Marcus Katz
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Volume 1, Issue 1, October, 1969

San Bernardino Pioneer

Edited and with an Introduction by Norton B. Stern



MARCUS KATZ (1820-1899), pioneer merchant of San Bernardino, Wells Fargo agent, county treasurer, notary public, United States commissary agent, political activist, real estate speculator, Jewish community leader, Mason, and much else, was a fascinating figure. Born in a small obscure town in Germany, he found his first place in this country in Baltimore in 1845. A few years later, hearing the exciting news of the gold rush, he departed for California. Arriving in September, 1850, he spent a year and one-half in the San Francisco area. There is a family tradition that during this period, he worked for a time for the United States Government in the Treasury Department at Monterey.1

In the spring of 1852 he went to Los Angeles and engaged in business with one Henry Bauman, the firm being known as Bauman and Katz.2 The success enjoyed by the partners during the six months they were in business enabled Katz to open his pioneering store in San Bernardino. Bauman had pre­viously been a partner of Solomon Lazard.3

From the Mormons of San Bernardino, Katz obtained per­mission 4 to open a general merchandise store in the town, which was fortified by a stockade, in the fall of 1852. He thus became the first merchant of San Bernardino.5 The following year he left for San Diego. There, on August 24, 1853, he married Leah Jacobs in what may have been the first Jewish marriage solemnized in Southern California. The officiant was Chaim Leib Cohen, 6 a layman, since there were no rabbis in California at that time. Many prominent Californians attended the wedding, among whom was John Downey, later to become governor of the state.7

Unable to establish himself in San Diego, 8 Katz returned to San Bernardino in 1857 where he opened the first book and stationery - store in town. The next year he was appointed as treasurer of the County of San Bernardino and was subse­quently elected to this office three times, serving until 1865.

In 18581 Well Fargo and Company appointed him their San Bernardino express agent, a position he held until 1874. This indicates the high esteem with which he was held by his fellowtownsmen, since only those with the finest personal reputation were engaged as express agents. They handled almost all parcels of value which were sent or received by the residents of the area. Considerable mining was carried on nearby during Katz' tenure as an express agent and he shipped out over $3001000 worth of gold from these operations. 9 After serving Wells Fargo for sixteen years, Marcus Katz discontinued his management of the agency. The principal businessmen and city and county officials presented him with a testimonial letter, dated September 5, 1874, which read as follows:

M. Katz, Esq.,
Dear sir:

Your fellow citizens, many of whom cherish pleasant recollections of business associations for the past ten or fifteen years, learn with deep regret of the discontinuance of your agency of the Express Company, for whom you have acted for the past sixteen years. In severing our business connection, it is due to your fidelity to the trust held by you in the past, as well as to your constant and earnest efforts to advance the interests of the Company, and build up the business of the community in which you live, that we bear our individual testimony of your worth as an enterprising, energetic, and faithful businessman. One to whom the active community owe much for your public spirit, and constant and successful efforts in our behalf, and also to tender our heartfelt and grateful solicitude for your future success in any and all busi­ness enterprises in which you may engage. With the kindest wishes for your health and happiness, we are, truly your f riends.10

This letter was signed by William A. Conn, I. R. Brunn, Sydney P. Waite, County Clerk, Hardin Yager, County Treasurer, A. J. Curry, County Sheriff, J. A. Kelting, City Recorder, N. Noble, ex-Sheriff, William McDonald, John Andreson, E. A. Nisbet, A. Wolff, L. Caro, I. H. Levy, F. C. Suhr, Lewis Jacobs, George A. Reich, Louis Ancker, J. C. Peacock, P. M. Charles F. Roe, M. Byrne, A. P. Parks, John M. Foy, Henry M. Willis, County Judge, C. N. Emich, John M. Biays, M. Rittler, John W. Satterwhite, J. W. Montgomery, Bowland and Craig, Meyerstein and Company, and B. C. Boren.

In addition to his other activities Katz served as a notary public from 1857 to 18691 a pursuit which undoubtedly fitted in with his proprietorship of a stationery store. One of his copy books still extant shows the sort of legal documents he drew up and notarized. His command of the technicalities of legal terminology was remarkable, when it is considered that English was not his native language.

In 18611 Katz applied to the city officials for a piece of land for a Jewish cemetery. The grant deed for this land was signed by William A. Cowen, Benjamin Barton, James A. Wa­ters, and George L. Tucker, and dated May 20, 1861.11 On November 4, 1861 Marcus Katz presented this grant deed to the Paradise Lodge No. 237, B'nai B'rith. 12 In 1933, the lodge turned over the cemetery, known as the Home of Eternity, to Congregation Emanu El of San Bernardino, 13 in whose care it has remained to the present. It is the oldest Jewish cemetery, still in its original location, in Southern California.

