S-6 Many Problems


Many Problems Face New Municipality

(Sun-Telegram Historical Writer)
Copyright (1960), The Sun. Reprinted by permission

...Continued from page S-5:

-er, younger brother of Pauline, was his near neighbor.
Juan Antonio didn't approve of the Garra revolt and promptly notified his friends, the Weavers to be on the alert. The Weaver brothers rode to San Bernardino and warned the Mormons.
In the San Bernardino Valley it was decided to build a fort or stockade. The first little cabins were snaked into a line along what is now Arrowhead Ave., between 3rd and 4th Sts. Then an irregular rectangle was completed by palisades of native tree trunks. Inside the high stakes a dormitory form of apartments was erected. The whole group, save for a few families who made a camp at Garner Swamp, moved into the fort.
Military discipline was enforced. Rich, a former general of the Nauvoo militia, Hunt and others with military experience drilled the men, while an old ex-slave, Uncle Grief, had a huge horn handy to serve as a tocsin.
The Mormons with good guns were ready for attack but none came. Instead militia and troops rounded up Garra and his ring-leaders, took them to San Diego and hanged Garra. The Mormons no longer feared attack and massacre.


Many families continued to live in the stockade, which they termed Fort San Bernardino, some for as long as 18 months. Building new homes could wait. Raising grain and cutting lumber were far more pressing tasks.
On the banks of the Mojave near Victorville, with the snow-capped crests of the San Bernardino Mountains ahead there was laughter, singing and dancing as the trail -- hardened companies hailed the approach of their long visioned goal.
Salt Lake was reaping unexpected revenues from supplies sold the argonauts passing through, but at the same time the Deseret area was receiving thousands of emigrants who needed financial help before they could become self supporting.

There was no large sum of money available to buy a site for the California outpost. Leaders went north and received welcome tithes from numerous Mormons working in the mines. The new Williams price, however, seemed unreasonable and the colony leaders started looking elsewhere.


First Lyman and Rich drove south to Temecula to confer with J. D. Hunter, former captain of the Mormon Battalion. The diaries describe the route taken, tell of a visit with Isaac Slover at Agua Mansa, of camping at Lake Elsinore, which was then known as Laguna Grande, but they give no hint of any colony location proposals resulting from the conference with Capt. Hunter.

In July, however, the "Los Angeles Star" reported that the Mormons were negotiating to buy the San Bernardino rancho from the Lugos. Whether such negotiations were under way or not at the time is uncertain. At least they were by the following month. The Lugos were willing to sell, though at a price somewhat higher than the Mormons were prepared to pay.

The arrival of such a large group in Southern California occasioned much interest. The Los Angeles paper rarely let an edition pass without some bit of news from the Sycamore Grove camp. The new arrivals were pictured as industrious, as practical farmers, as men who were good lumbermen, as planning a flour mill.


How much was wishful thinking can only be surmised, but all was true. The new arrivals, once they had land, planted more grain by far than the Southland had previously seen. They built a road to the good timber atop the mountains and started sawmills.
Los Angeles, and to a lesser extent San Diego, owes its initial start at modernization to the materials supplied by the industrious San Bernardinans.
Lyman, Rich, and Richard Hopkins went north and visited members of the faith, received tithes, bought provisions and supplies and returned to San Pedro. Forty teams and wagons from Sycamore Grove were waiting when they landed to haul the supplies back to the camp at the mouth of Cajon Pass.

The Richard Hopkins who went north with the two leaders served as secretary of the colony, and briefly as its leader, after Lyman and Rich had been recalled to Salt Lake. His journal history of the San Bernardino enterprise proves a valuable source work.


On the return from the north, Rich escaped a holdup because his mule was sick and he detoured from his intended route. The late A. Harvey Collins, longtime professor of history at the University of Redlands, found about the circumstance during his research into San Bernardino's founding. Rich, it seems, was carrying considerable gold and bandits had learned of the fact.

The San Bernardino Rancho was bought for $77,500. Both sides thought the sale was for the entire Lugo holdings, but United States surveys were made and the Mexican title examined in U.S. courts it was found the Lugos held title to but eight square leagues instead of the baronial domain actually occupied by the Mexican grantees.
Two vast grain fields were planted. One of them north of Little Mountain was 3,000 acres in extent. The fields were colony enterprises. Individual settlers had their own farms as well.
In the Mexican period, some timber had been harvested from lower slopes and canyons of the sawpit had been operated for a time at the mouth of Devil Canyon and a small mill run in Mill Creek where the soft conifers of the canyon were sawed.

