Cambón, Pedro Benito
Spanish Missionary, Co-Founder and Builder of Mission San
Francisco de Asis
Entry Author: Br.
Guire Cleary, S.S.F
Fray Cambón was a Spanish-born Franciscan friar and
Roman Catholic priest who arrived in Mexico in 1771. He witnessed
much of the initial Spanish encuentro of California and founded
or served in several of the early missions in Alta California.
In 1776, he accompanied Lieutenant José
Joaquin Moraga on the final leg of the Anza expedition,
the members of which founded the Mission and Presidio of San
Francisco. In autumn of 1776 he sailed with José Joaquin
Moraga and Fernando Quiros on a voyage to explore the lower
Cambón was highly regarded for his knowledge of irrigation,
agriculture, and building construction. He is credited with
being the founder of Mission San Gabriel and asistencia of
San Pedro y San Pablo, and co-founder, with Fray
Francisco Palóu, of Mission
San Francisco de Asís. In 1782, he co-founded Mission
San Buenaventura with Fray Junipera Serra. One of his most
significant accomplishments was the solid construction of
the mission church of San Francisco de Asís, which
still stands. Historian Herbert Bancroft characterizes Cambón
as "able and zealous." Ill health forced Cambón
to leave California and return to Mexico City in 1791. He
sailed home to Galicia in 1792; the details of his final years
are not known.
Bancroft, Herbert H., History of California. Wallace
Herberd, Santa Barbara, 1963.
Englehardt, OFM, Zephyrin, San Francisco or Mission Dolores.
Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago, 1924.
Geiger, OFM, Maynard, Franciscan Missionaries in California.
The Huntington Library, San Marino, 1969.
Portman, Frank J., Pedro Benito Cambón, OFM:
Mission Builder Par Excellence. The Argonaut, San Francisco,
fall 1994, Volume 5, No. 2.