#0631 Garces Baptismal Site


#0631 Garces Baptismal Site

Site information:

State Hwy 155 (P.M. 18.8), 7.7 mi W of Woody


Site is 3 mi N of plaque location, according to OHP description, approximately here: 35.794910, -118.902654.  Nothing remains of the site, as far as I know.

Plaque information:

Private plaque was missing when I first visited (photo 3).  A new plaque was installed in March 2021.

Plaque text:

On May 23, 1776, three miles north of this point at a Yokut village site in Grizzly Gulch; Father Francisco Garces performed the first recorded baptism in the San Joaquin Valley.  The service was held for a dying Yokut boy he called Muchachito (young boy).  Garces was a missionary and explorer in New Spain, making five journeys during the 13 years he lived at San Javier Del Bac (near present day Tuscon, Arizona).  Garces was martyred five years later on July 19, 1781, in California, west of Yuma, Arizona. 

Kern County Historical Society in cooperation with California State Parks.  Dedicated 1952, Re-Dedicated 2021