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San Bernardino Valley 



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Table of Contents. 




J'Early Spanish Explorers — Cabiillo .... 
VViscaino ... 

jComing of the Missionaries 
v,The Franciscans - - . 

wjFather Junipero Serra ... 

V^The Missions --.-.. 

^NFounding of the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel 

Tolitana — The First Christian Settlement in the Valley 

The Patron Saint of the Valley .... 

The Indians --.... 

Religious Belief of the Indians .... 

Primitive Indian Language - ... 

Social and Domestic Condition of the Indians 

Indian Ceremonies and Superstitions 

Building of San Bernardino Mission ... 

Secularization - - . ... 

Abandonment of San Bernardino Mission 

Early Land Titles — Mexican Land Grants 

Early Mexican Pioneers ..... 

Mexican Pioneers. Battle at Chino ... 

New Mexican Pioneers — La Placita — Agua Mansa 

New Mexican Pioneers — Religious, Social and Domestic Customs 

American Colonization — Morman Pioneers 




- IV 














- XXI 



History may be compared to a skciu of tangled threads, 
gathered here and there. After a time, often many years, 
these strands are taken up, straightened and woven into a 
fabric that may satisfy the weaver — for the story is not of 
his day. So, as the present weaves Ihe story of the past, it 
prepares the web of its own story, for the future to weave. 
The shears of Atropos n3ver rust. 

These brief chapters of the history of San Bernardino Val- 
ley have been prepared by Father CabalJeria Avith tlie sole 
purpose of preserving some historical facts that are in dan- 
ger of being overlooked and forgotten. The later days have 
many chroniclers, but of events prior to American colojazation 
nothing has been written. These events form an important 
link in the historical chain; they provide a starting point, be- 
yond which there is no record, no tradition. 

As the early history of San Bernardino Valley is inter- 
woven with mission history, it is well to outline the principal 
events preceding the first settlement of the valley. This will 
cover briefly the Spanish occupation of California and what 
is known as the missionary era. 

No person is more competent to write of mission histor" 
than Father Caballeria. Endowed with a love for ancient 
historical lore, and the spirit that impels men to search foi 
knowledge, he deems no effort or labor too great if knowl 
edge may be gained. He found in the Indian and mission 
history of California an interesting field to which he has de- 

voted much time, study aud research. His profession is tho 
"open sesame" to doors sealed to the average student. The 
faded, musty old records of a by-gone age and generation 
written in the seclusion of cloistered missions, need no trans- 
lation to tell to him their story; for the language in which 
they are written is his mother tongue; the men who made 
the early history of California, by faith, race and land o? 
birth, his kindred. 

Father Cabal leria is already well known as the author of 
several philosophic works in Spanish. He has written a his- 
tory of Santa Barbara Mission which has been translated in- 
to English. All this gives value to the work of his pen and 
is assurance of a thorough comprehension of the subject upon 
which he now writes. 


San Bernardino, Cal., January, 1902. 




Long before the caravel of the first explorer touched the 
western coast of North America, marvelous stories had reached 
the ears of the Spaniards of a wonderful island lying afar off in 
unknown seas, called California. In these stories nothing 
was lacking to excite the imagination and appeal to the cu- 
pidity of man. It was said to be a land of enchantment, in- 
habited by a race of people unlike the Europeans, who lived 
ill wonderful cities &,nd were garbed in raiment glittering 
with gold and precious stones. It was a dream of oriental 
splendor rivaled only by the tales of the Arabian Nights. 

These fables at last bore fruit. In them is foun.l the lur«- 
that beckoned the early explorers to California. In this re- 
spect the history of the world reads the same today as yester- 
day; and though men follow the ignis fatuus of personal am- 
bition to bitter disappointment and death, it has ever served 
its purpose as a beacon light of civilization. Through the 
f.olfishness of a few, in time, comes the betterment of many. 
In this may be traced the master hand of human destiny — 
the Will of God. 

Among the Spaniards, the true pioneers of the New World, 
the names of Cortez, Nuno de Guzman, Hurtado, Manzuela, 
Ximenes, Alarcon and Coronado are interwoven with the an- 
nals of the earliest explorations of the western coast, and to 
the northwest of Mexico. The colonization of Baja-Califor- 
nia was begun as early as 1530. But, passing over the his- 


tory of the Spanish conquest and settlements in North Am- 
erica, that of California begins with the expedition under 
command of Admiral Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. 

On the 27th of June, 1542, Cabrillo sailed from Navidad, 
for the purpose of discovering "a shorter route, in a wo.sterly 
direction, from New Spain, or Mexico, between the North and 
the South Sea." He was in command of two sailing vessels, 
the Victoria and the San Salvador. After leaving the coast 
of Lower California he entered the unexplored waters of the 
then called Mar del Sur. On the 28th of September he sailed 
into a harbor, to which he gave the name of San Miguel, but 
now known as San Diego Bay. These were the first vessels 
to enter the waters of that bay; and these the first white men 
to set foot on the land which Cabrillo named Alta-California. 

An account of this voyage, published by Juan Paez, is the 
source from which writers of history have drawn their in- 
formation. It abounds in errors and inaccuracies which 
make it difficult to detei'mine the extent of the voyage. How- 
ever, Cabrillo remained at San Miguel six days. They landed, 
made explorations and give a very good description of the 
country, with some mention of the Indians inhabiting that 
section of the coast. These Indians are described as well 
formed and clothed in the skins of animals. They appeared 
suspicious of the white men and could only be approached 
with difficulty. 

About the 10th of October they anchored in a small bay, 
now believed to be San Pedro. From there a party proceed- 
ed inland some distance, where they obtained a view of 
high mountains and again saw the Indians. On the 17th 
of November, Cabrillo discovered the Bay of Monterey, but 
was unable to make a landing on account of the roughness 
of the sea. He continued the voyage as far as 44 degrees lat- 
itude, but owing to the inclemency of the weather and the un- 
safe condition of his vessels, he decided to return to the San- 
ta Barbara Islands and remain for the winter. 



The latter part of this voyage was accomplished under 
serious diflBculties. The brave commander was suffering 
from severe injuries, the result of a fall received during tho 
month of October, and constant exposure and lack of proper 
attention caused inflamation which resulted in his death 
January 3, 1543. This occurred on the island now known a.-; 
San Miguel, where his remains received burial. The com- 
mand of the expedition devolved upon Lieut. Bartolome Fer- 
rer, who, not daring to continue the explorations, returned 
to New Spain. 

Cabrillo sleeps in an unknown grave, but history has built 
for him an enduring monument, and while the record of the 
deeds of brave men adorn its pages, the name of Cabrillo will 
not be forgotten. He was a man of sterling qualities, a fear- 
less navigator and the discoverer of Alta-California, 



Sixty years elapsed before Spain made any attempt to pro- 
ceed with the work of discovery and exploration which the 
untimely death of Cabrillo postponed. 

On May 1, 1603, a fleet sailed from Acapulco for the pur- 
pose of establishing a harbor on the coast of California, where 
vessels engaged in the Philippine trade could, in case of ne- 
cessity, find shelter and supplies. This fleet of three frig- 
ates, the San Diego, Santo Tomas and Los Tres Reyes, was 
under command of Admiral Don Sebastien Viscaino. On No- 
vember 10, they anchored in the bay where Cabrillo first land- 
ed, and which Viscaino named San Diego de Alcala, althougn 
Cabrillo had given to it the name of San Miguel. 

Accompanying this expedition was a party of learned sci- 
entists sent purposely from Madrid to take part in the explor- 
ations. They were under direction of Fray Antonio de la As- 
cencion, of the Order of Carmelite Brothers. He had as as- 
sistants Fray Andreas de la Asuncion and Fray Tomas de 
Aquino. They were the first to make maps of the coast and 
of the islands lying off the coast of California. 

A knowledge of the progress of this expedition may be 
gained by following the Roman Calendar of Saints. These 
pious fathers not only made the maps but named each place 
visited by the expedition with the name of the saint whose an- 
niversary occurred on the day of their arrival at the place. 
California owes a debt of gratitude to these devout padres 
for the beautiful names bestowed upon many of her now pop- 
ular pleasure resorts and islands, these names having been 
retained to this day. 


The expedition visited San Clements Island November 23, 
and on the 25th, Sauta Catalina Island; on the 26th they land- 
ed at San Pedro; thence northward to Santa Barbara, arriving 
December 4, the anniversary of Santa Barbara day. On the 
8th of the month they doubled Point Concepcion; and on the 
16th dropped anchor in an excellent harbor which Viscaino 
named Monte Rey — king's mountain. Here they landed, and 
beneath the spreading boughs of a large oak tree near the 
shore, beside which bubbled a spring of clear, cool water, a 
solemn mass was offered by Fray Ascencion. The rough, 
bearded sailors from the ships knelt in silent devotion while 
the three priests, in their sacred vestments, chanted the mass 
"In Gratiarum Actione," their voices uniting and ascending 
in the devout prayer of thankfulness to God, who had so pre- 
served and cared for them amidst the many perils that con- 
stantly surrounded them. It was an impressive scene. On 
one side the unbroken solitude of mountain and the vastness 
of trackless wilderness; on the other side the immensity of an 
unknown ocean. The moment was worthy of immortaliza- 
tion and one destined to live in the history of the land. 

This expedition did not go beyond 42 degrees latitude. The 
maps, records and descriptions of the coast, climate and gen- 
eral condition of California were accepted as authority, and 
thus the expedition added to knowledge of the country; but 
aside from this there was no benefit derived and no practical 
use was made of the knowledge gained. Although Viscaino 
solicited the opportunity of returning *^o California, desiring 
to make a permanent settlement in the country, no provision 
was made for that purpose and he died with the hope unful- 
filled. Spain seemed content to rest until the trend of evints 
far in the future, awoke her to a realization of the value and 
importance of the rich possessions which for so many years 
suffered neglect at her hands. 



In the Seveuteenth century Spain was mistress of the 
•world. Her diplomats were a power at every European court; 
her ships sailed every sea; she was foremost of nations. Her 
many interests had so absorbed her attention elewhere that 
the vast territory of California, which she claimed, was appar- 
ently overlooked or forgotten. This forgetfulness, however, 
was only apparent. When the Russians, coming down from 
their possessions in the north, seemed about to invade the 
territory, Spain awoke to the necessity for immediate action 
and there was no hesitancy in asserting her right of sover- 
eignty. Carlos III., then king of Spain, issued a royal man- 
date commanding Jose dp Galvez, viceroy of New Spain, to 
make preparation for the immediate occupation of the country. 
They were to establish military stations at San Diego and 
Monterey — these points, according to Viscaino's maps being 
the opposite extremities of California. 

The object of this expedition was two-fold: the occupation 
and colonization of the country by Spain, and the conversion 
to Christianity of the native inhabitants. 

The latter undertaking Was given to the Brotherhood of 
the Order of Franciscans. They were to have entire control 
of the religious movement, and the protection and co-oper- 
ation of the military in furtherance of the important mission 
entrusted to them. 

It was deemed prudent to have this expedition consist of 
four divisions — two to go by land and two by sea — the objec- 
tive point of all being San Diego. 


On the 9th of January, 1769, the San Carlos sailed from 
La Paz. Solemn religious services preceded the voyage. St 
Joseph was named as patron saint of the expedition. Mass 
was celebrated by Father Junipero Serra and divine blessing 
invoked for protection and guidance to the ultimate success 
of their undertaking. Fifteen days later, after similar ser- 
vices, the San Antonio followed the San Carlos. Another 
ship, the San Jose, was fitted out and set sail on the 16th of 
June, but this vessel was probably lost at sea. It was never 
heard from again. 

In the meantime, the land expeditions were well under 
way. The first division, under command of Rivera y Moncada, 
captain of "soldados de cuera," was composed of soldiers, 
muleteers and neophytes of the Lower California Missions. 
They took with them cattle, horses, mules, sheep, and a sup- 
ply of garden seeds. Padre Juan Crespi, whose diary of this 
and later expeditions has been a valuable and fertile source 
of information to historians, accompanied this expedition. 

The second land division was commanded by Gaspar de 
Portala, a captain of dragoons, who had been appointed gov- 
ernor of Alta California. At Vellicata he was joined bv the 
Venerable Fray Junipero Serra, the Missionary President, who 
made the journey with them to the field of his future labors. 

After great physical hardships, difficulties and delays, 
the four divisions comprising the expedition met at San Diego, 
July 1, 1769. The last to arrive was that of Govempr 

On the 16th of July. 1769, the mission San Diego de Alcala 
was founded. This day was selected as most appropriate, it 
being commemorative of the Triumph of the Most Holy Cross 
over the crescent in 1212, and also the feast day of Our Lady 
Mount Carmel. This was the beginning of the missionary 
work in California. 

After resting a few days an expedition started to dis- 
cover the harbor of Monterey, but failing to recognize the 


place returned to San Diego disappointed and disheartened. 
A second expedition was more fortunate and the desired har- 
bor located, all unchanged as described by Viscaino. Here 
was the mountain, the ravine, the spring of sparkling water, 
the oak tree under which so many years before Fray Ascen- 
sion had offered his mass of thanksgiving, and the hearts of 
the pilgrims leaped with joy as their voices shouted the glad 
tidings of recognition and discovery. The words of the be- 
loved Father Junipero can best tell the story. In a letter 
to his life-long friend, Father Francis Palou, he writes: "On 
the great feast of Pentecost, June 3rd, close by the same 
shore, and under the same oak tree where the Fathers of 
Viscaino's expedition had celebrated, we built an altar, and 
the bell having been rung, and the hymn Veni Creator intoned, 
we erected and consecrated a large cross, and unfurled the 
royal standard, after which I sang the first mass which is 
known to have been sung at this point since 1603. I preached 
during the mass, and at its conclusion we sang the "Salve 
Regina.' Our celebration terminated with the singing of the 
Te Deuni; after which the officers took possession of the land 
in the name of the King of Spain. During the celebration a 
salute of many cannons was fired from the ship. To God 
alone be honor and glory." 

Thus was founded, on June 3, 1770, the Mission of San 
Carlos Borromeo, the second of the missions of California. 

Messengers were at once dispatched to carry the glad tid- 
ings to the City of Mexico. The occupation of California by 
Spain w*as considered complete. 



The history of the world can show no nobler efforts in 
the work of civilizing savage races than that put forth by the 
Roman Catholic Church in North America. Perfection is 
not of earth. Living up to a high ideal, and entire and un- 
failing devotion to duty may so purify and strengthen the 
soul of man as to enable him to overcome many inherent ten- 
dencies and weaknesses, but it will not immediately eradicate 
them. The missionaries may oftentimes have erred through 
a mistaken sense of duty, but their mistakes were rather 
those of the time in which they lived, and were brought about 
by conditions from which they themselves suffered. In the 
main, their lives were heroic in devotion to duty and sacri- 
fice of self. No hardship was too great and no personal dis- 
comfort ever considered or permitted to stand in the way of 
the work to which their lives were consecrated. They pene- 
trated the wilds of the great Northwest; they tramped bare- 
footed and alone over the barren waste of desert in the South; 
no tribe of Indians too remote or too savage for their minis- 
try; even though in going they knew they were facing almost 
certain death, and death in its most horrible form. Such 
were the men who planted the cross on the Western Contin- 
ent; such the men selected to Christianize Alta-Califomia. 

The Franciscans held high place among the religious or- 
ders of that time. Their founder, St. Francis, was bom in 
the village of Assissi, Italy, in 1182. In early manhood, 
after prolonged meditation on the evil and sins of life, he 
sold all his possessions, gave the proceeds to the church and, 
renouncing the world, became a religious devotee. Clad in 


the roughest clothing, he went about performing acts of char- 
ity and mercy, literally following in the footsteps of his Di- 
vine Master. Soon his devotion attracted the attention of 
ohers, who, joining him, endeavored to emulate him in his 
good works. In 1209 the religious order of Franciscans was 

organized, and though the regulations and discipline of this 
order were most severe and trying, they rapidly increased in 
numbers. The death of St. Francis occurred in 1226, and his 
canonization in 1228. In less than fifty years the order num- 
bered over two hundred thousand members, and had estab- 
lished many schools and colleges. 

Spain reposed the fullest confidence in the Order of Fran- 
ciscans. Their work in California started under most favor- 
able auspices. They had figured in every conquest Spain had 
made and were active in promoting the Catholic faith in the 
new lands. Among their numbers were men of high eccle- 
siastical and political standing, and in beginning their work 
in California they brought to bear a direct influence with the 
Spanish crown, and a power was given them granted to no 
other religious order of that period. 

The Franciscan Missions in Mexico had prospered in every 
way. The Franciscan missionaries were men of marked execu- 
tive ability. They were experienced in the work and well able to 
cope with any difficulty that might confront them in the new 
field of labor about to be opened. 

In taking up the work in Alta-California, these mis- 
sionaries brought minds single to one purpose, and that pur- 
pose the sowing of the seed of Christianity. If they succeeded 
in their undertaking the wealth and honors were always for 
the order; the individual reaped neither material gain nor 
glory. The life of every missionary was one of toil, priva- 
tion and danger; his hopes were not for earthly riches; his 
reward, that which surely comes to all who labor unselfishly 
for the good of humanity. 





Father Junipero Serra, the first Apostle of Christianity to 
Alta-California, was born in the village of Petra, in the island 
of Mallorica, November 24, 1713. His parents were of the 
poorer class of people, but mindful of the advantages of relig- 
ious training, early instilled in the mind of their son the 
principles which governed his after life. His quickness ol 
perception attracted the attention of the priests of his na- 
tive city, who encouraged the lad by teaching him Latin auu 
to sing. [Later, he entered the college of San Bernardo de 
Palma, where he advanced rapidly in all his studies. At the 
age of seventeen years he donned the habit and took the 
vows of the Franciscan Brotherhood, determined even then to 
become a missionary and devote his life to the saving of sav- 
age souls. 

In the meantim«*, m obedience to the desires of his su- 
periors, he took up the study of theology and philosophy and 
became an instructor in those branches, his learning obtain- 
ing for him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. His discourses 
attracted much comment and large audiences greeted him 
whenever he spoke publicly; but in spite of the flattering at- 
tention of his numerous admirers, his desire to devote him- 
self to missionary work did not lessen. His faith and pa- 
tience was at last rewarded. On the 28th of August, 1749, 
in company with his lifelong friend and brother priest. Father 
Francisco Palou, he Bet sail from Cadiz, Spain, for America. 
After a long, tempestuous voyage, and much suffering from 
sickness, they arrived at Vera Cruz, and from there went 


to the mission of Sierr a Gorda, in the north of Mexico, where 
he had been assigned for duty, arriving January 1, 1750. There 
he lived and taught nine years. His mission work prospered 
and he was soon able, with the help of his Indian neophytes. 
to build a new church, which was the admiration of the 
whole country. He learned the language of the Indians; 
taught them to build houses, sow grain, prepare clothing, and 
in all ways advanced them far on the road to civilization. 

Leaving the peaceful mission he went to the city of 
Mexico and while there learned of the need of a miss'onarv 
to go among the treacherous Apache Indians in the Northwest. 
Though going meant almost certain death, he volunteered his 
Services. Circumstances, however, prevented the sacrifice on 
liis part, and the next seven years were passed in the City of 
Mexico preaching the gospel and converting many sinners to 

His energy, zeal and untiring devotion to the faith emi- 
nently fitted him for the great work to which he was chosen 
— that of President in charge of the mission of Alta-Califor- 

All unsolicited the call came to him and though it found 
him miles away in the interior of the country, he was ready 
for it and made immediate preparation for his journey. Owing 
to a badly ulcerated leg he was not able to start until March 
28, 1769, eighteen days behind the expedition under the com- 
mand of Governor Portola, whom he overtook at the fron- 
tier. Traveling so aggravated the swelling on his leg that he 
could proceed only through great suffering. He was re- 
peatedly urged to abandon the journey, but insisted on going 
forward with the expedition, saying that he "had put his faith 
in God and if He willed that he should die among savages he 
was content." Father Junipero's abiding faith in, and trust 
in Divine guidance, brought him through the difficult journey, 
and his faith and trust was amply rewarded. 

Combined with his faith was a belief that he was the 



instrument chosen by God, and under Divine direction, for the 
prosecution of the work in Alta-California. Though phy- 
sically weak and suffering in health, this belief filled his soul 
with sublime inspiration and he entered upon his labors fully 
alive to their importa nee, with a spirit imbued with energy 
and determination to bravely meet all difficulties, and, with 
the help of God, to overcome all obstacles in the path to suc- 
cess. He lived to see the mission system well established and 
many natives converted to Chritianity. He fell asleep in the 
Lord, passing from life peacefully at his mission of San Car- 
los, August 28, 1784, at the age of seventy-one years. 



When the Franciscans, under the able leadership of Jun- 
ipero Serra, arrived in California, their first work was to se- 
lect locations for the missions which they were instructed to 
establish. To this en d, expeditions were formed for the pur- 
pose of exploring the country between San Uiego and Mon- 
terey. It was their plan to have these missions situated not 
more than one day's journey from each other. This was in 
order to afford mutual protection in case of attack from In- 
dians, and also to lessen the fatigue to travelers on the long 
journey between missions situated at a considerable distance 
from each other. 