Now the Mormons determined to reach the towering sugarpines and cedars at the canyon's top.
By communal effort, a road was tracked up Waterman Canyon and a small steam sawmill hauled up its 2 per cent grades. Water mills also operated in the mountains.
Down the steep canyon road came huge loads of beams and boards, most of which went on to Los Angeles where the market was brisk. Sound timber from the San Bernardino Mountains was of a quality all buyers appreciated.

In fact the nickname "Mormon currency" was applied to the lumber from the mountains by the merchants in Los Angeles.


In addition to the sawmills the colony built a grist mill, located on the present Mill St. at Allen St. The mill gave the name to the street, like the earlier sawmill gave the name to Mill Creek.

With the grist mill in operation, the Mormons began shipping flour. San Bernardino flour soon became a major article of commerce for the little coasal [sic] steamers that plied back and forth between San Diego, Anaheim Landing, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, Port San Luis, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. The miners up in the Mother Lode were the big eventual market for the flour.

The fact that the San Bernardino Colony held firm title to but half of the old rancho land caused considerable friction. Lyman and Rich realized that if half the land of the old rancho was to be released and revert to public domain at once, it would seriously threaten land sales. Why, after all, should a settler buy colony land when he could simply homestead acres nearby which were equally good?


Lyman, Rich and Hanks advised that no definite land boundaries could be set pending proper surveys. Certain areas, however, they were certain they would include in the 40,000 acres to which they would hold title. Hence they could sell farms while seeking to discourage other settlement. The plan might have worked better had all settlers been staunch Mormons. The church members were ever cautioned to settle differences among themselves and not resort to courts of law.
There was, however, a strong and growing group of dissenting valley settlers. Some never had been Mormons and others were becoming less and less attached to the church. The differences spawned over land location were heightened when political issues arose and there became both church and independent political parties with tickets in the field.
The party rivalry was manifest at such times as the Fourth of July celebration when the church group celebrated Independence Day in what is now Pioneer Park, and the independents held a separate observance on 3rd St. Each side strove for the highest flagpole, and the independents hauled in a cannon from far off Visalia with which to properly salute the nation's birthday.


The land question flared into the open when Jerome Benson, a settler who thought he was locating on government land, was told to move a second time. Benson, after his initial eviction, had started farming on Hunt's Lane, south of Colton Ave. The colony leaders again told him to move.
Instead of complying this time, he built an earthen redoubt all around his log cabin. Then, with friends, he hauled in the cannon which the independents had used in their Fourth of July celebration. On a tall pole he hoisted the Stars and Stripes. Friends and sympathizers came to his aid and mounted guard on the earthen ramparts.
"Fort Benson" was ready for a siege. None came. The colony leaders sent a horseman out to investigate. Lyman thought it discreet to leave Benson alone.
In Mexican days there had been no adequate surveys. Rancho boundaries were set by meets end bounds. There was so much land none seemed to mind the loose system.
With American rule, however, the more orderly land survey system became imperative. Topographical engineers were sent out from Washington and surveys started. First, three base lines and three meridians were surveyed from the tops of prominent mountains. Then the land about could be cut into surveyor townships and, in turn, into mile square sections.
Reading from north to south the base lines were the Humboldt, Mt. Diablo and San Bernardino.


Col. Henry Washington was the officer assigned to make the San Bernardino surveys. This was in the fall of 1852. Washington built a monument atop Mt. San Bernardino, checked his location with various key points and then ran his base line west to the Pacific and east to the Colorado River.
Next he ran the north-south San Bernardino meridian down to the Mexican line, and finally north to the diagonal boundary of California and Utah territory which then embraced Nevada.
The survey resulted in coining of numerous place names such as Old Woman Springs, where the colonel found an aged squaw abandoned at a desert oasis, and Twentynine Palms were the surveyors counted that number of trees at the oasis that now serves as headquarters for the Joshua Tree National Monument.


After land was surveyed the San Bernardino colony could no longer delay fixing firm land claims. The land claimed included the original part of the City of San Bernardino, a group of sections south to the Santa Ana River Valley and then a long corridor up to about Mentone, then finally a block of sections south to include the Dunlap Acres portion of what is now Yucaipa.
Looking at the Colony map nearly 110 years later immediately raises questions as to why the rich Highland and Redlands districts were excluded while the Santa Ana wash was held.
Historically the answer is simple. In the 1850s what is now miles of boulder strewn wash was the richest of all Lugo pastures.
The flood of 1862 scoured off the prime top soil creating the wash. Land in the Mission Town of pioneer decades, was included in part, though some of the area watered by the old zanja of mission days was left out.
After all there was a limit to what the Mormon leaders could retain and remain within their title limitation.


