Mission San José|
Work on the site of Mission San Jose commenced in May 1797 by Native American people from Mission Santa Clara, 13 miles to the south, under direction of Franciscan missionaries and secular Hispanic overseers. The location, on slopes overlooking the Fremont plain on the east side of San Francisco Bay, had been inhabited for countless generations by Indians who spoke the San Francisco Bay Ohlone language. The Ohlone lived a hunting and wild-plant harvesting lifestyle. Their food included seeds, roots, berries, the flour from acorns, small game, deer, fish, and shellfish. In 1797 most of the Indians, from the immediate vicinity of the mission site had actually already been baptized at Mission Santa Clara, 13 miles to the south, during the 1780s and early 1790s. It was these people who returned home to form the founding population of the new community. (Milliken 2008) Mission San José's walls were 5 ft thick.