THE STORY OF THE PAJARO VALLEY TOLD THROUGH ITS CHURCHES
1. CALIFORNIOS AND OHLONE
SLIDE 1: PRAYER POLE (from
To view the slide go to slide301.png.
The natives of the inhabitants of the lower Pajaro Valley, the Calendaruc tribelet, were related to the Motsun tribelet of the S.J.Bautista area. From 1815 report to the spanish government: For worship they had prayer poles which were put in place upon religious occasions, especially deaths:
it was nothing more than a stick painted red, white and black with some arrows attached or hanging jars and other things.
Now Indian Canyon, 15 miles from Hollister, “Indian Country,” is organizing cultural and historical activities and a community where people can learn about Ohlone life and participate in festivals.
Ownership of the ranchos was granted by the Mexican government in the 1830s and settled by the American government mainly in the 1870s.
The Californios of the area attended a Catholic church (probably a mission of San Juan Bautista) on the Rancho Las Aromitas y Aqua Caliente, a corner of which was in what was to become Santa Cruz County: (Ed. Martin, 1873 Wats. Dir.)
On Sundays the various families would wend their way to the Church at the Rancho Los Aromas, long since abandoned as a place of worship, returning, would spend the day in a sort of reunion.
2. THE FOUNDING PERIOD, 1850 - 1880
SLIDE 2: THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
(from Edgar Clark’s Watsonville Images 1888-1940)
To view the slide go to slide302.png.
The early mainline Protestant churches:
First Methodist Church (1852)
Well identified with the first American wave, Yankees, who arrived in the 1840s, in the gold rush, and after -1870 US Census: State with the most (in SC County) was New York, then Maine, Ohio, Missouri, Massachusetts.
The Methodist Church was the church of the frontier;
Elihu Anthony organized the Methodist congregation
First Christian (1859)
This denomination was entirely American, instituted by pastors from New England to Kentucky as part of the Restoration Movement to restore the simplicity of early Christianity, not tied to the denominations. The main body is also known as the Disciples of Christ . Their church burned down twice. The Corralitos Christian Church was built in 1888, then merged with the Watsonville Christian Church in 1929.
Remember the huge Tabernacle and annual state meetings in Santa Cruz.
United Presbyterian 1860
All Saints 1861
Valley Catholic 1856
St. Patrick’s 1865
These churches reflected the foreign immigration wave in Santa Cruz County, i.e., foreign born in 1870, (total about 2,000) the largest group was from the Britisb Isles - 66 Scotland, 196 England, 596 Ireland - added especially Catholics and Presbyterians. (The remainder mostly European.)
Episcopal: Bishop Kip in 1864 did not have a specific population in mind.
A special note: German background Dunkards “in lower [Pajaro] valley” joined the Christian Church.
SLIDE 3: CHINESE FUNERAL
BURNER, PIONEER CEMETERY
To view the slide go to slide303.png.
THE CHINESE, THE FIFTH WAVE OF IMMIGRATION, THE SECOND EASTWARD
Immigration from 1850s to the 1870s, the main period of immigration being the 1860s. By 1870 156 Chinese had been-born in the county. The Chinese population in 1890 was almost 800, but it diminished soon after, until recent times.
Chinatown was moved across the river in 1888.
In 1980 there were about 800 in the county, mostly not in the Pajaro Valley.
3A. RELIGIOUS CONSOLIDATION PERIOD, 1880 – WWI: CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES
SLIDE 4: DANISH LUTHERAN CHURCH
(from PVHA files)
To view the slide go to slide304.png.
SOME NEW CHURCHES IN THIS PERIOD
First Lutheran 1880.
Lutherans were northern European and northern US. The Danish Lutherans and their church – the various Lutheran national groups established congregations of their language – 7 in California were Danish, including Salinas. In 1946 the Danish synod was americanized in name, and in 1960 in in fact, by merging with other synods, the whole now being termed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Two more Yankee groups in this period:
Corralitos Free Methodist 1884
Free Methodism founded in New York in 1860. This the first of 3 Free Methodist congregations in the county, and the only one still in existence.
