Secularization, that practically razed the missions, was closely followed in San Bernardino by an epoch of speedier and more extensive advancement, in the opening of the section to general development. This period began with the division of the country into large ranchos, under the governorship of Juan B. Alvarado, who very practically made to such as would agree to occupy and settle their possessions in so remote and Indian-infested a district, the large grants of land necessary for the raising of horses and cattle, then regarded as the only available industry.
The first of these grants in point of time was that of the Jurupa Rancho, lying along the Santa Ana River, in the southwestern part of San Bernardino valley. The extent of this grant is variously stated at from seven to eleven leagues, and its date at either September 28, 1838, or May 22, 1840; the earlier is probably the correct date. ” Jurupa” is said to have been the first greeting of the old Indian chieftain to the Roman Catholic priest who first appeared thereabouts, this word being said to mean, in the native dialect, ” Peace and Friend-ship;” and ” Jurupa” the place was called in memory of that kindly greeting. Juan A. Bandini took possession of his grant, and stocked it with cattle and horses. But the Indians proved very troublesome, and preyed upon his stock. Therefore, about 1843 he induced about twenty families from New Mexico to settle on the northern end of his property, and guard it against the incursions of the Indians, in consideration of receiving land on which to build and till the soil. Many of these families, among them the Trojillas, Moyas, Garcias, Alvarados and others, are still represented at Spanish Town and Agua Mansa. This was the first settlement in the county. These settlers were presently joined by other colonists, among them the German, Louis Slover, from whom was named the limestone ridge called Slover Mountain. From the smooth flow of the Santa Ana and its tributary streams hereabouts, this settlement was called “Agua Mansa,” literally Gentle Water, idiomatically Still Water. Don Juan Bandini sold a portion of the Jurupa Rancho to Benito D. Wilson, May 6, 1843. This lot, comprising one league and a half of land, cost Wilson $1,000. The following year he conveyed it to Captain James Johnson and Colonel Isaac Williams, and they, in 1847, sold it to Louis Rubideaux, it having been known since as the Rubideaux rancho. Rubideaux was a Frenchman, who came to California by way of New Mexico, whither, after his purchase of property, he returned, bringing back to his rancho his family, a large stock of goods, and about $30,000 in cash. During the war with Mexico, he sided staunchly with the United States, and was made prisoner and jailed with Americans in Los Angeles. When the war was over, Rubideaux devoted himself to improving his rancho, building walls and dwellings, and planting orchards and vineyards. Before the floods of 1861-’62, he had under fence, 15,000 acres. He died September 23, 1868. In 1842, Alvarado, as Governor of California, granted to Jose Maria Lugo, Jose del Carmen Lugo, Vicente Lugo, and Diego Sepulveda, the Rancho de San Bernardino, which gave its name to the county. The same year, Manuel Dominguez, First Judge of the Peace in the District of Los Angeles, formally installed these parties in possession of the rancho. This grant lay in the central part of the valley, and it was thus the best-watered portion. The grant contained some nine square leagues, or 37,700 acres. Its boundaries were: on the east, the ” Sierra del Yucaipa;” on the west, the Arroyo del Cajon; on the south, the “Lomerias,” and on the north, the ” Faldas de la Sierra” (skirts of the Sierra). The Rancho Muscupiabe seems to have been granted in April 1843, to Michael White, by Manuel Micheltorena, then Governor General Comandante and Inspector of both Californias. In 1845 was granted Santa Ana del Chino, and an addition to that grant, as well as those of San Jacinto, Sierra and San Gorgonio, were made up to 1843.
Source: An Illustrated History of Southern California: embracing the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the peninsula of lower California.