In The News: Death of a Pioneer

Bernardo Fernandez' Obituary from the San Francisco Call

Anyone familiar with Pinole’s history of course knows the prominent role Bernardo Fernandez played in the town’s early days.  His successful shipping business from the 1850’s would soon form the nucleus that would become the City of Pinole.  Fernandez Avenue and Fernandez Park are of course named after him. 

The following obituary appeared in the San Francisco Call on May 14, 1912, the day after his death.  It appears here with original spelling and grammar.


Bernardo Fernandez Who Joins Pioneers Beyond the Divide

Reaper Calls Another Maker of Early History in California

MARTINEZ. May 13. —Bernardo Fernandez, who died at his home in Pinole yesterday after an illness of several weeks, was one of the oldest pioneer residents of Contra Costa county, having come to California in 1853 and settled in Pinole soon afterward. He was born in Portugal on November 15, 1828, and remained in his native land until 13 years old, when he went to Brazil, where he lived until 1850.

Fernandez on going to Pinole engaged in the mercantile business, later becoming interested in real estate. At the time of his death he was a large holder of Contra Costa realty.

He married Charlotte Cuarda, daughter of a pioneer family of Marin county, in 1859. Six children, Miss Mary Fernandez, Mrs. C W. Sinclair, Dr. M. L. Fernandez and Thomas B. Fernandez of Pinole, Mrs. W. K. Cole of San Francisco and Bernardo Fernandez Jr., who died in 1888, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez.

Fernandez was one of the oldest members of Martinez lodge, F. & A. M., having belonged to the order for 47 years. It is under its auspices that the funeral will be held on Wednesday. A special train on the Southern Pacific will leave Pinole at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning for Martinez, where the services will be held at 11 o'clock. Interment will be at Martinez.


Article courtesy of the California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside.  All newspapers published before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain and therefore have no restrictions on use.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marcia Kalapus November 15, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Mr. Brightman: Thank you so much for posting this old article about Bernardo Fernandez. We always appreciate any information about Pinole's past history. I am sure many Pinolean's will enjoy reading it. Marcia Kalapus President ,Pinole Historical Society.
Dean Brightman November 15, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Thanks very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. As people have transitioned at the Patch, I look forward to posting more news pieces about events in Pinole's and Hercules' past.
Susan D.Keeffe November 20, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Dean, Thanks for posting this. As usual, I enjoy reading your column!


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