The collection of personal papers and copies of speeches made by Katz and preserved by his descendants, 14 show him to have been a highly articulate person. He was deeply inter­ested in Jewish life and concerns of all kinds. A substantial polemic in his handwriting has been preserved, which may have been a speech to his B'nai B'rith or Masonic lodge, on Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. In it, he points out that the truly bloodthirsty men of history were not the Jews, as implied by Shakespeare, but the Crusaders and the officials of the In­quisition. He said, "... the crimson record of the early Chris­tians, compiled by historians of all ages ... show the gigantic contrast between an imaginary pound of flesh and the realistic inhuman and wholesale butchery ... for the cause of Chris­tianity."

Katz became a member of Unity Lodge No. 130, Free and Accepted Masons, when it was founded in 1858 15 and later of Phoenix Lodge No. 178, of San Bernardino, founded after Unity Lodge had had its charter suspended in 1863. He main­tained a steady interest and activity in the Masonic movement. One of the speeches to his lodge has been preserved, in which he strongly defended the right of a group of fellow Masons to submit a petition of protest against an officer of the lodge who had rented out part of the Masonic-owned building to a friend at a sub-standard rental without having given the membership a chance to review the transaction.

In the 1880's, Katz was an active member of a literary society named the "Kit Cat Club." They gathered periodically to listen to essays written by individual members, then pro­ceeded to discuss and analyze the quality of the literary efforts.

Women's rights were a favorite theme for Marcus Katz. He was against all restrictions placed upon women's handling of property vis-a-vis their husbands. At the same time he was against female sufferage. He said in one speech that for women to have the vote "would lead her entirely out of her legitimate and natural sphere and to assume new functions, distasteful to her dignity and offensive to her good judgment." Summing up, he stated: "We fail to see that woman's social condition can be elevated through the medium of the ballot box."

Katz was a Northern sympathizer during the Civil War period. He attended the Union mass meeting in San Bernardino, held on May 25, 1861, at which a Union Club was, organized. 16 On August 1, 1861, thirty-one county officials and local businessmen, most of the latter being Jewish, sent a letter to Major James H. Carleton, United States Army, at Los Angeles.17 The main body of the letter to the commander of the United States troops for the region, suggested that

We have heard within the last few hours from, as we be­lieve a reliable source, that a band of some 40 or 50 desperadoes are now dispersed throughout the coast range of hills south of this place, and intending to make a sudden foray upon the merchants of San Bernardino, and after securing their plunder make good their escape across the Colorado on their way to the Confederate States of the South. We therefore hasten to make this information known to you and ask that you will in this emergency forthwith give us the protection of a company of U.S. Troops.

Marcus Katz was a signer of this letter as was his father-in-law, Mark Jacobs. Carleton, in his response, suggested that the San Bernardino officials exercise due vigilance and raise a posse from among the citizenry to defend the town. 18

Katz was a strong believer in religious freedom and he stated in one address, that "Under our Constitution, the free exercise of religious beliefs must be extended to the Mormon polygamist as well as to the Catholic celibate." He was con­temptuous of the fundamentalism so common during his time and advocated that "... our local ministers of limited knowledge listen to the results gained from the physical sciences, the fruit of scholarship."

Marcus Katz and his son Maurice were charter members of the San Bernardino B'nai B'rith lodge, known as Paradise Lodge No. 237, established April 28, 1875. 19 Katz is credited with being a prime mover in the organization of the group. 20 He was president of the lodge in its second and third years, 1876 and 18771 and in its eighth year, 1882. Maurice D. Katz was an early secretary, serving two years, and he was the president of the lodge in 1906. 21

Local politics were a life-long interest of Marcus Katz. His memoirs yield plentiful evidence of his early personal in­volvement in the issues of the day. Later he was credited with being the one most influential in retaining the county seat at San Bernardino. 22 In the 1870's, the Southern Pacific Railroad offered to lay its tracks through San Bernardino and locate a station there if the local citizens were to subsidize the railroad to the tune of $100,000. The meeting held to consider the pro­posal was dominated by Katz, who was strongly against the railroad's offer. His sentiments prevailed and the citizens voted against the railroad. 23

The history of San Bernardino and vicinity was of concern and interest to him. He was a member and for a time an officer of the San Bernardino County Pioneer Society, the local historical organization. His memoirs testify to his keen appreciation of the story of the early days of the locality. Perhaps this was the reason that he was interviewed by one of the men sent out by the historian Hubert H. Bancroft, on January 16, 1888.

During the 1870's and 1880's, Katz was engaged in the real estate business and with land speculation. He bought and sold considerable property in San Bernardino and in outlying areas, one of which is now Highland. 24 In 1892, when illness incapacitated him, his eldest son, Maurice D. Katz, moved back to San Bernardino from Los Angeles to care for the property. Financial considerations at that time necessitated the sale of much of the property in order to save the downtown holdings. 25 The chief part of this which was retained and is still owned by the family is the property at the northeast corner of Third and E Streets in downtown San Bernardino. A four-story structure on part of this land is known as the Katz Building.

