History and Related Articles

Backbone of the Community

Jerry Nieblas, Indigenous Voices of San Juan Capistrano

Acjachemen (Juaneño) tribal member, Jerry Nieblas appreciates the strength and perseverence of early Native American women in San Juan Capistrano and shares the example of Apolonia Montano (Polonia Montanez). Recorded February 23, 2017 at Laguna Niguel Library for “Indigenous Voices of Orange County: The Acjachemen (Juaneño) Community.”

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org


The Walls Are Us

Jerry Nieblas, Indigenous Voices of San Juan Capistrano

Acjachemen (Juaneño) tribal member, Jerry Nieblas, presents a brief historical overview of the Acjachemen (Juaneño) community’s centuries-long relationship with Mission San Juan Capistrano. Recorded February 23, 2017, at Laguna Niguel Library for “Indigenous Voices of Orange County: The Acjachemen (Juaneño) Community.”

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org


So Many Memories and Contributions, Yet So Little Recognition

San Juan mission

The Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee wishes to remember and honor the pre-Mission, Native American, early Californio, and very early European settlers who lovingly dedicated and sacrificed most of their lives to the building, survival, and care of our Old Mission San Juan Capistrano.

The Mission stands today as a constant deep reminder, a tribute to those who gave so humbly of themselves, never asking for recognition or anything in return. Because of their devotion and love of our Mother Catholic Church and beloved Old Mission, it rests on an indestructible foundation.

We proudly and humbly honor:

Acu

R. Aguilar

P. Arbiso C. Belardes L. Belardes L. Belardes
R. Belardes J. Bravo G. Carter I. Camarena A. Contreras R. Donner
R. Estrada P. Etcheberria B.Forster E. Forster Franciscan Sisters of Sylvania of Ohio Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse
B. Garcia F. Garcia C. Garcia T. Gutierrez Father Richard Hartman Historic members of first Old Mission Guides
S. Houston F. Hunn Sr. Father Hutchinson Mr. Joyce R. Lobo Manriquez Family
Monsignor Paul Martin Maryknoll Missionary Sisters of New York B. McKray H. McMullen T. Montano Fr. Jose Mut Considered our ancestors’ personal Santo.
F. Nieblas G. Nieblas M. Nieblas M.A. Nieblas R. Nieblas P. Nieblas
Msgr. St. John O’Sullivan (the great restorer of O.M.S.J.C.) Olivares Family D. Olivares V. Olivares J. Perez T. Ramos
G. Rios Monsignor Vincent Lloyd-Russell T. Salas L. Scharn School Sisters of Saint Francis Eu. Soto
Father R. Toal C. Valenzuela F. Velasquez C. Ward A. Yorba T. R. Yorba

 

~ Vaya Con Dios, y que su viaje sea feliz! ~

Go with God, and may your journey be happy!

Your descendants remain here, our historical bloodlines unbroken, in this, our great and historical San Juan Capistrano community. We thank you with our deepest love and respect for all your years of difficult, selfless, dedicated devotion to our Old Mission San Juan Capistrano. We are proud to be members of these families.

I know there are names we have possibly forgotten to mention. Please let us know if your family member is part of this remarkable group and we will be glad to add them to this honoring notification by filling out the form below:


Oral History of El Toro as told by Eddie Grijalva


Beautiful San Juan Capistrano banners created by local resident and educator, Melinda Curtis

Please click on the link below and view these beautiful San Juan Capistrano banners created by local resident and educator, Melinda Curtis. Her unique and colorful banners promote our community’s historical past, people, traditions, culture, buildings, and lands. Local historian Jerry Nieblas, Lorie Porter, and others worked to assist Melinda with her creation of these special banners. It is our hope that the banners will one day soon hang throughout San Juan Capistrano in celebration of San Juan Capistrano’s rich history. After all, we are the first community of Orange County!

Download a pdf of these beautiful banners.


A True Historian’s Thoughts regarding those preaching history for personal gain.

