Bernardo Yorba

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Bernardo Yorba
Portrait of Don Bernardo Yorba by an unknown artist.jpg
Portrait of Yorba, c. 1840.
Alcalde of Santa Ana
In office
In office
Personal details
BornAugust 20, 1800
San Diego
DiedNovember 28, 1858
Yorba Linda
Resting placeYorba Cemetery

Bernardo Yorba (August 20, 1800 – November 28, 1858),[1][2] was a prominent Californio landowner, public figure, and one of the wealthiest men in early 19th-century California. Yorba also served as alcalde (mayor) of Santa Ana. The city of Yorba Linda is named after him.[3]

Born to José Antonio Yorba, a member of the Portolà expedition, Yorba was one of California's largest landowners and most successful ranchers, with thousands of cattle and horses grazing on land grants totaling more than 35,000 acres. Bernado Yorba managed his holdings from the Hacienda de San Antonio, the principal hacienda of the Yorba family.


Bernardo Yorba was born on August 20, 1800 in San Diego. Other sources list his birth on August 4, 1801.[4][5] Bernardo was the son of José Antonio Yorba, one of the first Spanish soldiers to arrive in California, and Maria Josefa Grijalva. Bernardo's childhood was spent in San Diego, where he attended a school kept by Franciscan Fathers. Jose Antonio Yorba had moved to the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, granted to him and his nephew Pablo Peralta, by Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga on behalf of the Spanish Government in 1810.[6][7] It was around this time that the family moved to the rancho near present-day Olive, California in Orange County.[8]

In 1834, Bernardo was granted the 13,328-acre (53.94 km2) Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana.[8][9] It was shortly after this that Bernardo began construction of a large adobe house, the Bernardo Yorba Hacienda.[8] Bernardo was elected to serve as Juez de Campo and Auxiliary Alcade several times (1833, 1836, 1840, and 1844).[7][10] In 1846, he was granted Rancho La Sierra.


In 1858, At the age of 58, Bernardo Yorba died leaving behind a large and prosperous rancho and many children.[11] Some sources list his death on November 28, 1858.[7] Other sources list his death on October 21, 1858. He was interred in the old Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles. He left the land for a cemetery, the Yorba Cemetery, in his will but it was not ready for a burial until 1862. He and nine of his family members remained at Calvary until 1923 when they were all moved and reinterred at Yorba Cemetery.[4] He married his first wife, Maria de Jesus Alvarado, in 1819. After her death, he married Felipa Dominguez in 1829, and after her death, Andrea Elizalde (Davila) in 1854.[7][12]

The children of Bernardo Yorba and Maria de Jesus Alvarado (1796–1828)
Name Birth/Death Married Notes
Dolores Yorba 1824–
Raymundo Yorba 1826–1891 Francisca Dominguez, Concepcion Serrano
Maria Ynez Yorba 1827–1911 Leonardo Cota
Ramona Anselma Yorba 1828–1849 Benjamin Davis Wilson
The children of Bernardo Yorba and Felipa Dominguez (1812–1851)
Name Birth/Death Married Notes
Maria de Jesus Yorba 1831– Anastasio Botiller, Thomas J. Scully
Prudencio Yorba 1832–1885 Maria de los Dolores Ontiveros One of their children, Angelina Yorba, would marry Samuel Kraemer in 1886.[13][14]
Jose de Jesus Yorba 1833–1881 Soledad Lugo
Marcos Yorba 1834–1892 Ramona Yorba
Leonora Yorba 1838– John Rowland
Trinidad Yorba 1840–1881 Jesus Lugo, Josefa Palomares
Vicente Yorba 1844–1903 Erolinda Cota
Sinobia / Zenobia Yorba 1845–1892 Thomas Rowland
The children of Bernardo Yorba and Andrea Elizalde (1830–)
Name Birth/Death Married Notes
Bernardo Antonio Yorba II 1855–1888 [15]
Francisco Xavier Yorba 1856– Victorine Carnaham
Gregorio Yorba 1857–


  1. ^ Amelia L. Davila, "Historic Yorba", Santa Ana Weekly Blade, June 1, 1893
  2. ^ Arnold O. Dominguez, "José Antonio Yorba I", 1985 2nd Ed.; p. 12, Orange County Historical Society
  3. ^ Don Meadows, "The House of Bernardo Yorba", 1985 2nd Ed.; p. 4, Orange County Historical Society
  4. ^ a b Yorba Linda History – Courtesy of the Yorba Linda Public Library
  5. ^ The House of Bernardo Yorba
  6. ^ Arnold O. Dominguez, 1985 2nd Ed., p. 11
  7. ^ a b c d Amelia L. Davila, 1893
  8. ^ a b c Don Meadows, 1985 2nd Ed.; p. 4
  9. ^ Yorba Linda History
  10. ^ Arnold O. Dominguez, 1985 2nd Ed.
  11. ^ California Society, D.A.R., 1952, Early California Wills, Volume 1
  12. ^ Bernardo (Fernando) Antonio Yorba
  13. ^ Prudencio Yorba
  14. ^ Maria de los Delores Ontiveros and Prudencio Yorba
  15. ^ Bernardo Yorba II

Further reading[edit]

  • Beers, Henry Putney, (1979). "Spanish & Mexican Records of the American Southwest : A Bibliographical Guide to Archive and Manuscript Sources", Tucson : University of Arizona Press
  • Mildred Yorba MacArthur, A brief history of the Yorba family, Yorba Linda Public Library, May 1960.
  • Newmark, Haris (1916) Sixty Years in Southern California: 1853–1913, Knickerbocker Press, New York.
  • Northrop, Marie E. (June 1969). "The Yorba Family Cemetery: California's Oldest". National Genealogical Society Quarterly: 96–103.
  • Northrop, Marie E. (1986). Spanish-Mexican Families of Early California: 1769–1850, Volumes I, II & III. Southern California Genealogical Society, Burbank, California.
  • Pitt, Leonard; Ramón A. Gutiérrez (1999). Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846–1890. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-21958-8.
  • Pleasants, Adelene (1931). "History of Orange County, California. Vol. 1", Los Angeles, CA : J. R. Finnell & Sons Publishing Company

External links[edit]