1846 The Murder of José de los Reyes Berreyesa and the twin brothers named Haro by a group of bear (flag) partisans

Juan Pablo Bernal was born in San Francisco about 1810, son of José Joaquin and Maria Josefa Sanchez (both Anza settlers), married Rafaela Feliz, granddaughter of Joaquin Ysidro Castro (Anza settler) and (supposedly) daughter of Maria Antonia Amador daughter of Pedro Amador (Portola 1769 to Monterey).

José de los Reyes Berreyesa left Martínez in a boat for San Rafael in company with the two young men surnamed Haro. I do not recall the date. At the time they went ashore a band of Americans or the Bear forces, who were awaiting them on the beach, took them by surprise. It is an established fact that the elderly Berreyesa was the one they killed first and one of the Haro boys (which of the two I do not remember), seeing that Berreyesa was dead, said, “You’ve killed my uncle, now kill me too.” The murderers, angered by these words, fired at the one who had uttered them, killing him also. It is said that upon the other Ha ro brother witnessing this, he exclaimed, “You’ve killed my brother, so do the same to me!” At these words, he was dropped to the ground, wounded by a bullet aimed at him. It is told that they themselves buried the bodies of their victims in the same grave near the place of the crime.

The young Haros had a haughty bearing, were very amiable, with a courage equal to any test, and so much alike in appearance that even their very close acquaintances took them for one another frequently.

Berreyesa was a man of high honor, very affectionate toward his family, a great worker, of a pleasant disposition and also was very courageous in the face of danger, as was evident upon this occasion, when he faced death with great fortitude. It is said that when Berreyesa was questioned as to the purpose of his trip, he replied that he was on his way to visit his sons who were prisoners. But the Americans would not believe him, since they suspected him of being a messenger or spy of the enemy and, considering him to be such, they killed him without mercy, just as they did the young men, whom they believed to be his accomplices.

José de los Reyes Berreyesa was married to my sister, Zacarías Bernal. Joaquín de la Torre, with his company, was scouting under the orders of Comandante General Castro in the Lompalí section. The Americans, being aware of this, set out in pursuit and caught up with him near the last named place, attacking him w ith a considerable force. In the fight, which was bitterly contested, there was killed an officer named Manuel Cantúa, a very talented young man. It is known that the forces of la Torre suffered no other losses. It is not known as to whether there were any losses on the American side or not. Capt. Joaquín de la Torre, seeing he was beaten, fled in the direction of Sonoma, boarding a tule raft made by himself and an American with whom he made the crossing from Benicia. When he arrived at San Lorenzo, he found Don José Castro encamped there with his troops and informed them of the encounter with the enemy, the death of Cantúa and the routing of his troop, which consisted of about 40 men. Castro decided to remain in San Lorenzo two days longer, for the purpose of reinforcing his lit tle army so he could go and attack those who had routed Capt. de la Torre. At the end of this time, however, whether on account of the fact that he did not consider himself sufficiently strong or for other reasons unknown, he gave the order to march to the Potrero de Santa Clara, which was done. We were encamped there about fifteen days, at the end of which time we marched to San Juan, where we arrived without mishap. On these marches nothing worthy of mention took place.

I stumbled on this list of Anza Expedition Families, and figured if that was interesting to me, it's probably worthwhile to make this more obscure stuff available. It'd be nice if there were a Californio wiki, since that type of collaboration could make lots of information available that's currently scattered around in grandmothers' dusty notebooks. If anyone knows of such a thing, email me at kevin at this domain.