Between 1683 and 1824, Spanish missionaries of the Catholic Church established a series of missions extending for over six hundred miles throughout the present day state of California and the the upper Baja Penninsula. These outposts were situated about thirty miles apart - one long day's ride on horseback.
The missions represented the first arrival of European settlers in old California. Spanish governmental representatives with military personnel closely followed the padres to assist with the settlement of the Spanish claim on the Pacific coast. Mission Delores, formally Mission San Francisco de Asis, was founded October 9, 1776 and is now the oldest structure in the city of San Francisco.
The Franciscan padres were intent on eradicating the native religions. Spanish soldiers assisted with the process by compelling conversion; sometimes peaceably, but when resistance was met, the Indians were massacred. The Native American children were generally spared and displaced to the missions.
In 1810 Spanish soldiers from the Presidio in San Francisco completely destroyed the ancient native settlement on what was to become the modern day Martin/Stonedene site. A ten year old boy named Sem Yeto, one of the surviving Patwin/Suisun children from that raid, was taken to Mission Delores. He was baptized Francisco Solano and grew to adulthood as a mission Indian or "neophyte." By 1816, the Indians in all the surrounding areas had been completely conquered and the survivors taken to Mission Delores. Runaways were common, but punishment was swift and punitive when they were caught.
By 1816, the Indians in all the surrounding areas had been completely conquered and the survivors taken to Mission Delores. Runaways were common, but punishment was swift and punitive when they were caught.