- June 11, 1797
- The Mission of the Most Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph
- An active church that is part of Saint Joseph's Parish.
- San José was founded on June 11, 1797. This successful, prosperous mission was destroyed in an earthquake in 1869. The Mission San Jose church was carefully restored between 1982-1985 and is considered one of the most authentic mission structures in California. There is a gift shop and museum in the former padre’s quarters.
Key Facts About This Mission
Saint Joseph, husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Founding Father President
Fr. Fermiin Francisco de Lasuén
Frs. Isidro Barcenilla and Agustín Merino
Prominent Missionary Leaders
Frs. Buenaventura Fortuny and Narciso Durán were assigned to San José in 1806, and these talented, energetic missionaries worked together with the Indians for 27 years to build one of the most prosperous missions in California.
Indians Joining Mission
San José 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 José and San Francisco de Asís missions. San José also recruited Indians from other groups including Miwok, Patwin, and Northern Valley Yokuts.
In c.1806 Georg Heinrich von Landsdorf, an artist attached to a Russian Scientific Expedition sketched an Ohlone Ceremonial Dance at San Jose Mission.
In Fremont, 15 miles northeast of the pueblo (and current city) of San José.
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 José, which was well managed and located in an area with rich soil, had the second highest agricultural production of the 21 missions with 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 José rapidly became known for the quality of its olive oil, fruit and produce.
The San Jose Mission was destroyed in an earthquake in 1868. An old daguerreotype taken in c.1853, shows how the mission looked before it’s destruction
An authentic restoration of the mission church was completed between 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 José 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
The nearby Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe was established in 1777 as an agricultural settlement for provisioning the presidio garrisons at San Carlos de Monterey and San Francisco.
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 Durán.
Mexican Franciscans from the Colegio de Zacatecas replaced the Spanish Franciscans at Mission San José in 1833.
- Holmes, P. (1977). Two Centuries at Mission San Jose, 1797-1997.
- Oral History Associates. (1989). City of Fremont, The First Thirty Years: History of Growth
- Margaret, A. (1999). Mission San José (Power Kids Press series on the Missions of California)