Indicative of the respect felt for the San Bernardino colonists by their neighbors was the fact a delegation of leading Los Angeles citizens came out to call in 1852. The object of the visit was the request that the San Bernardino colony supply one of the two state assemblymen to which Los Angeles County was entitled.
The old citizen soldier and trail blazer Jefferson Hunt was named. In the Legislature he was a natural leader. The legislative body was, of course, chosen predominently [sic] from the mining districts. The southern or "cow" counties had few assemblymen because of their small population, and those few were relatively impotent.
Usually they were from the old Mexican families and could neither speak nor write English fluently. The result was that what Southern California wanted, or needed, had little attention.


Capt. Hunt was an assembly man of a different stamp. He was a devout church leader who abstained from liquor and profanity, but a leader of such reputation, the hard-drinking miners respected him. With Hunt, Southern California had a vocal spokesman who commanded attention.
One of Hunt's major bills, of course, was the one creating San Bernardino County. With county government came also the opportunity for the San Bernardino Valley to select its own assembly man. Hunt was the natural choice.
The next year his bill incorporating the City of San Bernardino was passed.
California's first constitution, a relatively brief one, was patterened [sic] after those of eastern states. Revenues were raised largely from land taxation.
The situation in California differed from that elsewhere. The miners constituted the bulk of the voters, yet the miners owned practically no taxable property. Also costs of state government arose largely from needs of the mining districts or from the rapidly growing commercial cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento.
Thus the broad acres of the southern ranchos paid the bill they could not afford.
Many saw and complained of this. Under the cattle economy of the ranchos, land could not afford such a tax load. Many a proud family head was forced to borrow money to pay his taxes, borrow it at rates that he could not repay. The inevitable result was the loss of his rancho.
Where others saw, Hunt acted. He proposed the state be divided and that the populous portion be the State of California while the agricultural southern part assume the less costly territorial status. Hunt's logic persuaded the miners that the proposal was simply fair play. They voted to let it be put on a statewide ballot. Only the southern counties voted.
In the referendum San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and the Buena Vista (Kern) part of Tulare County favored the plan. Of the counties polled only San Luis Obispo was against division.
Before any additional action was taken, however, the Civil War's approach turned attention elsewhere. Assemblyman Hunt was called back to Salt Lake by President Young of the church. California remained one state.
When Assemblyman Hunt's bill creating San Bernardino County became law on April 26, 1853, it provided for commissioners to set up the forms for the new government and arrange for the initial election.


The commissioners named to set up San Bernardino County government were David Seely, Henry G. Sherwood, Isaac Williams and John Brown Sr. It will be noted that three of the four were San Bernardinans, Williams being the only member of the group antedating the 1851 settlement.
A Los Angeles County man was named to sit with the four when it came to adjusting taxes and other financial matters between the two counties. No such procedure had been used in 1851 when the bulk of the county had been shifted from San Diego to Los Angeles. San Diego County government made but slight impression on the vast hinterland.
In the first county election D. M. Thomas was elected county judge while John Brown Sr. and Valentine J. Herring were named justices of the peace. The three constitued [sic] the Court of Sessions, which was the county administrative body, predecessor to the Board of Supervisors. Other officers included Robert Clift as sheriff, Quartus S. Sparks as district attorney, H. G. Sherwood as surveyor, William Stout as assessor, W. J. Cox as coroner.


The Court of Sessions met and organized on Aug. 1, 1853, and immediately began setting up precincts for a new election in September. Three townships were created. These were San Bernardino, San Salvador and Chino.
In September Herring was named assessor in the place of Stout. James H. Rollins was appointed district attorney in December when the Court of Sessions declared the office vacant. Sparks was away. He returned with a woman Mormons claimed was not his wife and charges were preferred against him.
Testimony at the trial indicated Sparks was married and the matter was dropped. Sparks, originally a member of the Brannan group in San Francisco, appears to have offended colony leaders in matters of theology. He was a brilliant speaker and earlier had often delivered sermons in the colony church services.

When Herring became assessor, his place as justice of the peace was taken by Louis Rubidoux, Jurupa rancho owner of French descent and member of an early Mississippi Valley family of trap-

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