Manuel Garcia de Medeiros

As a young boy during the early 19th century, Manuel Garcia de Medeiros grew up in Portugal. Raised by nuns, his future was predestined. Once of age, he would become a Catholic priest. But during his adolescent years, his predestination and personal desires would conflict, and a new destiny would emerge.


Believing Catholicism would always remain foundational, he struggled to reconcile his adventurous ambitions and his spiritual convictions. Like many young men of the 19th century, Manuel succumbed to his adventurous ambition abandoning his predestined religious career. He joined the merchant marines and became a whaler destined for the New World.


Sailing from Portugal, Manuel maneuvered around the frigid tip of Tierra del Fuego, South America, endured the rough Straits of Magellan, ventured north to more tepid climates, and finally moored at Newport Beach, CA.


After many days on the world’s desert blue ocean, Manuel found himself in the New World. The journey was arduous and the work difficult. Dissatisfied with being a merchant marine, Manuel made a fateful decision affecting his progenitor’s future for many generations henceforth. He disembarked the ship and didn’t return. His actions were illegal, and the ship waited many days longer than planned.


He quietly hiked into the Laguna Hills to find refuge. On his trek, he became acquainted with a stray dog. Needing one another, they quickly bonded and found shelter amongst the rocks and caves. In the distance, he patiently watched his ship and waited for them to set sail. After several days in the hills, enduring cold nights and very warm days, Manuel watched the ship leave. With nothing more to fear, he and his canine companion descended down the backside of the Laguna Hills into the fledgling San Juan Capistrano mission. Back within the Catholic environment, Manuel would become a carpenter for the mission, marry Paulo Rustica Murrillo, and raise seven daughters (all named Mary) and three boys.

With a large family to support, Manuel would later become a merchant, encounter bandits, and build a large home…


Frances Christina Gilliland