Francisco in Pacifica.

(14] Mission San Rafael Arcángel began as an asistencia to Mission San Francisco de Asis and was upgraded to a full mission.

(14) Possible Asistencia in Sonoma County near the Bay. Santa Eulalia, near Cordelia.

(15) Asistencia at Santa Rosa. This construction seems not to have progressed very far.

The information gathered here is from other web sites and partially edited. I have not yet gathered enough information on these asistencias to finish this page to the level of the other pages in this site. Further research is revealing many other asistencia missions. I will pursue this information. There may well be more Asistencias and Estancias and I hope to find them in time. Some outposts may have been established in the San Joquin Valley and I was once told of one in Casmalia, but I couldn't find it. Little is written of this second chain of inland missions and I hope to change this. There may be many more that have been lost to time.


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This page last updated: Sunday, 25-Aug-2013 19:22:44 EDT
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