California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
San Bernardino Rough and Ready Cavalry
Other or Official Titles: San Bernardino Rough and Ready Cavalry, 1st Brigade, California Militia

Location: San Bernardino, San Bernardino County
Mustered in: December 22, 1855
Disbanded: 1856
Commanding Officers
D. M. Taft, Captain, Elected December 22, 1855
H. C. Rolfe, First Lieutenant, Elected December 22, 1855

Unit papers on file at the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers 3 documents (1855)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) none
d. Election Returns none
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns none
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices none
j. Requisitions none
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Official History

San Bernardino was the first home of the Mormans in California. When the Morman Battalion returned to Salt Lake City after the Mexican War, they carried back visions of a new home. A colony came out in 1851 and purchased the San Bernardino ranch property. A town was established in 1853, .which was a mile square and laid out in Babylonian style; the streets were given good Mormon names, and a miniature Salt Lake was made.(1) A fort was built inside the town limits where many of the families lived for a while as a protection from the Indians. After a time, the fort was torn down and the logs and material were used for other buildings. When the Indians saw that the residents had given up the protection of the fort, they began to annoy the unprotected people, and in 1855 it was deemed necessary by the residents to organize a military company. A Military Notice was duly posted, stating that D. M. Thomas, County Judge, had appointed H. C. Rolfe on December 10, 1855, to call a meeting of those persons who wished to become members of a "volunteer or independent company of cavalry, to organize the same according to law. Saturday, December 22, 1855, was the date set for the meeting which was to be held at the City School House at two o'clock P. M. This notice was dated December 11, 1855. and carried a footnote, "N.B. Every volunteer is requested to attend without fail, signed H. C. Rolfe."

The minutes of the meeting gave the names of the fifteen elected commissioned and non-commissioned officers. After the election the company was designated as the San Bernardino Rough and Ready Cavalry. A committee of five were appointed to draft a Constitution and By-Laws. and to report at an adjourned meeting: The Tally Sheet for the election was filed with the Adjutant General's Office with the organization paper and the meeting notice. D. M. Thomas, the County Judge, attested to the veracity of the foregoing papers on January 16, 1856. In comparing the list of officers against the list of residents of Fort San Bernardino, it was found that Captain Taft and three of his non-commissioned,officers had been housed in the Fort and several of the other names checked with the family names of these same residents. It is evident that this company was located within the colony of the Mormans as only those of their own faith were allowed to reside within their town limits. The greater number of the Morman settlers returned to Salt Lake when there was threatened trouble between Brigham Young's followers and the Federal Government in 1857.

A History of San Bernardino.County relates that in 1855 a volunteer company was organized under Captain Andrew Lytle (San Bernardino Rangers) to punish the Indians of the San Gorgonio Pass for depredations. A corps of men under First Lieutenant Rolfe (San Bernardino Rough and Ready Cavalry) were encamped for some time at the Weaver Ranch during this Indian War.(2)

Many volunteer companies were organized in these early days when the immediate district was in the throes of Indian hostilities. As there was no record of other activities of the San Bernardino Rough and Ready Company of Cavalry, it is evident that they were soon disbanded after a short existence.



(1) Ingersoll's Century Annals of San Bernardino County, L. A. Ingersoll, Los Angeles, 1904, page 142
(2) Ingersoll's Century Annals of San Bernardino County, L. A. Ingersoll, Los Angeles, 1904, page 153.
This history was written in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the Office of the Adjutant General and the California State Library




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Updated 8 February 2016