There is a well-established family tradition that Marcus Katz raised sheep on the Lugo Ranch in his early years in the area. 26 It was from the Lugo family that Rancho San Bernar­dino was purchased by the Mormon founders, who had arrived in 1851. 27

Katz and his wife had five children who lived to adulthood: Maurice Diego, born in 1854 in San Diego, who married Miss Zara Harris in 1888; Grace, who married Adolph Horwitz; Victoria, who never married; Glady, who married Rob­ert Parsons; and Edmund, who married Helen Lothrop. Of the four who married, two married Jewish partners and two did not. 28

At Katz' death on November 21 1899, one newspaper account noted that " He was a progressive citizen always, and even in later years has thought of the future of the town, and has been always the first to welcome strangers seeking homes here. 29 Another account noted that Marcus Katz had ".... been one of the most influential men of the city." 30 He was in­terred at the Home of Eternity Cemetery in San Bernardino, on land which had been granted to him for a Jewish cemetery by the city fathers over thirty-eight years before.

In 19041 Luther A. Ingersoll, in his book INGERSOLL'S CENTURY ANNALS OF SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, 1769 TO 19041) published a part of the Katz memoirs. These had been written in longhand in parts of two business account books, now in the possession of Mrs. Joseph Kustiner (nee Irma Katz, daughter of Maurice D. Katz). Ingersoll used part of the material from one of the notebooks.. These memoirs have not been available to researchers for some time, until quite recently. 31 Written in the 1890's, they are published here in full for the first time.


The eldest son of Marcus Katz, born in San Diego, California
in 1854. This photograph was taken in 1878.



I was born September 20, 1820, in a small village, Boben­hausen, in Upper Hesse, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. In my childhood and youth I loved fun and harmless mischief. I never liked to go to school and often played truant upon my teacher, for which I received a liberal punishment. In those days the teacher's rod was frequently used which was appreci­ated with a tender feeling by the pupils.

In later years I became more active and industrious. I was ambitious to travel. In the year 1845 I left home for America. I started from Bremen harbor in the three-masted ship Albert, Von Dedsen, commanding. After a pleasant voy­age of two months, we reached Baltimore, Maryland. Through the influence of a former acquaintance, I obtained a clerkship in the large drygoods house of G. Rosenstock.

When the gold excitement broke out in California, I left Baltimore for the new field of adventure, embarking on the steamer Georgia for Chagres. It was loaded with 1,200 passengers, fare $50.00, with sleeping accommodations, provided you could find it. I was fortunate to meet a young man who offered me one-half of his bunk, provided I could sleep on the sharp edge of the bunk. He covered the wooden edge with our wardrobes and we exchanged places nearly every hour during the night.

From Chagres, we sailed in a native canoe to Gargunia, thence on foot to Panama. On our arrival at that place, I made haste to secure passage to San Francisco. Being unable to secure one for want of funds, since steamer tickets from Panama to San Francisco were being sold at auction from $1,500.00 to $21000.001 I finally procured a passage on a French bark for $200.00. At Panama we noticed from 200 to 300 Catholic priests, barefooted and ragged, selling rosaries, crosses, and gambling on the street corners.

After four months sailing we reached San Francisco in September, 1850. Passengers landed in small boats to the shore. There was no wharflanding close to Montgomery Street. Most of the buildings in that locality rested upon piles.

I remained in San Francisco about 18 months. Engaged in several branches of business. Was unsuccessful during my stay in San Francisco. I witnessed a number of executions by the vigilantes, whose actions were prompt, decisive, and sub­ject to no appeal.

I went to Los Angeles and engaged in a drygoods business with one Henry Bauman. Did well. Shortly afterwards, dis­solved the partnership.

I went to San Bernardino in the fall of 1852 and engaged in a general merchandise business. Did well. Enjoyed the confidence of the entire community, then consisting of about 75 Mormon families, direct from Salt Lake. Their leaders had purchased the Rancho from Lugo for $77,500.00. This is now San Bernardino. I was asked to join the Mormon church and marry five or six wives. I thought that would be nice, but upon reflection I concluded that there would be five or six mothers-in-law, who would secure no peace for me upon this earth or good-will among the wives. I objected to so many mothers-in-law and so I declined with thanks.

I remained in San Bernardino one year, leaving in 1853. I moved to San Diego and was married at that place August 24 the same year to Miss L. G. Jacobs. Remained there until 1857, when I returned to San Bernardino. Then I engaged in the book, stationery and newspaper business, the first such store there.

On my return to San Bernardino, matters had changed materially, socially as well as politically. An independent party started in opposition to the Mormons, in which I became entangled. I joined the independent party and was chosen candidate for county treasurer. The entire independent party was defeated. In the evening previous to the election the mem­bers of the independent party gave the Mormon candidates a musical serenade. On the evening after the election the Mor­mons, the successful candidates, returned the compliment. Three roaring groans were given in honor of Marcus Katz, who mistook the roaring for a young earthquake. The sounds shook and cracked the walls of a little brick building.

In 1858 the greatest portion of the Mormon families returned to Salt Lake, by order of the leaders of their church, in order to give battle to the United States troops.. The Mormons at Salt Lake burned the United States law books, but became alarmed and secretly replaced them, by the purchase of a new set. This consisted of three wood cases in charge of Dr. Osburn via San Bernardino. Osburn was the assumed name of Dr. Kane, the brother of the noted Arctic explorer.

