in a Pecan Shell
Bernardo's history is similar to that of nearby Mentz.
It was started by German immigrants in the 1840s and the population was supplemented
by more immigrants once the Civil War was over. All German settlers in this region
preferred the rich soil and Indian-free environment. While more land was available
further west in Gillespie and Mason counties, the soil was thinner there and the
Indians more numerous.
Once known as Bernardo Prairie and earlier called
Braden; after early settling families - Bernardo was on the main road from Houston,
but too close to Columbus
to prosper on its own. During the Civil War, Bernardo was a drop-off point for
cotton that was to be sent down the "cotton road" to Bagdad, Mexico. But this
second chance to prosper was usurped by nearby Alleyton
- who became known as being the point of origin for the Civil War cotton trade.
Bernardo did have a post office in operation, but it came late (1898)
and was discontinued early (sometime in 1917).
The community had a school
taught by the Sisters of Divine Providence which merged with the Mentz Catholic
school (also administered by the Sisters) in 1911.
a volunteer fire department and remains a Colorado County voting precinct. Some
descendants of original settlers remain, but Houston
retirees have bought much of the land that had once been family farms.
Hunters in Bernardo|
Photo courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library # 00521
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