What is the history of Mission Santa Ines?

Father Estevan Tapis, third Father-Presidente of the Alta California Mission Chain, founded the Mission Santa Ines on September 17th, 1804. It was the 19th of California’s 21 missions, and it was built to minister to the mountain Indian tribes.
Mission Santa Ines - Photographed by Henry F. Withey September 1936, Photoshop work by Cynthia Kirkeby 2010

Mission Santa Ines - Photographed by Henry F. Withey September 1936, Photoshop work by Cynthia Kirkeby 2010

How Did Mission Santa Ines Get Its Name?

Father Tapis named the mission for St. Agnes, a 13-year-old martyr who was executed for refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods.

Is Any Part of the Mission Santa Ines Still Part of the Original Construction?

The church was originally constructed in 1804, and although several major earthquakes hit, it survived them. The mission church was badly damaged during the 1812 earthquake, but repairs were made. With multiple restoration efforts, Santa Ynez’s original adobe chapel still stands in the quadrangle today.

The mission was so remote at the time of its construction that it received very few visitors. Visitors were so rare, in fact, that when one was spotted approaching, the missionaries and Indians gathered at the church to meet them and the chapel bells were rung.

How Did The Mission Santa Ines Support Itself

Like most California missions, the Mission Santa Ines supported itself and the Native inhabitants of the area by growing crops of wheat and corn. They also raised herds of horses and cattle, and cultivated grapes in a vineyard.

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Native Americans and Mission Santa Ines

The local Indians were extremely cooperative in working for the mission; learning trades such as herding and farming. Santa Ines was never as prosperous as the padres had hoped, but it managed to support itself and its few visitors.

Revolt at Mission Santa Ines

Despite the ongoing functionality of the mission, Santa Ynez did not always operate smoothly. After the Spanish stopped funding the mission, soldiers stationed without pay at the mission became hostile toward the Indians. On February 21, 1824, a soldier needlessly beat a Native woman. The Indians, infuriated, revolted, enlisting help from Native Americans at Missions Santa Barbara and La Purisima. The conflict caused many Indians to leave the mission to join tribes in the mountains; only a few remained at Santa Ynez.