In 1858 I was appointed county treasurer by the Board of Supervisors. In 1859, I was elected county treasurer, re-elected in 1861, re-elected in 18631 defeated in 1865. The treasurer-elect, Fancy Webb, resigned after four months service. The Board of Supervisors offered to appoint me again, but I refused to accept the appointment.

I was appointed agent by Phineas Banning, generally known as General Banning, forwarding and commission mer­chant, for whom the citizens of Los Angeles may give thanks for their prosperity of today. He laid the foundation at an early time when commerce was in a chaotic state.

In 1858 I was appointed agent for Wells Fargo and Com­pany Express. I was politely dismissed in 1874+. My successor, Mr. Blow, has been blowing ever since. Received a compli­mentary testimonial of our leading citizens and a criticism against Wells Fargo by the press, without serious injury to the company.

In 1859 I had charge of the United States Commissary. Two companies of U. S. troops were stationed here. When ordered forthwith to other stations, the commissary was placed in my charge without a receipt or a scrap of paper. I could have carried off one-half of the commissary if so inclined. I engaged H. O. Rolfe to guard the property at night; paid him one dollar per night.

In 18571 I was appointed notary public by Governor Johnson, in 1859 and 1861 by Governor John Downey, in 1863 by Governor Leland Stanford, in 1868 by Governor Haight, in 1869 by acting Governor James Carter, the Arizona Commis­sioner. While in the capacity of notary public, a gentleman, now a capitalist and leading citizen of Los Angeles, came to my office one day in the years of the 1860's. He said, "I want you to acknowledge a deed."

I said, "Why this deed is made in your favor. Where is the maker of the deed?"

He answered, "Oh, he is in New York, has no time to come here."

"But I don't do that kind of business," was my rejoinder.

"Could I make it an object (sic) to you?" he said.

"You cannot," I replied. "I do not sell my trust for a consideration."

If I remember correctly, it was the Bear Valley property, which he subsequently sold to Lucky Baldwin.

In 1880, I urgently advocated the propriety of holding a county fair, which was accomplished with a partial success. That is to say, the agricultural and horticultural departments were a complete success in every respect, financially, commer­cially and socially. Owing, however, to an error committed by having a horse race connected with the main fair, it proved to be not only a miserable failure, but a detriment to the gen­eral interest of the fair. That department was an absolute fraud and swindle. The committee were presented with bills for sham races. Not only were funds of the other departments of the fair consumed in paying the fraudulent bills, but the com­mittee was sued, to make up the deficiency. This was the first and last county fair to-date.

During the political campaign of 1879, containing a plank for a new constitution of this state, which was strongly opposed by the mechants' protective associations of San Francisco, the various boards of trade, corporations, and money-lenders, who sent their selfish and impious circulars of advice throughout the state and an army of paid orators in order to defeat the proposition and to caution the voters against the dangerous proposal of changing the old constitution for a new one. Their selfish motive was easily detected and their costly plan of oper­ation was defeated to the satisfaction of a large majority of voters of this state. I wrote several articles in favor of the new constitution, which were commented upon by Arthur Kearny, editor of the San Bernardino Herald.



It is for the sake of historical truth that I am prompted to recall the past, speak knowingly of the present, and predict a new and brilliant future for San Bernardino, its vast avenues of richness and its untold wealth, yet hidden in the bowels of the earth. It is for the purpose of unveiling the beautiful and charming bride of Southern California, the daughter of Saint Bernard, on whom nature has lavished manifold blessings and delights. Courted and coquetted with morbid and delirious jealousy by the wingless angels of the city of Los Angeles, who never lost sight, nor missed an opportunity to cast a reflection upon San Bernardino or its citizens, never ceased in their mad jealousy to manufacture odium and ridicule, wherewith to hamper the "Mormon town," her surroundings and her worthy people, notwithstanding the fact that the citizens of San Ber­nardino contributed largely to the welfare of Los Angeles.

Again, a monstrous giant appeared, ready to devour the prosperity of the citizens of San Bernardino and enclose her valley with steel rails, but failed to do so. The Southern Pa­cific Railroad with all its selfish desires and unwarranted attacks, failed to shake or distort our prosperity. San Bernardino stood, it stands now and will stand forever, proud and lofty, like a mountain oak, sheltered beneath its own protection.

My first visit to the Lugo Rancho, now San Bernardino, dates back as early as 1851, before the immigration from Salt Lake set in. The Lugo Rancho, once a vast pasture of livestock, consisted of mustang horses, horned cattle, sheep and goats, the property of the Lugo estate, and the unclaimed stock, which consisted of Brown and Grizzly bears, mountain lions, wild cats and foxes. I made camp upon the elevated ridge about one and one-half miles southwest of the present city. The ridge and the surrounding vicinity was occupied by thirty or forty Indian families, and called by our old settlers, "The Rancheria," and is now known as the John Ralph place. From this elevated point a large portion of the San Bernardino Valley is visible. During my encampment I gazed in bewildered astonishment at the vastness and scenic grandeur of nature's bounty. A majestic landscape of nature's design. In short, an Eveless Garden of Eden.