The missions were usually located in close proximity to 
soma oi the numerous Indian rancherias where there was to 
be found an abundance of water. The consent of the Indians 
would first be obtained and then the work of building the mis- 
sion begun. First, an enramada of green boughs was pre- 
pared as a place for holding temporary religious services. Af- 
ter arranging an improvised altar the bells would be swung 
from the branches of some near-by tree, and then ringing 
them to call the soldiers, the ceremony of consecration took 
place. The soldiers formed themselves into a square about 
the padres and waited the raising of the cross. The won- 
dering natives, in the background, gazed in awe on the 
strange proceedings and watched until their close. The 
padre, in snowy alb and stole, advanced and invoked the 
blessing of God on the work about to commence, and with 
the chanting of the hymn the cross was raised. After this 


ceremony, mass was celebrated at the altar, and with the 
singing of the "Te Deum Laudamus," the services ended. The 
military ceremonies then followed and consisted in unfurling 
the royal standard and formally taking possession of the 
country in the name of the king of Spain. 

Temporary shelter was next prepared and the work of 
erecting permanent buildings begun. The church, naturally, 
was considered of principal importance and received the 
greatest attention. It usually occupied a commanding po- 
siton. Then came the buildings for the padres, soldiers and 
Indian neophytes. Whatever material was conveniently at 
hand was used for the buildings, consequently some were of 
stone and others of sun-baked brick or adobe. They were 
built around a hollow square, inclosing the court-yard, into 
which all the buildings opened. CNew buildings were added 
from time to lime as work-shops for the different trades es- 
tablished at the missions. 

The missions were conducted on the patriarchal plan. The 
inmates lived as one large family, their interests general and 
identical. Separation of the sexes was rigidly enforced from the 
beginning. A "majordomo," usually a soldier, was appoint- 
ed to take charge of the men. The women occupied a por- 
tion of the building called the "monjerio" and were carefully 
watched over by "la maestra," the wife of a soldier, or some 
old Indian woman, who guarded her charges with the utmost 
vigilance. After arriving at a proper age they were permitted 
to marry. The padres endeavored to teach the Indians of 
both sexes the sanctity of the marriage relation, and to thus 
lay the foundation of the family among them. After mar- 
riage provision was made for them outside of the mission 
buildings, and villages of natives governing themselves soon 
became a part of the mission system. 

While in the missions the Indians were taught the various 
domestic arts. The men learned trades and to plant and 
harvest crops of grain and vegetables. As vaqueros they 



have never been excelled. The women were taught to weave, 
sew aud spin. The Indians had some natural skill at dye- 
ing and were taught to weave blankets from native wool, on 
looms set up at the missions. So skilled did they become In 
this art that the missions furnished all the blankets used in 
the country after 1797. Hemp was ulso raised and used. 

Mission life was one of industry. At day-break the 
whole place was awake and preparing for labor. After at- 
tending mass, the first meal of the day was served. This 
usually consisted of "atole," or ground barley, a staple article 
of food at the missions. The noonday meal consisted of 
atole accompanied with mutton in some form and an occas- 
ional addition of frijoles. At five o'clock the evening meal 
was served. The Indians were always allowed to bring to 
their tables nuts and wild berries. At sunset the Angelus 
called to prayers and benediction, after which all retired to 
their respective quarters. The working hours at the missions 
were from four to six hours for a day's labor. Not more 
than half the Indians were employed at the same time. 

The mission Indian was naturally docile and submissive. 
After a few years of training at the mission, the unclothed, 
degraded savage, living a life of sloth and immorality was 
transformed into an industrious Christian with fair ideas of 
religion and morality . 




San Gabriel was the fourth mission to be built in Alta- 
California— the others, San Diego, Monterey and San Antonio. 

This mission was founded on the 8th of September, 1771- 
It is still in a very good state of preservation. It is one of 
the oldest of the mission buildings now existing. In material 
prosperity it was second only to San Luis Rey mission. 

Many romantic tales are told of the mission of San Ga- 
briel — most of them having little or no foundation in fact, and 
therefore without historical value. 

On the 6th of August, 1771, Fathers Pedro Cambon and 
Angel Somera, with an escort of ten soldiers, left San Diego 
for the purpose of founding a mission to be dedicated to San 
Gabriel Arcangel. After traveling forty leagues and making 
several explorations they selected a place about ten miles east 
of where the city of liOS Angeles Was afterwards built. Tbe 
Indians in the vicinity were inclined to resent the coming of 
the Spaniards and made some warlike demonstrations; where- 
upon one of the padres unfurling a banner bearing a represen- 
tation of the Blessed Virgin, held it up before the natives. 
Upon beholding this picture, the Indians fell upon their knees, 
laid down their weapons and brought gifts of beads and sheilr 
which they laid before the banner in token of submission. 

After the customary ceremonies of the raising of the cross, 
work was commenced on the temporary buildings. The native^; 
seemed anxious to take part in the work and rendered material 
assistance to the soldiers in preparing shelter. The location 
of the mission however, did not prove satisfactory, and a new 

A ,<.-.A../rtJ,2oU 


site was selected, about one mile from the original location. 
After makiug arrangements with the natives occupying the 
place, the mission was removed to the site it now occupies. 

The material progress of the mission of San Gabriel was 
assured from the beginning, and after the first few years, the 
spiritual progress was equally marked. From 1771 to 1831, 
the mission records show the baptism of 7,709 persons; 5,4a4 
burials, and 1,877 marriages. In 1817 the mission had a pop- 
ulation of 1701 souls. 

Important industries were established in this mission to 
teach the Indians useful trades. A shoe-shop, soap factory, 
and carpenter shop gave constant employment to the natives 
while others opei'ated a saw.mill and a grist-mill. The re- 
mains of the latter building, "el Molino," are still visible 
There was an extensive vineyard planted, and the San Gabriel 
wines and brandies were famous throughout the ten'itorr. 
Vast herds of cattle and horses roamed the plains, and a tan- 
nery converted the hides into leather from which was made 
shoes, saddles and other articles, besides exporting large quan- 
tities of tallow and many hides. A most wonderful cactus 
hedge was planted by Father Jose Maria Zalvidea in 1809, a 
portion of which still remains and excites the wonder of the 
tourist visiting the mission. 

The mission is an imposing structure. In dimensions it is 
about 138 feet in length and 30 feet in height. The walls 
and foundation of masonry, are five feet thick and as firm as 
solid rock. The interior has been somewhat changed from the 
original by enlarging the windows and replacing the arched 
roof with timbers heavy enough to assist in preserving the 
building and rendering it secure from possible damage through 
earthquake, from which it once suffered severely. 

Many articles of interest still remain in this mission. The 
ancient pictures of the Apostles and saints have been restored 
and are now in an excellent state of preservation. A very 
ancient baptismal font brought from Spain still serves the 



needs of the present generation, while censers and other ves- 
sels of copper of the same age claim the attention of the vis- 
itor to the historic place. 

One of the most familiar of the pictured mission represen- 
tations is the belfry of San Gabriel. It was originally intend- 
ed for six bells, though but four remain. Two of these bells 
are much older than the others; one dedicated to the Blessed 
Virgin ig without date; another bears date of 1828; that of a 
third, "A. D., '95," and the other 1830. 


Jai:? Gabriel /{isslon. 





The missionaries not only contemplated the conversion 
and civilization of the Indians in the immediate vicinity of 
the missions, but aimed to reach out into the surrounding 
country and enlarge the radius of work until the whole terri- 
tory came within the boundaries of some one or other of the 

As soon as a mission was established, expeditions were 
sent out into the adjoining territory to make surveys and to 
ascertain the names of the different tribes, or rancherias, and 
the number of Indians inhabiting that section of the country. 
As rapidly thereafter as possible the padres founded "asisten- 
cias," or branch chapels, at locations not too far distant from 
the mission, making them dependencies of the different mis- 
sions. !Los Angeles, Puente, San Antonio de Santa Ana and 
San Bernardino all came within the jurisdiction of San Ga- 
briel mission. 

The history of San Bernardino Valley begins with the 
coming of the missionary priests into the valley. 

In 1774, Juan Batista de Anza, Captain of the Presidio of 
Tubac, was directed by the viceroy to open a road betweem 
Sonora in Mexico and Monterey in California. He came from 
the Colorado River to San Gabriel across the desert trom 
southeast to northwest, by a route practically the same as that 
afterwards followed by the Southern Pacific Railway — by the 
way of Yuma, San Gorgonio Pasa and through San Bernardin* 


The Anza expedition was an extensive outfit — 240 persons, men, wom- 
en and Indians, and 1050 beasts. They entered the valley on the 15th 
of March. Tney gave to San Gorgonia Pass and San Timeto Canon the 
name Puerto de San Carlos or St. Charles Pass. San Bernardino valley 
was called valle de San Joseph, and Cucuamunga, Arroyo de los Osos 
or Bear Gulch. 

San Gabriel mission became an important stopping place 
on the road, and the first place where supplies could be pro_ 
cured after crossing the desert. In the course of time, as 
travel over this road increased, it was arranged to establish 
a supply station at some intermediate point between the mis- 
sion and the Sierras on the ncrth, in order to lessen the hard- 
ship of this journey by providing ti-avelers with a place where 
they could rest and obtain food. 

With this object in view, a party of missionaries, soldiers 
and Indian neophytes of San Gabriel mission, under the leader- 
ship of Padre Dumetz, were sent out to select a location. On 
the 20th of May, 1810, they came into the San Bernardino 
Valley. This, according to the Roman Calendar of Saints, 
M'as the feast day of San Bernardino of Sienna and theynamea 
the valley in his honor. 

They found here an ideal location. The valley was well 
watered and luxuriant with spring-time verdure. It might be- 
come to the weary traveler a perfect haven of rest. The In- 
dian name of the valley, Guachama, when translated, signitie*; 
"a place of plenty to eat." The Indians inhabiting this sec- 
tion of the valley were known as Guachama Indians and hart 
here a populous rancheria. A number of other rancherias 
were scattered throughout the valley, each bearing a name sig_ 
niflcant of the place where it wag situated. Many of the' 
names were retained by settlers of a later day and applied to 
ranchos granted by the government. These Indian names 
make a very interesting study. Those near San Bernardino 
Valley, are as follows: 


San Bernardino — Guachama — A place of plenty to eat. 

Cucamonga — Cucamungabit — Sand place. 

Riverside — Jurumpa — Water place. 

San Timoteo (.Redlands) — Tolocabit — Place of the big 

Homoa — Homhoabit — Hilly pllace. 

Yucaipa — Yucaipa — Wet lands. 

Muscupiabe — Muscupiabit — Pinon place. 

The supply station was located at the Guachama ranch- 
cria, which was near the place now known as Bunker Hill, be- 
tween Urbita Springs and Colton. The location was chosen 
on account of iin abundance of water in that vicinity. Here 
M "capilla" was built, which was dedicated to San Bernardino, 
the patron saint of the valley. After completing the building 
of the station the padres returned to San Gabriel leaving the 
chapel, station and a large quantity of supplies in charge f>f 
neophyte soldiers, under command of a trustworthy Indiau 
named Hipolito. The settlement, or rancheria of mission In- 
dians, taking its name from this chief became known as Po- 

During the next two years the padres made frequent vis- 
its to the capilla; the Guachama Indians were friendly; grain 
was planted and the settlement seemed in a fair way to per- 
manent pros-perity. 

The year 1812, known in history as "el ano de los tem- 
blores." (the year of earthquakes), found the valley peaceful 
and prosperous — ^it closed upon the ruins of Politana. The 
presence of the padres and Christian neophytes among the 
gentile Indians of the valley had been productive of good re_ 
suits and many of them became converted to Christianity. 
When the strange mmblings beneath the earth commenced 
and frequent shocks of earthquake were felt, the effect was 
to rouse the superstitious fears of the Indians. The hot springs 
of the valley increased in temperature to an alarming ex- 


tent; a new "cienegata" or hot mud spring, appeared near 
Politana, (now called Urbita.) This bo excited the Indians 
that by direction of the padres the spring was covered with 
parth, hoping to thus allay their fears. These hot springs 
were regarded by the Indians with superstitious veneration. 
They were associated with their religious ceremonies and 
were known to them as medicine springs. When these changes 
became so apparent they were filled with apprehension of 
danger bordering on terror. This, accompanied by the fre- 
quent shocks of "temblor," so worked upon their superstitious 
natures that, looking for a cause, they came to believe it was 
the manifestation of anger of some powerful spirit displeased 
at the presence of the Christians among them. Desiring to 
appease this malevolent deity and avert further expression oi 
his displeasure, they fell upon the settlement of Politana, 
massacred most of the mission Indians and converts and de- 
stroyed the buildings. 

The Guachamas rebuilt the rancheria and inhabited it 
until long after the decree of secularization. A few Indians 
remained there at date of American colonization, and older 
settlers of the country retain a recollection of the rancheria 
of Politana. As the country settled the Indians decreased 
in numbers and dispersed; the few miserable habitations fell 
into decay, and there is now no trace of the rancheria, ex- 
cept as the plow of the rancher may occasionally bring to 
the surface a piece of tile, sole relic of the first Christian set- 
tlement in San Bernardino Valley. 

Very few descendants of the early Guachama Indians re- 
main. Here and there may be found one understanding the 
language and somewhat familiar with the history of the tribe. 
The Indians now living in the valley are principally of the 
Cahuillas— originally belonging to San Luis Key mission— 
and of the Serranos, or mountain tribes. These Indians have 
intermarried and the language spoken is a mixture of dialects. 



The burial place of the Christian Indians of San Bernar- 
dino Valley was at Politana. Until brought under the influence 
of the missionaries they cremated their dead, burning not only 
the body but all of the belongings of the deceased. The 
padres taught them the rites of Christian burial. This ceme- 
tery -was to them a sacred spot, a place of veneration. It wae 
used by the Indians of the whole valley until comparatively 
recent years. The place where it was situated is now on the 
left side of the new electric railway as it turns north from 
Colton on Mt. Vernon Avenue, but no trace of this cemetery 
remains. 'As settlers came into the valley their greed lor 
possession of land did not spare the Indian burial place; tne 
graves were leveled and the land placed under cultivation. A 
thriving orange grove now blossoms and bears its treasure of 
golden fruit over the crumbling bones of a dead and forgotten 
generation. But they sleep none the less peacefully, even 
through the land where their forefathers roamed free and un- 
tranielled, and of which they were the sole and original own- 
ers, denies them a place of undisturbed sepulchre. Los 
muertos con la corrupcion de sus cuerpos alimentan ahora li>s 
arboles que dan fruto para los vivos; solo su espiritu se halla 
elevado sobre la materia y goza de la immortalidad. "Quia 
Dominus dedit eis lumen ut viderent eum." 



From the earliest dawn of civilization men and women 
who have devoted their lives to the betterment of humanity 
have been awarded the respect and gratitude of the whole 
world. The pages of history are filled with names of men 
who have been potent factors in the advancement of the 
world through the different branches of learning, of arts and 
of science. These names arc immortalized because the men 
who bore them bequeathed i^omething of worth to the race, 
something which left imprinc upon the liistory of the world. 
Their words and deeds are imperishable and will endure as 
long as the human race enduies. Who studies philosophy and 
forgets the names of Cicero, Seneca, Socrates and Plato? Who 
reads of war and conquest and sees not the names of Han- 
nibal, Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Washington and Bolivar? 
Who studies the masterpieces of poetry and fails to find Ho- 
mer, Anacreon, Virgil, Dante, Milton? Who opens the pages 
of the history of early Christianity and reads not of St. Au- 
gustine, St. Anselm, St. Thomas and Santa Teresa, and other 
zealous workers, who constituted the bulwark of the Christian 

lit is the custom of the Roman Catholic church, from 
early times, to canonize those men and women, who, through 
sublime acts of faith, devotion and self-sacrifice, performed 
valuable and heroic service for the cause of Christianity. It is 
not for the commendation of the world. It is a recognition 
of the worth and work of the noble sons and daughters of 


the church who, having passed to their eternal reward, need 
not the praise of the multitude; but the church, desiring to 
perpetuate the memory of their deeds, inscribes their names 
upon her calendar of saints that they may be kept before the 
world as examples worthy of emulation and remembrance. 

San Bernardino was born 'at Sienna, Italy, on the 20th of 
May, 1382. It was a time of severe affliction. Bigotry and 
infidelity had corrupted the minds of men; and blasphemy was 
carried even to the extent of denying the divinity of Jesus 
Christ, the Saviour of mankind. France, Spain, Italy and 
other countries suffered from persecution directed against the 
church. Sacred buildings were desecrated and destroyed; po- 
litical factions were arrayed against each other in bitterest 
dissension, and the whole of Europe on the verge of warfare. 

When San Bernardino arrived at manhood he warmly es- 
poused the cause of the church and dedicated his life to tho 
service of Christianity. He was a man of superior intellec 
tual ability, 'd powerful speaker and a logical and forcefui 
writer of theological works. His sermons, still preserved, are 
considered 'among the treasures of church literature. Gifted 
with the power of eloquence, like St. Paul, he went from town 
to town throughout the land preaching in the name of the 
Lord Jesus. He was instrumental in overcoming the spirit 
of blasphemy and in bringing peace to the church. Three 
times he was offered a bishop's mitre as a reward for his 
services, but, deeming it better to serve the cause through 
evangelical labors, he declined all honors that he might con- 
tinue his efforts without the responsibilities attached to so 
high an office. San Bernardino died at the city of Aquila 
in 1448, dt the age of sixty-six years, and his name was after- 
v/ards placed on the calendar of the Catholic church 
As a Saint of God. 

It is not to be marveled at that the padres coming into 
this beautiful valley in the month of May— when N'dture, rer- 
cling in luxuriance of vegetation had clothed the foothills and 



plain with gorgeous vegetation and bloom — should rejoice and 
find pleasure in bestowing upon the earthly paradise the name 
of San Bernardino. It is small wonder if they saw in the 
smiling heavens the beautiful azure skies of Italy; or if the 
balmy air reminded them of the caressing breezes of the sun- 
ny land across distant seas. And so the name San Bernardino 
of Sienna has a peculiar fitness to the place and remains as a 
happy inspiration of the padres — the first white men to set 
foot within the beautiful Valley. 




Writers of early California history generally characterize 
the type of Indian inhabiting the country at the coming of 
the Spaniards as stupid, brutish and utterly lacking in intel- 
ligence. Father Venegas, one of the earliest writers, says of 
them: "Even in the least frequented corners of the globe there 
is not a nation so stupid, of such contracted ideas, and weak 
both in body and mind, as the unhappy Californians. Their 
characteristics are stupidity and insensibility, want of knowl- 
edge and reflection, inconstancy, impetuosity, and blindness 
to appetite; an excessive sloth and abhor'-ence of fatigue or 
every kind, however trifling; in fine, a most wretched want ot 
everything which constitutes the real man and renders him 
rational, inventive, tractable, and useful to himself and so- 

Notwithstanding all this, the fifty years following the 
advent of the missionaries demonstrated the fact that these 
Indians were capable of civilization. Under the tutelage ol 
the padres they developed wonderfully. Without the help ot 
the Indians the material progress of the missions would have 
been impossible. The padres were the directing minds; but 
the unskilled hands of the Indians built the mission struc- 
tures, the ruins of which are still the wonder and admiration 
of all who visit them. With their help, vast tracts of land 
were brought under cultivation; they constructed a system oi 
irrigation; planted orchards and vineyards; manufactured 
many articles of domestic use, and accomplished much that 
would have been considered extremely diflicult among rac?s 


farther advanced in civilization. 

But it cannot be denied that the nati^^e Indians were low 
in the scale of humanity. They were wholly unlike the East- 
ern Indians. They lacked the social organization of the 
Ilieblos. There were no powerful tribes among them, as the 
Sioux of the north and the Apache of th'^ southwest. Their 
settlements, or rancherias, were independent of each other. 
Each rancheria had a name of its own, and a different lan- 
guage was spoken, the inhabitants of one rancheria many 
times being unable to understand the language of another. 

The Indians of San Bernardino Valley differed in no re- 
spect from those of other portions of California. The early 
missionaries found in the valley six Indian rancherias. Af- 
ter the Indians had become converted to Christianity, and the 
padres were able to estimate their numbers, they found each 
rancheria contained from two to three hundred people. This 
estimate would show about fifteen hundred people inhabiting 
San Bernardino Valley. 

Their dwellings were circular in form. They were built 
from poles stuck in the earth and bending over at the top to 
form the roof. This was covered with brush, tules and mud, 
leaving at the top an aperture to allow the smoke to escape. 
They were similar in construction and appearance to the Nav- 
ajo "tehogane" of the present day. 

