Mission Puerto de Purísima Concepción
Mission Puerto de Purísima Concepción (1780-1781) - A Catholic mission established in 1780 by Fathers Francisco Garcés and Juan Barreneche near present-day Yuma, Arizona but in Imperial County, California. Associated with the Franciscans.
This mission was founded in October 1780, by Spanish Padres Francisco Garcés and Juan Barreneche to protect the Anza Trail where it forded the Colorado River, between the Mexican provinces of Alta California and New Navarre (now the border between Arizona and California). The 1200-mile Anza trail connected Nogales with San Francisco.
This was the first of two missions established here at the direction of commandant general, Carlos de Croix. The missions were some 8 miles apart, the second one being Mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuñer, built in 1781 also by Father Francisco Garcés. These Missions and the surrounding settlements were not part of the Spanish California missions chain but were a part of the Arizona missions chain.
The Spanish colonists seized the best lands, destroyed the local crops, and generally mistreated the Yumas. The Yumas retaliated by attacking both the Spanish Missions and settlements between 17-19 Jul 1781. They killed the Spanish friars and soldiers, some 50 men total and captured the women and children.
The Mission site is located near Yuma, Arizona, but is actually in Imperial County, California. A monument to the earlier mission and to the site is located in front of the St. Thomas Church church. Saint Thomas Church was built in 1922 on the site but has no connection with the earlier mission. There is a monument and markers commemorating the earlier mission and Padre Garcés. Fort Yuma is located nearby.