During the summer of the same year the Mormon leaders, Lyman and Rich, purchased the ranch of the Lugo family comprising eleven leagues of land. A few months later about seventy-five Mormon families arrived from Salt Lake and located permanently at various points on this vast area. They brought with them a large stock of choice American horses and American work oxen which were readily sold at high figures to stock dealers from the northern part of the state.

It was the intention of the Mormon leaders to locate close to the foothills due north of the present city, but owing to their late arrival and the urgent need of grass and water for their stock, the spot whereon the city now stands was selected. It was also the plan of the leaders of the Mormon church to purchase a waterfront on the bay of San Diego, having in view a harbor of their own on the Pacific Coast, whereby their converts from Europe and the United States could be landed. The project, however, fell through. Another scheme, to locate and settle on every available valley from the bay of San Diego through to Salt Lake likewise failed.

The titles applied to the first settlement were "The Mormon Camp," "The Fort," and "El Campo des Mormonass." "The Fort" was so named because the little settlement was enclosed with a cottonwood picket fence eight feet high. This was a protection against the raids of the Indians who were numerous and hostile towards the white population.

The County of San Bernardino was formed by an act divid­ing the County of Los Angeles and making there from a county to be called San Bernardino, approved April 26, 1853. The Court of Record, August, 1853, shows that D. M. Thomas, County Judge, Captain Jefferson Hunt, John Brown, Sr., and Colonel A. M. Jackson were appointed commissioners on the part of San Bernardino County to ascertain and agree as to the amount due Los Angeles County. The commission was duly organized with the addition of Andrew Lytle as associate judge.

In 18551 Luis Rubidoux, Norman Taylor, and William Cox constituted the Board of Supervisors; Ellis Ames, district attorney; Robert Clift, sheriff ; R. R. Hopkins, the best of the lot, county clerk; David Sealy, county treasurer; J. G. Sherwood, county surveyor, Fred Perris, then a beardless boy, assistant surveyor; and D. Thomas, county judge.

In the years of 1852 and 1853, prosperity reigned supreme in the county. Farmers realized fancy prices for all their livestock and large sums of money were received by them for their produce. I bought up and loaded sixteen wagons with wheat and flour and forwarded the lot to Childs and Hicks of Los Angeles. The flour was sold for $32,00 per barrel and the wheat at $4.00 per bushel. There were in all about thirty men in this train and at this writing only two men survive, Horace Clark and Abner Blackburn. The eight-cornered fifty-dollar gold pieces called slugs were plentiful in circulation. I began to be a little sluggish myself, but soon was relieved of this sluggish feeling.

A small number of Mexican families had settled on the banks of the Santa Ana River at a place called Yarupa. The settlers raised grain and vegetables, a few horses and a few cattle and stole a few more from their neighbor Lugo. This, however, was not considered a criminal offense. On the con­trary, the party who stole but a few cattle or horses, was con­sidered a very social neighbor. The party who stole a band of horses or cattle was followed and lynched, if overtaken. He who got away successfully with his prize felt entitled to a membership in the "four hundred." There is still a slight modi­cum of the former custom yet in practice, which accounts for the numerous "four hundred."

During the heavy rain of 1862, the banks of the Santa Ana River at Yarupa were flooded. The current swept away the best land, including vineyards, orchards, and buildings, and left a number of families homeless and in destitute con­dition. William A. Conn was in the Legislature at Sacramento at this time. When the news of the flood reached him, he authorized me to issue flour to the needy in unlimited quan­tities. He also instructed the manager of his flour mill to hon­or my orders for the same.

South of Yarupa, there lay a vast desert, now the City of Riverside, then considered absolutely valueless. It was scarcely able to support a flock of sheep during the winter. When the first settlers located there and built beautiful homes and made general improvements, our citizens and practical experienced farmers ridiculed the idea of locating on a desert. The late Cornelius Jenson was offered lumber at a low rate but remarked, "I can, in a short time, buy those fine buildings at Riverside, at the price of old lumber."

He calculated that their enterprise would prove a perfect failure. But brains, coin, and intellectual labor converted the desert into a perfect forest of citrus fruit. Its citizens are intel­ligent, active, enterprising, and industrious, with a slight modi­cum of inherited meanness. There is nothing left of the desert but one narrow dry spot which is to be seen in the prohibition ordinance, but which does not prohibit.

Redlands is located more picturesquely than Riverside. Once the hills and little valleys were covered with squirrel-holes. Now Redlands is the youngest and most beautiful city in Southern California. It is also a thriving city of about the same class of citizens as in Riverside. They engage in the same vocation, namely the raising of citrus fruit, principally oranges.

Highland outstrips the orange growers of both Riverside and Redlands, in superior quality, in size and sweetness. It realizes the highest rates in the market and can challenge the world for the quality of its oranges.

San Bernardino raises alfalfa and native American babies, but holds the key to developed and undeveloped resources of great value.