The early Indians did not cultivate the soil. They sub- 
sisted upon wild roots, herbs, nuts, field mice, worms, lizards, 
grasshoppers and other insects, birds, fish, geese, ducks 'ana 
small game. The flesh foods were consumed raw or only 
slightly cooked. They were very fond of acorns, which, dur- 
ing their season, were gathered in large quantities. These 
were often prepared by grinding in mortars or on stone slabs 
similar to the Mexican "metate." They were sometimes 
placed in woven baskets of reeds, and boiled in water heated 
with hot stones, then kneaded into a dough and baked on hot 
stones in front of a fire. A small, round seed, called "chia," 



T^'as also used. This was prepared by drying and making 
into a flour called '"atole." Their subsistence was often versr 
precarious and their habits somewhat migratory, going from 
place to place in search of their food supply, which varied 
with the season of the year. 

In personal appearance the California Indians were not 
prepossessing. There was little physical beauty among them. 
They were undersized, broad-nosed, with high cheek bones, 
wide mouths and coarse black hair. Their personal habits 
were uncleanly. Their clothing extremely scanty; that of 
the men "in naturalibus," but the women partially covered 
themselves with skirts of woven grass reaching from the 
waist to the knees. They were fond of ornaments of various 
kinds and decorated their faces and bodies with paint, often 
in a most grotesque manner. 

Upon the coming of the Americans they were classed 
without distinction under the term "Diggers." 



,ln studying the history of a people the point first takea 
into consideration is their religion. By that standard the in- 
tellectual development of the race, nation or tribe is meas- 
ured and determined. This will apply to the higher forms 
of civilization as well as to the lowest fetish worshipers. 
With the first light of intelligence the savage, conscious of 
the unknown which surrounds him, builds a shrine to some 
vaguely comprehended power which he personifies in his im- 
agination and clothes with attributes which seem to him su- 
perior. This he calls his God. His mind can comprehend 
nothing better or more powerful than this deity. It is the 
summit of his intellectual capacity. 

The Indians of San Bernardino Valley had a crude form 
of religious belief. It was similar to that of other native 
tribes of Southern California. Their beliefs differed some- 
what 'according to locality. They were never thoroughly un- 
derstood. The Padres were so :sealously engaged 
in teaching the natives the Christian religion that they gave 
practically little attention to beliefs previously existing among 
them; and as the Indians had neither writings, pictured repre- 
sentations or records of any description, the origin and growth 
of their religious ideas is lost in obscurity. 

This much, however, is known: The early Indians were 
not idolators. Their religion might properly be termed a 
form of Manicheism. They worshiped both the good and the 
evil principle. The latter, typified by the coyote, was evi- 
dently considered the more powerful, as their dances and re- 


ligious ceremonies were generally propitiatory aud usually 
in honor of the evil one, the obj(!Ct being to placate hira aul 
avert the consequences of his displeasui';. 

According to the belief of the Indians of San Bernardino 
Valley, the god Mutcat created the earth, the sea and 'all tue 
animals, birds, fishes, trees, and lastly man. Then, desiring 
to view the work of his hands, he descended from his heavenl/ 
abode of Tucupac, to visit Ojor, the earthly creation. Wishing 
to express his satisfaction and still further beautify the earth 
he gave to man the various seeds, plants and flowers. Know- 
ing that in employment man finds happiness, he taught theiii 
to build their houses and the many arts whereby they might 
pass their time in contentment and usefulness. 

For a period of time all was peace and serenity. Men 
lived together in brotherly love and harmony 'and no discord 
came among them in their relations with one another. The 
earth j'ielded fruit in abundance to supply all their needs, 
and no want of man was unsatisfied. Earth was itself a 
paradise inferior only to the abode of the god Mutcat, and 
death had never entered to bring sorrow and separation to 

Unfortunately the peace was broken. Isel, the evil god, 
became envious of the happiness of men and set about devis- 
ing means to accomplish their downfall and destruction. H«' 
caused death to come into the world, brought famine and pes- 
tilence and sowed the seed of discord among men. But as 
Isel was moved solely by envy, it was believed his anger 
could be appeased and favor obtained through gifts of food, 
chanting, dances and feasts in his honor. 

On the other hand, Mutcat, the spirit of good, was ever 
solicitous for the welfare of his earthly children. Observing 
the faithfulness of men, and their affliction, he directed them 
to increase their number, and promised that, though they must 
first die, after death they should be admitted into his paradise 
of Tucupac where the dominion of the wicked Isel would 


cease and he could not follow and could no longer work them 

This was the foundation of the Indian religious belief. 
The whole fabric was woven around these incidents. 

Bach tribe had its sorcerers or medicine men. They wei-e 
the guardians of the traditions of the tribe, directed all cere- 
monies and were regarded with superstitious awe on account 
of the mysterious supernatural powers that Lhey claimed to 
possess. Every lancheria had a place for religious ceremonies 
where incantations and secret rites wer^ perfor-med. The 
sorcerers were more powerful than the chiefs, who yielded 
obedience to them. They claimed to cure disease, bring rain, 
ward off misfortune and were called upon to decide all matters 
of importance pertaining to the tribe or ranclieria. 

The missionaries experienced the greatest difficulty in ov- 
ercoming the evil influence of the sorcerers^ They were us- 
ually vicious men steeped in vileness, wickedness and duplic- 
ity. They naturally resented the interference of the padres 
and exerted all their influence to keep the Indians under their 
own control. Thus, the teaching of Christianity while work- 
ing great moral good to the Indians, could not immediately 
overcome and eradicate this superstitious fear of the medi- 
cine man. Their influence was everywhere apparent and 
came to be dreaded by the Indians as well as disliked by the 
padres. In hidden recesses of the mountains, far away from 
the missions, the padres often discovered shrines erected for 
the worship of the coyote, and evidence of their continued 
use. The poor, weak nature of the Indian, while honestly 
embracing the new belief, could not rise above a feeling of 
timidity, and this prompted him to secretly steal away with 
isome pi'opitiary gift to the evil deity wliose vengeance he still 
feared. Though in time Christianity predominated among 
them and most of the old rites passed away and were for- 
gotten, the Indian was never completely free from superoti- 
tion. Even to this day, whoever can gain the confidence of 



the Indian sufficiently to study his characteristics and learn 
his true nature, finds — in spite of Christianizing influences 
and the years of contact with civilization — ^there still remains 
curiously intermixed with their modem religious belief some. 
of the ancient superstitions of their savage ancestors of gen- 
erations long past. Et sic quia quod non venit ex natura 




TliG grammatical construction and peculiarities of the 
Indian language, as preserved by the padres, cannot fail to 
be interesting to students of philology. The Smithsonian In- 
stitute has attempted to gather up, classify and preserve these 
early records, but the work is one of Hi^nulean proportions. 

Father Lasuen, successor to Father jTinipero Sierra as 
missionary President, states in a letter that there were no 
less than seventeen different languages spoken by the natives 
l)etween San Diego and San Francisco. This does not take 
into account the various dialects. Every rancher ia had ai> 
idiomatic language of its own, which wag frequently unintelli- 
gible to the neighboring rancherias, perhaps separated only 
by a few miles. These dialects could hardly be dignified by 
the name of language. 

One of the first tasks of the missionaries was to familiar- 
ize themselves with the native language and to teach to the 
Indians the Spanish language. Until this was accomplished 
the work of Christianizing them could not begin. The var- 
iance in the language of the Indians added in no small degi-ee 
to the difficulties encountered, and to overcome them required 
minds schooled to the mastery of patience, with an abiding 
faith that the end, however remote, would fully justify the day 
of small beginnings. This was the spirit that animated the 
padres and gave such marvelous success to their enterpiise. 

For example, three distinctly separate langujiges were 


spoken in the neighborhood of San Gabriel Mission. The 
Qulchi language was spolcen by the Indians of Los Angeles, 
San Gabriel and as far east as Ciicamonga. Another language 
was spoken all along the Santa Ana River and in Orange 
County, while the language of the Guachama was spoken by 
the Serrano tribes, among whom were the San Bernardino 

The Guachama language was gutteral and principally mon. 
osyllabic. The orthography, recorded by the padres, is, ot 
course, phonetic. In analogy the nouns formed plural by pro- 
fixing the word "nitchel." The conjugation of the Guachama 
\erbs is exactly the same as in other Indian languages of 
Southern California. Pronouns, and the different tenses of 
the verb are also expressed by prefixes. 

The system of numeration, like other mission Indian lan- 
guages, counts only to five. The number with the prefix one 
(con) is repeaed to express six, seven, etc. 

Vocabulary of the Guachama, the language of the tribe of 
Indians located in the San Bernardino Valley: 


Man — nejanis Woman — nitchul. 

Father — jana. Son — mailloa 

Daughter — puUen. Sister — nau. 

Brother — iua. Friend — ^niquiliuj. 

Enemy — panajanucan. Head — toloea. 

Eyes — japus. Mouth — tama. 

Hand — jamma. Foot — jai. 

Sun — ^tamit. Moon — mannuil. 

Mountain — temas. River — uanish. 

Tree — paus. Water— paL 

Fire — cut. Stone — cauix. 

Night — tuporit House — jaqui. 

Bow — yujal. Arrow — penyugal. ,, 

Rabbit — tabut Cold— yuima. 
Name — esen. 


Good — utcha. Bad — elecuix. 

Small — cum. Large — lul. 




One — supli. 
Three — pa. 
Five — namacuana. 
Seven — conuil. 
Nine — conuitchu. 

I — nehe. 
He — pe. 
You — eheh. 

To eat — gua. 
To cook — culcu. 
To walk — ^nacaix. 
To wish — nacocan. 
To rain — nenix. 
To fight — nucan. 
To cure — tinaich. 
To be — yanash. 

Two — uil. 
Four — uitchu. 
Six — consupU. 
Eight — conpa. 
Ten — namachuma. 


Thou — eh. 
We — chem. 
They — pehem. 


To drink — paca. 
To sleep — culca. 
To wash — paixjanx. 
To have — nauca. 
To be sick — mucal. 
To paint — piecuaquis. 
To give — anaixgam. 


Nearer — sunrhi. 
Tomorrow — paix. 
Not — quihi. 
Plenty — chama. 

Today — iach. 
Yesterday — ^tacu. 
Many — meta. 


Conjugation of the verb 

Example of conjugation: 

Tculcu (to cook). 

I cook — neheculcu. Thou cookest or you cook — ehculcu. 

He cooks — peculcu. 

We cook — chemculcu. You cook— ehehculcu. 

They cook — pempemculcu. 


I cooked — ^tocu neheculcu. 
cooked — ^tocu ehculcu. 

He cooked — ^tocu peculcu. 

You cooked — tocu ehehculcu. 

Thou cooke.3t, or you 

We cooked — tocu chemculcu. 
They cooked — ^tocu pempemc 



I shall cook — paix neheculcu. Thou wilt cook, or you will 
cook— i'uix ehculcu. 

He will cook — paix peculcu. You will cook — paix ehehculcu. 
They will cook — paix pempemoulcu. We will cook — paix 

The Lord's Prayer in the Guachama language is used as 
•a specimen of the work performed by the padres. Having no 
word in Indian to express God, the Spanish Dios is used. The 
same applies to the word pan (bread). The staple article ot 
food among the Indians was acorns. Not wishing to ask f >r 
acorns the Spanish word is substituted to give the idea ol the 
article asked for. 


Dios Janna penyanash Tucupac sajitificado ut cha et en 
pennacash toco jahi cocan najanis Tubuc aix. 

Guacha pan meta tamepic penaixjan chemyanaix ut cha 
panajanucan quihi elecui suyu Amen. 






After the coming of the padres the tribes of Indians all 
over California were given Spanish names; these names gen- 
erally applying to the part of the country which they inhab- 
ited. The Guachama and other Indians living in San Bernar- 
dino Valley, became known as Serrano Indians, the name Ser- 
rano signifying of the mountains. The Indians known as 
the Cahuillas came into the valley at a later date, having orig- 
inally belonged to the country around San liUis Rej^ Mission. 
Other tribes contiguous to the valley were the Piutes, Chime - 
huevas, Mohave and Yumas; the first frequenting the desert 
north of the Sierras, and the other tribes inhabiting the des- 
ert and country all along the Colorado River. The Yumu 
and Mohave Indians are of a race superior in many ways to 
the California Indians. They are more intelligent and more 
warlike, and were ever a menace to the peace of the valiej' 
and in their frequent raids a constant source of disturbance to 
the natives of the ralley. 

The Indians of California were not united either socially 
or politically. Their rancherias were independent of each 
other, they spoke different idioms, though often related, and 
sometimes banding together for the purpose of making a raid 
on or defending themselves against some other tribe. They 
were sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile to each other, but 
could never be relied upon. 

The Indians were not endowed with personal courage. 


They were cowardly in battle, and consequently a few soldados 
de cuera were able to control a large community and could 
easily bring them into subjection in case of an uprising. Their 
weapons were bows and arrows, spears and ;> rude kind of stone 
knife. This further placed them at a disadvantage in at- 
tempting to cope with the white men. 

Each community was governed by a chief, called by the 
Spaniards, "el capitan." The office of chief was usually her- 
editary. The chief was generally respected and his com- 
mands obeyed without question. When war against a neigh- 
boring rancheria was contemplated the tribe, and their allie.s, 
if there was combination, gathered together, when the chiefs 
would state the grievance, and after certain ceremonies and 
incantations the matter would be decided according as the 
sorcerers found in favor or otherwisa In battle there was 
no concerted action. Each chief assumed leadership of his 
own band and fought or ran away as the impulse moved him 

The Indians soon learned their independent rights accord- 
ing to the ideas of the white men. Several instances are re- 
lated where the Indians demanded certain things of the gov- 
ernment and the justice of their demands conceded, by their 
requests being granted. 

The marriage customs of the Indians were similar to that 
of uncivilized people all over the world — ^that is to say, they 
had no ceremony of marriage, though marriage was recog- 
nized. Sometimes, if the parties were of sufficient importance, 
a feast was prepared. In all cases the daughter was subject 
to the command of the father and was usually bought and sold 
without regard to her own preferences or desire. The price 
paid varied according to the desirability or the girl and the 
ability of the purchaser to pay. There were occasions when 
marriage by capture was resorted to. This was when the 
woman belonged to some other tribe, or when obstacles were 
in the way to other possession. 

The birth of the first child was made occasion for rejolc- 


ing. Sterility was deplored as a great misfortune. The ma- 
ternal instinct was very strong in the Indian mother and the 
children were invariably treated with much affection. The 
infant was carried in a rude basket "cuna" strapped upon the 
back of the mother, and thus encumbered she attended to the 
usual labor of gathering and preparing food for the tamilj. 
The life of the Indian woman was one of toil and privation, 
and she received little consideration at the hands of her sav- 
age lord. The men were notoriously idle and lazy, their only 
occupation that of hunting small game and fishing. Their 
food supply of acorns, when gathered, was prepared by crush, 
ing in stone mortars, or on flat stones, after the manner noAV 
in vogue among the Mexicans. This converted the nuts into a 
meal from which was made "atole." It was sometimes pre- 
pared by boiling in water heated with hot stones. The women 
were expert in the making of cunningly woven baskets. These 
were of different shapes and were used for all domestic pur- 

Polygamy was common among many of the tribes, but 
there were exceptions to the practice. Adultery was 
pimished, but gross immoralties and vices were prevalent 
among them and their moral condition was unaccountably do- 

These marriage ties were not considered binding and ocp- 
aration or divorce was easily obtained by consent of parties 

This, in brief, covers the social and domestic condition of 
the Indians of San Bernardino Valley, and of California. Mor- 
ally, intellectually and physically they were the inferiors of 
any race of natives on the North American continent. Tnat 
the missionaries accomplished their work with these Indians 
and brought them to a degree of civilization is little less than 



The subject of Indian ceremonies and superstitions, when 
approached in a spirit of honest investigation and not of mere 
curiosity, is one of great interest. 

No race or people can be declared entirely free from supei- 
stitious beliefs, and a very little inquiry will show that super- 
stitious beliel's are not so exclusively confined to the ignorant 
as many suppose. If verification of this statement is needed 
it can be readily found in any community, and the seeker will 
further discover that superstitious beliefs are surprisingly 
prevalent among educated men and women. The spirit which 
moves the untutored savage to seek the sorcerer, prompts 
members of the higher civilized race to invest in "charms," 
"fortune-telling" and divination of various kinds, while 
"signs" and omens innumerable are observed to the ultimato 
of "reductio ad absurdum." In view of these facts it is not 
becoming to treat the subject of Indian ceremonials and super- 
stitions with contempt. 

Whatever may be said of Indian dances it is certain that 
the Indians never did, and do not, indulge in their dances for 
the mere pleasure of dancing. Their dances always signify 
something, though the meaning is often too obscure and dif- 
ficult for white men to determine. Survivals of ancient cere- 
monial dances are still common among certain tribes of semi- 
civilized Indians. In some instances the government has at- 
tempted to suppress the dances, but with indifferent results. 
The so-called ghost-dance of the Northern Indians is looked 


upon by white men as premonitory of approaching trouble, 
and as indicating a state of unrest and dissatisfaction among 
the Indians. The Indian tribes living along the Columbia 
River indulge in a wierd kind of dance with the idea of pro- 
pitiating the spirit believed by them to rule the winter. This 
dance is called the Chinook-dance and is exceedingly barbar- 
ous and revolting on account of self-inflicted torture. The 
Moki Indians of the Arizona desert have several interesting 
tribal dances. Their periodical Snake dance has received much 
attention and is a religious ceremonial which the Moki Indians 
firmly believe produces rain. In early times the Indians of 
Northern California indulged in a very grotesque dance called 
the Dance of Death, which has been graphically described by 
the missionaries. 

The time set for ceremonial dances and feasts was always 
fixed by the sorcerers, in whom the Indians placed the most 
implicit confidence. Seldom an undertaking of any kind was 
entered into without first invoking the aid of supernatural 
powers, and this was always done by feasting and dancing. 
The ceremonies often lasted a number of days and nights. 
Those taking part in the dances made elaborate preparations 
by decorating their bodies with different colored paints and 
donning ceremonial costumes. In some tribes the women and 
men danced together, in others only the men danced, while 
the women would form a circle outside by themselves. Some of 
the old men and women of the tribe, seating themselves in a 
circle accompanied the dancers with a peculiar chant, others 
at the same time, playing on bone flutes and beating rude 
drums. The dancing was often indulged in to the point of 
extreme exhaustion, the dancer falling to the ground insensi- 

Among the principal dances of the Indians of San Bernai'- 
dino Valley were those known as the Hawk-Feast, the Dance 
pf Peace, the Dance of Plenty, the Dance of Victory, and the 
Dance of Deprecation. Another of their peculiar ceremonial 


dances was designated by the padres as "tatamar ninas" or 
"roasting young girls." This custom filled the padres with 
great horror and they made every effort to induce the Indians 
to abandon the practice. The ceremony of "tatema" took 
place upon the first evidence of maturity. A hole was dug 

in the ground and filled with stones previously heated in the 
fire until very hot. Over this was spread a covering of leaves 
and branches and the girl laid upon it and then nearly covered 
with heated earth. The result was a profuse perspiration 
which was kept up for twenty-four hours and sometimes 
longer. At intervals the girl was taken out, bathed and again 
imbedded in the earth. During the whole time constant dan- 
cing and chanting was kept up by young girls, attended by 
hideously painted old women who had charge of the ceremon- 
ies. At the close, a great feast was prepared in which all 
joined and which lasted several days and nights. The girl 
was then considered ready for marriage, which usually took 
place soon after. 

The Dance of Deprecation took place when a member of 
the tribe fell sick with some unusual disease. The disease was 
always attributed to the influence of an evil spirit. The 
whole tribe would assemble each person bringing a food offer- 
ing, and all the gifts were placed in a large basket. The dan- 
cing would then begin. Significant words were chanted by 
the women, children and old men, while the younger men kept 
up the dance in the ordinary way beating time with arrows. 
After awhile the sorcerer would arise and present the offering 
to the supposed offended spirit. In making the offering he 
moved from left to right, and then in a circle, all the time 
mumbling mysterious words. During the time the sorcerer 
was engaged the people observed complete silence. At the 
close of the ceremony the dance broke up. The offerings 
would be cooked and left until the following day. This act 
was believed to appease the evil spirit whose baneful influence 


would then be removed and the sick person allowed to recover 
in the usual way. 

The Indians looked upon their medicine men as beings en- 
dowed with superior knowledge and skill in the art of healing. 
The medicine men practiced their art through mystical incan- 
tations and also used various herbs, balsams and healing 
leaves, to effect their cures. When a person was taken sick 
the medicine men were always called. They approached the 
patient with an air of solemn mystery, and after diagnosing 
the case and locating the pain proceeded to work a cure. The 
principal point was to first impress the patient, and those 
around him, with their importance, and in order to do this 
incantations, passes, contortions and gesticulations were mado 
by the medicine men, after which it would sometimes be an- 
nounced that the disease was due to some extraneous matter, 
whereupon one of the medicine men would apply his lips to 
the affected part and soon produce the alleged cause of the 
disease. This cause was usually a stick, stone, thorn, flint or 
piece of bone. The patient often experienced immediate re- 
lief and a marvelous cure followed. There is no doubt onz 
some very wonderful cures were effected in this way. Modern 
materia medica admits the potency of the imagination as a fac- 
tor in both the cause and cure of diseases. 

