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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


E. De Bernardi

No more public-spirited man has transferred his allegiance to the Pacific coast or more enthusiastically entered into the diversified interests here represented than Mr. De Bernardi, the genial proprietor of the hotel bearing his name in Santa Rosa.

A native of Italy, E. De Bernardi was born in Genoa in 1864, the son of James and Mary (Molimari) De Bernardi, the former born in Switzerland in 1827, and the latter born in Italy in 1849. The mother passed away in December, 1875, but the father is still living, making his home in Santa Rosa, Cal., at the advanced age of eighty-four years. Besides the subject of this sketch there are living three sons and three daughters, that were born to this worthy couple. All of the children were given splendid educational advantages, but none of them closed his school record with more glowing colors than did Mr. De Bernardi of this review. His preliminary training was received in the excellent schools of Genoa, after which he continued his studies in one of the well-known colleges in that city, from which he graduated at the age of fifteen years, master of four languages. After the death of the mother the father found his assets in bad condition, and it became necessary for the son to undertake his own support. It is no exaggeration to say that his recently acquired education was his chief stock in trade when he came to the United States in 1879, soon after his graduation from college. Through some of his countrymen who had preceded him to this country he had heard of the wonderful opportunities for young men on this side of the Atlantic, and he lost no time in seeking our shores after the close of his school and college days. Marin county, Cal., was the scene of his early career, and tells ofhis youthful efforts as a ranch hand in that vicinity for several years, after which he became proprietor of a ranch on his own account. Altogether his experiences in that county covered a period of seventeen years, his identification with Sonoma county dating from the end of this time, in 1896. This date also marks a change in the line of business which he had followed for so many years, for after locating in Petaluma he established himself in the hotel business and continued it there successfully fir six years. With the idea of branching out in the same line of endeavor on a larger scale he came to Santa Rosa at the end of that time, first opening a hotel in leased quarters, but in 1907 erecting the De Bernardi block, one of the substantial structures in Santa Rosa, part of the ground floor of which is arranged for commercial use, while the balance is equipped for hotel purposes. This well-known hostelry and its cheery proprietor holds a place in the minds of the traveling public that is truly enviable, and withal it is well deserved.

In his marriage Mr. De Bernardi chose one of his countrywomen in Miss Rosa Biaggini, who was born in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, in August 1872. She came to America in 1889, and on June 13, 1890, she became the wife of Mr. De Bernardi. Five children were born of this union; as follows: Inez 1894; Matilda Celestine, in June 1896; and Evariste, in 1900. Mr. De Bernardi has indeed had a true helpmate in his wife, and for all that he is and has today he willingly gives her credit. At the time of their marriage he had little in the world has resulted in their present prosperity. The De Barnardi block was built in 1907, costing $20,000, and with other property which Mr. De Bernardi owns it is conservatively estimated that he is worth $25,000, all of which has been accumulated in a comparatively short time, for he came to California practically empty-handed. It is worth of note, however, that the asset with which he came to this country is now returning a good income to him as court interpreter, a position made possible by his knowledge of five languages, and one that he has held for the past eight years. Politically he is a progressive. Sonoma county and Santa Rosa have a stanch ally in Mr. De Bernardi, who allows no opportunity to pass without doing all in his power to make known to him, and as a substantial evidence of his verbal endorsement continual proofs may be seen in the practical help which he gives to every project that is inaugurated for the good of town, county, state or nation.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011