In the year 1858 the Mormons received orders from their leaders to return forthwith to Salt Lake, expecting that they would have to fight the United States troops to prevent them entering the city. The place selected by the Mormons as their battlefield was Echo Canyon, a narrow pass between high and lofty mountains. Their calculations and delusions were to roll rocks from either side of the mountains and destroy any army that would undertake to pass through the canyon. The Mor­mons showed their earnestness to battle with the government by burning the United States library at Salt Lake. Later on, however, they became alarmed at the grossness of their actions and determined to repair the loss by substituting a set of new books. This was done and three wooden cases of new books in charge of Dr. Kane, brother of Kane of Arctic fame, but under the assumed name of Dr. Osburn, were freighted through to the point of destination.

All faithful members of the church left San Bernardino in hot haste, selling their property at a sacrifice. The bulk of the remaining property belonging to Lyman and Rich, was sold in a lump to William A. Conn, Tucker and Allen, at a very low figure, Yucaipa Valley included. After a short time, many of the Mormons returned to this place, frightened at the sight of Uncle Sam's brass, buttons.

However, after the Mormons had practically left the county, a new immigration set in, chiefly from Texas. Then "The ball" commenced and "the band played on." Quarrels, fights, and general disorder ensued with killing and shooting. On one occasion a pitched battle took place on the corner of 4th and C Streets between two hostile factions,. These were the Coopwood and Green factions. About twenty men were engaged in the conflict. A sharp fusillade was witnessed, lasting about twenty minutes. One David Coopwood was wounded, but subsequently recovered.

Green, the leader of his faction and a desperado, later walked through the streets, gun on his shoulder and revolver at his side, defying the officials as well as any citizen to touch him. He denounced the Coopwood faction as a set of cowards, all except that "little devil," saying which, he pointed at Taney De La Woodward. "That little devil understands the business," he said. The Coopwood brothers returned to Texas, the place from which they had come. Green also left the coun­try. It is needless to say that some of these newcomers were very excellent people, but unfortunately they were greatly in the minority.

Politically, socially and morally, the place was ruled chiefly by a set of corrupt politicians, gamblers and despera­dos, with the sheriff as their main leader. The district attor­ney was the deputy villain. He openly declared he would get even with the county. He was successful in his commendable enterprise, but shortly afterwards left the county of his own free will. He changed the election returns of V. J. Herring, county clerk, in favor of James Greenwaite, who proved to be the most efficient county clerk San Bernardino ever had. He drove the Board of Supervisors, three in number, out of the courthouse at the point of a cocked pistol. The Board at a glance understood the situation and allowed no grass to grow under their feet. They rushed for the door and out onto the street.

In the hardest fought election ever battled in this county, one faction consisted of the Piercy group. They were sharp shrewd political tricksters. The Conn faction consisted of our principal citizens, who made arrangements with the editor of the Herald, the only newspaper in town, to print the tickets for the election. But the editor during his office hours, was drunk, and in his leisure hours not sober. Since we couldn't depend on him to do the work, we got him to give a friend and myself permission to use his press. When the Piercy party found out that the press was placed in our hands, the leaders of the Piercy faction asked us to lend them the press, promising to return it in due time. I apprehended that they would not and would play a trick on us. We sent to Los Angeles and had two thousand tickets printed for the outside precincts. I realized my expectations. They kept the printing press until the evening before the election.

We went to the editor to inform him of the situation, but found him in bed, fully drunk. Having no key, we kicked the press shop door open and found everything on the floor, topsy-turvy, in order to prevent the printing of the tickets. But in their haste, they left a handbill form in perfect order, which said, "Today is the day to vote for Charles W. Piercy." We removed the name of C. W. Piercy and put in the name of William A. Conn, then sent a messenger with the handbills to the Spanish settlement to post them over those for Piercy. The Piercy men wondered how such a gross mistake could have happened. They never found out who did the mischief.

On the day of the election, one of the Piercy men, a des­perado, challenged any man to bet on the election. I foolishly offered to bet with him. No sooner did I say the word when he drew his pistol, but I quickly dodged and bent when he fired. I was afraid he would soil my new coat. I had no ill feeling against him, on account of his having missed his intended aim. On the contrary, from the known fact that his intentions were good, I accepted the situation cheerfully. He was held before the Grand Jury without result. Grand Juries at that time were afraid to discharge their duties.

In 1861, another forgery was committed during a campaign for legislative honors. William A. Conn and Charles W. Piercy were again the candidates. Conn was duly elected as our representative, but the Piercy interests were managed by a fellow named Skinker, a derivation of "skunk." He belonged to the rough element. Skinker was one of the election officers at Temescal precinct and he changed the pool list two weeks after the election in favor of Piercy. This fraud placed Piercy in the Legislature. Piercy had scarcely taken his seat when he challenged a member of the Legislature to a duel. Showalter, the man challenged, accepted, and Piercy was killed at the second shot. This, to a certain extent, broke up the combine. Still, "the band played on."