 

Letter by Jerry Nieblas and published in the San Juan Scoop on March 17, 2018. San Juan Scoop by the residents for the residents

Download a pdf of the March 17th letter.

 

 

 

 


Community Common Sense Articles

Jerry Nieblas and Ilse Burnes have devoted their lives to historic preservation in SJC

 

The Pollution of San Juan Creek is NOT ABOUT THE HORSES…

By Ilse Byrnes & Jerry Nieblas and published in the Community Common Sense paper in September of 2017.

Download a pdf of the September 2017 Community Common Sense article.

 

 

 

 


Los Rios Street – Our Priceless Treasure

By Jerry Nieblas, as told to Janice Pickartz and published in the Community Common Sense paper in April of 2017. The Olivares Home

Join me on a journey. The road is narrow, there are no sidewalks to be found, trees are aged & rugged and the air is heavy with the perfume scents of early Californio Castilian roses and fruit trees in bloom. Walk with me back to a time when all was protected and good – full of family, sharing, feasting, gathering in times of both joy and sorrow. Come walk with me on a street that is defined by one word, HOME.

Listen closely and you might just hear the voices from the past greeting each other with “mi casa es su casa”. This is historic Los Rios Street, the oldest neighborhood in California that some historical families still call home. Allow me to introduce you to those families who are pre-Mission and early Californio Rancho descendants. From being baptized at the Mission to being laid to rest in the Old Mission Historic Cemetery, each one is a vital part of the history of San Juan Capistrano. Their homes radiate warmth, peace, and tranquility, taking you back to a time long, long ago. I am honored to share with you the history of some of those homes and their stories that stand out in my memories.

Download a pdf of this article from Community Common Sense.

Download a pdf of page 2.


SJC Vaqueros – The Real Cowboys

By Jerry Nieblas, as told to Janice Pickartz and published in the Community Common Sense paper. Cattle de-horning by Rancho Vaqueros photo courtesy of San Juan Historical Society

Editor’s note: As a pre-Mission descendant of the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians and two early Californio Rancho families, Jerry Nieblas has been invited to share the accurate, factual story of the Juanenos’ historical connection to San Juan Capistrano and the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

The vaqueros of San Juan Capistrano were magnificent men. Many were descendants of the original Portola Expedition from Spain – this expedition accompanied St. Junipero Serra from Spain to Mexico and into California. With an overpowering simplicity and gentle, humble spirits, these dignified men embraced and radiated a work ethic comparable to none.

Download a pdf of the two-page article in Community Common Sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


San Juan Capistrano’s Juaneno Indian Heritage

By Jerry Nieblas, as told to Janice Pickartz and published in the Community Common Sense paper.

This is a three-part article. The three articles are below. Interior ruins of the Great Stone Church

As a pre-Mission descendant of the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians and two early Californio Rancho families, I have been invited to share the accurate, factual story of our historical connection to this land and Mission called San Juan Capistrano.

San Juan Capistrano began with natural resources, a clean environment, freshwater, and prosperous villages of the Juaneno Indians, who were hunters and gatherers. There was a simplicity, a bond with Mother Earth, and her ele­ments. With the establishment of the Mission, early Califomios, Rancho families, and European settlers became a part of San Juan Capistrano. They brought money, influence, political power, religion, and education. It also meant the introduction of illnesses to the valley, wreaking havoc among the Juanenos. Life was changing. What was familiar to the Juanenos was a contradiction to the newcomers, forcing the Juanenos to change their ways. In order to survive, resisting the new ways was not an option. And, those ways affected every single part of daily life, forever changing the people and its landscape.

Download a pdf of Part 1 of 3 of San Juan Capistrano’s Juaneno Indian Heritage.

Download a pdf of Part 2 of 3 of San Juan Capistrano’s Juaneno Indian Heritage.

Download a pdf of Part 3 of San Juan Capistrano’s Juaneno Indian Heritage.