The Indians of San Bernardino Valley were fully aware 
of the medicinal properties of the hot springs in the vicinity 
of the valley. They regarded these springs with much ven- 
eration and believed them to be a cure for many diseases. The 
springs were also visited frequently by Indians from a distance. 

The "temescal" or sweat-house was another mode of cur- 
ing diseases among the Indians, and it was also used by In- 
dians in good health. These sweat-houses were built by first 
excavating the earth to some depths for a foundation, theit 
building above it a hut and covering the exterior with mud 
until it resembled a huge mound. A hole was left at the 
bottom barely sufficient to allow a person to crawl in and out 


of the hut. Light and air was almost entirely excluded. In 
the center a great fire would be built, around which the Indians 
would sit or lie stretched upon the ground. Here they would 
stay until nearly suffocated and in a profuse perspiration, 
when they would climb out, make a wild dash to the nearest 
stream of cold water and plunge into it. In many instancoa 
this heroic treatment was very successful, but in some sick- 
ness, like small-pox, it was quite likely to prove fatal. 

The Indians of San Bernardino Valley burned their dead. 
Their method of cremating was similar to that employed by 
the desert Indians of the present day. As soon as death oc- 
curred, material was collected and a funeral pyre built. Around 
this the family of the deceased and members of the rancheria 
gathered, the body was brought forth and placed on the pile 
and the fire would be lighted by one of the sorcerers. Ail 
clothing, utensils and other articles used by the deceased was 
burned with the body. Oftentimes the house where the de- 
ceased had lived and the domestic animals belonging to him 
were burned in the same way. The women were especially 
demonstrative on these occasions, their mournful wails and 
lamentations, continuing for several days and nights, could be 
heard a long distance away. 

The early Indians did not eat the flesh of large game. 
This came from a superstitious belief that the bodies of the 
larger animals contained the souls of departed ancestors. This 
same superstitious belief was held among the Mission Indians 
even after they had learned to use some of the larger domestic 
animals for food, and they could seldom be induced to eat 
pork. If a wild animal devoured a dead body it was believed 
the soul of the deceased was then compelled to take up its 
habitation in the body of the animal. This belief was not 
that of palingenesis as held by ancient races, but rather an 
idea arising among themselves without theory or rational reas- 
on to give for the belief. 



A feeling of tender reverence unconsciously associates it- 
self with thoughts of the old Missions of California. Imag- 
ination rehabilitates the ruined walls and recalls from the van- 
ished past the brown-robed padres — most of them saintly souls 
— who, offering their lives on the altar of their faith, firmly 
planted the cross of Christianity in the new land. Again the 
fertile fields are tilled by dark-skinned natives, and as the 
vesper bells chime softly the evening call to prayer, they flock 
to the mission to receive the paternal priestly blessing, then 
the benediction and to sleep and silence — a silence now long 
unbroken. The hands that laboriously toiled day by day to 
upbuild the walls, the hearts that beat high with hopes and 
aspirations for the future, have long been dust. That which 
they builded in the fulness of their faith outlasted the hands 
of the builders, but only to fall at last into decay and ruin; 
and amidst the desolation again may be read the world-old les- 
son of the mutability of earthly things; the passing of all hu- 
man hopes, ambitions, loves and fears. 

Something of this same spirit hovers around the ruins of 
"Old San Benardino Mission." Its place in mission 
history is unimportant, yet it is a point of especial interest in 
the history of San Bernardino Valley. It has been occupied 
ill turn by the padres and Mission Indians; Mexican rancbf;ros; 
Mormons, and then for many years as a homestead by one of 
the later American families. Its ancient walls, blessed and 
made sacred for holy use, first heard the chant of the Gloria 
in Excelsis and the prayers of priest and penitent. It has 


been baptized in blood and twice crumbled in the flames set 
by the hands of infuriated savages, and lastly echoed the 
gleeful voices and the laughter of happy children. 

As a habitation it has long been abandoned and used only 
as a corral for cattle. A portion of the walls are standing, 
but not sufllcient to give any idea of the original building. The 
ruins are surrounded by beautiful orange groves, watered from 
the old zanja built by the Indians, under direction of the 
padres, and which has been used constantly for irrigating pur- 
poses from the time it was built to the present. This old zanja 
was bordered by two rows of cottonwood trees, which, upon the 
coming of the American colonists, gave to the place the name 
of "Cottonwood Row," by which it was commonly known for 
many years. 

After the destruction of the mission station and "capilla" 
at Politana the missionaries withdrew t'rom the valley and 
several years elapsed before any special effort was made toward 
resuming missionary work in the valley. In the meantime, 
the Indians became accustomed to the presence of white men 
and through the ministrations of the padres a number of 
them were converted to Christianity at San Gabriel mission. 

The Indians of San Bernardino Valley had ever manifest- 
ed a friendship for the missionaries and gave them very little 
trouble. On the other hand the Indians of the desert were 
of a turbulent, warlike nature, constantly making incursion 
into the valley, killing the peacefully disposed Indians and dis- 
turbing the whole country. As the padres were unable from 
their small garrison of soldiers at San Gabriel to provide pro- 
tection for the missionaries in outlying districts, they were 
compelled to await the time when missionaries could be sent 
among the Indians with some assurance of personal safety. It 
was due to this reason and not to any neglect on the part of 
the missionaries that work in San Bernardino Valley was tem- 
porarily abandoned at the time of the burning of the station 
at Politana. 



I— I 

I— I 


In 1819 the Guachama Indians requested the padres to 
again establish themselves in the valley. The request was fav- 
orably received and immediate steps were taken by the padres 
to build another and larger branch mission. They selected a 
location about eight miles from Politana and in 1820 the new 
chapel and mi&sion buildings were ready for occupancy. 
Again the chapel was dedicated to San Bernardino of Sienna 
and the buildings occupied by a priest and several neophytes 
from San Gabriel. A community of Indians settled around the 
mission, a zanja was built, land brought under cultivation and 
grain planted. A vineyard and olive trees were planted, and 
as the valley furnished excellent grazing grounds for cattle 
and horses, stock was brought from San Gabriel Under the 
thrifty management of the padres the mission rancho not only 
raised sufficient grain for its own use and that of the Indians, 
but also furnished large quantities to the mother mission. The 
herds increased rapidly until in 1830 five thousand head of cat- 
tle were slaughtered in the valley and their hides taken to 
San Gabriel to be sold from that mission. 

The same system was employed at this branch mission as 
at the larger establishments. One of the padres from San 
Gabriel had general supervision. The first mayordomo at Old 
San Bernardino Mission was Casius Garcia. He carried out 
the work in detail and looked after the material welfare of the 
Indians engaged in agricultural labors and as vaqueros on the 
rancho. The hours of labor were short, the Indians content- 
ed, and no serious disturbance occurred until 1831. In that 
year the old enemies of the valley, the desert Indians, made a 
raid on the mission. The usual devastation marked their 
trail. The missionaries were surprised and unable to resist the 
attack. The buildings were destroyed and the stock scat- 
tered and driven away. The padres, accustomed to seeing the 
work of their hands time and again ruthlessly destroyed and 
time and again renewing their efforts, immediately set about 



rebuilding the mission, making it more substantial than be- 

The new mission was built on a cobble stone foundation. 
The walls of adobe were three feet thick. The building, in di- 
mensions, was about 250 feet in length, 125 feet in width and 20 
feet in height. A corral extending nearly 100 feet beyond the 
main building and the full width of the building, the outside 
wall of which was very near the center of the road now pass- 
ing the ruin. Another rectangular inclosure was surrounded 
on three sides by the building itself, and inclosed on the north 
side by a high wall of adobe, through the center of which a 
huge gateway was cut. The whole inclosure formed a fort well 
nigh impregnable to attack of desert Indians. Across the 
south end of the building a porch was built, the roof of which 
was supported by posts instead of the usual adobe pillars com- 
mon to mission architecture. Another porch extended along 
the outer wall on the north side of the building. 




For over two hundred years Mexico was a colony of Spain. 
Tile work of civilization and development of the territory was 
carried on by the mother country until her destiny, under Di- 
\ine Providence, was fulfilled. In 1821 Mexico revolted and 
declared her independence. But the cry "Viva la Indepen- 
dencia" had scarcely ceased to echo -ere it was followed by 
"Viva el Emporador," in 1832, and Iturbide set up a mon- 
archy. In 1824 the Mexicans declared a Republic, without even 
comprehending what the word Republic signified. Then fol- 
lowed a succession of "pronunciamentos," revolutions and res- 
torations, each having its brief day of authority and vanishing 
t,o be succeeded by another as ephemeral and unstable. There 
was a procession of Generals, Dictators and Pl-esidents. 

As Mexico suffered from this condition of affairs so did 
California. The government was considered a prize to be 
used for personal gain, and the territory of California was 
called upon to contribute her proportion to the spoils. It was 
an era of almost general maladministration. A stream can- 
not rise above its source; a government can be no better than 
the people. Under Mexican rule, California had thirteen gov- 
ernors of varying degrees of good, bad and indifferent, the 
latter qualities largely predominating. They began with 
Pablo Vicente de Sola in 1822 and ended with Pio Pico in 1846. 

The Missions of California could not escape the universal 
spoliation. They were known to be rich, and the fertile im- 
agination of envious and covetous officials added ten-fold to 
the amount of possession. For years the missions were 


threatened with despoilment and escaped only because no po- 
litical party had been bold enough, or in power long enough, 
to attack the property of the church in California without 
warrant for their act. 

In 1833 Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana proclaimed himself 
Dictator of Mexico. He was an unscrupulous man, devoid of 
sentiment or principle. He took pride in styling himself "El 
Napoleon del Oeste." He knew well the value of the Mission 
holdings in California and needed no urging to any act tend- 
ing towards the enrichment of himself or of his followers and 
favorites. But fearing that the masses were not so wholly 
deadened to the sense of justice as to permit so unwarranted 
an outrage as the despoilment of the church without authority 
of excuse, the Mexican government set about preparing the 
excuse. The work of the missionaries was discredited; they 
were accused of enslaving the Indians, keeping them in bond- 
age and maltreating them; and furthermore, — the greatest sin 
of all — of conspiring against the republic inj the interests of 

This was sufficient. On the 17th of August, 1833, 
a decree of secularization was issued by the Mexican Congress 
against all mission property in California. This was virtu- 
ally confiscation. It provided that the management of the 
missions should be taken from the control of the padres, and 
mission property placed in charge of "Administradores" selec- 
ted by the government. It was the beginning of the end of 
the missionary era in California. The downfall of the mis- 
sions dates from that day. The magnificent structures, rep- 
resenting years of toil, were doomed; orchards and vineyards 
fell into decay, the Indian neophytes were turned out to pro- 
vide for themselves as best they could, and in a few short 
years the work of despoliation was complete. 

This is the darkest page in the history of California. On 
one side injustice and insatiable greed; on the other side er- 


▼or committed while suffering from a sense of grievious 

As secularization marked an -epoch in the history of Cali- 
fornia, so it also marked an epoch in the history of San Ber- 
nardino Valley. It was the cause of the final abandonment ol 
the branch mission and the distribution of mission lands to 
individuals, under the Mexican land grant system. 

In 1833 San Gabriel Mission embraced within its boundar- 
ies a princely domain. The ranchos belonging to the mission 
were those of San Bernardino, San Gorgonio, Cucamunga, Yu- 
caipa, Jurupa, Rincon, Chino, Azusa, Guapa, San Antonio, San 
Pasqual, San Francisquito, Santa Anita, Puenta, San Jose, 
Ybarras, Serranos, Coyotes, Serritos, Rosa Castilla, Las Bol- 
sas, Alamitos, Jaboneria and Mission Viejo. 

August 9, 1834, Jose Figuroa, then governor of California, 
issued an edict putting into -effect the decree of secularization. 
He ordered the immediate release of all Indians under control 
of the padres at the various missions; and also that ten of the 
missions should be changed into pueblos for the use of the 
Indians, the latter order to take effect th-e year following. 
Certain lands were set aside for the use of th>e Indians resid- 
ing at the missions. 

The result of this order was anything but satisfactory. 
The Indians, removed from all restraining influences, rapidly 
degenerated to their primitive condition. They refused to 
work, became dissipated, lawless, and abandoned themselves 
to all kinds of vices and excesses. Their later condition be- 
came immeasurably worse than that from which they were 
rescued by the padres. Lack of restraint, and contact with 
the white race, brought to them nothing but absolute degreda- 
tion, disease and death. 

Many of the twenty-one missions eventually became pri- 
vate property. In later years the Supreme Court of the Uni- 
ted States declared the transfer of much of the mission prop- 
erty illegal and void and ordered its return to the church; but 


the ruin had been wrought and passed beyond remedy. Mien- 
tias dure la historia, se recitaran para su eterna verguenza y 
condenacioii las maldades de los despotas que sacrilegamente 
arruinaron las monumentales missiones de California; y mien- 
tras que los nombres de sus fundadores seran venerados con 
los immarclbles laureles de la gloria' y de la immortalldad. 
San Diego — Sold to Santiago Arguello, June 8, 1846. 

Carnielo-Monterey.— Pueblo. 

San Antonio. — Abandoned. 

San Gabriel — Juan Bandini, Comisionado 7 838-40; sold 
to Julian Workman and Hugo Ried 1846. 

San Luis Obispo — Pueblo. 

San Francisco Dolores — Pueblo. 

San Juan Capistrano — Pueblo. A portion sold to Mc- 
Kinley and Foster, 1845. 

Santa Clara. — 1834-5, Ignacio del Valle, Comisionado ap- 
tK)inted to cari'y out decree of secularization. The property 
at this mission was valued at $47,000, exclusive of churcl> 
lands. Of this amount $10,000 was distributed among the In- 
dians of the mission, but where the money went to has ever 
been a mystery. In 1839, it is related that the Indians of 
this mission were ahsolutely destitute, their condidon border- 
ing on starvation. 

San Buena Ventura — Sold to Joseph Arnaz. 

Santa Barbara — Leased and then sold to Nicholas Den, 
June 8, 1846. 

La Purisima Concepcion. — Sold to John Temple, Decem- 
ber 6, 1845. In 1856 the U. S. Land Commission restored the 
buildings to th'3 "inalienable possession of the Catholic 

Santa Cruz. — Abandoned. 

La Soledad. — Sold January, 1846. 

San Jose. — Don Jose Jesus Vallejo appointed Comisionado. 
Whe nhe took charge there were at this mission about 1800 



When he took charge there were at this mission about 1,800 
Christian Indians. There were 8,000 head of cattle, 3,000 hor- 
ses and 10,000 sheep. 

San Juan Batista. — Pueblo. 

San Miguel. — Disposition of this mission uncertain. 

San Fernando. — Leased to Andreas Pico and sold in 184G 
hy Pio Pico to Eulogio Cells for $14,000. It is related that 
this mission was sold to raise funds to prosecute the war with 
the United States. 

San Luis Rey. — Sold to Antoine Cot and Andreas Pico. 

Santa Inez. — Leased to Jose Carillo. 

San Rafael. — In charge of a padre. 

San Francisco Solano. In charge of a padre. 



The enforcement of the decree of secularization com- 
pleted the downfall of the mission system. For several year^s 
prior to the decree a state of general unrest had pievailed. It 
was a time of turbulence and excitement. In the nature of 
things it could scarcely be otherwise. So radical a change 
could not be made without friction and discord. 

Many of th'^ padres left the country; others staid on an»i 
contested step by step the infringement on their unques- 
tionable rights. It was a hopeless contest for the padres. 
The missions were doomed and the padres who remained saw 
with bitterness of spirit, born only of despair, the destruction 
wrought by the new order; saw the tearing down and ob- 
literation of all they had toiled, hoped and prayed for during 
so many years. 

The process of the destruction of the missions was swift. 
That of San Gabriel Mission is a fair example. It was, at 
the date of the decree of secularization, one of the wealthiest 
of the missions. Beside vast landed property it possessed 
100,000 head of cattle. In two years they had all disappeared. 
The plains for miles were literally covered with decaying an- 
imal bodies and the whole country threatened with pestilence. 
Rage, hate, and vengeance held unrestrained sway through- 
out the land. 

It was the avowed intent of the government to distribute 
the mission lands among the Indians in an endeavor to make 
the Indians self-supporting. The plan was a failure from 
the very beginning. The Indians had been treated as chil- 


dren by the padres and as children they must still be careil 
for and controlled. To meet this condition the government, 
through its appointed comisionados, attempted to manage the 
mission properties. This plan also proved a dismal and dis- 
heartening failure. The men appointed were so often in- 
capable and corrupt that under their management the mis- 
sion properties rapidly dwindled away, decreased in value 
and soon fell into decay. The whole system teaded only t;- 
individual enrichment. The condition of the Indians became 
wretched in tlie extreme. They decreased rapidly in num- 
bers. They were treated as outcasts, enslaved, beaten, and 
starved until in sheer desperation many of them ran away 
into the mountains and, banding together in lawlessness, be- 
gan a series of raids and depredations which kept the coun- 
try in a state of terror for many years and retarded its set- 
tlement and development. 

The restlessness of the Indians was a constant source of 
trouble to the occupants of San Bernardino Mission. The 
rancho afforded grazing ground for a large number of cattle 
and this attracted predatory Indians to the vicinity and fre- 
quent raids were made for the purpose of running off the 
mission stock. However, excepting the loss of cattle, no 
serious disturbance occurred until October, 1834, when a band 
of Piute Indians, coming from the desert into the valley, at- 
tacked San Bernardino Mission. A furious battle was waged 
in which a number of Indians were killed, both sides sus- 
taining loss. At last, when further resistance seemed futile, 
it was decided to attempt an escape from the mission and re- 
treat to San Gabriel Mission. The Indians defending San 
Bernardino — under command of a neophyte chief named Per- 
fecto — advanced upon the hostile Indians and succeeded in 
driving them back from the mission buildings. The sacred 
vessels and vestments used in church ceremonies, together 
with some other valuable property, were collected and load- 
ed into three carretas and the party started for San Gabriel. 


The Piutes followed, but so well did the mission Indians cover 
and guard the retreating party that the hostile Indians aban- 
doned the pursuit at Cucamunga and returned across the 
mountains from whence they came. 

Order having been apparently restored, the padres re- 
turned to San Bernardino, but only to face fresh disaster from 
another quarter. In the latter part of December of the same 
year an uprising of Indians took place. A war party of two 
hundred Indians, under the leadership of two chiefs, ex- 
neophytes of San Gabriel, en route to attack the mission San 
Gabriel, stopped and laid siege to San Bernardino. After 
repeated attacks entrance to the mission was gained through 
the corral. The mission Indians, few in number, unable to 
continue further resistance, surrendered. This time the mis- 
sion buildings were sacked and set on fire in several places. 
The priest in charge. Padre Estenaga, was made captive and 
carried away to the mountains. He, however, suffered no 
serious harm at their hands. Believing him to be a power- 
ful medicine man the Indians feared to put him to death. He 
was held prisoner for some time until finally the mission In- 
dians were able to negotiate his ransom and by payment of a 
quantity of provisions obtained his release. Padre Tomas Ellu- 
tario Estena,'4;a was the last priest in charge of the mission of 
San Bernardino. He was a native of Spain, a man of education 
and refinement. He came to California in 1820, and died at 
San Gabriel in 1847. The last of the mayordomos of San 
Bernardino mission was Epomuceno Alvarado. 

Tales of buried treasure are associated with every one of 
the California Missions; and there are people still living who, 
with all seriousness, relate the story of treasure buried by the 
padres at San Bernardino at the tim"^ ot their hasty flight 
from the mission. There is no foundation in fact for these 
stories. San Bernardino was tributary to San Gabriel. Its 
material wealth was poured into the lap of the mother mis- 
sion and whatever gain there might have been went to fill the 


coffers of that mission. But so long as the mind of man re- 
tains its imaginative faculty so long will fertile fancy revel in 
visions of lioarded treasure, green and moldy with age, deep 
buried in the bosom of earth, where by some lucky chance it 
may yet be discovered. 

This closes the mission history of San Bernardino. It was 
never again occupied by the missionaries. 

Owing to the non-inflamable character of materials used 
in constructing the last building, the fire set by Indians did 
very little damage to the main structure; but that which es- 
caped the hands of vandal Indians was aestined to fall prey 
to the later agent of destruction which outrageously and wan- 
tonly wrought the partial demolition of many of the missions 
ot California. They were destroyed for the sake of obtain- 
ing the building material in them. 

A portion of the last mission had been roofed with hewn 
timbers, brought from the mountains, and this was too val- 
uable to long escape notice. Two well known citizens of Los 
Angeles, with characteristic American foresight, saw the op- 
portunity to make some money and did not hesitate to grasp 
it. Mission property was anybody's property and the chance 
of getting something for nothing appealed as forcibly to the 
mind in those days as at present, while the opportunities ott- 
ered were vastly in advance of today. Eleven carretas ot 
material from San Bernardino mission were taken into Los 
Angeles and used in the construction of Los Angeles build- 
ings. But, however slow the mills of the gods grind, it is 
unfailingly true they in time do measure, to a degree, with ex- 
actness. The day came when some form of restitution was 
demanded for many acts of vandalism committed against 
mission property. The two estimable Los Angelenos eventu- 
ally paid for that timber at the rate of .$3.00 per vara. As for 
the adobes, no accounting seems to have been made. The 
native Californian was not particularly energetic, unless in 
the avoidance of labor, and as mission-made adobes were su- 



perior articles, after the lapse of a few years San Bernardino 
Mission was nothing hut a dismantled, crumbling ruin. 

