History: 1813-1834

Construction of temporary structures began immediately. Materials salvaged from the first mission were used to construct the new buildings at the Los Berros site. Construction of permanent buildings followed a radical departure from the original quadrangle mission layout. The buildings were laid out in a linear fashion against the base of the hills. We assume this was to allow people to escape from the buildings in case of another earthquake, to help protect the buildings from the prevailing afternoon winds, and to avoid encroaching on the fertile farmland of the canyon. In just ten years the padres and neophytes constructed all of the buildings which are currently part of the reconstructed La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, plus three more.

 Father Payéras' talents did not go unnoticed. Father Payéras became the president of the California missions in 1815, and served in this office for four years. Father Payéras did not forsake La Purísima, but remained and gave direction of the mission system from La Purísima, rather than going to the Carmel Mission, where the president usually resided. In 1819, Father Payéras was again honored by being asked to continue service as president and was appointed commissary prefect, the highest office among the California Franciscans. On April 28, 1823, Father Payéras' body finally gave way to the rigors of travel and demands of his position. His is the only grave under the altar of La Purísima Mission.

 Father Payéras and the other missionaries recognized the interdependence of the missions, presidios and other Spanish settlements in California, and tried to provide supplies wherever necessary. The Hidalgo Rebellion in New Spain (Mexico) was straining Spain's resources and the supply ship from San Blas had ceased bringing resources to the missions in 1811. The $1,000 annual memorias and annual stipends no longer came to the padres. The mission system was forced to find alternative sources of goods to meet their needs. The Spanish governors of California continued the old Spanish policy of forbidding trade with foreign merchants. This restrictive policy created shortages of needed goods (military equipment, clothing and agricultural equipment) and a useless surplus of other items (hides and tallow). This led to black market activity and smuggling which increased the friction between the military men and the mission people.

The soldiers were poverty-stricken and totally dependent on the missions for their support. The frustration of the military forces in California began to be taken out on the mission Indians. Neophytes were used for military construction projects and other jobs for little or no pay. Mexico's independence from Spain in 1822, removed the king's political support of the mission system. The missions' hope that they could recover hundreds of thousands of dollars of credit given to the Spanish government for goods and supplies between 1810 and 1822 was gone. The missions' political position was on the verge of crumbling.

Less than a year after Father Payéras' death, in 1824, the friction between the military and the missions exploded as the Indians of the three Santa Barbara missions rose up in armed revolt. The immediate cause was the flogging of a Purísima neophyte by the soldiers at Mission Santa Inez. The news reached La Purísima Mission and the Indians immediately took control of the mission. The soldiers and their families, and Father Ordaz, were allowed by the Indians to go to Mission Santa Inez. Father Rodríguez remained at La Purísima, and was allowed to come and go as he pleased.

Nearly a month after the rebellion began, 109 soldiers from the presidio at Monterey, under the command of Lt. Estrada, attacked to retake the mission. Two and one half hours after the attack began, it was over. Sixteen Indians were killed and many wounded, while only one soldier died and two others were wounded. There was no escape for the Indians. Father Rodríguez managed to negotiate surrender terms for the Indians. Seven Indians who surrendered were executed for their part in killing four Spanish travelers approaching La Purísima during the excitement of the first night. Twelve other Indians were convicted and sentenced to hard labor at the presidio.

What a blow to the Indian pride! Any thoughts of life outside of the missions must have been destroyed. Their culture and heritage had been wiped away in the name of civilization. But the worst was yet to come. What would life be like without the padres' guidance and protection? The answer came in 1834; the long-expected, long-delayed secularization of the missions was decreed by governor José Figueroa. The missions were to become pueblos with the neophytes receiving land, livestock, seeds, and implements to establish their own ranches. The neophytes would continue to operate and manage the shops, cellars and storehouses under the direction of a leader selected by them. Instead, an administrator or mayordomo was appointed by the governor.

The neophytes were not free to engage in activities beneficial to themselves, but were required to fill government orders for grains, blankets, saddles, shoes, and the needs of the soldiers and their families. As the mission lands were given away by the government, we lose track of what happened to the mission neophytes. The padres left the mission in favor of living at Mission Santa Inez. Within ten years the mission establishment at La Purísima had just about disappeared.

 History concludes in the next chapter, 1835-Present.