Chapter 2: Spanish San Diego

6. Did the Indians accept the mission?

On November 4, 1775 around midnight, an estimated one thousand Kumeyaay Indians attacked the mission burning most of it to the ground. When the attack first started, the two mission priests, Fr. Luis Jayme and Vicente Fuster, went out to pacify the natives. Fr. Jayme supposedly greeted the Indians with his usual salutation, "Amadá Dios, hijos" or "Love God, children." But they killed him along with José Manuel Arroyo, a blacksmith who was visiting the mission from the presidio, and José Urselino, a carpenter who died later of wounds. The survivors of the first attack took refuge in an adobe storehouse where they held off the Indians till dawn. They were finally rescued by a group of loyal neophytes and Baja California Indians. Fr. Jayme was later discovered dead with 18 arrow wounds, disfigured beyond recognition.

The cause of the uprising apparently were the actions of two brothers, Carlos and Francisco, both newly baptized neophytes who had been punished for having stolen a fish from an old woman. Carlos was the chief of a local ranchería. Because they resented their treatment by the padres, they ran away from the mission and began to organize an uprising of the surrounding rancherías. When they learned that about half the presido garrison had been sent north to San Juan Capistrano, they saw this as their chance to wipe out the Spaniards once and for all. In the Spanish investigation that followed, some accused the resident neophytes of helping the attackers, but they denied it, insisting that they had been forced to go along with the attackers.

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