"So fleet the works of men back to the earth again^. 

Ancient and holy things fade like a dream." 




The subjeci of land titles is an interesting one. Their 
history may be said to show the advancement of races through 
various periods, patriarchial, feudal, mediaeval and modern; 
communal, vassal, tenant and owner. They represent the 
growth of the individual; the development of man from sav- 
agery to civilization. 

The history of land titles in California shows the influ- 
ence of two races, widely divergent in character — the Latin 
and the Anglo-Saxon. 

The early Spanish and Mexican inhabitants of California 
did not look upon the possession of land as did the later oc- 
cupants. It was a pastoral age and they were a pastoral 
people. They regarded land as of little value and were su- 
premely indifferent to certainty of boundaries. Land was used 
principally for grazing cattle and a description accurate 
enough to obtain a grant was sufficient for all practical pur- 
poses. If boundaries overlapped the possessions of a neigh- 
bor here and there, it did not matter. There was land enough 
for everyone. 

All this changed with the coming of the Americans. Af- 
ter the mad excitement over the discovery of gold had 
abated somewhat, clear-headed men saw the value of the land 
for agricultural purposes. The ranchers succeeded the Argo- 
nauts. A sweeping tide of immigration set in from the older 
Eastern States and from Europe. They were an alien race 
and brought with them new manners, new customs and a new 
language. With the new comers, possession of land amounted 


almost to a passion. There must be no uncertainty of de- 
scription. Tho title to the land must be absolute, and fixed 
by metes and bounds, must be determined with exactness, and 
when once determined no encroachment was tolerated. 

The Americans found nearly all the desirable land claimed 
under Spanish or Mexican grants. The treaty of Guadalupe- 
Hidalgo, between the United States and Mexico, provided se- 
curity for the inhabitants of the ceded territory and that they 
should "be maintained and protected in the full enjoyment of 
their liberty and property." This, in itself, was clear and 
the Americans were bound to respect and abide by it. There- 
fore title to these lands could only be secured by right of pur- 
chase. Then came the important question of validity of title 
under these Spanish and Mexican grants. In order to give 
a good title to land a valid title must be shown. In many 
cases this was impossible. In some instances as many as five 
different grants had been issued to certain lands. 

The first Spanish land grant in California was made In 
1775. The first two large grants of land were made in 1784. 
These were the ranchos of Santa Gertrudis and San Rafael, in 
what afterwards became Los Angeles county. 

After Mexican independence a number of new laws were 
passed and land grants made, but these were comparatively 
few in number until after the act of secularization in 1833. 
Under this act the vast tracts of land held by the missions be- 
came public domain and were opened to settlement under 
Mexican colonization laws. 

To obtain a grant of land, under the laws of Mexico, a pe- 
tition was drawn up, giving, as near as possible, a descrip- 
tion of the land desired; and also stating the age, nativity, 
and occupation of the petitioner. This petition was then 
forwarded to some local officer who would report upon the 
matter. If the report was favorable a grant would be issued. 
Memoranda of such action was sometimes recorded in a book 
kept for the purpose, but as often as otherwise it was simply 


filed away. Final proceedings to secure the grant consisted 
in obtaining the approval of the territorial deputation, and 
after California had become a department of the territorial 
assembly, this was not difficult. Upon presentation of the 
matter to the assembly it would be referred to a committee, 
and the report of the committee having been made, upon ap- 
plication to the secretary, a certificate was given to the 
giantee. No formal record or registration was made outside 
ol. the journals of the legislative body. Many of these jour- 
nals became lost or were mislaid and when wanted could not 
be found. This carelessness laid the foundation for litiga- 
tion which later occupied the courts of the country for many 
years and cost claimants immense sums of money. 

No regular surveys were made under either the Spanish 
«>r Mexican governments. Juridical possession was given the 
grantee by the nearest alcalda or other magistrate, but the 
title was considered complete without juridical possession. 
The description and boundaries were designated by certain 
landmarks. This was all the law and usage of Spain or Mex- 
ico required. It made a perfect title to all intents and pur- 

There were instances where attempt was made to fix boun . 
daries by survey, but nothing like accuracy could be arrived at 
through the methods employed. In such a case a reata of 
al'out fifty \aras would be procured and this was used as a 
chain. Stakes would be prepared and placed in position and 
the surveyor, after setting his instruments, would take bear- 
ings, with some far distant mountain, hill, rock, tree or river 
as a landmark. He would then give command to his assist- 
ants who would start in the directions indicated, urging their 
horses at a rapid pace. Without pausing the stakes would 
be set in the ground here and there, until the line had been 
drawn. It was, however, only in exceptional cases that even 
this crude attempt at survey was made. The maps made 
would indicate a tree, a mountain, a river, with the number of 


leagues distant from each other. This method of surveying' 
was purely Mexican. It was not the system used in Spain. 

After the departure of the padres from San Bernardino 
Mission in 1834, the valley was in possession of the Indians 
who roamed at will over the country. A rancheria of Indians 
continued to make use of the mission buildings, but many of 
the Indians formerly living at the mission removed to San 
Gabriel and the different ranches in the south. There was 
no attempt made to settle the country. It was impossible. 
No inducement offered to settlers could overcome the lack of 

No land grants were made in this section of the State 
until 1838. In that year the Jurupa Rancho was granted to 
Juan Bandini. This rancho was then in Los Angeles County, 
afterward in San Bernardino County and now in Riverside 
County. I'^ consisted of 7 (or 14) leagues. It was sold to D. B, 
Wilson in 1841 for $1,000 per league. 

The Cajon de Muscupiabe was granted to Juan Bandini in 
1839, but his claim to this grant was afterwards rejected by 
the Land Commission. 

In 1843, one league of land at the mouth of the Cajon de 
Muscupiabe was granted to Michael White (Miguel Blanco.) 
The boundaries of this grant, in later years, became the sub- 
ject of extensive litigation. 

Cucamonga, 3 leagues, granted Tiburcio Tapia in 1839. 

Chino, or Santa Ana del Chino, was granted to Antonio 
Maria Lugo in 1841. It consisted of 5 and 3 leagues of land. 
Later it became the property of Colonel Isaac Williams. This 
rancho received its name from a half-breed Indian vaquero 
who had charge of the mission cattle at that place in early 
days. This Indian was named Jose Maria, but by reason 
of his curly hair was called "el Chino." The place became 
known by that name and has retained it. 

In 1841, Don Antonio Maria Lugo, of the Rancho San An- 



tonio, petitioned the Mexican government for a grant of the 
Rancho de San Bernardino. The grant was obtained in the 
name of his three sons, Jose del Carmen Lugo, Jose Maria 
Lngo, Vicente Lugo and Diego Sepulveda, a nephew of Don 
Antonio. Formal grant was made on the 21st day of June, 
1842, and signed by Governor Juan B. Alvarado, then Consti- 
tutional Govt^rnor of both Calif ornias. Juridical possession was 
given by Manuel Dominguez, Juez de Primera Instancia. The 
rancho is described as containing nine leagues or 37,000 acres 
of land. "It is bounded on the east by the 'Sierra del Yu- 
caipe' and on the west by the 'Arroyo del Cajon' and the 
'Serrita Solo,' and on the south by the 'Lomerias,' and on the 
north by the brow of the 'Sierra' (falda de la Sierra.)" This 
grant included the entire valley of San Bernardino. 

These Mexican land grants afterwards came within the 
boundaries of San Bernardino County. They were all mission 
ranchos, once the property of San Gabriel Mission. 



The early Mexican pioneers of California were of Span- 
;sn blood. They were proud of their descent, proud of their 
l<irth and oi the traditions of the race from which they 
sprung. This pride of lace is one of the ptrongest sentiments 
of the human mind. It is noc an unworthy sentiment for 
it tends to uphold the ideals of a nation and of the family, 
and, in striving to emulate the traditional virtues the indi- 
vidual is uplifted and the general tendency is toward the 
elevation of all. Were it not for this feeling of national and 
genealogical piide, men would scarcely know who they were 
or where they came from. 

This pride was one of the distinguishing characteristics 
of the early Calif ornians. It may be said to have been meas- 
ured in the individual by the degree of pure Castilian blood 
possessed. In any case it dominated their actions and was 
the fuel which fed the fire of their axnbitions. Generous and 
hospitable to a fault; passioaate and excitable in tempera- 
ment; careless with money; abhorring labor, still, they never 
f'irgot for an instant what was due their birth. As time 
passed the tlood became fused with that of other races; the 
language deteriorated and lost its original purity; the cus- 
toms of '>1'' Spain, though lingering long, at last gave way, 
bi!t the pride remained. 

The resources of the early Californinns were limited. 
They lacked ttachers and were without schools. They had 
IHtle con.^eptiou of anything outside of their own circum- 
scribed sph"r:j. Spain, Mexico 'ind California was their world. 
It is slight wonder that they viewed the approach of the 


Anaerlcans Avilh distrust and showed little desire to encourage 
American trade or American Ofoupancy of the territory. It 
■was an indiinctive fear and, all unconsciously, they followed 
Oiat immutable law of nature which, if heeded, points the 
•clanger-signal to nations and to individuals, and endeavors to 
shield the weaker from the stronger. They acted in the 
light of what seemed best to them. They were forced, at last, 
to succumb to the inevitable. The present understands the 
Ijast as iittlo as the future will understand the present. These 
■eaily Califoruians were of a type that has passed away. Let 
their virtues, and they had many, be remembered; their faults 
l>e forgotten. 

A name well known in the early history of California is 
that of Juan Eandini, grantee of the Jurupa rancho. Though 
the Jurupa rancho was never, strictly speaking, any part of 
Sail Bernardino Valley, it was once entirely within the boun- 
daries of San Pernardino county and has a place in the early 
history of the \ alley. A small portion of the original Jurupa 
grant still remains within the line of San B'^rnardino county — 
Agua Mansa. The Jurupa rancho was the first of the Mexi- 
can land grants in the vicinity of the valley. Of the grantee, 
Jaan Bandini, Bancroft's Pioneer Register gives the following 
condensed account: 

"Bandini (Juan) son of Jose, born at Lima in 1800. The 
exact day of his arrival in California is not known. It is 
possible that bo came with his father in '19 or '21. His pub- 
lic life began in '27-8 as member of the diputacion; '28-'32 
sub-comisario of revenues at San Diego; suplente congress- 
man '31-2. In '31 he took a leading part in fomenting the 
rf volution against Gov. Victoria, and in opposing Zamorano's 
counter-revolt of '32. In '33 he went to Mexico as member 
o°. congress, biic came back in '34 as vice-president of Hi jar 
an J Padres' grand colonization and commercial company; 
sipercargo of the company's vessel, the Natalia, and inspector 
of customs for California. The disastrous failure of the col- 


ocy scheme, and the refusal of California to recognize his 
authority as inspector, were regarded by Don Juan as the most 
serious misfortunes of his whole life and of his adopted 
country's history, his failure being rendered the more humil- 
iating by the detection of certain smuggling operations in. 
which he was engaged. In '36-8 Bandini was in several re- 
svects the leading spirit of the southern opposition to Alvar- 
ado's government; at each triumph of the arribenos he was 
lucky to escape arrest, and lost no time in fomenting new re- 
volts. His position was a most unwise one, productive of great 
harm to California; his motive was chiefly personal feeling 
against Angel Ramirez, whom he regarded as influential in the 
new administration, for he had been a personal friend of the 
northern leaders and supporters of their general views; and 
his record as a politician throughout the sectional troubles 
was neither dignified, patriotic, nor in any way creditable. Un- 
der Carillo he was nominally m charge of the San Diego cus- 
ton^ house. Ho was owner of the Tecate rancho on the fron- 
tier, which was sacked by the Indians in '37-8, Bandini and 
his family being reduced to poverty and serious want; but 
Governor Alvarado made him administrator of San Gabriel 
itiis.'sion '38-40, granting him alpo in '38 Jurupa, in '39 Rincon 
and Cajon de IMuscupiabe, and land at San Juan Capistrano 
'4L He was appointed fiscal of the tribunal superior '40-42, 
was comisionado at the new pueblo of San Juan de Arguello 
in '41, and sindico at Ij. Angeles '44, taking but slight part 
i;i the troubles with Gov. Micheltorena. In '45-6 Don Juan 
was Gov. Pico's secretary, and a zealous supporter of his ad- 
ministration, particularly in mission affairs and opposition to 
Castro, being also a member of the assembyl and originator 
of the projected consejo general. Later, however, he es- 
poused the LT. s. cause, furnished supplies for Stockton's 
battalion, was offered the collectorship, and named as mem- 
ber of the legislative council in '47, and alcade of San Diego 
in '48. In '49 he declined a judgeship; is said to have im- 


paired his fortune by erecting a costly building in '50 at San 
Diego, where he kept a store; and subsequently appears to 
have gone across the frontier, where the estate of Guadalupe 
had been granted him In '46, lesuming his Mexican citizen- 
ship and serving as juez in '52. He still dabbled to some 
ext<nt in revolutionary politics, and as a supporter of Melen- 
dres had to quit the country with all his live stock in '55. He 
died at Los Angeles in 1859. It is evident from the preceding 
resume of what is for the most part more fully told elsewhere 
that Juan Bandmi must be regarded as one of the most prom- 
inent men of his time in California. He was a man of fair 
abilities and education, of generous impulses, of jovial tem- 
perament, a most interesting man socially, famous for his 
gentlemanly manners, of good courage in the midst of person- 
al misfortunes, and always well liked and respected; indeed 
his record as a citizen was an excellent one. He also per- 
formed honestly and efficiently the duties of his various offi- 
cial positions. In his grander attempts as a would-be 
statesman, Don Juan was less fotunate. His ideas were good 
enough, never absurd if never brilliant; but when once an idea 
became fixed in his brain, he never could understand the fail- 
ure of Californian affairs to revolve around that idea as a 
center; and in his struggles against fate and the stupidity of 
his compatriots he became ab.surdly diplomatic and tricky as 
a politician. He was an eloquent speaker and fluent writer, 
though always disposed to use a good many long words when 
a few short ones would serve the better purpose. Bandini's 
first wife was Dolores, daughter of Capt. Jose M. Estudillo, 
whose children were Arcadia — Mrs. Abel Steams and later 
Mrs. Robert S. Baker; Isadora, who married Col. Cave J. 
Coutts; Josef a, the wife of Pedro C. Carillo; Jose Maria, 
whose wife was Terese Arguel.o: and Juanito. His second 
wife was Refugio, daughter of Santiago Arguello. whose chil- 
d.-eu were Juan de la Cruz, A<?redo, Arturo and two daugh- 
ter, who married Charles R. Johnson and Dr. James B. Wins- 


ton. Bandini s daughters were famous ior their beauty; alS 
or most of his children live iii Southern California in '85;. 
some wealthy, all in comfortable circumstances and of respect- 
able family connections." 

The name of Lugo, however, properly heads the list of 
Tyfexican pioneers of San Bernardino Valley. They were 
grantees of the rancho de San Bernardino and this ranch© 
practically took in the whole valley. 

In the time intervening between the passing of the friars 
and the coming of the Lugos there seems to have been an oc- 
cupant of the rancho de San Bernardino in the person of Jose 
Bermudas, who, with his family, came from Los Angeles 
County about 1836 and "squatted" on the property afterwards 
granted the Lugos. He built the historic "old adobe" dwell- 
ing, afterwards the site of "the Mormon fort," and now tho 
property of Wozencraft, on C street. Bermudas occupied the 
property until dispossessed by the grant to the Lugos. It 
i;-? doubtful if he ever made any regular claim to or applica- 
tion for this property. At all events, the matter of his re- 
linquishment was amicably settled and he removed to the 
Yucaipe, having been promised a grant of land in that local- 
ity. This promise was never fulfilled. Later, land was prom- 
ised him in Canade de San Timoteo and he removed from 
Yucaipe to the property now owned by his son. This son. 
Miguel Bermudas, was born at San Gabriel, and was a child 
c£ five years of age when his father moved into the valley. He 
claims to be the oldest settler, in point of residence, of San 
Bernardino Valley. 

Juan Nepomuceno Alvarado may be said to have been an 
almost continuous resident of the rancho San Benardino from 
1830, when appointed by the padres moyor domo of the mis- 
.sion, until the lands came into possession of the Lugos. He 
was the last mayordomo, honest, industrious, faithful in tlie 
performance of his duties, and implicitly trusted by the padres. 
After the Lugos came he removed to Cucamonga and after- 


■t\'ards settled on land near North Ontario, naming his place 
San Antonio. He abandoned this property and removed to 
Los Angeles, where he died in 1869. 

Don Antonio Maria Lugo, grantee of the Santa Ana del 
Chino, or Chino rancho, and father of Jose del Carmen Lugo, 
Jose Maria Lugo and Vicente Lugo, grantees of the rancho de 
San Bernardino, was born at the Mission of San Antonio de 
Padua, in 1775. He was owner of the San Antonio rancho, 
one of the earliest and richest of the Alta-California land 
grants, given him in 1810, while serving as a soldier of Spain. 
Don Antonio was a picturesque character. He was uneducated, 
but a man of great energy, decision and strength of mind. He 
was of commanding figure, fully six feet in height, spare and 
sinewy. His face was of the purely Spanish type with 
square-cut features and closely shaven; the naturally stem 
expression relieved by an appearance of grim humor. He 
was a superb horseman and retained his erect carriage to the 
date of his death, at eighty-five years. This occurred in J8o0. 

Bancroft's Pioneer Register states that he was "alcalde 
of Los Angeles in 1816 to 1819; juez del campo 1833-34; a 
member of the ayuntamiento and took part in the troubles 
between the north and south." 

Juez del campo, or judge of the plains, was an important 
position in the early days. The person holding the ofiice 
was, in a way, an autocrat. There was no appeal from his 
decisions. His duties consisted in settling disputes between 
rancheros relative to the ownership of cattle, etc. 

H. D. Barrows, of Los Angeles, in one of the annual pub- 
lications of the Historical Society of Southern California, 
writes entertainingly of Don Antonio, and as he had the ben- 
efit of a personal acquaintance is well able to estimate the 
character of this early pioneer: 

"Don Antonio Maria Lugo was, in most respects as thor- 
oughly a Spaniard as if he had been born and reared in Spain. 
With "Los Yankees," as a race, he, and the old Califomlans 


generally, had little sympathy, although Individual members 
of the race whom from long association he came to know in- 
timately, and who spoke his language, he learned to esteem 
and respect most highly, as they in turn, learned most highly 
to esteem and respect him, albeit, his civilization differed in 
some respects radically from theirs. 

It is related of him that on seeing for the first time an 
American mowing-machine in operation, he looked on with 
astonishment, and holding up one long, bony finger, he ex- 
claimed: "Los Yankees faltan ub dedo de ser el Diablo!" 
The Yankee only lacks one finger of being the Devil! 

To rightly estimate the character of Senor Lugo, it is nec- 
essary for Americans to remember these differences of race 
and environment. Although he lived under three regimes, 
to-wit: Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American, he retained to 
the last the essential characteristics which he inherited from 
his Spanish ancestors; and although, as I have intimated, he 
had as was very natural, no liking for Americans themselves, 
as a rule, or for their ways, nevertheless, he and all the better 
class of native Californians of the older generations did have 
a genial liking for individual Americans and other foreigners, 
v^"ho, in long and intimate social and business intercourse, 
proved themselves worthy of their friendship and confidence." 

Jose del Carmen Lugo, son of Antonio Maria Lugo, ac- 
cording to Bancroft's Pioneer Register, "was born at Los An- 
geles 1813; regidor at Los Angeles '38-9; grantee San Bernar- 
dino 1842; juez del campo 1844; prominent in Chino fight and 
several Indian expeditions '46-7; alcalde Los Angeles '49. 
After selling his ranch to the Mormons in 1851 he lived in 
Los Angeles, in good circumstances until about 1865, when he 
lost his property. He had a wife and four daughters. 

"Jose Maria Lugo, son of Antonio Maria Lugo." Ban- 
croft's Pioneer Register fails to give date of birth, but says: 
"juez del campo at Los Angeles '36-8; one of the grantees of 
San Bernardino." 


"Vincente Lugo; one of the grantees of San Bernardino 
1842; justice at San Gabriel 1850; supervisor Los Angeles 
County '62-3." 

"Diego Sepulveda," one of the grantees of San Bernardino 
1842; was somewhat prominent in the Flores revolt at Los 
Angeles '46-7." Sepulveda appears to have taken part in the 
battle of the Chino and to have figured in political distur- 
bances of the time. 

Of the younger Lugos very little can be said. They came 
into San Bernardino Valley in 1841 and secured a grant of 
the San Bernardino rancho in 1842. They lived the life of the 
average ranchero and, passing on, left very little impress on 
the history of the valley. The valley, in their time, was 
simply a vast tract of land, magnificently beautiful, but the 
future possibilities, all undreamed of, waited the coming of 
another race. 

Jose del Carmen Lugo occupied the old adobe house, built 
by Jose Bermudas. He afterwards removed to the old mis- 
sion. Jose Maria Lugo built for himself a house at Homoa, 
about four and one-half miles south of the present city of San 
Bernardino. It was at the base of the foot-hills, then, and 
for many years after, the site of an Indian rancherla. Vi- 
cente Lugo lived at the rancheria of Politana and Diego Sep- 
ulveda at Yucaipe. 

A large number of cattle were brought from the Lugo 
rancho San Antonio to San Bernardino. Stock-raising was 
conducted on an extensive scale. The animals increased rap- 
idly in number and it is said the Lugos never knew how many 
head of cattle they owned. The work of caring for them was, 
at first, principally performed by Indian vaqueros. 

Throughout the whole period of the Lugo occupancy ihey 
suffered much from Indian depredations which, however, were 
confined to running off the stock. Horse and cattle stealing 
was a recognized industry in those days and it was not until 
after the advent of the Americans that it received a set-back. 




The Americans who came into California in the early days 
were not ordinary men. As a rule they were men endowed 
with unusual characteristics. It was not love of gold that 
led them to face the perils of a journey across mountain, des- 
ert, plain or ocean, for gold had not yet been discovered In 
California. It was rather a restlessness of spirit that could 
not brook the restraints of an older civilization and found iu 
the freer life of the frontier that which appealed strongest to 
their adventure-loving natures. Such men have ever been of 
fbe vanguard in the progress of civilization. From out of 
the old lands of a weary old world they crossed the stormy 
Atlantic to the new lands of a newer world; then, step by step 
across a continent until the calm, smiling waters of the Pa- 
cific seemed to set a boundary beyond which they could noc 
further go. But the wheels of Progress will not stay their 
resistless course and men must advance, always to some far- 
off ideal the end of which is beyond vision. So these Amer- 
icans came to California and found here what appeared to 
ihem limitless possibilities — wealth without labor, life without 
toil. These big, strong, virile American men were favored 
by the dark-eyed senoritas of the sunny land and with their 
love went dower of rich lands and herds of fat cattle. Thos.) 
that came in search of adventure stayed. Here was wealth, 
beauty, pleasure, love, and the spell of it all soon bound them 
in a thrall they did not care to break. It was lotus-land and 
tile cooler northern blood was not proof against the languor* 



ol the southern sun, and the desire to bask forever in U\e 
soft, warm rays grew upon them until the wild spirit of ad- 
venture which had thrilled their pulses and led them from 
afar slumbered under the spell and no longer beckoned. Then 
they took to themselves wives, the beautiful daughters of the 
best families in the land . All that was required of them was 
some slight formality in the way of change of faith — and their 
leligious prejudices were not strong — and an allegiance to an- 
other government than their own. This did not weigh heav- 
ily upon them, so they embraced the new faith and tlie new 
customs — and yet they became not so much a part of the 
latter, for in return they infused into the new life that which 
Vie native Californians lacked — a spirit of enterprise and tho 
energy of the colder-blooded race. 

Isaac Williams of the Rancho del Chino, was a typinal 
American pioneer of that period. He was the first American 
fo settle in this section of the State. His was a spirit born t: 
command. Whole-souled, generous, hospitable, he kept open 
house for every American passing his door. A hearty greet- 
ing awaited every comer; the best the rancho afforded was at 
their disposal and they were invited to regard it as their own, 
and when at last the time came for departure, it was with 
sincere expressions of regret that the genial owner of the 
place bade them God-speed. Many a party of exhausted emi- 
grants halted at the Chino rancho, and mf\ny a weary, foot- 
sore wanderer found here a resting place. Not one amoag 
his countrymen, if in need, left the home of Isaac Williams 
empty handed . Indeed, it is stated, that Colonel Williams, 
in his desire to aid his countrymen, sometimes came very near 
to embarrassing himself. However, if he erred at all in this 
respect it was on the right side, and if the blessings and rem- 
oTnbrance of the weary, home-sick, heart-sick travelers in a 
&trange land may count to his credit. Colonel Williams needs 
no other monument. 

Isaac Williams, generally known in California as Julian 


Williams, was born in Wyoming Valley, Penn., Sept. 19, 1799 
He came to Los Angeles in 1832 with Ewing Young's party of 
thirty men who had been engaged in hunting and trapping on 
the Gila River, in New Mexico. With this party alpo carac 
Moses Carson, a brother of the celebrated Kit Carson. Mr. 
Williams appears to have become prominent in local affa'r? 
very soon atfer his arrival, as his name is mentioned in con- 
nection with several matters. He was a member of the vig- 
ilance committee in 1835. In 1839 he took the oath of al- 
legiance and became a naturalized citizen of Mexico. Im- 
mediately following he married Senorita Maria de Jesus Lugo, 
daughter of Don Antonio Maria Lugo, and in 1841 became 
owner of the Chino rancho, of which Don Antonio was the 
original grantee. In 1843 he obtained an additional grant of 
land adjoining his Chino property and settled down as a 
lancher and stock breeder, devoting himself to the manage- 
ment of his large estate. In 1846 he proposed to build a fort 
Jit the Cajon, on condition that he be allowed to bring goods ■'o 
the value of $25,000 into California, free of import duty, as ar 
that time there was a tax of $600 on every vessel. 

At the time of the American invasion of California the 
Americans living in the territory were looked upon by the 
Californians with more or less suspicion. While nominally 
citizens of Mexico, the Americans saw the advantage which 
■Hould accrue to California if brought under the government 
of the United States, and many of them were pronounced in 
advocating the change. This, naturally, was not pieaslng to 
the native Californians who were Mexican in their sympathies, 
and more or less coldness and friction resulted in consequence. 

Open hostilities between the Californians and the Ameri- 
cans began at Los Angeles, September, 1846, when Cervol V:i 
rela attacked the Americans imder A. H. Gillespie, a Lieuten- 
ant of Marines, left in charge as Military Commandant at Los 
Angeles, by Commodore Stockton. D. B. Wilson, owner of 
the Jurupa rancho, was then in command of a force of twenty 


men stationed at Jurupa for the purpose of protecting the in- 
liabitants and property on the San Bernardino frontier from 
mdian raids. Wilson, ordered by Gillespie to come to lil^ 
aid, was en route to Los Angeles and stopped at the Chino 
rancho, the property of Colonel Williams . The party waa 
nearly out of powder and found Williams in the same condi- 
tion. In the afternoon of the day of their arrival, while de- 
1: berating as to future movements, Isaac Callaghan, a scout 
fient out to reconnoitre, returned to the house with a bullet 
in his arm and reported the approach of a party of Califor- 
nians. After consultation it was decided that, taking all 
things into consideration, the Americans were more than equal 
to the Californians and they decided, notwithstanding their 
lack of ammunition to withstand a siege. 

The Californians under Varela, Diego Sepulveda and 
Ramon Carillo, with fifty men, made up the attacking party. 
They were later reinforced with twenty men from San Ber- 
nardino rancho under command of Jose del Carmen Lugo. 
The Californians were also short of weapons and ammunition. 

The Chino ranch house was an adobe building fashioned 
in the usual California manner, surrounding a courtyard. The 
roof was of asphaltum. There were few doors and windov/s. 
hut the walls were plentifully supplied with loop-holes. The 
entire building was surrounded with an adobe wall and a 

Early in the morning of the 27th of September, an attacK 
v.-as made on the rancho. The Californians, on horseback, 
made a fierce onslaught firing as they approached the house, 
to which the Americans responded. The horses of the Call 
fornians became frightened and in attempting to leap the 
ditch threw several of their riders who received injuries, and 
ore man, Carlos Ballestros, was killed. Three men inside the 
lanch house were wounded. The att.acking party succeeded 
in reaching a secure position under the shelter of the walls 
and from there set fire to the roof of the building. The 


Americans finding themselves trapped and in danger of a. 
scorching concluded to surrender, and in order to make as 
good terms as possible induced Col. Williams, whose brother- 
in-law was one of the captains in command of the assailants, 
to take his children and presenting himself outside, make an 
appeal to Lugo. The Americans surrendered. The Califor- 
nia us then set about extinguishing the flames and afterwards 
l-icceeded to loot the building. Enraged at the death of 
Fiallestros, who was a general favorite among them, the in- 
J'jriated men insisted on putting the prisoners to death, but. 
jnil'Jer counsel prevailed and they were taken to Los Angelas, 
Then- the more prcminnit ai them were held by Flores until 
January, 1847. It is related that these men were promised their 
liberty on condition that they agreed not to bear arms or use 
their influence in favor of the United States, but to their cred- 
it they refu'^ed to secure freedom on such terms. Among those 
captured at the battle of Chino were D. B. Wilson, Isaac Wil- 
liams, David W. Alexander, John Rowland, Louis Robidoux, 
Joseph Perdue, William Skene, Isaac Callaghan, Evan Calla- 
ghan, Michael White, Matt Harbin, George Walters. 

Colonel Williams returned to the Chino rancho where he 
resided until his death, Sept. 13, 1856. He sleeps in the old 
cemetery at Los Angeles. He left two daughters, Maria Mer- 
ced, wife of John Rains, and Francesca, wife of Robert Car 

Don Tiburcio Tapia, of Cucamonga rancho was a man of 
considerable importance in his day and time. His name ap- 
pears frequently in the history of the city of Los Angeles. 
He is credited with being a man of "good sense, good char- 
acter and some wealth." It is a very desirable combination 
though possibly a trifle rare. 

Tiburcio Tapia was born at San Luis Obispo in 1789. He 
served his country as a soldier and was a corporal at the 
Presidio of Santa Barbara. He was a member of the Puris- 


Itna Guards in 1824, and a member of the diputaclou from 
1827 to 1833. After Mexico had adopted the centralized form 
of government the seat of Prefecture for the Southern Dis- 
trict of California was established at Los Angeles, and Tibur- 
cio Tapia was first Prefect, holding the office from 1839 to 
1841. He received a grant of the Cucumonga rancho in 1839. 

Stories of buried treasure become slightly wearisome in 
the history of California. San Bernardino valley has its 
share and Cucamunga is one of the hiding places of money. 
It is reported that a small portion of this treasure was discov- 
ered a few years ago, but the larger portion still remains 
within the bosom of earth. Men have resorted to all sorts 
of methods to unearth the old Don's treasure. Magic wands 
and electrical "gold finders" have been brought into use; and 
not content with the inventions of mere mortal men, the hab- 
itants of the realms of space in the upper and nether worlds 
have been called to assist in the search for treasure. But 
still the treasure eludes the hand of the seeker, and the seek- 
ers still hope to find the treasure. 

As the story runs, Don Tapia was believed to possess fab- 
ulous wealth. In those turbulent days when government was 
on the move and continually shifting from one side to the 
other, with undreamed of possibilities in the way of change, 
a man's best and safest place for the deposit of money was 
not far removed from his hand. Don Tapia shared the gen- 
eral distrust. He had money and he wanted to keep it. At 
first some adobes were removed from the walls of bis house 
and the money hidden within a cavity prepared for it. Time 
passed until in 1846 the Americans, under General Fremont, 
were dangerously near, too close to be interesting. The old 
Don was in deep distress and at a loss to know exactly what 
to do with his money. Night after night he tossed restlessly 
on his bed and his sleep, when it came, was disturbed by 


frightful dreams in which he saw the invaders ferreting out 
the hiding place of his treasure. At last he conceived the 
idea of burying it in some spot far enough removed from the 
house to be secure from suspicion. One night, taking with 
him two Indian servants, he loaded the treasure in a cart and 
set out for the place selected. The distance from the house 
can only be surmised. The treasure was buried and as the 
morning light dawned the Don and his servants returned to 
the rancho. In some way the Don was able to work upon 
the superstitious fears of the Indians sufficiently to insure 
their silence, for, though Don Tapia passed away with the 
secret untold, no amount of persuasion could induce the In- 
dians to divulge the hiding place. They were afraid to do 
so. It is said the old Don's restless spirit still guards the 
treasure and for many years the house was pointed out as a 
"haunted house," the place of strange sights and mysterious 

After the death of Don Tapia the property passed into the 
possession of his daughter, the wife of Leon V. Prudhomme. 

Michael White.known also as Miguel Blanco, was one of 
the first English-speaking settlers of Los Angeles. He was 
a native of England, born February 10, 1801. At the age of 
fourteen he shipped on a whaler and came out to the Pacific 
ocean. He came to California in 1817. He landed at Cape 
St. Lucas, in Lower California, and for a number of years was 
engaged as seaman on vessels along the Mexican coast. In 
1828 he was Captain of his own vessel, the "Dolly," engaged 
in the coasting trade between San Francisco, Monterey, Santa 
Barbara, San Pedro, and San Diego. Some people are unkinc^ 
enough to intimate that his marine operations were in the 
line of smuggling. If so, it was not considered much of a 
crime in those days. 

Miguel Blanco received a grant of the Cajon de Muscu- 



piabe rancho in 1843. He obtained this grant on condition 
that he reside on the land and endeavor to keep the Indian 
raiders out of the valley. The grant originally consisted of 
one league of land, but it must have been of an expanding 
nature, for it "grew and it grew" until it covered some eleven 
leagues and caused considerable trouble. 

In 1831 Miguel Blanco married Maria del Rosario Guillen. 
She was a daughter of Eulalia Perez, who was famous as be- 
ing a woman of advanced years, "the oldest woman in the 
world," supposed to be many years over one hundred years of 
age at date of death. 

Mr. White owned considerable property near San Gabriel 
mission, where he resided during the latter years of his life, 
but finally losing his property, removed to Los Angeles, where 
he died February 28. 1855. He left a large family of children 
and grandchildren. 





Foreigners visited California prior to 1825, but the high- 
way over which they journeyed was the Pacific Ocean, and 
whether from norm, south, east or west it was always 
the same. The mountains and desert appeared to put an 
impassable inland barrier between California and the terri- 
tory on the east, and the land beyond the Sierras was terra 
incognita which the feet of white men had not trodden. 

Jedediah S. Smith of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company 
was the first white man to enter California overland. He 
started from the Yellowstone River, August, 1826, with a par- 
ty of fifteen men, intent on a hunting and exploring expedi- 
tion. Their course was down the Colorado River to the Mo- 
jave villages, where they found two wandering neophyte In- 
dians, who guided them across the desert to San Gabriel 
Mission. They were not welcome visitors, and though the 
Californians furnished them with supplies, of which the Smith 
party were sorely in need, they were not invited to remain. 

Smith appears to have camped in the vicinity of San 
Bernardino, for from this place he sent a letter to Padre 
Sanchez, of San Gabriel, begging for relief as they were in 
a destitute condition. As they were supposed to have left 
the country this fact aroused suspicion in the minds of the 
Californians and orders were issued for the detention of the 
whole party, but before the orders could be carried out 
Smifh had left San Bernardino and was moving northward. 
In this party were a number of New Mexican hunters and 



trappers and through these men reports of California were 
carried into New Mexico. 

In 1830 a trapping party was organized at Taos, under 
William Wolfskill and Ewing Young, to come into California 
and hunt the waters of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Val- 
leys. The party failed to cross the mountains between Vir- 
gin River and the rivers diverging into the Bay of San Fran- 
cisco, and the men becoming discouraged, through their suff- 
erings with the cold, the line of travel was changed and the 
party went to Los Angeles, where they arrived February, 

They had brought with them a quantity of "serapes" and 
"frasadas" (woolen blankets) for the purpose of trading with 
fhe Indians, planning to exchange them for beaver skins. 
They disposed of these blankets to the California rancheros, 
exchanging for mules, and with them returned to New Mex- 
ico. The mules were fine, large animals, superior to those of 
New Mexico, and when their destination was reached, caused 
much favorable comment. From this began a trade between 
the two sections of country which flourished for ten or 
twelve years. Caravans crossed the desert yearly bringing 
woolen goods from New Mexico and exchanging them fo^ 
mules, silks and Chinese goods obtained in California. 

Los Angeles was the central point for this New Mexican 
trade. It came by the way of the Green and Virgin River 
routes, through the Cajon Pass to Los Angeles. From there 
it distributed over the country from San Diego to San Jose 
and across the bay to Sonoma and San Rafael. After dis- 
posing of the goods brought, the traders made purchase of 
what they wished to carry back and what mules they could 
drive, and again concentrated at Los Angeles for their yearly 

Between 1831 and 1844 a number of native New Mexicans, 
and some foreigners, came through with these trading parties 


in search of homes in this country. It was at a time when 
owners of the large rauchos were experiencing much trouble 
from tne depredations of Indians and they were very glad to 
make allotments of lands to colonists, asking only in return 
Ihe help of settlers in protecting the stock on the rancnes 
from the Indians. 

In 1842 Don Lorenzo Trujillo brought the first colony of 
settlers from New Mexico to this section of the country. The 
Lugos made them a donation of land about one-half mile south 
of the Indian village of La Politana. Among these colonists 
were William Walker, Julian Rowland and Benito Wilson. 
Walker and Rowland had married Mexican women; and later, 
Wilson married a daughter of Don Bernardo Yorba. Wilson 
was at one time half owner of the rancho belonging to M. 
Louis Rubidoux, on which the city of Riverside is now located. 
Walker and Rowland removed to Los Angeles and afterwards 
owned La Puente rancho. 

After remaining about two years on the Lugo donation, 
Don Lorenzo, and four other families of colonists were in- 
duced to remove to a donation of land made them by Don 
Juan Bandini of the Jurupa ranclio. This donation consist- 
ed of a large tract of land extending along the Santa Ana 
river bottoms for a considerable distance and which was fer- 
tile and well watered. Here they founded the early settle- 
ment known as "La Placita de los Trujilios," — the Little 
Town of the Trujilios. The original settlers of the Placita 
were: Don Lorenzo Trujillo; Jose Antonio Martinez; Juan 
Jararuillo; Hipolito Espinosa and Dona Feliciana Valdez de 
JaiaTiillo. The Placita was located on the west corner of 
I.onia district in San Bernardino county. 

The Placita was built in a semi-circle around a small 
plaza. As soon as the Houses were completed a church 
was built in the center of the plaza. It was a rude structure 
with neitHer doors .windows or benches. An altar was 


erected and services conducted by Padre Francisco Sanchez, 
a priest from San Gabriel. Don Lorenzo Trujillo was appoint- 
ed, by Don Bandini, commissioner to distribute ttie lands. 
Miguel Ochoa taught the children of La Placita for many 
years, and has the honor of being the first school teacher in 
San Bernardino county. 

In 1843 a second party of colonists, commanded by Doa 
Jose Tomas Salazar, arrived at La PoHtana. In 1845 these 
colonists removed one mile northeast of La Placita and there 
founded the village known as Agua Mansa. The name Agua 
Mansa, meaning gentle water, was descriptive of the smooth- 
ly flowing, limpid waters of the Santa Ana river, along the 
banks of which the settlement was located. Among the 
settlers of this second colony were Louis Rubidoux and Chris- 
tobal Slover. Both had married Mexican women. Rubidoux 
afterwards removed to the Jurupa rancho, and Slover lived in 
the neighborhood of the mountain bearing his name, near 
Colton, and there continued to reside until on a hunting trip, 
he met his death from the claws of a bear. Slover Mountain 
was originally known by the Indain name of Tahualtapa — 
meaning Raven Hill ,and which in the early days was nesting 
place for large flocks of ravens. 

Ignacio Moya was appointed first Alcalde of Agua Mansa. 
but he resigned and the people appointed Don Louis Rubi- 
doux to succeed him. His jurisdiction was La Placita and 
Agua Mansa. 

The colonists were employed not only as vaqueros on the 
ranches, but also acted in the capacity of soldiers. The 
famous Ute Indian chief Cuaka- -best known as Walker — was 
very active about this time and his repeated depredations on 
the stock of the settlers were very annoying. It was Walker's 
boast that the rancheros were only allowed to remain in the 
valley as stock raisers for his especial benefit. Nearly every 
full moon he came down from tlie mountains with his band 


of Indians and these incursions generally resulted in loss to 
the settlers. The Indians were in the habit of running the 
stock into the canyons, and there departing from the trails, 
drive them up over the mountain and down the other side of 
the range into tne desert. When they had accumulated a 
sufficient number of horses they were taken across the desert 
and they found no difficulty in disposing of the animals at 
Salt Lake City, which was their usual destination. The set- 
tlers were armed with rifles and were expert in their use. In 
protecting the Bandini stock they had many fierce battles 
with the Indians. They usually fought on horseback, but 
sometimes it was necessary to follow the Indians into the 
mountains and there dismounting, continue the pusuit on foot 
until the Indians were overtaken and the stock recovered; 
but they were not always successful in recovering the stock. 
One of their fights took place in the mountains southeast of 
where the town of Highgrove is now situated. The Indians, 
after capturing sixty head of horses, escaped through a path 
between the mountains. In this battle Doroteo Trujillo was 
shot in the back with an arrow; Esquipula Trujillo was shot 
through the nose, and Teodoro Trujillo was shot in the right 
foot. They succeeded in recapturing the stock. 