Our public schools were in a deplorable condition. A majority of the male teachers belonged to the element above described. Our school superintendent, Robbins, was a good conscientious worker for the cause of education. He was in constant fear of bodily harm at the hands of the male teachers. Matters went from bad to worse. Finally Robbins made his report to the state superintendent. The report was published and copies were returned to San Bernardino. This created a tempest amongst the school teachers and the matter of aveng­ing themselves on Robbins for his expose was considered and reconsidered. Finally, an indignation meeting was called by the aggrieved teachers and Robbins was to be crucified. I felt deeply for him but was powerless to render him any assistance.

However, I attended the indignation meeting and there met a former school superintendent, gloriously drunk. This gentleman, when in that condition, had the capacity to talk a weakly constituted person to death. By some little contriv­ing I managed to have him act as chairman of the meeting. When seated upon the platform I realized that I had gained my case. The chairman called the meeting to order with an emphatic "Hic" and "Thanks for the hon- (hic) -or conferred upon me. Shall preside over this dignified body (hic) with honor to myself and to the American nation (hic). Shall allow no interrogations while I address, the meeting. Due respect must be paid to the chair- (hic) man. Shall decide ques­tions impartially (hic)." The audience began to leave, one by one, in perfect disgust, and the name of Superintendent Robbins was not mentioned at all. Thus ended the farce in one act. I remained to the last in order to compliment the chairman upon his successful oration and convincing argument, properly emphasized and punctuated according to the move­ment of the irate spirit. I came to the conclusion that intem­perance was not a social evil. This former Superintendent of Public Schools was also an expert farmer, but imbibed too much at the public bar. Once he was committed to the lunatic asylum, but had sense enough to escape.

Of the social events of that day, some were slightly unsocial. One of these events especially may be mentioned. It was between the white and colored elites of the town. The latter, while in the enjoyment of a gay festivity, dance and general amusement, according to the dark code of etiquette and cus­tom of African society, were unceremoniously interrupted by the white sports, under the leadership of one McFeely, who desired with his associates to participate in the enjoy­ment of the evening. This intrusion was seriously objected to by the colored proprietor, who gave grave offense to the un­invited visitors. McFeely, the leader, ordered a general house cleaning and a solid thrashing for the proprietor and his guests, which was accomplished in double-quick time. The proprietor was sorely grieved to be ejected from his own prem­ises and his guests grossly insulted.

The next day he swore to a complaint before Judge Willson, Justice-of -the-Peace, against McFeely and his associates. McFeely with his chums appeared on the day of the trial to plead his own case. He addressed the court very politely, asking it to let him read the complaint. The court readily complied with the request of the defendant. The defendant then gave the complaint to the prosecuting witness and told him in emphatic terms, holding at the same time a cocked pistol to his face, "You jaw this complaint." The poor fellow turned as pale as nature would allow him, and while his pearly teeth were in active motion to grind the complaint at the rate of a running quartz mill, an additional demand was made of him. "You swallow the mutilated complaint." The defendant steadily held his weapon in a bee-line towards the face of the African.

It is needless to say that the royal decree issued by the defendant was strictly carried out and absolutely free of am­biguity. The court graced his official chair with sealed lips, ashen pale face, and bristled hair which arose perpendicular on his head, but dared not interrupt the proceedings of the trial. He watched his first opportunity to adjourn the court, sine die. The peace officer, apprehending that similar courtesies were awaiting him, hastily adjourned the court. This is the only record known where the defendant overruled the court without argument. The court made no charges for his legal services. Thus ended the celebrated case. The society leader and successful pleader in Justice Court, McFeely, perished on the Colorado Desert from the effects of excessive heat and whiskey. McFeely went to the devil by the southern route.

The first band of music which paraded the streets of San Bernardino on national occasions consisted of four individuals of recognized musical ability. Mr. Highmore, who is no more, played the flute. Mrs. Highmore, now aged and sick, played the drum, and though lame and decrepit, kept pace on the march with the rest of the musicians. Joseph Hancock, still in good humor, planing and sawing, played the fife. And John Van Leuven whistled on two knuckles between his fingers.

This notable instrument is still in good order and highly esteemed by the owner.

The Fourth of July of 185 7 was celebrated by the Mor­mon and Independent parties separately, because of the un­friendly feeling which existed between the two factions. Both parties made great preparations in order to excel each other, especially in the number of invited guests. Cordial invitations were sent by both parties to Cabezon, the chief of the Coahuilla Indians and his tribe, to participate in the celebration. The Independent party were successful and were honored with the distinguished guests who did justice to their innate feeling, because they were "muy hambre" (very hungry).

