Sunday
Jan052014

May 20, 1810 - Naming San Bernardino

Typical enramada, a structure used by 19th Century Spanish missionaries as a chapel while searching for a location for a new rancho or mission.

In 1774, Juan Batista de Anza passed through San Bernardino Valley (calling it "Valle de San Joseph") enroute to San Gabriel.   The question is...what is the origin of the name "San Bernardino"?

In 1930, George William Beattie published Calfornia's Unbuilt Missions in which he says the Spanish missionaries started to establish new missions at: Santa Isabel, San Antonio de Pala & San Bernardino.

In 1902, Father Juan Caballeria wote in his book, History of San Bernardino Valley, from the Padres to the Pioneers, 1810-1851, ..."a party of missionaries, soldiers and Indian neophytes of San Gabriel mission, under the leadership of Padre Dumetz, were sent out to select a location [for a supply station].  On the 20th of May, 1810, they came into the San Bernardino Valley.  This, according to the Roman Calendar of Saints, was the feast day of San Bernardino of Sienna and they named the valley in his honor."

In 1823, Jose M. Narvaes, a Spanish cartographer, lists, "Bernardino" as a Rancheria on his map, Carta esferica de los territorios de la alta y baja Californias y estado de Sonora.

In 1832, Thomas Coulter, an Irish botanist, discussed "San Bernardino Peak" and "Rancho San Bernardino" in his writings.  His 1832 California map accurately depicts the location of "S. Bernardino".

In 1839, David Burr, Geographer to the House of Representatives of the U. S., published a map of the United States which includes the words, "San Bernardino", that are properly positioned on the map.

In 1842, Governor Alvarado granted "Rancho San Bernardino" to Jose de Carmen Lugo and relatives.

In 1851, the Mormons purchased "Rancho San Bernardino" fron Lugo.

In 1853, the County of San Bernardino was created; in 1854, the City of San Bernardino incorporated.

So, if it was not Father Dumetz in 1810, then somebody else of high rank or position had to name the valley "San Bernardino" in the early years of the 19th century.  

Note: For related stories see "May 20, 1910" and "May 20, 2010".