White Dove Of The Desert Computer Art   Leave a comment

baileys-visit-2011-04-16-san-xavier-mission-iii-blog-frameWhite Dove of the Desert (Mission San Xavier del Bac, First Poated April, 2011) — Computer Art by kenne

‘‘San Xavier del Bac, known as a rancheria since the seventeenth century, and as a mission since 1720 or 1732, was, in June, 1768, committed to the care of Padre Francisco Garces, who was its minister for eight or ten years, but whose successors are not named in any record that I have seen. The neophytes were scattered and had forgotten their doctrina, so it is said, but they consented to return if not compelled to work. Before the end of the year, the mission was destroyed by Apaches, who killed the native governor and captured two soldiers, the padre and most of the neophytes being absent at the time. In several subsequent raids, the mission livestock disappeared, but after 1772 lost ground was more than regained, though Padre Garces * * * was for a large part of the time, engaged in northern explorations. The official report of 1772 shows a population of 270 on the registers, and describes the church as moderately capacious, but poorly supplied with furniture and vestments. All the churches of Pimeria Alta at this period are described as of adobes, covered with wood, grass and earth. Arricivita, writing in 1791, mentions on one page that the Franciscans have built here adobe houses for the natives and walls for defense against the Apaches; but though specifying somewhat minutely the various churches that had been built or repaired, he says nothing of such work at Bac. In a similar statement on another page, however, he includes Bac, as well as Tucson, among the places where churches of brick had been built. Yet I think the chronicler would not have dismissed with so slight a notice the magnificent structure still standing at San Xavier, which has elicited many a description from modern visitors. The church is said to bear the date of 1797, which is presumably that of its completion. The building, or rebuilding, was probably begun soon after the date of the reports on which Arricivita based his work, and completed in the final decade of the century. * * * The establishment seems to have had no minister, and to have been practically abandoned from about 1828, though the Papago ex-neophytes are said to have cared for the building to some extent in later years.’’

This is the oldest mission in Arizona or California, and to-day stands as a monument to the industry and religious zeal and architectural skill of the early fathers. 

“Tucson, as we have seen, is first mentioned in 1763 as a rancheria visita of Bac, which had been for the most part abandoned. In the last years of Jesuit control, however, it had 331 Indians, more or less, under control of the missionaries. Reyes, in his report of 1772, describes San Jose de Tucson, as a visita of Bac, without church or padre’s house, on a fertile site where a large number of gentile and Christian Indians—not registered, but estimated at over 200 families—had congregated. Many of these seem to have been subsequently scattered; at least Anza found only eighty families of Pimas in 1774. Says Arricivita: ‘‘The Apaches have always sought to destroy a small rancheria at Tucson, it being the point of entry for their irruptions; but by the efforts of Padre Garces, there was built a pueblo, with a church, house for the padre, and a wall for defense, and it is to-day, a presidio of Spaniards.’’’’

From this it will be seen that Padre Garces made Tucson a walled town, it being the first and only walled city in the United States.

— from History of Arizona — Volume I

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: