By Vickie Speek
Anniversary of Mormon Settlement Approaching
SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA -- In 1851, a large party of covered wagon
pioneers composed predominantly of Mormons, came through the Cajon
Pass and bought the San Bernardino rancho from members of the Lugo
family. The Mormon settlement of the area, in June of that year,
later became the City of San Bernardino.
Headed by Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, the pioneer caravan was
probably headed for Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, the fertile holdings
of Col. Issac Williams. Several members of the famed Mormon battalion
had worked for Williams during their 1847 - 1848 sojourn in Southern
When the Lyman and Rich caravan arrived in June 1851, Southern
California consisted only of a score of ranchos plus little adobes at
what is now Old Town San Diego, and several mission settlements.
Although San Bernardino's first inhabitants were not the Mormon
colonists, they were the first to actually possess the land.
The God-fearing Mormon farmers founded a farming and trading
community that was the opposite of the riotous gold camps of Northern
California. But by 1857 the colony was disbanded and most of the
Mormons returned to Utah to meet the advance of Johnston's army.
Anniversary a time to recall settlers
San Bernardino co CA Sun 12Feb01 D6
By L. Burr Belden