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Mariano Payeras

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Born 10 Oct., 1769, at Inca, Island of Majorca; died 28 April, 1823. He received the habit of St. Francis at Palma, 5 Sept., 1784; left Spain in Feb., 1793, to join the College of San Fernando, Mexico, which provided missionaries for the Indian missions in California. He was sent to Monterey and stationed at San Carlos, 1796-1798; at Soledad, 1798-1803; at San Diego, 1803-1804; at Purisima Concepción, 1804-1823. From July, 1815, to April, 1820, Father Payeras held the offices of presidente of the missions and vicario foraneo of the Bishop of Sonora, to whose jurisdiction California belonged. In 1819 the College of San Fernando elected him comisario-prefecto of the missions, in which capacity he, at various times, visited the twenty missions then existing from San Diego to San Rafael, a distance of more than six hundred miles. The zealous prelate also headed various expeditions to the territory of the savages for the purpose of finding suitable sites for new missions. Six months before his death he accompanied an expedition to the Russian settlements in the wilds of Sonoma County, and thereby most probably hastened his demise. In 1819, Fr. Payeras received the thanks of the King of Spain for his services during the Bouchard revolt. While in charge of Purisima he compiled a catechism in the language of the Indians, which was put to use but never published. "There was no friar of better and more evenly balanced ability", says H.H. Bancroft. "It was impossible to quarrel with him. He had extraordinary business ability, was a clear and forcible, as well as voluminous writer, and withal a man of great strength of mind and firmness of character ".


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