The church of La Placita, being only a temporary affair, 
did not long withstand the action of the elements, and the 
people, recognizing the necessity of a more substantial build- 
ing, were called together in a public meeting to take steps 
for building a new church. It was a community affair and 
the settlers of La Placita and Agua Mansa responded to the 
call. They chose as commissioners, for the purpose of rais- 
ing funds and selecting a site: Don Ignacio Palomares, Don 
Ricardo Bejar and Ramon Ybarra. After going up and down 
the river the commissioners decided to build the new church 
at Agua Mansa. As money was not plentiful, all the settlers 


turned out and assisted in the work of building. Some made 
adobes, others prepared cement, and otiiers hauled timbers 
and lumber from the mountains. Joaquin Moya owned twelve 
or fourteen yoke of oxen and hauled most of the lumber from 
Aliso's mill; Pablo Velarde, a mason ,laid the adobes; Mig- 
uel Biistamente roofed the building. They began the building 
in IScl and completed it in 1852. When finished ,the church 
>vas de^liccted to San Salvador, but it became better known as 
the "I ittle Church of Agua Mansa." Padre Amable was 
f.rst to c^ficinte, and from t'rat date to tl"'e present an unbrok- 
en record of the marriages, births, and deaths of the parish 
has been preserved. These records are now in keeping of 
the church at San Bernardino. 

The year 1862 was a year to be remembered by the set- 
tlers of San Bernardino valley. This was the year of the great 
flood, which culminated on the night of January 22, and 
wrought great destruction and desolation. It rained contin- 
uously for fifteen days and nights. The gentle Santa Ana 
river became a raging torrent, which rushing, swirling and 
seething, swept everything from its path. The settlers awokp 
ir al?rm. The inhabitants of La Placita rushed to the Cerro 
de Harpero — the hill west of Loma district; those of Agua 
Mansa took refuge in the little church which seemed to offer 
a place of safety. The church and the house of Cornelius 
Jensen, opposite the church, were the only buildings on high 
ground and the only ones that escaped destruction in the 

When the morning dawned it showed a scene of desola- 
tion. The village of Agua Mansa was completely washed 
away, and where flowers bloomed and trees had been planted, 
a waste or muddy, turbulent water met the gaze. Nothing re- 
mained of the little village but the church, which stood upon 
higher ground, some distance from the river. The settlers 
were left entirely destitute and some assistance was sent 


them from Los Angeles to enable them to build their homes 
upon higher ground far enough from the river to escape future 
-:anger from its overflow. The settlement again flourished, 
but never did the people trust the river which had twice 
treacherously deceived them and wrought destruction to the 
work of their hands. 

A local poet, Don Antonio Prieto, wrote of this flood as: 

El veinte y dos de Enero 

Que desgracia tan atroz 

Bajo una grande corriente, 

Por la voluntad de dios. 
The Little Church of Agua Mansa remained standing for 
many years, but at last, yielding to the ruthless hand of time, 
t too passed away. Barely a trace of it remains. The bell, 
^ist in the sands of the hillside near Agua Mansa, was dedi- 
cated to ' Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe" — Our Lady of Guada- 
lupe — stood for a long time outside of the church of the Holy 
Rosary at Colton, but was at last elevated to the little church 
'lelfry, where, old, cracked, and badly defaced, it still calls 
the people to worship. 



The law of life is change. Impermanency marks the 
pathway of progress. Inanition is stagnation and stagnation 
is death. So it is found in the customs of a people. Every 
new influence, however slight, leaves an impress and all tend 
toward the fulfillment of the immutable law. 

The social and domestic customs of the early Mexican 
pioneers of California were those of Spain, and yet not en- 
tirely Spanish. To conform with life in the newer world and 
to meet new surroundings and conditions, innovations were 
necessary, and these, becoming engrafted upon older cus- 
toms, individualized themselves and became a part of Mexi- 
can life, with usages distinctly foreign to those of the people 
from which they sprang. These customs in turn were sup- 
planted by others and have in their turn passed away, until, 
becoming traditional, they remain only in the memory of 
a few surviving Mexican pioneers ,of whose life they were 
once a part. This chapter on the religious, social and do- 
mestic customs of the early Mexican pioneers is compiled 
from manuscript furnished by Mr. M. M. Alvarado, a de- 
scendant of one of the early Mexican pioneer families, and 
F. V. Archuleta, whose kindness and genuine courtesy is here- 
by gratefully acknowledged. 

There Is much error prevailing with regard to the num- 
ber of Mexican families in California in the early days. 
When compared to the Americans, and other foreigners 


they, of course, outnumbered them, but not to the extent 
generally imagined. 

At the coming of the Americans into the country there 
were in San Bernardino valley four Lugo families: Diego 
Sepulveda in Yucaipa; the Bermudas family in La Canada 
de San Timeteo, and some twenty-five families of new Mexi- 
cans on the Santa Ana river, from near Slover mountain to 
about three miles below. There were a few families at San 
Jose (Pomona and Spadra), San Gabriel, La Mission Vieja, 
Los Nietos, and quite a town at Los Angeles, Santa Barbara 
and Monterey; the other hamlets consisted of from one to 
three dozen families, and such communities did not reacn 
twenty in number. Another fact, which will give some idea 
of the Mexican population, is that at the outbreak of the war 
between the United States and Mexico, the whole number of 
men that could possibly be pressed into service did not reach 
six hundred. 

It was quite natural that the Mexican families should be 
intimately acquainted with each other. They were almost 
entirely dependent upon themselves and their intercourse 
with one another extended from San Diego to Santa Ba.rbara 
and from Santa Barbara to Vallejo. A family would decide 
to make a visit to some relative, or to attend a fiesta, at one 
of the mentioned places. When preparations for the journey 
Vi^ere completed the inevitable carreta, drawn by oxen, was 
made ready for the women. The men always traveled on 
horseback. The carreta v/as a rude conveyance, but the only 
kind of wheeled vehicle in the country. It was constructed 
entirely of wood and consisted of two wooden wheels, a 
wooden axle and a wooden rack. It was manufactured 
mainly with an axe, an adze and coyundas (hide straps). 
Travel in this conveyance was necessarily slow; but on the 
other hand it had its advantages in the benefit derived from 
the pure air and magnificent scenery spread out before the 


travelers like a panorama. The virgin land blossomed with 
a profusion of brilliant hued flowers and luxuriant grasses, 
varied here and there with wood-bordered rivers, barren 
mesas, and deep arroyas. Large herds of cattle grazed 
amidst the vegetation and for diversion to relieve the monot- 
ony of the journey the men of the party occasionally engag- 
ed in a dart on a coleada of cows or steers. A coleada con- 
sisted in running at full speed, grasping a cow by its tail 
and throwing her head-over-heels. It was considered great 
sport and the participants enjoyed it immensely. When ev- 
ening came the party would stop at some house where they 
were acquainted and remain for the night. They were al- 
ways heartily welcomed and hospitably entertained. All ate 
at the same table and slept beneath one roof. Sometimes, 
when circumstances favored, the evening was made merry 
•:\ith music, dancing and singing. Care and attention were 
lavished on the guests in unstinted measure, and the whole 
effort of the host was to make the visitors feel at home. To 
offer to pay for accommodation of this kind was considered 
by the host as an insult. 

While intercourse between families, whether near neigh- 
bors or not, was much the same all over the country, it was 
the invariable custom to keep the young people of both sex- 
es separate. In mixed company and at social and religious 
gatherings the young ladies were seated by themselves, and 
the young men were instructed that it was ungentlemanly 
to approach the young ladies except when social right and 
privilege warranted. Opinion will always differ as to the 
wisdom of this custom of restriction, but by avoiding un- 
necessary freedom it certainly avoided immorality. In those 
days young people arrived at manhood and womanhood with 
all the pure, unsullied innocence of childhood coupled with 
the vigor of ripening maturity. 

Notwithstanding the restrictions surrounding the young 


men and women, love found its way much in the same man- 
ner as it does today. A young man wishing to get married 
would notify his parents of his choice, and if they were fav- 
orable to the match they would give their consent. If they 
considered his choice unsuitable they endeavored to dis- 
suade him from the match. Similar proceedings were taken 
in the case of a young girl and an unworthy suitor, and so 
well were children trained to obedience that they submitted 
to the decisiion of the parents and the affair ended. Excep- 
tions to this course were of rare occurrence. In case no ob- 
jection existed on either side, the parents of the young man 
would write a courteous letter to the parents of the young 
lady requesting the hand of their daughter in marriage for 
their son. The father of the young man would then take this 
letter personally to the father of the young lady. After 
waiting eight days the father of the young lady would bring 
a written reply. After this, as soon as consistent with good 
manners, the whole family of the young man's father 
would visit the family of the young lady, taking with them 
the "donas" — gifts, consisting of jewelry and money, which 
were given to the parents of the bride-elect. After a sump- 
tuous repast all the details of the marriage would be arrang- 
ed by the contracting parties. Relatives and friends from 
far and near were invited to the wedding fiesta which was 
given. On the day of the marriage a large crowd was on 
hand, some of the people coming from a distance of fifty, one 
hundred and more miles. The marriage would sometimes 
take place at the church, sometimes at the house of the 
bride or the groom. As soon as the ceremony was completed 
the guests manifested their joy and congratulations by firing 
guns and by music prepared for the occasion. The newly 
married couple would next repair to their parents and, kneel- 
ing, ask the parental blessings. The wedding fiesta lasted 
from three to eight days and during that time the guests 


gave themselves up to pleasure and enjoyment. The fiesta 
entertainment consisted in singing, music, dancing and oc- 
casionally a horse race, bull fight or a toreada, and plenty to 
eat all the time. 

Three religious holidays were especially observed by the 
early Mexican pioneers of this vicinity — Corpus Christi, San 
Juan and Noche Buena. 

Corpus Christi, according to the established rules of the 
church, comes on Thursday, sometimes in the month of May 
and sometimes in June. Several altars were erected, a short 
distance from the church, and in commencing the religio'.;s 
ceremony the priest, robed in vestments proper for this cele- 
bration, would form a procession, which he headed .carrying a 
reliquary, or the Blessed Sacrament, and assisted by two 
boys with the incensory, and other articles used in the cere- 
mony, and these were followed by a number of girls, dressed 
in white. After them came the people of the church con- 
gregation. The Reliquary or Blessed Sacrament was placed 
on each altar in succession, prayers were said, accompanied 
by singing and the procession ended at the church where a 
high mass was said. This ceremony was simple but most 
beautiful and full of meaning, as are all the ceremonies of the 
Roman Catholic church. 

San Juan day was celebrated on the 24th of June each 
year. After high mass the day was devoted to sports of 
some kind. 

Noche Buena, or Christmas, was especially important. 
Three masses, with appropriate ceremonies, were held during 
the first twelve hours of the day; the first at 1 a. m.. another 
at 6 a. m., and the last, a high mass, at 10 a. m. 

The people were possessed of a deep religious feeling 
and veneration for things holy. They had many religious ob- 
servances aside from these mentioned. Each Friday during 
Lent the people met, either at some house or at the church, 


where the prayers of the Via Crucis (Way of tie Cross) were 
recited. From Wednesday to Friday night of Holy Week spe- 
cial religious services and ceremonies were observed. 

The early Spanish and Mexican pioneers were a sociable 
people and indulged in several characteristic sports. Pelia 
de gallos, or cock fights, were very popular. Some person in 
nearly every hamlet or rancho was possessor of fighting cocks. 
When two roosters were to meet in combat the owners pre- 
pared them, by special trainirg. The trainers were inen who 
understood the business — which was in itself as much of a 
science as horse racing, and required of the trainer knowl- 
edge, tact and judgment. A person without experience could 
not hope for success. Much care was taken, especially in 
tying the deadly "navaja" (a blade) just above the spur of the 
rooster. This blade was four or five inches long, pointed 
and sharp as a razor. When everything was in readiness 
those v/ho had the roosters in charge would take them in 
their arms, pique them against each other, and finally place 
them on the ground two or three feet apart. In the fight 
which followed one of the roosters, perhaps slightly wounded, 
might run away, while at other times both roosters would 
be killed on the spot. It is needless to say that bets of more 
or less value were staked as a result of such fights. 

"Corrida de gallos" was another popular sport. On the 
afternoon of San Juan's day a large crowd would assemble in 
some place where the ground was level and suitable for run- 
ning at full speed. One or more roosters would be furnished 
by some person with the given name of Juan or Juana. The 
fowl was buried alive leaving only the head above the ground. 
Men riding at full speed on horseback, as they approached the 
rooster would lower themselves by the side of the horse and 
make an attempt to pull the rooster out of the ground by 
grasping its head. This was not an easy task and required 
skill and daring horsemanship, for the cock would dodge its 


head whenever any one tried to grasp it. Whoever succeed- 
ed in pulling it out of the ground would start on a full run, 
followed by all the others who had taken part in the coursing. 
If overtaken by one or more of the party, he had to look out 
for himself as the competitor would, either by force or strat- 
egy, take the rooster away. In retaining possession of the 
rooster and defending himself from attack the captor was con- 
sidered justified in striking his opponents right and left with 
the yet living rooster. The cock being taken away from the 
first man ,the scene was repeated, until the fowl being dead, 
was severed into pieces in the affray. Then another cock 
would be furnished, and yet another, if they wanted it, until 
wearied of the sport all were ready to quit. Sometimes a 
purse was buried in the ground with the rooster and th& 
money went to the man who pulled il out. If anyone showed 
anger during the course of the sport he was considered dis- 
graced. -It was understood that those taking part in the sport 
should not give way to exhibition of temper. 

A bull fight and a toreada or capateada were two different 
sports. A bull fight was an encounter between a bull and 
a bear. Don Jose del Carmen Lugo, when living at Old San 
Tiornardino, had a plaza de toros (an amphitheatre for buH 
fights' where they engaged in that kind of sport on the 15th 
of August for some years. That amphitheatre was simply a 
rlace walled in by large adobes with seats built on the top 
of tVie wall. Bears were numerous, and when they were 
wanted they were usually procured in the neighborhood wherfe 
the li.sane Asylum now stands at Highland. The bear would 
be lassoed by some daring horseman and brought to the place 
of the fight a few days previous to the day of the event. As 
ferocious 8 bull as could be found would be brought in the 
same way. £nd when the hour of the fight arrived both beasts 
were turned loose together in the amphitheatre. It did not 
take long for a genuine and terrible fight to Begin in which 


the bull was always killed, but the bear was also left in a de- 
plorable condition, gored almost to death. 

In the sport called "torear," or "toreada," no bull was 
killed. A wild bull would be turned loose in the corral, or 
plaza de toros, and a daring vaquero on a well-trained horse 
would ride in and tantalize the bull, until, goaded to despera- 
tion ,the bull would attack them. The men being expert, and 
on well trained horses, would easily evade the horns of the 
bull, and though horses were sometimes gored it was seldom 
fatally. Torear was a sport indulged in, not only in inclosed 
places, but anywhere. 

Horse races were the most common and the most popu- 
lar of all the Mexican sports. Large sums of money were 
staked on these races and numbers of stock were bet, and men 
frequently traveled hundreds of miles to see or to make a 
race. A place in open, level country was chosen, and the 
race track laid out and prepared in straight lines. When the 
(lay for the race arrived, men, women and children came, all 
attired in their finest clothing and riding their gayest horses 
bedecked with silver mounted bridles and saddles. If the 
race was one on which large sums of money had been staked 
r early all the people in the neighborhood attended and it was 
considered no disgrace to bet with friends or neighbors. Peo- 
ple won or lost without permitting it to make any difference 
in regard to their friendly and social relations. After the 
races passed, r.ll things went on as smoothly as before. It 
T'v'as the only Fport that brought on a shade of rivalry, but in 
^hat, only so far as to stimulate a desire of raising or owning 
the swiftest horse. Races in those days were not as detri- 
mental to the morals of the people as they seem to be today. 
The money staked was usually deposited with some disinter- 
ested person who had made no bet on the result of the races. 
If horses were slaked in the race they wouia be tied together 
in couples. Other stock might have been bet in advance. 


but as stated, some disinterested person always acted as 

Tliere were two ways of starting the horses in a race. One 
called Santiago parado and the other Santiago andando. By 
the first method both horses would be standing side by side; 
by the second method both horses would be on a waiK, or a 
short trot, and at the word "Santiago" would have to go. i- 
at the given word, one of the horses failed to start, no excuse 
was accepted, the race was lost. Men who made a business 
of caring for race horses were called "magnates" and indeeo 
they were magnates in their line of work, for it took brains, 
patience and a certain knowledge to take care of and prop- 
erly train a race horse. 

The rodeo, or round-up, was a regular and needed insti- 
tution of the country. There were many wealthy men who 
owned cattle by the thousands, others had a few hundred, and 
still others only a few head. As there were no large pas- 
tures fenced in the stock roamed at large all over the country 
and the cattle of different owners became mixed. When 
branding, marking and gelding time approached, after the 
calving season, the rodeos would be in order. For example, 
if one was decided upon near Slover mountain on a certain 
day, all the rancheros and their vaqueros of the surrounding 
country were notified of the fact by the Juez de Campo. On 
that day, early in the morning, all the men, in small squads, 
from all around the objective point, would drive the cattle to 
the rodeo where it would all be centered by nine or ten o'cloc): 
in the morning. If there were any cattle belonging to other 
than the ovmer of the ranch where the rodeo was held, it was 
separated from the balance and driven home by its owner 
until ready to brand. If there were only a few head this 
branding was occasionally done at the rodeo. Usually though, 
the process of branding, marking, and gelding followed the ro- 


deo. The stock was driven to the corral where a few expert 
"lazadores" (men who throw the riata) would lasso the cows, 
steers or calves by their feet, throw them down; another man 
would come with the hot fierro (branding-iron) and apply it 
to the left hip of the fallen animal, and after that would cut 
off a small piece, in some particular shape, or split the ear, and 
finally geld it. There were men so expert in this kind of 
work that it was not uncommon for one man to do it all, with 
no assistance but his horse. There was a great deal of 
work attached to cattle raising through all its different stages, 
but no intricacies, and most any common horseman or vaquero 
could attend to all branches. Rodeos were held at all the 
large ranches on different dates, and men attending always 
found their missing cattle. 

This was not a farming community, but the people raised 
nearly everything they used to eat. It was necessary to raise 
grain and other foood products. Corn, wheat, barley, pota- 
toes, lentils, chic peas, sweet peas, a very large bean called 
haba, vegetables and garden products for seasoning were cul- 
tivated. Among the last mentioned the principal were the 
traditional chile verde (green pepper) onions, garlic, tomatoes, 
coriander, majoram and saffron. Wheat and barley were cut 
with sickles and made into small sheaves. Beans and peas 
were pulled out and bunched and taken to the "era." The 
era was a place cleaned out and irrigated, and then sheep and 
other stock driven over it to harden the surface, and which 
was finally inclosed with a strong fence. The grain, peas 
or beans once in the era, a large band of horses were driven 
in and around until it was threshed. The time taken to 
thresh would depend on the size of the pile of grain. After 
threshing, when the wind began to blow, the men would take 
their forks and toss the straw up into the air and the wind 
would carry the straw away leaving the grain. This work 


was continued until very little straw remained, when the 
"pala" was used to finish up. The pala was a piece ol: board 
a foot and a half long by a foot wide attached to a long handle. 
The time used for threshing and cleaning in this way was sev- 
eral days and a few weeks of it amounted to a great deal and 
required the use of several eras. Com was piled up in the 
ear and beaten with a heavy stick having the effect of shelling 
most of it. This was slow work, but it was the only way it 
could be done in those days. 

Mission grapes were abundant; the making of wine vv'as 
common and understood by many. The grapes were picked 
and spread out in the sun about long enough to wither them. 
After this they were placed in tinas and trod thoroughly by 
foot. The tinas were made from hides cleansed and pre- 
pared specially for the purpose, and hung and arranged be- 
tween four posts so as to hold the grapes and juice without 
spilling. To crush the grapes at times a "trapiche" was used. 
The trapiche was a simple contrivance of a roller with a han- 
dle and worked by hand. When fermentation began the juice 
was strained, placed in barrels and left for a certain length 
of time. It was examined now and then and cared for to pre- 
vent turning into vinegar. At the end of a few months the 
wine was ready to use, but the longer it was kept the better 
it grew with age. 

It has been said that the Mexicans did not know how to 
cook. Such assertions were made by people who did not know 
them and had never associated with them. While they do not 
cook the so-called fancy dishes, their food, especially in days 
past, was nourishing, wholesome and digestible. Indigestion, 
dyspepsia and kindred ailments were unknown, while today 
they are as subject to these diseases as are other people. 

