The Valley of Heart's Delight

PEDRO A. BERNAL -Bernal-Marl Fertilizer Company founder


   A native son of Santa Clara County and a worthy representative of one of the prominent Spanish families of California, Pedro A. Bernal first saw the light on the Santa Teresa Rancho on October 19, 1868.  He is a son of Ygnacio and Jesusita (Patron) Bernal, the former one of the the best known and highly esteemed men of the county, and whose sketch will be found on another page of this history.

   Pedro A. Bernal attended the Oak Grove public school and topped off his studies at the University of Santa Clara in 1886-7-8, from which college his father was a gold medal student, and took a business course at the Garden City College and graduated from the normal penmanship department of this college.  After leaving college Pedro came back to the home ranch and worked for a time, then secured a position in Mexico with the firm of Losoya & Sons, chemists, mine owners and operators and large landowners, and the three years he spent there enlarged his vision and experience a great deal.  Returning to California he then went to work for the P. G. & E. Company as storekeeper in San Jose and remained with the concern until 1904, which year he started on a trip that occupied his time for over one year and took him to the important centers of Europe and throughout South America, where he visited an uncle in the Argentine.  The money he spent on his journey he had saved from his earnings the previous years, and he there by secured a postgraduate course by practical experience that has enabled him to hold his place with the leading men of the state in business and finance and in developing the resources of the county.

   Before going on his extended travels Mr. Bernal had seen a deposit of some kind of mineral wealth on the home ranch, but did not know what value it had; when in England he found some of the same formation and secured samples of it; also of some from South America.  He had them analyzed after he reached home, and also some of the local product, and found the latter on a par with the foreign matter.  He had investigated the uses to which the finished product was put and knew there was an unlimited field for his special kind of fertilizer in the United States, and in consequence he decided he would develop the field from the Santa Teresa Rancho supply.  He sent to St. Louis for a twenty-ton mill, and this he set up with his own hands and began grinding out the fertilizer that now is so widely known as the Bernal-Marl Fertilizer.

 For seven years he worked to introduce to the ranchers of this county and the San Joaquin Valley the great value of the fertilizer to the soil, and then he had fully convinced himself that the supply was inexhaustible and concluded to interest capital to expand the manufacture and distribution of the product.  This prehistoric deposit of lime shell marl is only found in paying quantities worthy of development in three sections of the globe--in England, in South America, and on the Santa Teresa Rancho in Santa Clara County, Cal.  From the twenty-ton mill he first erected--and, by the way, this is still doing duty in refining the marl--threre is now installed at great expense, an equipment with a 1,000-ton capacity per day of eight hours.  The Bernal-Marl Fertilizer Company is incorporated under the laws of California with A. J. Ginoux, of Oakland, as president, and F. Gay, secretary.  Mr. Bernal is one of the salesmen and demonstrators of the company, and for every ton of marl shipped from the ranch, Mrs. Ygnacio Bernal receives a royalty.  The company own three trucks of seven-ton capacity, and hire others, to distribute the Bernal marl to their customers within a radius of forty miles from the plant; also have a station on the Southern Pacific Railway called Bernal-Marl, and a shipping point at Coyote and one at Edenvale, where cars are loaded for points in various parts of California.  They also have water-shipping facilities.  As yet they have been unable to supply the demand in this state.  There is an unlimited supply covering over 100 acres and the development company have a lease of twenty years and a contract for all minerals that may be found under the surface of the earth where they are working.  Full credit is accorded Pedro A. Bernal for his persistency of purpose and his stick-to-it-iveness in thus developing one of the mineral products of this earth that has proven such an aid in replenishing the soil and thereby bringing greater profits to the producer.

   Mr. Bernal, who is still manager of his mother's interests, is a very experienced orchardist and rancher and is making the Bernal Ranch pay splendid dividends.  He is independent in his politics, supporting the best men for public office, and is a member of the Catholic Church.  To all enterprises for the advancement of the business, educational and social problems in the county, Mr. Bernal is always found ready to do his duty, and his public spirit is well known to all with whom he has come in contact.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 376