Santa Cruz, on the Bay of Monterey, was inspired and planned by President Lasuen in his home in the an Francisco Mission. It was founded in the autumn of 1791, with the accustomed ceremony of a mass, chanting by neophytes from another Mission, and the raising of a cross on the spot over which the altar was designed to rest. Chief Sugert and a large following of his tribe attended, themselves representing the very people from which the good padres planned to recruit the company of their converts. The church was dedicated in May 1794, in the presence of these same Indians, who on this occasion came as devotees.
The Mission reached its zenith of influence five years after its founding, although it continued to acquire property in cattle and herds. Settlers encroached upon the lands of the Mission, and the padres retaliated upon the authorities who had permitted such a condition, until, eventually, in the Bouchard rising in 1818, the Mission was robbed of every removable effect. A padre was murdered here in 1812 by neophytes who pleaded having been most cruelly punished, but their claims were never established. In 1835 Ignacio del Valle was commissioned to dispose of the property under the act of confiscation. The personal property inventoried fifty thousand dollars, of which it was agreed that ten thousand dollars should be given to the Indians. It is said that this amount was actually divided among them; but it is usually added, ironically, that the only apparent evidence of the division was to be found in their wretched condition. The tower fell in 1840, eleven years later the walls were wrecked, and since then the Mission has dropped into utter obscurity, and none so poor to do it reverence.