There were no stoves in the early days, but in their stead 
fireplaces of mud and stones. They were built in a semi- 


circular form, varying from a foot and a half to three feet 
long ,and from one to two feet wide, and about one foot high, 
with bars across the top to hold the pots. To bake bread 
"hornos" (ovens) were built of bricks and mud. on the same 
principle as bakers' ovens are built at present. Tortillas were 
oaked on large pieces of iron called "comales." 

Everyone is familiar with the making of tortillas, tamales 
and enchilades, but there were other foods prepared which are 
not so well known, namely, puchero, estofado, albondigas and 

To make puchero select pieces of meat were placed to 
boil until it made froth, when that was thrown out. Then 
to the meat and broth were added green corn, string beans, 
garlic, onions, cabbage, squash, carrots and a few of the spicy 
weeds, and all boiled until the vegetables were well cooked. 
To prepare estofado, some pieces of meat with lard were 
placed on the fire, and after a short time dry grapes were add- 
ed and left until well cooked. Then slices of bread, sugar and 
some spice were added and again placed on the fire for a short 
while. Albondigas were made from the sirloin of the beef. 
The meat was well ground on a metafe, or otherwise; to it 
were added onions, black pepper, coriander and yerba buena 
(a species of mint). All these were made into a dough or 
paste, and from this little balls were shaped and cooked in 
boiling water. Colache was a common dish, wholesome and 
easily cooked. Some lard was thoroughly heated, and in that 
squash cut up fine, green corn, also cut up, some cheese and 
meat, all being cooked together. 

The dress of the men was very much the same as shown 
in the pictured representations. California was a stock coun- 
try, and as nearly all were engaged in the occupation of stock 
raising they wore what was called "botas de haya." These 
were large pieces of leather, some of common and some of 


fancy workmanship, wrapped and secured around the legs be- 
low the knee. They were worn by men when chasing cattle, 
to protect their limbs from trees or chaparral. 

The dress of the women was not vastly different from that 
worn at present, except in the articles of apparel known as 
euaguas or tunicos, rebosos and tapalos. It was a common 
thing, before the coming of the Americans, for the women to 
wear enaguas or tunicos (gowns) of pure silk, which, of 
course, differed in color and pattern. The material from 
which such garments were made was brought from Spain di- 
rectly to Mexico; thence to New Mexico, California and other 
places. Such garments were high priced and frequently 
banded down as heirlooms from one generation to another. 
Tl^e reboso was a long shawl of different colors with fringes at 
the borders; some of pure silk and some mixed with other ma- 
terial. The tapalo was also a shawl, but a square one with 
fringes on its four sides and plenty of fancy embroidery all 
o^ er it. These were of pure silk, very costly and only a few 
women could afford them. The rebosos and tapalos were 
gracefully used by women so as to cover the head and then 
thrown over or around the shoulders and chest. A beautiful 
woman wearing one of these fancy tapalos presented a most 
charming and elegant picture. 

The early Mexicans had so mucb respect for their word 
that it was not lightly given and when once given it was sa- 
credly kept. In business affairs of all kinds, in social inter- 
course or particular doings a man's word once pledged was 
held binding. Written documents were not considered neces- 
sary. Sometimes writing was used, but not generally. If a 
contract between two or more parties was entered into it was 
done by verbal agreement, observed and adhered to strictly. 
A person might make a deal, trade or purchase from another 
about stock, land, money or any other matter, and their word 
"was their document, binding and kept sacred until death. 


These methods no doubt seem lax and unbusinesslike, viewed 
in the light of today; and yet such was the native virtue of 
these people that pecuniary loss was welcomed sooner than 
soil or tarnish their honor. As an example it is worthy of 
emulation and practice. 

Unfortunately a change came, and that change, under 
such circumstances, was ruinous to their welfare. Take for 
example holders of land. There were large numbers of fami- 
lies who could not present a better title to ownership than 
possession and the word of another, perhaps dead, or bought 
out. Such facts could not avail or help them against estab- 
lished or newly enacted laws which clearly defined matters 
regarding ownership or acquisition of land. It was not 
strange then to see individuals or corporations take advan- 
tage of such state of affairs in order to acquire either small or 
large tracts of land, frequently lawfully, but many times un- 
justly. These doiugs gave rise to endless litigation and de- 
spoiled many Mexican families of their land all over the 

Much could be writter illustrative of their filial love and 
courage. Children, whether grown or not, for the sake of 
their love to their parent'^, would make any sacrifice, how- 
ever great, if it would save them from a tear or sorrow. 
Young men, on the point of leaving home for a short or pro- 
longed absence, on their knees would ask for the parental 
blessing; they would depart carrying engraved in their mem- 
ory, always Bearing in their heart, the advice and undying 
love of the dear ones left behind. 

Two short anecdotes will be sufficient to illustrate their 
courage. On one occasion, Don Antonio Maria Lugo and his 
son Jose Maria, when on one of their rounds after cattle, las- 
soed a bear. The old gentleman handed his son a machete 
(a short sword) and told him to get down and kill the beast, 
which the young man did without hesitation. Francisco Alva- 


rado, son of the Mayor-domo at San Bernardino, Viejo, once 
lassoed a half grown bear, tied him to a juniper tree from on© 
end of the riata, then cut a stick of wood about a yard long 
and approached the animal as though he would allow himself 
to get hugged. The bear would rise on his hind legs and 
reaching out with his fore feet would try to reach Alvarado. 
Quick as lightening Alvarado would give him a blow on his 
paws, when the brute would draw them back and howl. 
Again the act would be repeated, until Alvarado, tired of the 
fun, killed the bear with his knife, taking the skin home as a 

This is a brief description of a few of the religious, so- 
cial and domestic customs of the early Mexican pioneers. In 
honor, honesty and true manliness the men of that day will 
stand comparison with the men of any nation; the women 
were marvels of love, purity and devotion unsurpassed by 
those of any nation or clime. The time was one of primitive 
simplicity and social equality. The people as a whole were 
happy and contented. 

The passing years have wrought many changes to the 
people and to the State. Most of the old pioneer settlers hav* 
passed away. Their descendants are scattered, some of them 
having fallen on evil days, are the victims of distressing pov- 
erty; but many of them, in spite of the disadvantages unde> 
which they labor, still maintain the traditional virtues of 
their fathers. 

Those now residing near the old La Placita, which they 
founded, are: Antonio Atencio, bom in 1838; Esquipula Gar- 
cia, born 1S18; Tomas Archuleta, bom 1834; Jose Antonio 
Martinez, bom 1842; Mrs. Teodoro Trujillo (Miss Peregrine 
Gonzalez), bora 1828; Mrs. Jose Antonio Martinez (Miss Flor- 
entine Garcia), bom 1828; Mrs. Miguel Alvarado (Miss Ascen- 
cion Martinez), who was born at La Politana a few months 
before her parents removed to La Placita. 

In the county remain three other Mexican pioneers who 


should receive mention in these pages. Miguel Bermudaz of 
San Timeteo canyon, who, despite his years, is active in mina 
and body, is doubtless the oldest settler in the valley. Igna- 
cio Reyes of Reche canyon, born at Los Angeles in 1816, is a 
marvel of physical activity and considers it as little of a hard- 
ship to mount his horse for a ride to Los Angeles as he did 
in the years before steam had lessened the distance between 
the Rancho San Bernardino, and ere the city bearing that 
name had been founded. His wife was Francisco Lugo, a 
granddaughter of Don Antonio Maria Lugo. Reyes had charge 
of the vaqueros in the removal of cattle from the rancho after 
its purchase by the Americans. They drove 11,000 head of 
cattle from the valley at one time; then returned and drove a 
herd of 500 bulls and a large number of horses to the San An- 
tonio rancho of Don Antonio. He is a remarkable type of the 
old-time Mexican, and sits on Eis horse with the grace and 
vigor of the days when men and horses were inseparable com- 
panions and fighting wild Indians or wild animals their daily 

Miguel Bustamente came to California in 1849 and settled 
in Agua Mansa in 1852, taking a prominent part in the affairs 
of the colony until, mindful of advancing years, he declined 
furtlier honors. For thirteen years, from 1867, he served as 
Justice of the Peace of San Salvador township. He was first 
Postmaster of Agua Mansa and a school trustee and road su- 
pervisor for many years. Though physically infirm his men- 
tality is unimpaired and as keen and bright as in the days of 
his active life. 

These pioneers serve to link the past with the present; 
they are still a part of the one and had their share in making 
possible the other; for as tomorrow is dependent on today, so 
today is dependent on yesterday. Each generation Kas its 
part in the sum of the whole; each must bear its proportion 
in the maldng of history; for nations, like individuals, are de- 
pendent upon each other. 



The presence of gold in California was known to the pa- 
dres long years before the Americans came into the country. 
It was on land belonging to the Mission San Fernando, in the 
Sierras north of the mission, that gold was first discovered. 
But it was on the 19th day of January, 1848, that the great dis- 
covery was made. Two weeks later the treaty of Guada- 
lupe Hidalgo, whereby a vast territory came into the posses- 
sion of the United States, was signed. California, languid in 
the golden sunshine, awoke from eons of dreaming. The 
pastoral era was at an end. 

Then it was the name of California echoed and re-echoed 
to the outermost parts of the civilized world. Men, mad with 
excitement, fevered with the wild thirst for quickly acquired 
riches, rushed through the gateways of the mountains and 
over the vast expanse of ocean to the new "el dorado," where 
gold could be had for the picking up Never m the history 
of the world had there been such an excitement. But the 
Argonauts cared nothing for California. They saw not the 
glory of her sunshine, the beauty of her mountains, the fertil- 
ity of her valleys. It was for the golden treasure hidden in 
the bosom of earth, and for that alone they came. To all 
the rich possibilities of the marvelous land they were blind. 
The story is old and worn threadbare in telling. The years 
filled with excitement and terror, the bitterness of disappoint- 
ment and the heart-aches have left their record, and the suc- 
cesses also. In the history of the golden gamerings of the few 


the woes of the many have been forgotten. It is material 
success in life which appeals strongest to men. But time, al- 
ways kind, has soothed the wounds and smoothed the rough- 
ness the years w^rought, and "the days of gold, the days of 
'49" are paged in the annals of romantic history of the Gol- 
den State. 

San Bernardino Valley was far removed from the scene 
of early gold excitement. Now and then tales were brought 
to the Mexican settlers herding their flocks in the valley; now 
and then some of the young men would wander forth to find 
how true the tale. But, as a rule, the Mexicans of the valley 
were not disturbed by the stories. They pursued the even 
tenor of existence, content with the life they lived, and hav- 
ing contentment desired naught else — had caught else to gain. 

The causes which led to the colonization of San Bernar- 
dino Valley by Americans antedated the war with Mexico and 
might even be said to have remote origin in the exodus of 
the Mormons from Nauvoo. 

The dominating minds, or mind, which governed the in- 
terests of the Mormon people fully recognized the great pos- 
sibilities of the whole Western Territory. Mormon mission- 
aries were actively engaged in the work of proselyting, not 
only throughout Europe, but in Asia, South America, Austra- 
lia and the Islands of the Pacific. They were numbering 
their converts by hundreds. Brigham Young's fondest hope 
was to colonize the whole Pacific coast and to extend the do- 
minion of the Mormon churcli even to the City of Mexico It 
was another dream of empire with Its capitol at Salt Lake 
City. California was especially desirable and important to 
the carrying out of his plan, which anticipated the planting 
of colonies of immigrants throughout the territory and these, 
forming a chain of settlements, would provide resting places 
for "saints" en route from the coast to Salt Lake City, the 
Mecca of their faith. It was a brilliant conception, well wor- 


thy the master-mind that conceived it, and but for the war 
between the United States and Mexico might have developed 
into more than an iridescent dream. 

It was toward the close of the war between the United 
States and Mexico that a regiment was recruited from among 
the Mormons for service in the U. S. army. This regiment 
was known as the Mormon Battalion. After their return 
from Mexico they were quartered for some time in Southern 
California and while here received final discharge from ser- 
vice. They were law-abiding, God-fearing men and gained 
the respect of the people of California. Indeed, the citizen r^ 
of San Diego found tiem so useful and desirable as neighbor? 
that a general petition was circulated and signed by every 
inhabitant of the town requesting them to make a permanent 
settlement among them, and many of them remained in that 
part of California. 

Captain Jefferson Hunt v/as the first of the Mormons to 
come into San Bernardino Valley and it was chiefly througl: 
his efforts that the Mormons colonized here. He was a man 
of more than average energy and ability and whose honesty 
and integrity of character was unquestioned. He was instru- 
mental in organizing the Mormon Battalion and was commis- 
sioned Captain of Company "A." This company was sta- 
tioned for seme time at Los Angeles, and while there Captain 
Hunt became acquainted with many of the Spanish rancheros 
and made it a point to familiarize himself with the whole sur- 
rounding country. After the regiment mustered out of ser- 
vice, Captain Hunt, with his two sons, went into theh north- 
ern part of the State to the gold mines. He returned to Salt 
Loke Cityy in the fall of the same year by the Humboldt route 
which was then only a trail between Utah and California. In 
the spring of 1850 he made a trip to California, coming 
through by way of Southern Utah, the Mojave Desert and 
Cajon Pass, the first white man to enter California by this 


route, which was afterwards known as the Mormon Trail, or 
southern route to California. He stopped in San Bernardino 
Valley and purchased 300 nead of catCTe and 150 horses of the 
Lugos, and packing the latter with provisions, which he pur- 
chased of Rowland and Workman, he engaged 20 Indian va- 
queros to take care of the stock and returned over the same 
route to Utah. 

In 1850 Captain Hunt engaged to pilot a party of emi- 
grants, en route to Sutter's Fort, as far as San Bernardino 
Valley. After they were well on their way some dissention 
as to the advisability of the route chosen caused a division of 
the party, the dissenting members taking an old Spanish trail 
which they believed was a more direct route to their destin- 
ation. This was the party of emigrants who met so tragic 
a fate in Death Valley. Those under Captain Hunt reached 
their destination with no mishap other than incident to over- 
land travel of the time. Returning to Salt Lake City Captain 
Hunt began agitating the question of the formation of a col- 
ony of Mormons to locate in San Bernardino Valley. This 
coincided with the plans of Brigham Young, who encouraged 
the move and used his influence In furtherence of the plan. 

In March, 1851, a large party of emigrants, consisting ol 
about 500 persons, with cattle, horses, etc., left Salt Lake for 
San Bernardino Valley. This train was under command of 
Captain Hunt who was to take the lead and pilot them 
through to their destination. As it was impossible for them 
to travel as one company, on account of scarcity of forage and 
water in crossing the desert, the train was divided into three 
sections. The first section, under Captain Hunt, came into 
San Bernardino Valley and encamped at Sycamore Grove, at 
the mouth of Cajon Pass, on St. John's day, the 24th of June, 

Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, two of the original 
Twelve Apostles of Brigham Young, were with this party of 


colonists. They at once opened negotiations with the Lugos 
for the purchase of the Rancho de San Bernardino. During 
the summer the transfer was effected and they took posses- 
sion of the property. The purchase price was $7,500.00. The 
colonists did not have the money to pay for the property and 
Elders Lyman and Rich, with Captain Hunt as agent, went to 
San Francisco, where they negotiated a loan for the amount. 
The money was borrowed of Haywood and Morley and was 
paid in three installments. 

It is not within the province of this chapter to criticize or 
discuss doctrinal points, tenets of faifh or the circumstances 
which brought the Mormon church into conflict with the gov- 
ernment of the United States. It is suflBcient to say that the 
Mormons who first came to San Bernardino Valley were ideal 
colonists. They were farmers, mechanics and artizans of the 
various crafts. So far as material advantages went there 
was perfect equality. There was no wealth and no poverty 
among them. The system upon which the government of the 
Mormon church was based was purely patriarchial and it was 
carried out in the religious, domestic and social life of the 
Morhon people. They were the extreme of conservatives, and 
sufficient unto themselves did not desire or tolerate outside in- 
fluence or interference. As a community they were honest, 
industrious, law-abiding, peaceful citizens, and under their 
thrifty management the beautiful valley blossomed into mar- 
velous productiveness. The church laws were sufficient to 
regulate all public matters until state laws were established. 
All minor dissensions among themselve s were carried into 
the church council and there submitted to arbitration. There 
was no appeal to other tribunal. Their moral conduct was 
beyond reproach. Idleness, drunkenness, gambling and vice 
was unknown among them until a later day w?ien another 
class of people came to mingle with them. 


Such were the people who colonized San Bernardino Val- 
ley. Let credit and honor be given where credit and honor 
are due. 

When the colonists came into the valley there was a 
rancheria of about 500 Cohuilla Indians, under Chief Juan 
Antonio, near the old mission. During the summer Indians 
from Potrero came in and together they committed some dep- 
redations and in a few instances drove the settlers on the out- 
skirts into the camp. Anticipating further disturbance it 
was decided to build a stockade fort. This fort was located 
in the vicinity of the block between Third and Fourth streets 
and C and D streets. Houses for the settlers were construc- 
ted inside the palisades which furnished a good protection. 
Most of the settlers moved into the fort, only a few families 
remaining outside. Though the Indians quieted down with- 
out any serious disturbance many of the colonists continued 
to reside in the fort, which they occupied for about Tour years, 
when it was demolished. 

Bishop Tinney was the first to occupy the old mission. 
The mission building was used as a tithing house. Charles 
C. Rich occupied an adobe house on the site of the homestead 
property of Joseph Brown, on E street. Captain Hunt was 
President of the High Council of the Mormon Church of San 

In r855 San Bernardino Valley was a part of Los Ange- 
les county. Captain Hunt was one of the two representatives 
of the county in the State Legislature. In 1853 he presented 
a petition to that body asking the segregation of a portion o* 
the county, the part set aside to be known as San Bernardino 
county. An Act was passed and approved April 26, 1853 au- 
thorizing the segregation and providing for an election to lo- 
cate a county seat. Isaac Williams, David Seeley, H. G. 
Sherwood and .Tohn Brown were appointed commissioners to 


designate election precincts and to appoint inspectors of elec- 
tion. At this election the town of San Bernardino was cho- 
sen county seat of the new county. In the first years of the 
settlement the town was commonly known as "The Camp' 
and to the Mexicans as "El Campo de los Mormones." Old 
San Bernardino was called San Bernardino, or Cottonwood 
Row, taking the name from the rows of cottonwood trees bor- 
dering the mission zanja. 

During the first two or three years the land was used as a 
whole by the community. Each settler was allotted the am- 
ount of land he wished to cultivate, and planted whatever he 
desired. After the county was established and the town plat- 
ted the land was surveyed, subdivided into tracts and sold to 
individual purchasers. 

The town plat of San Bernardino was filed for record at 
the request of Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, on July 20 
1854, R. R. Hopkins, Recorder. The streets were laid oui 
due north and south, east and west, and numbered as they 
stand at present, but the lettering of the streets is of more 
recent date. On the original plat A street was Kirtland 
street, B street Camel street, C street Grafton street, D street 
Salt Lake street, E street Utah street, F street California 
street, G street Nauvoo street, H street Independence street, 
I street Far West street. 

The town was controlled by the Mormons until 1857 when 
Brigham Young, desiring to centralize the church interests 
in Utah, Issued the recall to Zion. Many obeyed the mandate 
and sacrificed their property to do so; others elected to abide 
in the land they had colonized. 

Thus was founded the Imperial county of the United 
States. Its history since that dale has been varied. Though 
far removed from the scene of civil strife the citizens, keenly 
alive to all the Issues at staTve, were agitated with the momen- 
tous question of loyalty or secession until Internecine war 


threatened to develop. The city of San Bernardino has Known 
its reign of terror and lawlessness incident to frontier towns 
of the far west; but the better element prevailed and from 
disorder came peace and prosperity. It has had its periods of 
depression and its periods of prosperity; but always looking 
to the future it has ever kept abreast with the chariot of pro- 

What the future may have in store for the beautiful val- 
ley no man may know, for no man can know the scheme of 
human destiny. Sublimely grand and ever watchful towei 
the mountain peaks of San Bernardino, San Gorgonio and San 
Jacinto, "Sentinels of the Valley," where grim and silent as 
now they saw it emerge from the primeval ocean; saw it lie 
for centuries desolate and barren of life saw It gradually em- 
erge from its desolation until, reveling in a wilderness of ver- 
dure, it laughed up to the cloudless sEies as thougn Intoxica- 
ted with the exuberance of living. Civilized man followed 
savage man and harnessed Nature to the plough of his needs. 
From the tangled wilderness of untamed beauty he developed 
an earthly paradise, for here Nature and Art comDIned touch 
perfection. And the work of man in the valley is within the 
memory of men still living. They have cultivated the land 
until it teems with blossom and fruitage; the> riave dotted the 
valley with thriving cities and villages. The mountains, pa- 
tient and silent can afford to wait for they know the possi- 
bilities of Time; but man, ever conscious of the briefness of 
his day, grows impatient, and looks toward the ever elusive 
Future for the fruition of his happiness. 

But here Contentment should reign, for they who dwell 
within the shadow of her mountains, beneath the sunlight of 
her skies can say in truth, there is no fairer spot on earth 
than San Bemardlino Valley. 

"Finis coronat opus" 

"Los Bons tails no se los manjan los dropus." 

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