The Valley of Heart's Delight

Rancho Santa Teresa

Surnames: Sanchez, Berryessa, Agraz, Patron,

One of the best loved men of Santa Clara County, Ygnacio Bernal, was born on February 25, 1841, in the same adobe house on the Teresa Rancho where his father, Don Bruno Bernal first saw the light, and he died on April 22, 1906. Between these dates he helped materially to develop his native county and to uphold the traditions of the Spanish Dons of the earlier period.

His grandfather, Joaquin Bernal, was sent to Mexico and California in 1769 by Carlos III of Spain to investigate the mineral wealth of the country as a mining engineer and assayer and for the valuable services he gave his sovereign he was granted favors and had his pick of land grants in California.  He selected Santa Teresa, which consisted of 10,000 acres, and part of this is still in the possession of the Bernal heirs. When Joaquin Bernal petitioned the Mexican government in 1834 to  have the title confirmed he stated that he was ninety-four years old, had a "posterity of seventy-eight children," had "2,100 head of cattle, 1,200 sheep, three mares and fifty tame horses." This is one of the very few grants in the state that had not passed entirely out of the family to which it was first granted, there still being 374 acres of the most valuable land in the county owned by the Ygnacio Bernal family. Joaquin Bernal had been educated at Barcelona, Spain, and was a very brilliant man of parts. He married Josefa Sanchez, who lived to be 110 years old and at that age she was able to thread needles for her grand-

Among the children of Joaquin Bernal and his wife, we mention Bruno Bernal, grandfather of the present generation of Bernals now living on the ranch. He was born there in an adobe house in 1800 and in his time was one of the prominent men of the locality and entertained with the true Spanish hospitality. He succeeded to part of the Santa Teresa acres and devoted much of his time to raising horses. At the time when General Fremont made his expedition through California he and Captain Weber took 300 broken horses, some of the best in the state, for their soldiers and forgot to pay for them. Bruno Bernal married Antonio Maria Ortega, one of the heirs of eleven leagues of land known as the San Ysidro Grant, part upon which the city of Gilroy was built, but through neglect she never got any part of her inheritance.

Over the Santa Teresa hills is situated the San Vincente Rancho, granted to Jose Berryessa, who married one of Joaquin Bernal's daughters. This is one of the richest grants in the state, for upon it is located the Almaden mines that have been producing quick-silver for ninety years and the total in dollars runs into the millions. It was once abandoned by Antonio Sunol after he had spent $400 in trying to develop it. Mrs. Berryessa sold it for $60,000 to the Almaden Mining Company, which now owns a great part of the land. Upon the Bernal ranch is situated the Santa Teresa Spring, noted for its medicinal qualities and for the fact that it never ceased to flow its usual amount, no matter what period of the year. These springs are visited by many each year.

Ygnacio Bernal attended the Santa Clara College in 1854-5-6, and was among the first students there after it was established. He was one of the gold medal students for his standing in classes and high grade upon completing his courses there. Returning to the ranch acted as secretary to his father and virtually managed the affairs of the ranch, as he was quick at figures and an expert linguist, speaking fluently four languages. at the age of nineteen he was united in marriage with Miss Jesusita Patron, born in Lower California and who came here with her brother. During their trip they were lost for about three months, but arrived in safety at Monterey. At the time of her marriage she was sixteen years old. They were parents of nine children, five of whom are still living: Pedro A., the discoverer of the marl deposits on the home ranch; Ynez, widow of S. F. Agraz and the mother of a son, Urbano; Salvador F., is married and has a daughter Jane, he is a resident of this county; Miss Jacoba P., is at home with  her mother; Antonio A., is married and resides at Madrone and has a son, Antonio A., Jr. The following children have passed  away: Ygnacio, Dionicio and Anita C.

 Mrs. Bernal resides at the home place and to her is given great credit for rearing her family  and keeping the ranch ownership in the Bernal family. Mr. Bernal was devoted to his wife and family, and in their forty-five years of married life he was only separated from her about a month, when he went to Mexico as an interpreter. He was a man of imposing appearance, kindly disposition, lovable nature and was a friend  to every one who knew him. He planted the first orchard in this section , had the foresight to see that the fruit industry must become the largest branch of industry in this county and had implicit confidence in it.

The Bernal family are prominently associated with the present day development of the county, they believe in progress and are public spirited and supporters of all worthy projects for the general advancement of the county, where they hold an honored position. They are devout Catholics. The family have many relics of the days of Spanish occupation which have been plowed up on the ranch and which are valued very highly by them, among them a sweet-toned bell that the herd mare wore, also old Spanish spurs used in breaking wild horses, house keys, etc.

As a matter of interest and romance there is supposed to be buried on the Santa Teresa ranch a treasure of $10,000. This money belonged to an old French saddle maker, Changarra by name, who come to the ranch in the '30s and Don Bruno Bernal gave the man a place in an adobe where he could carry on his work. Not only did he make saddles for Mr. Bernal but many which he sold. As he would get some forty or fifty made up he would start out and dispose of them, going as far south as Santa Barbara. He made serviceable saddles, not the ornate gold and silver mounted kind that the Spanish Dons used for their trips and visits. The Frenchman made considerable money and as there were no banks Changarra buried his cash, changing its hiding place every time he added to the hoard. He was known  to have accumulated $10,000 when he made his last journey to dispose of his wares. On his way back from Santa Barbara, between Paso Robles and Bakersfield, he camped for the night, sleeping under an oak tree. In the morning he was found dead and the buried treasure on the Bernal ranch at once became an
object of search, but to this day it has not been recovered and people have been searching for it ever since the death of "Old Changarra." Seers, mediums, occult persons have been sought in hopes of disclosing the hiding place but it still remains "buried treasure."

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 408


SANTA CLARA COUNTY- The Valley of Heart's Delight

July 21, 2005