BERNARDO, TEXAS. Bernardo is at the intersection of Farm Road 949 and Bernardo Road, on the south bank of the San Bernard River twelve miles northeast of Columbus in Colorado County. The earliest settlers were German immigrants who came to Texas about 1845 as colonists of the Adelsverein and were followed by other Germans. They preferred to remain where a good number of Germans had established themselves and where frontier conditions were not as trying as in the Fisher-Miller land grant in west central Texas, the area designated for colonization. Bernardo was originally known as Bernardo Prairie because of the local terrain. It was also earlier called Braden; several families by that name were among the early settlers. The community was on the main road from Houston to towns and settlements inland. During the Civil War it served as a dumping station for cotton being hauled to Mexico. However, it never became a large settlement but remained a farming and ranching community with scattered homes and farms.
Bernardo had its own post office from 1898 to 1917. As early as 1872 there was a local Catholic school staffed by the Sisters of Divine Providence. In 1911 it was merged with the Mentz Catholic school, which was in turn replaced by a public school that later became part of the Columbus Independent School District. In 1986 Bernardo had a general store and a volunteer fire department and was a voting precinct with 187 registered voters. Some descendants of the original settlers still lived in the area, although land was being purchased by people from Houston and surrounding areas. In 1990 the population was 155. The population remained the same in 2000.
Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Arliss Treybig, "BERNARDO, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnb29), accessed December 10, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.