Colonizing Expedition, 1775-1776

Expanded Diary of Pedro Font

September 28, 1775 - June 5, 1776

Expanded version of Father Pedro Font's original diary of the Juan Bautista de Anza Colonizing Expedition (October 23, 1775 — June 5, 1776), beginning at the Royal Presidio of San Ignacio de Tubac in what is today southern Arizona, and ending at the Royal Presidio of San Carlos de Monterey in Alta California. The diary also records the exploratory expedition made by Lieutenant Colonel Anza, Padre Font, and eighteen soldiers from Monterey to the entrance of the San Francisco Bay, around the East Bay to the Sacramento River Delta, and back to Monterey. It also details events on the return trip from Monterey to Horcasitas. Father Font was the expedition chaplain and was also responsible for taking latitudes along the way. In this diary he goes to great length to supply details of human interest and to paint a favorable picture of his viewpoints when they contradict Anza's. The purpose of the diary, which he compiled from his notes at Ures, Sonora, upon their return from California, was to make an official, full-length report to his superior, Father Guardian Romualdo Cartagena and, ultimately, to the Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio María Bucareli y Ursua, and the King of Spain, Charles III. This edition is based upon Herbert E. Bolton's English translation of the diary in Anza's California Expeditions, Volume IV, 1931.





Account of the people, supplies, and livestock on the eve of departure from Horcasitas


After some false starts and difficulties the Expedition gets under way


Account of the people, supplies, and livestock on the eve of departure from Tubac


Manuela Piñuelas dies in childbirth at La Canoa the first evening out of Tubac


Father Font performs marriage ceremonies for three couples of the Expedition


Ana María de Osuna gives birth to a healthy son in a camp on the Gila River


The Yuma Indians help the Expedition to cross the frigid waters of the Colorado River


Expedition members suffer extremely from the snow and severe cold


Gertrudis Rivas gives birth to a healthy son at camp in Coyote Canyon and Father Font is furious when the people celebrate with a keg of brandy


Nearing San Gabriel the Expedition learns of the uprising at San Diego


After much delay, a desertion, and a side trip to San Diego to help quell the uprising, the Expedition continues north from San Gabriel


With great satisfaction the colonizers arrive at Monterey, the earliest recruits having been traveling for just fifteen days short of a year


Anza, Font, Moraga, and seventeen soldiers stand at the mouth of San Francisco Bay, the first people of European heritage to have seen it


Anza, Font, and twenty-seven others returning to Sonora bid a tearful farewell at Monterey to the California colonists