Christian Science 1898
Founded in 1879 in Boston and grew very rapidly. It was suited to the spirit of the times, which included Spiritualism, Theosophy, scientific, non-material beings and forces active in the material world.
First Baptist 1914
American Baptists were divided by slavery and by organizational principles – southerners wanted more denominational structure: a convention. Northern Baptists came to California; in fact, only in 1940 did the Southern Baptist Convention formally organize in California. Then six Southern Baptist Congregatiions were established in Santa Cruz County from 1947 to 1957. Especially, in 1947, the Calvary Southern Baptist Church, which is now the Arthur Road Baptist Church
SLIDE 5: WCTU
To view the slide go to slide305.png.
WCTU is an early example of religious people organized for a cause. Founded in Santa Cruz in 1883 by Frances Willard, it was established in Watsonville in 1884 and Corralitos in 1894 and in Aromas in 1936. (Also in Highland, Boulder Creek, Soquel, and East Santa Cruz.) Santa Cruz and Corralitos were the last to be disbanded in the county, in 1984.
Schools, rescue missions, services to the poor were introduced in this period (mention the Knights of Columbus, organized in 1905, in whose present hall we are having this event.
3B RELIGIOUS CONSOLIDATION PERIOD, 1880 – WWI: FIVE IMMIGRANT GROUPS OF THIS PERIOD
SLIDE 6: THE
To view the slide go to slide306.png.
Westview Presbyterian 1898
It was Methodist until 1902, when Methodists and Presbyterians agreed to divide the area into two: San Jose and Santa Cruz/Monterey.
Watsonville Buddhist Temple 1905
Period of immigration 1885 to 1907. Allowed by Japan to come in 1885; at first worked in sugar beet fields; coincided with switch from wheat to strawberries; motivated more by ambition than poverty. By 1910 there were nearly 700 in the Pajaro Valley. In 1980 1800 in the county.
One-third returned after WWII.
SLIDE 7: DUBROVNIK FROM THE SEA
(from a travel brochure)
To view the slide go to slide307.png.
Three groups mainly Catholic
(Mention the recent book which is the best source for this, Blossoms into Gold, by Donna and Kathryn Mekis.)
Dubrovnik was an ancient port on the Dalmatian Coast, a republic from about 1200 to about 1800, prosperous, although damaged by an earthquake in 1667, but subjugated and impoverished by the Austrian Empire from 1815.
Croatians started comng in the 1870s, but 1890s through WWI was the heaviest period of their immigration. In 1900 in Watsonville ~200 Croats in 3500 pop. In 1920, 1000 in 5000. Croatians coincided with the apple industry; were packers and distributors
Marshall Maslin’s reminiscences of his boyhood in Watsonville in 1912 in the latest History Journal:
I had no Slavonian friends; they kept to themselves and so did we others but without rejection. Many of the Slavonian girls were beautiful but they didn’t attend our parties. We didn’t invite them and I think now that they wouldn’t have accepted.
SLIDE 8: MAP OF
THE ATLANTIC OCEAN
To view the slide go to slide308.png.
No one lived on the islands, discovered in 1432,which are 800 square miles, less than twice the size of Santa Cruz County. Portugal colonized them for their strategic location and their possible contribution to the country’s economy.
They began to arrive in the 1870s. By 1880 there were 13,000 Azoreans in CA, 77% of whom in central coast area, mainly SF Bay. (San Leandro was the “Portuguese Capitol of the West.”).
Predominantly farmers, not fishers; predominantly Catholic.
Mention the Fleming group, which came in 1890 and were assimilated by language, but not by appearance.
Valley Catholic Church still has a Sunday Mass in Portuguese.
They came mainly in the period 1890 to WWI. They were the largest immigrant group in the county by 1910, remaining so through 1960; finally in 1970 they were surpassed by Mexicans, 2 to 1.
Even in Watsonville, which had only 1/11 the Italian population of the county, Italians were the second largest immigrant group.
Forcing Italians, non-US citizens to stay inland of Highway 1 after Pearl Harbor, for nearly a year, was one of the dumber US actions in WWII. A plan for doing the same with the Croations was not put into action.
SLIDE 9: NEGATIVE NEWSPAPER
ARTICLE REGARDING THE ROMA
To view the slide go to slide309.png.
