Van Bernard, of Butte City, California, represented the district composed of Colusa, Glenn and Tehama counties in the state legislature for practically a decade and had the high regard and confidence of his constituents. He championed the cause of the northern California farmer with unremitting zeal, and fought consistently for irrigation and water rights for the benefit of growers. Many bills designed to aid the farmers were created by him. His actions were always direct and in the open, and nothing has ever been done by him which would in any manner stain the excellent reputation which he enjoys. Public servants as true to their mission as he are not in the majority. No ulterior motive has ever shadowed his desire to meet the expectations of the men and women who cast their votes for him at the polls.
Van Bernard was born in Audrain County, Missouri, September 10, 1870, a son of William and Wilhelmina (Moorehead) Bernard. William Bernard was a stonemason by trade, and died in Los Angeles in 1912. His wife died in Missouri.
Van Bernard was educated in the common schools of Illinois, and in 1913 came to California, locating in Glenn County, where he has resided ever since, as a rancher. He started in the dairy business, but eventually sold out and moved to a place on the Sacramento River, near Butte City, in 1920. He then entered the political arena and was elected assemblyman for the district composed of Glenn, Colusa and Tehama counties. Mr. Bernard also has a ranch near Butte City, whereon he has made his residence. Real estate dealing has also commanded his attention to some extent. In the farm and irrigation questions of the day he has been most actively interested, and this has been the basis of the fine reputation he made as a legislator. He is a Republican, giving stalwart support to the party. Mr. Bernard has traveled over twenty-five thousand miles in the interests of California’s products and their output. He has visited the South American ports of Uruguay, Brazil, and the Argentine Republic in this work. He gave six months of his time in order that he might be properly posted and promote the sale of products from California soil. He is a thorough politician in the best sense of that word. He has likewise fought for a reapportionment, giving his part of the state a proper representation in the legislative body.
Van Bernard married Mary E. Duckworth, a daughter of Enoch and S. J. (Mills) Duckworth, the parents never having come to the west coast.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J. W. Major, History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 2 Pages 283-284. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.