The Fourteenth of the California Missions
June 11, 1797
Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus
The Mission of the Most Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph
Founding Father President:
Fr. Fermiin Francisco de Lasuén
Frs. Isidro Barcenilla and Agustín Merino
In Fremont, 15 miles northeast of the pueblo (and current city) of San Jose.
The layout was more of a rectangle than the traditional quadrangle
Alameda Creek was the mission’s main source of water.
The highest mission population was 1,886, in 1831.
San José was the agricultural and livestock powerhouse among the northern missions. The initial cattle were provided by Santa Clara. In 1832, the last year for which we have records, the mission had a sizeable herd of cattle (12,000), sheep (11,000) and horses (1,100), placing its livestock herd in the upper 25% of all the missions.
Mission San Jose, which was well managed and located in an area with rich soil, had the second highest agricultural production of the 21 missions (approximately 289,000 bushels of grain and produce). It's production of barley, corn, beans and vegetables often exceeded the amount grown by any other mission during these years. San José also had extensive olive and fruit tree orchards and there was a large vineyard near the mission quadrangle. San Jose rapidly became known for the quality of its olive oil, fruit and produce.
The simple but powerful San José church is a restoration of the 1809 church, which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1868. The authentic restoration was completed during 1982-85.
The bell tower is quite truncated but contains four original bells.
The restored padre's wing is now a museum.
Estanislao, a San Jose mission neophyte, led a large scale Indian uprising in 1828-29. Several military expeditions were required to put down the revolt. Stanislaus County is named after Estanislao.
Year Returned to Catholic Church:
An active church that is part of Saint Joseph's Parish.
Prominent Missionary Leaders:
Frs. Buenaventura Fortuny and Narciso Duran were assigned to San Jose in 1806, and these talented, energetic padres worked together with the Indians for 27 years to build one of the most prosperous missions in California.
Indians Joining This Mission:
San Jose was founded in the land of the Costanoan people. Ohlone, one of the most prominent Coastanoan tribes, is often used to refer to the natives of the San Jose and San Francisco de Asis missions. San Jose also recruited indians from other groups including Miwok, Patwin and Northern Valley Yukuts.
A devastating epidemic of smallpox and measles took a terrible toll on the neophytes (over 150 died) in 1805-06.
The mission was renowned for its orchestra and choir, developed and led by Fr. Narciso Duran.
Mexican Franciscans from the Colegio de Zacatecas replaced the Spanish Franciscans in 1833.
The nearby Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe was established in 1777 as an agricultural settlement for provisioning the presidio garrisons at San Carlos de Monterey and San Francisco.