The Independent party celebrated the Fourth at the place now occupied by James Stewart. It was called "Fort Benson." The Independent party made use of an adobe building for a fortification., with men and arms stationed inside the building, anticipating serious trouble. But nothing happened. About 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, the news of the killing of young Perkins reached the Fort and proved to be true. It appeared that Perkins, a Mormon, assailed a highly respectable citizen of our town and a member of the Independent party. He quickly defended himself and stopped his assailant, which proved fatal to the latter. The excitement was at the highest pitch from the fact that Perkins was young and strong and the one he assailed was feeble and weak. The latter was arrested, tried, and acquitted by a jury of twelve citizens, chiefly Mormons. The verdict was justifiable homicide. Had the verdict been, different, serious consequences would have ensued. The trial was closely watched by the citizens of Los Angeles and El Monte. I was familiar with the deceased. Once when walk­ing with him in a field we saw an Indian in the distance. Perkins remarked, "I shot an Indian once."

"What did you do it for?" I asked.

"I wanted to see how he would jump," was his reply.

The first newspaper issued in San Bernardino was The Scorpion. Editors and proprietors were "Thom, Dick, and Harry." Terms of subscription, one bale of hay, two dozen eggs, and a sack of onions. The Bank of England was the only agent authorized to collect the subscription fees. Scarcely had The Scorpion gained popularity and a long list of subscribers, when an opposition paper, provoked by jealousy, started. It was named The Illustrated Hog Eye, edited by "Harry, Dick, and Thom." Terms of subscription, one cow and a calf. The only agent authorized for the collection of the subscription fees was Rothschild. No small abuses were exchanged between The Scorpion and The Illustrated Hog Eye. These journals were written instead of printed, for the want of a printing press. The proprietors of both papers were Henry Mugridge, Marcus Katz, and Griff Williams.

On one occasion The Scorpion accused a gentleman of stealing a pair of mules. The Illustrated Hog Eye, taking the part of the defense, denied all allegations of the charges against him. They made out that he merely took the mules without the owner's consent and it could not be construed as a theft. This man subsequently left San Bernardino and went to Carson City, where he continued to follow his innocent voca­tion. He was hung at the latter place and was removed from the scaffold a very much improved man. His brother was an early sheriff of the county, a very honorable man and a fine officer.

In the year 1874, the agitation for a new courthouse and its location was red-hot and boiling over, on account of limited space. Owing to the increase in the population, it became a noticeable fact that the old courthouse was too small. I sug­gested to the Board of Supervisors that sufficient ground might be obtained for the purpose by opening a forty-foot alley, now known as Court Street. The suggestion was favorably received by the Board. The work to secure the property desired, began at once. I am also the author of the opening of Victoria Avenue.


1. Interview with Mrs. Joseph Kustiner, June 9, 1968.

2. Warner, J. J., Hayes, Benjamin, and Widney, J. P., AN HISTORICAL SKETCH of Los ANGELES COUNTY', CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles, 1876, reprint edition, 1936), p. 104.

3. Los Angeles Star, November 8, 1851. This notice of the dissolution of the partnership of Lazard and Bauman is the first commercial notice of a Jewish-owned firm in a Los Angeles newspaper.

4. `Dictation of Marcus Katz," by Hubert H. Bancroft interviewer, January 16, 1888, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, p. 1.

5. San Bernardino Free Press, November 3, 1899, p. 2.

6. Ketbubah, dated 20 Ab 5613.

7. San Bernardino Daily Sun, May 5, 1919, p. 2.

8. "Dictation of Marcus Katz," op. cit., p. 1.

9. Ibid., p. 3

10. The Guardian, San Bernardino, September 12, 1874, p. 2.

11. Mrs. David Hearsh, ed., THE PiNxos (Jewish Chronicle): Commemorating Seventy-Five Years of Jewish Activities in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, 1860-1935 (San Bernardino, 1935), p. 33.

12. Ibid., p. 53.

13. Ibid., pp. 34-35.

14. Now in possession of Mrs. Joseph Kustiner, San Bernardino, California.

15. Leon O. Whitsell, ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF FREE MASONRY IN CALIFORNIA (1950), vol. IV, p. 1656.

16. Weekly Patriot, San Bernardino, June 1, 1861, p. 2.

17. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, D. C., 1897), Series I, Vol. L, Pt. 19 pp. 554-555.

18. Ibid., p. 555.

19. Mrs. David Hearsh, op. cit., p. 47.

20. Ibid., p. 49.

21. Ibid., pp. 47-48.

22. The Daily Courier, San Bernardino, December 9, 1890.

23. Interview with L. Burr Belden, July 10, 1968.

24. "Dictation of Marcus Katz," op. cit., p. 2.

25. Mrs. Joseph Kustiner, op. cit., p. 2.

26. Interview with Mrs. Joseph Kustiner, December 31, 1967.

27. W. W. Robinson, The Story of San Bernardino County, '(San Bernardino, 1966), p. 28.

28. Mrs. Joseph Kustiner, December 31, 1967, op. cit.

29. Free Press, San Bernardino, November 3, 1899, p. 2.

30. The Daily Times Index, San Bernardino, November 3, 1899, p. 8.

31. Our appreciation is extended to Mr. Leslie Harris, prominent civic and busi­ness figure of San Bernardino and descendant of a pioneer Southern California Jewish family, who introduced us to Mrs. Kustiner. The latter, who has had the memoirs in her possession for a short time, was kind enough to allow us to copy and publish them.