When it was first built it was successful because they did farming which was good. However there was trouble because one of the guards treated the Indians badly and raped a chief's wife and killed the chief. He was sent away and imprisioned and peace was restored.
However another event occured which caused the mission area to become populated. The explorer, Juan Bautista de Anza, from Mexico arrived in 1774. This was the first time anyone came by land from Mexico. By using this way, they could avoid the sea route going the whole way around the peninsula of Baja California. As a result, San Gabriel became a bustling area. Therafter, the Franciscans moved the mission five miles away and found that it was more fertile soil. It was the wealthiest of all missions in California. Mission San Gabriel was a busy and active mission.
The people who lived on the mission planted crops: wheat and corn. They nurtured vineyards. They also had herds of sheep and cattle. The food was not only used for eating but for trade too. Their large crops were corn and beans. They became known for fine wines and for their soap and candles that other missions bought.