An immigrant group that did not settle:
It was nomadic, partly because they were not allowed to stay: the Roma
Newspaper evidence that they were chased away, that the residents did not want to hear their story.
4A. MODERN PERIOD, SINCE WWI: SOME NEW CHURCHES IN THIS PERIOD
Bethel Tabernacle 1921
The Pentecostal movement started in 1906 in Los Angeles in the Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa Street. Its distinguishing mark is the manifestation of the Pentecostal Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Within two years there were Pentecostal missionaries on all continents.
The earliest Pencostal church in the county was in Santa Cruz in 1909, but I can trce it only until 1912. Bethel Tabernacle is the next, and it still exists.
The incidence of Pentecostal churches in the Watsonville area is higher than that in the county as a whole (72,000/14 = 1 for 5,000 vs 255,600/29 = 1 for 8,800), but the proportion of the two to each other has not changed since 1970 (35,000/14 = 1 for 2,500 vs 123,800/30 = 1 for 4,100, and the number of Pentecostal congregations has been steady in both areas for the 30 years.)
There were 11 Pentecostal congregations in the Pajaro Valley in 1970 and there are 13 here now. Seven of the 13 were here in 1970, In the meanwhile, another seven were established after 1970 and disbanded before 2010. Of religious groups in the county, only the Spiritualists were less persevering.
Seventh-Day Adventist 1925
Generally a socially active group, but not here; although the annual encampment in Soquel since 1947 is a great communal event for the church.
Trinity Lutheran 1931
Missouri Synod: is more conservative than ELCA.
4B. MODERN PERIOD, SINCE WWI: THE THREE MOST RECENT IMMIGRANT GROUPS
SLIDE 10 CATHOLIC FILIPINO GATHERING
To view the slide go to slide3091.png.
Although nearly 700,000 came to California by auto in 1930-1934, these did not come in huge numbers to the Pajaro Valley, but they were integrated here as in other agricultural areas of the state.
Many midsoutherners came then and would have been Baptists, but the Southern Baptist Conventions was not represented, so they went to other conservative churches, but were ready to join the Southern Baptist congregations when they arrived.
(Mention the interviews with Jess Tabasa and Carmelita Abenoja.)
The peculiar immigration pattern of the Filipinos due to relations with the United States: asians, yet not excluded; in fact encouraged to study in the U.S. Thus they supplanted to a great extent other Asians as laborers. By 1980 about 1700 people of Filipino descent lived in the county, mostly in the Pajaro Valley.
Watsonville riot narrative
In 1960 there were more Italians and descendants of same in Santa Cruz County than Mexicans and descendants of same, and the Latino percentage was 3%; In 1980 the Latino percentage was 15%, and in Watsonville, 40% (63% in Watsonville in 2000).
Churches in which they are principally, explicitly, found:
Assumption Church : 7 weekend Masses 1 English 6 Spanish;
Holy Eucharist 2 2 English.
Valley Church 8 4 English 3 Spanish (1 Portuguese)
St Patrick 8 4 English 4 Spanish
Mainline Protestant congregations:
1 Presbyterian (2000)
2 Southern Baptist (1958, 2006)
1Baptist, affiliation unknown (1967 only)
1 Independent (2007)
1 Seventh Day Adventist (1991)
1 Jehovah’s Witnesses (1975).
Templo El Calvario Spanish Assembly. Watsonville, 1966-1989.
Puerta Camino Y Meta. Watsonville, 2003-2008.
Iglesia Santa Pentecostes Templo Jerusalem. Watsonville, 1969-2008.
Iglesia de Jesucristo Israel. Watsonville, 1997?-2008.
SLIDE 11. POOR
To view the slide go to slide3092.png.
This slide illustrates the fact that worship is found in places that are not congregations, such as the convent, the Rumi Academy and the HomeChurch yurt
SLIDE 12: MAP OF
PLACES OF WORSHIP
To view the slide go to slide3093.png.
This shows 45 current places of worship -- those in blue are from before 1918; those red are new since 1918.
SLIDE 13: CHRONOLOGICAL CHART OF
IMMIGRANTS AND OF RELIGIONS
To view the slide go to slide3094.png.